There’s Now More Naked Men In Romantic Comedies: Research

Quite a few years ago now I wrote an article listing full-frontal male nudity scenes in various films and the legendary actors who had dared to get their tackle out on film. Richard Gere was one of the first, showing off his cock in American Gigolo, albeit briefly. Malcolm McDowell’s dick helped get A Clockwork Orange banned in the UK. There weren’t too many other big names on the list, although serial nudists Harvey Keitel and Ewan McGregor always made us happy.

Since then there’ve been a few other brave naked souls – Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen and most recently, Michael Fassbender in Shame. But the idea of getting your cock out on film is still not really encouraged in Hollywood. While many mainstream films and TV shows don’t hesitate to show full female nudity, the penis rarely sees the light of day (or the lighting department in this case). Alas, even Game of Thrones seems keen on hiding away the peen.

Happily, it seems that romantic comedies, the much derided “chick flicks” aimed at women, are seeking to redress the balance. Chloe Angyal is studying RomComs for her PhD and she says that a spate of recent films have embraced the idea of male nudity, ostensibly to make the female audience happy and horny.

According to Nielson Ratings, women account for about 77% of the audience for romantic comedies. Producers know this. They know who their audience is, and they spend a great deal of time and energy thinking about exactly what their audience wants to see, because movies are expensive to make, and if no one watches them, that money goes to waste. And right now, it seems, what women want is Chris Evans with very little clothing on.

It comes as news to absolutely no one that the straight women viewers at whom rom coms are aimed enjoy looking at men in a state of undress. That’s not a headline, and hasn’t been since the good Dr. Kinsey wrote it decades ago. What the recent uptick in male nudity suggests, however, is that now, we’re allowed to enjoy looking at men in a state of undress. We’re allowed to enjoy it in public, at the movies. There’s a big difference between acknowledging that of course, women have these desires – and actually catering to them. It signals a shift from acknowledging to allowing, and even encouraging, those desires, that I think demands further discussion.

Chloe then goes on to muse that the focus on a narrow sort of masculine ideal may be ultimately harmful to both men and women, which, while a worthy question, is something of a downer. Because I just wanted to hear more about how great it is that there’s naked men in films.


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Thankfully, Chloe gave me a list of pics to search for on Google Images.

In the last two years, we’ve seen the barely-clad bodies of Justin Long (Going the Distance), Jake Gyllenhaal (Love and Other Drugs), Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal), Ashton Kutcher (No Strings Attached), and Justin Timberlake (Friends With Benefits). In What’s Your Number?, producers appear to have forgotten to make room in the budget for a wardrobe for Chris Evans, who spends most of the movie stripped down to his birthday suit.

Alas, it seems that the peen is not so prevalent as I’d hoped. Sure, we’ve moved on from shirtlessness and the guys are naked, but it seems the usual coyness about full frontal male nudity remains. Is it because RomComs are meant to be relatively benign and “feelgood” without R ratings? Or is it because we women are still too afraid to see cock, allegedly. Or is it just that the penis still holds such a special place in our culture that showing it in all its glory strips it of its power?

Looks like it’s back to Ewan McGregor for my regular dose of celluloid dick.

Still, I thought I’d do you all a favour and put the pics I found on Google images here.

Ryan Reynolds, apparently running into a naked Sandra Bullock in The Proposal

Ashton Kutcher covering up the important bits in No Strings Attached

Justin Timberlake’s butt in Friends With Benefits

Chris Evans being mostly nude in What’s Your Number

Justin Long covering his doodle in Going The Distance. Full set of pics here.

Pic at the top is of Jake Gyllenhaal, which is much more full of win that the above photos.

I haven’t credited the photos because they’re screenshots and most of them were on random blogs and tumblrs.