I love erotic art. I love erotic nudes. I love the female body. I love seeing an attractive woman naked. There is something particularly delightful about erotic art, erotic photography. It is pleasurable. The above photo is quite nice: how it is framed, the flowery background, the sensuous curves on her body, the diaphanous drapery she is wearing, her expression as she gently holds a flower up towards her face, all paint the poetics of erotic love, beauty, longing and desire. It captures something almost spiritual. It is a beautiful representation of the mysterious allure of a soft, feminine sexuality.
And yet many would call this porn and have it censored.
Why are so many people uncomfortable about sex. I was reading today about a teacher in Ohio who was arrested last February because she had sex with her students. Now, she obviously should not be in teaching, and so it was just that she lost her job, but she was arrested, and the tv footage showed her in shackles, on her hands and her feet. She is charged with sexual battery. And just whom did she “batter”? She had sex with some of the football players on the school team. That is right, this petite woman “sexually battered” a bunch of football players who are four times the size of her. It is all ridiculous. This woman had consensual sex with someone who was old enough to fully know what they were doing and she is put in shackles and treated like a rapist. It is insane. I guarantee you the guys thoroughly enjoyed what happened. It was my teenage fantasy to have sex with an older woman. It is most young men’s fantasy. Yet we continue to live in this neo-Puritan society of prudes. In some states it is still illegal to sell a vibrator, or at least it was up until a few years ago. Sodomy is still a felony in many states.
I write on erotic art, photography and literature partly because this neurotic, schizophrenic, hypocritical atmosphere we create around sex is toxic. I am sure many of those involved in the prosecution of that woman were themselves enjoying lots of internet porn when they got to the privacy of their own home. And yet they are the first to throw stones at a woman who had sex with someone they do not deem appropriate. Eroticism makes many uncomfortable. It creates tension. Therefore, I enjoy posing erotic nudes, even more explicit art work, simply to stir the societal pot just a little bit. I want to say “fuck you” to those asexual, anal retentive and often hypocritical and lying moralists who have such a sway over our society.
Beauty gives us pleasure. Erotic beauty gives a particular kind of pleasure. There is nothing wrong with that. If there is, then why did God create beauty and give us the capacity to enjoy it, or the capacity to enjoy sexual pleasure? Yet the prudes, the Protestant neo-Puritans, and Catholic neo-Jansenists (or neo-Traditionalists if you like), and the humorless, sexless feminists would have us think and react very differently about sex, eroticism, sensual pleasure and erotic beauty. I am not saying that people should be completely reckless in their sexual lives, that can be dangerous to everyone involved and have severe societal effects, but I think we should be less afraid of the expression of erotic beauty in art and literature, of experiencing erotic pleasure in our own lives, and little less harsh with people who may have made a few sexual mistakes along the way. A thirty two year old woman having sex with high school football players does not deserve to be put in shackles and treated like a common rapist. And all erotic art and photography should not be labeled and categorized by the Michelle Bachmann-Rick Perry crowd as “porn”.
Life, and people, are more subtle, complex and complicated than these simple minded, morally pure idiots make it out to be.