The world had been ridden of all evil and everything seemed good in the world according to Noah and his family. Noah—having the green thumb—planted a vineyard and relaxed to enjoy the fruit of his labor. Unfortunately, this led to his drunkenness, nakedness, and Ham’s sin. Noah being drunk is self-explanatory, but why he was naked to begin with is not so easily explained. John Davis, author of Paradise to Prison, suggests that Ham’s son—Canaan—Noah’s grandson, was involved in this incident, and that this led to Habakkuk’s conclusion in Habakkuk 2:15, “Woe unto him that gives his neighbor drink, that puts thy bottle to him, and makes him drunken also, that thou may look upon their nakedness.”
“Nakedness,” in Hebrew, is a nice term meaning sexual relations according to Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. They go on to explain that, “the prohibitions at Lev. 18; cf. Ezek. 16:8, “covered your nakedness”). This usage helps explain the incident at Gen. 9:20–27 where Ham apparently took advantage of his father’s drunken state and had sexual relations with him (vv. 21–22; Heb. ˓erwaṯ ˒āḇîw; RSn Ham, may allude to the sexual practices of the Canaanites who used male cult prostitutes.”
The NET First Edition Notes has a different theory. “the expression ‘see nakedness’ usually refers to observation of another’s nakedness, not a sexual act (see Gen 42:9, 12 where ‘nakedness’ is used metaphorically to convey the idea of ‘weakness’ or ‘vulnerability’” This view seems more likely to what the author meant by “see nakedness,” and it flows with the context of verse 23. Leviticus 18, as the Eerdmans Bible Dictionary uses to establish their theory, should be taken into context as well. Leviticus 18 gives us specific commands about sexual relations and notice in verse 6, “uncover nakedness.” There is a difference in “see nakedness” and “uncover nakedness” where the latter means sexual intercourse.
In conclusion, taking into consideration the context of Genesis 9, it was just the viewing of his father’s nakedness that brought about the cursing of Canaan. The eyes are windows to our soul and it is considered shame and humiliation to be publically exposed (cf. Rev 3:18 See also Ge 9:22-23; Ex 20:26; Isa 47:3; Eze 16:8,35-37; Hos 2:9-10; Am 2:16; Na 3:5; Hab 2:15; Rev 17:16). Symbol of adultery and prostitution (cf. Eze 23:18 See also Isa 57:8; La 1:8; Eze 16:36). It is a symbol of extreme poverty (cf. Rev 3:17 See also Dt 28:48; 2Ch 28:15; Job 1:21; 24:4-10; Isa 58:6-7; Mic 1:8,11; Ro 8:35; 2Co 11:27).
Davis, John J. Paradise ot Prison. Salem, Wisconsin: Sheffield Publishing Company, 1998.
Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009.
Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987.
Press, Biblical Studies. The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press, 2006.
 John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison. Salem, Wisconsin: Sheffield Publishing Company, 1998, 128.
 Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 746.
 Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 9:22.
 Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).