I'm (finally, I know) looking over the photos I took over the course of 2015, and I came across one that I really like, that I don't think I ever posted - here, or anywhere else. And I just thought to myself, it's a crime not to let the world see this picture. (Which, incidentally, is a similar thought process to the one that led me to start sharing my nude self-portraits all the way back in 2008). Sadly, I don't have any kind of fame as an artist, and I can't even post images like this one on most photo-sharing sites where I like to present my photography to an audience, because they generally don't allow "pornography" which includes the most artistic erotica, so long as it includes certain types of content, including erections. And though I could post an image like this one on any number of amateur porn sites, I honestly don't believe that a bunch of perverts primarily looking to get off would be able to fully appreciate it. But, just look at this picture:
At the risk of sounding like Narcissus, it's gorgeous! (The truth is, I would be just as enthusiastic if this were a picture I'd taken of someone else - or even if it had been a picture someone else had taken. To reiterate what I've explained before, I don't shoot self-portraits out of any kind of excessive self-obsession, but mainly due to a combination of convenience, anxiety, and the limitations imposed by certain modern taboos. In a perfect world, I would prefer to be shooting other people as gorgeous as this; I actually consider having only myself to work with a frustrating obstacle, and I've merely done the best I can with the material I've been given).
When I look at this picture, I just think about how unfortunate it is that the world will largely not get a chance to see it. There are forces out there - the forces of chastity - that want to keep images like this one hidden behind barriers that only immoral perverts would ever dare cross. Why? Would seeing an image like this one destroy a person's soul? I don't believe that knowledge of the human sexual condition is in and of itself ruinous. This image is beauty incarnate, and I want the whole world to have access to it. I honestly think it transcends the genre of "pornography" and manages to accomplish my personal goal and mission statement of creating erotic works that rise to the level of fine art. I want to say that you needn't be someone who enjoys the erotic appeal of the male form to recognize the beauty in this image. If people didn't behave so weirdly when confronted with the human body and its sexual functions, I would absolutely support plastering this image on the walls of art galleries and above fireplace mantels the world over. I lament that, again, due to the weirdness with which people approach these issues, I can't show this image (and the many others I take) to my own family, to demonstrate what talent I have, and what I've been doing with my life, where I've been applying my passions. Some (perhaps many) of my images, admittedly, are more for fun and the unbridled pursuit of eroticism. But because the censors are blind, I cannot even take pride in the best works I am able to accomplish, due to blanket prohibitions against certain sights that are part and parcel of most people's lives (every man views a penis on the regular, and an erection on occasion if not more frequently, and many women have similar viewing privileges, although there is no reason why even those who don't should not have access to such fundamental knowledge of human anatomy).
To go even further (and I may be pushing it already, but I'm not going to stop halfway), it seems to me a crime that sights like this aren't allowed to be displayed in person, in full public view. It's kind of a joke how many times people (some of them I've lived with, others I've interacted with online) have told me that it should be a crime to cover up my body with clothes. And I agree, wholeheartedly - but yet, there is the law. That's partly the reason I am a nudist. An advocate of public nudity. And one with a lax opinion on the subject of public displays of so-called indecency (including something as innocuous as an isolated erection). Granted, not everyone is equally "beautiful" (a subjective thing to start with), and we live in a democracy, so it wouldn't be fair to let "beautiful" people (but by whose judgment?) walk around naked and have sex in public while the rest of the population are discriminated against for their lack of fitness or lucky genes. Still, as I've said before, I'd be willing to put up with giving everyone the freedom to go nude and engage in acts of reasonable sensuality in public, just for the (probably rare) privilege of being able to witness those beautiful specimens with whom we occasionally cross paths.
Alas, it seems that it was not meant to be. And why? Because we live in a rape culture, where the slightest hint of naked flesh, accompanied by an unasked-for feeling of titillation, imbues us with a sense of entitlement? I'd be more than happy to extricate these brutish animals from the rest of us more civilized creatures, but perhaps the fact that it hasn't happened yet is because they constitute too large a percentage of the population. I feel as though I am the member of some secret society, who may only practice its rituals under cloak and dagger in unhallowed halls accessed by secret passages. Except that there isn't much of a society around me, and it isn't as much fun without community. Nudism is only a vague approximation of some but not all of my ideals. I am a lone wolf without a tribe. An alien stranded on an unfamiliar planet, with no knowledge of where my home is, let alone how to get back there.