Friday, January 30, 2015

Past & Present

I've been a little behind on my "year end festivities" this year - not that there's any rush. As you may be familiar with by now (if you've been paying attention :p), at the end of every year I like to go through all the photos I took throughout the previous year, and post a selection of the best of them in the gallery on my webpage. It's growing into a pretty formidable portfolio for me, and while it's getting pretty large now that I'm entering my eighth year as a serious nude/erotic photographer, I like that it shows my progression through the years as my equipment has improved and I've gained experience, and I've visited and revisited different themes in my photography.

So here are some links you should be familiar with (although consider yourself ahead of the curve if you're reading this, as most people seem to have trouble even locating my blog):

My main photography page: http://zharth.net/photos/index.html
My erotic photography page (which can be accessed from the previous link): http://zharth.net/erotica/main.html
My erotic photography gallery (which, also, can be accessed from the previous link): http://zharth.net/erotica/gallery.php
Here are the specific pages for this past year's photography: http://zharth.net/erotica/gallery.php?galleryName=2014a and http://zharth.net/erotica/gallery.php?galleryName=2014b

Also, there are some stray images in my nudist gallery, which I like to post separately for the benefit of those who may be enlightened enough to be able to appreciate nude photography, but are still a bit squeamish about human sexuality. You can find that here: http://zharth.net/photos/nudist/gallery.php (the new images are on pages 5 and 6).

In other news, here are a couple of fun (brand new!) pictures of me getting cheeky in the car on a cold January day, wearing nothing underneath my warm winter coat:


"What seems to be the problem, officer?"


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Whiter Shade

Here are some of the results from my first photoshoot of the new year! I don't know if you would call these images "high key" (I don't have a technical background in photography) or just overexposed, but I thought the ultra-bright lighting just worked gorgeously here. Actually, maybe it's because the technique is abused by amateurs, but I generally think "high key" photographs look horrendous. But in this case it's just a very bright, white-heavy form of black and white, and it looks great - soft, rather than harsh.

We'll start, however, with a regular dark shot to serve as contrast to the rest of the series:


It's funny that, when I think back, my nude/erotic photography hobby started out in the dark. Because of the taboo and generally unconventional nature of the subject, I kept it largely a secret at first. I wasn't living in my own home, and so most of my photography captured nighttime scenes, when most normal people hole themselves away in their homes and bedrooms and sleep. Whether lit ominously indoors, or using long exposures outside in the dark, my photography was frequently characterized by shadow.

But over the past several years, I've gradually come out of the dark and stepped into the light of day. The nature of my photography is still as taboo as ever (which makes it hard to get outside as much as I'd like), but I'm no longer living a nocturnal lifestyle, and I am in fact currently living in an apartment with large windows that gets a ton of bright, morning sunlight.

I am a 24 hour nudist now (at least at home, when there aren't guests over), and I can pull my camera out and take pictures any time of the day I want, without having to be sneaky about it (as long as I'm in the apartment, at least). It's a testament to the transformation I've undergone (such as it is) that I can take photos like these, that feature such an overabundance of light that it nearly drowns out my body!










Sunday, January 18, 2015

Outfit of the Day (Reprise)

A couple months ago I posted an outfit of the day that consisted solely of me wearing a heavy winter jacket (and boots) - with nothing at all underneath - to the mall. I did not, at the time, get a picture of what was underneath, but I have finally rectified that oversight. I've worn that outfit several times over the winter, and probably will again before the spring comes to thaw everything out. Obviously, I can't wear it if I'm planning to, say, sit down at a restaurant and take my jacket off (!), but just for driving around in the car and walking through stores, it's perfectly sufficient (and no more revealing than outfits other people wear all the time - especially during the summer).

Much as I would have liked to have torn my jacket open and taken a picture in front of the mirror in the middle of the store, the fact that I may be a sexual "deviant" does not mean I am oblivious to the concerns of social propriety, and whatever thrill the public exposure might give me, it would, honestly, pale in comparison to the terror of potentially offending someone severely, and the repercussions of such an act. Therefore, there are not a lot of places where I can safely document what I am (not) wearing underneath my coat. One of those places is the fitting room. Another is the rest room, as you can see here:


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Try This On For Size

I'm thinking I should make this a regular feature here on this blog. It's related to the Outfit of the Day posts, but instead of outfits I own that I've chosen to wear, this will be clothes I've tried on in the fitting room, whether I end up buying them or not, since that's something I enjoy doing whenever I get the chance.

I don't do as much clothes shopping in the winter, and don't enjoy it as much when I do, because naturally I gravitate towards the sexier, skimpier clothing that's more commonplace during the summer. But every so often the opportunity to try something on will present itself, even in the winter - and, if I had to be honest, though it's considerably more of a chore, the more layers I'm wearing, the more exciting it is having an excuse to strip them off in a semi-public context.

Well, I was browsing the racks today when I came across an attractive pink dress. While we're pretty far removed from both the Homecoming and prom seasons, it occurred to me that we're more or less smack dab in the middle of "winter formal" season! Regardless, there are usually a few prom-like dresses hanging around even out of season, and when I laid eyes on this one, I knew I had to try it on.

These boots give this dress a bit of attitude.

On the up side, it's one of those sexy, ruffled tube-type dresses, which means it doesn't have a non-elastic cinched waist, which is where I frequently find myself having trouble fitting into the dress. That wasn't a problem here. Unfortunately, on the other hand, I wasn't able to fit the arm straps around my wide shoulders, instead. There were only two of these dresses on the racks - one small and one medium; if there had been a large, I would have bought it up in an instant. Alas, my search for the perfect prom dress continues...


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In Praise of Two Authors

Happy New Year, blog followers! I haven't posted in a little while. I've been dealing with the stress of the holidays (that are finally over!), and am just getting over the flu. So I haven't been feeling particularly attractive (enough to want to pose for pictures), and I'm least inspired during the winter months anyway, when it's cold and everybody's all huddled up, covering their bodies under layers of clothing. But I've been reading some great stuff, and I wanted to point out two authors who've written on subjects relevant to this blog, and who I think deserve much praise.

The first is Nancy Friday, a sex-positive feminist who has published several books since the 1970s. I recently read her first book, My Secret Garden, which is largely a collection of women's various sexual fantasies. I tell you, it's enlightening, and incredibly liberating to hear women talk so frankly about their own sexual desires and fantasies. Friday's book is not a scientific survey like Kinsey's was, but it is nevertheless refreshing to hear anecdotes from women who think about sex in ways they're not supposed to, and who defy cultural stereotypes.

I love Kinsey and his work, but this is the one perspective most lacking from his studies, and I would have loved to have heard his reaction to women's sexual liberation, had he lived long enough to experience it. This book confirms that - although every woman is an individual with unique attitudes and aptitudes with regard to sex - there are women who are at least as psychologically stimulated by sex as men: women who fantasize about sex - even very perverted things like rape and bestiality and incest; women who are actually turned on by pornography; women who look at men's bodies the way men look at women's bodies.

It's a huge step forward in equalizing the sexual playing field between men and women and it's concerning that although this book was first published in 1973 - though we have come a long way since then - it still feels somewhat shocking and taboo, which is a testament to how enduring those pesky conservative stereotypes about women's sexuality are. It's also nice in that, being a product of the '70s, it's free (at least to a point) from some of the modern day rhetoric surrounding acceptable and unacceptable sexual fantasies.

The author also includes a scathing introduction that condemns the hypocrisy of all strains of feminism that seek to oppress women's sexuality. But though the author's comments and contributions are welcome, the best part of this book is that it's not about psychoanalyzing women's fantasies, but merely documenting them in the various women's own words. I haven't read any of Nancy Friday's other books yet (although I've got my eye on a few), but this one alone is worth putting on my nonexistent mandatory reading list for all sex-positive progressives.

The other author I'd like to bring to your attention is one Marty Klein, who is actually a prominent sex therapist, with lots of experience counseling couples, giving talks to promote sexual literacy, and even serving as an expert witness in free speech trials. He has a number of books published on various sexual topics, but the one that speaks to me most is America's War on Sex, which lucidly clarifies the battle lines in what is an attack on the principles the United States were founded on (as enumerated in the Constitution, particularly the first amendment) by the moral conservatives who use their discomfort with sex as an excuse to push their oppressive agenda.

It's amazing how pervasive the moralistic dogma of the religious right is, that even normal everyday citizens buy into the shame surrounding normal sexual behavior, and go along with all the false information in the media about the evils of pornography, prostitution, masturbation, contraception, comprehensive sex education, and so on. You hear it everywhere you go, and so it is genuinely refreshing to read from someone who doesn't buy into all that crap. That's what I try to be, right here on my blog, and wherever I share my nude and erotic photography.

And if you don't feel like buying a book, you can read a whole lot of Marty Klein's writing on his own blog, Sexual Intelligence, which I've recently added to my sidebar of recommended blogs. I honestly couldn't praise it too highly - this is stuff I feel like I'd have written, if I had the experience and training and professional standing that Dr. Klein has, and it's so in tune with my feelings and beliefs that if you like what I write, and what I stand for, I think you'll enjoy reading through some of it. This is a guy I'd want on my side in the fight for sexual liberation.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Nudist Erection Anxiety

I had a bit of a minor epiphany as I was lying awake in bed this morning. Admittedly, I have some fairly non-mainstream views on nudity, but my base line goal for society is simply a more natural approach towards the human body - a compromise that would strip away all the neuroticism and permit, as I like to say, "responsible nudity in reasonable contexts".

Consider, for example, the way the average person feels about "underwear". Nobody (for the most part) is showing up to work, or picking up groceries, in their underwear. People dress up to go out and do their daily business - that's normal. At the same time, if you stopped over at somebody's house, and they hadn't had time to get dressed, and they, say, answer the door in their underwear, nobody is going to scream bloody murder. Some may consider it a social gaffe, but that's largely a matter of taste and opinion, and only the most uptight of persons would make a serious case out of it. And what's more, if they did make a case out of it, I think the majority of the population would shrug and say, "no big deal".

That's what I call being reasonable. It's not that people aren't allowed to be offended by something like that. And there's no problem with preferring to see a person dressed rather than in their underwear. The point is that, regardless of your views, there are times when being in your underwear just makes more sense (just as there are other times when being fully dressed makes more sense), and I seriously doubt anybody would make a federal case out of seeing somebody in their underwear, even if they happened to be picking up the newspaper at the end of their driveway one morning.

All I'm saying is that we should have a similar approach to nudity. There are times when nudity makes perfect sense (swimming, for example), and if it weren't for all the puritanical modesty bullshit, and the absolute fear of discovering what Homo sapiens' genitalia looks like (despite the ironic fact that every person with this fear possesses at least one set of those genitalia that s/he can't possibly avoid looking at, at some point during their day-to-day life), I think we all could survive (thrive, even) with a more reasonable attitude toward nudity - much like the nudists already do.

The nudists are awesome in that regard. They are far more enlightened than mainstream society. They are not, however, perfect. I think that, on an individual level, nudists are in a good position to have a healthier approach toward human sexuality (and a lot of them probably do, although attitudes will vary just as much as in any group) than the mainstream. However, the limited acceptance that society gives nudists to practice their lifestyle (i.e., in isolated communities where they won't spook the normies), pretty much depends on debunking the popular misconception that nudism is a front for swinging sex orgies. As a result, nudists like to err on the side of promoting a "clean" image, since they have much, much more to lose from allegations of sexual misconduct (or any sexual conduct, really) than just about any other subset of the population.

I have no desire to turn nudism into a sexual utopia. While, again, I have pretty radical views on human sexuality, I think the majority of the population is, unfortunately, unprepared to act in a more evolved way toward one another sexually (although unlike most, I'd be willing to put that to the test, in the interest of science); and, besides, even if some of us were ready, the forces of chastity are far too powerful to allow such a thing to succeed. In any case, adding any kind of element of overt sexuality at all to the practice of nudism would be a surefire and fast track method of destroying pretty much everything that's good about nudism in this social climate. There's a reason I'm a nudist, but not a swinger (in spite of how sexually open an attitude I have).

And so we come to the issue of erections. Most guys (understandably) have questions about how erections are dealt with in a nudist situation, and most nudists say that it's not a big deal. Because in truth - it isn't. Men's anxieties are certainly not unfounded, but experience tends to show, and rather quickly, that the problem of unintended erections is much less than it's made out to be. They do occasionally have a tendency to pop up - and any reading of male sexuality that presupposes that an erection is always the direct result and guaranteed precedent of specifically sexual stimulation is woefully inadequate. But most nudists profess to be reasonable in the case of unexpected tumescence, so long as the "victim" of said tumescence discourages any further development, in as discreet a manner as possible.

And I believe them - it's just that it's the sort of situation where if everything works out right, you'll never notice it's happened. And I honestly can't remember a single time I've ever seen a man at a nudist resort with an erection. Of course, with some guys (especially the ones who are overweight), you might not be able to tell the difference. And there was that one black guy I remember seeing flopping around, but I'm sure he was just exceptionally endowed (I know, stereotypes are bad - especially when they're true :p). To be fair, this situation works out pretty well, as far as compromises go. There are other problems in nudism I would address first before complaining about the lack of erections (bear with me, for a moment) - like the obstacle of access to nudist environments (having to drive to the middle of nowhere, and then having to pay admission just to enjoy some outdoor, social nude recreation), or the fear and paranoia surrounding the use of cameras at nudist resorts (except the security kind), and nudists' reliance on keeping their lifestyle secret from their friends, families, and coworkers.

So, unless you're some kind of sex pervert (like me - and I'm not even generally attracted to men), you're probably wondering what exactly the problem is with keeping erections under wraps in a nudist context (as with everywhere else, except bedrooms and the sets of porno films). Well, as hinted at above, it breeds anxiety about our bodies, above and beyond the social imperative to encourage people to behave in an appropriate manner. It's a subtle thing, but as I mentioned before, erections are not simply and always about direct sexual stimulation. Sometimes they really do pop up, and that doesn't necessarily mean that they are entirely random, but the trigger could be something benign, such as a certain tactile sensation (the wind or sun), or pressure (lying on one's stomach, which is, ironically, often cited as a solution to the erection problem - it keeps it hidden, yes, but I find that the pressure is anything but discouraging to the erection), or motion (like the slapping of one's member against the thigh during athletic activity) that is entirely unpremeditated and wholly nonsexual in nature.

Even something psychological, like being unexpectedly treated to the sight of a beautiful specimen of humanity in the buff - which may actually include an element of sexuality - is still very much harmless, in my opinion, so long as it is permitted to run its course unaided and not progress to any kind of behavior or activity that would be inappropriate in such a semi-public, social context. That's just the thing, and it's something that's easily overlooked when people have clothes on, since the erection can literally just be ignored (as it is already covered up). Physical arousal is an entirely involuntary response, to use a scientific term. Though you can do things to deliberately stimulate arousal, tumescence is not a muscle you can simply flex by will alone, like your biceps. (This was the topic of a huge debate between a student and my biology teacher in my high school class, and the teacher, unsurprisingly, had the right of it).

The point is that you cannot consciously control erections (if you could, the distributors of Viagra would go bankrupt). You can do things to encourage or discourage them, but if some unplanned-for trigger unexpectedly starts the ball rolling, there may be some level of visible tumescence that just cannot be avoided. Sure, we can cover it up to spare others the sight, but I don't see the point. Nudists believe that nudity is a state of being, not a state of doing. Well, sexual arousal is the same. We can do things to incite arousal, and we can do things while aroused that would be explicitly sexual and, thus, inappropriate in most settings (especially nudist environments). But sometimes we feel some level of arousal independent of our deliberate intentions, and when that happens, it's as natural and innocuous as simply being nude. Erect - like nudity - is a state of being, not doing. People should be held responsible for what they do with erections, and even what they do to encourage or discourage them, but they should not be held responsible for simply having them.

I know, this is probably one of my radical positions, and I respect that. But my point stands. (Not literally - at least, not at this moment :p). Tumescence is just a natural feature of the human penis. Yes, it's connected to human sexuality, but it, in and of itself, is not sexually explicit. The very same argument comes up in the art vs. porn debate, on websites like deviantART, for example, where artistic nudity is permitted, but erections are treated as porn and disallowed. I don't think erections should be treated as porn. Being erect is not the same thing as sticking that erection somewhere or otherwise doing something with it. Being aroused is not the same thing as being engaged in sexual activity (whether intercourse, or masturbation, or what have you), and, wherever nudity is allowed, women are (discriminatorily) permitted to be photographed in an aroused state with immunity. I don't understand why if a person is permitted to view the penis in its unerect state, there's something wrong, then, with that person seeing it erect. It's just one of those things that penises do, and if you've advanced to the point where you're not specifically offended by the mere sight of them, then you should be able to handle them whether flaccid or erect.

Again, I'm not saying this is a big deal that needs to be made a priority in terms of social reconditioning. But it's one of those subtle, straightforward things that I think demonstrates how much human beings jump through hoops just to hide the reality of life - the fact that we're sexual beings, and the way in which our bodies work. Sure, plenty of people are offended by sex - and they're entitled to make their best efforts to try and avoid it in their daily lives - but it goes deeper than that, because we're actually legally mandated to hush up about the reality of sex, lest kids find out the reason they exist before we, as a culture, are comfortable letting them know about it (i.e., on their 18th birthday, and even then, only begrudgingly, since restricting the sexual rights of adults is impossible - so we just make sure they don't enjoy it as much, by undermining education, discounting facts, and instilling a strong sense of shame and self-loathing surrounding people's bodies and their sexual experiences from a very young age).

Bottom line? If I wake up in the morning, and my roommate has a guest over, I should be able to get up out of bed - having slept nude, and with my morning stiffy (that has nothing to do with sex) - and walk to the bathroom without needing to feign modesty and scrounge around for some form of coverup, in my own home. I'm not unreasonable - I'm willing to cover up when I go out, to protect the modesty of others, even though I don't agree with them. I'll even put something on to answer the door, since you never know who it might be. But one thing I really hate is feeling trapped in my own home, and being forced to act the part of embarrassment and modesty, which not only do I not feel, but am actively against, just because I know the other person is (probably) uncomfortable with my nudity. It's insincere, and there's nothing I hate more than not acting honest and truthful with people. If they're upset with my nudity, then let them react to it. I'm not going to express their reaction for them, just to save them the opportunity to be offended or uncomfortable. In my own home. And if they really don't like it so much, maybe they'll just stop coming over. No skin off my back.

Uh-oh. I'm one of those roommates, aren't I? But I just like having a sanctum somewhere, a place where I can be free and feel comfortable just being myself. A place I can retreat to when I don't want to deal with the rules and the compromises of wider society. A place where no other can intrude, without my invitation. Is that so bad? I think it should be one of the fundamental civil rights, along with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - the right to an inviolable sanctuary - not a place of total privacy where the law doesn't apply, but simply a place a person can go to be alone and relax, and not deal with the hassle of other people, and their expectations.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday

I must be a pervert, because whenever I hear the word "cyber", I think of cybersex. Naturally, it cracks me up when I hear people talking about Cyber Monday every year. But, following in line with my perversion of Election Day, this seems like a perfect holiday to celebrate everything to do with internet sex! Even if you don't have somebody to chat up (x-rated style) on the internet today, or aren't keen on hunting for a willing stranger, this would still be a fine opportunity to masturbate to some internet porn. I know, you probably do that every other day of the week (:p), but this time, if somebody catches you, you can just tell them you're celebrating Cyber(sex) Monday!

And before you ask, I must confess that I don't really enjoy cybersex, personally. I'd much rather watch or do than narrate sex. Cybering is too socially-oriented, and I am a very visual person. I would prefer, instead, to swap sexting pictures with some attractive exhibitionists. And I say that having some experience cybering in the past. When I was a teenager, in the days when "chat rooms" were still a thing, I had an ephemeral relationship with a particular girl, and we spent much of our time chatting together engaged in cybersex. Inexperienced as I was in the realm of sex, it was very exciting for me, and was the catalyst for my own true sexual awakening, as before that I had no idea how to "take care of myself" whenever I felt horny.

Me at 18, and ten years later.

Not much later, during the course of a tumultuous long distance relationship with a girl I had paired up with before my high school graduation, I had the opportunity once or twice to engage in some phone sex (presumably the pre-digital age version of cybering). That relationship also involved some picture trading, which gave birth to my interest in erotic self-portraiture, as I have described before. But it wasn't until several years later, after graduating from college, that I got the bulk of my experience engaging in cybersex, in the realm of Second Life.

And what that experience taught me was that I don't really like cybersex all that much. I created an avatar in Second Life and, pervert that I am, delighted in watching her engage in sex on screen on the various sexual position poseballs. For me, finding someone to "cyber" with was really just a matter of finding someone who would pose with me, but, to my disappointment, most people could care less about the posing, and would even go so far as to cyber completely by chat, as if the avatars didn't make a difference. And, frankly, I wasn't interested in getting a stranger off through chat, I wanted to watch my avatar having sex!

But, in the process of learning all this, I had to engage in a lot of more and less satisfying cybersex with people whose real world appearance (or even gender - though I suspect many of them were men, both those with male avatars and otherwise) I would never discover. All the time, I should mention, I presented myself as female which, entirely aside from any motivation to trick people, provided me great insight into how women are treated by men (especially sexually), and was also a catalyst in my real life transformation from male-presenting to female-presenting.


Obviously, I was propositioned a lot, since I designed my avatar after what I myself desire in women - she was a hot, young, skinny, flirty blonde (although I occasionally mixed up her appearance) who dressed like a slut, and loved to take her clothes off. Yes, a lot of the attention was single-minded, and not all of it respectful, but on the other hand, I had some men who would satisfy themselves just for the chance to sit and chat with me (not about sex) for an hour, some even willing to give me gifts without expectation of anything in return - even getting to see me again! Experiencing how men treat women while also understanding the male psychology behind that treatment is enlightening, although it doesn't inspire any more positive a reaction to the petty whining you hear so much of these days by so-called "feminists", who merely lack a critical understanding of human sexual interaction.

Some of my more "colorful" cyber experiences in Second Life involve: a lesbian threesome (albeit one girl was a hermaphrodite with a retractable penis) resulting in a daisy chain that resembled Neapolitan ice cream; a sisterly romance with another faerie (I would often put wings on and spend time being a faerie), whose keeper would also flirt with me; a kindly gentleman who gave me a sensual massage and finished our sexual encounter by placing a finger in my anus (which, at the time, still relatively inexperienced in real world sexual encounters, I didn't quite understand the point of); and a brute of a man that I don't think spoke much English, who took me to a dank warehouse at the back of some dirty alley, shackled me to a bare, blood-spattered mattress, and demanded that I scream while he fucked me raw. I remind you that all of these experiences were virtual in nature and didn't involve my actual, physical body.

A lot has changed since those days, although I would still enjoy logging in every now and then if the program a) had better graphics b) that don't take so long to load, and c) gave you something to do in-world beyond socializing with other players and simply exploring (although I do like exploring). I'm also a little bit concerned about censorship creep, since this is a virtual world that exists in people's imaginations, where you should be able to get your freak on without discrimination, yet there are still people insisting upon acting as the moral police. But I stopped paying attention to that news years ago.

Nowadays I'm more or less content to dress and groom myself like a girl, and reap the exhibitionist thrill of posting sexy pictures of myself on the internet. Although one of my deepest fantasy desires is still to have the ability to mold my body into any shape I want, like you can in some games and virtual worlds (like Second Life), so I could be a true girl down to every last detail. But until technology reaches that point (and I'm not holding my breath), I'm sure I'll be spending a lot more time indulging my sexual interests on the internet. A wonderful invention, no? And today - Cyber Monday - is the day to celebrate its most pleasurable application!