On making your own X: refuting “addiction”

[T]he only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right… The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

J.S. Mill, On Liberty

How I wish that were inscribed over the doors of every courthouse and legislature in the land.  But instead I endure to grave misfortune — shared with many others — of being immured in a society where many, many people do not subscribe to Mill’s noble principle.

If you google around under a term like “pornography addiction” you’ll find endless pages dedicated to alleging that looking at dirty pictures or movies somehow wrecks your brain like heroin.   I’m not going to bother linking to any of it,  The junk science thesis of porn addiction has already been given excessive attention and I’ll be damned if I give it much more.  What interest me here is (1) why the anti-porn people choose to deploy the rhetoric of “addiction” and (2) how making your own contributes to combating that rhetoric.

The reasons behind (1) shouldn’t be too hard to reach.  The anti-porn people really love to demonize the hated other, but when you’re talking about a class of people like pornography consumers demonization becomes a rather risky political strategy.  First of all, people who look at porn aren’t some tiny fringe.  There are tens of millions of them in the United States alone, and when you piss off that many people by telling them they’re hateful monsters well, you run the risk that they’re going to show up and elect the wrong folks to office.  Always looks bad for a political movement when that happens.  Second, as much of a beating as Mill’s Harm Principle has taken from would-be nannies left, right, and center, something like the idea that it isn’t right to dictate to grown-ups what they do with their own lives lives on in the political folk-culture of the United States.

Using a rhetoric of “addiction” solves some key problems for the anti-porn people.  First, the users of dirty pictures can then be characterized as passive, as helpless, as victims.  “I didn’t choose to look at dirty pictures.  Dirty pictures forced me to look at dirty pictures.”  This move enables the anti-porn people to shift the focus of their demonization away from consumers to producers (Pornographers!  Exploiters!  Smut merchants!  Filth mongers!) a much more discrete and insular group with far less voting power.   Second, the rhetoric of “addiction” makes the act of denying adult materials to would-be users look like something other than the invasion of personal liberty, less like burning books and more like denying heroin to a junkie.  “Your use of porn doesn’t reflect your true self.  It’s not something you actually chose, rather it’s the helpless enslavement of an addiction and when we take it away, we’re not really taking away your freedom.”  (Forcing us to be free, I see. I wonder where we’ve seen that before.)

That we are helpless or out-of-control in front of dirty pictures a seductive notion.  It’s also rot.  Rather than walk through a tedious theoretical argument as to why it’s rot, let”s try a little exercise related to the theme of Erotic Mad Science, shall we?

Below are three images, about the provenance of which I fear I know nothing except that all three appeared at one time or another at Janitor of Lunacy.  Look down the page, nice and easy now.

First image:

Second image:

Third image:

Enjoyed yourself at all?  I hope so.  Now for a few questions.

Were you looking passively down the page, moving down like a mechanical scanner?  I doubt very much that you were.  Instead you probably lingered just a little over some, perhaps hurried over others.  In short, your mind was working as your eyes were moving.  Some things might have been appealing and others were not.  There was an activity of choice going on.  Your faculties were engaged.

Now let’s move on a little in the exercise.  Pick one of the pictures on whatever grounds you like (choice!  agency!)  and look at it for a little while.  Don’t force yourself to do anything, but just let your mind do whatever it sees fit to do.

Just a few more questions, painless ones I promise.

Were you wondering about the events that led up to whatever is going on in the picture you looked at?

Did you wonder about the motivations of the people depicted?  What they were feeling?  What they hoped to achieve?

Were you writing any dialog in your head for any of the people depicted, whether as spoken word or interior monologue?

Were you thinking about the point of view of any of the characters?

Were you thinking at all about what might happen next?

If you’re like me — and I’ll bet that almost everyone reading these words is like me in the relevant respect – you could answer “yes” to most or all of these questions.

But that’s not passive at all!  Did you feel like a victim? Or did you feel like you were an agent, an author even.  Your experience was no simple act of consumption.  Even in what looks like idle viewing, there was creation.

Unfortunately it’s a rather small act of creation, and what’s more it’s not one that anyone but you can see.

But if you get busy making your own, that all changes.  When you create things, you are undeniably displaying the presence of all the things that “addiction” supposedly makes absent.  You are exercising your faculties, putting for energy, intelligence, memory, and will.  You are showing agency and selfhood by making decisions.  And in so doing, you are creating the very facts that show that the model of “addiction” is a lie.

Might I also note that you are also effacing the distinction between producer and consumer?  Thus  expanding the pool of people which the anti-porn people have to demonize when they attack porn.

Let’s expand that pool.  Let them demonize at their peril.

Let there be millions of us.

On making your own IX: Making friends

τελεία δ᾽ ἐστὶν ἡ τῶν ἀγαθῶν φιλία καὶ κατ᾽ ἀρετὴν ὁμοίων: οὗτοι γὰρ τἀγαθὰ ὁμοίως βούλονται ἀλλήλοις ᾗ ἀγαθοί, ἀγαθοὶ δ᾽ εἰσὶ καθ᾽ αὑτούς. (” The perfect form of friendship is that between the good, and those who resemble each other in virtue, For these friends wish each alike the other’s good in respect of their goodness, and they are good in themselves.”)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1156b

So suppose you now have an active existence making your own:  writing, drawing, programming, commission, mining the past all in service of adding planks to whatever craft it is that’s keeping you afloat,   Now suppose also that, like me and many others, you are spending the pennies a day necessary for web hosting and publishing.  What other benefits are you likely to find?

Well for one thing you probably will quickly notice a lot of other craft out there and that will be interesting.  If you hail them and start to converse across the waters, you’ll start to learn all sorts of interesting things.  There will be opportunities for interesting trades:  this oddly-shaped plank might not fit my craft comfortably but it will yours and vice versa.  I’ve written a story that reminds you of something, you know an artist who you think might really help bring my vision to life in an interesting way.   In my own blogging I’ve benefited in any number of posts from what were in effect reader tips — and I hope that I have at least at times provided some tips to others.

So there’s exchange.  And beyond that, there’s common interest and solidarity.  However much our inner sexual lives may be individuated by our own unique innate natures and life experiences, there are still people out there who are at least somewhat like us.  I doubt there’s anything you’re ito so weird that you can’t find someone out there who’s also interested in it, and that will make for some interesting possible conversations, as well as a sense of not being alone in the world.

But beyond all that still, we should realize that friendship isn’t just exchange or common interests.  It will often contain those, but that’s not principally what it’s about.  Friends are people who respond to and reinforce each other’s virtues.  (That, and not just showing that I know how to use the Perseus Digital Library, is the point of the quotation above from Aristotle.)  And when you are creating your own material in any way, you are displaying virtues to the world: intelligence, wit, charm, and imagination principally. And the persistence and resourcefulness to see things through to completion.  And tolerance and open-mindedness. And generosity, because creating your own is a form of hedonic philanthropy and, if you are commissioning, helping to employ a deserving artist.  And in two important ways, you’ll also be demonstrating courage, because you’ll be putting some of your psyche on the display in the world, while at the same time helping to face down a world of hostile, sex-negative, coercive normalizers.

So let’s face it.  If you get busy making your own, you’ll make friends.  You’ll deserve friends, and be a good friend.

(Simeon Solomon [1840 – 1905], Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene [1864], found at Pre Raphaelite Art.)

And it sure it hard to see anything wrong with that.

On making your own VIII: Refuting “normal”

Where a passion is neither founded on false suppositions, nor chuses means insufficient for the end, the understanding can neither justify nor condemn it. It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. It is not contrary to reason for me to chuse my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. It is as little contrary to reason to prefer even my own acknowledged lesser good to my greater, and have a more ardent affection for the former than the latter.

David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, (1739),

This post might be called my “why Rule 34 is great” essay.

(Found here at the site High-Street.org, an entertaining site which correctly warns “Coarse and offensive satire is worshiped here.”)

Yes, that’s right.  The surface reason for why there’s a Rule 34 is that there are lots of people willing to make their own and get their weird on thanks to the Internet.  The deeper reason why there are so many people willing to get their weird on is that really, there is no “normal” in human sexuality.

A sad fact about human life, but one that makes us interesting, is that unless you were born into and inherited a harem, your life will have had a generous helping of sexual frustrations, deprivations, and, lets face it, outright wounds that you’ve had to deal with, and we construct out inner lives to compensate for these.  Our lives are such that are such that we find early on a roiling ocean of desire opening beneath our feet.  We grab onto whatever planks come to hand so that we do not drown therein.   In my own life those planks were pulp and paperback covers and cheesy movies on UHF television, later even cheesier movies that could be rented in the early boom of VHS, and probably that’s I guess why I ended up as a thaumatophile.  But other people might have ended up differently.  I know other folks who had lots of John Norman’s Gor novels available and ended up with a lifelong taste for master-slave scenarios.    For all I know there really are people whose fires were lit by the black stockings worn by their primary school teacher, or by colonial furniture.  The point is, we build our inner sexual lives like Neurath’s boat with what comes to hand.  Small wonder that there are so many strange craft sailing around.  The diversity of our experiences assures the diversity of our minds.  There is no normal.

(Should any of my readers protest that they were born into and then inherited a harem, I can only note that you might have a slightly different problem from the rest of us, but one which might itself be likely to generate a curious inner life:

This illustrates the Encyclopedia Dramatica article on “Harem Comedy” and boy, have I been waiting a while to find an opportunity to use it!)

Which doesn’t mean that the world isn’t full of people insisting that there’s a normal, and that we have some obligation to get ourselves in line with it lickety-split.  Here in the United States you can scarcely chuck a brick in any direction without beaning some “family values” conservative who spends her days noisily insisting that there’s only one right way to be sexual and if you’re not that way you need some “reparative therapy” and a big dose of Jesus to get yourself right.

There’s no point in arguing with people like that, so I’ll offer a Rule 34-inspired raspberry instead:

(Found here.)

But I shouldn’t pick religious conservatives only.  They might form a large and prominent faction of offenders against human sexual diversity (to say nothing of human happiness generally), but they’re far from the only one.  The bulk of secular liberals, the ones who pride themselves on how tolerant and cosmopolitan they are, who have gay friends and support same-sex marriage, have their own sense of “normal” just as much as Focus on the Family does.  Don’t believe me?  Then imagine going to a cocktail party with all the best sorts to be found in Cambridge or New Haven or Berkeley and making a statement like this:

It’s misguided to send the cops in after conservative Mormon polygamists living our west somewhere.  If there’s a culture in which everyone sees it as good and right that a bunch of 19 year-old women should live with a successful 40 year-old guy, and no one is trying to run away, then we should just leave them alone.  Besides, face it, if you were a 40 year-old guy and could live with a bunch of young wives, don’t you think that might be sort of hot?  Well, wouldn’t you?

Or this:

Wow, I’m really excited to finally have a Real Doll rather than a human partner.  Sure, she’s expensive, but compared to the long-term difficulty of managing a relationship with a woman who’s always worried about her career — a common problem among us academic types — she’s a real bargain.  Plus this model has sound effects derived from Moaning Lisa!  It’s awesome.

Subtle instruments will not be required to measure the speed at which people start edging away.  No one in the room will like you any better if you point out that Mill’s Harm Principle permits either activity you’ve just had the bad taste to defend.

Why do people insist on behaving this way? Any attempt at a deep explanation will necessarily be conjectural, but my best guess is that people like to divide themselves into tribes and then define the norms of their tribe as the “normal,” “moral,” “healthy” way of being while denigrating the norms of other tribes.  Who dictates sex has high status.  To paraphrase Dr. Humpp, sex dominates the world, so if you dominate sex, you really dominant.  Individual members of the tribes — the social conservative tribe, the cosmopolitan liberal tribe, the whatever tribe — are expected to join in the hate as a way of signaling their loyalty to the tribe.  Where medicine and social science are available they’ll be pressed into service as clubs with which to beat other tribes as part as the general scramble after collective status. Professor of Psychiatry Keith Humphreys, writing in a recent post at The Reality-Based Community was pretty good at outlining this point:

Psychologists and social scientists generally still venture repeatedly today into the territory of human values and attempt to claim the ability to make objective judgments about which are the most healthy or scientifically validated. They don’t ever seem to learn that they are often just trying to rationalize cultural fashions: In the 1940s the “mentally healthy” person was one who respected tradition, but he morphed into the to-be-pitied “organization man” in the 1950s. Psychologists valorized divorce as the “mentally healthy choice” for those who were not “growing” in the 1970s, whereas today they tend to say that it’s better to stick it out and stop complaining so much. Maybe humility should go at the top of the pyramid of psychological development for psychologists. In a democracy, social scientists and health experts should not cast themselves as able to render objective judgments on how everyone else should live.

Indeed.  But unfortunately I’m not sure many people will listen to this wise counsel or anything related to it, just on theoretical grounds.  And the results will be destructive, both on an inter-tribe and and intra-tribe basis.  Destructive inter-tribe because we’ll have endless conflict in the form of Culture Wars as each tribe tries to scramble to the top of the writhing heap by writing its group norms into public policy — thus giving the boot to all the others.  And destructive intra-tribe, because no matter what tribe you belong to you’re still an individual, with your own life history of frustrations and hurts and compensatory fantasies.  So after the group rally (or smug dinner party) you’ll be going home to look at porn that contravenes the norms of your group and bearing the psychic costs of shame and hypocrisy — and worse if you get caught.

Horrible, horrible.  My solution:  stop being damn tribesman! Be an individual instead.  Signal your individuality instead.  Being active at making your own is a way of doing this.

And if enough of us do this, we can show, not with a mere theoretical argument but with the inarguable fact on the ground of our existence, that there really is all that diversity. If there are millions of creators, the sneering claim that it’s just a few perverts being weird simply won’t wash any more.  Perhaps then we can put a check on all this destructive tribalism.

If there are enough of us, the world can be shown how pointless and destructive it is to try to coerce people into “normal.”

Let there be millions of us.

On making your own VII: Virtuous Circle

Yesterday’s “Hedonic Philanthropy” post was about the static advantages to the rest of humanity that accrue to your making your own bespoke erotica.  Today’s post is on the dynamic advantages thereof, which result from a “Virtuous Circle.”

No not this kind, appealing though it might be.

(This particular image found at yet another pop-up laden site which I’m pretty sure doesn’t own it.  I wish I knew the provenance and if anyone does, kindly comment.)

What I have in mind rather is a concept that might be called Erotic Cultural Capital, which is a amalgam of various things relevant to the creation of satisfying erotic representations.  It would include things like:

  1. The stock of erotic ideas memes, images, stories, and other representations available to us, and;
  2. The human capital involved in the creation of (1):  the artists and writers and programmers and researchers involved in the creation of (1) as well as their special and one hopes well-honed skills, and;
  3. The technology that allows us to create and disseminate (1), technologies that first happened when one of our Pleistocene ancestors (or ancestresses!) drew on a cave wall and continue down to the Internet and the sophisticated rendering software of today, and;
  4. The the meta-elements relevant to the creation of (1-3), such  the skill of teachers that allows the creation of (2) and the skill of engineers that allow the creation of (3),among other things.

So what’s the Virtuous Circle?

  1. For the sake of analysis, start with a supply of Erotic Cultural Capital that’s used to create various erotic representations that people share and consume.
  2. People like the consumption that goes on in (1), and they’re willing to spend resources to get more of (1)
  3. This investment expands the Erotic Cultural Capital. We get more and better ideas, more and better representations, more and better skills, and more and better technology.
  4. Which people will like even more and…
  5. Positive feedback drives everything forward.  We get happier and richer over time.  The future is bright.

Your creating bespoke erotica helps drive (3).  Good for you!

The expansion of pleasure alone would be good enough reason to see this circle as virtuous, but just for the sake of completeness I should point out that there are positive spinoffs that have nothing all that directly to do with Eros.  It’s no secret that the Internet was built out as quickly as it was thanks to porn, so if you’re cooing over e-mailed digital video of your new grandchild or researching your term paper on Wikipedia, take a moment and thank the pornographers who made this possible.  And there will be other spinoffs in the future.  Perhaps the medical imaging technology that makes it possible to cure your old-age cancer will be there because of us early twenty-first century weirdos demanding faster and faster machines to render our kinky fantasies.

All for humanity!

On making your own VI: hedonic philanthropy

So aside from the fact that it’s fun, intellectually stimulating, a source of erotic satisfaction and self-knowledge, and might help you feel like a Renaissance prince, why should you be busy writing, drawing, pop-culture mining, commissioning artists, and figuring out how to make your computer render tube girls?

Do you really need more reasons?

Well, maybe you don’t, but nonetheless there are, and they’re good.  In addition, these reasons help explain why you might not just want to be a creator for yourself (writing for the drawer or enjoying your art in private), but a publisher of your results, just like I and so many others are.   So I can’t help but go into them in the next few posts.

Let’s begin with a few little premises.  Want to do go for other people?  Probably you do.  Is pleasure good?  Really, do I need to ask?

Call something a rough universal hedonic win in people get pleasure out of consuming that something and would therefore be willing to pay for it on that basis, and the aggregate of those payments would exceed the cost of someone’s providing it.  Now from a good utilitarian perspective there are probably some problems with this criterion, since unequal distribution of wealth affects global aggregate willingness to pay in ways that might be undesirable from the point of view of the universe if you believe in such, but since this is a blog post and not a philosophical treatise let’s just run with the concept for now and assume generating rough universal hedonic wins is a good thing on balance.

(This picture ran under the headline “Naked Students Pose for Charity” in the Telegraph.  I kid you not.  Looks like an easy rough hedonic universal win to me!)

Now suppose you’re a weirdo publishing your weird stuff on your weird site.  Are you generating good things?  It seems unlikey, somehow.  My thing is weird, the Internet doesn’t reach everywhere, and even then I’m only one voice among millions.  Perhaps only one in a million people out there would ever see what’s going on here and like it.

But think:  at the moment I am writing this blog post, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of the world at about 6.87 billion people.  So even if I only reach one in a million people out there, I’ve brightened up the day a little for 6,870 people somewhere every time I publish something.

Now maybe creation isn’t necessarily cheap, although sometimes it is.  (Although publication in the world today is ultra cheap:  the hosting I have for Erotic Mad Science costs on the order of pennies per day.)  Maybe a given piece of writing or a given picture costs me something, let’s be unrealistically high and estimate a thousand dollars, either in costs out of pocket or the cost of time used in its creation.  Well, suppose we divide $1000/6,870 people and we get…

…just under 15¢ per person.  So it looks like I’m getting a rough universal hedonic win if I can reach one person in a million and give them about as much pleasure as they might get out of a miniature candy bar. As doing good goes that might not exactly be a donation to Oxfam, but it still seems like a major fringe benefit of my activities here.  And note that the population estimate that goes into the denominator of my little back-of-the-envelope calculation includes only the people who now exist.  But art endures, and (mostly likely) there will be many more people in the future, some of whom will in turn be able to enjoy (or mine!) what you’ve created.  Thus you get an even bigger rough universal hedonic win!

So get out there, reader!  Make some porn and benefit humanity!

On making your own V: The power of technology

πρὸς τοῖσδε μέντοι πῦρ ἐγώ σφιν ὤπασα…ἀφ᾽ οὗ γε πολλὰς ἐκμαθήσονται τέχνας. (“I gave them the gift of fire…and many arts they shall master thereby.”)

Prometheus Bound, lines 252-4

Of course, as long as we are discussing the making of one’s own as Promethean act, we shouldn’t ignore the power of technology, which is now giving us such splendid mad-science visual representations as this:

That’s”Feel the Power” by Niceman, whose work we’ve seen before here at Erotic Mad Science, and gosh but he hits  so many right notes here:  a mad-lab setting, an erotic pose, a tube girl and possibly a created woman to boot.  And he did it with software.  (If you’re interested you can see a lot more of his work either at Deviant Art or Renderotica, although both sites might require some sort of registration to see the best material.)

Although I’ve written hopefully on the subject of computer generated art as a way of creating bespoke erotica I must confess to only have dipped in very little (some messing around with MakeHuman and Poser).  Still, I’ve been following computer-rendering for a while now and the signs are good.  If you compare the computer-generated image in this old post with Niceman’s work above, you can see that we’re getting across the uncanny valley bit by bit.  The images are better, and the software is doubtless getting easier and easier to use.  You might want to become a user now, or you might want to follow developments.  I’m sure they will be worth following.  With a little luck, you might have Pixar on your desktop in a decade.

In the meantime, I should also note that CG artists themselves also often take commissions.  Be generous!

On making your own IV: Commissioning artists

It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. Every workman has a great quantity of his own work to dispose of beyond what he himself has occasion for; and every other workman being exactly in the same situation, he is enabled to exchange a great quantity of his own goods for a great quantity or, what comes to the same thing, for the price of a great quantity of theirs. He supplies them abundantly with what they have occasion for, and they accommodate him as amply with what he has occasion for, and a general plenty diffuses itself through all the different ranks of the society.

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)

I hate to admit it, but even if much of my erotic inspiration is visual, I can’t draw worth a damn.

But I don’t let that get me down, because even if I can’t draw, there are lots of people in the world who can, and this means that a happy meeting is possible in which I help them make a living and they help me realize my vision.  And thus through the magic of exchange do the pedestrian skills I exercise at my white-collar job become art.  And there’s nothing quite like the astonishing feel of having a partner contribute their intelligence and skills to making the word become flesh, so to speak.  Thus did Hugo Araújo create the image of the Maschinenmensch becoming Maria that graces every page of of this site.

And also thus did Russkere here working only from the words of my parascript create a vision of Marie getting into serious trouble:

I’ve enjoyed working with artists as much as any of the many things I’ve done creating Erotic Mad Science, and it shouldn’t be hard to imagine why.  The process is fun, and at the end I have something to share with the world.  And I think you’ll find it fun too, if you want to give it a try.

The process need not be terribly expensive (it can be if you want it to be).  One approach would be to look through the web or at any collections of erotic art you own to find established, commercially successful artists and firms who will be happy to take your commissions.  I found Glasshouse Graphics, with whom Hugo works, through  but if you’re just starting out and aren’t sure just how deeply you want to dive in, here’s a suggestion.   There are a lot of artists in the world who are part-timers or just starting out on their careers who will work for very moderate rates.  Sites like Deviant Art or (spicier) Renderotica as well as art forums all over the web will be showcases for their work.  Take a look.  Find someone whose work you like and get in touch.  You’ll make that someone’s day.  And probably your own, as well.

I mean seriously:  it’s your chance to feel like a Renaissance prince.

On making your own III: Fetish Fuel Mining

From the title of the post, what did you think I had in mind?

(Found on a pop-up laden site I shan’t link to.)

Actually it was something a little different.

However strange you are erotically, you’re almost certainly not alone.  There are people like you, and they have been creating stuff in the past.  And now it’s buried.  It might be buried because it really was erotic in some way and the creators had to get it past the censors somehow.  Or it might be buried because it isn’t erotic to many people but it is to some.  Or it might just be lost, because it’s stuck inside popular culture that isn’t really very interesting or very good on the whole and so is largely forgotten.

But whatever it is, it’s out there, and if you’re diligent you can go out and dig it up and bring it back to life.    If you’ve been following Erotic Mad Science for any length of time you’ll have noticed my doing it a lot.  I’m into this weird thing with mad science.  The evidence is strong that there were a lot of people in the past who were as well.  But of course they were weird and unacceptable and so they had to get their crap past the radar somehow if they wanted it to see the light of day.

Crap past the radar: The tube girls are a good example.  If you were a sci-fi or fantasy editor working in mid-twentieth century America, you sure couldn’t get away with putting a naked girl right on the cover of a magazine.  But a tube, properly constructed, has some interesting properties.  It’s transparent, but on obvious way of constructing one involves segments held together by metal rings.  So you can put a naked girl in one, and of course her naughty bits will just happen to align with the metal rings.  And of course, the tube will play a part in the story:  she’s in cryo-sleep!  Being abducted by horny aliens!  Undergoing a transformation experiment!  Presto:  your porny art fantasy slips past the censor and onto the cover, which I am sure is most gratifying for both the viewer and for you.   Before you know it, there are tube girls everywhere.

Half a century later, a weirdo like me an go collecting them in service of his own ends.

Forgotten fetish fuel: The “personal identity porn” thing is probably not unique to me (I’ll admit it’s weird as a subset of my weirdness) and people who were making movies like The Four-Sided Triangle or Frankenstein Created Woman probably didn’t have weirdos like me in mind when they were filming (although you never really know).  They were making movies to make money.  Like most pop culture, they were mostly forgotten in a while.  But they were not gone, and they were there for me to mine up.  Watching these movies, and then being to explain what I think is interesting about them from a thaumatophile perspective, allows them to live again under a new interpretation, which is itself a form of creative act.

Of course, to perform that creative act, finding the little gems of eros amidst the dreck of mostly-dead popular culture can be a dirty business.

(Found on this Russian-language site.)

But don’t let that deter you.  The amount of material in the world is massive.  I’m willing to be even in my small, strange corner of the erotic world I’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to know.  So get Googling!  And then share your finds and your new interpretations with the world. What you find will amaze you.

And arouse you.

On making your own II: writing

How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?

–E.M. Forster

If you are reading this, then you can write.

Longer form:  since you are reading this, you are obviously literate (and allow me to commend you on your excellent taste in reading material ) and since you are reading this blog, most likely you have a lively and unusual erotic imagination.  Congratulations, dear reader!  Now allow me to urge you to start writing for yourself, if you do not already do so.

You’ll be glad that you do.

(Found at the blog Automatic Writing, which also has some cool pulp covers.)

In my own experience trying to write down some of the scenes in my heads was an intense experience.  When it goes well, you feel as if you are living inside the scene, with all that that entails.  So the very act of writing can be a fine source of erotic satisfaction in and of itself, even if you’re just writing for the drawer.  (I suppose I need not mention that it also cheap and sanitary.)

But beyond this, there’s a profound intellectual advantage to trying to write down what’s in your head, in line with Forster’s remark above.   Writing is challenging even when it is fun, and it demands energy and attention.  However much time and energy you have, you simply can’t write down everything:  you will have to make choices.   As such, trying to write down the scenes in your head forces you to try to think through what matters to you and why:  why these characters, and why these particular details?  Why does Nanetta Rector have reddish-brown hair?  Why does the Club Cuisine have naked girls swimming in tanks? Why all these damn octopuses?  Well, I think there are reasons for all of these things, but I would never have discovered them if I hadn’t started to write.  There are probably reasons, buried in my personal history and genetic makeup, for every detail-choice I make in my own writing, and there will be in yours as well.  Writing thus becomes an act of remembering things about your life you didn’t realize you had forgotten, and learning things about yourself that you didn’t know before.  It is a great technology of self-discovery.   Use it!

Oh, and by the way, if you’re lucky (and I was lucky) you’ll discover kinks you didn’t know you had before, which is great, because these too can be exploited for pleasure.  A little virtuous circle:  the pursuit of pleasure generates knowledge that generates more pleasure that encourages the pursuit of more knowledge, and so on, all the way to paradise perhaps (though that’s highly speculative and will be the subject of its own post).

It might be tricky getting started but don’t be discouraged.  Susie Bright‘s How to Write a Dirty Story is good for greasing the mental gears, so I do recommend your reading it.  Whether you might want to follow my lead in writing not prose but parascripts (for imagined comic books or movies) is entirely up to you.  It reflects my own idiosyncratic inclinations:  much of the formation of my own erotic consciousness was by visual media like pulp and paperback covers, comic books, and of course movies, so it feels natural to write in modes closely tied to an implied visual experience.   (Also, when writing in ways tied to an implied visual experience it becomes much easier to stick to the rule of “show, don’t tell.”)  If you’re like me in that respect and want a helpful tool, I recommend Celtx, which is free software which neatly and automatically formats things like comic book scripts and screenplays (and even radio scripts, in case your erotic consciousness involves a lot of implied aural experience).

Do what works for you, and good luck on your literary mission!

On making your own I

Over the next few days I’ll be posting a series of short essays urging people to their own Promethean acts, suggesting that they take a more active hand in creating their own erotica.  What could be more mad science than that?  Although of course the concept has rather ancient roots.

(Image of Pygmalion and Galatea by Himiko, found here.)

This sequence will be called “On making your own.”  I’ll try to share two things here:  One is a little bit about my (limited) experience in making my own, as a writer, commissioner of bespoke art, and miner of fetish fuel, in hopes that these might be either inspirational or useful to others.  The other will be to try to provide a bit of philosophical underpinning for the process of making your own, explaining why it’s such a good thing not just for you but for the rest of the world to bring your erotic fantasies to some kind of life.

It may seem strange for me to go out and encourage other people to become my competition, but I think that there are real cultural, technological, and personal advantages to having as many people as possible making their own.  Bear with me:  I hope this will all be clearer over the next few days.