Why is a Bare Breast More Offensive Than a Severed Arm?

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I understand some of the issues that people might have with nudity for whatever reason. That doesn't mean I share a single one of them however. People can walk around nude everyday for all I would care. To stigmatize nudity is pointless and silly (Iranian earthquakes, anyone?).

Growing up in the Netherlands might have something to do with my point of view. Though I think it is more likely attributed to the fact that I am an absolute hedonist.

I remember hearing about the controversy that Deep Space Nine stirred up back in 1995 when the episode "Rejoined" aired. For those who don't know, it was sort-of an exploration of homosexual relationships in the Star Trek universe, although not really. It's too complex to really explain it properly, but the long and the short of it is that Jadzia (played by Terry Farrell) meets up with a former lover (played by Susanna Thompson). For sci-fi reasons, the two characters were previously a man and woman respectively, but now both are women. There are many trials and tribulations throughout the episode, which eventually leads them to kiss each other at one point, which was all very tastefully done. However, shortly thereafter the DS9 staff got a phone call from an angry viewer saying how incensed they were that they'd dare show two women kissing. The staff member who took the phone call asked the viewer, "Well, would you have preferred if one of them had shot the other instead of kissing her?" The viewer said "Yes, that would have been OK."

So yeah... kind of puts things into perspective about how some people perceive content. I should point out that there was nothing sexual about the episode at all. It wasn't even about the two characters being women. It was a story about love and the lengths people who are in love will go to for one another. But therein lies the problem with personal tastes. I'm sure that particular viewer was just one of the more extreme cases. I'm sure there were just as many people at the time who applauded that episode.

Jumwa:
Many people love the explosions, the gory gruesomeness (and some don't, which also belies the "shared experience" argument).

Well, its more likely a shared experience because the person next to you knew what to expect when going into that movie, because we do tend to know the attitudes of our friends have towards violence, but less so towards sex because we discuss those things less openly. Or am I off my rocker?

Weaver:
Saying that sexual standrads make some feel grossed our, some uncomfortable, some aroused is reliant almost entirely on the cultural lens you're looking through, and you're looking through it from an American lens. You say "let's ignore who the prudes are" then take the stance - intentionally or not - that your cultural perception on sex is how everyone in the world, in every culture, reacts to sex and that's just not true. You might feel really uncomfortable being aroused or watching sex scenes with your friends, in other countries this just isn't a problem.

In Germany, movies like Keinohrhasen are rated fine for children to watch and bare breasts will freely appear in daytime advertisements, and no one cares. No one bats an eye. You can argue all you want that this is somehow not related to culture, or if it is is related to culture in a way violence isn't, but I simply don't believe this to be the case in any way.

Yeah, that makes this discussion a bit muddy, doesn't it? But, as a baseline, if you were playing mass effect 1 and just went into the sex scene with liara, and your mom walked in and wanted to see you play this game(maybe she bought it for you or whatever), how quickly and frantically would you hit the pause/power button? Or would you be all like "Hey mom! Check this out!"?

I would just like to say that the art design for this column is probably one of the best illustrations the team has ever done. Can I get a huzzah for The Escapist graphic designers?!

Holythirteen:
]Yeah, that makes this discussion a bit muddy, doesn't it? But, as a baseline, if you were playing mass effect 1 and just went into the sex scene with liara, and your mom walked in and wanted to see you play this game(maybe she bought it for you or whatever), how quickly and frantically would you hit the pause/power button? Or would you be all like "Hey mom! Check this out!"?

A reasonable point. But you really need to contrast it with the scenario where your Mum walks in just as you are gruesomely chopping the limbs and heads off a pack of mooks in a violent game. Is your Mum going to be any more impressed? OK, the answer to that obviously depends on who your mother is and how taboo she finds violence vs sex but I think a moderate number would actually UNDERSTAND the interest in sex more than the interest in violence...

First, you condemn the very idea of claiming that one idea of offensiveness is more valid than another, then you spend about half the article arguing almost precisely that position. And still, the entire argument falls flat due to obvious counter-examples showing that everything you're claiming is objective difference, is instead culturally relative after all.

You should've quit while you were ahead.

I really enjoyed that read. I was expecting it to go in an entirely different direction, and I'm really happy that it didn't.

My take on this is that sex and violence hold very different baggage in our lives. Most people will never experience the fantastical violence that pop culture shows us. It's all pure fantasy. In a weird way, showing violence to the point of gratuity makes it so cartoony that the majority of us have learned what is and is not real, so when a video game or a movie shows a scene of a guy's head exploding like a watermelon, we just brush it off as the cartoon that it is.

Sex, however, is harder to collectively get to that point, partly because despite making sex equally as gratuitous in our culture, the cartoony aspects aren't understood as cartoony. We still have this notion that the sex we see, while not real, is still attainable and can be something to strive for. I will never be in a situation where I need to go into bullet time to shoot a helicopter down, but I could reasonably talk to someone into sleeping with me.

And this is where video game sex makes me profoundly uncomfortable. My wife will roll her eyes at a violent game, but she will be visibly bothered if a sex scene comes on in that same game because, presumably, I am controlling the character that has decided to engage in the sex. If I'm trying to get into the game, that means on some level, I'm supposed to be into the sex as well, and that's where it doesn't sit well.

Arguably, a lot of this comes as a result of the limitations that you previously stated. For as far as video games have come, very little thought is given for real character relationships and the writing to actually support a realistic and mature sex scene. Mass Effect is rated Mature, but the sex is what middle schoolers believe sex is like: talk to the pretty girl and eventually she will sleep with you if you say the right things. If a game writes a husband and wife/dating couple/sexually romantic partnership/etc in a way that feels like humans, that changes the conversation considerably. Movies have proved they can do this, hence why we talk about actors' chemistry in their performance. When discussing video games, we get hung up on "who is the character I think is hottest/doesn't annoy my the most." It's all very shallow, and that sort of thing can get uncomfortable, boring, and sometimes dangerous.

In conclusion, good read. :)

Izanagi009:

Shamus Young:
Why is a Bare Breast More Offensive Than a Severed Arm?

This question gets asked a lot. "Why is a bare breast more offensive than a severed arm?" This question has been around in one form or another for decades and is usually presented as a challenge or a demand for explanation regarding the way movies are rated, marketed, and edited.

Read Full Article

Excellent article but I have one question after it.

You had stated that games are bad as systematizing relationships and conversations. So where does that put Visual Novels like Little Busters, Clannad and other such digital media that revolves around conversations and developing relationships between characters in game? Does this mean that the current model of Visual Novel is the best we have limited by a very poor system?

Still waiting for a good answer for this. People seems to just shrug this topic off, ignoring and some don't even consider VNs as games to begin with.

Even the PBS Game Show channel when they talk about how sex is bad in games.

He only pointed a bit about one western made VN, and that VN doesn't even have erotic content. In the end questions concerning about VNs was never brought up in the next video where he answers and reply to the comments of that episode.

FYI, Japanese 18+ VNs are pretty much the same with every other media. There are Great and good ones, and there are the bad ones and the pandering to the lowest common denominator ones.

Heck, I just came from a thread a guy asking for PC JRPGs, when one guy suggested one VN with SRPG (and it's good one Kamidori Alchemy Meister, I already played it), he then has to put a disclaimer that the sex scenes is the downfall of the VN, where as people who actually played it rated it fine, and in VNDB it's rated 8.28.

It is probably because sex is considered a private thing, whereas violence is usually seen out in the public.

That doesn't really explain anything Shamus, at least not on a semi-global scale which you attempted.

First, the same diverse reactions also apply to violence, the tolerance among people differs greatly. Some people can get sick easily, others will laugh their ass off at the most realistic (or real) depiction of people being blown up.

Second, we still don't know why some cultures (er, culture) have a bigger problem with sexual content than others. Citizens of France get together and watch a sexy movie... And not feel as awkward.

As for the TV/computer differences, Japan has a lot of games with sexual themes. Why don't they have a problem to take a controller and 'push the characters into it'? (Despite that being even more conservative culture, interestingly.)

Also, not to put a too fine point on it, but the reaction to violence, whether fantasy or real, varies even more greatly depending on who is the violence done against. Just watch any war report to see how soldiers of one's own country are heroes (or unfortunate victims etc.), while the other party is the villain. It also directly translates to reaction to seeing the violence itself. My people doing it = get the popcorn. The others are doing it to my people = the horror makes me sick!

So I think the explanation of cultural, environmental and other differences is more valid. What you described basically applies only to you and people like you, but you certainly can't speak for everyone.

BigTuk:
Now as for violence.. well. Violence is something that people have always seen in their day to day lives. Heck if you were a boy or young man you were expected to get into a fight or two. That and it's kinda hard to get around the fact that yeah...Violence is in the bible, the bible is okay.. so violence must be okay (incidentally that was an excuse used in early hollywood to get more scandalous costuimes and even a little nudity in their films because.. (it's a bible story.. it's in the bible.. you want us to edit the bible?')

Actually, I was going to argue quite the opposite. Most people who live in the kind of (relatively) affluent surroundings that afford video games as a pastime don't experience violence with any regularity, much less the kind of grisly and lethal violence on display in some of the more extreme examples of video games. But almost every person who grows to adulthood can be expected to participate in some form of sexual expression.

For this reason, video game violence gets a kind of leeway because it's clearly fantasy on multiple levels. It's showing something that some people may fantasize about (a kind of cathartic and direct overcoming of enemies and obstacles through direct application of force), but few have a frame of reference in reality that causes them to find the portrayal to be antithetical or unrealistic. And while everyone (one hopes) understands that when someone dies in real life, they don't come back, a player of a violent game is rarely more than minutes from rising from their own death and taking on another swarm of interchangeable, identical enemies.

Conversely, sex has a thousand ways to seem "wrong"- real people don't interact this way when they're attracted. Real sex doesn't look like this. This is demeaning to one of the people engaged in the act. This is objectifying. This suggests that sex is a "reward" for gameplay, and by extension, the character is nothing more than a prize. This doesn't consider the physical and/or emotional ramifications of the act. This isn't sexy to me (and its close cousin, how dare you think I would consider that sexy?). Sex in this context runs counter to my morals, but I'm expected to engage in it anyway. This encounter sprang from coercion/manipulation/deception. And so on.

Any or all of which someone could see in a particular scene while others would entirely disagree. It makes something like "The fire rate on this sub-machine gun is completely inauthentic to its real-world counterpart" seem like a relatively minor issue to field.

As far as the Bible goes, it bears notice that there's plenty of sexual material in that book that few, if any, feel any need to portray. There are long verses full of lustful admiration in the Song of Solomon, aside from many instances of polygamy, adultery, incest, and rape. Early Hollywood may occasionally have gotten away with hints of sex in quasi-biblical settings, but it was usually not direct depictions of biblical verse, but more, "Oh, and these people who were oppressing the martyrs/biblical heroes, you see, they were sinful and decadent."

Sgt. Sykes:

Second, we still don't know why some cultures (er, culture) have a bigger problem with sexual content than others. Citizens of France get together and watch a sexy movie... And not feel as awkward.

Uh.. we do know why.. and the answer is religion.

Most european countries are far... FAR less religious nowadays then the US of A where every nutjob can come up with his own religion and sorta kinda be taken serious (looking at you scientology.. hows your space program doing?)

This isnt even about liberals vs conversatives because as was pointed out earlier by someone else, in japan no one really seems to have a problem with sex in games, movies or even establishments that sell sex... and japan is as conservative as it gets.

The difference is that japan never really had christianity/Islam breathing down their neck telling them what is okay to think and believe and what will get you stoned (not the good kind) But to be fair they do have a rather silly board of censorship with very VERY specific rules about what you can show and not show for reasons that even most japanese dont understand anymore. Like that artist that got arrested because she made a boat out of a sculpture of her vagina or something.

(Hey that tentacle looks like a penis... shouldnt that be censored? Naaaah.... its a tentacle.. its not a penis.. it looks and functions like one but something like this clearly doesnt exist in real life so its totaly okay not to censor it)

However if you tried something like this in the US? Everyone would flip their shit because sex is and allways has been seen as something amoral in the US... something dirty, something thats not talked about openly. Now this notion has been challanged alot of times in mainstream media or parodied.... but in the end mom and pa will still rally against anything sexual that hits to close to their own religious and cultural comfort zone.

Well... It is generally assumed that when you see a severed arm in media, it is fake. Tits are tits, when you see them you are most likely actually seeing someones tits. This split from a perception of realism leans people towards not caring.

To support that, last I checked, snuff films and any sort of videos representing the actual dismemberment of people are somewhat more frowned upon than boobs.

Violence is very easy to excuse in media. Since characters are not real people, it's possible to craft a scenario where a character who gets their arm severed off isn't a 'person', at least not in the conventional sense. We distance ourselves from characters like that, like how we view individual units in a strategy game. And we all know that the severed limbs we see are a make-up trick. So there's no victim of the violent act.

Nudity, on the other hand, is a lot more 'real', at leas in live action. It requires that an actual person strip down to some degree, and that's impossible to distance from an actual person. In porn, we don't really care since the whole point is to watch people f#$%. In other media, though, we're reminded that people aren't supposed to go nude in public.

That's my 2 cents given while I'm half-asleep, anyway. I could easily be wrong.

I find that I really can't stand sex or nudity in most games because it's thrown in and gratuitous, not because it's against my religion. When sex is part of a romance (better if it's a well-done romance) it makes sense. When it's "Let's get our M rating by having the protagonist fuck the hot side character" it isn't offensive because it's sex, it's offensive because the sex is so shallow it might as well be porn. Violence, even over-the-top violence, usually has context: you die if you don't fight back, or you're fighting for a cause your character believes in, or in the rare occasion it comes up, you're the villain. For the most part, games as a medium are as bad at sex as Postal 2 is at violence.

In conclusion: yes, I would rather my character blew a zombie to pieces to survive than slept with a side character whose name he barely knows. Conversely,I would rather play a game with two lovers who fell into each other's arms for comfort when they feared losing one another and thereafter struggled to even see each other because life (and death) got in the way but managed to make it work in the end, than, say, Postal.

And since the elephant in the room has already been killed for its ivory, I'll go ahead and say it: I am a Christian, and it stings to be openly lied about in a topic where it didn't need to come up. I mention this in order to also say that almost all of what's been attributed to us in this thread comes not from the religion itself as founded but from the Holy Roman Empire as a tool to control and brainwash its subjects using Jewish law and Roman iron-fisted law as a template. When Christianity was founded, for example, marriage was simply a consent between people to be married. Sex WAS marriage, and "sexual sin" was betraying that marriage by whoring around. Israel still followed bride price traditions at the time, but Christianity was founded to be a transcultural movement with few and simple tenets.

Flame shield up.

"This isn't true for sexual content. When naked bodies and sexual activity appear on screen, we're suddenly having very personal experiences that are probably disconnected from the experiences around us."

While I'm sure this is great for you personally, the fact that you don't think that people have personal experiences involving violence that vary from excitement to outright terror sort of speaks to your life being incredibly sheltered, there. For a lot of people, putting it on par in magnitude with sex as a personal history marker wouldn't be entirely unreasonable, especially since you appear to be overstating how formative and personal sex is for most people to boot.

Holythirteen:

Jumwa:
Many people love the explosions, the gory gruesomeness (and some don't, which also belies the "shared experience" argument).

Well, its more likely a shared experience because the person next to you knew what to expect when going into that movie, because we do tend to know the attitudes of our friends have towards violence, but less so towards sex because we discuss those things less openly. Or am I off my rocker?

Let's assume you're right in that we're all perfectly, fully aware with how our friends and family respond to violence and that matters to us. It's still only arbitrary cultural attitudes that make us concerned that our friends might be titillated by sex, but not bothered that they might be titillated by the gory violence itself, or the way that, say, women are blatantly objectified without going all the way to outright sex.

Karadalis:
This is mostly an american problem if its about western world standards.

Here in germany for example people are much more lenient when it comes to nudity (kept for the genitals that is) then they are about violence...

Have a suggestive commercial about lube 2 pm? Hey no problem... A shower commercial showing bare boobs? Go on.. no one minds... Wait what? Blood and gore past 10 pm? Hell no.. kids could still be up watching TV and we dont want to let them see blood an gore.

The same is aplied to video games. Our version of the ESRB doesnt give much about scenes of nudity aslong as they are not outright pornographic (for example the sex scenes in mass effect? No one here gave a crap about those.. unlike in the US where media was screaming sodom and gomorra)

But get a little bit to brutal even against lets say zombies and your game wont be allowed to be sold openly in germany (a death sentence for releases like dead rising or most other zombie splatter games)

Heck the most ridiculus case of censoring i remember was when they turned everyone in Soldier of Fortune 2 into robots by swapping out skin textures for metal plates... that was weird...

Indeed.
I've always considered this fear of nudity to be a strange American phenomenon.

No one (well, almost) in Western Europe seem to mind much at all, and certainly not when it's natural.

It is only natural for someone stepping our of a shower to be nude, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone over here that find's it sexual.
Same goes for someone getting out of bed.

That one always bothered me too.
The characters have just had sex, but when they get out of bed they're sudenly extremely shy and need to cover up?
That is some bullshit right there.

Weaver:
I honestly disagree with the entire premise: that we all react to violence the same. We simply don't. I've laughed my ass off at "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky" while other people thought it was disgusting. I found Saving Private Ryan's violent frontline depictions to be an on point representation of the horrors of war, while other people I watched the movie with thought it was needlessly graphic and made them uncomfortable to the point they didn't want to keep watching.

WiseBass:
I pretty strongly disagree with the idea that we all have a communal reaction to violence in media that differs only in minor degrees. You put a violence scene in a movie, and you're going to get a wide range of reactions: disgust, apathy, amusement, enthusiasm, and so forth. Some people, particularly those that have been victimized by violent criminals in the past, might have a more severe reaction.

It's about how sex evokes a deeply personal, physical reaction, more so than violence, unless you've suffered some sort of related trauma.

I mean not everybody reacts to humor in the same way either, but watching a comedy with my mom or sister won't cause me any discomfort. Watching a porno will. A long time ago me and my oldest sister rented Wicked City, not being too familiar with anime and Yoshiaki Kawajiri in general, and thinking it was just going to be some violent cartoon about demons... And from the very start things got extremely awkward.

We all react differently to things like violence and comedy, but with sex it shines a giant spotlight on our most embarrassing inner thoughts and desires.

Wilco86:
There's no counting how many times I've had this debate, and so I have a stock answer:

image

The one of the left shows a person (well, actually two) having a shower while wearing her underwear in a game Mass Effect 3 - a game made for mature players. I dunno, but I don't shower my clothes on - I have fallen from a boat and swam while my clothes on, but never showered.

The one from the right is from a French comic "Valérian et Laureline" (censored by yours truly) - an award-winning sci-fi comic for teens that has had direct effect to things like The Fifth Element, Star Wars, etc. Probably Mass Effect 3 was more futuristic, as in this people undressed to clean themselves properly. (For Mass Effect's credit, nudity was done well in the first one, as it used well-chosen camera angles for modesty.)

Also about BioWare and nudity: I find it funny how in Dragon Age: Origins nude werewolves magically conjure up clothing when returned to their human forms.

I like to think that the showering in underwear thing is a form of flirting that Samantha uses on people when she wants to 100% make her intentions known.

It is of course just an absurd moment caused by their inability to go 'fuck it; tits out' or be as judicious as they once were with camera angles.

theSteamSupported:
I find it interesting that you mention how being aroused among others is more taboo than being grossed out among others.

That's exactly what I was thinking. This article is probably giving more information on the author's psyche than intended.

nuttshell:

theSteamSupported:
I find it interesting that you mention how being aroused among others is more taboo than being grossed out among others.

That's exactly what I was thinking. This article is probably giving more information on the author's psyche than intended.

Less so than you might think. I'm sure if you ran a poll of "which would you rather be in front of your mom: grossed out, or sexually aroused?" the vast majority would choose grossed out. Nobody wants their mom to see them with a boner.

I think a lot of people here are missing the point and citing edge cases.

Yes, Germany has a unique view on violence compared to most other countries. It's an exception, there's one to every rule, perhaps you've heard?

Yes, Europe in general is more comfortable with nudity than America. It's still more comfortable with violence than it is with nudity.

Yes, there are different reactions to violence as well. Those reactions are less diverse and less uncomfortable in group environments. Also the vast majority of violence in media isn't terribly graphic. Not too many people are grossed out by "The Avengers" punching aliens. We're not necessarily talking about "Saw" levels of body horror here.

Then main point of the article is that on AVERAGE, for MOST people in MOST cultures the world over, people are less comfortable about sex in group environments than they are violence.

I grew up seeing topless women on the beaches every summer. Mostly moms and so, but a lot of inbetweens as well. You'd occasionally see old man junk as well and most people just changed right there on the beach, rarely using a towel to cover up.

It's far less candid today, than it was twenty to thirty years ago.. probably because everyone has a camera/recorder within reach.

Since the majority of games comes out of America, I'd say there's your explanation. Just a different culture with different priorities.

Shamus Young:
Why is a Bare Breast More Offensive Than a Severed Arm?

This question gets asked a lot. "Why is a bare breast more offensive than a severed arm?" This question has been around in one form or another for decades and is usually presented as a challenge or a demand for explanation regarding the way movies are rated, marketed, and edited.

Read Full Article

I often like your analysis but I think you are off this time. The explanation is simply cultural upbringing (which in itself is a complex thing).

The communal experience may or may not exist. It happens, but its impact is also a reflex of culture.

I love slasher movies and to me they are comedy. They are so exaggerated that do not gross me out. But in my house, my eleven year old girl detest violence an can't watch it. She just now managed to watch Jurassic Park. My wife is also a little bit squeamish.

I would say that the communal experience is much more unbalanced here around violence then around sex. And it is pretty much the case with everyone I know here in Brasil.
I would not watch 9 and 1/2 weeks with my mother, but I would also not watch Hostel with her. And the occasional boobs and naked people around or even sex scene certainly does not make me uncomfortable in front of anyone. A naked couple on top of each other would play out like this in my house:

Me: Now we are talking!
My kid: would laugh and roll her eyes.
My wife: Would make an observation to my kid that in real life it is not THAT common to people make sex in the first time they met.
My mom: would laugh from my kid reaction.
An unexpected violent scene would result in a much more dramatic reaction from all.

I get what you are saying, Samus, but the reality of it is that Americans in general do have more issues with sex than with violence. I am not saying what is "right" or "wrong", but the American market is really a thermometer to all entertainment. It has very little to do with the ability to do it right.

Sex (and sexuality) has existed in videogames since the ATARI era and is quite popular even when limited by tech. Try making a Mass Effect game without relationships and watch the fan reaction. It is just super uncomfortable to a large part of the western audience and so companies have to be careful with it.

Also, the correct representation of gender and sexuality has become an issue of late, which is a good trend that kind of promotes the theme but makes it even more complicated to handle.

Gordon_4:
I like to think that the showering in underwear thing is a form of flirting that Samantha uses on people when she wants to 100% make her intentions known.

Oh, now I get it. So it's something like this:

http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Sexy_sleepwear_(Fallout_3)

I don't think that Samantha needed the charisma bonus, but I can appreciate it.

Leviathan902:

nuttshell:

theSteamSupported:
I find it interesting that you mention how being aroused among others is more taboo than being grossed out among others.

That's exactly what I was thinking. This article is probably giving more information on the author's psyche than intended.

Then main point of the article is that on AVERAGE, for MOST people in MOST cultures the world over, people are less comfortable about sex in group environments than they are violence.

But that's not true at all.

It all depends on context, this is not a rule. Millions of people watched Oh, Calcuta together (a play in which every actor is naked). Yes, been aroused in front of your mom is weird but if you are comfortable with sex scenes you won't be aroused while watching it with your mom. You will be if watching with your loved one, sipping a wine. With my mom on my side I would just remember the name of the film for future reference.

Context is everything.

With a quick pool around my office (50 people or so) I asked what they would prefer to watch: a very good fight scene or a very good sex scene?
Most would prefer a sex scene because they are more rare.

In Asia they talk a lot about it and really go into the realm of fetishes, perversions and fixations, but it is prohibited to show genitalia.
In Africa there are numerous cultures that see sex in a very different, crude way, (including collective rape as a girl initiation).
IN Brasil, nudity and seduction are quite common in TV shows.
In Europe, the erotic is much more prevalent in art than violence.
Even in US, the exploration of the female body is as common as violence. Americans just don't like to see people doing it, but they are quite comfortable with sexist innuendo (very present in Brasil, too).

The only true generalism here is that the issue is very problematic for american audiences. More so than in other countries.

BUT IT IS OK! THIS IS A CULTURAL THING AND NOT A FLAW OF CHARACTER.

With globalization, those kind of biases are more explicit, and it will generate some conflict and naturally change with time. Because all cultures like sex equally, they only deal with it in different ways.

Casual Shinji:

I mean not everybody reacts to humor in the same way either, but watching a comedy with my mom or sister won't cause me any discomfort. Watching a porno will.

The problem is right there on this thought: immediately equating sex with pornography. There are several comedies with sex scenes and naked people on them. You would not watch any of them with your mother?

Explicit sex movies are not meant to be watched with moms.

Karadalis:

Uh.. we do know why.. and the answer is religion.

Indeed. I too think the OP completly missed the point of all violence vs sex debate.
Sex is repulsive because we have been brainwashed since 2000 years (more for jew people) about sex being bad. Romans had no qualm about sexuality. same for Greeks, Egyptians, and so on. They had taboo, but still a lot less "focused" than we are.
In the same time, we got the bible, filled with depiction of gross violence, often more against the innocent than the guilty. Because when you frustrate people sexually, it has to come out anyway, ie the porn violence eructing not only in writing, but in action too.

All that for what? For control.
Telling to people they will f*ck when you say they can, is litteraly grabing them by the balls, forcing them to do whatever nonsense you order them to. Remember the reptilian brain we all have, and how the "upper" brain is only an extension of it. Since you cannot force people not to feed or protect themselves, only the sexual activities remained as a potential tool for power-hungry freaks.

Judeo-christian values are incredibly rooted in all western minds. For all the good (and mainly the bad) it does.

Never noticed how the Pope is considered as "great" while doing less than any responsible shmuck?
And how much backslash you receive when stating it loud?

Karadalis:
(Hey that tentacle looks like a penis... shouldnt that be censored? Naaaah.... its a tentacle.. its not a penis.. it looks and functions like one but something like this clearly doesnt exist in real life so its totaly okay not to censor it)

Remind me of some Londo...

zinho73:

Casual Shinji:

I mean not everybody reacts to humor in the same way either, but watching a comedy with my mom or sister won't cause me any discomfort. Watching a porno will.

The problem is right there on this thought: immediately equating sex with pornography. There are several comedies with sex scenes and naked people on them. You would not watch any of them with your mother?

Explicit sex movies are not meant to be watched with moms.

If it's played for laughs, the comedy usually takes the forefront.

Shamus Young:
More importantly, arousal is a very personal thing and we're more particular about when and where we want to feel it. I don't mind being grossed out in front of my mom, but I definitely don't want to be aroused in front of my mom. Making something sexually titillating immediately makes it something that you don't want to see in certain situations. People aren't so much upset by what they're seeing as what they're feeling. While you can ease the impact of violent imagery by reminding yourself it's "just a movie", that's not so easy to do with sexual content. That really is a naked person and they really are affecting you on a physiological level. You can stop believing in a movie, but you can't control what sorts of things arouse or embarrass you.

This is actually an odd thing to just cruise past as an explanation instead of investigating it directly. I'd think this would be the most important part of your article to ask "why?" This embarrassment about arousal, or really, anything involved in sex, is causing our society all sorts of trouble. Look at the state of sex education in the US (possibly elsewhere as well). It's horrendous, and even with how embarrassingly little they teach, you still see parents getting exceptions for their children to sit out those days (usually "that day" singular) in health class.

How many health problems, emotional trauma, STIs, or accidental pregnancies could be avoided if we had better education on the topic? I don't know about the rest of you, but for me "the talk" never actually happened, my parents were so embarrassed by the topic, leaving me to learn from bathroom walls and eventually really bad porn that I could get over a 14,400 modem. This is not healthy. So no, these attitudes don't get a pass, they deserve to be questioned, wherever they're found.

Edit: hit post too soon

Holythirteen:
]Yeah, that makes this discussion a bit muddy, doesn't it? But, as a baseline, if you were playing mass effect 1 and just went into the sex scene with liara, and your mom walked in and wanted to see you play this game(maybe she bought it for you or whatever), how quickly and frantically would you hit the pause/power button? Or would you be all like "Hey mom! Check this out!"?

Neither. If she asks, I say: "It's just a scene like in an adult movie. When it's done, it goes back to the main part of the game".

Gethsemani:
As an addendum for why nudity is rather uncommon in television and movies, compared to violence: It is far more comfortable for an actor or actress to have someone apply make-up and some silicone prosthetics to make it look like you've been impaled, beaten or decapitated than it is to have to undress in front of 40 of your co-workers with the knowledge that potentially millions of people will be watching you undress. It is also far easier for a director or casting supervisor to pitch "you will get a really cool death scene and make-up" than it is to pitch "you will be nude at multiple times during this shoot, including a sex scene". This is especially true with big name actresses or actors who can demand literally millions of dollars for the movie or show to include a few seconds of them naked.

This is actually one of the more interesting and level headed takes on this topic that i've seen. Well done.

zerragonoss:

themilo504:

If you want characters to have sex just cut to black, and then show them both lying in bed naked, anything more is pointless unless you're trying to turn on the audience.

Not quite true actually, while it is in any game at the moment especially with the quality of our models and animations. You can actually describe a lot about a character or their relationship or mood by how they are having sex, its a complex interaction. Though you probably could convey this just by how they stated and looked afterwards true. though overall I agree as I have not interest in learning about characters though watching them have sex even if it could be an effective character building seance.

I still don't see how it can add anything that can't be shown some other way, then again I'm anti sex so that's hardly surprising.

I have to disagree with the writer on one aspect. He's quite right that it forms a divergent experience - people's upbringings and history with sex tends to be more widely varied than in the example of violence. BUT, that is not universal nor undivergent either.

People who have survived disasters, or experienced warfare and seen first hand death and dismemberment have very different feelings and reactions to visceral on screen violence for the same reasons - they divergeing experiences for them. In our old MMO guild a couple of them were soldiers (One was a combat medic!), and he particulary was quite unkeen to see graphic violence in his games and movies, or even talk about the depiction of it.

We're not talking about Mr Squeamish here, in fact he was quite a hard guy with a cruel tongue. But for him, graphic violence and injury (understandably) was not an experience he could relate to with other people.

Casual Shinji:

zinho73:

Casual Shinji:

I mean not everybody reacts to humor in the same way either, but watching a comedy with my mom or sister won't cause me any discomfort. Watching a porno will.

The problem is right there on this thought: immediately equating sex with pornography. There are several comedies with sex scenes and naked people on them. You would not watch any of them with your mother?

Explicit sex movies are not meant to be watched with moms.

If it's played for laughs, the comedy usually takes the forefront.

Yes, but not always. Sex can be awkward, funny, sexy and even violent. Just like violence can be presented in a myriad of ways (even in cartoons). Sex is not a genre. It is a narrative tool. Sometimes it is well used and sometimes it is not, but the reaction to it is contextual and it can be as Shamus presented but can also be in another myriad of ways.

The "not get aroused in front of mom" argument is clever but false. Yes, almost everyone do not want to get aroused in front of mom, but to actually get aroused while your mom is in the room is not easy, regardless of what is happening on the screen.

First, because sex can be depicted, as I said above, in plenty of ways that are not necessarily exciting (funny, gross, etc).
And second, because your mind would not probably be into it. As I said in another post; you will probably remember the name of the movie for future reference, to watch it again in another context.

The gist is that it is a cultural difference. Beyond that, the discussion is not simple at all.
Actually Americans do not have a problem with sex per se. Hollywood created the "one night stand" meme, in which the hero always have sex with girls after the first date. Also, western TV have no problem with innuendo or the objectification of women - there are plenty of examples of that in movies and TV. The naked body and the actual sex scene are more problematic, though.

But it is changing. Globalization, man, globalization. :)

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