Sometimes my hang-ups assert themselves in unexpected ways.
When I saw The Little Mermaid in 1989, I actually had trouble watching Ariel's first transformation into a human. There'd been the dramatic, emotionally difficult moment of Ariel giving up her voice -- this can still give me sad chills -- and then Ursula's evil version of magic does its thing and, in moments, Ariel has legs. And is underage and naked, on top of being scared. She swims off to the echoes of Ursula's evil laugh.
I don't think I've ever watched the end of that scene straight-on. I've always flinched a bit, turned away. I don't think I ever covered my eyes, but I didn't want to see something (to quote Futurama) I couldn't un-see. As if the animators would've drawn, or the directors would've allowed, any inappropriate imagery. No; they were discreet, I'm sure, and playing up the scariness of the moment. But a part of my mind was worried how I'd react to seeing any of that.
Yes, twenty years ago when I was 16 and watching a G-rated film, created by Disney which is so concerned with not being inappropriate, I was worried that I'd see something inappropriate -- or, more to the point, something inappropriate that I might enjoy seeing too much.
I like to think I was getting well-trained in being, well, appropriate.
There was another time, over Labor Day weekend in 2004, when I'd finished a day temping at a mattress store and two young delivery guys were giving me a ride back to my car in their truck. They were, like me, girl-watchers, and we were in the high vantage point of the truck cab, and they pointed out cute, hot, and sexy women. I'd look. But then I'd look at someone or something else if a woman they'd pointed out was clearly high school age (I like to think I didn't look long enough to see whether they were younger). The delivery guys were in their very early 20s, so I felt that was slightly less bad than my 30-year-old self looking at high schoolers. I didn't make it an issue.
Trust me, I notice sexiness. I'm surrounded by sexiness. My group of friends is full of lovely, often gorgeous people, and I appreciate that (even had crushes inspired by that). I've said it before: there's plenty of sexy in the world, if you know where to look. I guess I know where not to look.
I'm relieved that I don't try to find sexy what I shouldn't find sexy. I don't want that to be a damaged part of myself.