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October 13, 2010

Comments

Luci

Its really strange the way some people think about the body. Modesty and covering the body its not a matter of belonging to a cult that shames exposure, but of protection and a good dose of sanity. If anyone here studies medicine you would know of all the bacteria and viruses that are EVERYWHERE waiting to attack our system.Sitting on surfaces with a naked bum on "naked sundays" or any day of the week is a sure way to invite a whole city of bacteria and invisible dirt into the body and a terrible way to teach the little one to adopt bad health habits and having zero boundaries.

Clothing is meant to protect against the elements and why not have some dignity as well.
Its funny how many of these "liberated" folks always ignore the health and psychological side of being a complete wreck.

Shanna

I'm glad modesty works for you, and most of the contributors to this blog. But isn't that a bit, presumptuous to attack Christina's "naked sundays" and general immodestly as the reason for her divorce? What's wrong with a person in their private house being naked? She's not grocery shopping naked, there apparently was no one around but her husband (in the beginning at least), how is that "wrong" to be naked with you husband?

Allison

You raise a good point, Shanna, in that the "naked Sundays" were only involving her husband at first. (I find the part about including her son pretty gross!) So what's immodest exactly about lounging around nude for an entire day every week with your spouse (and small child) in the privacy of your own home?

Though there's nothing "technically" wrong with it I do believe that such an attitude contributed to the fizzle out of passion in her marriage.

I think there's a flaw in Aguilera's thinking that most of society today shares. People assume the more skin you show the more sexy you are. The more in your face, no holds barred attitude you have about sex, the more excitement there will be.

But the Jewish approach is that covering up allows for excitement to build up. (A spouse can only uncover and discover a body that was clothed in the first place!) We believe that desire is most likely to be sustained when you combine freedom along with restraint.

One final point - the more that I think about having the son in the mix, the more I realize how Aguilera took even more of the sexuality out of her own nudity.

How was her husband supposed to look at his wife in that certain way when little Max was running around? Such thoughts and feelings would obviously be out of place in a family setting which probably made the nudity (when they *were* alone) even more blase.

Shanna

Maybe it's just me, but when I read " more like friends then husband and wife" I didn't think the sex went down hill. There's a huge difference in relationships between a friend and a spouse, and it's certainly not all sexual. While people do divorce for lack of sex, the wording suggests that the emotional intimacy was gone, and while emotional intimacy can affect sexual intimacy and vice-versa, the two are certainly not dependent on one another. And I personally find this take, that causal nudity was an overriding factor to be reductive and a bit cheap.

I'd also like to point out that she didn't really equate nudity with passion. Her choice of words, cozy and laid back do not equal passion. As an art collector, She most likely well knows that nudity is not always sexual. It depends on context.

^-^ On a more light-hearted note, we non-jews "allow the excitement to build" as well. It's called being a tease. There's nothing wrong with it and it does make things more fun (any study on delayed gratification would show that) But hey, call it what it is.

Theresa

Thank you for this post! I totally agree! As Catholics, we use Natural Family Planning, and there is nothing like abstaining for a week or so and then coming back together. We call it the honeymoon effect. :) Practicing restraint also gives us more time to emotionally connect, not just physically connect.

Allison

Shanna-
I guess we can agree to disagree, but I think the sign of a good friendship is emotional intimacy. I think when people go from "friends to lovers" is when they add the physical intimacy into the mix. I guess we won't know what Aguilera meant, though (unless, of course, she finds the blog and wants to comment!)

In terms of her equating nudity with passion - I have more information than you on this one, so I say that I believe she did equate the two, it's because I read this article http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20011022,00.html when it came out three years ago and she told Ellen "You have to keep marriage alive, spice it up," (<--- that explanation, as you can see, was in reference to Ellen asking her why naked Sundays."

In terms of my simplification of the matter, I'll tell you this: When I read that article three years ago and learned of naked Sundays my first thought was that it get boring eventually. And when I saw the reason given for the split - "friends instead of husband and wife" it seemed to be spelling out fizzle out, as opposed to, for instance, another celebrity couple from a few days earlier (the Cox-Arquettes) who gave a *completely* different answer for their break up - which was that David was too immature for Courtney. (If the reason for Aguilera's split was anything but "friends instead of husband and wife" I never would have written such a post.

Ben Woolridge

Is nudity and modesty compatible?

Allison

Good question, Ben. It might seem like they're not, but I think it comes down to the situation. In my mind, modesty is about reserving private parts of oneself (both body and personal information) only for private settings.

So for instance, I don't think anyone could call nudity in the shower or the doctor's office immodest. Revealing personal details about one's life to a shrink or close friend also seems appropriate in my mind.

And a married couple, when they're being intimate with one another, so long as it's happening in a private setting, is not immodest in my mind either - it's one of the places that nudity belongs.

Cherie

I must say, I certainly took the "more like friends than husband and wife" comment to be directly referring to their sex life. Aren't you supposed to be friends--even BEST friends--with your spouse?! Then what could be the problem here? To me, it seems it's the pervading idea in our society that marriage has to be all about how sexy and spicy your love life is. Sure, sex is part of marriage -- but it surely isn't the only part, or even the most important part. In a marriage, you are giving yourself completely to your spouse, which often means sacrificing yourself for the good of your loved one, something many couples today are loathe to do. ("Give something up?! Make a sacrifice?! It's my life, I can do whatever I want!" Unfortunately, that's a recipe for a bad marriage.) An incredibly satisfying and spicy sex life isn't going to last forever; there will be ups and downs in the sex in your marriage just like there are ups and downs in any part of marriage. Sure, it can be good for couples to "spice up" their love life, but it's not the only aspect of marriage that requires attention. I would go so far as to say that there are MANY more aspects of marriage that require that attention first. If a wild and crazy sex life is the only reason a couple gets married, they're doomed from the beginning. Marriage isn't only about sex; it's about SO much more.

Of course, I don't know Aguilera's circumstances. But from her past comments about "spicing up" her marriage, it seems as though she had a skewed view of what marriage is meant to be.

Darla Gaylor

I'm Mormon, Allison, so you're comments about Orthodox Judaism hits home with me too. Why is it if you're not oozing out of your clothes & expressing your sexual "empowerment" every moment of your life, you must be repressed?

I find it sad that a couple, barring abuse in any form, is only willing to give a relationship such a brief period of time to "work." Marriage is made of peaks and valleys. There are times you feel more like room mates than young lovers, but that's life. You WORK, you get through the valley and make it to the next peak. Life is not easy, and marriage isn't always a cakewalk. Why do people expect it to be and give up so early? Children alone should make it worth the effort!

Cady Driver

I like to think of modesty as a gift under the Christmas tree or a birthday gift (for all of the non-Christmas celebrators) :) or a Hanukkah gift. The gift is specifically designated for one person...it sits there wrapped, you anticipate it and when you open it, it's wonderful.

I think of myself in that same way. I am my husband's. My body is for his eyes alone, not my children's eyes, not the public's eyes...his eyes. It's special in that way and beautiful. If I am constantly "unwrapped", then it looses its magic. The anticipation and the beauty of coming together in private is in and of itself priceless. We celebrate Christmas in our household and if I just tossed the gifts under the tree as soon as I bought them and didn't bother to wrap them, then I suspect that much of the season would lose its magic.

I know it's a simple analogy, but it's so true. If I am partially "unwrapped" in public, then the uniqueness of who I am to my husband is lost....thrown away like it has no value.

I find that women who modest and comfortable with their modesty have a lot of self respect and generally have a high regard for their spouses b/c they don't feel this need to be constantly trying to catch the eye of another man. It really means that they are very secure with who they are and secure in their relationship with their spouse.

Other people may try to say that it's just the opposite, but they are blowing smoke.

Allison

I like that analogy, Cady Driver, and in Judaism, on top of there being an idea of dressing modestly, there's also an obligation (for men especially) to guard their eyes from other women's bodies which fits very nicely into your analogy.

Laura

As a married Mormon woman, I resent the "keep your marriage spicy" advice that celebrities and ladies' magazines give. There is so much more to marriage than the spicy parts. There's the sticking together through thick and thin parts; actually enjoying each other's company; and of course the loving unconditionally.

Sex is important in the martial relationship, no doubt about it. But it's not the most important part.

Melissa May

This was a really interesting post, Allison. I too have wondered how marriage, real marriage with it's ups and downs and everything in between, plays out in real life for stars who've created a hyper-sexual persona for themselves.

This is just conjecture, but I wonder if Miss Aguilera's public persona has compromised her understanding of who she really is. Nobody is *that* sexual all the time. Some may have more intense sex drives, yes, but to create a career that eventually obligates one to always be sexy and seemingly in the mood all of the time is a recipe for disaster. Especially when that public persona morphs into a substitute personality for one's self, and dominates or excludes all the non-sexual parts of one's nature.

I would imagine that a super-sexual image becomes a huge burden, eventually. And if you've built a marriage on something so unsustainable, when the sexual intimacy starts to fizzle (which is quite common in a long-term relationship, especially after children enter the picture), I suppose it could be easy to believe that the marriage just isn't working anymore.

When the sexual part of marriage is the only part getting attention, with no allowance for fluctuations in desire, it's destined to be a disappointment in the end.

Rose

Cady--I love the gift analogy. I was recently looking through a dance magazine and an advertisement for dancewear promoted this idea: "Your talent is a gift. Wrap it appropriately." Now, they're a company trying to make money, but the point is valid in taking care of ourselves, our talents, our marriages. Sharing such details of her private life is in itself a lack of modesty, and it is unfortunate that our culture seems to thrive on drinking in the details of celebrities.

Elizabeth

Cady, I like your analogy as well. I just want to add one thing: it should apply to men as well. If it is not appropriate for women to walk around partially dressed, then men should not walk around without their shirts on either. I think it is unfair when women are expected to cover while men expose themselves. I know it is commonly thought that women don't react to men's bodies the way men react to women's bodies, but I disagree.
I dated a man once who did not take his shirt off in public, unless he was swimming. I liked that he wasn't displaying his body in front of the women who go out in bikinis to watch the men play Frisbee. I also didn't go out in a bikini to watch Frisbee. It made me feel really special to know that he didn't feel the need to have all women stare at him.

Cady Driver

Good point, Melissa....that's an interesting thought that being "sexy" all of the time is exhausting and unsustainable. Think about all of the most unsexy times of your life and then think about how advertisers have somehow made us feel like we need to be sexy during those times....

Let's see....pregnancy....models pose nude on the covers of magazines when they're pregnant and now women lounge around on the beach in bikinis when they're pregnant....sleeping...we're supposed to wear sexy stuff to bed which is horribly uncomfortable to actually SLEEP in (scratchy lace, anyone?), traveling.....I see women on long flights tottering through airports in 3 inch heels and mini skirts loaded down with luggage....exercising...we're supposed to wear just a bra and short shorts....the list goes on and on!

I think that these expectations of women are exhausting, not realistic and ultimately damage our expectations of who we really are vs who the culture says we should be.

And I like Laura's point that sex isn't everything in a marriage....it's a wonderful part of it, but it's not an end all. Think of the marriages that exist where the couples cannot have sex and yet still thrive.

Boyd

Apparently there is more behind the break-up than boredom.

http://tinyurl.com/22s92b3

Allison

Thanks for the info, Boyd, but the article that I based my post on was this one: http://omg.yahoo.com/news/christina-aguilera-splits-from-husband/48779

which according to an insider, explained that the break up was due to them being more like "friends" than "husband and wife."

Though domestic abuse seems to be implied with the article you've linked to, it's definitely not confirmed. I also don't know what to make of the fact that it took a week and a half for this story to come out after the original story did. If domestic abuse or jealousy was the real reason for the split then that obviously changes things!

Boyd

Allison,

I appreciated your post and think there is plenty about Aguilera's comments worth discussing where modesty is concerned. It is interesting how many of her comments sound and it's pretty apparent many approach marriage and sexuality with largely a superficial emphasis on the physical.

I don't doubt that as Christina and her husband became more and more familiar, that the excitement faded a bit. That's pretty natural and no doubt for some, fatal to the feelings of romance in marriage. I don't know if I'd go as far as to say modesty around the house would have helped in their case, but certainly there is something to be said for mystery and moderation.

On another note... it appears that in this case, blaming the break-up on familiarity and feeling "like they were more like friends than husband and wife" was easier to say than what was really at issue. What it really was, we may never (and may not want to) know. Reality can get pretty ugly.

Excuses like these are pretty common. How often have you heard "we fell out of love", or "we grew apart over time" when hearing about a break-up? I hate to be cynical, but I rarely am inclined to believe these are anything more than covers of the real, and often embarrassing problems that separate couples who were once very much in love.

Successful marriages of course take a lot of effort that goes beyond the easy sexual, physical parts of the relationship and gets into the real character issues of patience, kindness, empathy, self control, sacrifice, selflessness, and unconditional love.

Even when these character traits are all present, marriage still is challenging in many ways, but fulfilling enough to get through the hard times. In my experience, if you're doing enough of the truly relationship building things that require real effort, work, and result in real growth as a person, the sexual things take care of themselves and 24 hours of nudity on Sunday isn't required.

Allison

according to Perez Hilton http://perezhilton.com/2010-10-21-christina-aguilera-not-a-victim-of-domestic-abuse there were no domestic abuse issues.

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