Monday, March 11, 2013

on body image and the good kind of porn

Note: This is a very personal, racy blog post. Mom, please don't read it.

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I can't remember how I found it, but I'm fascinated by this UTTERLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK EXTREMELY GRAPHIC AND COMPLETELY P0RNOGRAPHIC tumblr. The images are true works of art, many of them black and white photographs of the highest caliber.

If you click here, I won't be responsible for what you see: Lady Cheeky.

Because it's definitely porn, but it's like no porn I've really seen before.

In the About, it's described as photos depicting desire and passion with a strong emphasis toward positive body image and depicting true passion in sex.

Which is completely accurate. And so very refreshing.

And it's helping me face some of my own issues.

Because while I may have an ego the size of a train station, I've always had body issues and can't help focusing on my flaws. But every time an image from this tumblr pops up on my dash, my first thought is OMIGOD, IT'S A PEEN, HIDE THE CHILDREN, and my second thought is, WOW, THAT'S HOT.

And then, if I look closely, and only if I look closely, do I notice that the bodies shown have imperfections. That some are what my brain would consider too this or too that, that some have stretch marks or weird hair, or that some of the women have nipples that do things I've only read about in romance novels that overuse words like pearled or pert or hungry.

As in, when I'm reading, I'm all SORRY, BUT NIPPLES CAN'T BE HUNGRY. And then I'll see one of these gifs and be all, DANG, THAT'S ONE HUNGRY-ASS NIPPLE.

When I think about the fact that we're okay with showing extremely graphic violence but not even partially graphic sexuality, I feel betrayed by American media. It's okay to show people being hacked to death with a cleaver, but it's not okay to show a woman receiving pleasure. And the only time it actually *is* allowable to show people experiencing passion in TV or the movies, they are people with perfect bodies. Always. Like, someone sends out a casting call for NUBILE GRECIAN PROSTITUTE, and then the HBO people look at photos, make these women undress, and scrutinize every detail of their bodies before waxing them raw and slapping them into the background of Game of Thrones so there's something more interesting to watch than Littlefinger looking crafty.

When I first wrote the book that became WICKED AS THEY COME, it was a fantasy with black-out scenes. I was asked to write sex scenes, and it was hard (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID), because I have a very Southern, very polite, very sex-is-a-secret prudishness. But I wrote them, and the book sold as a romance, and now I am inexplicably a romance writer. The experience of becoming an author has forced me to be more open about my feelings about sexuality, to professionally discuss genre and writing a sex scene and the stigmas against romance and the people who read it. And I'm grateful for that, for the way that I've been edged out of my comfort zone, forced to rethink how I think about sex. Because without knowing it, I had trapped myself in a little box that didn't really exist.

I wish that there were more chances for the general populace to see images like the ones on that tumblr. There's a beauty to such passionate abandon, to imperfect bodies doing perfect things. More than we need the carefully polished, desperately airbrushed images of sex sold to us by Hollywood, we need these honest and raw depictions of what we all feel, or want to feel. More than we need the weirdly lit, embarrassingly fake, painfully awkward staging of porn, we need the reality of a body bent over a sofa, of a stomach rumpling with furious passion, of a woman's face caught in a mirror that wasn't put there on purpose.

I grew up thinking these images were dirty and should be hidden and that women who exhibited passion were somehow lesser. The older I get, the more I feel that passion is the key to feeling alive, and that images capturing genuine ecstasy should be celebrated-- granted, at the proper place and time.

Last night, I got out of the bath and looked in the mirror, but for once, I didn't catalog my flaws. I noticed my curves. That's a battle I never realized I was fighting until I understood that every moment I made myself feel like less, I was losing. And now, for maybe the first time, I realize that just like those images should be celebrated for their perfect imperfection, maybe I should celebrate myself, too. I don't see bodies like mine on TV or in the movies. But I see them on that tumblr, and they are beautiful.

The wonderful thing about passion is that when you're in the midst of it, everything else disappears. Your flaws, your problems, your worries. Whether you're writing or singing or making out, there are moments when time stops, when the self disappears. The world needs more of that, more moments that remind us to come alive.

Thank you, tumblr, for the reminder.

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10 comments:

Jenese L said...

I'm at work and can't check this racy little site out, but definitely will do when I get home. :-P

Yes we all have flaws. But being in a world where all the magazines and media show perfection its tough, especially on women, IMO. Alas, I think you are beautiful!! :D

Continue watching your porn, it's healthy! haha!

Sporkdelis said...

Ok, please make a point of saying this is goodish photography, or at least not some kind of "post your body-positive sex photos here" thing, because I kinda got that impression. Glad I clicked anyway, but it was with a grimace and a prayer.

Actually beautiful photos. Just calling it porn is a little misleading. There appears to be a real photographer behind this.

ChaosMandy said...

Love it! It's important to know that we all have flaws but can see be beautiful.

Lanae T. said...

"The older I get, the more I feel that passion is the key to feeling alive,....."

I agree 100%. It takes some of us longer to realize that our imperfections are actually perfect, for us. If we were all airbrushed fantasies, we'd live in a plastic world.

Passion, however you find it, opens not only your eyes, but your soul, as well.

Cecy said...

Wow. Thank you for your honesty. I think this is one of the best blog posts I've ever read. And the link? I agree, it shows passion--in it's rawest, in your face (that's what she said) form. Well done!

Andrew said...

Wow. Well said. I just don't know what else to say. Even as a guy I am bombarded with images of how a hot guy is supposed to look. I don't stand in front of a mirror that shows my stomach (which is nowhere near flat).

Passion doesn't care what you look like though and you don't have to have a perfect body for someone to find you attractive.

Patty Blount said...

I can't wait to get home tonight and check this out. It's been a problem all my life - I absolutely hate the way I look and have made it a goal to stop obsessing over all my flaws and find the good parts.

Maybe this will help :)

penelope said...

another Tumblr link is Dick and Jane (not exactly sure of the blog name)and they display many photos with the same sense of passion in whatever body or body part is displayed--true erotica, not porn, very stirring and beautiful . . .
Thank you for stating the obvious--sometimes we all need to be reminded that the Emperor was naked, w/o clothes . . .

Wendy D. said...

BRAVO!!! I could not agree with you more! "Pefect Imperfection" beautiful line!!

Ellie. Di said...

Darling, have you run across Ev'Yan of SexLoveLiberation.com? She talks very openly and passionately about exactly these sorts of issues, ranging from porn to body image to open relationships. I think it might be relevant to your interests.

And also, THANK YOU for writing and sharing your thoughts on this. Every time someone talks about it publicaly, the closer we get to that world where passion is better than perfection.