Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nudists and Tanning

Over the past five years or so, I seem to have gotten into the habit of taking pictures to document my tan (or lack thereof, as the case may be) after spending time practicing outdoor nude recreation. It's only Memorial Day - the first official weekend of the unofficial summer season (because summer actually starts 2/3 of the way through June, on a day the pagans referred to as "midsummer" - confused yet?) - but I'm excited, because this was the first time I'd been able to get nude out in the sunshine since last September! Well, it looks like I managed to avoid getting a burn this past weekend - which is always good - despite participating in a volleyball tournament. (It was pretty overcast on that day, for what that's worth).

I could probably fill a book with my observations of the nudist lifestyle (not all of them entirely nudist-kosher), one of which is the fact that they are all so very tan. Which makes sense - given all the time they spend out in the sunshine. I don't doubt that if I had the privilege of living a 24/7 (or hell, even an every-weekend-during-the-summer - as it is, I can only afford the time, money, and effort to make it out to a nudist camp about 4-6 weekends a year, depending on scheduling) outdoor nudist lifestyle (as opposed to staying cooped up indoors as I am usually forced to), I'd probably be pretty tan after a while too, in spite of any efforts to the contrary.

Which is the thing. You get the feeling sometimes that nudists enjoy getting a sun burn. It's certainly not surprising that some of them take their tans very seriously, and are proud of them. Personally, I've never understood tanning culture, even within the textile community. Maybe it's just because I think pale skin is attractive (for whatever reasons). I even think pale nudists are more appealing, because, while a dark, all-over tan suggests copious amounts of exposure, a pale body implies new, fresh skin, and all of the excitement of new experience that comes with its exposure - at least in terms of psychoanalytical interpretation.

Suffice to say that I don't mind getting a little sun in the summer time - a little, natural bronzing is okay, but I don't like tan lines at all. Being out in the sun in a t-shirt brings thoughts of a most un-appealing "farmer's tan", which leads me to want to take off my shirt. But then I think about the length of the legs of my shorts, and I begin to rue the fact that it's not commonly accepted in our society for men to walk around in Speedos, outside of pools and beaches and water parks (and, to be honest, maybe not even there...). But even that would leave me with an uncharacteristically pale behind. (I swear, even during the winter this past year, my butt was still paler than the rest of my body, long after I'd been out of the sun).

Last August

Is the solution staying out of the sun entirely? For much of my life, I thought so. Nowadays, there are things worth doing out in the sun (and the more exposed you are, the more fun they are), so I have to live with the compromise of trying to create a gradual fade between darker and lighter skin, rather than a harsh and unappealing tan line. But it's worth stating that, unlike how most nudists would probably feel, I value my pale skin. I don't particularly want to end up looking like the prototypical nudist, with dark orange, leathery skin. And while sunshine is essential to our health as human beings, I don't imagine that getting too much of it is a very good idea. So, I guess I'll go on heavily patronizing the sunscreen industry.

It's worth noting, however, that I am boycotting the Coppertone brand - in spite of the monopoly they hold over the sunscreen market - on account of their inexcusable prudishness. Once upon a time, their brand was marked by the iconic image of a little girl on the beach, with her swimsuit being pulled down by an ornery dog, to reveal her tan line. It was cute, and it made perfect sense in an advertisement for a sun tanning product. These days, however, the girl's pale butt has been covered up, and what's more, her swimsuit has been switched - in an excessively modest move - from a pair of briefs to a more suitably Victorian one piece (quite in contrast to modern trends). If you're as incensed by this gymnophobia as I am, then I invite you to join me in boycotting Coppertone, until such time as they revert their brand logo to the far less uptight way it used to be. In the meantime, Banana Boat provides an acceptable alternative.

from this:

to this:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trans Nonconformity

Just came across this article today - Telling Trans Stories Beyond 'Born in the Wrong Body' - from the excellent SSEX BBOX series and I wanted to share it with you, because it's something I believe in. Sharing trans stories is supposed to build awareness and create community, but we've constructed a stereotypical experience that ends up being limiting to all those out there that don't fit the mold of "being transgendered". We must be careful, when stepping outside of one box, not to simply create another around ourselves. People's genders and sexualities come in a rainbow of colors, and there are not just six (or even seven) colors in the rainbow. The rainbow is infinitely colorful!

"For the longest time, I didn’t think that I counted as trans because I thought you had to hate your body in order to be part of the trans community."

And what kind of a message is that? I support a new conception of "being transgendered" that doesn't rely on the gender binary, and celebrates the diversity of ways that a transgendered person can present themselves - their identity and their body - to the world. Whether that means adopting a male persona, a female persona, neither, both, something in between, or something else altogether.

"And with all this bathroom nonsense happening, I feel like the people who are going to be disproportionately affected are gender-nonconforming folks."

This, absolutely this. Still tied to the gender binary. A or B. Male or female. What if you don't even know what your gender is? It's easy to say "let your genitals lead the way", but that doesn't make using the restroom any more comfortable or safer for nonconforming individuals. All these bigots who insist that you're either male or female, and you have to use this or that bathroom, are not simply being principled, they're actively supporting hostile environments for nonconformists. They're prioritizing the principle of conformity to a certain, arbitrary standard, over the comfort and safety of human beings just because they look or act different. This attitude is "natural" in a sense, and it's been popular for most of human history, but from an enlightened, humanitarian perspective, it's wrong - pure and simple.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Scenes From A[nother] Motel Room

I had a little bit more time to play around this time.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2015 Highlights

This is just a little head's up that I have (finally!) updated my home site gallery to include the photographic highlights of 2015. I usually get this finished in January of each year. It's May. So, yeah, I've been a little bit behind in that respect, but it's only because I've been so busy. The good news is that I've been continuing to take lots of photographs in the meantime, and looking back over the best photos from last year, it's clear to me that I am just getting better and better at this photography thing, which is really exciting. It's hard to "make it" as a nude/erotic photographer, because of all the stigma involved, but the better photographer I am, the better chance I have of being recognized for my talents even in spite of the controversial subject matter I like to explore.

If you're reading this, that probably means that you're already following my blog. Good for you. I have a lot of trouble redirecting people to this blog, especially given that a lot of "safer" sites don't look kindly on outside links to sites containing "explicit" material. But you're here, so congratulations! This blog continues to be my safe haven on the internet (thankfully, after that censorship scare last year). This is where you can see my newest and most explicit photography, including images that don't turn up anywhere else on the internet (unless they're being passed around, in which case, all I ask is to be properly credited). It is also where I come to work out all the weighty issues that are rumbling around inside my head at any given time, on topics such as nudism, exhibitionism, gender equality, feminism, and the like.

But, if you're curious about my presence elsewhere on the net, there is, of course, always my home page at zharth.net/photos. It doesn't get updated often (excepting that new daily nude videocaps widget that I recently added, which is now fully operational), but it's my home on the net, and a universal hub for me to centralize my web presence. I'm not currently active on Flickr or FetLife, but I have profiles and pictures on both sites. You can always find sexy videos of me naked and horny at XTube, and it's a great way for you to give back and support me if you like my erotic art. Currently I am most active at deviantART, which has turned out to be a (generally) nice community in spite of their more restrictive rules as compared to Flickr. And I've also been uploading cell phone selfies semi-daily on Tumblr, if that sounds interesting to you. Find me, follow me, and let me know if you like what I do and who I am! Us sexual revolutionaries have to stick together!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nude At Home

This photoshoot was inspired in part by a post on a blog I've just discovered - which is worth taking the time to peruse - by one who intriguingly refers to himself as a "Naturist Philosopher". My primary inspiration came from a recent post discussing the extent to which naturism (or nudism - in my opinion, the terms are interchangeable) continues to be controversial from a mainstream perspective. The post features an image of a nude young woman (who appears to be a genuine nudist, judging from her even tan) in a kitchen, labelled with the words, "of course I go nude at home - doesn't everyone?"

Obviously, not everyone does go nude at home, or else we wouldn't be having this conversation. On the other hand, it's not unheard of for a person to (often unexpectedly) chime in, when prompted, and say, "oh, sure, I go nude around the house - it's no big deal." I would go so far as to wager that a lot more people engage in so-called "home nudism" - even if only on occasion, and only when alone - than are willing to let on. Many of them probably don't even consider themselves nudists. But in the privacy of your own home, and especially when you're alone, it's not so scandalous to occasionally go nude. It's the next and safest step past changing in the bedroom, or washing up in the bathroom. And as long as you keep your nudity to yourself, and insist on covering up the moment you hear a knock at the door, few members of the general population will have anything substantial to complain about.

But that is precisely where the serious nudists differ from the casual ones. "Social" nudism is defined by participation in nudist activities among other (like-minded) people. And that's where "normal" textiles trip up. Going nude alone is largely a matter of how comfortable you are with your own body, but going nude in front of others violates some serious taboos that are tied in to traditional (and, frankly, outdated) notions of privacy and modesty. That they are unhealthy notions that deserve to go the way of the dinosaur doesn't change the fact that the majority of the population still believes in them. And going nude with other people who are also nude? Well, how could the purpose of such an activity be anything other than total, unrestrained sexual abandon? It's no wonder so many people think nudism is a front for wild sex orgies. The truth is quite contrary to that belief, and exposure to the lifestyle - what it actually is, and what it actually isn't, as well as how it genuinely differs from other more and less similar lifestyles that it is constantly confused with, such as "swinging" - in more and more mainstream channels can only serve to help alleviate that misunderstanding.

That is why it is my belief that a more permissive approach towards the use of cameras in designated nudist areas can only help nudism, and not hurt it. Of course, we as nudists must be willing to get over the fact that people are going to see us naked - but it strikes me as odd that nudists, of all people, would have trouble with this. To be fair, there is stigma against nudists among the textile population, and many nudists hide their lifestyles for fear of repercussions from the people they know, love, or work with finding out, but we can only move forward and build tolerance by coming out wholesale and letting people know who we are, what we're about, and that we're not willing to just lie back and let people discriminate against us.

What about the gawkers, you say? The fact of the matter is that nudity attracts people's attention. It's why it's often used in art and protests that otherwise have nothing to do with people's bodies. That might be less true in a more nudist-accepting society, but I think that even among nudists, there is a certain biological interest that isn't going to go away. But what's wrong with this? Should we fight human nature, or just roll with it? Giving people a view into nudist environments (instead of erecting tall fences) will indulge, but also satisfy many people's curiosity. And if we want to draw the attention away from the resorts themselves, where basically having a looking gallery would affect the comfort of the nudists in attendance, we can simply outsource the view by allowing photography, and sharing more images and videos of what goes on inside those fences with the public, perhaps via media sharing online. It's a radical approach, but evolution can only occur through change.

I suppose I am working at cross-purposes to the nudist strategy of disassociating sex with nudity by posting images like this one. Is it not enough for me to disclaim that this particular image is not indicative of a nudist environment? If I were posting a nudist brochure, I would certainly omit an image such as this one - not out of a desire to hide anything, but simply to avoid misrepresenting the lifestyle. But this is my personal blog, and I am as much fighting for sexual liberation as nudist acceptance, and I am first and foremost a nude and erotic photographer. I think both subjects (nudity and eroticism) are beautiful and life-affirming, and frankly (this may be a mark against me, but so be it) the more time I spend on this Earth, the less patience I have for the less evolved members of the population who can't make the distinction between the two without having their hands held the whole way, and those who can't conduct themselves with dignity and self-control in the presence of those situations where the two (nudity and eroticism) inevitably overlap.

Let me just explain it like this (I've described a similar situation before). Sex, like nudity, is something taboo that the general population begrudges the existence of, but insists that it remains a "private" function. Nudists reject this conclusion for nudity. I reject this conclusion for both nudity and sex. Regardless, consider a typical nudist who might practice social nudism on occasion, but still firmly believes that sex acts deserve to remain private. When he is among textiles, he remains clothed. When he is among nudists, he will go nude. When he is alone, he may engage in sex acts, but not when he is with other people - unless it is a person (or persons - let's be inclusive here - that he is sexually intimate with). Suppose he is home alone. He may decide to go nude. Or he may decide to browse porn on his computer. Or, he could do both. If he does browse porn, though, this is not a strike against nudism in any way, because he is doing so at home, alone. This is true even if he is nude. So if you practice home nudism, and you also occasionally practice "home eroticism" (like me prancing about the kitchen with an erection, as seen above), there is nothing wrong or contradictory about that. The fact that I am willing to show you both merely demonstrates my position not just on nudism, but on the freedom of sexual expression as well.

And with that, I'll leave you with one last image, just for fun. Because if life is too short to waste time paying lip service to our nudity taboos, then it is also too short to observe the similar restrictions placed against sharing in all the fun that comes when we indulge in our sexual desires. As long as we can do so with dignity, and in a civilized fashion, then I see no problem with it. And if too much of the population is incapable of holding themselves to these standards, I think that's dreadfully unfortunate, but I'm not going to let the failures of the many prevent me from getting some meager enjoyment out of life. As I said, it's too short to do anything otherwise.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

World Naked Gardening Day

Happy World Naked Gardening Day! I'd tell you to go outside and do some naked gardening, but I'm a little bit bitter about the fact that - excepting the very rare minority who either live full-time at a nudist resort, or else own property with really good privacy (which becomes progressively harder to find as the population continues to grow outside all bounds of decency) - most people cannot celebrate World Naked Gardening Day in any kind of fun or exciting way, without breaking the law. Nudists can come up with as many naked holidays as they want (and the more the merrier), but it'd be nice if there were some way we all could use holidays like this one to promote our lifestyle and protest society's unreasonable taboo on nudity. Alas, I am stuck inside watering houseplants - barred from the fresh air and sunshine that I desire - and instead of a magnificent portrait of naturism demonstrating the beauty in the juxtaposition of mother nature and the naked form, you get this mediocre, backlit picture of me in my apartment that looks a lot like so many others I've taken. Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2016

No Panties Day

The following picture was inspired by a photo I saw on deviantART. I think that the juxtaposition of being clothed and just about as fully exposed as one can be is fascinating. Call it "clothed nudity" if you will.

In the same year that I began my nude photography hobby in earnest (2008), I found out about a little known holiday called No Pants Day, which I am to understand occurs on the first Friday of every May (taking "casual Friday" to the next level!). I don't think it's a very big holiday - I've yet to come across anyone else who celebrates it. It is, also - despite being a holiday entirely up my alley - unfortunately a difficult holiday to celebrate, because it's a lot less fun going around in public without your pants on when there's the fear of being called out, kicked out (of stores), and getting in trouble with the decency police. It's one of those holidays (sadly, like Slut Day, which I created) that doesn't really work unless you've got a lot of people celebrating it - because there's strength in numbers. If there's a group of people walking around without pants on, people will think there's something to it, and be more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. If it's just one person walking around without pants on, people are liable to think that they must either be some kind of pervert or lunatic. So, it's been very hard for me to actually celebrate this holiday since I've discovered it, although I have liked to occasionally use it as inspiration for my photography.

This year, I was thinking about more practical alternatives to walking around without pants on, and I thought of the possibility of wearing a skirt without panties on underneath. It's a little bit more surreptitious - people probably wouldn't know to glance at you - yet it's still freeing and a little naughty. Except, the problem is, it doesn't work so well if you're a guy. Bypassing the fact that for most men, wearing a skirt itself would be a bizarre fashion movement (because for me, personally, it wouldn't be unusual), there's the fact that a man's anatomy is not designed for wearing skirts - especially without anything on underneath. Speaking from dangerous experience, if the skirt is too short, there's the trouble of your stuff hanging out below the hem. And as you're walking along without support, you're liable to flop around and make a show of yourself, even beneath the skirt. If you dare to get excited - being open to the air in public as you are - you run the risk of creating a very conspicuous bulge, and possibly even causing your skirt to lift up fully, displaying your arousal for all the world to see. While some perverts might certainly get off on this (it's a hot fantasy!), suffice to say, this is not a great way to have a good time while avoiding getting into trouble.

And so, we're back to the drawing board. If anyone knows of any way to make No Pants Day more palatable and easier to celebrate, I'm all ears. Sadly, I have the same problem with World Naked Gardening Day, which I believe is tomorrow. It's another one of those holidays that you can't really celebrate (except under very limited conditions that not everyone has access to) without worrying about having a chat with the local police. These are holidays I support and believe in, and I want to spread the word! But I'm stuck, and I can't celebrate them. Surely, there must be some other way to participate...

Monday, May 2, 2016

Incidental Erections

I was working on some unfinished photos from last year, and this one in particular gave me an idea. While I guess I've made something of a habit of taking pictures of erections in a variety of contexts (because a little twist of sexuality makes almost anything more exciting, and also because I find the idea of involving sexuality in nonstandard situations intriguing), something about the deliberately incidental nature of the erection in this photo struck me. I'm not playing with myself. I'm not even especially posed in such a way as to emphasize the erection, or my sexuality. I could easily believe that in this picture I had simply been playing video games, and for some reason - whatever it may be: a breeze from the window, a pretty girl on the screen, a sudden awareness of my nakedness, pressure from my arm, or just random blood circulation - my genitalia began to stiffen. Which is exactly the sort of thing I've talked about both in terms of why I think erections should be ignored in nudist situations, as well as why I don't think they should count as "sexually explicit" (i.e., pornographic) from the perspective of censors.

So now I have half a mind to do a whole series of photos depicting "incidental erections" in various situations. The emphasis must not be on the erection itself - while its inclusion in the image is paramount, the subject must be involved in some other non-sexual activity. (Think of it as non-pornographic erections). The point of this would be to show that erections are a natural part of the male human anatomy, and that even though they are typically defined in sexual terms, they do not necessarily have to occur in an obviously sexual context. They are a normal part of life for most males, and are perfectly harmless when not being deliberately manipulated toward sexual purposes. This will emphasize the importance of acting versus being (which is an important nudist principle - nudity is simply a state of being, while lewdness is a form of conscious behavior), while also drawing attention to the fact that life itself is a highly sensual experience (arguably even more so when experienced in the nude). This is a fact of life, and there is nothing wrong with it. It is not necessarily an ugly truth, nor a problematic one, when considered from the perspective of giving people the freedom to choose how to lead their lives.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Victoria's Secret

Haven't you ever been curious?