aprivateexpose:

One of the highlights from our first ever threesome last week 😍 We’re lucky to have such beautiful and open minded friends to help make our fantasies come true. We’ve been fantasizing about this for so long and had such a lovely time and learned we really enjoy having sex in front of people. Follow us for more, there’s over 500 photos from the night. Full color ones too 😉

@aprivateexpose’s stated intent is to: “dance around that fine line between art and pornography”.

I feel like the above set does some things well and other things less well.

Let’s start with the bad and move toward the good.

I think the 3rd image from the top is extremely problematic. It’s very stereotypical male gaze porn movie POV shot. It decapitates both parties which in turn reduces the scene to an almost mechanical heteronormative essentialism of sexual intercourse and frames the scene to emphasize both a male POV as well as the bondage aspect. (Alternately, I really do love the way his hands serve as a frame within a frame and the way the do so reads as strangely reverential.)

However, in the 3rd picture is presented as part of a series of 4 images. And that connection does at least establish context, i.e. a group sex scenario. (And I love how the person standing to the side is presented as ostensibly focused on taking a hit on the bowl she’s holding and then the way the second frame hides the dude’s face with his hair so that the punctum of the frame becomes the Cheshire grins of the two ladies.

The final frame is less male gaze-y (remember the viewer always subconsciously associates the bottom of the frame with the fourth wall, so this to me is less creepy than the 3rd image.

I don’t think any of the images work independently of each other. Presenting them in this way makes them work as a whole–however, since what works with each frame doesn’t ever really fully integrate with the tableau, I am left with the sense that although this is a good bit more contemplative w/r/t the firewalling of pornography as a subject for art than most work on Tumblr, it separates the totality of impact across four frames and in so doing dilutes the artistic impetus in favor of the more erogenously charged documentary fixation. (In other words, the good things I mentioned about the work could conceivably all be staged so that they all might comfortably coexist within a single, static frame.

Masao Yamamoto1270, from Nakazora (2001)

I’ve been on Tumblr pretty much every day since mid-to-late 2010. I’ve borne witness to a half dozen or so major changes that have infuriated users and caused folks to scream bloody murder about how they’re killing the site.

The last six months have been especially harrowing. Except… I’m not seeing a lot of screaming this time around. It seems like everyone who has been threatening to leave-has and that leaves two groups: folks like me who are too stubborn to quit and noobs who aren’t super hip to the way the platform words (or, more likely: don’t care).

It’s becoming increasingly challenging to keep this blog up and running, honestly. I mean: previously, I had more content I wanted to post than I had time to prepare posts. Now? Now, there’s still things I want to post–but it’s fewer and further between. I’m less able to pick what photo or image I’m most excited about and instead I’m having to focus more on curation. (This is probably a good thing for my brain but there are times when I feel like folks–in general–are less engaged with the proceedings.

Take the photo above. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to say about it. It’s not that I don’t like Yamamoto–I’ve posted another of his photos several years back.

I know most of his work centers on landscapes and nudes. And that he uses tea to tone his prints.

I had some notion that there’s something of William Blake in his work. But, that’s not an assertion I can necessarily support beyond just saying it feels that way to me.

I reread his Wikipedia page and noticed this statement: “[he] makes installation art with his small photographs to show how each print is part of a larger reality.”

This suggests an interplay between images within a given context being important to understanding his work. I googled “nakazora”; it returned the following from the publisher of this work:

Dictionary Definition of Nakazora: The space between sky and earth, the
place where birds, etc. fly. Empty air. An internal hollow. Vague.
Hollow. Around the center of the sky. Or, emptiness. A state when the
feet do not touch the ground. Inattentiveness. The inability to decide
between two things. Midway. The center of the sky (the zenith). A
Buddhist term. Nakazora is our second publication on the work of
Japanese artist Masao Yamamoto. But this is no book: the artist has
designed a scroll measuring over eighteen feet long, beautifully printed
in process color on uncoated Japanese stock. The timelessness of
Yamamoto’s imagery is beautifully echoed in scroll presentation. The
scroll was one of the earliest vehicles used for storing and presenting
visual information. Nakazora combines the aesthetic and tactile
attributes of this traditionally one-off format with the advantages of
modern printing technology. A striking marriage of traditional and
hi-tech materials and production techniques, Nakazora redefines the term
‘artists’ book.’

I can’t think of scrolls in an art context without flashing to Caroless Schneemann’s Interior Scroll. But it seems that my initial instinct with Blake isn’t far off the mark–since short of illuminated manuscripts, Blake was kind of the progenitor of ‘artist’s books’.

I suspect that the similarities run deeper than that but at present I am too brain drained from once again packing all of my worldly possessions in preparation to move ¼ of the way around the world…

The Tiger and the PilgrimFriends. (2016)

This photo was made using Kodak’s 800 ISO Portra emulsion.

The higher the speed of a film, the better it is at producing photographs in low-light settings; however, the higher the speed the more visible the grain.

It’s also a film that is optimized for tungsten light sources, i.e. the color temperature of light emitted by most incandescent light bulbs.

It’s also low contrast—as a result of which this image suffers. It also doesn’t help that it was made using at the minimum a ceiling mounted overhead lighting fixture. (In other words: some of the most aesthetically unappealing light imaginable.)

But I’m here for what this depicts more than how it’s depicted.

I’ve been aware of the Folsom Street Fair since well before I started this blog. However, my conception of it has been off.

Basically, I had understood it as Pride only for leather and BDSM folks. It seems it’s quite a bit more than a celebratory parade. I’m not entirely clear on the rules governing it but it does seem to be closer to an open air sex party.

A while back adult content creator and performer Chelsea Poe (of whom and of whose work I am a tremendous fan) posted several images of her being dominated by Eden Alexander publicly at the Folsom Street Fair.

As kids these days are fond of saying: #AllTheFeels

The images of Ms. Poe tied to a tree reminded me of the above photo. In both cases a woman is physically restrained in a public space and she has consented to having her boundaries tested.

I’ll admit that it’s a tenuous connection. But it’s something I keep coming back to and I think I’ve finally figured out how to articulate something about it but it’s going to involve rather a good bit of TMI.

Give or take: I began masturbating when I was eight.

It wasn’t like I was horny. In fact—it was only vaguely tied up with anything sexual. It was more curiosity.

With hindsight, I realize that this curiosity was informed as a result of being molested when I was six. I didn’t understand the contradiction of the extreme interest on the part of my abuser with the parts of my body that I was otherwise told over and over and again and again were sinfully unclean.

Quite by accident, I discovered that by touching myself in very particular ways (read: humping my pillow), I could trigger this warm and fuzzy tingling sensation. I’d hump, feel myself start to climax, pause, ride the wave of the sensation and as it ebbed I’d go right back to humping my pillow, chasing the next endorphin rush. Sessions usual involved 4 to 7 orgasms.

I knew instinctively that because what I was doing involved the parts between my thighs, that it was something about which I shouldn’t ever tell anyone.

I think I figured out what I was doing was termed masturbation when I was eleven. My instinct not to tell anyone about it made a lot more sense…

Two things happened more or less simultaneously. Puberty struck and the way I masturbated shifted. Whereas previously, I would have spent an hour or so more or less continually stimulating myself with intermittent pauses; I started to experience more forceful orgasms. Like before I would feel the sense of release building, I would feel myself pass the rubicon and then my body would lock up. I would orgasm and then my intimate parts would be painfully sensitive.

I still needed the same endorphin rush but it took me sometimes as long as a half an hour before I could begin again.

The second thing that happened was that my peers and I were informed that masturbation was a mortal sin. It was presented in the following fashion. Girls were generally not interested in it and those who were didn’t because they weren’t gross floozies. Boys who were good Xtians didn’t and boys who weren’t strong Xtians might but they should repent and sin no more.

We were told that if we were freaks who experienced urges that we should pray that God removes the impure thoughts and desires from our hearts.

For the better part of a year, every time I felt the need to get myself off. I would pray. But unlike masturbation—which always felt like a prayer and an answer to that prayer; my actual prayers to God, never went any higher than the ceiling.

I feel it’s also important to note that although I conceptualized masturbation as sexual behavior, it was all but devoid of causal connection. It was something I did for the dopamine hit to my system.

It didn’t shift to being sexual until I was in my late teens.

There was this episode the reboot of The Outer Limits in the mid-90s staring Alyssa Milano. I remember being so aroused that it physically hurt.

The next day while I was in the shower—the only place I had any privacy—I masturbated but as I passed the point of no return, I kept seeing flashbacks to the show from the previous night and instead of stopping I climaxed once and without any pause came again after roughly three minutes.

It was a game changer.

I have no idea what prerequisites have to be satisfied for me to have multiple orgasms while masturbating. I’ve managed it roughly a dozen times—each time seemingly isolated from the rest.

I have substantially better luck with partners.

I think part of it is comparable to solving a chess problem vs figuring out how to get out of check without fucking yourself when you are playing against an actual opponent. In the first case, you control both the moves and countermoves in advance; in the second, you only have a vantage to the moves you make. Someone can make a move that surprises or confounds you.

A better analogy may be found contained within the observation that it is impossible to tickle yourself.

What I’ve discovered with a partner is that my experience of sexual pleasure is analogous to a river—the water level rises and falls depending upon other factors.

If the water overflows, there’s a levee to safely channel the excess. However, any overflow into the levee gets processed by my body as a pain sensation.

Even when it’s happening to me, I wouldn’t label it pain. It’s merely an amplification of sensitivity to a point that although I crave the sensation, my body actively revolts and recoils from continued stimulation.

The act of refusing to cater to this instinctive recoil from continued stimulation in the face of heightened sensitivity is called post-orgasm torture.

There are an increasing number of videos out there for it. As a lesbian, I’m very put off by anything I’ve ever seen involving femme folk subjected to post-orgasm torture. (Another reason I am into the above photo—it seems post-orgasm torture-y but in a way that is an intense as it is consensual.)

I end up watching a fair amount of content featuring post-orgasm torture involving masc. folks. (For example: this one—although vertically oriented video is never acceptable—is pretty run of the mill; this one is over-long, poorly edited and the technique is a little galling in it’s heteronormativity—also, I think the boy, contrary to the on-screen count, only orgasms twice, I think the rest are just leaks despite his concerted efforts at avoiding ejaculation. His response when he does actually finish and the way he responds to continued stimulation is one of the best documents of a body’s response to post-orgasm torture that I have ever seen.)

What does all this have to do with the initial photo? Well, given the way her back is arched and the way the vibrator is pressed vacuum seal tight against her genitalia—it’s probably understandable how I’d make the leap to this as a depiction of post orgasm torture.

The fact that she also appears to be the singular focus of a group of people is also appealing. (As someone who is over-stimulated any time there are more than four people in a room at a time, the social over-stimulation combined with physical over-stimulation is also something I would like to explore.)

The Chelsea Poe images make me curious as to whether a scenario like the image above might be possible at the Folsom Street Fair. The thought of being publicly subjected to post-orgasm torture while very publicly restrained is a prospect that I’m into. As long as I was blindfolded and trusted my dom to not let obviously creepy people touch me, I would be into a modicum of crowd participation.

And I think that’s the ultimately realization that engaging with this photo over the span of several years has made me realize that it’s not that I’m not into BDSM/kink, it’s that my relationship with it is very specific. I don’t want to be humiliated. Being humiliated is a massive turn off for me. I also don’t get the pain as pleasure exchange; mine has more to do with pushing the limits of pleasure so they pass through pain and back into pleasure again.

Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

Although this doesn’t quite work there’s some great elements.

First off, I have a strong affinity for work which is ostensibly heteronormative but sublimates expectations. For example: most porn seems to operate from the principle that you shouldn’t see dick unless there’s a naked lady in the frame at the same time or a woman who although partial clothed is in some way interacting with the penis.

The positioning of the hands and the way they inform the rest of his pose reminds me of a Renaissance contrapposto sculpture. Also: the texture of the upholstery makes me think of those benches in national galleries.

The pattern of the tile and it’s alignment with the upholstery of the table is one of the reasons the composition more or less works–the eye scans left to right and the snaking chain attached to the shackle around his scrotum pulls the eye back across the image emphasizing the off kilter angle.

Overall all, as an image: it’s mostly strong enough to transcend the sloppy way his right ankle is chopped off at the ankle.

kink.com – Title Unknown (2007)

I’m cagey when it comes to posting this.

First of all: the above is so technically inept that the light of baseline proficiency won’t reach it for a million years.

Second: it’s a property of kink.com; on a good day I’m–shall we say– unenthused about their products (which tend to be a bit extreme for my taste). 

Third: kink.com has an established prerogative of turning a blind eye to coercion–a fact that rankles me.

Fourth, there’s the issue of consent. While, I haven’t viewed the video from which the above still ensues, given the image presented–devoid of any sort of grounding context–I have fundamental concerns about the responsible presentation of verbal affirmation, safe words, etc.

Given those extensive reservations, then why the hell am I going ahead and posting it? Simply put: despite my reservations, I find it really, really hot.

The reason why I feel this way has to do with several situations not unlike the above which I have experienced. I’ve written about one previously, the other involved a junior high class mate quite literally beating the piss out of me and subsequently squatting over my face and grinding her ladybug undies against my mouth several times before spitting on me and leaving me crying on the floor of an empty classroom.

The first time was different. I repressed it for quite a while but it surfaced a little more than two years ago. I still can’t remember all the specifics but I do have an idea what transpired.

I have mixed feelings about it. I had no personal agency and further was unable to consent to the proceedings but I was also extremely aroused by what I was asked/made to do–a fact that ended up figuring into the proceedings.

It’s probably a mark of privilege but even though I feel extremely weird about what happened, it doesn’t even break into the top ten of childhood trauma.

And I am not at all sure what to make of the realization that this event ended up changing my wiring. I make that observation based upon the fact that I spend a great deal of time craving the opportunity to re-experience a situation like the one depicted above. Except in this iteration, to be able to consent and have the option of withdrawing consent at any point during the exchange.

It’s as if the original experience itself was neither good nor bad but the way it was approached and handled was intensely problematic. And I guess I feel that while I definitely got something out of the encounter, I feel that re-staging it allows me the opportunity to exert control and agency in a situation where previously I was powerless.

It’s like the option of choosing it renders it just another part of who I am instead of something that happened to me.

That distinction somehow feels vital to me.

Source unknown – Title Unknown (19XX)

Excepting her face, the carpet and too a lesser extent the curtains, there’s almost no mid-tones to speak of here. Everything is bright white or deep shadow black–there’s enough of a hint of grey to insinuate the clavicle, differentiate her left hand from the background and keep things from going completely flat.

The black dress conceals her figure but the rope is enough to emphasize the curve of the body, imply a bust line.

The composition filters the gaze from the loop in the rope, to the hollow of her fist and then back to her vaguely dissociated expression–which is highly reminiscent of Renée Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Torbjørn RødlandKneefix (2010-2014)

Jens Hoffman on Torbjørn Rødland:

Tales of weirdos, bizarros and people just like us. The photographs of Torbjørn Rødland  are  strange  and  ugly,  they  are  repulsive,  perhaps  perverted  and  disgusting, somewhat  unpleasant  and  yet  they  are  also  familiar,  pretty  and  attractive,  simple and ordinary, maybe even erotic yet straightforwardly normal. We are caught in a rare mix of reactions, warm and intriguing, cold and captivating, giving us shivers and  comfort  at  the  same  time.  Everyday  items  and  situations  at  their  most  surreal and grotesque, beauties and beasts, terror and tranquility. Uncanny, eerie and per-verted transformations. The gloss of a contemporary fashion magazine and the horrors of Hieronymus Bosch next to one another, hand in hand, face to face. Northern Gothic lens sketches.An  octopus  wrapped  around  a  person’s  hand.  Facial  mask  made  of  plastic  over  a woman’s face. Red haired boy with marker strips on his shoulder and a broken arm. In a forest with hands wearing sneakers. Pair of legs bound together with string. Another body, sideways, gymnastics with the head against the wall, bleeding. High heel, leg and paint. Elbow pads on the floor. Syrup and napkins on the ground. Long dark hair, red and black ribbons, a beautiful girl and a pool. Black paper, white fabric and a bug.Is this here to grab out attention, fascinate and shock us on the level of the eye or are we looking at a fantastic world of true bizarreness hidden underneath our gardens, streets and houses and inside the depths of our souls and bodies? Is this what we will become or where we came from? Caricatures of ourselves or the real us?