Monday, October 29, 2012

Sex is not Creepy

I take offense at the notion that acknowledging a person's - any person's - sexual attractiveness is "creepy". Staring strangers down is creepy. Making rude comments is creepy. Making unsolicited advances is creepy. Certainly stalking and raping people is creepy. But acknowledging that a person - whether it's their body, their fashion sense, their personality, or what have you - is appealing to you in a sexual way is not, in my mind, creepy.

Why is noticing such a thing about a person creepy? We are sexual organisms, attracted to one another, why should we not acknowledge that attraction when it springs up, and why should we be so anxious as to put up arbitrary rules on who should be allowed to be attracted to whom and under what circumstances, when our bodies simply don't work that way?

What is it about sex appeal that transforms a person into meat, that degrades them for possessing it - isn't that illusion in the mind of the perceiver and not in the body of the perceived? What is it about sex that we are so scared of, that making any reference to it freaks us out?

"No, he can't think she's sexy because that means he wants to have sex with her, and that means he WILL have sex with her, and sex is rape, or sex is disease, or sex is power imbalance, or sex is freaky nonconsensual fetish, or sex is degrading! And even if he doesn't actually have sex with her, the fact that he thinks about sex - in association with her!, whom he doesn't even know!, or who is already attached to someone else!, or isn't attracted to him reciprocally!, or isn't ready for sex at all! - the fact that he thinks about sex is just gross!

"No, I don't care that he's a human being, a sexual organism, that sex is a pleasurable activity that makes people feel good. It's disgusting and he shouldn't be projecting it onto good, obedient virgins who know better, otherwise they'll be spoiled and defiled and perverted and oh god make all the sex in the world stop!"

I think it's fucking ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Ethics of Desire

Say, for example, a man is consciously and consistently aroused by the thought of violently raping women. Now, I don't see how any reasonable person could ever consider rape a justifiable action (although there may be some extremely convoluted circumstances I'm not considering - I don't claim absolute knowledge, especially not on highly emotional issues). Suppose, also, that this man - in spite of his extremely anti-social sexual desires - is a well-adjusted gentleman, and has no intention whatsoever of committing a crime as heinous as rape against anyone.

Take a moment, if you need to, to internalize that concept - that a man could be sexually aroused by a criminal act but remain virtuous enough not to realistically want to commit it (separating fantasy from reality, as they ought to be). Now if this man rejects his sexual desires because of their violent and anti-social qualities, he is in essence demonstrating that he believes they are violent and anti-social, and is thus in a better position to receive sympathy from those who feel that way about the things he happens to be sexually interested in. After all, a man is not really in control of what happens to interest him sexually; but he can choose how he approaches those interests.

But what, then, of the man who decides that he is entitled to sexual satisfaction? Not, mind you, the man who goes out and commits rape because it turns him on, but the man who allows himself to enjoy rape fantasy - because he knows the difference between fantasy and reality and is capable of allowing the fantasy to excite him while simultaneously understanding that it is, in reality, an extremely undesirable act to commit, on account of entirely non-sexual reasons, if not sexual reasons as well (i.e., not everyone who is turned on by the idea of rape is turned on by actual rape - take another moment, if necessary, to internalize that one, too).

The essential question is this: to what extent is a man free to derive sexual satisfaction from ideas that disturb "prevailing public opinion"? We, as a collective culture, worry about people getting turned on by rape (among other things) because we fear it will encourage - if not the same people, then other, less morally guided individuals - to commit rape, in the belief that if society allows us to think about it and talk about it and fantasize about it - especially in positive terms - then society will be more forgiving (if not downright accepting) of those who commit it.

Isn't this pretty crazy, though? Does the human brain not have the capacity to differentiate between what are good fantasies and bad realities? And if a fraction (could it really be a majority?) of the human population is lacking this capability, is it the responsibility of the rest of us to curb our speech, essentially punishing ourselves for the infirmities of our neighbors? Frankly, I think the hysteria arises from a misunderstanding of the role of fantasy - which is not necessarily a blueprint for reality - but especially the nature of sexual fantasy.

I don't exactly blame society for this, because our bias on the way we view sex prevents us from learning and understanding a whole lot about human sexuality. I do, however, blame society for not doing more to combat this anti-sexual prejudice. As a human being with a sexual libido, and no driving force (at least not since I left my "abstinence is grand!" sex ed long behind) to withhold my curiosity about sexual desire, I've embarked on the exciting adventure of finding out what it is that turns me on. And to my surprise, though I've always considered myself to be vanilla (and still do, for the most part), I've found that I can be turned on by some pretty twisted things (as I imagine most people - if given the chance - could, even if it's not what they prefer).

A lot of such things I wouldn't even want (let alone consider) to do in reality - and not just because they're not practical, but because they're the kind of fantasies that are just fantasies, ideas that appeal because they aren't bound to the laws of reality. And while you can certainly argue that my modesty and my chastity has gone out the window (good riddance!), when you start talking about "morals" - regardless of my beliefs about sex, I am not the sort of selfish, sociopathic person who hurts, deceives, or takes advantage of other people for my own gain, sexual or otherwise.

I can revel in sometimes (but certainly not always) sick sexual fantasies and it doesn't make me a rampaging monster. What it does, however, is increase the amount of pleasure I experience in life. And given how shitty life can be - especially to someone who wasn't popular in high school, didn't get a well-paying job, marry a beautiful wife, have healthy kids, and find a sturdy house for them to live in - that's a goddamn blessing!

And if anyone should be on board with a sex positive, "don't be ashamed of what turns you on" approach, it's the BDSM community, who is used to having strange and often anti-social (sometimes violent) sexual desires and being demonized and misunderstood for it. But there always seems to be a caveat - "our desires may be sick, but I understand them so I know they're okay - but yours, yours I don't understand, and they just seem wrong!" The sadomasochists criticize the bestials who criticize the necrophiles, and every one of them criticizes pedophiles.

I'm not saying everything is always sunshine and rainbows in sexland, and that nobody ever engages in dangerous or criminal acts, motivated by sexual desire, I just want to develop an approach towards sex that works across the board, with noone left out. An approach that says, it doesn't matter what turns you on, you can be human and you can be a good person and you can find sexual satisfaction, so long as you're not harming anyone (where 'harm' is differentiated from 'hurt', which a person might be aroused by receiving). You can talk about consent, but if you define it in such a way as to deny it to a broad class (whether of persons or non-persons) on principle, then it's not really about consent, it's about your personal morals.

One of my fundamental rules for sex would be that noone should feel ashamed of what turns them on - no one. That is part of the truth about beauty. What exists in your head - what makes you feel good, and especially what you find to be appealing, regardless of who or how many people vehemently disagree, can never be "wrong". It's what you do to other people (and your treatment of non-persons) that matters. Thoughts are not actions, and fantasies are not realities. It is not our desires that determine who we are - it is our behaviors.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Sexualization of Halloween (Part 2)

The article I linked on my first post on the sexualization of Halloween mentions the fun of a masquerade ball, and I had a thought while browsing the Halloween store the other day. Dressing up is fun, and there's a wide variety of costumes to choose from. But not all of them are scary. I was looking through the costumes, and I thought to myself, man, it would be a whole lot of fun to pretend I'm a ninja. Or, I'd love to dress up like a princess for a day. But neither of those costumes are very Halloween-y. Halloween is supposed to be for witches and vampires and ghosts and zombies and the like. Not faeries and superheros. But hell, there should be a day for kids (and grown-ups!) to dress up like non-scary things, because it's just plain fun! Maybe we need yet another costume holiday in addition to Halloween and Slut Day - Call it Fantasy Day or Make-Believe Day!

And another thought came to my mind while browsing that Halloween store. Some people complain about how sexist it is that women's costumes are sexy and men's aren't. Well, that is kinda sexist. But when they bring in the 'sexualization' issue, they like to complain about how young girls are encouraged (or even "forced" by alleged lack of alternative) to dress like sluts. Well my experience was that the 'sexy' costumes were restricted to the adult section. Yes, there were a lot of "cutie" costumes in the little girls section, and a lot of "sweetie" costumes in the tween girls section. And maybe it's similarly sexist to expect little girls to be cute and sweet, when little boys are free to be brats and hooligans.

But the fact remains, the whole 'sexy Halloween' phenomenon seems to me to be a way to get adults more interested in a holiday that has traditionally been more for the kids. And I don't see any problem with that. There's no reason why Halloween HAS to remain a holiday JUST for kids. And if it's the case that, if you invite a bunch of adults over to a costume party, they will be more likely to want to dress like sluts, just because it's fun, then who cares?

However, it's still true that this is taking away the emphasis of Halloween as a SCARY holiday. Actually, I think there is much about Halloween that can appeal to adults, without making it a sexier holiday. Halloween is all about the horror movies - the scariest of which children aren't even allowed to watch! Then again, maybe it was the slasher formula of mixing sex with violence that ultimately inspired Halloween to become a sexier holiday. In a classic slasher, you frequently have sexy, half-dressed teens running from homicidal psychopaths. And isn't that pretty well reflected in adults' Halloween costume choices? I'll admit, it's still pretty sexist to expect the woman to be meat and the man to be monster, but if it's just a role you're putting on, and you allow for transgression of the boundaries (i.e., monster costumes for women, and sexy costumes for men), then where's the harm? It's all good fun, if you ask me.

So I don't think sexualizing Halloween is necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, I'd like to have a holiday where I can afford to be scary without feeling like I'm missing my only opportunity to be sexy (as a person who loves being sexy), and I think we still could absolutely use a holiday like Slut Day. Plus, the purpose of Slut Day is not simply to dress sexy and have a good time - it also contributes to social justice by creating awareness for the very same ideas that SlutWalk was created, by emphasizing that a person's dress or behavior does not make them sexually available to anyone they do not consent to have sex with; that they are not a free target for assault or harassment. Mixing sex up with a holiday that traditionally glorifies violence works at a cross-purpose to that...

The Sexualization of Halloween (Part 1)

Every year I hear people whining about the sexualization of Halloween. Personally, I think the sexualization of Halloween is great, but I believe everything is more fun after it's been 'sexualized'.

However, the point stands that Halloween isn't really about being sexy. It's about being scary. And sexualizing the holiday tends to change its focus. Most whiners don't earn my sympathy, because instead of accentuating that point, they allude to how horrible it is that people should have a holiday where they're encouraged to show off their sex appeal.

Truth is, despite all the vocal complainers, a lot of people like to be sexy, so you're not gonna win by telling them to stop it. If you want to reclaim Halloween - and that's a respectable goal - the ideal solution would be to create a new holiday that IS all about being sexy. That way, people can dress up in scary costumes on Halloween, and not feel like they're wasting their only excuse to dress like a slut in public and not be criticized, because there would be that other holiday, too!

Of course, it would only work if we, as a culture, didn't criticize people for celebrating it. We could call it Slut Day, although that might be a little too on the nose. It could be a natural progression of the SlutWalk concept - a day where people can dress like sluts and raise awareness of slut-shaming, and how it feeds into a culture that enables sexual violence. And that way, people all over could celebrate it - not just those who live near an organized SlutWalk event.

So if you don't like people commandeering Halloween for sexy purposes, slut-shaming isn't going to solve the problem. Start acting nicer toward sluts, and they will no longer feel like they have to hide under the aegis of Halloween. Nobody would have to resort to the excuse, "I'm not a slut, this is just my Halloween costume," if dressing slutty wasn't considered a valid source for criticism.

P.S. After writing the above, I came across a news article where the author basically comes to the same conclusion. He suggests picking out the first Saturday in August as Slut Day, which is great, because it'll be hot enough to wear really skimpy outfits. Plus, it'll always be on a Saturday (unlike Halloween, which cycles through the week), so it's a perfect day to have parties, and you won't have the excuse of "I can't wear that to work/school/church" for not participating! I am so going to start celebrating Slut Day on the first Saturday of August from now on. Who's with me?

(Read Part 2 here)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The War On Sex

It's very obvious that there is a cultural demand for sex (in many forms). It's the fundamental nature of life. What I don't understand is why some people wish to eliminate that demand (are they sexless robots?), and punish all those who create a supply to meet it.

Lucky for us perverts, the continuation of the human race depends on people having sex. But there's a long history of society policing how we get sex:

Within the bounds of marriage? Fine.
Outside of that? Adultery.
For recreational purposes? Perversion.
With unapproved partners, or involving unapproved acts? Sodomy.
Recorded in media form? Pornography.
Exchanged for money? Prostitution.
With one's self in a quiet room? Mental illness!

Could somebody please inform me as to the point of all this anxiety? Sex is fun, and it feels good. It can carry severe consequences - this is true. But public ostracization should not be one of them. Why the shame, when knowledge ought to suffice? Why the stigma against safe practices (like masturbation, pornography) when things like teenage pregnancy are considered an unavoidable (if unfortunate) state of affairs? Why all the guilt and hangups about the simple fact that people are sexually drawn to one another?

Seriously, what gives?

Siding With The Prudes

Consider this hypothetical: a young woman takes a naked picture of herself with her cell phone camera with the intention of posting it on the internet. Unless you're a shameless pervert like me, chances are pretty good that if you know this woman (or even if you don't), you're going to be concerned about her intended course of action and, given the opportunity (or even not - you might just decide to whine to noone in particular on the internet), would likely counsel her to keep that picture to herself.

But why? Are you really concerned that perverts are going to enjoy it? I mean, isn't that the point? Or is it the case that you're really more concerned about what the prudes will do - to this woman's reputation, when (if) they find out? So how come you're more likely to criticize the perverts' attitude - which creates a demand for these kinds of pictures - rather than the prudes' attitude - which is eager to punish anyone who addresses that demand?

You might be right that a total lack of demand would eliminate these problems, but you're never going to eliminate demand (and I don't understand why you would even want to). It's a delusion! Why punish people for meeting it, then, instead of creating an allowance for those who choose to? What is even the point of propping up some moral ideal when the result of doing so is hurting people (like by hurting their feelings, or ruining their relationships, or costing them a job)?

Me? I'd rather be an 'immoral' pervert than an asshole. And I'd be happy if I never again heard someone criticize a woman (or a man, or anybody) for posting sexy pictures of herself on the internet, and instead heard people criticizing her family/friends/employer for treating her with disrespect upon finding out that she is - gasp! - a sexual organism. If you ask me, that kind of treatment ought to fall under discrimination - discrimination for being human. And, unlike the puritans, for wishing to enjoy life.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Are you a cross-dresser?"

Cross-dressing seems to imply a disconnect - a crossing of sorts - between your sex or gender (depending on where you choose to measure from) and the clothes you wear (which are themselves subject to gender stereotyping - e.g., skirts may be appropriate for men in one country or time period but not in another).

In a purely factual sense, I suppose that what I do isn't technically incompatible with the term "cross-dressing", especially if you believe the fact that I have a penis makes me male. But when I dress as a girl, it's not so much a costume I put on - which is why I shun the label "drag" - so much as it is just the clothes I relate to and feel more comfortable in.

"How you holdin' up, Stewie?"
"Umm... I feel right, Brian. I feel right."

Which, I guess, reflects my transgender feelings. It's not just the clothes of the female gender that I assimilate, it's the whole appearance (even to the point of grooming my body in such a way) and the mannerisms and personality. And it's something I prefer to do on a regular, day-to-day basis - and not exclusively for sexual stimulation - that rather than putting on a mask as for a performance, it's like I'm showing my true face instead.

So when you ask if I am a cross-dresser, the answer is really yes and no, depending on what you mean.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grappling with Guilt

In spite of my enthusiasm for the perverted pleasures in life, there is some part of me that is still infected with a sense of shame about indulging in pornography. Sure, everybody looks at pornography, but to star in it yourself? That shows a whole different level of commitment to debauchery.

And then there's the issue about sexual orientation. I'm not hung up about the whole gay/straight dichotomy, but I'm not really attracted to men. Using myself as a subject, it's different in some weird way, and I don't really want to try too hard to psychoanalyze that. It has a lot to do with my exhibitionism.

But there's still that part of me that's infected with those prudish beliefs about sexuality, where I feel like I'm denigrating my reputation (in the socially accepted strata of, quite literally, "straight" society) by acknowledging the erotic potential of the male subject, much less myself (which taps into social paranoia about narcissism - but why shouldn't I love myself?).

In the end, I try not to let that thinking infect what I do, and a large part of the appeal of what I do is the freedom of being able to say, "fuck the rules, fuck how I'm supposed to act, I'm going to express myself however I feel like it". I can appreciate that from the angle of reason, but it can only go so far as to influence my irrational feelings.

But the thing that always reassures me is this idea that I am modeling the sort of behavior I want others to replicate. I'm not doing it all for me. I'm demonstrating that you can take sexy, slutty pictures and share them on the internet and not have to sacrifice your principles or your self-respect.

Because, ideally, I want to see people I am attracted to doing the same thing, and I want them to feel comfortable doing it and owning up to it. The people who would say I am sick for taking pictures of my genitals and posting them on the internet would turn around and delight in viewing pictures of other people's genitals on the internet.

I call that hypocrisy. I don't want to be a hypocrite, but instead of punishing myself for liking porn (why the hell should I do that?), I decided instead to start making some of my own. So that I would be invested in it. So that I couldn't turn around and lie about its evils to someone else.

The only problem is, I don't see nearly enough people doing it the same way. The professional model - infected with the poison of capitalism - places money over the value of quality and integrity. And the prudes and religious nuts and anti-sex feminists who hold way too much power in society are succeeding at making everyone else feel guilty about sex and enjoying themselves.

I wish I knew a better way to cut at the heart of that disease. The one that infects people - the way I have been infected - with a prudish set of values surrounding sex and pleasure and modesty. But the best thing I know how to do is to lead my life the way I want to, and as an artist, prop myself up as an example for others.

But I wonder sometimes if I'm making any kind of an impression on people. Because I want to be more than another pervert on the internet. I want to be a role model for perverts on the internet. A role model who can make perversion look a little bit more palatable to the non-perverts who waste too much time trying to spoil the fun of others.

Maybe it's a futile struggle. But it's the sort of thing I live for. I prostrate myself before the Goddess of Pleasure in the hopes of seeing more girls liberate themselves from the evil doctrine of modesty. So far, the vast majority of perverts that have been coming my way are either men, fakes, or old hands.

But you know, men are allowed to be perverts. Men are supposed to be perverts. Men are frequently assumed to be perverts even when they're not. Women, on the other hand, can't be perverts. They can only be sluts - and that's not a good thing.

Well I'd love to change that, somehow. I don't exactly know how I can do that by posting pictures of myself, but I try in my writing to address the issue, and I hope that somehow my non-standard approach toward gender stereotypes can make some kind of an impact. I've got my fingers crossed.

Because, after all, it's all I really know how to do.

Covered Beauty

It's a sad state of affairs when a girl with a perfect body is reluctant to show it off, either because she doesn't believe it's good enough, because she thinks she'll be criticized as being 'immodest', or because she's afraid or just plain bored of the sort of attention she would receive from men if she did.

All I want is to create an environment where a girl feels comfortable showing off her body, where she can be complimented and not judged for her flaws, where she would be made to feel appreciated and not ashamed for giving others a chance to admire her, and where others would behave politely and considerately in her presence, treating her like a person and not a piece of meat (and that involves leaving her alone when she'd prefer to be left alone).

If you are a girl, and you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to accomplish this, I am all ears. As a guy, I am constantly searching for ways to approach the appreciation of a girl's figure that do not make her uncomfortable. If you are a guy, you could help by doing the same.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Feminism and Feminisn't

Feminism is a woman being able to wear slutty clothes in public, and not be considered sexually available to any man that wants her, as the "patriarchy" would conceivably demand.

Feminism is NOT criticizing a woman for choosing to wear slutty clothes in public, because she's exhibiting her sex appeal to someone other than the man that "owns" her.

Feminism is a woman being able to express her sexual agency - by degrees if desired - on her OWN terms; it does NOT consist of stripping her of the freedom of self-expression and the right to free association (or non-association, if she doesn't want to fuck or flirt with you).

A woman's rights do NOT depend on her choice whether or not to keep her legs crossed, and her dignity is NOT defined by the modesty (or immodesty) she displays in her choice of dress.

Sexism is problematic, but the solution is NOT sexless "feminism". Feminism - in its truest and most honorable sense - is not at odds with the natural process of sexual courtship between men and women.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Day In The Life (Illustrated)

As a self-portrait artist, I have inevitably developed an acute awareness of my appearance that acts almost like a fifth sense, a kind of third eye that hovers about me, always judging my visual presentation and alerting me when a potentially good picture presents itself, so that I may grab for my camera and try to capture it - if possible - before the moment is gone. This feeds into my narcissism and my exhibitionism, as I am constantly conscious of how I am putting myself on display (even in an empty room) - but for better or worse, this brings the privilege of being able to capture some pretty awesome pictures from time to time - which, as a photographer, is pretty much my goal in life.

So the other morning, before I had even become fully awake, I had pushed the covers off of my body, and with my morning erection and my body arched against the bed - the covers haphazardly pushed off of me in that oh-so-sexy way - I recognized the opportunity for an intimately erotic picture. I grabbed my camera, and began to snap away. And then it hit me - I could do a photo project where I took snaps of myself throughout the day, engaged in whatever it is I do on a random day, as a sort of illustrated 'day in the life' of zharth! I thought it was an excellent idea, and so I proceeded to take some 458 shots with my cell phone camera (the majority of them blurry or off-angle alternates of the keepers) throughout the course of the day. I will now share the best of them with you.

7am - rise and shine

checking my email (and flickr views!)

8am - breakfast

at the computer again
(where I spend most of my time)

10am - dressing for a jog
(gotta stay in shape!)

light exercise

11am - busywork
(doing preparations for a photo project)

12pm - making lunch

1pm - sweeping the floor

2pm - looking at porn
(one of the biggest perks of being an erotic artist -_^)

sitting on the toilet

3pm - guitar practice

4pm - in the shower

my hair is at its prettiest just out of the shower

5pm - dressed (reluctantly) to go out

checking my reflection

driving 'round town

7pm - bringing home dinner

back at home

 8pm - stripping

9pm - getting ready for bed

10pm - exhaustion

It's really surprising to me that I didn't get any pictures of me washing dishes. It's because I ended up having takeout for dinner. Usually I spend lots of time standing in front of the sink after dinner. Another thing I do frequently that I didn't do on this day was go shopping. But you can see pics of that elsewhere.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

San Francisco Proposes Ban on Public Nudity

"while the Castro’s reputation for promoting free expression is part of the neighborhood’s character, some nudists have taken matters too far."

Here's what I have to say about the people who are upset about having to encounter naked people in (a very localized part of) San Francisco. Like it or loathe it, public nudity is part of San Francisco's heritage. If you're not used to it by now, maybe you're living in the wrong city. Why push through legislation to normalize San Francisco, making it conform to the cultural standards of other cities?

Consider this: if you're uncomfortable seeing naked people on public streets on a regular basis, you have MILLIONS of other cities in the world to choose from! The fact that this is becoming an issue demonstrates that there is a demand for cities with relaxed public nudity regulations. What about the people who want to go nude? Far from forcing their strange and offensive lifestyle on others, they have nowhere else to go to lead the life they want to live.

Do these people deserve to be marginalized out of existence? Nudist resorts/beaches are nice places to visit, but for people who are into the nudist lifestyle, they're not enough. Entrance fees (not to mention membership dues) add up over time, and many people have to go out of their way to get there. For those of us - though a minority we may be - who want to live where reasonable nudity is a protected right and not a marginalized privilege, there are very few places in the world we can go. San Francisco is, to go by its reputation, one of the best places in this country for that - and even there, it's far from a nudist paradise.

And you're going to take that away from us? You're going to force San Francisco to be like every other city in the nation - just about every city in the world! - and leave us one less place (indeed, perhaps no other place) to go, to live the way we want to? I think that in the interest of freedom and choice, at least one large city in this country ought to be welcoming to nudists, and it seems very likely that San Francisco is the best bet. Why would you ruin that by cracking down on public nudity when there are already countless other cities that do that already? What alternative are you prepared to give us instead?

I believe that if you can't handle public nudity, then you ought to stay away from San Francisco. Either get used to it, or get out. And that's not me being rude - that's me returning the sentiment that people like you have been giving people like me all over the country on truly countless occasions. I'm not asking the whole world to adopt my stance on public nudity - the way you're asking the whole world to adopt your stance against it, by stamping it out wherever it crops up - I'm merely asking you to give us at least one city! Is that really too much to ask?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

PDAs in the Park

I saw this one young couple at the park that was very affectionate with one another. The girl was kind of a wild child, with streaks of bright color in her hair. She was tall, and thin, and dressed to flatter her body. The guy was an odd match for her, slightly plump, unremarkably dressed. But I saw them kissing and touching one another playfully, the way that only intimate couples seem to do.

The girl was wearing a really short jean skirt and these cute brown boots. The two of them were making out on the playground equipment, oblivious to pretty much everything around them. At one point, I saw the girl standing in such a way, that I imagined for a brief second how it would look if she pulled up her skirt and let the guy give her cunnilingus.

Of course that wasn't the case, but the thought passed through my head, and the next thing I considered was how it would never happen - at least not out in the open in broad daylight. But then I started to wonder, why not? I mean, there are obviously laws against that sort of thing, but hypothetically speaking.

Let's get past the whole "people think sex is a sin, and public sex in particular is disgusting" bit, which is a cheap objection. What would be the harm in a guy giving a girl affectionate cunnilingus in the park? They weren't soliciting strangers, and there wasn't enough activity on the playground for them to be getting in the way of anybody. So what would happen if they were allowed to go about their business?

The first thing that comes to my mind is, if a hot young girl is letting some guy pleasure her orally in the park, then a lot of other guys are going to get jealous. Now I would hope that most of them would behave and leave it at that, but I can't help imagining that some guys with a lot of confidence and arrogance and, let's admit it, stupidity, would think that because this girl is getting intimate in public, they're somehow entitled to get in on the action, too.

These would be the same type of people who think that if a girl wears a short skirt, she's game for sexual harassment. Just imagine their thought process when the girl is not only dressed like a slut, but is actually having sex in public. "No fair, me too!" At the very least, they'd proposition the girl (while probably ignoring her guy), asking rudely to join in; and at worst, they'd force themselves on her regardless of her objections.

Okay, that's pretty scary. But it's mostly a symptom of the "if a girl looks hot, she's asking for it" line of thinking, which we ought to be working harder to combat anyway. That, and the idea that there are horny men out there who want more sex than they can get (whether it's because women don't want it as much as them, or because the women just don't want it with them).

But that's pretty much inevitable when we make sex something that's hard to get, and when we shame people (girls, usually) out of 'giving it up'. If people felt more comfortable having as much sex (and it would be safer sex if we could pull our heads out of our asses on the education front) as they wanted, then there would probably be less instances of pushy men resorting to rape (even if it's 'soft' rape) cause they can't get it legitimately.

I'm not saying those men are justified in their actions, I'm just saying I can see the chain of causality, and if a healthier approach towards sex on a cultural level (which is a good thing in and of itself) has the side bonus of reducing some rapists' motivation to rape, then that's even better, right?

Another thing that would help immensely would be to legalize prostitution across the board. If a desperate man could put down a few bucks to get laid, he'd be far less inclined to manipulate women to get the same end result.

More so if we reduce the stigma on prostitution - namely, that 'johns' are pathetic low-lifes (not to mention, at this time, usually criminals) who can't get it 'the real way'. That, and whores are always filthy sluts who carry diseases (which is far less true than you might think, and would be even less true if sex work were a legal, legitimate vocation).

I just don't see how the whole, "sex is a dangerous force, we have to regulate it tightly and keep people from thinking about it too much in order to reduce instances of sex-motivated antisocial behavior!" works. Are we not about as obsessed with sex, collectively, as we possibly could be in this country? Fat load of good that approach is doing then, isn't it?

And antisocial sexual behavior occurs all the time! The people running the show would say, "oh, it's just because we're not doing enough, send us more money." But I say, it's because the whole damn approach is wrong. Prohibition turns sex into a criminal activity. No wonder sex hounds act like criminals.

It's not because people want sex or because people think about sex or because people are exposed to sex. Give everyone who wants sex an outlet, stop criticizing them for thinking about sex, and give up on the whole stupid idea that being exposed to sex is offensive or even traumatizing. (Okay, maybe sex is gross to look at sometimes, but outside of porn, nobody is forcing it in your face).

I suppose that if we relaxed restrictions on sexual activity, there would be a whole lot more sex going on - or, at the very least, the sex that's already going on will be a whole lot more visible. All I can say is, so what? Sex is exciting. It feels good. It gets you turned on.

I imagine people who really do hate sex (and hate being reminded of it) would just love to see it all disappear, the way we try to make it do now. But I wouldn't mind being inundated with sexual media everywhere I go. God knows I'm inundated with other kinds of media, most of which don't even thrill me the way sex does...

Let couples get it on in public. Emphasize that sexual morality consists of how you treat people - specifically, whether you honor their consent, and only do things with people who want you to do those things with them - and not of whether or not you 'indulge' in the mortal sin of lust. That's a god damn given!

Being a good person is about more than resisting the temptations of the flesh. Flesh is tempting for a damn good reason - and it's not so that we can prove we're able to resist giving our body what it wants.

Moderation is a good thing, yes - but you can't be moderate unless you indulge sometimes. Abstinence is about as wacky as total, unrestrained hedonism, and if that's what your precious 'god' values, then He scares me as much as you do. Come off it already. Sex is a natural part of life. Let's learn to deal with it in a mature way already.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Boycott Good, Censorship Bad

I came across an internet news article (of dubious origin) on the subject of sexualizing Halloween, with the following headline, and it got me to thinking about what exactly it is about calls to action like this that disturb me so, as a civil rights advocate:

"Stop Selling Halloween Costumes That Sexualize Girls!"

Really? So much for freedom of choice. If you don't like this trend in Halloween costumes, I fully respect your right to your opinion, but how about "Stop Buying Halloween Costumes That Sexualize Girls" instead? Your objection to the notion that people would willingly buy into the sexualization of girls is duly noted, but your insistence that businesses not even be allowed to offer this choice to potentially discerning customers (benefit of the doubt, anyone?) is alarming.

I would fully support a new chain of costume stores that specialize in 'traditional' (that is: scary) Halloween costumes, or even one that's totally geared toward 'age-appropriate' (by completely subjective standards) kids' Halloween costumes (assuming such a thing would be profitable), as long as they're not accompanied by vindictive ad campaigns designed to smear the sexier competition (rather than offering "a refreshing alternative").

But you know, what's popular will be popular, and supply has a tendency to meet demand. The important thing is that people have a choice. You can argue why you think one choice is better than another, but calling to eliminate the very option you detest from being considered by others is very dangerous ground. Why can't we just live and let live?