X or not?

A few days ago, an intense Benno Thoma postcard from Max Vasilatos (in an envelope), with the note: “This could probably go in the regular mail, but I’m taking no chances.” The issue is whether the image counts as X-rated or not; Max and I fairly often puzzle over the categorization of images, sometimes for the purpose of mailing and sometimes for the purpose of posting in certain places on the net (like this blog). The line isn’t clear.

First, the case at hand. Then, some general discussion.

Hoping that I’m not getting myself in trouble, the Thoma photo:


The model’s crotch is in the shadows, and pubic hair is certainly visible — that doesn’t take us over the line into X — but, if you look closely enough, so is the barest outline of a shadowy penis. I’d put this on the good side of the X line, but it’s a close call.

I’ve been in this territory before, with respect to a Tom Bianchi  photo that has no “private parts” visible, but is clearly a photo of one naked man about to penetrate another anally. This one counted as not-X, to the point where it could appear on the cover of one of Bianchi’s books. (I find the image gorgeous and, um, moving, but if I’d had to draw the line, I’d have put it in X territory, for its interpretation and intent.)

On Thoma: I’ve done two postings with his (sumptuous) images of Bel Ami pornstars, here and here, most with frank genital nudity, plus another posting with 15 captioned photos of his, all homoerotic but all dickfree.

Now to more general issues. Male photography ranges from the merely homoerotic through what I’ve called cock tease shots (which skirt the X line as closely as possible) and on to frank genital nudity. To my mind, cock tease photos, drawings, and paintings (and there are a huge number of these) demonstrate the absurdity of the X line and the horror of the penis on which it’s based (the idea seems to be that representations of penises are intrinsically corrupting, at least to children and women). Meanwhile, huge numbers of art works celebrate the male buttocks (so long as penises aren’t involved), and exceptions are made for penises in recognized great works of art.

Now from art to clothing, and the concealing or revealing of a man’s package by various sorts of clothing. Here the range is from hung guys, men who naturally have large packages that will be discernible under clothing; to those with enhanced packages, wearing clothing designed to show off the genitals (dance belts, codpieces, and the like — more below); to men sporting moose knuckles (in trousers; in gym shorts, swim trunks, wrestling singlets, and other sports clothing; and in underwear, especially tight, abbreviated, or sheer underwear); and then to men in underwear that embraces genital nudity frankly (I’ve posted a number of times on AZBlogX about these items). For the underwear, the questions are: how tight is too tight? how abbreviated is too abbreviated? and how sheer is too sheer? And once again, the lines are hard to draw.

The UnderGear catalogs try to draw the lines, marking certain items as involving explicit nudity, but the company’s labeling strikes me as erratic, letting through some items that I would have put on the other side of the X line, while marking as X some items I’d have classified as merely risqué. As with art, so with underwear.

Now to step away from the X line and go back to enhanced packages, a topic I looked at back in 2011 with respect to a garment called JeanPants, essentially a codpiece worn as underwear. This turns out to be a crowded field. Here’s the beginning of a piece from the Fashionista site, “The (Painful) Backstory Behind New ‘Junk’ Jeans, Denim Specially Designed To Support a Man’s Package”, by Nora Crotty (8/13/12):

Men of the world: Are you suffering from scrunched junk? Is regular-old denim cramping your style–and your package? Moreover, do normal jeans fail to provide you with the comfort your goods deserve? Well, at long last, someone’s come up with the perfect solution for all your dick discomforts. Yes, Florida-based clothing brand The Hot Child is manufacturing what it’s calling the “first anatomically-designed jeans with a man’s junk in mind,” aptly dubbed ‘The Hot Child Junk.’ Really.

But these so-called ‘Junk jeans’ aren’t just an advertising ploy – and they aren’t your average penis pants, either. They’re actually constructed with what’s described as a built-in codpiece – you know, that lovely little dick decoration somebody we witnessed Tom Cruise don in Rock of Ages. Or, to put it more bluntly, there’s a pouch … for your penis. Why didn’t we think of this?


Note that this garment is marketed as for comfort rather than display. Yeah, sure.

No doubt there are other brands out there.

One Response to “X or not?”

  1. Packages in jeans | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] on the good side of the X line, but there are problematic cases. As I wrote in the posting “X or not” last […]

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