Monday, January 13, 2020

Three Definitions of Porn

I've possibly (probably?) posted about this before - I don't know if I ever formally finalized my thoughts on the matter - but I just posted a series of tweets on the subject, and the topic is important enough that I feel I should immortalize it here on my blog ('cause who knows where tweets end up when they grow old?).

I consider there to be three different meaningful definitions of pornography.

1. "Porn by intent" - the creator's intention in creating the work is the sexual arousal of oneself or others. An image does not need to be sexually explicit by this definition.

2. "Porn by interpretation" - a work is used for the purpose of sexual gratification, regardless (and sometimes in spite) of the creator's intent. In this case, the creator bears no responsibility for the sexual use of the work (unless definition 1 also applies).

3. "Porn by description" - a work depicts (if it's an image) or describes (if it's written) explicit sexuality. This determination can be made independent of the creator's intent or the audience's interpretation.

The last is the most practical definition, as it does not depend on anyone's subjective evaluation, and is concerned more with what's actually being shown (or described), than the nebulous moral imperative to punish anyone's sexual thoughts or motives.

There is a fourth definition that I am not fond of, which is "porn by criticism" - where a work is labeled as porn by interpretation, not for the purpose of sexual gratification, but as an obstruction to its possible use as such. Censors who invoke this definition can fuck off.

So when it comes to classifying works as pornographic, you can measure it against several rubrics - intent, interpretation, and description. And a work may qualify as pornographic under one or more rubrics - whether you think it warrants being called "porn" will depend on how you value each rubric. I think that the third rubric - description - being the most practical standard to use, is generally the one that the law and social media uses most often.

I'm sure you can think of examples of different kinds of porn falling under different combinations of these rubrics. For example, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is not sexually explicit (porn by definition), but is probably created with the intent to arouse, and is definitely used as such. A People magazine found under a teenage boy's mattress may not be porn by intent or description, but it may still be used as porn.

It might seem like a stretch to call it that, but when we get into fetishism, where people derive sexual pleasure from non-traditionally sexual sources (e.g., a shoe catalog), it makes a lot more sense. I don't think we should restrict this kind of media along the same lines that we do porn by description, but it would be silly to not consider it a sort of porn. Of course, by this standard, anything can be porn, but that's just a reflection of the reality of human sexuality.

There can also be sexually explicit materials - defined as porn by description - that are nevertheless not intended to be used as porn, such as medical manuals. These are usually afforded a free pass, in principle (although it's arguable how freely this pass is handed out), which reveals the fundamental hypocrisy in this approach: if the simple fact of sexuality is not harmful, then it is the supposedly "immoral" intent that we are targeting, yet sexually explicit works are censored, and not those that are implicit but designed to let the human mind fill in the blanks. If, however, we are not targeting the thought of sex, but its detailed depiction, then there is no excuse for having scientific, literary, artistic, or educational exceptions at all.

But then, the law and society are the last places to look for logic, especially when the subject of sex is at hand. Personally, I think carnal knowledge of human sexuality is one of the fundamental truths of life and existence as organic, sexual organisms. Knowing that truth harms no one, and access to it should be considered a fundamental right. I don't mean to say, necessarily, that explicit depictions of sex should be plastered on billboards, and we should all be having sex on the streets. But the transfer of that knowledge itself, independent of the means and context through which it is transferred, should not be a crime. This is really very similar to my thoughts on nudity. We may discuss where in society nudity is appropriate, regarding public displays. But the mere fact of somebody seeing nudity - being exposed to a naked body - in a place or context where it is not inappropriate for nudity to occur, like the home - should never be considered a crime or form of "moral corruption".

Saturday, January 4, 2020


Outtake from my first post of the year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Decade Comparisons

This is an idea inspired by a post I saw on Twitter, comparing two pictures taken at the beginning and the end of the decade. Since I've been active photographically - and as a self-portrait artist - throughout these past ten years, I thought it would be very interesting to look at some picture comparisons of my own from the beginning and end of this decade.

January 2010 vs. May 2019

Here is one of the first pictures I took in this decade compared with a photo from this year. The fact that I'm wearing underwear in the picture on the right is mere happenstance. I thought it was interesting (although not altogether surprising) that I had two such similar pictures taken almost ten years apart. There are two notable things about this comparison. First, is what hasn't changed - namely, the length of my hair. Although it has now been over 18 years since I last cut it, its length hasn't changed noticeably in over ten years. More poignant, however, is the difference in lighting. Ten years ago my life was suffused with darkness - I even lived a nocturnal lifestyle. But I have since been dragged back into the light.

Easter 2010 vs. Easter 2019

To further demonstrate that point, here is a comparison between two Easter photos taken in April - the one on the left in 2010, and the one on the right in 2019. Ten years ago, I had to sneak out into the woods in the dark of night to take nude photos outdoors. After several years of living in stuffy apartments, I am now back living in a house; and this time, with enough (if not total) privacy to shoot in full daylight, right out in my back yard!

July 2010 vs. May 2019

My fashion sense has certainly evolved over the past ten years, as I've gained confidence and experience embracing a more feminine identity. However, the change would be even more drastic if you went a few years further back; 2010 was in the midst of a transitional period, in which I was starting to experiment with wearing women's clothes, and getting into the regular habit of trimming my body hair. Still, I'm much more confident now, whether it's wearing dresses, or going out in public half-dressed. :-3

Halloween 2010 vs. Halloween 2019

My weight has fluctuated over the decade. I'm slimmer now than I was ten years ago (in fact, I'm in the best shape I've been since I was a teenager), but there was a period during the middle of that decade during which I was a little heavier. (Thankfully, I've managed to put the kibosh on that trend). I still like carving pumpkins and posing naked with them for Halloween, though!

Lolita, May 2010 vs. May 2019

Also interesting to note is not just the differences, but the things that remain constant throughout your life. Ten years ago I picked up a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses and posed as Lolita. And just this year I paid tribute to Sue Lyons' iconic role in the first film adaptation of that story. And while the before picture, in hindsight, is quite cute, I viewed it at the time as an indication of what I lacked, while now, I have much more confidence in my appearance, as regards my ability to express femininity in my own way.

October 2010 vs. June 2019

I was also very interested to find two very similar pictures of me nude in nature in similar poses spanning the decade. The earlier one was taken in the woods in the fall, and the later one during the summer at a lake. I clearly have more of a tan in the later picture, owing to the greater opportunities I have now to be nude out in the sunshine. However, the practice of going out in nature and finding surreptitious moments away from the crowds to strip down and take some pictures hasn't changed.

June 2008 vs. May 2019

This is the only picture comparison that I had to cheat on, as the image on the left hails from my Daily Nudes project in 2008, making it over eleven years old. But I just reshot the theme this year - posing like a primitive in the fur pelts of my boyhood camping days - so I wanted to see them side by side. Again, you have the difference between indoors and out, as well as the difference in lighting, from shadows to daylight.

October 2010 vs. May 2019

By coincidence, it just so happens that my original and celebrated Slumber Party clone shot was taken in 2010, and I recreated it just this year. I consider it a testament to how my life has changed, with regards to the people that have come into it that I never would have expected, that have made me just a little bit less of a timid recluse, and have provided me with some life experiences I never thought I would get to have.

March 2010 vs. October 2019

In another happy coincidence, I have two images spanning the decade that feature me in (or sliding out of) turquoise panties! You can also get a hint from the background of how my bedroom has changed. Although you can't see much in the before picture, my room used to be a haven of anime geekdom. I may still not have grown up, but I have fully embraced the girliness within, surrounding myself with an explosion of pink princesses and unicorns.

Christmas 2010 vs. Christmas 2019

I try to mix things up and keep them fresh, but in ten years, you're bound to repeat some themes, especially classic ones, and around the holidays. If anything has surprised me about these comparisons, it's how consistent I've been over the past decade. I'd like to believe I'm improving - both as a photographer and as a model - although what's most apparent in this photo comparison is the difference in equipment. I'm shooting exclusively with my iPhone at this time, and it shows in the graininess of the later image, shot in the dark. I've been using the same dSLR for the last ten years, until I dropped it in Lake Michigan this year and figured it was time to retire it. Now I'm in the same position I was late 2008, after I lost my camera at Burning Man. I think it's time to buy another nice camera, and start shooting more professional quality images (not in terms of creativity, but technical aspects) again.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Fur Coat

Another outtake from Patreon!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Night Before Christmas

Won't you come and have a seat on Santa's lap? He's had a long, hard ride on his sleigh.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Naked Raking

Some late fall outtakes. See more on Patreon!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

In The Fitting Room (Again)

An outtake from yet another trip to the fitting room! See the outfits I tried on (including a sexy schoolgirl uniform, and a pink swim cover-up, as well as the cute outfit I wore into the store) at Patreon!