This is a hard-won perspective written by a man named Tom, a perspective developed against the odds during the course of his lifetime. Tom thought Enlightened Male would be a good place to tell the world his story, and for that I am grateful. -Martin
ME & MY BODY
I grew up with definite feelings of shame about my body, especially those parts between the navel and the knees that didn’t even really have names in my family. I didn’t talk about my penis or my anus even when I had medical problems or a curiosity about what was happening to me during puberty. Anything going on ‘down there’ was a taboo subject in our household so nudity was never even considered an option.
The lack of information about sex and sexuality left me in the dark to find my own way around. Information and misinformation was gleaned from my peer group many of whom were equally in the dark. Thus like a huge majority of mankind I grew up thinking that the sensual, sexual and even aesthetic appeal of bodies was something to be ashamed of and to hide.
I am now in my middle sixties and for the past twenty years I have begun to celebrate my own unique body that gives me huge pleasure as well as some pain and I have come to the realisation that I am not ugly because I’m fat, not disgusting because I’m getting older and my skin is not as smooth and unblemished as it once was, not unlovable because it takes me longer to get an erection and sometimes I can’t sustain it. I’m not alone in having the feelings and fantasies about others, not unique in finding bodies endlessly fascinating and that there are many people who love to be naked and uninhibited and have, hopefully, lost much of the shame that family and society have planted in us.
I now celebrate my body through being naked and enjoying the air on my skin, I am uninhibited about being photographed without my clothes and sharing these images with those in the world who aren’t shocked by the sight of a male body and the erect penis.
I am fascinated by my fellow man and the beauty of his body and endeavour to capture these wonderful creatures on camera and hopefully, together with my models, I can find a new way of representing us and our sensibilities to the rest of the world. We are not just the stereotypes that the media and advertising promote but we come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We also have our own particular racial characteristics and are informed by our sexuality. Many of us have physical and psychological differences and, most importantly we are all born, grow old and die and at every stage of that journey we are equally valid.
Some say our bodies are ravaged by time. Maybe, in our extreme old age, they are. But a better term for our bodies prior to our extreme old age would simply be aged. Time changes our bodies like a splash of water changes a fine painting done in water colors. It’s in the cards for all of us, and it happens so much quicker than we think possible. This is why Enlightened Male exists, to celebrate our bodies and ourselves, to illustrate the beauty of life beyond material and theological clutter, to focus on the basic and important things Mother Nature has given us. Maybe Tom has helped us learn to accept and enjoy who we are, and have fun simply appreciating it.
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