Thirst Trap: Naked Edition
The double standard between male and female nudity on screen in America is so weird. I saw someone try to explain it as, “tits are wonderful, and penises are ridiculous,” and it’s difficult to argue with that kind of logic. At the same time, when I tried to watch the first season of Warrior on HBO, I felt completely bombarded with boobs. I get it makes sense to target your intended audience, but do they not understand that male martial artists are also very hot? Charlie Cox and his anonymous stunt double on Daredevil practically qualify as pornstars. Maybe we can try sharing just a little bit more space.
As much as I enjoy my eye candy unwrapped, most full-frontal scenes in mainstream entertainment are generally forgettable to me. The most memorable thing a penis adds to sex scenes is the celebrity attached to it. Film and television often use full-frontal nudity for humor or to indicate vulnerability. Which, for me, is a downer. The most satisfying display of male nudity for me is the unanticipated revelation of a body so beautiful it makes me audibly gasp. Can I get some more of that, please? I mean, look at the material. No, seriously. LOOK.
1. Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool (2016)
Ryan Reynolds has appeared in several movies without his clothing since the early 2000s. Many of those movies are very bad. Sometimes I re-watch The Proposal(2009) to live vicariously through Sandra Bullock crashing into his naked body and sliding to the floor. None of his stripped-down appearances compare to his holiday sex-a-palooza with Vanessa in Deadpool (2016) and that fiery combat between Wade and Ajax. I simply was not ready.
Nude fighting between men generally sounds like a bad idea to me. I’m still rinsing my eyes from the hotel scene in Borat (2006). It must be incredibly awkward for an opponent who is still fully dressed. Not even layers of special effects makeup could hide Reynolds’ magnificent form, and you know that had to make Ajax extra mad. Wade may have taken an L in that fight, but it was a W for the rest of us.
Who Bared It Best? Reynolds’s emergence as Deadpool or Hugh Jackman’s naked escape from Stryker’s facility in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)?
2. Milo Ventimiglia in the series premiere of This Is Us (2016)
The decision to open the NBC series This Is Us with Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson in his birthday suit was a proper stroke of genius. G O O D L O R D, this man doesn’t skip leg day or any other day of the week. A new twist on the ordinary low-slung towel, this small “terrible” towel is just lying there, strategically printed and precariously covering all that is left to see. It’s a very good towel, actually. God bless the Pittsburgh Steelers for coming up with this 1975 promotion that led them to their second consecutive Superbowl victory. This is the kind of sports tradition I would really like to get behind.
Who Bared it Best? Ventimiglia’s Terrible Towel or Tom Hiddleston’s “Welcome” Magazine in High Rise (2015)?
3. Tom Ellis in Lucifer 2016–2021
After Netflix picked up the canceled series Lucifer from Fox, their comeback teaser for season 4 was a master class in shameless Thirst Trapping. A perfectly chiseled Tom Ellis emerges slowly from a hot tub, hair slicked, brown liquor in hand, making direct eye contact with the camera and straight into my uterus. Their strategy must have worked because they kept inventing reasons to serve Lucifans with all this cake like it was our birthday for three whole seasons. Where is the contract to sign over my soul? Because if this man is the devil, put me in the handbasket that takes me straight to hell.
Who Bared it Better? Ellis’ steamy intro to season 4 of Lucifer or Aidan Turner splashing into season 4 of Poldark in 2018?
4. Yayha Abdul-Mateen II in Watchman (2019)
Remember that stuff I said earlier about full frontal being forgettable? Well, none of that applies to Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the HBOMax Watchman series. First of all, Dr. Manhattan is naked because he’s transcended beyond the need for clothing. His penis (in its blue form, at least) is basically canon from the comic book series. As Cal, he strolled into Ozymandias’ lair like his name was on the mortgage. It was the ultimate power move, and his journey there, blessed with camera angles from the front, the side, and the rear, was fantastic. I wouldn’t post a thirst tweet about him slamming me through an IKEA coffee table, but I understand.
Who Bared It Best? Abdul-Mateen II strutting his stuff or Jonathan Majors preparing for sacrifice in Lovecraft Country (2020)?
5. Daniel Henney in The Wheel of Time (2021)
The Wheel of Time series on Prime video is an intriguing fantasy series full of annoying characters. Regardless, I was hooked by the first episode as soon as Daniel Henney, as Lan Mandragoran, appeared naked on my screen. Daniel has me down so bad, y’all; I would drink his bathwater with a paper straw. Just look at Rosamund Pike’s face. Come on, gurl, tell us what you see!
When this episode aired, some Witcher fans were salty about Wheel of Time imitating their beloved bathtub scene. Imagine getting upset that another stunningly attractive man on a different show “also took a bath” instead of being furious that there is footage of Henry Cavill bathing in a tub without so much as a glimpse of that gluteus maximus. We need to survey all of the warrior’s battle scars, people! It provides a vital subtext to his character development!!! That is how they genuinely let the fandom down — and they had the nerve to do it TWICE!
Who Bared It Best? The Warder’s wade into the water or Cavill’s lazy languishing in season 1 of The Witcher (2019)?
6. Alan Ritchson in Reacher (2022)
No one at all.
Not a single, solitary soul.
Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher:
I haven’t read any of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, but I know enough to appreciate the casting of Alan Ritchson in this Prime Video series. More importantly, I would like to meet the person who devised the scenarios for Reacher to repeatedly remove his clothes on the screen and kiss them directly on the mouth. Am I supposed to believe this Adonis of a man can stroll into a thrift store and find a pair of jeans that fit his body perfectly? Okay, sure. Whatever you say. We love a King fully committed to giving the people what they want.
Who Bared It Best? Reacher’s strip tease, or Chris Hemsworth getting zapped out of his garb in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)?
7. The Boys- Season 3’s Bare Naked Chaos (2022)
The Boys on Prime Video has taken the concept of male nudity on screen and raised it to a whole ‘nother level in season 3. Is it thirst-inducing? Sometimes, like when Little Nina drags Frenchie’s bare, tortured body out for display or Jensen Ackles as a Soldier Boy stumbling naked out of his cryo-chamber. More often, it’s wild shit like Termite (think Ant-Man equivalent) sneezing himself to full-size inside his lover’s penis or Hughie gaining the power to teleport his body but not his clothes. What happens to MM at the Herogasm orgy is unspeakable, and, oh, The Deep is definitely fucking those fish. If you haven’t started season 3 yet, sorry for the spoilers; I promise you are not prepared.
Who Bared It Best? The naked antics of The Boys are hard to compare. John Cena as Peacemaker (2022), gifting us rocking out in his tighty-whities, comes in pretty close.
8. Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 in Casino Royale (2006)- No Time to Die (2021)
I refuse to believe the first James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig was released sixteen years ago. His physique reset the standard of swole for 007, and I have not yet recovered. Other actors were getting pumped up for roles in the early 2000s, but that was way before the current MCU level of expectations. Even my 70-year-old mother uttered, “My goodness, he sure is fit!” when she saw his naked body tied to that torture chair. Of course, what followed in that scene would not be nearly quite as pleasant. I don’t even want to know what happened to the frank and beans after that situation. You could hear the sound of men clutching their privates in theaters far and wide.
Who Bared It Best? Craig’s itty bitty swim trunks or Gerard Butler’s tiny leather briefs as King Leonidas in 300 (2006)?
9. Bridgerton- When Regé-Jean Page Broke The Internet
Nobody prepared us for the fever of thirst created by Regé-Jean Page as Simon Basset, The Duke of Hastings, on Netflix’s Bridgerton series, adapted from the Regency romance novels by Julia Quinn. For a couple of weeks, viewers worldwide united in a collective agreement that Page was the hottest man on the planet. He practically broke the internet. Millions began tuning in on the off chance that he might remove his clothes. And OH MY GOD, they did not disappoint us. I wonder how many takes Phoebe Dynevor had to endure before they got these sex scenes right? If you favor “just hiring the best person for the job,” welp, here is your answer.
Who Bared It Best? The Duke for being an absolute smokeshow in season 1, or Jonathan Bailey, as Anthony Bridgerton getting us hot and bothered in season 2?
10. Channing Tatum, et al. in Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL
The fact that Channing Tatum’s dance routine in Magic Mike (2012)solidified Ginuwine’s 1996 R&B single “Pony” as the anthem for male exotic dancing is nothing short of iconic. It’s a good time; however, the fellas in this movie don’t get naked enough for me. If you’ve got the audacity to name a character “Big Dick Richie,” I think you’re obligated to deliver the goods. Instead of coming through for us in the sequel, Magic Mike XXL (2015), we got Michael Strathairn in gold booty shorts. Hard pass. Next time I want to see a woman get flipped like a pancake by a powerful, mostly naked man, I’ll buy tickets to one of the live shows, thank you very much.
P.S. — You won’t see Matt Bomber go the Full Monty in either movie, but you can in Netflix’s Boys in the Band (2020), an adaptation of the 2018 Broadway revival of the play. You’re welcome. 😘
Who Bared it Best? Magic Mike stripping down like it’s his job or Ryan Gosling as Jacob taking it off Hannah in Crazy, Stupid Love (2011)?
Of course, this list is by no means comprehensive. I tried to limit myself to relatively recent examples. Others weren’t as recent as I remembered but were still too important to leave out. Sam Heughan’s naked bod in Outlander appearing frequently and flawless is a glaring omission. Unfortunately, I had to bail because consuming that much sexual abuse began to feel like self-harm. Likewise, GOT and some other popular series didn’t make the cut because I couldn’t stay current enough to avoid spoilers on social media. I’m very interested in hearing about your picks in the comments! Stay thirsty, my friends!
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