Our Bodies

There was no Internet when I was a young boy.  Our natural curiosity about the opposite sex and our own sex mouldered in a forbidden Twilight Zone in the back of our innocent minds.  If we wanted to know what’s under a girl’s clothes, we had to resort to Mom’s medical book (woefully disappointing) or a copy of National Geographic that happened to feature some remote tribe of naked Africans.  To this day I haven’t figured out why the exposure of Africans and primitive Amazonian villagers are some how morally acceptable while everyone else’s is immoral and lewd.

At around age eight I got my first glimpse of what’s inside a girls panties.  It happen in a friend’s backyard, in a playhouse built by the friend’s father.  Aware the little girl down the street had an inclination to give the boys a peek, me and two other boys invited her to join us in my friend’s playhouse, where we right away made our desires known.  She hesitated; perhaps because there were three boys and just one girl.  Negotiations began.  One of us would show ours if she showed hers.  All three of us gave in when she insisted we all show ours, provided she goes first, which she did.  Moments later, racked with apprehension about my turn coming up, my eyes widened on her little twat.  She seemed perfectly delighted by our amazement, but steadfastly refused to let my more forthright friend to touch it.

The moment passed.  Her panties were back up.  It was our turn.  The bravest of the three of us went next, at which time my friend’s mother poked her head in the door to let him know it was time for lunch.  She gasped in horror.  Our hearts dropped.  In the blink of an eye, our feet took flight, all accept an angry mother’s son that was doomed to face the consequences.  Caught and scarred for life.

Imagine a small town in 1950s Wisconsin.  That’s where and when this happened.  My next scarring came when I inadvertently referenced a female body part to my mother.  It was during time I had been hanging around my father’s the auto parts store, listening to the teenage boys that were gathered around their Chevys, blustering about going to Texas for a little Texas pussy.  Back at the house I found my mother in the kitchen and told her I was going to Texas for a little Texas pussy, then shrank to the floor when she screeched.  Knowing Texas was a sunny state, I thought those boys had been talking about sunshine.  I can still feel the scars from that lecture. No wonder I had reached mid-life before I got out in a public park reserved for nudist and enjoyed the feel of the sun on my skin.

So why are so many so uptight about the human body?

The human body is a sensual, mysterious, beautiful work designed by Mother Nature.  Why aren’t more of us celebrating and enjoying it?

So what’s wrong with this picture?

She’s dressed for a day of sun and swimming … he’s dressed for what?  A snowstorm?

So how about this … or at least something close

or better still, this …

I know … we’re not all young and beautiful.  So what?  Isn’t life too short not to enjoy the sensual joy of our body, even if it’s not in perfect shape?  If everyone was perfect, this would be a very boring world.   So why not get out there and feel alive, feel the sun, the fresh air and other people’s eyes on your skin?

I recently spent a week on the Florida west coast, a state that has 2276 miles of beaches.  In the whole state, there is only one legal nude beach, Haulover near Miami.  What’s up with that?  Two or three city blocks out of 2276 miles!  Every man I saw on the beach that I went to, young and old, was clad in those ridiculous balloony outfits.  How do they swim in those?  What keeps the wind from blowing them away?  When they float they look like a guy that fell from the sky and landed on a parachute.

I live in Texas, a big state, millions of people. In the entire state there is just one place human beings can get naked, legally that is. McGregor Park, commonly known as Hippie Hollow, a sunny, sloping, multi-tiered shore on Lake Travis just north of Austin. My wife and I have spent weekends there: a motel room by night, sun and fresh air by day, sharing the unspoken kinship with other like-minded naked adults, looking and being looked at.

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Bisexuality … the Blessing & the Curse

The Messy Realities of Bisexuality

Bisexuality lacks clarity between attraction, behavior and identity.

Published on July 5, 2011 by Loren A. Olson, M.D. in Finally Out

When I searched Twitter for “bisexuality” I found this: “Bisexuality is the ability to reach down someone’s pants and be satisfied with whatever you find.” I once defined it (less colorfully) on my blog, MagneticFire. I wrote, “Bisexuality is being sexually attracted equally to both men and women.”

The response was swift and furious. “Am I defined accurately as bisexual only if I have one ejaculation with a woman for every ejaculation I have with a man?” I was accused of being a poor scientist and unfamiliar with the literature on bisexuality. My definition was considered far too restrictive. One bisexual man wrote that a bisexual could be any of the following:

• Straight-identified married men who have surreptitious sex with other men.

• Single men with steady girlfriends

• Divorced men who partner with another man but remain attracted to women

• Transgender persons and their transgender partners

• Men in polyamorous relationships.

That is a very large umbrella! I could cop out and say that labels are useless and this discussion is meaningless, but labels are essential for research and important for the development of a sense of belonging. Within the LGBT community, not only are the L, the G, the B and the T distinct from one another, but each can be divided into multiple sub-populations.

The term “bisexuality” lacks clarity about the differences between attraction, behavior or self-identity. Many scientists prefer a definition based exclusively on attraction because behavior and identity are more fluid. For some behavior and self-definitions may evolve over time. Lisa Diamond in Sexual Fluidity has suggested that a shifting of sexual intimacy is more common in women than in men; that is consistent with my clinical experience. As I described in, Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, I began life believing I was a heterosexual man, went through a brief period of believing I might be bisexual, and now am completely confident that I am a gay man. Once I aligned my sexual attraction, sexual behavior and my self-identity, the dissonance I had felt for much of my life disappeared.

bisexualityI recently had a conversation with a married man who described himself as bisexual. I asked him if his attraction to men and women was equal. He affirmed that it was. I then asked, “How do you commit to one person if you must give up 50 percent of who you are?” He responded, “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone. I want to have kids and grandchildren.” I then asked him if he was sexually attracted to his wife or if his attraction was based on his attraction to the privileges of the traditional one man, one woman, and monogamy. He agreed that he was sexually attracted to men but socially attracted to his wife.

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Michelangelo’s The Battle of Cascina

In the autumn of 1504 Michelangelo was given the commission to paint a battle scene intended to be a fresco on a wall of the Palazzo della Signoria as a companion piece to Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari. This grand project came to nothing: the cartoon was finished – at least in part – by February 1505, but an urgent summons from Pope Julius II prevented Michelangelo from continuing with the work, for which only some drawings survived.

The two battles were notable medieval Florentine victories. The Battle of Cascina was fought on 28 July 1364 between the troops of Florence and Pisa, resulting in victory of the former. A thousand Pisans were killed and two thousand more were captured.

How is this a drawing for a battle scene? Where’s the battle, where are the weapons, the armor, in The Battle of Cascina? Michelangelo, or someone who understood him extremely well, found in a Florentine chronicle one of the few episodes in medieval warfare that involved mass male nudity. In 1364 the Florentine army, at war with Pisa, camped at Cascina by the river Arno and, because it was a hot summer day, the men got undressed and went for a swim instead of constructing fortifications. When the alarm sounded they all had to rush out of the water and go to arms. It is this moment of intense drama, with nudes heaving themselves out of the river and rushing in all directions to grab clothes and weapons, that Michelangelo chose to depict.

The following are individual sketches by Michelangelo related to the Battle of Cascina project. What a fascinating man and era. Can you imagine what went through his mind as he sketched the male form? Today these sketches are worth millions.

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Cassandra Mott’s Mysterious World of Debauchery

From the third chapter . . .

“The ninth gate?  I … “ Johnny stopped mid-sentence, frustrated.  He felt gullible, like an innocent boy.  Cassandra Mott, obviously a woman of the world, was saying things that flew right over his head.

Her quick smile took on a hint of mischief and her eyes shifted to her brother.  “Perhaps Julian would be willing to show you the ninth gate.”

Like a lost lamb cowering between them, Johnny turned his gaze to Julian.  Their eyes locked.  Unnerved, he felt as if he were being looked at caged and unclothed.  Staring into the crystal blue eyes, he saw something he could not identify, not wicked, not threatening, but puzzling.  He drew from them a premonition, a kinship on some obscure level, and the feeling it caused ran through him warmly.  His curiosity ran wild.  He recognized an urge to know more about him, to hear his thoughts.

Johnny watched him come to his feet.  His eyes followed Julian’s hands to the buttons on the white linen shirt.  When Julian lifted it from his shoulders and laid it on the sofa, Johnny realized that he intended to disrobe.  He sat spellbound, his gaze fixed on the twitch and flex of a masculine chest.  Mired in disbelief, he watched Julian’s hands move to the front of the white linen pants and unfasten the buttons one at a time, while Cassandra remained attentive to Johnny’s unsuspecting reaction.

A different kind of unease came over him.  He tried to deny the sudden desire welling inside, a desire to see Julian’s body.  Feeling stimulated by this was wrong.  A man undressing should be perceived with indifference, though the promise of Julian’s nudity was unfolding before his eyes as a visual treasure.  Facing the laws of right and wrong, he should be indifferent, yet, against his conscious will, he had become eager for it to happen, as if a long dormant urge had been lying in wait. He wanted to see Julian undressed, to see his body, his male form, all of him.  But why?  Why all of a sudden?  Why these long forgotten urges between his legs and across the pores of his skin?  Why this sharp desire that he had so easily denied all these years?

The pants slid fluidly down Julian’s legs.  He stepped out of them, naked, his skin bronze, his forearms and legs and chest swept lightly with golden blond hair, his genitals inflamed and pendulous between muscular legs.  Julian walked around the low table, looking down at his guest, the guest that had become a taut mass of anxiety and nerves.

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Homophobic Men … Aroused by Penises

Homophobic Men Most Aroused by Gay Male Porn

Homophobia Associated with Penis Arousal to Male on Male Sex

Published on June 9, 2011 by Nathan A. Heflick in The Big Question

Even a man who thought that women want to have sex with their fathers, and that women spend much of their lives distraught over their lack of a penis is right sometimes. This person, the legend that is Sigmund Freud, theorized that people often have the most hateful and negative attitudes towards things they secretly crave, but feel that they shouldn’t have.

If Freud is right, then perhaps men who are the most opposed to male homosexuality have particularly strong homosexual urges for other men.

Tne study asked heterosexal men how comfortable and anxious they are around gay men. Based on these scores, they then divided these men into two groups: men that are homophobic, and men who are not. These men were then shown three, four-minute videos. One video depicted straight sex, one depicted lesbian sex and one depicted gay male sex. While this was happening, a device was attached to each participant’s penis. This device has been found to be triggered by sexual arousal, but not other types of arousal (such as nervousness, or fear — arousal often has a very different meaning in psychology than in popular usage)

When viewing lesbian sex and straight sex, both the homophobic and the non-homophobic men showed increased penis circumference. For gay male sex, however, only the homophobic men showed heightened penis arousal.

Heterosexual men with the most anti-gay attitudes, when asked, reported not being sexually aroused by gay male sex videos. But, their penises reported otherwise.

Homophobic men were the most sexually aroused by gay male sex acts.

 

 

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