“When I’ve painted a woman’s bottom so that I want to touch it, then [the painting] is finished.” Renoir
The final shot from the Hampstead Pergola series, by @jedihamster001
“When I’ve painted a woman’s bottom so that I want to touch it, then [the painting] is finished.” Renoir
The final shot from the Hampstead Pergola series, by @jedihamster001
I emailed this photo to a partner once. If I remember correctly the subject line read ‘manicured’. A teasing photo to show off a fresh shave and a new manicure. And you know what, full disclosure – I’d applied a dab of concealer because I had an ugly spot from an ingrown hair. It glowed like a belisha beacon and to my mind didn’t make the photo that hot. I wanted his cock to twitch, not for his mind to think ‘ooh, that looks a bit painful!’
But would I dab a bit of make-up on before opening the door to a lover? Errr, no! No more than I would arrange my legs as I do for a photo, or angle myself to create an allusion of cleavage that if you look at me straight on is actually more of a nice wide highway through my chest up to my neck! And no more than I would expect a lover to hold his cock as he does when creating a glorious photo, or to stand perfectly upright, legs apart in that way that’s just so spine-tinglingly hot when you see it on screen.
Erotic photos are often designed. Created to prompt a reaction – a shiver of anticipation, a lurch in the stomach, a hollow ache. And that’s fine. Photos (and film) are great for that. But if you tried to position yourself like that when you were actually in the same room, you’d just look fucking weird and, more to the point, you would be thinking so much about how you look you’d almost certainly not be in the moment.
When companies like Ann Summers create cynical events like today’s Facebook session on ‘vagina contouring’, advertised with a photo of a full make-up bag but actually promoting a ‘non surgical enhancement’, they are yet again sending a message that in real life women need to ‘beautify’ to look like the well-lit, artfully arranged, air-brushed versions they see in photos and films. Sessions like this, which I am sure the PR would try and tell you is about helping increase women’s self-confidence, just give women something else to worry about. Think about how it feels, not how it looks! If you’re interested in contours I suggest you pop into the far more sex and body positive Sh! – they’ll ply you with fizz and let you have a good old feel of Rosie the vulva puppet. She’s got a very prominent G spot – you can’t miss it!
And if you’re with a man or woman who you think you need to enhance the look of your cunt for, then I suggest dumping them. Find one whose face gets so close the odd ingrown hair is out of focus anyway, who’ll casually pick off a stray bit of tissue without fuss, who’ll ignore or giggle with you at the odd farting sound, and for whom blood is just another fluid that’s occasionally there. Someone who enjoys a real cunt, basically.
The rose is without explanation;
She blooms, because She blooms.
‘Are you hungry?’
‘Um…I don’t know, I don’t think so. Maybe. I think the fizz has filled me up. But yes, probably.’
I’m not sure if it was a teasing question, or just comic timing but I’d blatantly been staring at his cock, visible as he sat on the bar stool in the too-short white robes we’d just changed into. Hungry? Yes.
I like to buy experiences as birthday presents. Presents that create memories. My Mum gets trips to gardens and lunches with views. My best friends and I have saved £20 month for years and go on weekends to New York and spas, and dance at concerts. Exhibit A got dinner at The Bunyadi, London’s first naked restaurant. I’m not sure if the 40,000+ waiting list is fact or clever PR built around the number of people that signed up for more information when news of London’s latest pop up restaurant was released earlier this year, but I only booked a week or two in advance so I’m suspicious about that spin!
A few minutes later we were shown to our table through the black out curtains to the side of the bar. The restaurant, a ‘complex’ of private booths created with winding bamboo walls is in near darkness, lit only by candles. Once in your booth you disrobe. Seats are tree stumps, the tables made of wider slices of tree trunks. Terracotta plates and wine goblets and edible cutlery removed all the clatter of a normal restaurant. The website isn’t wrong when it describes it as having the feel of a spa. The waiters and waitresses are also naked, bar some strategically arranged ivy underwear: ‘It’s a very A Midsummer Night’s Dream outfit,’ observed Exhibit A. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the food, assuming it would be okay at best and that the experience would be the main attraction, but actually it was delicious. And no hot food or liquids that could create a painful accident if you spilt it in your lap! Salmon sashimi, steak tartare and a coconut mousse. There’s a choice of vegan or non vegan too.
Directing us back to the bar after dinner the waitress told us robes were no longer compulsory in the bar. Back on the bar stools you soak up the experience of collective nakedness. It was at that stage that the ‘rules’ come into focus. No photography (the ones here were snapped quickly in the changing rooms) and ‘no sexual activity’. A quick affectionate slap to my arse or me unthinkingly running my hand up and down his leg as we chat suddenly comes into sharp focus and something you wouldn’t think twice about when clothed suddenly has a frisson about it. But a good teasing one! ‘The best and worst bit of last night was the constant tease of just wanting to take your cock in my mouth and feel it get hard and not being able to,’ I messaged the next day.
I’m sure some people keep their eyes firmly on themselves and their drinks, but we’re not those types of people and happily (but discreetly!) drunk in the nakedness around us. ‘If you could fuck anyone in this bar who would it be?’ he asked. ‘Her,’ I said, nodding to a woman stood at the bar to our left, chatting to her friend. Of course he immediately struck up conversation. What followed was two hours of conversation covering everything from careers in law to non monogamous partnerships to our blogs to sex positive and sex negative parents to body piercing and Doxy wands. I’m not sure if I vocalised it or just thought it, but at one point it crossed my mind that I hadn’t for one moment felt self-conscious or tried to tuck in my belly or worried about my flat nipples.
At the end of the evening, wobbly from the wine and atmosphere, we all get dressed. I remember looking at the two women we’d spend the last couple of hours talking to and being surprised at what they were both wearing. I’ve no idea why, really. I don’t know what I would have put them in, but I remember thinking if I’d been asked how they’d dress based on the conversations we’d been having and their different confidence levels I’d have probably swapped their outfits over. A reminder that so often our clothes are our armour and part of the story we tell the outside world about ourselves.
We all go our separate ways. Him to have an unfortunate end to the evening involving a bike and a pavement, one of them South and me and the hot woman to share a taxi to South East London where we both live. I could say my evening ended there, but it would be a lie. Three hours later in bed she says, ‘This is so bizarre. I’ve spent all evening saying “don’t look at her tits, don’t look at her tits!”‘ ‘Really?!’ ‘Yes! I clocked you as soon as you two walked into the bar.’
That was a surprise! I’m not self-depreciating; of course I know people fancy me but I always assumed I am more of a package! Not someone you’d notice as they walked into the room but someone you fancy more as the layers of their personality and experiences are revealed. I rely on good dresses and skinny jeans that show off my legs, shoes and jewellery that catches the eye. Things that distract from the middle bit, basically! I didn’t imagine for one minute that naked me walking into a room would catch an eye or that being perched on a stool with my belly rolled up and odd-shaped breasts on full display would be in any way hot to a stranger.
‘Ha! He asked who’d I’d most want to fuck minutes after we sat down and I said you.’
‘Oh my God. I assume nobody ever fancies me. I think they always fancy my hot friend.’
So there you have it. Great atmosphere, delicious food and assumption-busting encounters.
“Never pay attention to what critics say. Remember, a statue has never been set up in honour of a critic!” Jean Sibelius
Location scouting (Hampstead Pergola), photography, editing and quote selection all down to the wonderful @jedihamster100!
Photo courtesy of A to sub-Bee
The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #85 Start with the rules, come back August 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
About Those “Apple Thighs”
Why the Hell Haven’t I Rebelled Yet?
IDENTITY – hiding the evidence
My most read post this month has been The Naked Rambler
Colds and Lust
A Dirty Bathroom Floor
I’m Sorry I’m So Silent
S’il Vous Plaît
Edge of Morning
Dancin’ (Most) of the Night Away
42 Kinds of Casual Sex
Living in Fear – An Essay on Male Entitlement
How To Give A Bare Handed Spanking
Reconciling dominance and love
She’s a Very Kinky Gor
Run the good race
IUD DIARY #1 (1.5 WEEKS LATER)
We Made A Resolution To Make Love Everyday
The 20 Minute Orgasm
More on cunt, corridors & Schroedinger’s cock
Stoned Birthday Sex
Room with a View
I’m Not Done With Your Throat Yet
It’s a strange path to trust.
It’s been a while since I have been behind the camera for an Exposing 40 collaboration, but what a pleasure to bring you Chiaroscuro. I got the tip off that he was approaching the Big Four O and up for a photography adventure a couple of months back, so a plan was hatched. Anyone who follows Chiaroscuro on Twitter will know he’s pretty handy with a camera himself, so I knew my photos would need to be pretty different to stand out. As a counter to his distinctive and often quite dramatic black and white shots I wanted mine to be green, fresh, carefree and fun – so off we went on a ramble on the North Downs.
The day was as fun the photos suggest, but the stand out moment for me was how surprised and happy he was as we later flicked through the photos over a pint. ‘Look at your back! Look at your leg muscles!’ There really is nothing like having someone else turn their lens on you to tell their story for making you see yourself – and appreciate yourself – differently. I am so happy that getting involved with Exposing 40 achieves this for those who trust this little project. So with no further ado, I bring you The Naked Rambler…
Ah, weight. That thorny issue. I almost didn’t write for this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt because despite my blog being about body positivity, I couldn’t really think of anything to say about my own weight that didn’t make me sound smug or like an annoying motivational speaker. But actually, I do have something to say about weight. Weight isn’t fat. Fat is fat. Weight is weight and whether you’re slight and androgynous or bountifully buxom you have a weight. And you know what? I kind of think those of us whose weight tips the upper end of the scales have a louder voice in the body positivity conversation and it’s not something I am that comfortable with.
I completely understand why this is and why our right to own and celebrate our beauty and sexiness, whatever our shape or weight, should not be taken away. And I am in no way questioning the damaging impact promoted ‘ideals’ of beauty that are pedalled by the fashion and beauty industry have on our self-esteem. I just think that in celebrating our big beauty we should be careful not to silence the voices of lighter women who have as much right to form a healthy relationship with their body as we do.
Last summer I had a conversation about this blog with a friend of a friend who is tiny in height and weight. Tears prickled in my eyes when she recounted stories of being dubbed a ‘concentrate camp victim’ at school and how now, as a Mum at the school gates, she feels excluded and judged by women talking about post-baby bodies. Of course a slim woman has as much right to talk about changes in her body as a result of motherhood as one who is trying to shift a few pounds, but do we ever really think about that? Do we think to involve slimmer women in conversations about weight or consider how they may also need a morale boost? That chat was a wakeup call for me about the dangers of believing that because someone is slim they must be happy with their body.
And when we assume the primary reason a woman is loved is because she is slim we reduce her relationship with her partner to being about her body. We ignore her intelligence, her kindness, her spirit, that she might inspire her partner to be a better person, that they make an awesome team that’s greater than the sum of their parts. I am pretty sure nobody has ever once looked at me and thought ‘I bet he loves hanging out with her because of that big squishy belly’ so why do people so often think a partnership where a woman is slim must be built on the foundation of her body? Of course our relationships need a big dose of mutual ‘wow, you’re hot, I want to fuck you’ but the fact that most of us find a whole range of physical types attractive means chemistry and good partnerships are quite clearly about so much more than the body.
Slimness, also, does not equal healthiness. I sometimes quip ‘I’m fat but fit’ in reference to my ability to happily and slowly plod around 26 miles despite my belly being a homage to the awesomeness of cheese and wine. Jokes aside, I am confident about my fitness levels; I have no question in my mind that I am significantly healthier than an old flatmate who is markedly slimmer than me, yet smokes, frequently goes without meals and barely exercises. A slim but sedentary body will never be as healthy as a big one that moves.
Related to this is the bullshit notion that women exercise primarily as a way to lose weight. I am not saying it isn’t a massive motivator for some. Of course it is and that’s fine. I am currently engaged in a ridiculous programme of high intensity interval training as a way to quickly shift the results of two months of post-marathon partying. I’m cool with this. It’s problem and solution exercising. The exercise that enriches me and makes me feel mentally lighter is the running, the long walks, the quiet weekday swims in an almost empty pool. That exercise is about the whole of me, not my waistline. A slim woman expressing disappointment at not having time for a run or a gym session will often hear ‘oh, don’t worry – you don’t need to exercise’. It is meant to be encouraging but it means her exercise becomes about her weight and not about the headspace it gives her or the endorphin rush she gets or how it improves her energy or reduces stress.
I don’t think anyone who is likely to be reading this blog has ever intentionally made a slim person feel bad. It’s not how this lovely community plays! But I bet many of us have unintentionally said or thought something that assumes a slim person automatically feels good about themselves just because they are slim. One of the things I think is most telling is the relative lack of posts and photographs we see that explore slim issues. I had a conversation with another friend last summer and she mentioned how as a slim woman it’s hard to have a real voice in the body positivity space for fear of being judged. I said then I wanted to explore this with Exposing 40 and I mentioned it again in my Christmas post. But here we are in July and I have done nothing more! So, feel free to hold me to account on this! Let’s widen the conversation. If you have something to add I would love to share your thoughts and photos here. I have written this largely from a woman’s perspective but as ever I am always interested to hear from anyone with anything to say.
“Will you do one of those really harsh edits that bring out all the flaws on a photograph of my neck? I want to really emphasise the lines.”
A bit of a weird request, really; counterintuitive in an age of smoothing, retouching and perfecting. The thing is, the lines on my neck really don’t bother me. In fact, they kind of fascinate me. How they appeared quietly over time, without me really noticing. How there’s a symmetry to them, as if someone drew them in.
I remember about ten years ago a woman on a Clarins counter convincing me it was time to invest in neck firming cream. Did I apply it religiously? Did I hell. It sat in my cupboard for years, went off and I threw it away. The £40 would have been much better spent on music, wine, books, adventures!
Our bodies changing as we age is as inevitable as day turning to night and worrying about it is about as far down my (pretty much non-existent) worry list as it’s possible to get. Like a tree, my neck may carry a few rings that reveal its age and the rather obvious sun damage shows a foolish lack of care with the SPF, but a few lines don’t change how good it feels when a lover kisses it, or casually grips the back of it in a public place, or idly plays with my short hair as we laze on the sofa.
And it keeps my head on my shoulders!
Photo by Adam.