3 min

The shock of unsanctioned exposure

Somewhere between horror and a hard-on

“Who is stupid enough to post naked pictures of themselves, with a dildo up their ass, on the web?”

This remark from a friend staring at a Craigslist posting that was trying to entice “hot tops” to reply.

The posting, featuring said photos, originated in New York but, through our tiny Vancouver network, my friend and I had learned that the guy whose ass was on display was actually a local and not in New York at the time.

The pictures had apparently been used by some stranger for his own personal agenda.

I had seen the boy from the photos around the village and at the gym, and had always found him attractive. We’d never shared more than a smile and a nod so the shock of seeing his naked body and his sex-face stirred in me an extreme, sudden reaction somewhere between horror and a hard-on.

My first thought was of how embarrassing it must be to have your private photos circulated beyond your control so that anyone could see them. However, after several, well, repeated viewings of the pictures, I saw less and less to be embarrassed about.

Checking out his gym-hard body, I actually came to see how proud he should feel of the very sexy images.  Even though he’s lost control of who sees them, the pictures certainly show off some of his assets, albeit not in the most conventionally appropriate way.

Moved to reexamine the outside ramifications of taking sexy photos, uncomfortable realities began to dawn on me.

The truth is, anything we post online becomes public property whether we like it or not.  No matter how much effort is made, people will always find ways to store and distribute items of interest; just ask the folks in the music industry.

As this relates to your personal files, this means that anyone with access to them, including, perhaps, some of your exes, can duplicate, alter or publish them to be seen by anybody including your boss, your family, past and present lovers and strangers who you’ve yet to meet. 

Even files we choose not to post online can end up there through the actions of the less-than-honourable. Such was the case for Hong Kong film star Edison Chen whose “deleted” personal images were retrieved and published by his laptop repairman. As a result of the leaked sex photos, Chen and his sex partners were denied employment and Chen had to flee Hong Kong after receiving several death threats.

Losing privacy is one thing but death threats and the loss of one’s career seem completely disproportionate to the simple depiction of consensual sexual activities between adults.

While shocking in their scarcity, sex photos ultimately do nothing more than confirm what is common to all of us: that we are physical beings with sexual urges and practices. 

What was once kept behind closed doors or relegated to the porn aisle is now available in the average household thanks to the web. The internet has made depictions of human sexuality much more visible and prevalent compared to the previous era of filtered content in publications, advertising, TV and film.

I’d like to believe that we are at the dawning of a new understanding of sexuality where we can openly acknowledge and stop being ashamed of our physical being.  But I must also acknowledge that many people are far more conservative than that.

The good news for dildo-boy, Edison and the rest of us who may have suffered the shock of unsanctioned exposure is that the shock eventually wears off.

In time, people grow tired of repeatedly experiencing the same stimuli and, inevitably, people move on to something new.

Let me ask you this: As hot as they are, does anyone still look at those naked pictures of Brad Pitt?

Also, with enough time, our appearances can significantly shift. Pictures that may seem to reflect all of our best attributes and all of our worst imperfections now will eventually become novel reminders of who we used to be. So some day we might actually be pleased to see reminders of what we once looked like.

As for the boy who had his pictures stolen, I still see him at the gym. Naturally my mind can’t help but recall those images but I still consider him, first and foremost, to be the healthy, friendly guy he’s always been.

And despite having already seen his naked bits, I still find that I wish to have a firsthand experience of him.

I can’t speak for everyone who may have seen his pictures but they certainly haven’t made me think any less of him. But that’s me. I mean, who don’t I imagine naked with a dildo up their ass?