Given the uneasy relationship between nudism and any aspect of sexuality, it might be helpful to discuss why sexuality is so offensive to the practice of purely puritanical nudism and include in this discussion aspects of erotic art and pornography:
Erotic Art vs. Pornography
I think of erotic art and porn as being two different but similar things.
To me, porn is something that reduces its subject to no more than his or her sexuality. In doing that it degrades the person in much the same way that reducing anyone to just one thing degrades them.
For instance: If you reduce a person to no more than the fact they are Black, Jewish, Mormon, a particular nationality, or a member of this or that political party, then in some sense you are degrading them. Likewise, if you reduce a person to no more than his or her sexuality you are degrading them.
Yet, I think erotic art is distinct from porn in the sense that erotic art, as I use the term, reveals someone’s sexuality without entirely reducing them to their sexuality, just as you can acknowledge someone’s race without entirely reducing them to their race.
It interests me that those who would reduce people to just one thing also — perhaps almost invariably — distort that one aspect of them. So, for instance, when the Nazis reduced Jews to “just Jews” they also characterized Jews in unrealistic and lying ways. Again, when the KKK reduces Blacks to “just Blacks” they also lie about what it means to be Black. And when the porn industry reduces a man or woman to just their sexuality, it almost invariably ascribes to them an unrealistic sexuality.
Those two things so often go hand in hand: First, reducing someone to just one aspect of themselves, and second distorting what that aspect means.
I don’t think it can be denied that the human tendency to reduce others to no more than one thing and then distort that thing is a cause of much misery in this world.
Having said all that, I would much rather put up with porn — or even racism, etc. — than with censorship. I think the proper way to take on such evils is through debate in the free market of ideas, rather than through government censorship.
Am I onto something here, or should I drink some more coffee this morning, wake up, and try again?