occurs only after the autumn brought about by Eve’s eating the apple, when ‘the eyes

of them both were opened, and they understood that they were naked’ (Genesis 3:7).
Reading intertextually the story of the rst fall of humanity through John
Milton’s Paradise Lost, we can infer that the shame brought about by nakedness
could not be disconnected from Adam and Eve’s sensuality. The rst people
lines 176–7). more makes clear that in his variant of the fall, the subjugation of
reason to sexual desire is the cause, allowing the blame to be put not only
on girl but on both the naked and sexual creatures.
as read from our contemporary vantage-point — nakedness, as the exposure of the
genitals, cannot be disconnected from sexuality. The genitalia play a double function:
rst, they may be culturally important as the seat of procreation, follow ing the
injunction to ‘be fruitful, and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28).

Stay intact and unblemished, for ‘He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his
privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord’
(Deuteronomy 23:1). At precisely the same time, the exposure of the genitals is cause for
shame — nakedness operates in this tradition as euphemism for sexuality, particu-
larly for illegal or impure sexuality. For instance, ‘The nakedness of thy father’s
wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness’ (Leviticus 18:8). It’d
Seem the early proliferation of Judeo-Christian corporeal ethos situated
nakedness with regard to banned codes of sexuality, and that this linkage informs
the current awareness of bodily behaviour, subjective performativity and the
ethics of privacy.

Nakedness in contemporary culture is a solo relationship, or else it is sexual by virtue
of the presence of a gazing second party. For nakedness to happen on the list of gaze
of others without sexuality for the very practical reasons of bathing, altering
Clothing, aesthetic representation, assessments for purity or health, sporting events
or other practicalities, distinct frames or contexts have to be established which
permit the signication of that nakedness to elude sexuality. Twentieth-century
western culture authorizes special websites of nakedness, some of which are osten-
sibly and explicitly linked with the sexual, others which are not. In a simple article
considering the representability of contemporary nakedness, Elizabeth Grosz
(1998) provides a useful means of delineating the legitimacy of nakedness under
She suggests three bodies or contexts in which a naked body
is legitimately gazed at by others: (1) within the context of power relationships
such as parent/child or doctor/patient, in which the lesser member of the
relationship permits a gazing at their body; (2) when the subjects are lovers
or in other sorts of intimate sexual circumstance; (3) when ‘we are mediated in a
relationship to nudity through representations — in art, in porn, in adver-
tising, in medicine, in cinematic and ctional circumstances and so on’ (1998: 6).
For Grosz, these:
… three circumstances are the privileged spaces of physiological intimacy, not where nakedness occurs,
but instead where nakedness is automatically coupled with the want, perhaps even the impera-
It’s in intimate and/or nurturing connections that we
are motivated not only to look but also to reveal . . . (1998: 6)
While Grosz gives a useful report, I state that we might add a fourth
practical or pleasurable functions in ways which are apparently non-sexual: the
locker-room showers, streaking as a ethnic theatrics of transgression, perform-
ance street art, the clothing-optional beach that is set apart from the ‘cloth
Strand’ by a sign, or screened from the highway by shrubbery and dunes. These
sorts of spaces differ from those in Grosz’s third category by virtue of their

(presumably) unrecorded status, their temporality, and the carefully constructed
codes by which conduct is policed in order to ensure that neither the expres-
sion of nakedness nor the gaze upon it’s construed as sexual. Which is not to
Imply that such a relegation of the sexual or the erotic to an ‘other’ space is ever
Automatically effective.
What such categorizations of naked/gazing legitimacy open are means of
viewing both the subjectication of the naked subject and the sexualization of the
Nude topic in contemporary western postmodern cultures.
embodied performative issue, such as that promulgated by Judith Butler (1990),
the body is performed ‘in accord’ with highly ritualistic and stylized codes of
behaviour which add the illusion of subjecthood. In the context of a parent–child