I am not just an analog purist when it comes to photography: take your Nook/Kindle/iPad and shove it up your ass sideways.

Give my hand the solid heft of a book, smooth texture of cover and spine against my skin as it spreads open, beckons my gaze, waits for fumbling fingers and claims my mind so completely for a time.

And the smell…

So, in summary:   

1. Books are hell of sexy as fuck.
2.This had me from lesbian foreplay in a bookstore.

Being a book loving nerd makes me no stranger to bookstores. But I have an affinity for them I don’t know how to explain except to admit that books very nearly jump off the shelves and latch onto me. (Also, I want to visit the Ryōan-ji Temple one day and when I imagine what it will be like it always feels the calm, timelessness that I almost always fee in bookstores.)

But there’s also Fowles’ The Magus and Franzen’s The Corrections framing the head of the young woman whose undergarments are being removed—both of which I have read and enjoyed to varying degrees. (Leave the Franzen. Take the Fowler.)

These tiny points of familiarity engage me with the tableau.

Right off, I notice the woman being undressed is not entirely comfortable with transgression of personal boundaries but remains nonetheless consenting.

This resonates deeply with me. See: I am borderline autistic and as a result have zero ability to negotiate expectations others have for/of me. As best as I can tell this is a result of my inability to understand inconsistencies in the personal boundaries of others.

A tact I have learned for managing this is to assume everyone I meet has the most highly restrictive personal boundaries I can imagine until I discover some evidence to the contrary.

This has the benefit of preventing many otherwise unnecessary misunderstandings with strangers and acquaintances. But it causes problems as I only know where I stand with them when they tell me. And in relationships such a prerequisite is not exactly desirable.

The only thing that works is the rare person who enjoys pushing personal boundaries and is completely unprepared for someone who almost completely lacks them.

All that is to say: I would give anything to trade places with the woman and have my friends who I trusted completely begin to undress me daring me to stop them. Knowing they would if I asked and knowing that I would not.

Maybe a week or so ago, the lovely sextathlon re-blogged a post featuring images of Michelangelo’s David side-by-side with a photo of a nude male pin-up appended with an question as to why the former is defended as Art and the latter is deemed obscene.

My suspicion is that the party line runs: the skill required to carve a nude dude from a chunk of marble exceeds what is needed to plunk a hunk down in front of a camera.

The dichotomy really centers on the way male nudity challenges invisible assumptions, i.e. the spectator will be straight, white and male or deferential to such a perspective.

Michelangelo was likely gay, David—a homoerotic sculpture. But Renaissance aristocrats didn’t get their dressing gowns in a twist because the work was conceived with fail-safes to diffuse the “gay”: the contrapposto of Greek statuary was the lingua franca among Firenze’s intelligentsia; also, naming the piece after a mensch who was such a bro that he had a man killed to bone his wife further obfuscates its homoeroticism.

On the other hand, photography is a relatively young medium and as such there are fewer ruses to diffuse perceived affronts to the invisible ‘heterosexual norm’. Thus: an image of a cock is, well… a cock—and most likely totes gay.

Pornographers, and trench coat clad old men standing on street corners, have done fuck all to ameliorate matters. Both reduce heterosexuality to metonymy—men are their swollen manhood; the sight of which is somehow sure to start vaginal secretions dripping down thighs.

With all that bullshit, I guess people see the hairless semi-hard cock tucked between the boys shaved legs and immediately dismiss the image as “gay.” Maybe, they are a wee bit sensitive and wonder about the subject’s ambivalent gender identity

Fuck that noise. And should your eyes’ appetite not be omnivorous enough to appreciate the meticulously considered, conceived and constructed pulchritudinous depiction of longing, then fuck you, too.

I have never understood the ubiquity of facial cum shots.

Yes, I know:

“[E]jaculating into blank space is not much fun, [whereas] ejaculating over a person who responds with enjoyment sustains a lighthearted mood as a well as a degree of realism.”[i]

There is little better illustration of the first point than Andres Serrano exceedingly dull Ejaculate in Trajectory series

However, the veracity of the first point does not extend to the second automatically.

I suspect Faust wishes “degree of realism” to reference concern over what happens to ejaculate when intercourse involves at least one male bodied individual. But, realistically, this is a foregone conclusion in most scenarios involving participants practicing responsible sex. It only becomes when the participants becomes irresponsible—and the majority of porn falls in this latter category.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a prude by quite a stretch. I want my porn to be gloriously irresponsible. The issue I have is when porn is blatantly irresponsible and then points to the tradition of facial cum shots as evidence of its responsibility.

I don’t mind seeing come. In fact, I rather like it. But it has always been a turn off for me to watch a man squeezing seed from his shaft onto a smiling female face like someone trying to get the last of the toothpaste from an already empty tube onto a toothbrush. But that isn’t even what really bothers me, it’s the fact that the man gets off and the woman settles with having her pleasure merely encoded into her semen besotted Mona Lisa smile.

As Wikipedia’s blurb on Cindy Patton’s criticism of the cum shot summarizes nicely:

“[I]n western culture male sexual fulfillment is synonymous with orgasm and that male orgasm is an essential punctuation of the sexual narrative. No orgasm, no sexual pleasure. No cum shot, no narrative closure. In other words, the cum shot is the period at the end of the sentence.”[ii]

Pornographers most certainly do view the male orgasm as “the period at the end of the sentence.” But just because I think that is bullshit—the male orgasm should be a comma in a fucking German paragraph running for fifteen pages.

Still, my own bias aside, there are absolutely more aesthetically interesting means of displaying the requisite thick, milk white discharge while also facilitating mutual pleasure.

Take the above picture as an example:

First, note that in keeping with the usual the pornographic modus operandi the camera is a foot too close to the action. Although, to the image makers credit it does not rely on the usual visually bankrupt knee-jerk overuse of extreme close-up to titillate. As such, excepting her amputated shin/ankles, the woman’s entire body is within the frame.

Taken perhaps a full minute after orgasm, we see the aftermath of the stud pulling out after filling the woman with his seed; it slowly seeps from her, pooling on his abdomen.

Look at the expression on their faces—if it is not exactly pleasure it is still both intense and compellingly arousing.

Though for me this is moment the scene begins, not where it ends.

Pavel FlegontovDecember 13

bendmeover:

I spend a lot of time preoccupied with notions of community—how to foster, improve and sustain them.

I was raised in an insular, religious cultish community. It was neither the best nor the worst situation; it was just another thing that happened to me.

Somehow, I managed to survive it.

It’s now just shy of two decades since I cut ties with that life. It has been for the best, without question.

But I would be lying if I denied frequently feeling rootless—a tumbleweed tossed wherever the fuck the wind blows.

It’s not the group sex that gets me—although I am not opposed to that by any means; it’s witnessing the shame and stigma my former community directed toward any expression of sexuality transmuted into a sublime collective experience.