email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
269 Amazing Sex GamesA History of MarriageA Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth CenturyActionAll the WayAlways Forever MaybeAmerica UnzippedAmerica UnzippedAmerica's Sexual TransformationAmerican EugenicsAmerican GirlsAmerican HookupAn Interpretation of DesireAnarchism & SexualityAnatomy of a BoyfriendAnatomy of LoveAnthony GoicoleaAnticlimaxArt and HomosexualityArt/PornAssuming a BodyAutoportraitBachelors and BunniesBecoming OrgasmicBehind the Red DoorBest Sex Writing 2005Better Sex Through YogaBetter Sex Through YogaBetter Than EverBetween Mom and JoBeyond Diversity DayBeyond SexualityBeyond SpeechBeyond ToleranceBig Porn IncBill HensonBodies in DoubtBody ImagesBonkBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBrothelBuying SexCase Studies in Communication about SexCase Studies in Sexual DevianceCaught in the WebCelibaciesChildren and SexualityChildren and the Politics of SexualityChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChristy ReportClay's WayClinical Manual of Women's Mental HealthClose toYouClumsyCold HitCollege SexComing of Age in AmericaConfessions of the Other MotherCybersexCyborgasmDare... to Make Love with 2, 3, 4... or MoreDare... to Try BisexualityDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeadly ButterflyDebating Same-Sex MarriageDeep GossipDeparting from DevianceDesire, Love, and IdentityDigital DiariesDilemmas of DesireDirty MindsDirty StoriesDisorders Of DesireDisorders of Sex Development:Doing ItDoing ItDoing It Down UnderDown and Dirty Sex SecretsDude, You're a FagEarly Embraces IIIEmerald City BluesEmotionally InvolvedEnjoying Guilty PleasuresErotic CapitalErotic InnocenceErotic PassionsEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEveryday PornographyEvolution and Human Sexual BehaviorExploring TranssexualismFade to BlackFagbugFaking ItFamilies Like MineFast GirlsFinal JeopardyFinding H. F.Fire on the Mountain DVDFor Lesbian ParentsFor The Bible Tells Me SoForbiddenFrictionFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Shame to SinFuckologyGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGender in the MirrorGender OutlawsGeography ClubGetting OffGetting RealGetting the Love You WantGirls & SexGirls Gone MildGirls Gone SkankGLBTQGoddess WorshipGoing DownGood GirlsGood PornGood Sex IllustratedGreat Answers to Difficult Questions About SexGuide To Getting It OnHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHard to GetHardcore from the HeartHear Us Out!HeterosyncraciesHit & MissHomosexualitiesHookedHooking UpHow Sex Became a Civil LibertyHow Sex ChangedHow Sex WorksHow To Be GayHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Have Magnificent SexHow to Make Great Love to a ManHow to Make Great Love to a WomanHow to Make Love Like a Porn StarHow to Think More About SexHypnography for MenHypnography for WomenHysterical MenI'd Rather Eat ChocolateI'll Be Your MirrorIf Men Could TalkImpotenceIn a Queer VoiceIn Praise of the WhipIn the Mood, AgainInsatiable WivesIntense Games DVDInvestigating Young People's Sexual CulturesIt's Perfectly NormalIt's Perfectly NormalItís Your HourJane Sexes It UpJock SturgesJust Between UsKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Gone WildLegalizing ProstitutionLegalizing ProstitutionLet's Get This StraightLets Talk about SexLetters to Penthouse Vol. 50Likely to DieLittle ChicagoLoose GirlLosing Matt ShepardLoveLove and DesireLove and SexLove JunkieLove Lust DesireLove SickLustMad for FoucaultMagical ThinkingMaking American BoysMaking Babies the Hard WayMaking Chastity SexyMaking Peace with PornMaking ScenesMale SexualityMalefemaleMaster BreastsMating in CaptivityMedicalized MasculinitiesMelancholia and MoralismMenMental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities MiddlesexMoney ShotMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMy Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me UpMy HeartbeatMy Horizontal LifeName All the AnimalsNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew Sex Now DVDNightswimmingNone of the AboveNormalNormalNot GayNot My ShameNot The Marrying KindNot Under My RoofNothing PinkOedipus WreckedOn Being RapedOne Hot SecondOne Hour in ParisOpenOrgasmOrgasm Inc.OrgasmologyOrgasmsOver 100 Truly Astonishing Sex TipsOverexposedPeekPeriod PiecesPervPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and Marriage: An IntroductionPhilosophy of Sex and LovePin-up GrrrlsPINSPlease Don't Kill the FreshmanPolicing SexualityPolyamory in the 21st CenturyPornPorn NationPorn StudiesPorn UniversityPornifiedPornlandPornographyPornographyPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPosition Of The Day PlaybookPray the Gay AwayPredatorsPremarital Sex in AmericaPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProblem GirlsPrudePsychopathia SexualisQueer PhilosophyRapeRape Is RapeRated X - A Journey Through PornRazmatazRecruiting Young LoveRedefining GirlyRedefining RapeRegulating SexRelax, It's Just SexRethinking Gender and Sexuality in ChildhoodRethinking RapeRunning with ScissorsSatan's Sex BookScreening SexSelling Sex ShortSexSex & Single GirlsSex (Ed)Sex and SpiritSex and the American TeenagerSex and the SoulSex and the Soul, Updated EditionSex and WarSex at DawnSex by NumbersSex DetoxSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex in AntiquitySex in CrisisSex in the World of MythSex ObjectSex OffendersSex on the BrainSex PositionsSex Q & ASex, Family, and the Culture WarsSex, or the UnbearableSex, Therapy, and KidsSex, Time and PowerSextasySexting and Young PeopleSexual ArtSexual Boundary ViolationsSexual DevianceSexual DisordersSexual EcstasySexual EthicsSexual FluiditySexual IntelligenceSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySexual Orientation and School PolicySexual PleasureSexual PredatorsSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceSexuationSexyBookShameShameShamelessShy GirlSlutWalkSmall FavorsSmutSocial Control of Sex OffendersSome Assembly RequiredSplit ScreenStir-FryStraight to JesusStrange BedfellowsStripped BareSurviving Sexual ViolenceSymptoms of Being HumanTalkTalk to Me FirstTechniques of PleasureTestosterone RexThe Anthropology of SexThe BabiesThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Birth of the PillThe Blue Moon Erotic Reader IIIThe BodyThe Breast BookThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe Busy Couple's Guide to Great SexThe Case of the Female OrgasmThe Chemistry Between UsThe Clitoral TruthThe Dangerous Art of Blending InThe Education of SophieThe Emergence of SexualityThe End Of AliceThe End of SexThe Erotic EdgeThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Essential KamasutraThe Evolution of BeautyThe Fate of GenderThe First Man-Made ManThe First TimeThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Happy Hook-UpThe Hite ReportThe Humble Little CondomThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Illustrated Story of OThe Incurable RomanticThe Love CureThe Madness of WomenThe Men They Will BecomeThe Mirror of LoveThe Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Moral Panics of SexualityThe Naked Truth About SexThe Nature of Sexual DesireThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Only Girl in the CarThe Order of the Poison OakThe Origins of SexThe Other HollywoodThe Other PlaceThe Other Side of DesireThe Perils of MasculinityThe Perversion of YouthThe PervertThe Phenomenology of Sex, Love, and IntimacyThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary ReadingsThe Pleasure's All MineThe Politics Of LustThe Porn TrapThe Pornographer's GriefThe Pornography IndustryThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Purity MythThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Sex MythThe Shared HeartThe Sleep of ReasonThe Smart Girl's Guide to PornThe State of AffairsThe Story of SexThe SurrenderThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Tenth CircleThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Trauma MythThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Vagina MonologuesThe ValleyThe Violence of CareThe Virgin BlueThe Virginity ClubThings Tom LikesThinking KinkThinking XXXToo Hot to HandleTransTransTransgender Children and YouthUltimate JudgementUltimate SexUndoing GenderUnlikelyUntangling the WebUntrue VirginVirgin NationVirgin Sex for GirlsVirgin Sex for GuysVirginity LostWhat Does Consent Really Mean?What Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?What's Wrong with Homosexuality?When Jeff Comes HomeWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen the Piano StopsWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Who Has What?Who's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWilhelm ReichWired for IntimacyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWomen and MadnessWritten in the FleshYou Know Me WellZen Sex
If psychology has much to say about sexuality that is both plausible
and insightful, I have yet to see it, although I have to confess,
I have not search very carefully. But then, sexuality is a difficult
topic. Not just because we get embarrassed talking about our most
intimate sides and ashamed of our episodes of stupidity, failure,
and cruelty, but because we lack a vocabulary to adequately capture
our feelings. We may turn to visual portrayals of sex simply because
they excite us, but it may also be in the search for the expression
of feelings and ideas that resonate with our own personal experience.
At least, that's what I say when explaining my interest in sexually
explicit photography to my peers. Most pornography is pretty basic,
relying on predictable and often sexist symbols and messages that
has been the subject of a great deal of feminist criticism. It's
very difficult to find innovative approaches to portraying sexuality.
Eric Kroll is a well-known fetish photographer - leather, PVC,
high heels, thigh-high leather, masks, and so on. It's associated
with sadomasochistic iconography. Obviously plenty of people are
into that, and plenty of other people find it shocking or disgusting.
His books Fetish Girls and Beauty Parade sell well,
I suspect. I can't say I see a great deal of interest in those
books, mainly because they seem to rely so much on tired formulae
of S/M pornography.
The Transformations of Gwen is a rather different project
for Kroll. In the Foreword he says that he and his girlfriend
Gwen reached an agreement, based on their mutual interests: he
wanted to take sexually explicit photos and she wanted to explore
her sexuality. So this 80-page book features selections of pictures
he took in their first 8 sessions; he says that they have done
over 100 sessions. Although we know very little about Gwen - she
is an attractive woman in her twenties - the fact that these pictures
are of real encounters makes quite a difference, even if they
are highly staged. They come with text that mostly describes that
happened in the sessions, making some sense of what the reader
sees in the pictures.
1. Messy Play: A tattooed naked man pours and rubs various kinds
of food over Gwen and eats some of it off her.
2. Portland Dogs: Gwen, dressed in long gloves, lacy bra, and
stockings, takes two leashed men for a walk on their hands and
knees on a country path. One licks her shiny leather shoes, and
she spanks him.
3. Jessica: Gwen is naked and blindfolded, while Jessica, in PVC,
touches and kisses her, and then whips her a little. At the end
Gwen goes down on Jessica.
4. Homage to Eric Stanton: Gwen has a "husband," Brandon,
who is disciplined by a third person, Natasha, to be obedient.
Natasha then shows Gwen how to discipline him. Later, alone, Gwen
uses her ability get her man do what she wants: Brandon goes down
on Gwen (although she is standing on the kitchen counter, so he
is facing up). Then she climbs on his shoulders, and whips him,
while the sunlight streams in through he window. Finally, with
Brandon wearing a blindfold, strapped into a gothic looking contraption,
Gwen has her way with him.
5. Mr. Boots. A bearded visitor dressed from full facemask to
high-heeled shoe in black leather visits Gwen. He lightly whips
her, and makes Gwen go out and buy him a new leather outfit, with
even shinier boots and a lacy top. This clearly excites him.
6. Ivy and Gwen 'Play." Two women play on a bed and spank
each other and try to make each other say "UNCLE." Before
it ends, the male host lays his belt across Gwen's bottom, but
she will not say UNCLE. Her bottom becomes very red.
7. Gwen Trains Her New Stepmother: Gwen disciplines an older woman,
trims her pubic hair, and pees on her.
8. Ivy Goes For A Ride: Ivy is dressed up as a horse rider, and
laces Gwen into a white corset. Brandon does Gwen doggie-style,
while Ivy puts a saddle over him and rides on top. They go at
it for half an hour. Later, Ivy trains both her 'ponies.'
What makes these images more interesting than most S/M imagery
is their spontaneity and honesty. The photographs are arranged
casually on a page, and are of various different sizes. Sometimes
there is just one image to a page, sometimes up to nine. It also
looks like there was a sense of playfulness and fun during these
sessions, rather than being utterly serious all the time. Even
though there was use of power and control, humiliation was not
the main feature of the interactions.
This book does not necessarily give great insight into the psychodynamics
of fetishism, but it at least approaches it with a fresh sense
of exploration and imagination. The pictures are sexually explicit,
but many of them are also quite funny - I've never thought of
cooked spaghetti in tomato sauce as an erotic food item, and seeing
it used her has not changed my mind. None of the images here are
intense or striking in the way that Natasha Merritt's digital photography is;
the images are relaxed in style rather than self-consciously artistic,
and quite a few of them simply look like well-lit amateur shots.
To some, that might be a weakness, but I'd suggest it makes the
book unpretentious, and makes me admire it more than I expected
© 2001 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry.
He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can
play a greater role in public life. He is available to give talks
on many philosophical or controversial issues in mental health.