Erections and Perceptions
A friend of mine in cyberspace sent me an email commenting and wondering about my photos which generally let the viewer know that I am skyclad, but somehow not showing my penis. Now this practice makes sense if using social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; but it doesn’t make sense on a naturist site where seeing full frontal images with male and female genitalia is the norm. What is not normal in most “real” naturist sites, be they virtual or real-world venues, is the presentation of the male genitals with an erection. The naturist world weighs heavily on the belief that naturist is asexual, non-sexual, and overt sexual displays such as an erection, need to be either hidden by a towel, or better yet, non-existent. There isn’t much threatening about a limp penis.
So, what drives men to show images of themselves with an erection is complicated with no clear answer that covers all. For some, perhaps the majority, it is simply about insecurity and the need for praise (See! I’m a big boy now). So many men are criticised as being childish by their female partners and/or their mothers. Flaunting an erection is a response to the doubt that many face regarding their status as “real men.” For older men, it is a protest statement that defies ageing, a statement that there is still a vital man hidden behind the wrinkles and grey hair.
Why? Why do men show images of themselves that show an erection? There is no simple answer. And, the answer changes dependent upon which school of psychological thought a psychotherapist has as a base, which philosophy informs the lens through which the therapist views the world. My view is through a Jungian lens, a depth psychology lens that has more than the brain and the body as determinants. For cognitive (brain-based) and behavioural therapists, showing an image (or the reality) of an erection is dysfunctional and abnormal. The problem can best be “fixed” by reprogramming behaviour and by critical analysis that educates the ego to rethink behaviour.
However, in depth psychology, the lens through which I understand the human psyche, the answer lies in the unconscious, the shadow regions of the self. Contrary to what most believe, we are a mystery to ourselves and the unconscious aspects of ourselves does impact our behaviour. In other words, there is meaning that hasn’t yet connected with the ego, the aware part of ourselves. The behaviour is symbolic of something deep within that needs attention.
Addendum: I have lost my Facebook account due in large measure because of this post. I guess that “education” has different meanings for FB. There is no education if there is a nude image involved.