Friday, 30 September 2016


At last; it’s here! I’ve been waiting for this a long time. George Pappas has republished his book Monogamy Sucks. Those of you who follow George on Twitter will be familiar with the hows, and whys…the stories behind the story. The expurgated version of Monogamy Sucks was originally published by Lazy Day Publishing…expurgated, because publishers are uneasy with explicit erotica, their delicate sensibilities are easily shaken and offended. George made the requested edits; it didn’t sit easily with him, but, like all writers, he wanted to see his book published. But then Blushing Books took over from Lazy Day and Blushing Books were horrified; they could not have such perverted filth besmirching their pristine, creamy white catalogue. Having been gravely offended by the mere mention of Sex, let alone Swinging, Blushing Books gave George back the rights to his books.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, George was absolutely delighted. With the Independent market growing, he has taken that road, and the unexpurgated version of Monogamy Sucks is now available. It is fresh, it has vitality, verity too, it is uncompromising, as is the author; the unexpurgated version is as the author, George Pappas intended.

This new edition of Monogamy Sucks is as provocative, if not more so, than the expurgated version. If you are completely new to George Pappas’ ideas and humour, then you are in for a real treat. The story is told in diary form, by George’s protagonist, Jake; one entry after another exposes explicitly the life that Jake wants. “Guilt free sex…is that too much to ask for?” Apparently, it is. He condemns an established way of life with a visionary’s zeal. His zeal, his absolute intent, is to subvert the natural order. The narrative is driven by Jake’s diary entries; they are provocative and, therefore, dangerous. I’m all for subverting the natural order, I’m always provocative and I love a little slice of danger; so as I say, I was curious. I read on.

Jake Dalmas is bitter and angry. So, as I say, my curiosity is piqued; I am allured and yes, I am intrigued as to where Jake is going with this.
So I immersed myself in the book that is the subject of George Pappas’ very frequent, wonderfully lyrical tweets.       
And George Pappas knows how to turn a girl’s head with carefully crafted words; I’ve read his poetry, quite a lot of it. So I knew that I was going to be allured; dazzled, with an elegant display of exquisite prose. But I wasn’t expecting to be amused and entertained to the point of laughing out loud.

“October 11
My ad has been in the Express for a week now and there has been absolutely no response. It’s depressing. I am starting to have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Still, a part of me is also somewhat relieved. I really don’t know what I am going to do when someone calls. I am at war with my hormones. My need for pussy without strings is in conflict with my fear of rejection and my basically timid nature. I become extremely nervous when calling a woman I have met for a date. Yet this is different. This is a woman who I will be calling for sex. I will have to seduce her on the phone, and I am not sure if I really know what to say. I have overwhelming doubts that I can go through with this.”

The humour is gentle, poignant, tender even. I sense Jake’s desperation; his vulnerability is engaging and I like him. I want to listen to him.

I can’t think of any other writer with such an acute sense of the absurd than George Pappas. And what is more absurd than sex and the strange roads we travel to get it? The need for sex drives us when we’re not getting it.

 Then there is the need for even more sex when we are getting it which drives us even more. We turn into ravenous, slobbering creatures hoping that any innocent liaison will turn into rampant sex.
It is almost as if we’ve never really progressed beyond the insecurities of adolescence. And George Pappas’ character, Jake Dalmas is hopelessly insecure; he has a shyness around women, especially attractive women that ensures he never really progresses beyond flirtatious eye contact.
And it is not only comedy where George Pappas excels. His erotica tips over into the pornographic. He’s an edgy writer playing the reader with uncertainty. Where the hell is he going next?

But back to Jake and his quest; does he really have the qualities of a revolutionary?
He is certainly driven. His diary entries catalogue his utter rejection of conventional relationships; he’s been there so many times that he knows that after a few months he will become emotionally claustrophobic; he knows that he will be suffocated to the point of his psyche being damaged if he can’t find a way out.
   That is an absolute guarantee.
   And it is at this point, the point of Jake’s rejection of conventionality, that we join his journey; his quest. Not for another suffocating relationship; Jake wants a world where casual sex is the norm. Where men and women fuck for the sheer joy of fucking, then move on quickly to the next casual fuck. Jake knows he has mountains to climb and his first task is to indoctrinate women into the joys of casual sex.
   A world of absolute, guilt free sex.
   Jake Dalmas is a wannabe Swinger.
   He yearns to meet women who will understand his ethos of casual sex; women who know how to celebrate fucking with the exuberant spirit that is so essential to him.
Sex is permanently on Jake’s mind. Yes, he’s a wannabe Swinger, but he’s insecure and vulnerable. He has the sort of erectile dysfunction that men dread and few would admit to. Jake can’t always get it up. His penis lets him down in the worst possible way and often at the crucial moment…Jake’s erection fades to a flopping flapping flaccid embarrassment.
Pathos. Jake’s failure to copulate is made funny, but the scenes awaken our emotions to the vulnerability of the male.
   Jake cuts a lonesome figure in the pages of his diary and like all revolutionaries taking an extreme position, he is isolated. But Jake doesn’t hold back; everything, absolutely everything goes into his diary entries, from the raging erection that wakes him in the morning, to the dark despair of sating a demanding, throbbing erection every evening.

But having made his stand for this brave new world of fucking, Jake is faced with the problems of all political extremists; he has to embrace subterfuge to be in with the in crowd. And this is an in crowd he yearns for. He’s not yet one of them, but if he appears like one of them they’ll think he’s one of them. He feels like an imposter; he is an imposter. He has yet to prove himself worthy. How does Jake become a Swinger?
 He runs an Ad in the Express magazine. When he meets no response he replies to Ads and is dismayed to discover that the Ads are placed by call girls.

“I want the person I fuck to WANT to be there. I don’t want our sex together to be her fucking job, as most of us hate our jobs. Why should it be any different for call girls?”

He has blind sex dates. After such a date with Vivian he learns the mysteries of female ejaculation; he is still depressed.

November 14
“When Vivian arrived at my apartment, I felt like sending her home. I’m not into granny sex…What the hell was she doing here? I didn’t want to fuck my grandmother...Vivian began panting, wheezing and moaning almost immediately. I was hoping I wouldn’t give her a heart attack or something and she would die in my apartment. It would be just my luck.”

And here is more of the laughter I talked about. Vivian can squirt.
“Vivian was a human geyser squirting everywhere…My mouth and face was covered in her love juice…she ejaculated several more times as I continued to play with her pussy. I have to admit I was in awe of her…”

Jake nearly goes bankrupt in his addiction to phone sex lines. Phone sex isn’t his thing, but he has phone sex with Nellie; Nellie cums; she wants Jake to cum too. Nellie talks dirty; “Cum for me baby…”

“So I would pretend to cum just to get her off the phone. Except for one recent morning when she called me right before I had to go to work. I woke up really horny and came all over my hand thinking about her pussy that was probably old and rank, but I didn’t think of that at the time.”

Jake’s phone sex cum is cold and lonesome; almost a pointless afterthought.

He misses; “the chemistry the eye contact and physical presence of another person. I want real sex and phone sex is a poor substitute.”

Jake meets Pam, a nurse. Jake has always had a thing for nurses; he and Pam have great sex, but Jake breaks an unspoken rule. He never does find out what it is, but Pam distances herself and doesn’t return his calls.

“Frankly, Swinging is still a fantasy lifestyle for me. It might as well be happening on another planet. I am still a Swinger in training, but meeting a woman like Pam gives me a lot of hope that someday soon I will fulfil my fantasies.”

Jake is heading for overwhelming disappointment. But he is stoical. He embraces his mantra and has more sex with more women he finds dull and unattractive. Women who don’t seem to have any knowledge of personal hygiene. This, combined with Jake’s premature ejaculation, post-cum depression and the much needed erection utterly out of control and misbehaving; well, it is hardly surprising that Jake develops anxiety about his performance leading to more depression.

Sex at work. A gang bang at work. Jake discovers Viagra; he can fuck all night like the stud he wants to be. Jake is a worthy Swinger.

And now I’m going to stop writing about the book. Spoilers annoy me. I’ve read so many reviews of great books where the ending is given away. For me, it upsets the experience of reading. And you won’t see the ending coming I promise you.

So let’s get serious for a moment. Our ideas about monogamy go back centuries and are linked to ideas around inheritance and integrity. “Til death do us part” goes the sacred vow in the marriage ceremony. But just supposing you married your partner when you were 16 and both of you lived until you were 96 that would be 80 years of not only living with, but having sex with that same person. I’ve no doubt it has been achieved, but I think that’s a helluva big ask.

All those centuries ago we didn’t have the luxury of living a long life. In the 16th century Bess of Hardwick married and buried 4 husbands. Bess really did live by her marriage vows, staying on with each husband until they were separated by death. Then she’d move on. Perhaps Bess was a 16th century Swinger.  Maybe we’re just not cut out for those long drawn out relationships. Maybe divorce is a 21st century social necessity.

There are examples in literature too. Will Shakespeare’s Falstaff was most certainly a Swinger drinking and fucking his way around merry England. And in the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer writes of the Wife of Bath, who was first married at the tender age of 12 and has since married and buried 5 husbands.

I think that “Monogamy Sucks” is a courageous book. George Pappas has created a hero with radical ideas. He is way ahead of his time. The mainstream does not like ‘radical’. It is protective about the ideologies that have propped it up for centuries. The mainstream does not like its frailties and vulnerabilities exposed. George Pappas tells me he is hoping that the mainstream will catch up with him one day.

“Monogamy Sucks” can be read on two different levels. As a piece of erotic sugar that dissolves on the tongue like sweet cotton candy. (Candy floss if you’re in the UK) Or it can be read as a vibrant and alternative way of living.

There’s a fork in the road up ahead. One nicely tarmacked track will keep you on the straight and narrow. That’s the safe road. The road that leads to monogamy. Or you could take the rocky track, littered with treacherous potholes. It’s a scary track, but there’s stuff going on there that could lead to something exquisite; something that will change your life forever.

Jake's adventures will return in the sequel RELATIONSHIPS SUCK in early 2017....I cannot wait!

Monogamy Sucks is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK. George Pappas can be found at Twitter @GPWriter

Friday, 23 September 2016


The tales are gruesome; morbid. We tremble as our lungs expand horribly, inhaling the stench of death; of putrication. The vile stink makes us retch. Yet, the stories are compelling, the reader is helpless, caught up in the powerful strokes of Edgar Allan Poe’s pen. The reader shudders at the thought of being buried alive or of digging up a corpse to gloat in the face of death. In the worlds that Poe creates, the Id is out of control.

Poe’s own life seems to have been plagued with death, love, unrequited love, abuse of alcohol, abuse of opiates and poverty. His stories tell of sex and death; the horrors of the grave, the vomit at the back of your throat, choking your scream.

From Wiki
“The works of American author Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) include many poems, short stories, and one novel. His fiction spans multiple genres, including horror fiction, adventure, science fiction, and detective fiction, a genre he is credited with inventing. These works are generally considered part of the Dark romanticism movement, a literary reaction to Transcendentalism. Poe's writing reflects his literary theories: he disagreed with didacticism and allegory. Meaning in literature, he said in his criticism, should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface; works whose meanings are too obvious cease to be art. Poe pursued originality in his works, and disliked proverbs. He often included elements of popular pseudosciences such as phrenology and physiognomy. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Though known as a masterful practitioner of Gothic fiction, Poe did not invent the genre; he was following a long-standing popular tradition.

Poe's literary career began in 1827 with the release of 50 copies of Tamerlane and Other Poems credited only to "a Bostonian", a collection of early poems which received virtually no attention. In December 1829, Poe released Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in Baltimore before delving into short stories for the first time with "Metzengerstein" in 1832.His most successful and most widely-read prose during his lifetime was "The Gold-Bug" which earned him a $100 prize, the most he ever received for a single work. One of his most important works, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", was published in 1841 and is today considered the first modern detective story. Poe called it a "tale of ratiocination". Poe became a household name with the publication of "The Raven" in 1845, though it was not a financial success. The publishing industry at the time was a difficult career choice and much of Poe's work was written using themes specifically catered for mass market tastes.”

Biographies are interesting, yes? But let’s talk about the stories! In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the tale opens with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. Although Poe wrote this short story before the invention of modern psychological science, Roderick's symptoms can be described according to its terminology. They include hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and tastes), hypochondria (an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness), and acute anxiety. It is revealed that Roderick's twin sister, Madeline, is also ill and falls into cataleptic, death-like trances. Roderick then tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be sentient, and that this sentience arises from the arrangement of the masonry and vegetation surrounding it. Roderick later informs the narrator that his sister has died and insists that she be entombed for two weeks in a vault (family tomb) in the house before being permanently buried. The narrator helps Roderick put the body in the tomb, and he notes that Madeline has rosy cheeks, as some do after death. They inter her, but over the next week both Roderick and the narrator find themselves becoming increasingly agitated for no apparent reason. A storm begins. Roderick comes to the narrator's bedroom, which is situated directly above the vault, and throws open his window to the storm. The narrator notices that the tarn surrounding the house seems to glow in the dark, although there is no lightening.

The narrator reads to Roderick, as cracking and ripping sounds are heard somewhere in the house. When metallic and hollow noises can be heard, Roderick becomes increasingly agitated and hysterical, and eventually exclaims that these sounds are being made by his sister, who was in fact alive when she was entombed and that Roderick knew that she was alive. The bedroom door is then blown open to reveal Madeline standing there. She falls on her brother, and both land on the floor as corpses. The narrator then flees the house, and, as he does so, notices a flash of light causing him to look back upon the House of Usher, in time to watch the house break in two, the fragments sinking into the tarn.

In "Supernatural Horror", H.P.Lovecraft solved a problem in the interpretation of Poe," by arguing that "Roderick Usher, his sister Madeline, and the house all shared one common soul". This notion has probably influenced later writers. I am thinking of Shirley Jackson’s excellent, “The Haunting of Hill House”, and Stephen King’s “The Shining”. In these stories, the houses have a consciousness and actively work against, and manipulate the characters. The explicit psychological dimension of “The Fall of the House of Usher, has prompted many critics to analyse it as a description of the human psyche, comparing, for instance, the House to the unconscious, and its central crack to the personality split which is called dissociative identity disorder. Mental disorder is also evoked through the themes of melancholy, possible incest, and vampirism. An incestuous relationship between Roderick and Madeline is not explicitly stated, but seems implied by the strange attachment between the two.

From Suite 101.

In Berenice, Poe reveals his ability to imply extreme violence without actually depicting it. The short story, begins with the narrator’s complaint that “Misery is manifold.” He wallows in his self-pity, extrapolating that man’s fate is to always find ‘what is’ to be an agony and to find pleasure in what ‘might have been.’ He tells us that his first name is Egoeus and declines to tell us what his family name is. He suggests that his family is a prominent family and describes the richness of their family home, in particular the library.

Egoeus’ private residence is the library and he describes it as the location of his physical birth, the site of his intellectual growth, and the place where he existed as a non-entity before birth. The library is his entire life.
Berenice was Egoeus’s cousin. Their lives were opposite in every way. While Egoeus was dark, gloomy and sickly, Berenice was beautiful and energetic. Egoeus describes Berenice’s life as “the ramble on the hill-side - mine the studies of the cloister.”

Egoeus describes how Berenice’s carefree existence was destroyed by a mysterious malady, which ruined all that was fair and beautiful in his cousin. The disease left her subject to a form of epilepsy, which usually concluded with a deep trance that mimicked death.

During Berenice’s decline, Egoeus experiences a rapid progression in his own illness, which takes the form of obsessive monomania. This monomania allows him to fixate obsessively on one small, often inconsequential, object or detail for vast amounts of time.

Egoeus confesses that when Berenice was beautiful and healthy he did not love her. She, however, had loved him for a long time. When Berenice’s appearance was destroyed by disease Egoeus proposes to her out of a perverse remembrance of what had been.

At this time, Egoeus notices that Berenice’s teeth are the only part of her untouched by her disease, he then develops an obsession with them and imagines being able to hold them in his hand and examine them separately. As a result of his monomania, Egoeus enters into a long trance in which he contemplates Berenice’s teeth.

Egoeus recalls the servants notifying him that Berenice has died during one of her epileptic fits.

The next lucid recollection of Egoeus is when he is sitting in a chair. He recalls a woman’s scream and he has the feeling that he had completed some ‘deed,’ but he can not recall what it was. He notices a small box on the table; the box is like the box which doctors carried.

A servant arrives and tries to explain the situation to Egoeus. He tells Egoeus of wild cries during the night that roused the household. The members of the household discover the violated grave of Berenice and Berenice herself alive but disfigured. He indicates to Egoeus to examine the state of his own clothes, which were covered with blood and dirt. He points out to Egoeus the dirt covered spade leaning against the wall. Suddenly, Egoeus screams and grabs the box. When it falls open, dental tools and 32 teeth fall onto the ground.

"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" is a horror short story. I am including it here as a tribute to my Dad; he was an avid reader of Poe, and he told this story to my sister and me, one Sunday lunchtime as he was carving the roast beef. He also told us about the headless man he saw in our back yard. Mum was not pleased.

From Poe-stories

A noted doctor of worth, the honourable Dr. P_____, is fascinated by the art of mesmerism or hypnotism with respect to its rumoured ability to suspend a patient in a state of hypnosis to escape death. He describes his old friend, M. Ernest Valdemar, as a person "particularly noticeable for the extreme spareness of his person." It is this man who has graciously volunteered his body and mind for Dr. P_____'s experiment in mesmerism. On the very eve of his death, Valdemar calls upon and receives Dr. P_____. Dr. P______ describes Valdemar's condition as ever-worsening and predicts his death to be forthcoming. Just before Valdemar's death, Dr. P_____ places him under hypnosis and maintains this state of mesmerization for seven months during which he visits Valdemar and asks him questions about his current comfort. Throughout first few days of mesmerization, Valdemar's condition deteriorates physically to the point that death is reached: "There was no longer the faintest sign of vitality in M. Valdemar: and concluding him to be dead, we were consigning him to the charge of the nurses." Horrifically, although his body was dead, Valdemar's mind was still in contact with the world and was also demanding, with increasing insistence, to be allowed to die: "Yes; --no;--I have been sleeping--and now-- now---I am dead." At this point, Dr. P_____ and his colleagues, Dr. F_____ , Dr. D______, and Mr. F______, decide to keep Valdemar in hypnosis for an indeterminate amount of time, believing that since death was halted due to the hypnosis, Valdemar would remain in his that state. For seven months, Dr. P______ continues to pose questions to Valdemar about his condition, questions to which Valdemar answers with increasing intensity and desperation until Dr. P_____ becomes unnerved by Valdemar's final answer: "For God's sake!--quick!--quick!--put me to sleep--or, quick!--waken me!--quick!--I say to you that I am dead!" The doctor rapidly performs his waking motions and witnesses the accelerated decay of a seven-month dead body:

“As I rapidly made the mesmeric passes, amid ejaculations of 'dead! dead!' absolutely bursting from the tongue and not from the lips of the sufferer, his whole frame at once--within the space of a single minute, or less, shrunk--crumbled--absolutely rotted away beneath my hands. Upon the bed, before that whole company, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome--of detestable putrescence.”

"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" was one of Poe's great hoaxes. During Poe's time mesmerism was in vogue as a subject of medical and psychological investigation in Britain and the United States. Stories of its medical benefits had circulated, backed strongly by the Rev. C. H. Townshend--Facts in Mesmerism ( London, 1840)--and, ironically, by Poe himself--"Mesmeric Revelation," (1844). Poe created disgust and horror by his otherwise successful methods of creative writing. Judging from its immediate success and the seriousness with which it was taken, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" struck fear into its audience and conveyed the human dread of and morbid fascination with death and the decay that accompanies it. Poe shocked his audience with his gory imagery of fetid decomposition the impact of which was intensified by the public's belief that what they were reading was truth. He created such a fervour of reaction that on March 14, 1846, Poe included in an expense accountability letter the following disclaimer: "P.S. The 'Valdemar Case' was a hoax, of course."

But as I said earlier, Poe is not just famous for his horror stories, and “The Purloined Letter” is an example of a modern mystery story.


Modern mystery writers owe a debt of gratitude to Edgar Allan Poe. Although he is primarily known for his horror stories, Poe also wrote a series of what he called, ‘‘tales of ratiocination,’’ which helped define the conventions used in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories, and which helped influence the development of the modern mystery. One of Poe's most popular detective stories is "The Purloined Letter.'' Originally published in The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1844, an annual magazine, the story was reproduced in Poe's Tales by Edgar A. Poe the following year. Today, a copy of the story can be found in The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales, published in 1998 by Signet Classic. As with the other stories that feature C. Auguste Dupin, Poe's famous detective protagonist, ‘‘The Purloined Letter’’ emphasizes the use of deductive reasoning—a specific type of logic that examines all factors in a case objectively— to solve mysteries that have stumped others.

In this story, as in other Poe detective stories, among the people stumped are the members of the French police force, who attempt to find a stolen letter which is being used for political blackmail. The police launch a series of scientific and precise, but misguided, investigations by using logical methods that are based solely on past experience and established systems of thought. Their investigative methods reflect the types of rational thought prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century. In the end, the police are unsuccessful in finding the letter because the thief has hidden it in the most unexpected place—right under their noses. Dupin figures this out and recovers the letter, turning the political tables on the thief.

So without Poe, there’d be no Miss Marple, no Hercule Poirot. Even “Murder She Wrote owes its existence to Poe…

He died in 1849, when he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in distress, wearing tattered clothing that was not his own. He died four days later.
His final words were: "Lord, help my poor soul.”

In an aptly mysterious postscript to Poe's life, an anonymous visitor has brought three red roses and a bottle of cognac to Poe's grave at Westminster Church in Baltimore on the anniversary of the writer's birthday every year since the 1940’s. Although, according to what I read on the web, the anonymous visitor has been absent for the past two years.

I wonder what we’d think of Poe if he were alive today? The doctors would probably send him to rehab, give him Prosac -- certainly he’d have some serious therapy. But then, we probably wouldn’t have the stories.

My own story Winnat's Pass was influenced by Poe's "Berenice" I am delighted that it made a dear friend, Gary Walker, recoil in horror. You can find Winnat's Pass in my Fetish Transcendence collection.

This blog post has been put together with sources from the Web, my friend Jan Vander Laenen and my own ideas.

You can find my Fetish Transcendence collection via my Author page at Amazon

Friday, 16 September 2016


Hey You! Yes, you peeping through the keyhole. Yes, you, the guy masturbating in the peepshow booth, watching the lady dance her erotic tease.

And you, you, who thought you were safe looking at dirty pictures in secret, while your wife sips her tea; you’re not safe. And neither is the sophisticated gentleman cruising the National Gallery, pretending to look at the chiaroscuro and line in the masterpieces.

You’ve been spotted.

The naked females stare boldly back at you.

You’ve been caught out. You’ve been caught looking.

Your quest to fulfil your carnal desires has landed you in big trouble. Your desire to obtain knowledge of the female form cannot be obtained in any innocent way. In the vernacular, you are a Peeping Tom. To give you your polite name; you are a Voyeur. You are no better, no different to Tom, blinded for his crime of looking at his Lady, as she rode, naked, through the streets. Peeping Tom saw what was taboo; forbidden. So have you.

And girls, don’t think you’ve got away with it either; so wipe those smirks off your faces. That wonderful statue of David, by Michelangelo; did you know that David’s eyes follow you? He’s watching you, looking at his beautifully sculpted cock. He can see the lust in your eyes.

Goya painted the “Nude Maja” in 1800. She stares at the viewer, with an autocratic gaze. She refutes any suggestion that she is debauched; she flaunts her nakedness. The viewer is incidental; an anachronism. The Nude Maja does nothing to titillate; she is simply there. Naked. So what?

From Wiki.

Without a pretence to allegorical or mythological meaning, the painting was "the first totally profane life-size female nude in Western art". Goya refused to paint clothes on her, and instead created a new painting of her clothed. The clothed Maja, eyeballs the viewer with her irritated stare.

The identity of the Majas are uncertain. The most popularly cited subjects are the Duchess of Alba, with whom Goya is thought to have had an affair, and the mistress of Manuel de Godoy, who subsequently owned the paintings. Neither theory has been verified, and it remains as likely that the paintings represent an idealized composite. In 1813, the Inquisition confiscated both works as 'obscene', returning them in 1836.

Le dejouner sur l‘herbe ("The Lunch on the Grass") is a large oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet. Created in 1862 and 1863, its juxtaposition of a female nude with fully dressed men sparked controversy when the work was first exhibited at the Salon des Refusés. The piece is now in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. A smaller, earlier version can be seen at the Courtauld Gallery London.

The shock value of a woman, naked, casually lunching with two fully dressed men, was an affront to the propriety of the time. But the naked woman in the painting negates any suggestion of indecency. She simply doesn’t care, and that is perhaps what is so shocking. Like the Maja, she confronts the viewer with an expression that seems to find the viewers’ excitement, boring. It’s as if she’s saying; “Oh, do grow up.” Faced with that, the viewers’ lust is diminished.

Manet embarked on this canvas after being challenged to give the Salon a nude painting to display. (1863) The painting was controversial partly because the nude is wearing some small items of clothing such as an orchid in her hair, a bracelet, a ribbon around her neck, and mule slippers, all of which accentuated her nakedness; her comfortable courtesan lifestyle and sexuality. The orchid, upswept hair, black cat, and bouquet of flowers were all recognized symbols of sexuality at the time. This modern Venus' body is thin, counter to prevailing standards; the painting's lack of idealism rankled viewers who noticed it despite its placement, high on the wall of the Salon.

Manet’s Olympia stares out of the canvas at the viewer. No attempt at seduction, in her frankly, bored gaze. Manet has used the idea of the Classical pose and borrowed it from a much earlier work by Titian. “Venus of Urbino” (1538)

The women are posed in a similar fashion; relaxed, reclining. But Titian’s Venus is a seductress. She invites the viewer in. You can see it in her eyes and her full lips. Her plump mouth is suggestive of swollen labia lips; engorged and wet.

The viewer is on his way to being redeemed. This woman wants him.

The nudes discussed here, disconcert the viewer with their challenging stare. They have turned the tables on you; you are now the one on the receiving end of the gaze. Briefly, you crumble. You are shocked. Oh, you’ll get over it, but you’ll always remember that feeling of being found out; caught looking.

Friday, 9 September 2016


DURING most days of the week, Rebecca, a 35-year-old mother from Melbourne, lives the life of a regular suburban mum.
She does the school drop off and kindergarten duty, goes for coffee with the other school mums and plays basketball with her two young daughters in the local park.

But for three nights a week, Rebecca slips into her black leather corset, thigh-high boots and PVC mini skirt, and transforms herself into her dominatrix alter-ego, Mistress Jane.

She teaches women — at private classes, hen’s parties and public workshops about how to spice up their sex lives by incorporating elements of BDSM.

“I’m passionate about women getting what they want from their sex lives and exploring and experimenting,” Rebecca, who prefers not to use her last name, told

“I go with my big bag of tricks and I teach women how to tie men up and give them a good spanking,” she said.

Her business, Tamed By Jane, is so successful that she’s able to rely solely on her income from dominatrix work.
“I love it. As soon as you put the costume on, you’re transformed. It’s like putting on a layer of confidence,” she said.

Rebecca says she feels like she lives a double life.
“I don’t talk about my second life [as a dominatrix]. I keep it quiet,” she said. “It is strange. I find it a bit difficult to relate to the other mums at school.
“When I meet new people I keep it to myself. I’ve got girlfriends who live ‘vanilla’ lives and then I’ve got my main circle of friends and they’re the non-vanilla ones I can be myself around and we can talk about anything.

“I’m not ashamed of what I do. I just keep it to myself to protect my children.”
Her daughters, aged three and six, are too young to understand what their mum does for a living.

“Everything I do is after they go to bed or when they’re not with me. It’s completely over their heads,” Rebecca said.

“They’ve seen my company logo and they love it because it’s a cartoon of a dominatrix. They don’t know what a dominatrix is.

“They’ve seen my boots and say, ‘We love your gumboots mummy, can we wear your gumboots?’”

Rebecca is separated from her husband (the father of her children) but is now in an open relationship with her partner of a year.

“It’s the best of both worlds. We don’t have many rules, to be honest. We’re both free to play away from each other.

“He’ll see other people and I’ve got other partners as well. But then we can also play together — we go to swinger’s parties and we’re able to have fun together.
“We’re quite different to some couples who start off monogamous and then decide to explore an open relationship.

“My partner and I met each other and from the first date I said, ‘I’m not looking for a monogamous relationship’ and he said, ‘That’s fantastic, that’s exactly what I’m looking for’.

“He was looking for somebody who would allow him to fulfil his desires and I was looking for someone who would let me play with other people.
“Neither of us believe you can get everything from the one person.”

The couple have one rule — “to put each other first” — and always debrief with each other after a sexual interaction with another partner.

“It’s totally up to the other person about how much detail we go into. We’ll say, ‘Do you want the blow-by-blow or just a quick summary?’ Usually it’s somewhere in the middle, for me.”

[My partner] says after being with someone he feels closer to me. He feels so grateful and lucky to have a partner that lets him do this. He says, ‘I’m so lucky to have a girlfriend that lets me do what I want to do’.

Rebecca says the couple practice the concept of “compersion” - “the idea that you can get pleasure from the thought of your partner getting pleasure.”
“If something good happens to them — it can be sexual, if your partner has an awesome night with someone else or even if they get a new job — and all you feel is joy because they’re getting something that they want.

“It doesn’t come naturally to most people. I think it’s human nature to feel jealous, but if someone you love is happy, why wouldn’t you be happy that something good is happening to them?”

And she says the main message she teaches to her clients is communication.
“There are certain ways you bring things up with your partner — you can’t just bring out the ropes — you have to talk about it. Don’t be afraid of talking about what you want.

“You have to be honest and true to yourself, accept what you want and embrace your kinks,” she said.

Jane is @tamedbyjane on Twitter and Jane Untamed at Facebook

Friday, 2 September 2016


It’s not unusual to read erotic stories about Voyeurs and Exhibitionists. But we’re not really reading anything new. Painters have been telling us erotic stories for centuries. A particularly delicious picture is THE SWING, by Jean-Honore Fragonard.

The painting was commissioned by Baron Saint-Julien and features the Baron’s mistress being pushed on a swing by a bishop. Fragonard dates the picture as 1766 and the story we’re being told and the style of the work is a great example of the frivolity of the Rococo style.

It is immediately obvious what is going on here. The story is easy to read. A girl, on a swing, playfully abandons modesty, parting her thighs, exposing her genitalia to a man, watching her antics from the bushes.

“The painting is charged with the amorous ebullience and joy of an impetuous surrender to love. In a shimmer of leaves and rose petals, lit up by a sparkling beam of sunshine, the girl, in a frothy dress of cream and juicy pink, rides the swing with happy, thoughtless abandon. Her legs parted, her skirts open; the youth in the rose-bush, hat off, arm erect, lunges towards her. Suddenly, as she reaches the peak of her ride, her shoe flies off.”

Fragonard captures a moment of wonderful naughtiness. An erotic fantasy, brought alive by the painting.

THE SWING currently resides in The Wallace Collection in London. Just a short walk from Baker Street and Marylebone Village.

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