Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Clear Shower Curtain

Now that you've read my preamble on showering with strangers (you did read it, didn't you?), here are some pictures of me taking a shower. ;-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Showering With Strangers

I think that, in our culture, showering is a pretty private activity. It's a bathroom activity - and most of those you do alone, even if some of them (brushing your teeth) are less potentially embarrassing than others (sitting on the toilet). Plus, you're naked in the shower, and modesty dictates that noone is allowed to see your naked parts, but for a few exceptions (close relatives when you're small, friends when you're drunk and goofing off, spouses when you're horny). If that's not enough, you're rubbing your hands all over your naked, wet body in the shower, and hell if that's not at least a little bit sensual (even if you're not thinking about that when you do it).

Most people shower alone, and have an expectation of privacy when they're showering - again, but for a few exceptions, like if you're showering with an intimate partner, or if you're a kid in the bath with your siblings. Of course, not everyone goes by those rules. Nudists, for example, are by definition lax about modesty regarding nudity, and in many nudist resorts and locales, there are outdoor shower facilities (like the indoor kind you find in locker rooms, that go largely underused thanks to a combination of excessive modesty and homophobia, due to locker rooms being unnecessarily segregated by gender) where men and women old and young alike all shower together without a care in the world (then again, they're hanging out naked together without a care in the world in the first place).

You, of course, don't shower with strangers in these places, as that would be pretty awkward, but you could very well find yourself showering next to, or in front of, complete strangers as well as friends and family members. And really, once you get over the thought that "this is supposed to be a private activity", it's really not a big deal. We all shower. And nobody is particularly interested in your shower routine - you do what works for you. Unless they're a jerk, nobody is going to criticize your routine or anything of the sort.

But what of the sensual element I mentioned above? Watching an attractive person shower can be a highly sensual experience, I won't deny that. In nudist contexts, this sort of thing is strictly verboten, because it is impolite, and people don't go to nudist resorts to be gawked and leered at. And what's more, if you aren't intending to be watched, then having someone's eye on you can make you incredibly self-conscious. But in a more appropriate context, it could be a very sensual experience, both for the exhibitionist in the shower, and the voyeur watching.

Now I get the sense that some people would think, "who would want to watch me showering?" And if they're not particularly attractive, then maybe the answer to that question is, not very many people. But if they are, or if they are more attractive than they think they are, then there might be some people out there who would be interested. Now, how is one supposed to feel about that? Cultural values regarding modesty dictate that we ought to feel a bit creeped out that somebody would derive pleasure from looking at us naked. But I say, why the hell should that bother us? It's only natural.

I guess if you think about it reflexively, if it were you looking at yourself, you'd probably be a bit creeped out, because I imagine that most people are not particularly attracted to themselves (I may be a bit of an outlier in that sample). But think about somebody else, who is very attractive to you. Of course, if you've internalized the sexual shame that society has pounded into your brain, then you'll probably feel bad about "lusting" after another person. But if you're comfortable with your perfectly natural and healthy sexual feelings, then you might recognize that getting to watch an attractive woman (or whoever you might be attracted to) taking a shower (preferably with her permission, firstly because it's more fun if the other person is enjoying it too - although your feelings on that may vary - and secondly because it's more ethical that way, which entails less guilt) is a pretty exciting thing to do.

Now, just conceptualize it this way. There might be some people out there who are attracted to you, and would enjoy watching you take a shower. It's not creepy or anything, it's just natural sexual curiosity. And there are probably a lot of other people who have absolutely no interest in watching you take a shower (and not necessarily because you're ugly, they may just not be attracted to men, or whatever the case may be). There's no reason to feel dirty about letting the people who want to see it see it. And if some people don't want to see it, that's perfectly fine - and they really should not criticize you for letting others who do want to see it see it. That's called censorship - keeping something from someone who wants to see it. If somebody thinks you shouldn't give a naked picture of yourself (just as an easy example) to a person who wants to see it just because the first person (who wasn't asked and shouldn't be butting in) has no interest in seeing that sort of thing, they are forcing their interests and morals on you, and attempting to restrict your freedom of self-expression. Don't let them do that to you. Don't let them make you feel guilty or dirty for engaging in this kind of activity, either.

On a related issue, I hold firmly to the belief that letting a person see you naked, or even going so far as to let a person watch you masturbate, is not equivalent to giving them permission to have sex with you. This is why you should not feel awkward allowing people you are not attracted to, to be turned on by you. You can give people the gift of sexual excitement, without committing to engaging in any kind of sexual contact with them (that's the beauty of voyeurism/exhibitionism). To use a more concrete example, say you're a straight man. If a gay guy hits on you, you have no reason to feel intimidated, because simply being attractive to a gay guy doesn't make you gay. Attraction, as you probably know, is not always a two-way street. It doesn't have to always be a two-way street to be worth anything. If you're willing to give your attractiveness out without reciprocation, and if others are willing to be attracted to you without expectation of reciprocation, then more people can be happier and hornier and more relaxed about their sexuality without a need to put pressure on those they are attracted to who aren't attracted back.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Looking vs. Touching

The difference between exhibitionism and swinging is the difference between looking and touching. I might enjoy having sex in front of a crowd, but it doesn't mean I'm willing to have sex with any or everyone in that crowd (whether or not I might fantasize about it in the safety of my own head). My erotic photography is not an advertisement for a product that can be bought for the right price. My erotic photography is the product. Some people would argue that it's a tease, that there's no value in arousing one's sexual desire unless you also intend to satisfy it. I vehemently disagree. I think there is intrinsic value in the eroticism itself, apart from any consideration for sexual satisfaction, and I also think satisfying oneself to an external stimulus is a perfectly respectable alternative to having a stimulus that actively satisfies you.

It's not unlike the argument that girls who dress provocatively and don't put out are asking to be raped. My sexual attraction to another person is not their responsibility, and if I find someone attractive, they have no obligation to me. I could be attracted to someone who doesn't dress particularly provocatively, or I might be drawn to an element of her clothing or style that she hadn't intended or expected to be attractive. This does not imbue her with any sort of responsibility to my sexual desires. And it's no different if she wears something that our culture defines as provocative, and expects to be accompanied by promiscuous sexuality. Regardless of a person's intentions with the way they dress (or act, or simply look), the only and responsible way to know if a person is interested in a certain type of activity is to ask her, not assume, based on appearances.

I welcome the internet because it greatly facilitates the practice of voyeurism. But we need to divest ourselves of this belief - particularly rampant concerning the interpretation of pornography - that a sexy picture is intrinsically related to sexual activity. If the picture depicts sexual activity, then it is obviously related to the sexual activity that it depicts. But if it does not, then we cannot presume that a certain body posture, or a come-hither stare, or the style or lack of clothing, or anything, is an invitation to sexual activity, when it could simply be flirtatious and sexy (not sexual) behavior.

In either case, there can be no presumption of a link to any other sexual activity that follows the display or sharing of that picture (and we must differentiate between independent sexual behavior, and sexual behavior that actively involves the stimulating subject - in other words, jerking it to a picture on the web is not equivalent to having sex with, much less raping, the person in that picture; all the more so if that person has absolutely no idea). Again, it all comes down to asking what a person wants. Pictures are not a "fuck me" permission slip (in your dreams), any more than wearing a miniskirt or flirting are. And neither should we treat them as if they were such an invitation to loose and licentious behavior by censoring them. A picture is just a picture, depicting only what it depicts. Nothing more. Anything else that might come of it is courtesy of the installment plan, and can be billed exclusively to those active participants who are responsible for it.

Hang on, "fuck me" permission slip? ...Oh, I just had a wonderfully naughty idea. >;-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A(nother) Note On Privacy

I don't want to criticize other people's uses of the internet, but sometimes my philosophy runs counter to the intuition of many. On flickr, there is a sizable portion of the community that is interested in what can best be described as amateur porn. This is entirely understandable, as sex is popular (whether you like it or not), and I respect flickr for allowing it, because otherwise, I would likely not be permitted to make 'artistic erotica' that borders the line of the explicit, and would therefore either have to give up my passion for erotic photography, or else find some other place to showcase my work.

Most of the people who are into this amateur porn sharing activity are less like me - with a driving artistic passion - and more of the 'let the horny pics flow' variety. Moreover, though they are undoubtedly sexually liberated, I get the sense that in most cases their sexual liberation is a 'secret' from their public and professional lives, whereas I - though I don't advertise my sexual interests to my friends (well, maybe a little) and family (to say nothing of business associates), neither am I committed to keeping it a big secret, because I respect honesty and transparency, and I think that sex should be less stigmatized and the only way to do that is to fight back against the 'deny it and pretend it doesn't happen' mentality.

Not everyone, though, is in a position to be able to afford the potential blow to their reputation should others find out about their proclivity for sexy "mis"deeds. And so, there is some concern about privacy when sharing pics online. Now, I agree that general concerns about privacy on the internet are valid and important, as regards personal information. But when the point of an activity is to share pictures, it seems counterintuitive to go to lengths to control the distribution of those pictures in certain ways. Most people keep their pictures on flickr private so that only specific people they add to their designated contact list can then see the pictures they share. This serves the purpose of preventing anyone not interested in seeing those pictures from seeing them, and only allowing those to see them who have expressed an interest in seeing them (and in some cases, having something in return).

On the first concern, I can't help thinking that flickr's safety filters already do the job of preventing people who don't like porn from seeing it. Of course, somebody who likes to see porn (or doesn't, but is willing to look for investigative purposes) will be able to see it even if you don't want them, specifically, to see it (say, a friend of yours or a family member who you'd rather not know you were into this sort of thing). On the other hand, people put up these "walls" of privacy that are mostly illusory, that do more to lull you into a false sense of security than to really prevent information from getting into the wrong hands. Any person you let past your wall of defense can take your pictures and then post them anywhere else, without your permission. Most of the people coming in are largely anonymous anyway (because they, like you, don't want their activities to be known), so you can't possibly know them well enough to trust them, and limiting access to only the most trusted has the effect of 1) pretty much defeating the purpose of sharing in the first place, and 2) not keeping you 100% safe anyway, because people you trusted can turn on you, or prove to be less trustworthy than you thought, or even cause problems unintentionally by making mistakes.

So, I say, if you're posting pictures on the internet, chances are they could end up anywhere. Which means two things. If you absolutely cannot deal with having to defend that picture no matter who sees it, then you really should not be uploading it to the internet*, unless you're prepared to deal with the regret and fallout should you gamble on the risk of nobody important finding out, and lose. The other thing this means is that if you're posting a picture on the internet that you're capable of defending even if your, say, grandmother** ends up finding it (as unlikely as that is, it is not impossible), then there's really no reason to put up any extraneous privacy walls other than trying to keep that picture in a place where people who want to see it can find it and people who don't can easily avoid it (although this is only an issue of social politeness).

* Of course, sending private pictures to your boyfriend/girlfriend/someone you trust by email is an entirely different matter than posting pictures on a photo sharing sight to be viewed and admired by anonymous strangers.

** Ex: Say I have a relative who is conservative and very religious. I'd rather not have her know that I pose for sexually explicit pictures and share them with strangers on the internet. On the other hand, if she found out, I'm not going to deny it, and I'm not going to hang my head in shame either. This is a part of who I am, and while it's unfortunate if she doesn't like it and chooses to judge me for it (the possibility of which is the reason I don't go out of my way to tell her), I'm not going to change, and I'm not going to feel sorry for myself because someone else doesn't like what I do.

And that's how I do things. I did mention another concern, which is the 'barter' system of internet trading - "you can't see my pictures unless you have some pictures of your own to show me." I think it's great to encourage people to go out and take more pictures for us all to see, but I'm not going to require that someone have a picture of interest to me before I allow them to take pleasure in viewing what pictures I have. Some groups on flickr also have this policy, in that you will not be allowed to join unless you have pictures to contribute that fit the theme of the group. While it's great to have contributing members, it seems kind of discriminatory for me not to be able to join a group to advertise my appreciation for erotic nudes of women, just because I haven't really had the chance to take any erotic pictures of women myself. Do you see what I mean?

Anyway, there's definitely a poor opinion of "leechers" and "lurkers" in internet communities, and while in some cases that opinion is warranted, in others it looks to me like your typical discrimination against voyeurs and people who lack opportunity and those who are more passive and like to observe the world more than interact with it. That's not to say that they're worthless and don't have anything to contribute, just that they go about it in a different way, and you really shouldn't discriminate against them just because they behave differently than what you're used to.

In short, to paraphrase what I've said before, I'm not about hazing and private communities and secret privileges. I'm about honesty and transparency and giving power to the people.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Toy Sex

I took the above pictures several years ago, just for fun. Who among us hasn't looked at an attractive doll or action figure of the appropriate sex and thought, I wonder what she'd look like without her clothes on? And who among us hasn't had the thought cross our mind to experiment with sexual roles using these dolls as stand-ins? After all, we play war games and adventure games and all sorts of games with our toys, why should we not also play sex games with them? The only reason I can think of is that we are indoctrinated to believe that sex is dirty and immoral and something we should be ashamed of, and only experiment with behind closed doors, keeping it all a big secret as if to pretend that none of it really happens.

I took those pictures purely for my own entertainment, but that was at a time when I was less sexually liberated than I am now, and also when I had less experience as an erotic photographer. These days, I can see the wealth of inspiring potential that the use of a doll or figurine can have in the context of an erotic photo shoot, and suddenly my mind turns once again towards the toys of my youth, but with a sexual gaze that has been for much of my life restrained. As a person who is questioning the accuracy of his lifelong socially appointed gender, I do tend to jump at opportunities to recover the girlhood I never had. Yet with a clear sexual appetite, I now see so much more potential in the procurement of a collection of Barbie dolls, for example, than a simple chance to practice the consumerist fashion-conscious role that is prescribed to girls.

Furthermore, I notice with curious amusement that among the great variety of sexual tastes that abound, there are some out there who do indeed get a special thrill out of interacting with their 'dolls' of various styles in a rather, shall we say, intimate manner. Though it does not represent an obsessive passion of mine, I must frankly admit that it all sounds like quite a bit of fun. And so it was that almost a year ago now I posed with one of my own anime figures for some intriguing pictures. I wasn't sure how or if I wanted to present those pictures at the time, so I stored them away for a while. But the idea was so clever and novel, that several months later, I decided that I simply must share the best one, at least, of those pictures for the world (or at least the perverted component of it) to see.

And now, because I have recently come upon some photos taken by others that have rekindled my inspiration for this particular photographic theme, I'd like to share with you a handful of other photos that came out of that shoot, almost a year ago now. Apart from being sexy, which you may or may not agree with, I think they are clever and amusing, so if the subject itself doesn't turn you off (which is to say, it doesn't bother you to look at closeups of somebody else's penis - which I would entirely understand if it does), then I hope you'll enjoy these:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Erection Day

I hereby designate the Tuesday after the first Monday in November Erection Day! So don't be shy, this is the day to sport your erections - because the only thing the "polls" are good for is jerking!

I don't support democracy. It doesn't make sense to me that a nation should be ruled differently depending on the personality of its ruler(s), especially when those ruler(s) change too frequently to provide any stability. Laws and rights and policies should be determined by logic and ethical reasoning, not tastes and opinions. Fundamental equality is a farce unless we abide by universalist ethics, not ethics that are voted on by a majority. Having a Constitution means nothing if its enforcement depends upon the individual interpretation of the person the rest of society has elected to judge you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sexy Holidays

Some people complain that Halloween has become too sexualized, with all the girls dressing up in "sexy" versions of popular costumes. I've never had a problem with that; in fact, I think it makes the holiday that much more exciting. Then again, I don't limit my festivities to Halloween - I like to sexualize all of the holidays!

Sexy Santa!

Nude New Year's!

Voluptuous Valentine's!

Frisky Easter Bunny!

A Horny Halloween!

And A Tasty Turkey Dinner!

Everything in life is simply more fun when it's sexy! And you don't have to wait for the holidays to come around - every day can be Sexy Day!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Witchy Woman

A Halloween treat!