Sex is one of the most beautiful, powerful and natural aspects of our humanity. But like any power, it can be used in cheap and sleazy ways that don’t truly honor its awesomeness.
So I have a question for you. Does your personal trainer or fitness coach have to be hyper-sexualized in order to motivate you?
Using Sex As a Weapon
These days, if the internet is any indication, it’s not enough to be strong, intelligent, healthy, educated and a great coach. You must also be fuckin’ hot. Like so hot I can’t even focus on the exercise I’m currently doing, which seems counter-productive, but whatever.
In fact, if you’re hot enough (on the superficial level, at least) then I don’t even care how much you lack in those other qualities. Just make me sweat! Do you subscribe to this way of thinking, whether you realize it or not?
That’s what it seems like these days. And I’m guilty of it too.
Sure, everyone from large corporations like Equinox to personal fitness brands have been using the “look better naked” approach to selling fitness for a long time. Sometimes, it’s been done in more “tasteful” or at least more interesting ways than others.
But with the advent of Jen Selter booty fitness madness, it seems like the pornification of fitness has taken on a whole new level of superficiality. Oh, and if you prefer a dash of “spiritual materialism” with your fitness porn, there are no shortage of skinny yoga girls doing showyourvaginasana pose in a string bikini thong.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love the female form and find it profoundly inspiring and empowering. I just think we all have to acknowledge that with that awesome power comes the need for great responsibility.
A knife is powerful, but neutral. It all depends who’s holding it – a murderer or a surgeon perhaps – and their skill level.
Soft Core Fit Porn Video
The #fitspiration photos have turned into full blown soft core porn workout videos of girl after girl dead-lifting in bootie short cut offs. These videos clearly inspire more calories burned from wrists moving fast than any other part of the body. You can’t actually work out to them, as they just quickly cut from one shot of a girl doing a handstand in a thong to another girl bouncing up and down doing jumping jacks in a bikini.
How did we go from fetishizing waify anorexic models right to brawny fitness chicks? I’m almost tempted to say this is a step in the right direction, since at least these women look like they could kick some ass and not just look pretty. But I know better than that. Maybe.
Then there are the “World’s Sexiest Trainers” list which I’m guilty of being on, but if you follow my posts you know I don’t hyper-sexualize my content to sell fitness.
But where do we draw the line between a healthy expression of our sexual power and using sex to sell fitness?
The Seductiveness of Passive Consumption
Do people actually want to develop their own power or are they happy to just passively consume someone else’s? We both love being associated with their beauty and secretly hate ourselves for not being more like them.
This is passive consumption at it’s worst.
Health and fitness is an active pursuit. I don’t have clients, hair dressers have clients, someone who passively receives something – a haircut. I have students who want to learn what I know.
Your fitness can never be outsourced to a hot trainer, doctor, nor a pill. It’s you that must do it, from the inside out. It’s the very nature of the beast. That is why “the source of all power comes from within” is one of the core principles of TrainDeep.
The ” you do it for me, I’ll pay extra” just doesn’t work when it comes to organic systems and nature. Here, we can experience the definitive limits of trying to monetize the natural and spiritual realms.
Be The Teaching
Of course a great trainer must lead by example.
Maybe leading by example means loving oneself for what one actually is, instead of trying to fit into a social constructed standard of beauty?
For women, that standard has now “evolved” from the “anorexic standard of beauty” to the “strong and bootyliscious standard of beauty”. For men, it’s still the “just don’t look weak, you pansy” standard.
Some of the best gynecologists in the world are men, some of the best chefs are skinny and some of the most inspiring Olympic athletes have unique bodies that don’t fit into our media driven beauty standards. So what the fuck?
Are we practicing a weird form of self-sabotage and self-hatred when we consume these manicured images of sexual power? Chasing a dream that isn’t ours and can never be ours because it doesn’t come from within ourselves?
Cultural Pathology: The Pornification of Mass Media
Of course, the pornification of fitness is just a small trend within a much larger cultural pathology: the pornification of mass media.
That news reporter better be hot and her sweater better be tight when she tells me about that horrible bus accident. And I don’t want to listen to a pop song unless it involves graphic sexual references and a specific booty shaking dance to match.
And then of course there is the obvious explicit porn, which the internet has enabled us to consume at an astounding rate.
Could it be that we’re vainly trying to superficially satisfy a much deeper human need? Just to be known, seen, touched, experience our own power and be intimate with another, perhaps?
How strange and funny that most of us pre-occupy ourselves with the superficial symbol of that which we yearn for – the healthy, powerful human body – instead of diving deep into the essence and source of what that symbol represents. It just scares us too fucking much. And I think it’s time we all admit it. I’m not up here admonishing you, I’m right there in the same boat as everyone else.
Origins of Hyper-Sexualization and the Pornification of Fitness
Where is all this coming from? Why is there such a large general trend towards pornification of culture in this country?
I think we are all being starved of physical intimacy and touch on a daily basis and rarely have the opportunity to see the human body in all of it’s glorious forms. The media driven conditioning constantly barrage us with a narrow range of human bodies, and on a subconscious level, we accept that to be the height of beauty.
How strange, that this cultural pathology affects us all in very predictable ways and at the same time convinces us that we are different. The shame that goes along with that “being different” keeps us isolated from one another.
Could it be that our judeo-christian and puritanical conditioning is still repressing the natural expression of our sexual power? And that repression causes this natural urge – this beautiful thing that makes us so powerful yet so vulnerable – to express itself in perverse ways?
We’ve become afraid of our own bodies and their natural power and afraid of intimacy. A decade or two of institutionalized education that over emphasizes the left-brain directed skills, while systematically avoiding our feelings certainly doesn’t help. These days, there are grade school where kids aren’t even allowed to high five!
We’ve become so afraid of each other that intimacy of any kind is just too threatening. How many kids are being systematically starved of touch and social interaction, making them ripe for weird social anxiety disorders, low emotional intelligence and a massive porn addiction later?
The Nudity Reset Button
As someone who’s been to Burning Man (the massively beautiful and wildly creative arts festival held in the desert of Nevada each summer) many times, I’ve experienced a very interesting pattern when encountering the naked human body, which is being strutted about in every shape, size and way all over the natural landscape.
The first couple of days, there is so much excitement at seeing the human body in all it’s naked glory! Boobies, ahhhhh! The little boy in me is going ballistic.
But after those first couple of days, the sensitivity to that which normally remains hidden wares off and you stop noticing body parts and start noticing whole human beings.
It’s a fascinating shift in perspective and it gives me pause. I’m not saying we should do away with clothes. I am saying it’s time for us to stop being afraid of our own bodies and how other people judge them.
And one way to do that is to stop hiding.
Reuniting Sex with Intimacy
The thing about porn is that it is “safe”. There are no emotional risks, no intimacy, no other live in the flesh human being staring at you, mirroring your own actions back to you.
Humans need humans to survive, it’s our evolutionary advantage over all other beings and the reason we developed language and complex emotions – to work together to strive and survive.
So how do we stop interacting with symbols and directly experience that which the symbol represents? I honestly don’t know, but I think it takes real courage and the willingness to give up our digital addictions and human robot tendencies that have been programmed into us by the media. It’s the only way we can start living real lives of our own.
Making love is natural. Why be ashamed of it? That seems simple, but it is actually a great challenge in these complex times. Too many other layers of meaning have been imposed upon sex. Religions straitjacket it, ascetics deny it, romantics glorify it, intellectuals theorize about it, obsessives pervert it. These actions have nothing to do with lovemaking. They come from fanaticism and compulsive behavior. Can we actually master the challenge of having lovemaking be open and healthy?
Sex should not be used as leverage, manipulation, selfishness, or abuse. It should not be a ground for our personal compulsions and delusions.
Sexuality is an honest reflection of our innermost personalities, and we should ensure that its expression is healthy. Making love is something mysterious, sacred, and often the most profound interaction between people. Whether what is created is a relationship or pregnancy, the legacy of both partners will be inherent in their creation. What we put into love determines what we get out of it. ~ Deng Ming-Dao
Inspiration Versus Porn
What do you think is the line between fitness inspiration and fitness porn? Because I’m really not sure.
Perhaps we can learn from a similar quick fix that many Americans use to self-medicate themselves: crappy food. How does one decipher between real wholesome food and cheap food?
If you feel gross after you consume it, well maybe it wasn’t healthy for you. Could it be the same for media too? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
As always, TrainDeep.