I suppose we have all heard the argument that that modesty produces dirty minds by promoting a “mystique” about the body.  On this view, if we want clean minds, we should show more rump and cleavage.

There is a grain of truth in the argument, because clothing – especially teasing clothing – surely can provoke fantasies about what lies underneath.  Just like speed limits arouse some people to speed.

But the argument misses the most important thing.  The body really is a mystery.  It is the visible means by which the invisible soul makes itself known to other souls.  To “demystify” it is to falsify it -- to present it as something other than it is.

Practices like mixed-sex nude swimming, which the fans of demystification adore, make the body’s interesting ways seem merely gross and dull.  This beautiful, perishing thing comes to seem just a lumpish corpse, a somewhat ugly tool of flesh, less than even a hammer or pocket knife, good for nothing for placating the occasional, meaningless desire.