Among several studio pursuits which include portraiture and decorative marine art, I create and produce erotic art. My work is very explicit. The high-resolution, 3-dimensional works which bear my signature are what I call hyper-realism and leave nothing (except color) to the imagination. Because nearly all the venues for exhibiting erotica in the U.S. are limited to audiences of consenting adults - I rarely have to concern myself with offending people who feel that images depicting sex are immoral, obscene or taboo. Fortunately for me, the number of Americans today who are likeminded (not offended by content of a sexual nature) is large - large enough today among - let’s say educated people under the age of sixty who don’t quote scripture - to constitute, if not an outright majority, then at least a sizeable constituency. For most of the Americans in this subset sex is just another interesting, some might add compelling, aspect of adult life which - along with sports, music, theatre, the outdoors, recreational drugs and a big ETC - constitute the difference between surviving in life and thriving. Within this group you will hear little talk about eternal damnation and while some will snicker about same sex relationships - few will condemn them. The majority supports a woman’s choice regarding reproduction and don’t raise an eyebrow about unmarried couples living together. As large and diverse a group as I have described - I never the less have had to maintain a fairly low-profile in avoiding the public scorn of the religious militia who publicly pontificate abstinence while privately lusting after their baby sitters. To avoid all this ridiculous hypocrisy I propose we drop “sex between consenting adults” from our new millennium list of social evils. This may seem like a largely inconsequential move but I will argue that it is a necessary first step in removing the old foagies from power - a political move whose time is at hand.

The deists/supernaturalists maintain that there is a given set of rules governing human conduct - rules passed down from some very holy man (it’s always a man) as relayed to him by some god. It’s not my intent to discredit organized religion - people should be free to come to their own conclusions regarding absolutes in life - but it is my goal to disable any religion’s ability to dictate morality outside their volunteer membership ranks. If people wish to believe in a heaven filled with musically gifted, chaste angels that’s their business. Just don’t expect me to arrive at the same angelic conclusions based on what I have observed. I have (at the age of sixty) seen nothing yet that leads me to believe that: a) anyone understands what’s really going on in the universe and b) responsible sex between consenting adults is anything less than exciting, healthy and imminently affordable fun. So why make a fuss and not just perpetuate the status quo? There is a good reason. As long as sex remains “sinful” albeit largely tolerated - then truly lamentable conduct gets an undeserved boost by association. Violence in the forms of rape, incest and spousal abuse benefit from being lumped together with threesome sex and tenth century Chinese art when all come under the archaic heading of “sins of the flesh”. There is absolutely nothing evil about engaging someone in a responsible manner that pleases all concerned just as there is nothing evil about artistic depictions of said same. Whether you choose to like erotic art or keep your distance should be your decision - no one else’s. If you’re intent on finding evil associated with physical contact - trying peering into the hearts of lawyers who are making it a punishable offense for a teacher to so much as touch a child or a passerby to touch an injured accident victim. Where is the churches' outrage and moral indignation when these our most precious rights - to love and to offer help - are reduced to shambles by obscene legal precedent. I would guess the church is otherwise occupied preaching about family values and the wisdom of creationism. Not to get off the subject but how do the creationists - with their grassroots Biblical belief that the Earth is only a few thousand years old - deal with the existence of dinosaurs? Do they say they didn’t exist or that they too fall within the last Ice Age? No matter. Here again we are free to choose what we believe just as I am free to believe that the thousand or so priests caught buggering their alter boys in the last year or so are of high moral fiber and worthy of our continued trust.

Erotic art has a long history - Rembrandt was a major player much to the chagrin of the moral watchdogs of his era. Tenth century Chinese artists are among the most prolific, pro-phallic artists ever (but their twenty first century Maoist followers are in almost total denial) while Indian erotica paints a fascinating picture of pleasures which transcend rank and social class. In America today we are on one hand inundated with material of a sexual nature and on the other hand told ad nauseum of the virtues of abstinence. TV sitcom producers invest substantially in trying to come up with new sexual sight gags and one-liners but nudity is banned from TV. With the proper idiotic warnings, you can show a young woman being cut in half with a chainsaw - so long as that woman is clothed at the time. Murder it would seem, is far less offensive than sex. This extreme prejudice against what seems to be a reasonably natural act is particularly galling in that there is absolutely no organized opposition to the religious right. It’s ironic that there’s an amazingly potent NRA and nothing remotely resembling an NSA. Handguns have much more ardent supporters than erections even though I’ll contend that they often end up in the same hands.

What a pity that the case for sex has fallen on the narrow shoulders of guys like Larry Flynt and smoking jacket-covered shoulders of gents like Hugh Hefner. It’s small wonder that sex is for many something dirty and tainted. Certainly the role of prostitutes and pimps provides a major source of sleeze - if society was only a little more open and a less hypocritical about its sexual appetites - then perhaps the pimps would outnumber the Johns. A newcomer on the scene (no pun intended) is our standard bearer and supreme commander ex-president Bill whose exploits with Monica did more to stir up sexual imaginations than all his collective presidential forebearers (granted JFK was no slouch) - but my personal case against Wild Bill stems from his hypocrisy not his Oval Office antics. These days the more I hear someone in public office eschewing family values, the more I think this guy’s getting his at the office …...“I’m either away from my desk or on top of it with my secretary….”. No one rational has yet to imply that the nation’s well-being was somehow threatened by Clinton’s marital indiscretions (or Mr. Gingrich’s) - and I will argue long and hard (sorry) that the press and television are considerably relieved when they can resort to tabloid status and talk about semen and fellatio instead of Yemen and Croatia. In defense of the press - at least blowjobs and their by-products are subjects that the average Joe and Josephine can relate to. By the way why doesn’t anyone in the press use colloquialisms instead of terms best left in a medical dictionary? What’s wrong with the vernacular when it’s so much more expressive than the clinical. Sexual intercourse sounds incredibly boring and cunnilingus sounds like something only a Scotsman would eat. So why are we (purportedly the sexually enlightened) losing the war to a bunch of prudish whining hypocrites? It’s quite simple: America continues to be dominated by Ward Cleavers, Rob Petries and Sarah Palins (note: I do not distinguish between fictional and laughable characters). The 50’s and early 60’s portrayed American males as having the sex drive of icehouse eunuchs and forty years later American society continues under the dominant hand of these same sorry characters, their devoted wives and their lovely children. Collectively they perpetuate the myth that if God in His Greatness wanted us to be honest about sex he wouldn’t have given us the ability to lie with such straight faces. American politicians (male and female) have found it completely acceptable to preach a Disney morality and practice a XXX lifestyle. Just watching GOP’ers and worse yet Tea Partiers scrambling to condemn sexually liberated young people (while paying their mistresses to keep quiet) gives good insight as to just what’s wrong with America and I won't even go into the Middle East (literally) where Bronze Age thinking is considered enlightened. Don’t doubt for one minute that blatant hypocrisy serves only to fictionalize morality nor that suppression begets revolution.
It can hardly come as a surprise that young people are so completely turned off to government and moral authority when it’s so transparent and such a sham. What is surprising is the position that American women have taken en masse regarding sex. If you removed the “motherly concerns” there would be very little to comment on. Compared to European and Scandinavian women, American women over the age of thirty come across as sexually inert - more interested in filing sexual harassment lawsuits than openly exploring their sexuality. N.O.W. has become obsessed with anti-sex as a necessary first step in leveling the business playing field and the grim faced whatareyoulookinat? professional bitch has replaced the cheerleader blonde as the American female icon. Social progress seems to come at a pretty high price - there must be ground somewhere between these polar extremes that would be less spiteful and a little more in keeping with 21st century male/female realities. Sex (people need reminding from time to time) is only sex. It should have the same status (and sincerity) afforded to food, music and sports. It’s part of life and it’s different for each of us whether we’re spectators or participants. I have no doubt that there are couples who believe sex to be a completely private matter and redundant except as somewhat necessary for procreation just as I know of couples who aren’t happy unless they’re with at least two other people and a can of whipping cream. Trying to lump everyone together under an all-encompassing set of sexual rules was an effective game plan when civilization was a start-up, but as they say around here: it just won’t play on the West Coast.

In regards to erotica, I believe we are seeing a gradual changing of the guard and I am optimistic that the X, Y and Z generations to follow will assert the control that we the baby boomers failed to grasp. I remind those who believe that we are living in a progressive state far from the Bible Belt’s influence that it was but a few years ago, when the California Alcohol and Beverage Commission decreed Michaelangelo’s David "obscene" and revoked the liquor license of a bar that had the audacity to display it. Not so far back, in 1998, we participated in an adults only art show in Palm Springs and the show was threatened with closure by that same governing body for (in part) displaying 1,000 year old Chinese erotica. As we have turned the page on a new century, this would seem a grand opportunity to dehorribilize sex and instead focus our collective condemnation on truly odious anti-social behaviors. But if I’m wrong - if the same grumpy old codgers, Calvinists and "Family Values" types continue to have their way in branding sex and erotic art as taboo - then don’t be surprised if your neighborhood elementary school starts teaching “stork concept” as an alternative to “the theory of sexual reproduction”. One thing that hasn’t changed since the late 1st century: ye reap what ye sow.

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