Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fan Breeze



Three weeks ago I was lying in front of this window during a storm. The past week has been hot and sunny - perfect summer weather (even though it's still spring). To the point that I broke down and dug the air conditioner out of the closet.


I'd been reluctant because we've had some pretty chilly days this spring, and our heater isn't working - seems like I'm either chilled to the core, or roasting in my seat; there's been no middle ground.


Looks like it's going to be a little cooler this week, though not as chilly as it's been (I'd hope). At the risk of jinxing it, it'd be ideal if we had the kind of weather we've been having - sunny and (mostly) dry, with daytime highs in the eighties, and overnight lows in the sixties - over Memorial Day weekend, the first big (naked) camping weekend of the summer!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pink & White



I have to say, I prefer it to the old standby - black & white.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Perversion as Rebellion



fuck me at the open window
while I watch the people down below
just going about their days

Honestly, I'm not sure if this qualifies as voyeurism or exhibitionism. It's not the people you're watching, or anything they're doing, that particularly excites you, yet you're also not the one being watched. Perhaps it's an exhibitionist fantasy - surrounding yourself with the cues of public life in the midst of a sexual encounter, even as you remain safely hidden from public view.

Imagine that - a safe and private outlet for exhibitionist desires! Although I'm confident that moral crusaders will still manage to find something squicky about it. Can't have anybody deriving any pleasure in life from the fulfillment of their perverted desires, now can we? They must either conform to our rigid, vanilla standards, or be wiped from the face of the earth like the scum they are.

I'm sorry. I hate to spoil such a pleasant moment, but living in a sex negative culture really makes it hard to enjoy the littlest bit of perversion. In a sense, the terrorists of sex have already won. And it's not like there aren't perverts out there going about their "little hot wet private acts of sexual deviation" without a critical analysis of their behavior. But it's too easy for opponents to claim that they simply lack a conscience. That it happens doesn't prove that it's unproblematic.

Yet the only people taking the time to talk about it are the ones who aren't sexually distracted by it, and thus more likely to take a negative stance (because everyone's fetishes look weird to someone who doesn't share them). This is why I prefer porn subs to discussion subs - there's no shaming of people's preferences, it's just an uncritical celebration of sexual desire. But I like talking about the psychology and politics of sex, and we need more kinky sex positives discussing the ramifications of their sexual behaviors, to defend and justify perversity.

People are way too serious about the subject of sex. Yeah, it's a serious issue, but it should also be a fun one - not a terrifying and traumatic one. If you ask me, life is better with a little bit of perversion. And what's perversion if it isn't violating some taboo? If it weren't a little wrong, it wouldn't feel so right. Sure, there are lines that shouldn't be crossed - this is true. But if somebody fantasizes about you while they touch themselves, or engages in an illicit encounter in the park where you walk your dog, or you open a door and, to your surprise, happen to catch somebody in flagrante delicto - don't freak out. Don't call the moral police. These are the kinds of enjoyable activities that make the otherwise grueling drudgery of life worth enduring. Let people have them! It's not going to kill you.

I mean, we live in a world where some people think snapping a quick photo of a cosplayer in public because she's skimpily dressed - without getting express verbal consent first - is on the magnitude of a federal felony (or should be). It's impolite, perhaps, not to ask first, but it's not akin to rape (which is what's being alluded to when the issue of "violating consent" comes up in a sexualized context). I would even argue that it's par for the course - something to be expected when you dress up (or down) and go out in public. It does nobody harm; so why is everybody so uptight? (Can we please have a conversation about whether or not photographing strangers in public is okay, one way or the other, that doesn't construct different standards based on what kind of private uses those photos might be destined for - a blatant form of discrimination against anyone who chooses not to fundamentally condemn the basic human sexual impulse)?

It's not enough that different people have different opinions on how to get one's rocks off, because you could think that what you're doing is perfectly fine, but if it contradicts the dominant paradigm of "appropriateness", you could -- do you know what could happen? You could actually end up in jail, if you're not careful. Because right now, the people we as a society fear the most are the sexual deviants. Obscenity restricts the way you're allowed to talk about sex. The sex offender registry ensures that you won't dare experience pleasure in any way that is not endorsed by the government (which the feminists currently have in their back pockets). Turns out George Orwell was right - the sexual act, successfully performed, is rebellion. But all the more so when it's deliciously perverted.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

CFNM



Here's something that I just put together in about an hour, out of boredom. I was inspired by a CFNM image I came across, which is a theme that has come up in my photography on occasion. It's not something I specifically look out for, but, generally, as an exhibitionist, it's a subject within my interests (as is CMNF, despite it being considered more or less "mainstream"). I've probably hit upon it in my photography more often than not by accident, owing to the fact that I enjoy creating clone shots, and exploring the dynamics of exposure in mixed groups, combined with the fact that I like to dress feminine, but have a harder time hiding my anatomy when I'm nude (not that there haven't been some misunderstandings :-x). It seems to me that CFNM is often tied to a humiliation fetish (which makes sense), but I've found that I have a hard time modeling "naked and ashamed", because I'm just too damn comfortable (and confident!) in my birthday suit. Ah well.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fetishes and Consent

This is something of an extension of my recent Bad Reality, Good Fantasy post - a bit of a rant in response to yet another example of ignorance expressed about fetishism (specifically in the context of exhibitionism) encountered online.

Fetishism does not inherently imply a violation of consent. Why do people assume this? I imagine that in the past, society has distinguished between acceptable and unacceptable sexuality based on the instinctual, heteronormative standard - man and woman in a committed relationship trying to make babies. But with the normalization of things like recreational sex and homosexual relationships, I believe that we are in the process of transforming our understanding of acceptable sexuality to a superior framework that emphasizes the importance of consent. If the participants want to do it (and know what they're getting themselves into) - fine. Doesn't matter how it looks to anyone else.

But it takes time for the culture to normalize sexual behaviors that have long been considered strange, and possibly even criminal - especially if they've traditionally been defined as mental illness (as, I remind you, homosexuality once was). I think that a lot of people are still uncomfortable with things like exhibitionism, and in order to rationalize their discomfort, they feel compelled to contextualize these behaviors as unacceptable by associating them with a violation of consent. This association is further supported by the stereotype of the public flasher, who (allegedly) delights in the reactions of disgust and horror that are elicited by his activities.

Personally, I've never encountered somebody like this in real life (as opposed to creative fiction). I believe that the majority of these fringe cases simply consist of desperate perverts with boundary issues, a lack of self-control, and/or a poor understanding of what constitutes our social norms. If exhibitionism is simply the desire to be looked at, then there is no reason to define it by the desperate acts of a small (yet visible - because the public loves a juicy story) minority. Like everything else, exhibitionism exists on a spectrum, its expressions ranging from the heinous to the benign.

Are we so limited in our imaginations, that we can't conceive of a person with the desire to be seen expressing it only in responsible outlets with consensual audiences? It's no coincidence that voyeurs and exhibitionists make great company. And both can delight in the production and consumption of pornography, which caters to the voyeur and the exhibitionist within us all. If even rape fetishists can fulfill their desires (utilizing the tools of fiction, fantasy, and roleplay) without running afoul of the law or human decency, then why can't anyone? We are not slaves to our sexual desires.

Bottom line: when somebody plays a game without asking, it's not the act of not asking that they are deriving enjoyment from. It's the game they want to play. They either just don't know how to ask, haven't been taught the importance of asking, or are afraid that the answer will be no. These are all situations we can deal with, but only if we accurately understand what it is we're actually dealing with first.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Relative Erosthetics (or Disgust vs. Desire)

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

This is accepted wisdom. And I have no desire to argue with it. But, as an expression of diversity and variation among what is essentially a homogeneous species (looking at the broad strokes - we mostly all have two arms, two legs, a torso, and a head; our faces mostly all contain two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a mouth), it still fascinates me. Though there are more or less (as nothing is universal in human nature) "objective" traits that people generally find attractive - things like symmetry, absence of blemishes, youthfulness, and fitness - the human mind is so complicated that we can be psychologically conditioned (usually subconsciously - or preconditioned, depending on where you stand on the nature vs. nurture debate) to find so many different things appealing (or unappealing). Skin color. Hair color. Hair density. Hair location. Fashion. Personality. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

As an artist, aesthetics is a very important discipline to me. And as subjective as it is, the underlying principle is that some things look better than others. The "why" is a whole interesting field of study, but the fact alone is itself rather amazing. Applied to the human body, this is what I call "the truth about beauty". The idea that some people are more beautiful than others is, perhaps, exclusionary, but it is true, and I have never been one to conceal the truth behind convenient and comfortable lies. Rather, I prefer to emphasize the fact that beauty is not everything, that it is highly subjective (i.e., there are not "beautiful people" so much as "people that you, me, or somebody else finds beautiful"), and that it is something any person can cultivate in themselves within certain limits. So, if you don't feel particularly beautiful, you can either ask for somebody else's opinion (an underrated approach), try to improve yourself, or else focus on other traits you might possess (e.g., speed, strength, intelligence, compassion, a fat wallet).

But let's take this concept a step even further, to the realm of sexuality. The various things that people are attracted (or not attracted) to is incredible. I've learned as a model, trying to imitate fine art nudes I've come across and liked, that different people, with different bodies, do not necessarily look equally appealing in the same poses. Some of this could be attributed to an objective discrepancy between the shapes of their bodies. But let's focus on the subjective element, centered on the basic principle that different people find different bodies attractive. It's enough to recognize that in any varied group of respondents, different celebrities will be cited as the pinnacle of beauty and/or sex appeal. In the realm of porn, this manifests as a diversity of body types (even if some are more popular - and therefore prevalent - than others). Skinny, curvy, tall, short, light-skinned, dark-skinned, tattooed, freckled, long hair, short hair, no hair, lots of hair, teenage, middle-aged, elderly - the list goes on.

I think it would be fascinating to do an art project (yes, one that could be described as "pornographic") on the phenomenon of "erotic aesthetics" in action, by comparing a large assortment of portraits, each featuring a different nude model in the same sexually provocative pose. There could be multiple instances of this project, each one focusing on a different pose (since different people will naturally find different poses - and levels of explicitness - appealing). You could even do some that are sexually explicit, involving various combinations of bodies engaged in various stages of foreplay and coitus. The kernel of the project would be the demonstration to an audience of the sheer range of reactions - from abject disgust to quivering desire - that can be elicited by a photo of the same act or pose, when only the persons involved (each with a different subjective beauty or sex appeal rating) are swapped. Call it "the subjectivity of obscenity".

It's not just an excuse to see pictures of all kinds of people having sex - if it were just that, the world wide web of porn would already have me beat. I want to go beyond that - to the next level, the next stage of inquiry. To study and explore the dynamics and psychology of sexual arousal. It disappoints me that this is a project I cannot do as a self-portrait artist. Indeed, finding a large enough sample of participants who would be willing to pose for sexually suggestive or explicit photos would almost certainly be prohibitively difficult. You could, I suppose, adapt this project to tamer standards - focusing on the erotic appeal of "simple" nudity, with an emphasis on merely the different body types people are attracted to. Or, to go further, you could explore the same concept within fashion - having different models wearing the same outfit. Could be interesting from a gendered perspective, having men and women side by side, all wearing the same outfit that's usually associated with this or that sex. Almost like a "who wore it better?" - dresses, skirts, heels, short shorts (sadly, women have a decided advantage over men in the aesthetics of cross-dressing). Not that this hasn't been done before...

See, when I compromise my vision, it loses its unique, revolutionary touch. I have a lot of limitations, but you can't say that my ambition is one of them.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Nudist Erections

I can hear the groans already. But when people keep bringing a topic up over and over and over, there's usually a reason for it. So bear with me. Here's the question I'd like to pose: is there one part of our bodies that isn't allowed to enjoy nudism?

One of the best things about practicing nudism alone, or in "open, understanding" company, is not having to worry, "what if I get an erection? Will somebody interpret it the wrong way? I'll have to stop what I'm doing and cover it up!" Yes, erections are an overrated concern among prospective nudists (they don't happen that much, the atmosphere isn't that sexually charged, and people are usually pretty reasonable about them, so long as you are, too), but on the other hand, they are a fact of life for men. And, contrary to stereotype, some men, even beyond their "horny teenager" phase, continue to get erections more easily and more readily than others. (I feel that this stereotype is discrimination levied counterproductively against young men - deliberately or not - by the older male population that makes up the majority of the nudist demographic. To quote Albus Dumbledore, "youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young").

This is going to sound counter-intuitive, but erections aren't even necessarily always sexual. If you define sex not necessarily by the physical sensations of arousal, but as an intimate act that usually occurs between two (or more) people leading to orgasm, then this has nothing to do with an incidental erection. Consider this hypothetical: two people, not involved in an intimate relationship, yet comfortable around each other and with their bodies, decide to share a bed (say they're traveling, and accommodations are sparse), and both like to sleep nude. At least one of these two people is male, and in the morning, he gets an erection as is typical of the male physiology. It has nothing to do with the person lying naked in bed next to him. In a different context, this could certainly be taken as a precursor to a sexual encounter (possibly). But given the decidedly non-sexual nature of this particular context, can't it simply be a physically pleasurable sensation for the male, that will subside on its own, given a little bit of time? Is the male not even allowed to permit himself to enjoy the sensation until it subsides? Not engaging in masturbation, I mean (how many men either masturbate or have sex every single time they wake up with a morning erection?) - which clearly renders the situation sexual - but just appreciating the sensation, instead of becoming overly self-conscious of it, and wishing for it to go away.

Would it be beyond the pale for me to say,
"stop sexualizing my erections!"?

When I'm naked, and alone, there are times when I might find myself becoming physically aroused. Mind you, this can happen when I'm not thinking the least thought about sex. I could simply be comfortable and relaxed, and just a little bit of pressure (e.g., from the thighs, depending on how I sit), or a slight touch in a particular place (to scratch an itch, for example) could be all it takes to initiate the arousal process. At this point, if I'm alone, I have two choices - ignore it, or indulge it. And, when I'm alone, it doesn't much matter which one I choose. Note also, that by "indulging it", I do not necessarily mean "masturbation to orgasm".

Perhaps I am atypical, but I think it sounds absurd to expect to work towards an orgasm every single time you feel the slightest sensation of arousal. Nevertheless, I might very well "contribute" to the pleasurable physical sensations going on, by applying some added pressure, a delicate but directed touch, or even a few light strokes. This could be going on entirely absentmindedly, the same way you might scratch your back while sitting in a chair reading a book. It doesn't mean I've pulled up some porn, engaged my imagination, and have entered full masturbation mode - unless that's a course of action I deliberately choose; and in my case, that's rarely the direction in which these situations head.

The great thing about being alone is that I can do this free from anxiety. It feels good. Does it have to be any more than that? Add other people to this situation, however - nudist or otherwise - and the first thing they're going to think is, "sex!" (whether that's a good thing or a bad thing from their perspective). And to avoid the drama that these encounters will inevitably produce (especially if, heaven forbid, there are children present), I have been conditioned in these situations to be very cognizant of the relative tumescence of my penis at any given time.

There have been a few instances when I have become aroused in a nudist environment, and none of them involved explicit sexual cues. Psychology - seeing and thinking about sex - is one path towards arousal, but another, as I have described, is simple physical contact. And this contact, contrary to expectation, need not be deliberate. You must realize that the male genitalia hangs outside the body and swings freely between the legs. (Yes, the nature of this phenomenon varies by an individual's size, but this is no reason to discriminate against "the more favorably endowed").

I tried hula hooping once, and quickly learned that it is impossible for me to do so naked without growing hard, at least for a short period early on, before the blood is dispersed to other parts of my body. You try slapping your penis against your thighs rhythmically without receiving a sexual response! And many times when I stretch out in the warm sunshine, fully relaxed, my body responds to the pleasant sensations with physical arousal. Is this unusual? I don't know. But the tried and true "solution" is to turn over onto your stomach, and that only serves to apply direct pressure to the organ, contributing to (as opposed to discouraging) its tumescence. And then there was a time when I became turgid from the pressure of a book placed on my lap (at least it covered me up!).

It's one thing to observe the standard practice of hiding one's erections (although in a nudist context, cover ups may not always be close at hand - especially if you're being active), but once the process of arousal is initiated, it takes several moments - even absent any further stimulation - for the organ to return to a full state of rest. And if you're like many of the men in the population who are "growers" and not "showers", your penis may remain in somewhat of an enlarged state for several moments after it has gone soft and limp; and, given the nature of its extension, be exceptionally sensitive and prone to further accidental stimulation.

Under normal circumstances, you might hope that most nudists are not paying very much attention to your genitals, and will not notice, but who's to say? God forbid somebody should realize that you're "larger than normal", and interpret that in a way that does you no favors. "He's getting sexually aroused being naked in front of us, looking at our naked bodies! He must be a pervert or an exhibitionist!" I feel like few people - even men who generally don't have a lot of experience with anyone's penis but their own - understand the full complexity of the mechanics of human sexual arousal.

It doesn't help that society reinforces the belief that, outside of a brief period during adolescence, when an erection pops up, it's necessarily because of some direct, sexual stimulus (even if it's one we can't identify). Nor does the male sense of entitlement to satisfaction upon arousal, in support of which the theory behind "blue balls", if true (I have never personally experienced it), has been exploited. And I must say, for what it's worth, keeping erections under wraps (both in nudist communities, and in the world of fine art), only contributes to this culture of ignorance. It is for these reasons that I address this topic, in the hope that the presentation of my uncommon perspective may ultimately serve some public good.