Letters to DOMAI
Just an interesting observation:
[Below is the last set of responses to the "guilt letter".]
I've often thought back to my youth where in junior high a buddy of mine provided me with copies of his dad's Playboy magazines. I was so stunned and happy with them and read them from cover to cover. Shortly after acquiring a number of these magazines my sister moved out to go to college and as the oldest of four boys, I got my own bedroom that I did not have to share with my brothers.
Within a few weeks I started hanging the centerfolds around the room. I don't know why I did this. Heck I was a preacher's kid (aka PK). But my father was now in business having left the world of preaching. So he didn't have to worry about the parishioners objecting to my private display. When it came to my parents' attention that I had done this first my Mom came to survey the room. She said they were very pretty ladies and did not say much more. Then my Dad came to talk to me. I was pleased that he was very open and decent about it. He asked me why I hung the centerfolds in my room and I said because they were so beautiful. We talked about the differences between the women and some astonishing attributes that one had including the smallest waist with the largest breasts I've ever seen. My dad wasn't even sure it was possible.
Flash forward; I'm now baby boomer approaching retirement. I've been married to my lovely wife for over 30 years. The kids are married and on their own. Suzy and I have beautiful art in the master bedroom that incorporates nudes, mostly mermaids. There are copies of Playboy magazines in the bathroom reading stand which we both read. And my favorite 'nudie' site, as we used to call them, is DOMAI. Friday's are one of the many highlights of my week because I get to read another story about the beauty and the appreciation of the naked female body.
I have noticed that I am very casual around nude people in person, art and entertainment. But some of my friends are extremely sensitive to nudity. I noticed this when a friend of mine was mesmerized by a picture of another friend's daughter with her cheerleader friends with their midriffs showing. He couldn't stop staring, and I thought, here is a married guy who doesn't have 'permission' to view nudity. So the littlest thing is so erotic that he kind of comes off track.
In America we don't see very much nudity on television or in public. But based on my time in Europe that wasn't the case. I look forward to the day when nudity is more acceptable than violence in the arts. Fortunately I live in Seattle which has the bohemian artists who parade in the painted nude once a year for the Fremont Summer Solstice parade. And although I am not an activist nor a nudist myself, I do appreciate the art and the statement of freedom.
You're a young man. You're going to masturbate. (The fact that you don't have money to spend on other forms of entertainment makes it even more likely that you'll spend a chunk of your free time in this solitary pleasure.) Masturbating with the inspiration of the DOMAI girls in your mind seems healthier than a lot of the images of women that are available -- not to mention more respectful toward female beauty and dignity.
While I agree that there's a world of difference between DOMAI's images (or "fine art" nudes) and harcore porn, I also think that there's no clean-cut line between art and erotica and porn, or between appreciation of beauty and sexual arousal. I see this in photo communities like flickr, where some people make a big deal about a given community including art nudes but excluding amateur porn, but I've watched some of the "amateur porn/look at my hot wife" people develop their sensibilities and start moving from crude snapshots toward more aesthetically refined images. They may have a long way to go, but they're on their way.
One of the main virtues of DOMAI, I feel, is that these young women are real people. Sure, we're looking at their naked bodies for one form or another of enjoyment, but they look like real people with real personalities, which is more than you can say for most porn.
The fact that you ask the questions you ask in your letter tells me that you have a moral sense and a respect for female beauty. But you know, from an evolutionary standpoint, women are good-looking so that men will have sex with them and propogate the species. You're an intellectual and spiritual being, but you're also an animal with millions of years of evolution behind you. You wouldn't be here today if not for an unbroken chain of males sexually aroused by females.
Sexuality is very complicated. Finding the best way to relate to your fellow human beings is a lifelong project. You don't know what is the right way to think about a given facet of life until you try it out, at least in your own imagination. You're using DOMAI as part of your education in your personal quest to define the proper role of sexuality in your relation to the world, and that seems perfectly reasonable and healthy to me.
Best of luck, Sean
Been a while since I have written. I wanted to offer some random responses to a question posed in the newsletter:
"My question for other readers of domai.com is: Is it a perversion of beauty if I use it for masturbation?"
One often masturbates because they find the subject attractive, and given the opportunity, would probably have some form of sex with the subject if given the opportunity. Does engaging in sexual activity with another make that person any less beautiful?
Often state of mind and other biological variables take part in the desire to masturbate to a given image. If you see the same image the next day, is the desire still there? What has really changed? Certainly not the subject.
Beauty is one of many ingredients to sexual attraction. Without it, our species wouldn't last too long.
I'll stop now before my ramblings get too abstract.
Dear E, TV brings up a terrific notion. Nudity, beauty, masturbation and guilt may relate in different ways. Is the nude an expression of sex, beauty, excitement, tease and fulfillment? I believe all are possible and more. It can stir other very unpleasant feelings or memories. The former "good" feelings can prompt one to please himself or herself in the process of experiencing the nude photograph, mental image, sight or touch. I think the guilt of masturbating after seeing or feeling nudity that evokes personal pleasure is about the act and not the nudity. DOMAI beauty evokes pleasure in me and masturbating in the presence of that beauty can heighten the entire beautiful experience.
Dear Domai, I'd like to respond to TV's letter (Friday, 4-13-07). I am also a person who surfs the web for self gratification. I was once a member of Domai and found myself lacking funds so had to cancel my subscription. I haven't been on the net for several years because of financial situations I got myself into but have recently got back online but still can't afford to subscribe to any services. In years past, I subscribed to many sites, but Domai.com was by far my favorite. Yes, there is porn, a lot, out there. But how can anyone not find the simple, tasteful nudes of Domai not attractive or sexually stimulating. These are women revealed in the way "God" intended. I'm sure that the founder has gotten as many, if not more, hassles than he has praises but if, in any species, the opposite didn't attract someone, or something, as the case may be, there would be no species to speak of. The birds and butterflies have vibrant colors; cats and dogs release pheromones(sp?); reptiles like alligators and crocodiles, even though hideous to us, make sounds and vibrations to attract other alligators or crocodiles. Why shouldn't we, as people of the opposite sex (possibly even the same sex) be turned on to this. Even though these photos are presented to us, the reader of Domai, as art, I believe they can still be viewed as attractive, beautiful young women in the purest form. You can have all the porn sites you want, I'll take the beauty that is Domai over that any day. These tasteful, classy photos are one of the biggest turn-ons you will ever see, in my oppinion. I will one day subscribe again for both a vision of lovelyness and self gratification.
With regard to the recent correspondence, I have to say that I politely but profoundly disagree with SD. The Bible (by which I take it is means basically the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy) contains *no* explicit prohibitions of sex outside marriage, masturbation, or seeing people naked (the uncovering nakedness prohibitions have to do with incest), and only one of a (male) homosexual practice. All the rest is *interpretation* by religious leaders, often misconceived (Onan was not killed for masturbating, but for refusing to father children on his dead brother's widow, who would count as bis brother's and so continue his brother's household) and generally reflecting the social mores in which the leaders, like everyone else, were brought up, if not trying to impose new restrictions and prohibitions. I speak as someone who ceased to be religious a very long time ago. I cannot conceive that a being of such unimaginable power as to be able to create matter and life should have the remotest interest in imposing such petty rules of behaviour on the most developed of its creations. But it is a common human pattern of behaviour to claim divine sanction for "the way things are" - though the Greeks didn't do it for most of their laws and rules of social behaviour.
Best wishes, Oliver D
I suggest his catholic guilt is very active in providing the classical separation of Madonna and Whore, also known as Good Girls Don't or other such ideas. Until he understands that even the "good" girls of Domai probably have a happy and active sex life, just not on camera for his use, and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, he will continue to argue with himself over what is "right'. He cannot see beauty in "porn" because he sees sex, and has been carefully taught that sexual pleasure is wrong.
The pleasure of sex is, by law in the US, restricted to legally married heterosexual couples. The rest of the population, especially the younger people, are told to be non-sexual. Our friend TV is, like so many people, a victim in America's War on Sex, which occurs in other parts of the world as well. (See Marty Klein's excellent book on this.) Thank goodness we are not a very law-abiding nation in this respect.
Domai is included with all the other web sites that would be banned if the anti-pleasure folks had their way. The anti-pleasure forces would not see any difference between Domai and "hardcore porn".
I hope that TV will come to realize that he, as well as the women on Domai, and people in his everyday life, are really human beings worthy of love and pleasure and good sex.
I think Eolake would have some very solid advice for TV. Still I thought I could take up some of the questions that he asked just because he has asked what a lot of viewers have experienced and left unspoken. TV, you are frank and honest about your needs and experiences. That is good. And you have a romantic soul that longs to be fulfilled. You have been inspired by the "power and the beauty" of DOMAI. Obviously, you are just the kind of guy for whom DOMAI was created, for whom WOMAN was created. To put it crudely for a minute, you beat yourself but you don't have to beat yourself up about it. Underneath it all, you have an idealized view of women that may be keeping you from entertaining one of these dazzling creatures for yourself. You have begun to realize that sexual gratification in itself is stale, but necessary. Rest easy, you are not alone. We are talking millions like you, like us. You understand that when it comes to "final answers" about powerful emotions, there aren't any final answers. Just as there will probably never be the final orgasm, or the last word in beauty of a woman. It's a smorgasbord of opinions and attitudes and a feast for the senses. Take the guilt out and you lose some of the "thrill". Put the guilt in and you ask, "Is it wrong?" If you can put your predilections aside, you may realize it's about all those things. It's a totality of life that you are engaged with and coming into terms with it. Fundamentally, your question about "Is it a perversion of beauty if I use it for masturbation?" is a question about "self". If I can, I will try to explain what I mean.
Beauty is a powerful emotion and sexual gratification has with it a huge sense of pleasure and cathartic release. Neither of these it seems to me admits of defilement. Am I right? Hence where does that sense of wrong enter in? It comes from the self-interest that is closely associated with all of our motives and actions. Am I a giving, loving person? Or am I a selfish gutless slob? I want to know. It's very important that I know. I have to know what is the sum total of all my actions. Do I mean anything in this universe when my whole being is compressed into a great encompassed longing for release and "satisfaction" (in the sense of the Rolling Stones song)? (Mick and Keith had it right.) Well before Mick and Keith, there were the Greeks and the Oracle of Delphi who said it in two words, "Know Thyself". It is all about self knowledge. Love and relationship is all for this one totality of self knowledge. And remember, your self knowledge includes her self knowledge. Both are seeking self knowledge. Knowing this, you will find peace. Not knowing this...the history of mankind tells that story better than anyone can explain. Good luck to you.
=======TV's letter posted Friday past poses a question for comment by other readers: "Is it a perversion of beauty if I use it (the Domai content) for masturbation?" Later he poses a second question, "Is that a purpose (even if it's a secondary one) of domai.com? I don't know. But I'm feeling guilty even mentioning it, as if I'm perverting it further."
My sense is that the questions are based on the following premises:
Masturbation is inherently perverted.
A boundary exists between what is sexual and what is not.
Sexuality cannot be beautiful.
Your intended purposes in the creation of the site are relevant to his use of it.
In my opinion, none of those premises is valid.
"Perverted" refers to a sexual practice or act considered "abnormal or deviant." It seems clear that all men and a huge percentage of women masturbate, so that it cannot be abnormal. Since deviant means "markedly different from an accepted norm," the underlying premise then reduces to "accepted" by some person or group whose acceptance matters. Overlooking for the moment whether those who publicly deem it deviant are hypocrites in their own privacy, which 100% activity by males would seem to suggest, only TV can decide for himself whether the deviant designation is relevant to his life. I would like to extend to TV the affirmation it most certainly is not to me or to most of the people who matter to me.
I hope I am not indeed quibbling with a choice of words and would thus invite further comment if I have misperceived TV's intended use of "perverted."
Many activities have both sexual and non-sexual aspects, which may or may not be concurrent and which may have widely varying proportions. Nudity is an excellent example: it is not required but often present during sexual activity, it is widely practiced for hygienic purposes, and bath or shower is often the venue for their combination.
Dancing is another such example. In reality, dancing, clothed or unclothed, virtually always has both a sexual and a non-sexual activity. The perceived balance varies widely with Swan Lake at one supposed extreme and a table dance at the other, unless of course Swan Lake is performed in the nude and the table dance in a tutu. I note, however, that Carmina Burana was widely viewed as erotic by the same people with whom I attended Swan Lake the month before, although performed by the same troupe at the same place. I do not recall anyone suggesting that the line and form somehow lacked beauty.
Unquestionably as vocalized by the Victorians, sexual conduct reduces humans to the animal kingdom. However, the population of England seems to have increased during that period, almost certainly due to the disparaged activities. Although I know a distressing number of people whose thought processes remain in those times, I know as many that believe that the line between art and pornography has been forever blurred, with Robert Mapplethorpe I suspect being the one who took the first step. Natacha Merritt Digital Diaries is a more contemporary example of yesterday's pornography being today's cutting edge.
I will leave the final word on the last premise to you, but had I posted the Domai images, it would have been with the intention that the beholder view them with enjoyment or disdain, as the case my be, from his view point, although it would be flattering to think that my motives mattered. At the same time, I do not feel that any purpose is indeed required although quite obviously without some purpose you would not have taken the time to do it.
Your beginning comments with regard to guilt complete the circle. In that regard there is much hope for TV as, in the words of Charlie Weaver who, when asked "as you grow older which of your senses is the first to go," replied "my sense of decency."
I'm guessing you must be getting an overflow of letters recently, since everyone is so keen to respond to TV's letter about guilt. I just thought I'd write because of my slight variation of the popular viewpoint.
My wife is extremely modest and, during our 40 years of marriage, it has only been on vary rare occasions that I have see her fully naked except in dim light. She never wears a bikini. She always wears a swim suit with a "skirt", and I don't often see her even with just bra and panties, and then only with her back to me. At night she puts on her sleeping gown before taking off her bra and panties and adroitly removes them from underneath.