Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Am A Perv, Not A Slut

Are you sexually liberated? Sexual liberation does not mean doing things you don't like to do, just to prove that you're "willing" to do them. But it does involve keeping an open mind about sex, and being tolerant of other people's sexual practices, even when they differ from your own.

As a sexually liberated individual, you can imagine that I am very frustrated living in the current, sexually repressive climate. But contrary to what some would assume, even in my ideal fantasy world, promiscuity would not be particularly rampant. Most people would (still?) have most (though not necessarily all) of their sex within the context of committed relationships (or, potentially, committed friendships). But, people would be a lot more open about sex. There would be no stigma about others seeing you naked, and couples (or larger groups - committed relationships needn't be monogamous) would regularly have sex within public view*, or unselfconsciously share their intimate moments in a voyeuristic/exhibitionist capacity through pictures and videos.

*Keeping in line with the theme of non-promiscuity, others would respect the personal space of the "performers", for lack of a better term, instead of trying to insinuate themselves into the sex act. (I just have this image in my head of the stereotypical "cruiser", who thinks that if a person is liberated enough to have sex in public, then they must not care who joins in - which I don't understand, beyond a blind self-serving desire to get what one wants, disregarding the others' comfort and wishes. It's a lot like the victim-blaming mentality, that insists that if a girl puts our for some guys, or flirts and wears sexy clothes in public, then she's open game for your sexual advances).

Obviously, this all reflects my own personal interests, and would not be an ideal world for others not like me. But, I think it brings up an interesting point. I consider myself to be perverted, and sexually liberated beyond the norm that is expected of people. Yet, I have less sex, and probably safer sex than many who are labeled average.

For example, a guy can have unprotected sex and "knock up" his teenage girlfriend, and while he may indeed be chastised by his peers (or at least elders), he's still pretty much viewed as being normal, with a normal sexual appetite (just, perhaps, a lack of responsibility). Meanwhile, if I engage in "weird" sexual practices, like allowing anonymous strangers to watch me masturbate on the internet, I am viewed as a deviant, in spite of how responsibly I may engage in those practices.

This situation is illustrated perfectly by a scene I viewed on an episode of Girls Gone Wild. The cameraman follows a party girl back to her hotel room where she expresses mild jealousy about the guys the two girls she's staying with have been hooking up with. Then she permits herself to be coaxed (with very little pressure required) to strip naked and masturbate to orgasm, on camera.

It would not be a stretch for me to imagine the ridicule she might have received from her two promiscuous friends, if they found out (despite masturbation being an intrinsically less risky act than having sex with another person). I could also easily imagine them being the type who might, at most (and only with adequate pressure), flash the camera, but would otherwise scoff at the suggestion of getting naked and masturbating in front of it, so that countless strangers could watch it later.

It seems to me that breaking the 'privacy' taboo is more serious than being promiscuous. That is to say that whatever shit gets tossed around about sluts, pervs get it even worse. Personally, I'd rather value the responsible pursuit of sexual pleasure over the perceived 'normalness' of others' sexual practices. But I guess not everybody thinks that way.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Feminism's Response to Pornography

(This post, like the last one, is in response to another article linked in The Electric Journal of Human Sexuality).

For Goddess' sake, please explain to me how this image promotes violence against women.

Here's the problem with the feminist argument against pornography. Feminists complain that pornography is misogynistic. I think we can agree that misogyny is a bad thing. But in attacking pornography, they are essentially stating that all pornography is misogynistic - that pornography is in some way intrinsically linked to violence against women.

Certainly, some - possibly even a majority - of pornography is misogynistic. And fighting to reduce misogyny in porn is a noble cause. But you'll notice that this isn't a stance against pornography - it's a stance against misogyny in pornography. If misogyny were the problem, then anti-porn feminists would actually support pornography - provided it's of the non-misogynistic variety.

But no, you don't see that among the anti-porn crusade (which is not the same group as the sex-positive feminists who argue for better porn), they're too busy telling you why pornography - the entire form of speech which involves graphical depictions of sexual activity - is harmful to society (and women especially) and should be banned and censored.

That's like saying comedy should be criminalized because some of it is racist. Certainly, some comedy is racist - and there are arguments to be had about whether or not such comedy deserves to be protected under the freedom of speech. Regardless, labeling all comedy on the whole as racist and calling for its elimination could quite rightly be called insane.

And it's such an ingrained cultural idea that it's to the point where even non-"radical feminists" support this view. There is at least one art photographer whom I otherwise respect and admire, who takes nude portraits of women, who has publicly defined "pornography" as a form of "violence".

Quite frankly, I have taken photographs that most people - myself included - would describe as pornographic, and for you to suggest to me that those shots indicate a representation and defense of violence is extremely offensive to me, on the same level of offense Olympia Nelson rightly expressed when Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd described a nude photo of her as being "revolting".

I understand that nudity and sexuality are separate issues; I'm asking you to respect the fact that sexuality and violence are separate issues as well. And although - like nudity and sexuality - they can be combined, they are not equivalent. A graphical depiction of sexuality is no more intrinsically violent than a graphical depiction of nudity is intrinsically sexual (and I might even argue less so).

Let me make it simple: I will not concede any ground to anyone who's stance is in opposition to pornography on the whole, as an entire genre of speech. We can argue about types of pornography and things that are depicted within pornography, but if you're against pornography altogether, then your position will receive very little sympathy from me.

And, whatever you might say about semantics, there are actually a lot of people who seem to be of this position in the world. If it's a matter of poor phrasing, and using the term "pornography" when you really mean a specific kind of pornography, then it's really not unreasonable for me to ask you to redefine your stance to the point that you're actually saying what you mean, and really meaning what you say, before we can come to any kind of a common ground. That's not only fair, but extremely important in debates.

I am a pornographer. I am also a feminist (although I don't advertise it so much because the term has become so muddied and watered down as to become worse than meaningless). I am sensitive and I care about the tolerance of minorities (minorities that do not make up 50% of the human population).

And that is exactly why I will not concede any ground to anyone who is so insensitive as to criticize anyone who considers themself a pornographer or a defender of pornography, that is NOT part of the grand misogynist patriarchy these feminists rail against.

(For more on this topic, do check out my list of 5 Myths About Porn).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sexology, Perversion, and Asocial Sexuality

I was browsing the blogs on XTube today - but only briefly, because they consist entirely of uninteresting hookup personals - and I became frustrated, as I so frequently do, that despite so many people having an interest in sex, there are very few people willing to talk intelligently about it. The extent of most people's desire is to find what gets them hot so that they can get off. And then it occurred to me, that you do hear a lot about sex from the anti-sex crowd - the people who don't like to indulge in sex but like instead to talk about how horrible sex is ("the moral decay of modern society", etc.). And there just isn't enough of a voice from the sex-positive crowd - which I attribute at least as much to the sex-indulgers being ashamed of their indulgence than the proud ones being too busy getting off.

Anyway, a thought came to my mind which has come in the past - that I should be a sexologist of some sort. How awesome would it be to have some kind of official degree declaring my interest in sex beyond the obvious, to the level of intellectualism? I'm not really interested in couples therapy or the biology of sexual activity, but sex from a more philosophical and political/sociological perspective. I'm interested in how people think and feel about sex (more so than the actual sex that they have). I'm interested in how we as a society define sex, and how little that conforms to real human sexuality, and the enormous societal problems that causes in terms of how we deal with sexual issues (personally and culturally), as well as what solutions there might be to ameliorate that damage, and help improve the health of our sexual attitudes in the future.

But there's two problems. One, which is not dissimilar to the phenomenon I described above, being that 'sex' is not as frequently treated as a serious issue for study as, say, medicine, or engineering, or what have you. There is what looks to be an awesome school in San Francisco (of course) - the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality - but that brings me to my other problem. I do not live in (or anywhere remotely near) San Francisco, and I don't have the money to go back to school even if I did. Nevertheless, I began digging into their online journal of research, reviews, and such, and I came across this paper titled Constructing Perversions, which deals with the topic of classification of paraphilias in the DSM (a subject of particular interest to me, as it highlights the dysfunction in our current view of what constitutes normative - or, as the author designates it, "normophilic" - sexuality).

I have long been of the suspicion that our understanding of "perversity", particularly in the context of diagnosing mental disorders of a sexual variety (i.e., "paraphilia"), is a symptom of our grossly negligent misunderstanding of human sexuality in the first place. And the paper linked above does an excellent job of arguing that. The author explains how the religious model of non-procreative sex acts as sin has been redefined in our modern, secular world by designating the "purpose" of sex not as procreation but as being for "reciprocal affection". In other words, the point of sexual desire is to bring people together, to facilitate interpersonal bonding. Any sex acts that do not accomplish this goal are deemed non-normative and thus perverse.

This is actually, exactly the topic of an essay I tried to write once before, but never posted because I ended up going off on a massive tangent. It was titled "asocial sexuality". The dominant paradigm of sexual activity is that it serves a social function - to bring people together. Therefore, sex acts that are viewed as being "asocial" (which I do not consider to be the same thing as outright antisocial) are labeled perverse, and viewed in a negative light. Among these are included such popular pastimes as solo masturbation and private porn use. But, I would argue, these activities are not only a healthy part of normal sexuality, but are also invaluable resources for those who struggle with social interaction (as I do), and that stigmatizing such acts only further marginalizes those minorities who are unable to seek out sex in its accepted form - that is, the form of reciprocal affection.

Wow, I just summarized this long, meandering essay I had written in a single paragraph! Anyway, the paper I linked above is a very good read (for better or worse, the middle section goes on about Big Pharma's monopoly and selfish manipulation of our modern understanding of proper mental functioning), that also touches (albeit very briefly) on the possibility that "exhibitionism" may include a wide swath of behaviors beyond the caricature of the indiscriminate flasher (which itself is just one example of the importance of differentiating between people with truly problematic and antisocial sexual hangups, and other people who just have peculiar, but otherwise healthy, sexual appetites) - which I have approached before (here, and here).

God, the things we think we know about human sexuality are so tragically wrong. It truly is an appalling vista. And every time a lone voice of reason chimes out, cutting through all the din of ignorance and dogma, it is shouted down mercilessly. Oh no, you don't dare suggest that maybe pornography could be good for society. Or that prostitution might be seen as a legitimate vocation. And don't even think about re-evaluating what we teach kids about sex. Because we're absolutely addicted to our sexual dysfunction, and we want it to persist through the generations!

You know, it's true what Jim Morrison said. People are attached to their chains. ;-)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Girlfriend's Closet

I was reading about fashion in an issue of Seventeen magazine, and it hit me. Girls wearing their boyfriends' clothing is so accepted and mainstream, that a girl can actually buy clothes made for her, that are designed to simulate the "I grabbed this off my boyfriend's floor" (implied: after we slept together) look. See: boyfriend tee, boyfriend jeans. Generally, the style emphasizes the difference between guys' and girls' clothing, with the "boyfriend" styles being larger and baggier, compared to girls' usual slim, form-fitting garments.

And don't get me started on girls wearing boxers. Yeah, I can see the kink appeal of a girl wearing her partner's underwear (even more so than their outerwear), but in my opinion, a girl just doesn't look appealing in men's underwear. But it's a popular trend that's almost unanimously deemed "sexy", thanks to mainstream "guy culture".

But, try turning the tables for a second. I think a guy wearing his girlfriend's underwear is sexy, too (from the perspective of a guy wearing girls' underwear, not necessarily how he looks). And it's not uncommon, because a lot of guys (though most of them probably wouldn't admit it publicly) do have a bit of a perverted interest in women's undergarments.


But how is it viewed in mainstream culture? Not sexy. Not even cute. Just plain perverted. What kind of guy wears his girlfriend's panties, unless he's a perv or a closet homo (or both)? Either that, or he's a "pussy-whipped" sissy and it's part of his humiliation at the hands of his dominant girlfriend.

I'll grant you, that men's underwear (at least of the baggy, boxer variety) is more comfortable than a lot of women's (tight-fitting) underwear. (Although, I've never liked the feeling of wearing loose undergarments beneath another layer of clothing). And while women's underwear is more frequently designed to look sexy, because of the difference in men's and women's bodies, it often doesn't have the same effect when stuffed with a bulging package.

These pictures are probably unfair, given my ultra-feminine style and grooming.

Nevertheless, as with the entire wardrobe, women's clothing is designed with more variety, frequently more emphasis on aesthetics over comfort (compared to men's clothing - except maybe in the case of tuxedos and business suits), and many more fabrics and colors and styles. Maybe most men aren't into those things, but just as some women probably love the comfort and simplicity of men's casual clothing (the kind of girls who take every chance to borrow their boyfriends' clothes, and often buy garments of a less feminine nature at the store), I know for a fact that there are some men out there who find the ethos and philosophy behind women's clothing appealing.


Now, you can find fitted tees for men, and skinny jeans, and things of that sort, that are probably closer to feminine styles than what guys usually wear. But even then, I don't think we get as much variety in terms of colors and fabrics and graphics and what have you. Girls have the option of rocking distressed jeans and Nirvana tees (and are respected for it), but guys aren't really given the choice to wear unicorn tees and sequined jeans (and if they do, they're more likely ridiculed for it). Unless they actively shop in the women's section, of course, but then finding clothes in the right size can be difficult - since girls can rock the baggy "one size too big" look probably a lot better than guys can rock the ultra-tight "a couple sizes too small" look.

I came upon that problem trying to squeeze into this dress.

Well, this isn't the first time I've conjectured on a clothing line for men designed to simulate women's clothing. Ultimately, though, what's needed is not just the opportunity for men to dress like women (if they so choose), but also acceptance for it as well (although acceptance may be a gradual side-effect of there being more opportunities). A girl can grab something off of her boyfriend's floor and wear it for the day without much to-do. But can you imagine what it would be like for a guy to grab something out of his girlfriend's closet and, in all seriousness, wear it for the day?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Couple of Pet Peeves

To each their own, but both as a voyeur/exhibitionist and as a photographer/model, these two things get on my nerves.

1. Men who don't let their wives/girlfriends dress sexy or pose seductively, because they're jealous of other men looking at her.

You fuck with your cock, not with your eyes, jeez!

I could also go into fathers who police their daughters' wardrobes because they don't want them to dress like "sluts", while turning around and high-fiving their buddies when a group of skimpily-dressed "sluts" passes them on their way to the bar. If you enjoy women's sex appeal, how about treating the ones who show it off with a little respect? Sheesh.

2. Women who say they won't pose nude because they're saving their body for their significant other.

Even if the entire world sees you naked (which is not a big deal, by the way), your husband/boyfriend is still the only person who gets to have sex with you. And that's a pretty big fucking deal, in my opinion.

Like I said, everyone can make their own decisions in life, but these are two things I don't personally agree with.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unzipped


This is why guys don't sport the unzipped look very often.

The penis is such a pesky organ - always getting in the way, always demanding attention...