Archive for December, 2010

The Best And The Worst

Posted: December 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

The skeleton re-animated by William Blake

On this last day of 2010, I read a blogpost by the academic, agony aunt and sex educator, Petra Boynton. She listed ‘the best and worst sex and science stories of 2010’  as portrayed in the media, including the blogosphere. As someone who has been writing some of those stories, I was keen to read it.

Dr Petra missed some key events/media stories in my view, and when I told her she included some of my suggestions but not all.

I am not going to make any judgements in particular now. But I do have a problem with her approach to sex, sexuality, and sex education. My biggest problem with her is that she does not enable comments on her blog! So how she can expect to be nurturing debate and understanding is beyond me.

The use of the word’s ‘the best and the worst’ called to my mind the poem by Yeats’: The Second Coming. Here is the passage that I think is pertinent. I will return to Dr Petra and the tyranny of sex education and ‘sex positivity’  in the New Year. In the meantime, I wish all of you a very happy new year. I think you know and I know that when it comes to our sexualities, we probably aren’t going to find out everything from academics, no matter how ‘sex positive’ they are. I have learned about my sexuality not just from people I have had the (mis)fortune of fucking, but also from poetry, music, fiction, daring journalists and bloggers, brave dissidents and outsiders, from characters in films, from artists, from the words of sex workers, homos, sluts, virgins, idiots and intellectuals. And I am still lost.

Your friend and fellow explorer,


TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

From WB Yeats The Second Coming

Looking For You

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Uncategorized
Looking for you,
I search my inbox to see if you have paid a visit.
I could be standing outside your door in the cold,
Or running down my stairs checking for mail.
Desperate to see that familiar handwriting,
Your signature avatar on my timeline.
I hear a ‘ping’ and I dash to my laptop
Only to find another offer of viagra. Or a note from my sister.
(What does she want now?)
I peek through your letterbox, wondering if you are hiding
Pretending you are not in. Keeping your status as ‘invisible’
So I don’t bother you today. But I am going round the back of your house,
Throwing stones at your bedroom window.
Leaving you @s, in front of everyone,
Embarrassing missives without replies.
Maybe you have friended someone else.
Or signed up to a dating site I’m not registered on,
Where I can’t read your IMs, where you haven’t favourited me.
Your blog is eerily quiet. You haven’t been there for days
Unread post is congregating in your porch. There’s a musty scent of absence.
The lawn is getting out of hand, and
My comments, they look like messages in bottles, washed up on the beach.
I half expect to read a tweet, announcing you have died.
Or, worse than that,
You are offline.

Blogpost Of The Year Award…

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

I am delighted to announce a new, prestigious  award, to join The Oscars and The Baftas in the red carpet circuit.


There will be two categories: ‘Beauty’ and ‘Truth’

In ‘Beauty’ I will be looking for a piece of writing that takes the breath away and sends your skin into goosepimples. It does not matter about the subject or form: it can be pornography, journalism, poetry or fiction or anything.  It just has to be… beautiful.

‘Truth’ will include posts which seek to find some truth about a subject. I will be impressed by those which chip away at the rock of knowledge and find a diamond in the rough. Again the form and subject are not crucial, it can be non-fiction, a story, science writing, history, journalism, sex, gardening, anything. The key point is how it tells and/or finds a truth.

I won’t leave any examples here but I have my eye on a few posts already.

Please leave your nominations in the comments box. You can even nominate your  own work.

And there will be a prize for the winner.

Much love


Deadline Midnight Jan 1st 2011


Posted: December 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

I have been discussing how our fascination with male beauty can go too far. How we can become so transfixed by images of sexy, aesthetically pleasing men, that we forget how they are used in our culture, to sell us a version of the self we really can’t afford and don’t need. I have been trying to find ways to depict the ‘ugliness’ of this ‘beauty myth’.

I think this photo of Brad Pitt achieves that. The gay goatee, the swishy grease-backed hair, the black top (what is it? a jumper or a dressing gown?), the hint of a sneer on his lips.

The ugly face of beauty. One of them.

And Mr Pitt also represents the acquisitory nature of contemporary ‘metro-man’. He has acquired wives, mansions, companies, children, as if his life depended upon it. His ‘sense-0f-self’ must be so very shored-up by his material and emotional/sexual possessions, he never has an identity crisis ever. Or if he does, there will be a therapist, a nutritionist, a personal trainer and a life-coach to sort him out.

The real lives of homos

Posted: December 26, 2010 in Masculinities, Uncategorized

GAY people don’t just have weddings and loft appartments. They also fuck. Hard.

The thing I like best about this picture is the way the man is gripping the other man’s buttocks so tightly, his thumbs pressing into the flesh, to give extra resistance. I have tended to find straight guys a bit tentative when it comes to anal. I wish they would be as definite about what they are doing as the guy in this photo. Sometimes I wish a gay man would do me.  Gay men seem to know what to do!

This blog will continue to showcase pornography, as long as pornography continues to be a problem.

Not safe for puritans.


These are some of the words that feature in the background of the ‘Une’ cosmetics website.

What this company is selling is more than a make-up range, made with ‘natural’ products that is kind to the environment. This company is selling a version of the self. THE version of the self that dominates our culture, the version of the self that is vital to keep the post-modern world spinning.

This of course is the neo-liberal individual: autonomous, self-actualising, Self-sufficient, self-regarding, narcissistic.

Whilst much has been written on this development in modern capitalism of the importance of the individual, economically and socially, the narcissistic nature of that individual has not been addressed so carefully. Why does this self-actualising individual also have to be so…vain?

Why is it via cosmetics adverts, fashion spreads and sportswear lines that the contemporary self is being sold?

Mark Simpson has attempted to answer this question. His ‘metrosexual’ model of masculinity(and femininity) is all about the narcissistic individual.

‘Narcissism is outside of tradition’ writes Simpson, ‘It’s literally self-referential. So narcissism is both a product of and a helpmeet to rapid change – producing ‘individuals’ in identical loft apartments. Heterosexuality, as a system of sexual division of labour and loving rather than cross sex attraction, is a strongly conservative force. In fact, it literally makes a fetish of its conservatism. Corporate capitalism doesn’t like tradition because tradition doesn’t like change. Whereas all us individuals in loft apartments require lots of gadgets and accessories and gym membership.

Narcissism, the original eroticism, is both pre and post sexuality. Pre because autoeroticism and one-ness with the mother are, in Freudian terms, the origins of sexuality. Post because narcissism is in a sense undifferentiated – it’s not about The Other. Or sexual difference. As I said elsewhere, metrosexuality isn’t about flip flops or facials, or men becoming ‘girly’ or ‘gay’, but about men becoming everything. To themselves’.

But as can be seen in the advertisements for cosmetics such as this, and in the gyms and the shopping malls, in the characters on our TV screens and in our own mirrors, the most chilling characteristic of these narcissistic, ‘unique’ individuals, is that they are all so utterly similar. (look at the neutral tones of the  products showcased on this advert-the blankness of the model’s expression-making the ‘look’ easy to emulate)

The fact is that contemporary consumer capitalism has appropriated and dissolved-maybe even destroyed-the one thing that radicals have tried to use to resist its alluring powers: difference. And when it comes to sexuality this is a problem.All those gays, all those ‘transgender’ people, all those queers, dykes, butches, homos, who as sert their right to be ‘different’ to the norm, could actually just be buying into that consumer capitalist model of the unique, narcissistic, homogenous individual.

Michel Foucault was ahead of his time, aware of this self-absorption of the contemporary sexual ‘dissident’ always concerned with his or her identity:

‘If identity becomes the problem of sexual existence, and if people think they have to ‘uncover’ their ‘own identity’ and that their own identity has to become the law, the principle, the code of their existence; if the perennial question they ask is ‘Does this thing conform to my identity?’ then, I think, they will turn back to a kind of ethics very close to the old heterosexual virility. If we are asked to relate to the question of identity, it has to be an identity to our unique selves. But the relationships we have to have with ourselves are not ones of identity, rather they must be relationships of differentiation, of creation, of innovation. To be the same is really boring.’

So if we really want to change the world what is there left for us to do? Maybe we have to start focussing on what we have in common as human beings, rather than how uniquely individual we all are. Maybe we have to stop asking ‘who am I?’ but rather other questions like ‘what needs to be done?’ ‘why is the world how it is?’ ‘How can I contribute?’  ‘What can I say? What can I make? Maybe we have to resist the calls from self-help books, adverts and our own, over-developed psyches to always look inwards, and start looking outwards.  Sounds quaint doesn’t it? But I think it is our only hope.

Reading between the lines

Posted: December 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

I said you wouldn’t write, but you did.

Proving once more my endless lack of faith.

Your words were few. I know how hard it would have been;

I was always the one who would tell you what to say.

You said you were sorry for my loss

And nothing more. But I read between the lines,

I found a whole cavern of grief in the spaces on the page-

These years we have spent apart have left us less.

And we have filled our lives with words spoken to the wrong people.

I speak to you now in my head, as if it is you that is dead,

And I am reading a card ‘in deepest sympathy’ from someone else.