Aphrodite, the goddess of love, of beauty, also known as Venus. This image painted by Henri-Pierre Picou in the 19th century is just one of many that depicts the goddess. She is soft, not hard and angular like a man. She is vulnerable, yet modest in spite of her naked vulnerability. She invites trust and blossoms with worship.
As the goddess of love, she excited passion in the hearts of gods and men, and by this power ruled over all the living creation. Now, any man who has found his personal goddess and taken her as his wife, knows all about being ruled by her.
She is a goddess, an archetypal presence that pulls us into her depths, the depths marked by the sea in which we never master. As we catch glimpses of her, we see her as we need to see her, as a blinding light of perfect beauty. And, perhaps sadly and dangerously, we only see that surface beauty. There is a depth to her that takes one into her dark depths, the place of both birth and death. Like all gods and goddesses, she has a dark and light aspect.
A sensual, playful nature pulls us into her embrace, entices us to “master” her. Yet, no sooner do we sense a feeling of dominion, we experience a death, a small death of ego and will. We are vulnerable and ripe for domination by this goddess. We shrink within her, become children to her. And she has the power that calls to us again and again to submit.
The goddess lies dormant in all women. Unconscious of their power as creators of the universe, they are as wounded as the men who covet them, desire them, risk all for them.
Hadrian, a Roman Emperor took a lover, Antonius who was deified by Hadrian upon his death. Antonius died young, by the age of twenty. For Hadrian, the relationship was meaningful.
In the Roman Empire, Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived loss of masculinity or social status, as long as they took the dominant or penetrative role. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behaviour by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated.
Why do I bring up this topic here? In the modern western world, there is a disproportionate number of men who identify as naturists or nudists in comparison with women. I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my belief that this discrepancy is based on the predominance of men who are homosexual (or bisexual). Though I publicly self-identify as a heterosexual male, I have had many men express “love” for me, a desire to engage in sexual activity with me, or simply to share my intimate photos with them for their self-gratification. Perhaps, strangely, I am not bothered by this interest in me. It is an interest that I don’t find threatening in spite of the fact of being sexually molested by “men” when I was a very young boy.
My preference, sexually, is to engage with a woman. I realise that this is a psychological as well as a biological preference that has little “ego” involvement. Yet, not just any woman would fill me need. There is a deep-rooted (think of complexes and archetypes) that needs to be activated otherwise, all I am left with is a feeling of sexual indifference. For me, sexual union is all about relationship. Without relationship it is no more than a desperate attempt at collective masturbation. In a sexual relationship that is charged with the power of union, what Jung termed mysterium coniunctionis, the “other” becomes a “magical other.” That other awakens within the “self,” a fullness and a depth that lies hidden beneath the “ego.” Does this “other” that seems charged with magical energies have to be a woman for me? Probably. But, I won’t ever rule out the possibility of finding the energies align to create a “fated” bond with another man.
I know better than to “protest too much.”
If you have seen this page before today, you will notice that there has been a drastic change in the “look” of the site. I have cleaned up the poetry sections to bring them up to date with images of the books and some relevant information. I am leaving the sister site at Naturist Lens as it was in the past. I have brought back the images that were deleted for this site. I still have a few more images left to take care of, but that is something that time will take care of. For the future, this will be the “full” site as the Naturist Lens site has significantly less number of posts. As well, the images will be “safer” at the Naturist Lens site so that a larger reading public can get passed the images to read the content. With that said, I invite your comments. Now, on with today’s post.
I found this image at the Met Museum. This image seemed appropriate to me as something different that what Carpeaux had likely intended. I see the image as being the ego being beset by various internal aspects, desires, needs, etc,, that are denied by the ego. The problem with shutting the doors to the unknown presences that lurk within the unconscious is that they grow in power and force, waiting for a week moment, for a crack in our “will.” Then, they emerge to mess up our carefully orchestrated lives. It would be much better if we were more conscious of our inner sons and daughters, and with that awareness, we would open the barricade, safely, to get to know them more intimately. In the process, we would discover a fuller sense of who we are, really.
Naturism is, or perhaps I should say, “could be,” one of the barriers that we could let down while still in control. What do we learn about ourselves when we stop hiding from ourselves? What do we learn when we stop hiding from others – even if those others are a safely selected few in a naturist community? What we will find out will surprise us as everything uncovered has both a dark and a light aspect – the faces of good and evil. We empower the darkness when we deny its exposure to the light. And when that darkness emerges, as it will, it will catch us by surprise and without the skills to safely contain it which then makes us victims of our inner darkness.
My friend, Emma has been having a good time with a flurry of naturist activity in the U.K., before the dark season of winter sets in, a very S.A.D. time of the year for most naturists in the northern hemisphere. Bracing skinny dips in the sea, and saucy moments (in her words) that celebrate the shear joy of being alive and being free to be oneself.
Here in North America, my opportunities for naturism are not as abundant due to both weather and social convention. Basically, it has been reduced to private moments indoors. I am in the U.S. of A. visiting my daughter and her family, a time for chess games, card games, charades, hikes involving hide-and-seek, trampoline football, and other creative ways to spend time until we retreat to sleep in order to recharge batteries for another day of grandparents disturbing the normal status quo of their home life.
In a couple more days we will return home to Canada while they return to life as they know it.
Because they don’t celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, and we won’t be at their place for the American Thanksgiving, we are celebrating a hybrid Thanksgiving this weekend with turkey and pumpkin pie with all the trimmings normally associated with our respective Thanksgiving feasts. One of the post-feast treats will be the traditional “grandson-grandfather” pancake preparation of “Papa’s Pancakes.” And yes, it’s a big deal that is never missed when I am in their home or they are visiting at my home.
I have just begun watching a video series recommended to me by a long time friend that I met on Twitter. The series is called Hannibal. I have seen many FBI based stories, some with no bloodshed, and most with the focus on the FBI in white hats while the bad guys (black hats) are never as clever as the forces of good. Hannibal challenges all of that. I found myself riveted to my seat while the story unfolded, a story of blood, death, evil, and empathy. Without knowing the story of Hannibal Lecter, one meets this “Doctor” as he is brought in to work with a younger FBI “profiler,” called Will Graham. It is this meeting of minds that heralds a relationship that challenges. Who does it challenge? As the viewer, I can only say that it challenges me. I don’t want to say much more than to watch the series if you dare to look at your own shadow.
I have written in the past about the problem of evil and about how good people do bad things. Of course, sometimes the definition of “bad” is individual dependent. For example, for myself, being skyclad – nude outdoors clothed by the air – is “good.” There is no intent to harm others, to threaten others. For many others, the majority in our western world, being naked anywhere if not in the bath or shower, or under the covers (even that is debatable) is something “bad” that needs to be punished. Of course, since I am a mild-mannered sort of person, I rarely post images of myself that “cross the line,” that is full frontal images. But on occasion I do. I find myself reacting against my own psychological straight jacket, that sense of social propriety.When I was confronted by this video introducing the series, I began to sense that this was important.
I know that each of us has a shadow. Most people stay as far away (unconsciously) from that shadow, projecting what does emerge onto others. Anger, fear, revulsion, hatred, prejudice – so many emotional responses laid upon strangers because they trigger the darkness within ourselves. A few people are aware of the dark stranger within themselves. As a therapist, it is my job to have my clients become more “self” aware, and that includes awareness of their own shadow. A lack of awareness is the primary reason they find themselves in need of counselling.
Hannibal dares us to look into the darkness, to become familiar with that darkness. But just how familiar do we get? Shouldn’t we deny the darkness? There is a problem with that. Denying the darkness doesn’t get rid of the darkness, it just leaves us more vulnerable to its appearance in our lives. We can approach the darkness, ever so carefully to learn about the monsters within ourselves. With knowledge, then we can avoid being caught with our pants down. We can avoid becoming a victim of our darker self.
The past number of weeks has been a busy time for me with most of that time spent writing, visiting family, and preparing our home for winter. Yesterday I registered for the 2016 running of NaNoWriMo which will have me writing at least 50,000 words in thirty days or less.
The day before, I finally finished the second draft of my second novel with the protagonist, Rene Beauchemin. The new novel will flow out of that novel’s ending, taking Rene back on the pilgrimage trails to walk from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain. I have already begun to outline the story – the middle of what I envision will be a three part story – the thirty day walking plan. Since I will be walking that route with my wife next summer and autumn, the research I am doing now will be put to good use.
On a different note, the weather has turned sunny and a bit more pleasant. I had basically written off the hope that I would be able to spend time outdoors in sunshine while skyclad. Because the yard has bushes, trees and fencing, the wind is kept down to a light breeze. Once this post is finished, I will be heading back out for a long walk in the countryside, some of which when I get far enough out of town, will be done skyclad.
Why do I get so much out of being skyclad? It is a question I constantly ask myself. The best answer that I find is the fact that it is then that I find myself able to “Breathe” freely. Clothing restricts and contains. Somehow, it is my psychological state that feels restricted and contained more so than my physical self. I wonder what it is for others?
For the past week I have been busy with the normal rhythms of life, of autumn on the Canadian prairies. With winter threatening as the geese gather to feed before their long pilgrimage to the southern climes of North America, I like many others, have been cleaning the last of our produce from the garden. The garden is now tilled and prepared for a long winter’s sleep.
Because of the need to focus on the prosaic tasks of autumn, gardens, and winterizing our camper, there has been no thoughts given to this blog site. There will more than enough time for that in the months that will follow.
I have been lucky in that the weather has warmed up just in time for the work to be done. We only had one rain day which was appreciated as it softened the hard clay that passes as our garden soil. For the past two days I have tilled the garden and added more than 200 litres of peat moss before tilling it a second time. I am pleased with the result though I have the beginnings of blisters on my hands in spite of wearing work gloves while manhandling the garden tiller. There is a sense of satisfaction in manual tasks done well.
Now that most of the work has been completed, I am turning once again to writing. The second novel in the pilgrim series is just entering into the first rewrite using the comments I have received from my three critical readers. Constructive criticism is vital for a writer.
For the past two weeks I have been in Kananaskis country with my wife where we got to hike on trails alongside, and sometimes high up on slopes that had me wondering if I was going to fall hundreds of metres onto rocks and streams below the trail. Hiking in the fall is a bit dangerous if not prepared. We had bells (rarely used) and bear spray (always carried in a holster as in the photo) at hand when we hiked. Grizzly bears are active in the area as it is feeding on mountain berries season while they pack on extra fat for a long winter’s hibernation. Luckily we didn’t need to use the spray though we were in the same vicinity as at least one bear – he left a fresh dump of scat on our trail. Hiking bare in bear country doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared.
On our hikes we did get close to a cow moose and many Spruce Grouse. We knew there were coyotes near by and elk as we passed their relatively recent droppings as well. The weather was perfect for hiking in the mountains though the mornings were always hovering just above or just below freezing. The day we climbed the highest, the temperature at the top had made it to 2 C. by lunch time. Thankfully the sun was out and I got to sunbathe before we hiked back down the trail. As you can see, snow on the trees behind and below us tell the story of winter’s approach. I am fortunate that my inner furnace works well.
A friend of mine in cyberspace sent me an email commenting and wondering about my photos which generally let the viewer know that I am skyclad, but somehow not showing my penis. Now this practice makes sense if using social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; but it doesn’t make sense on a naturist site where seeing full frontal images with male and female genitalia is the norm. What is not normal in most “real” naturist sites, be they virtual or real-world venues, is the presentation of the male genitals with an erection. The naturist world weighs heavily on the belief that naturist is asexual, non-sexual, and overt sexual displays such as an erection, need to be either hidden by a towel, or better yet, non-existent. There isn’t much threatening about a limp penis.
So, what drives men to show images of themselves with an erection is complicated with no clear answer that covers all. For some, perhaps the majority, it is simply about insecurity and the need for praise (See! I’m a big boy now). So many men are criticised as being childish by their female partners and/or their mothers. Flaunting an erection is a response to the doubt that many face regarding their status as “real men.” For older men, it is a protest statement that defies ageing, a statement that there is still a vital man hidden behind the wrinkles and grey hair.
Why? Why do men show images of themselves that show an erection? There is no simple answer. And, the answer changes dependent upon which school of psychological thought a psychotherapist has as a base, which philosophy informs the lens through which the therapist views the world. My view is through a Jungian lens, a depth psychology lens that has more than the brain and the body as determinants. For cognitive (brain-based) and behavioural therapists, showing an image (or the reality) of an erection is dysfunctional and abnormal. The problem can best be “fixed” by reprogramming behaviour and by critical analysis that educates the ego to rethink behaviour.
However, in depth psychology, the lens through which I understand the human psyche, the answer lies in the unconscious, the shadow regions of the self. Contrary to what most believe, we are a mystery to ourselves and the unconscious aspects of ourselves does impact our behaviour. In other words, there is meaning that hasn’t yet connected with the ego, the aware part of ourselves. The behaviour is symbolic of something deep within that needs attention.
Addendum: I have lost my Facebook account due in large measure because of this post. I guess that “education” has different meanings for FB. There is no education if there is a nude image involved.
It’s not working the way it should! It used to be longer and harder. What the #%&#@ is wrong with me? It’s one thing to be flaccid as the day goes on, but what about when I am trying to make love to a person I love?
There is something about erections that is vital to a man’s psyche. An erection is associated with virility, and virility was what separated men from boys. When the erections disappear, males suffer a loss of identity as a virile man. Either the male needs to redefine what it is that makes him a man, recreate himself, or he may lapse into a depression of sorts if nothing else can become the focus of his manliness. Without erections, he feels neutered, a eunuch.
With the modern world challenging the whole notion of the masculine, often viewing the masculine in negative and primal terms, men know that they are men in spite of what they hear from the world. The erect penis is the enemy as it is the erect penis that has raped women, has subjugated women. This symbol of power for men is a symbol of domination by men for women. That said . . .
In so many couple relationships in the modern world, the man follows the woman. She leads, and she leads with the knowledge of her power, especially over a man’s sexuality. With a few words or even a “look” she can deflate a man’s ego and his penis.
Perhaps this is why we now have so many men taking photos of their penis, especially an erect penis. Those images are not necessarily shared. Sometimes they are just there, in the background in an archive of photos as proof that in spite of what happens in the moment, they know that deep down they are men.