Jun 282013
 
Bert and Ernie are seen from the back, snuggling, while watching an antique TV showing the Supreme Court Justices.  This is a cover from The New Yorker's early July issue.

Bert and Ernie are seen from the back, snuggling, while watching an antique TV showing the Supreme Court Justices. This is a cover from The New Yorker’s early July issue. Click the cover for more info.

I saw this picture today and suddenly there were tears on my face.  Bert and Ernie were an important part of my childhood and I want to do right by them (and by Mr. Rogers).  This image fills me with pride at our slow, spotty progress… as well as the need to apologize for taking so long with this on-going struggle.

Sometimes during conversations about coming out we’ll all start talking about when and how we realized that being straight was ok and being queer was socially unwelcome. I usually say that I was a late bloomer with figuring this out. When I was a kid I thought that people just lived with people they loved, whether it was platonic love or otherwise. I had no idea that gender was a big part of it for many folks. I had an aunt who lived with her mother and cared for her. My neighbors were a het couple that weren’t married and had no kids. Bert and Ernie were obviously a great pair, whatever their relationship. Same for Snuffy and Big Bird, who I assumed were at least having sleep over parties together. My parents and I all loved each other and lived together.  I reasoned that when you share sleeping space it means you trust the other person, maybe like to share jokes and giggle when you’re supposed to be asleep, and don’t care if the other person sees what you look like first thing in the morning.

My point in sharing all this is that sometimes I hear parents (more so in the US than Canada) share their fears of having to explain same sex-relationships to their kids, and that it will somehow ruin their innocence. And yet I look back on that part of my childhood as one of the most magical, wonderful examples of innocence. I was innocent of the societal judgement over who gets to love who, whatever form that love may take. What is there to explain? Lots of different people love each other, and sometimes they also live together. We should be happy when others are happy.

Although the process of breaking that blissful ignorance involved a series of publicly humiliating events (like asking for a definition of “homosexual” in 8th grade science class -who knew there were such categories?!), I am glad I hung onto the belief that everybody loved love in all its forms. I’m especially grateful that I can still remember believing that.  It gives me a vision of a world I want to help create, even if we don’t get all the way there during my lifetime.

Mar 112013
 
When is it appropriate for us, as members of the public, to eroticize the persona and creations of a public person who did not intend sexualization just because that is what we would prefer to consume?
No, that isn’t want I want to ask.  I already know my opinion on that one.  How about this, instead:
Who owns your public persona, and the public interpretation of the things you create and do, once you’ve released them to the public?
No, cross out that last question.  The focus is warped toward to the artist.  Let me try that again:
How can we, as a society, stop ourselves from restricting a woman to a purely eroticized persona at the loss of every other part of her being, especially if we have seen her willingly sensually portrayed?
Maybe I could distill it one step further from a question to a directive: 
Listen to what she says about her sexuality.  Hold yourself to a higher standard when the message is that she is not being sexual and you find yourself saying “Yes you are” in response.  This is true even if you have exchanged resources to consume her sexual side in the past.   This is especially true if you don’t want it to be.
It sounds simple, and you would think that I know better by now, but I owe somebody an apology.
I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum because I am in Santa Fe, NM (USA) attending an intensive professional training.  It seemed to me that every sex educator should make the pilgrimage across the plaza to the museum if they are in town.  I visited her collection because I wanted to see her beautiful paintings of labia and clitorises and vaginas and all things juicily vulvic.  Although I was aware that Georgia O’Keeffe had protested the eroticizing of her work, I had always responded with a knowing nod.  No need to be so coy, Georgia.  You’re among friends here.
Before delving into the paintings I stopped into the little theatre to watch the aging documentary short of O’Keefe’s life.  I was ready to hear the voice and learn the history of this amazing woman who gave the world lush, colourful, undulating, asymmetrical, enticing images of forbidden femininity like nobody else I had ever seen.  Instead, I got an education.  While I am no expert on O’Keeffe, I’ll do my best to sum up what I learned.

She made gorgeous art, much of it abstract, that caught the eye of a fellow artist and photographer that happened to own a prestigious gallery in NY City.  They became smitten with each other, and as part of their personal and professional partnership he showed her art in his gallery, inviting the world to know her creative brilliance.  Nobody made a peep about anything looking sexy.  As the movie said, “she painted her joy” and it was evident in her brushwork and colour.

Their relationships progressed on both levels, and she posed for a series of photographs taken by him.  The images were sensual, and as I sat there with a few other strangers in the little theatre we were treated to an image of her nude torso, invitingly displayed without her face for our unabashed viewing pleasure.  Another image followed, showing her topless, casually looking the viewer in the eye.  And then they returned to her nude image one more time, for good measure.  Finally!  Evidence that Georgia O’Keeffe loved oozing sex in her artwork!  I smugly awaited the next bout of information from the movie, but wasn’t what I expected.

Critics evidently thought the same thing I did about her photographs, and they didn’t forget that impression when they next saw her artwork.  Without asking her, they deemed it a steamy pile of sex and spread their assumptions about her saucy artistic endeavours far and wide.  The thing is, it wasn’t erotic art; it was a pack of eroticly primed and expectant viewers.  O’Keeffe was painting her joy, not her pussy, and she did not intend them to be one and the same.  She told them they were mistaken, but nobody listened and nobody cared.  Come on, Georgia.  No need to be coy, we’ve seen you naked.  We know what you’re about, we’re in on your little game and it’s delicious.

I was agast with her critics of the time and ashamed of my smug sexual pushiness and sexism.  I listened as the movie showed me what happened next.  She was so upset by the way in which her art was received that she abruptly changed her style, painting only realistic images of things like fruit that could not be misinterpreted.  Eventually she moved to flowers, which were painted in a largely realistic way, and again she was forced to assert the non-sexual nature of her work to ears that didn’t want to hear it.  She moved on to landscapes of New Mexico, frequently painting a very realistic image of the view before zooming in so that she could always point at the former to defend the latter.  No matter how many times O’Keeffe non-judgmentally insisted “It’s not me, it’s you” people winked in response and declared it not just a painting of a canyon wall but a giant crotch canyon of smouldering wanton lesbian lust.   After all, we saw her naked and in the picture next to that one she looked us right in the eye while topless.
Well, what the farts?!  Those clandestine pussy portraits weren’t pussies after all.  Close-ups of flowers’ sex organs were eroticized by me, not the her.  I didn’t listen when she directly told us that we had misinterpreted our sexual intent for hers.
I don’t have a problem with smiling to myself when I see her art.  I did it throughout the gallery.  However, that’s on me, as it should be.  Suddenly her art took on a new set of aspects for me as I searched for additional sources of meaning.  Two and a half hours later, I walked back to my hotel in the cold rain, thankful for having learned a great deal about myself as well as one of my brave heroes.
Nov 022009
 

Midori is a true goddess of sensuality and kink.  You’ve read her books, seen her amazing bondage and fetish fashion photos – so come join me in at her workshops this week in Washington, DC through WholeDC!  And this isn’t a giant group event – this is a chance to interact with Midori personally while learning to seduce your lovers with your voice, or with sexy silk scarf bondage.  You better believe that I’ll be there both nights – drop me a line so I can say hello to you, too!

Aural Sex: Midori Teaches Seduction by Voice

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
6:30pm – 8:30pm

Whole DC is thrilled to present Midori! Come to her compelling Aural Sex workshop at the new Dulce Cafe and Lounge on Capital Hill (Eastern Market or Potomac Ave Metro).

The brain is the biggest sex organ and the voice can be the most powerful tool to create the hottest scenes. Midori will show you how to use the hypnotic magic of the voice to seduce your lover long before you enter the bedroom or the playspace.

Wrapped for Pleasure: Midori Teaches Easy Bondage for Steamy Sex

Thursday, November 5, 2009
6:30pm – 8:00pm

Want to bring sizzling, sexy, fun, and easy erotic bondage to your bedroom? Don’t want to bother with expensive gear or complicated ropes? Let’s combine sex with super easy bondage with stealthy scarves!

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Jun 122009
 

 

April Flores from a past cover of Bizarre

April Flores from the July '08 cover of Bizarre

Last week I spent some time pondering blow job wisdom shared by a group of same-sex attracted men.  In the end, I was left wondering how oral sex might be different if women that aimed to please their men opted to switch to giving blow jobs designed to please their own erotic desires.  This week, I’ve been thinking about confidence and greedy, lustful inhibition as it pertains to fat chicks’ sexuality.

Like quite a few other people in this world, I’ve been thinking about April Flores lately…

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Jun 012009
 

Very Lickable

Very Lickable

Down here in Georgia the air conditioning is cranked up (and the electric meter is rolling away) but those lucky British men and women can now enjoy a much tastier way to cool off!  Del Monte recently polled over 1000 women on who they would like enjoy in the form of a frozen fruit pop, and Daniel Craig took the lead.  The result is the popsical you see above, available in cranberry, blueberry or pomegranate and packing less than 100 calories.  Yes, he even comes complete with a bulge and glistening pecs.  The edible sculpture was designed after the image of Craig in the ocean from the 2006 Bond flick.  I’m fairly certain that British micro/macro kinksters are going especially wild right now.   It’s only available until June 7 (in celebration of ice cream week) so UK Explorers need to stock up for the rest of us, whatever our reason for wanting a taste.  Wait a minute, did I just say ice cream week?  Now THERE is something to get really excited about!

The top ten choices (all male, and all from female survey participants) were:

  1. Daniel Craig
  2. Jude Law
  3. Hugh Grant
  4. Steve Jones
  5. Tom Jones
  6. Ewan McGregor
  7. David Cameron
  8. David Beckham
  9. David Tennant
  10. Philip Schofield

Really, I’m trying to dodge a slew of obvious puns, but if you want them then I suggest reading articles from The Chicago Sun Times and UK’s Daily Mail.

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May 272009
 

Sextoy.com’s “Give me Fever”— Sex Toys Giveaway Contest!

Spring is finally upon us, the time when lovers get frisky and people’s minds turn to sex! To help get you motivated and to celebrate May as Masturbation Month, Sextoy.com is partnering with the Pleasurists.com for the “Give me Fever”— Sex Toys Giveaway Contest with $500 in prize package swag giveaways!

(more after the jump)

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