I am continually saddened by the experience of my lover. He is an attractive man, with a bit of pudge, but in the supposedly “sex positive” world we live and play in, there is an active devaluation of the erotic male body, particularly if that male body expresses any diversity (non-white, not muscular, not butch, short, not able-bodied, not cisgendered, etc). It’s something that hurts me, deeply, because it hurts him deeply-and it has, as far as I can tell, for most of his life.
He’s told me about how his female lovers get asked to pose for photos, while he’s shoved into the shadows. I notice that I get paid to do kinky things, while he would have to pay to have a similar experience. Meanwhile I get annoyed at feeling like my body is constantly on display because I’m female, while he feels crushed that his body isn’t seen as an object of desire because he’s male. We are made aware, all the time, of our gender differences and how that affects community reaction to us, as a couple and as individuals.
I know he’s not the only one who feels this way. And the kinky/sexual community perpetuates this nonsense by not challenging this sexist bullshit.
So I’m on a mini-crusade for the appreciation of male beauty in all its forms. There aren’t enough images shot for female appreciation and if I have to make and curate it myself well, what else is new. And it’s not enough to have these images taken- no, I want to see as many sexualized male bodies as female bodies in the kinky/sex positive community, as an indication that we agree that diversity is beautiful, that we are, in fact, sex positive and at the forefront of challenging “the norm”. I want club nights designing fliers to consider having a variety of male bodies on their images. I want galleries to show men tied up or tying, being spanked, standing tall in their leather boots- and I want these images to not be ones created for the gay male community and then pushed at women. I want to see faces in agony and pleasure. I want to see erect cock. I want to challenge the knee jerk reaction that “female bodies are just more attractive”.
“Andro-Aperture” is a photography project whose mission is to address the lack of diversity in sexualized masculine iconography (and thanks Maggie Mayhem for the name!). By embracing a variety of men, male, and trans-masculine bodies and presentations as sexy and desirable, we validate different presentations of manliness. We believe increasing the quantity and availability of imagery of the sexualized male body, particularly beyond a gay context, increases social acceptance of these otherwise transgressive expressions.
The ways in which we seek to do this include:
- reflecting diversity in sexy men the way diversity is being embraced for sexy women
- showing sexually submissive men as erotic, whether partnered or as a single subject
- encouraging amateur photographers to experiment with erotic images of diverse male bodies
- encouraging professional photographers to challenge their assumptions by demonstrating that erotic photos of men made for the female gaze have a market
- presenting these images in BDSM/sexual spaces and galleries as a way of challenging the notion that women are to be gazed at, men are to gaze