In the Flesh, a hardcore porn movie that came out April 10, has more on its mind than the average XXX flick, which is typically pretty focused on just one thing. In between In The Flesh’s scenes of fucking is the story of a suspiciously Christlike man, named Aman (people repeatedly ask “are you Him?” and he answers “I’m just a man”) who comes back to Earth after being away for 2015 years. He’s clad in robes and sandals and bearing the stigmata. He wants to teach humanity a simple message: instead of being ashamed of sexuality, embrace it. In even simpler terms: “go fuck yourself.”

“Go fuck yourself” is director B. Skow’s mantra and philosophy for the movie. “Go masturbate, orgasm, have a lot of sexual partners, everything,” he says it means. “It’s way of saying it’s okay to have sex or be nude or jerk off. Go fuck yourself!”

Like the Gospel according to Judas, this sex-positive version of the New Testament didn’t make the final draft of the Bible. But B. Skow wanted to make a point that if Jesus came back today, he wouldn’t judge the fornicators and the masturbators for doing something that comes naturally to them, as long as they’re not hurting anyone.

In B. Skow’s imagination, “He comes back and says ‘I was misinterpreted. I never meant it to be like this. Now I’ve come to say, be more open and free and go fuck yourselves.'”

The plot, such as it is (it’s flimsy and confusing, but so what?), begins when Aman appears in a small Texas town. He interrupts two people as they dry-hump against a tree, and gives them his blessing to go home and fuck. He’s then beaten up by two good ol’ boy cops, but when he reveals his true nature to the local sheriff, the sheriff repents and takes him home to meet his family, who aren’t getting along: his daughter is turning tricks, his wife is so unsatisfied that she’s taken to masturbating with a hot dog, and they’re all at each others’ throats. But Aman shows them the light, and encourages group masturbation while he turns water into wine.

Aman denies that he is the second coming of Christ, but he also clearly is. B. Skow is equally coy about whether Aman is Jesus.

“I wanted to leave that to the viewer’s imagination,” he said. “I didn’t want to force that into anyone’s face by saying that was Jesus. It could be a hippie that stumbled out of Burning Man, or it could be Jesus, or it could be anything you want it to be.”

It seems like B. Skow is almost skirting blasphemy with Aman/Jesus. He’s played by Alec Knight, a porn actor, but he never shows his penis in the movie, only references his “Holy Schlong.” It’s worth noting, here, that “Aman” is an Islamic and Hindu name, pronounced “UH-mun,” not “A man.” It’s not a political statement about the geographic or ethnic origins of Jesus, just a weird, silly linguistic coincidence. B. Skow considers himself a lapsed Catholic. Nine years of Catholic school instilled ideas and superstitions that are still part of him, even if he doesn’t actually believe in Catholicism anymore.

“I have my beliefs from just being alive and living my life. My beliefs come more from that, I would hope, than what was drilled into me as a kid,” he said.

He doesn’t believe that Christianity like the shame-based Catholicism he grew up with and the liberated sexuality the movie espouses can coexist, but he does know porn stars who are observant Christians. In fact, the woman he originally approached to play the female lead in In The Flesh turned the part down because of her religious beliefs. He also knows a male porn star who’s raising his kid Catholic, which is “crazy” to him.

“I always ask him, ‘how do you get by?’ and he says, ‘just live a good life.'”

In The Flesh is yet another example of the oft-dismissed humanity of the people who make pornography. They have sex on camera and make way more dirty puns than anyone else, but they struggle with questions of faith and morality just like the rest of us.

(Photo: Girlfriends Films)