Thursday, June 30, 2016

Outfit of the Day (#ootd)

I was very excited to wear this belly shirt, now that I've got a stomach flat enough and toned enough to warrant showing off.

I've always enjoyed girls with sexy stomachs who are willing to expose their midriffs in public (e.g., Alexandra Daddario in Texas Chainsaw 3D - second from right). I feel like I got a lot of stares (the good kind). It was a weird experience, wearing a shirt (not, like, a bikini top), yet having the middle of my body exposed. I kept being surprised by the feel of my purse strap against my bare skin. There was even a little bit of sexy flash of my hip bones. But it was great! I felt fantastic. And, after all, summer is the season to wear less!

Here are a couple pictures of this outfit "in the wild".

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

An Angry Rant

(You have been warned)

The more I think about it, the more I have to wonder if I'm not truly abnormal, in that I want to be surrounded by beautiful, naked creatures on a daily basis. I mean, this is probably not that unusual a fantasy, at least going by the way a stereotypical man's mind tends to function (although a conventional man would probably want something more akin to a roaming orgy, than a living, breathing art gallery).

But in my case, there is little - if anything - else in life that seems quite so appealing to me. I don't care about building a family. I don't care about making money (except insofar as it would make life more comfortable). My personal handicaps make social interaction (including creating and maintaining friendships) often more trouble than it's worth. Being surrounded by beautiful, naked creatures is the only thing I really feel is worth dedicating my life's effort to.

I don't know whether that makes me weird, or if it's just that one weird thing everybody has (okay, maybe not everybody) that they happen to be living for. Of course, going about getting it is one great, big mystery. But the thing that really irritates me is how much other people seem to want to get in the way of me getting what I want, just because it seems weird to them.

Like, you don't have to live in my naked utopia. And, obviously, one of the difficulties of constructing this naked utopia would be finding attractive people who don't mind being naked eye candy. (But it's not like they'd have to stand on pedestals 16 hours a day - they can all lead normal lives, I just want to be around them while they do so).

But there is so much ingrained social programming that stands in the way of anybody even accepting a life like that. Nudism is fantastic, but it's hampered by a serious demographics problem. Granted, the point of nudism is not aestheticism. But the sometimes neurotic lengths to which they emphasize "body positivity" (as opposed to a more classical pro-fitness stance), and their phobia of cameras and "sexualized" depictions of nudity in popular media, demonstrates the problem we have in this culture with appreciating beauty.

To be sure, our culture fetishizes beauty to an incredible extent. Ask any moral conservative, and they'll complain about the "pornification" of culture, all the way down to the clothes children wear in primary school (because keeping a watchful eye on the length of little girls' shorts - and complaining about how distracting they are - is totally not pervy, nuh uh, no way). But in spite of this erotic beauty cult that exists, if you dare to glorify in it, you not only sacrifice your reputation as an upstanding, God-fearing citizen (as if religion should even still matter in this post-modern age), but people will actively try to bar you from indulging in the same things that the advertising industry is trying to sell you!

It's all an artifice. An image that we are exposed to. Inundated with. But we are not allowed to live it. I glory in the beauty I frequently see in the world around me, just walking down the street. But god forbid you should want to take a picture to remember the sight by - you'll have people screaming at you for invading their privacy (in public), calling for you to be subjected to a modern version of branding, with the scarlet letters of "sex offender" - the lowliest of lowly scum that exists in modern society.

Forget the violent offenders - the abusers, the murderers - and the drug offenders (and I don't mean petty weed offenses here). Hell, even the rapists are honored for having the balls to just reach out and take what they want. No, the worst of them all is the pathetic, 40 year old virgin who "pervs" on women and girls in a way that is not actually harmful, but just "creepy". Because we're not allowed to acknowledge the fact that the very reason we exist - the reason we walk and talk and eat and sleep and shit and breathe fresh air - is because of the natural attraction that exists between the sexes.

No, that doesn't mean that we can't talk about healthy and unhealthy ways to express those feelings. But can we at least start with a basic, rudimentary understanding that men are animated by the feelings that they get from women? It is, to a large extent, their raison d'etre. And I don't think it's always necessarily sexual, but I feel like it's related to that fundamental drive.

Because if you're going to take away all the toxic ways that men can demonstrate their appreciation of women - and this is a laudable goal - you must be willing to join us at the table of discussing those healthier ways that men can continue to pursue that sweet nectar of the gods that appears in the form of women. For if you just leave us hanging, unfulfilled, with no outlet for our mania, the pressure will build, and the situation will only get worse.

Listen, if you want to go create a sexless society, where women never have to worry about being hit on, then I support you in your endeavor 100%. Just go and do it already, and stop infecting the rest of us with your anhedonic poison, like a corpse strolling through a beautiful garden, leaving nothing but death and decay in its wake.

(You were warned)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Construction (and Deconstruction)

This week I'm putting together a new desk.

That is, when I'm not taking a break to take pictures of me putting together a new desk. (But I knew you'd thank me :p).

Some of these pictures got me thinking about an issue I have with a lot of people's attitudes towards nudity. One of the most common criticisms levied against nudism is the fact that "it's never the people you want to see naked" (which isn't strictly true, but is accurate enough in a statistical sense). Now, as any nudist will understand, this is completely missing the point of nudism. But most non-nudists haven't experienced nudism, and don't know the feeling of going nude, which is why they focus on the seeing, instead of the being. It's also a possibility that only a minority of the population is wired (or conditioned) in such a way as to be able to derive enjoyment from the practice of going casually nude. Which could, in part, explain why nudism is a minority lifestyle that the majority of the population thinks is - at best - weird.

Regardless, there is some truth to the complaint that not every body is nice to look at in the nude. In nudism, you get used to seeing people's bodies, and even getting an eyeful of the less flattering ones tends to bother you less and less. (And I would argue that this is generally a healthy thing, because you become less hung up on bodies and what they look like). But, nonetheless, nobody (barring a small minority I don't doubt exists, who are into this sort of thing) really wants to see, for example, their overweight, aging uncle bending over a desk, without any clothes on - I'm not trying to pass off an absurdist argument here. But you know what is nice? The same view, but of an attractive, twenty year old hottie.

However, sights like this are exceedingly rare in everyday life, given that we feel compelled to censor them for a variety of reasons, including fairness and equal rights (although I would argue that it's worth it to let unattractive people go nude just for the reward of seeing attractive people nude - but this is not the majority's opinion). And while the rarity of such sights might make them feel extra special, I would argue that we don't get to experience them nearly enough (call me a hedonist - although "aesthete" would be more accurate - but I want to be surrounded by beauty, not simply awarded a few furtive glances here and there, scattered throughout a long and miserable life)*.

Not all of us have the good fortune of being able to have the experience of being in an intimate relationship with a supermodel (one of the few contexts in which one might encounter - and be permitted, socially as well as legally, to encounter - this kind of sight with any regularity), and even those of us lucky few who do, tend to get to do so for only a limited period of their lives, before time (or feelings) takes its toll. There is porn, for sure, but I object to the assumption that this kind of thing has to necessarily be associated with sex (sometimes it's nice to get the view without that extra baggage and added pressure), plus it's also more visceral a treat when you get to see it in person.

But this idea that the human body is "disgusting" and offensive to look at - I'm not gonna go so far out of my way as to say that there is no truth to that statement. Sometimes nature - raw and uncensored - can be hard to stomach. And all bodies are not "beautiful" in the same visual, physical way. But you know what? Some of them are. And I don't understand why we can't celebrate that separately from the idea that the human body is taboo.

Yeah, sure, if some ugly guy takes a snapshot of his asshole, chances are it's going to be a disgusting, offensive picture that very few people are going to want to look at (much less appreciate being shown without warning - if posted, for example, anywhere other than an amateur porn site). But why is that an argument against the exhibition of a picture of a beautiful model being depicted tastefully, albeit explicitly? I understand that much of this is subjective, and there is always going to be a grey area, but why are community standards so heavily biased towards the one side? Can't we at least rule fairly on the black and white cases lying at the extremes?

Like everything else, bodies can be depicted tastefully and tastelessly, so why is it that a body tastefully depicted (and I mean being able to see the anatomy, not "tasteful" in terms of the coy, "you can't really see anything" teasing that is so popular in the mass market media) is lumped in with disgusting, distasteful depictions of human flesh? It's all treated as taboo, without distinction. But this idea that there is something fundamentally disturbing about the human body - not in the way it is shot or posed, but intrinsic to its very nature - is extremely unhealthy. Is this not obvious?

How can we go through our lives believing that our bodies - our very bodies! - are such loathful things? Is it any wonder we have serious body image issues in our culture? Not just because we hold ordinary people up to extraordinary standards, but that even the people who have beautiful bodies are made to feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with them - that if, for example, a kid were to see it, it would psychologically damage them for life. And even if it's the case that beautiful naked bodies tend to remind people of sex, why does it make sense for people to be so neurotically sensitive to that topic, which informs most of what we do as animate lifeforms crawling over the face of the planet? I think it's clear where the psychological damage can truly be found.

* You know what, this calls for a full-on rant. But I'll save it for another post.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Annual Speedo Rant

Believe it or not, I recently read some comments about swimsuit standards in some parts of Europe, that actually deem "swim trunks" (i.e., the long-legged "board shorts" that are ubiquitous in the United States) unacceptable pool attire - mainly for more-or-less bogus hygiene reasons. Whether or not that's true (and it's plausible, given stereotypes of the speedo's relative acceptance in Europe), it struck me how opposite that was to what I'm used to here in the States, where instead of being pretty much mandatory, speedo-style swimsuits are not only uncommon, but sometimes even restricted! While the only reasonable swimming attire is nudity, I think the European approach makes more sense of the two, because it preserves the notion of getting undressed before going into the water. I cannot believe how prudish and puritanical our standards are here in America. It's insane!

Honestly, if this truly were a free country, then I would not encounter the restrictions against speedos that I've come across. Are speedos for everyone? Of course not! Does that mean that no one should be allowed to wear them? No! Because whether or not you like them should not dictate my decision on whether or not to wear one. Every argument you could possibly make against speedos could also be made about bikinis. But that doesn't stop bikinis from being ultra popular. The only meaningful difference stems from the fact that we live in a patriarchal society dominated by the male gaze. So while it is okay - even encouraged! - for women (and their daughters) to parade themselves around the family pool like pieces of meat, the [straight male] powers that be tend to get uncomfortable when men do the same, and thereby deem it unacceptable.

But what really amazes me is how many women go along with this state of affairs. They'll believe that any woman should be allowed to wear a bikini if she feels empowered by doing so, because of freedom and equality and self-confidence and all that, but that even fit men look ridiculous in speedos (like, really?), and should be banned from wearing them on the off chance that permitting them to do so might encourage a not-so-fit man to also wear one. (I tell you, so-called "women's issues" are not limited to women, yet feminists love ignoring half of the population's concerns). Or that somehow the mere suggestion of the shape of a penis is intrinsically traumatizing (either to children, or to women - who are considered in the victim culture to be just as weak and vulnerable as children) in a way that pointy nipples and camel toe are decidedly not.

Um, right. That's totally fair. Simply put, it is sexist discrimination for speedos to be banned anywhere that bikinis are permitted. And the fact that feminists don't even address this issue - not even as a footnote - when talking about the cultural objectification of women makes me feel not only that feminism is not on my side (which is understandable, since I was not born a woman), but also that feminism is not about equality; rather, it is about female supremacy. Otherwise, they wouldn't be so allergic to a truly egalitarian approach to the issue, and they wouldn't be so quick to dismiss what they perceive as a "male" perspective (in spite of it being very unconventionally so). In conclusion, you may not like speedos, but your preferences have no jurisdiction over my choice to wear them. And banning them is antithetical to equality, so long as women continue to bear nearly all in their bikinis. And if you want to ban those, too, then you're quite simply an enemy of freedom.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Porn Spectrum

I feel like people may be getting sick and tired of hearing about "spectrums" (spectra?) by now. First it was the sexuality spectrum - Kinsey's groundbreaking research into the shades of grey that exist between "gay" and "straight". Nowadays it's the gender spectrum - people existing at disparate points between "male" and "female" (and even living at multiple separate points simultaneously, or somewhere off of the spectrum entirely - more on that in another post). But regardless of whether anyone likes it or not (and why do people not like diversity and inclusivity?), spectrums are a useful way of looking at things. Unless you're a coin, very few things in life are legitimately black or white. Oversimplification can make things easier, but it can also obscure the full nature of reality.

In any case, I just came (that's what she said) to the realization that porn can be viewed as being on a spectrum, too. This isn't a new concept to me - I've argued in the past that most anti-porn activists are committing a logical fallacy by equating all porn with the particular kind (usually abusive) that they don't like. But using the idea of a spectrum - hey, that works great! Most people recognize the difference between hardcore and softcore porn, which is a good place to start. But unless they're trying to get off, few people actually make much of a distinction between the two. In their minds, it's all porn. But not all porn is the same. It shouldn't all be treated the same. And it shouldn't all be subject to the same rules and regulations.

For example, people frequently have a hard time determining whether something constitutes "porn", in order to be able to decide whether or not it needs to be censored - or, barring that, censured. In on-the-fence cases - like fine art nudes and nudist media - there's a wide margin for error, that often results in miscategorization. The fact of the matter is, anyone can use anything for porn. But that doesn't make it sexually explicit. If one person jerks off to a Home & Garden magazine, does that mean we should start selling it on the newsstands in an opaque sleeve, to protect innocent eyes? No, of course not! That wouldn't make sense. The FBI would have to start investigating gardeners for not getting written proof of age for the plants they've shared pictures of on Facebook.

The truth is, porn exists on a spectrum. Actually, it exists on a lot of spectrums. From softcore to hardcore, dressed to nude, non-contact to penetration, solo to group, consensual to nonconsensual, pain to pleasure, vanilla to kinky. All of these things vary in quantity and quality - and popularity. They encompass different acts with varying degrees of repercussions - physically, psychologically, and socially. Some of them are vastly different from the rest. They do not all demand the same treatment. The fact that snuff films (if they are more than just a fantasy) are unconscionable does not, for example, impugn the reputation of naked selfies. And if you like naked selfies, this can not, similarly, be construed as a tacit endorsement of snuff films. Understand?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Night Shadows

I haven't done long exposures in the dark in quite a while.

And I'm thinking that maybe there's a good reason for that...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Field Lines of Erotic Attraction

I suppose the subset of the population that could fully appreciate the humor of this image is relatively small. Nevertheless, I think it's a perfect blend of art, science, and eroticism.