Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In Praise of Two Authors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. Sorry to hear you had the flu, but glad you're better now. I've been lucky so far, but of course that could change at any time.

    Thanks for your thoughts on some interesting authors. Your gift for clear, thoughtful writing makes me think you should write a book detailing your thoughts and experiences. Take the reader through one of your self-shot photoshoots, or relate other cool nudist-type experiences, like going to the movie with a skirt but no panties, lol. Go through your sexual bucket list, etc. Talk about your philosophy of life and sex. I think you could do a great job of this.

    Anyway, one of the reasons I say this is that I was reading the latest issue of Scientific American the other day when I came across an ad for a book called Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us, by Jesse Bering. I haven't read it, but the title is suggestive. Also, the blurb for it sounded like something you might find interesting. Here's a short quote:

    "… [Bering] argues for the efficacy of science and logic over irrational morals when addressing sexual deviancy. Citing numerous studies and historical sources, Bering makes the claim that, deep down, we are all sexual deviants in one form or another—and that sexual deviancy is, in fact, not deviant at all".

    I thought, wow, I know someone who could do a great job of writing a book like that. How about a title like this:

    Prude Versus Nude:
    Living clothes free under the Textile Taliban

    Oh well, just a thought – one that's at least half way serious, lol. Thought you might get a chuckle out of it.

    I hope you're feeling well, and are off to a good start on the new year.

  2. Oh yeah, I can definitely relate to that blurb. Sounds like a book I'll have to read!

    You know, I'd love to write a book, but frankly I'm daunted by the task. I don't have the professional experience to lend credence to whatever claims I make (citations to research, etc.). I guess that doesn't mean there isn't room for just one person's experiences and observations, but I'm not sure how I would collate the sort of stuff I write on this blog into a coherent and finite product, and then how I would even market it.

    It's definitely something I'd like to keep on the table for consideration though. Maybe a retrospective of my life as pertains to my sexual liberation, my discovery of nudism, and my modeling/photography hobby - illustrated with my own photos, of course. It's something for me to think about...