American culture, especially on the more conservative side, has borrowed a lot from the example of the Puritans and other intense religious groups in how they treat the human body. I think the core ideas of such an ideology are closely related to issues like body shaming, sexual obsession and violence, and the fear of nudity. It all comes down to how we treat sexuality, which has been unfairly linked to the natural state of having no clothing on.
One of the inspirations for this article was a comment by a woman who was upset about the push to allow transgender students in school to use the restroom matching their identified gender. She made one statement that made me laugh and then feel kind of sorry for her kids. She was talking about how she didn’t want a transgender guy (physically female) using the same locker room as her son, and freaking out that her son might get “an image of a girl that he will struggle with for the rest of his life.”
I was reminded of how my father talked to me about pornography when I was twelve or thirteen. He pretty much had the same approach, that he’d looked at porn when he was a teen and ever since then he’s “struggled” with sinful images in his mind. I think if you obsess over it and thoroughly convince yourself that it’s evil to see someone without clothes on, of course you’re going to keep yourself trapped in guilt. Of course you’re going to keep remembering.
Or as one of my atheist friends likes to say in response to Christians asking him if he struggles with lust, “It’s only a struggle if you resist.”