It’s just bonding.

Not too long ago, someone who reads this blog sent me a copy of a film called Steam of Life about Finnish men taking saunas together. Now sauna in this sense does not mean gay sex on premises saunas but rather the traditional Finnish sauna. The premise of the movie was that when the men sit in the sauna, sweating it out naked together, all the barriers come down. They opened up about struggles in their lives and things that they regretted. It wasn’t exactly a light-hearted film to watch but it was really interesting.

Personally I’m more of a steam room guy than a dry sauna. I find it too hard to breathe in a really hot sauna and prefer the moisture in the air that the steam offers. We don’t have a sauna culture here in Australia but I do find it really relaxing to sit in a steam room and sweat it out. Sadly I haven’t had many experiences with sitting in a sauna as a bonding experience or even just as a social thing with a bunch of mates. It strikes me that in the Scandinavian and other Northern European cultures where it is quite common that hours can be spent sweating, chatting, socialising and generally relaxing in the sauna environment.

Maybe on my intended trip to Iceland next year I might get some time in a more traditional sauna environment. Any Icelandic folks that read this blog and want to offer some tips?

 

He’s reliable!

There are certain people that for a time, become very popular on the internet. There are people like Quinn Jaxon and Benjamin Godfre that were everywhere to the point of overload. They try to capitalise on their infamy by showing more and doing more but before long we have seen just about everything of them and unless they post a colonoscopy, there’s not much more they can do to keep us entertained. Internet fame is a fickle mistress and we move on to our next unattainable crush pretty quickly.

Then there are others that are seen all over the internet just because they are doing their own thing. They aren’t courting the fame and while they don’t seem to mind it too much, it’s on their own terms. This guy is one of the guys in this second category. The post where I found all his images together has his name as Noah Phelps. I have no way of verifying that but let’s run with it. Noah is clearly a guy that is happy being nude and I’m guessing by the body paint he is an enthusiastic regular in the Fremont Solstice Parade that happens every year.  He stands out because of both his ridiculous body and the awesome bodypainting he has.

Seattle clearly has a different attitude towards nudity than Sydney and other parts of the world. This is an annual event, sanctioned by the local authorities and billed as a “Nude not Lewd” event where participants are encouraged to get bodypainted and parade down the street cheered on by friends. I love it.

All the comfort of home

This blog, as is clearly evident, is skewed towards nudism. With that in mind I’m curious about how many of you are actually nudists? I currently share a house with a non-nudist who wouldn’t be comfortable with me walking around nude. Nor would I be comfortable being nude around him. That statement seems strange for a nudist I know but there are just some people I don’t want to be nude around. He is also someone I don’t really want to see nude.

If at some stage he walks in on me nude or I see him nude it’s not going to cause any problems but it’s not something I’m going to encourage.

So I’m curious, who wanders around nude at home? Is it just people who live with their partner or are there some magical shared housing situations where nudity is perfectly acceptable? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments section.

When I know my housemate isn’t home and isn’t expected back any time soon I will definitely get my gear off quick smart. Who doesn’t like being able to have their morning coffee naked?

It’s a numbers game

My office is not at all a politically correct work place. There are only five of us in the office and we have covered all sorts of topics over the years that I’ve been there. My boss is recently separated from his wife and another colleague from her husband. We were joking that my boss needed to go and get laid because he was in a really funny mood. That led to the topic of sex which then led to a discussion about numbers of partners. For women it’s a very tough world when they are judged for having too many partners and too few. Too many and they are a slut, too few and they are a prude. It’s not fair at all.

Then, as the token gay in the office they asked what my number was. My female colleague said “I bet it’s over 100 isn’t it?” I qualified my answer with the statement that by the standards of a lot of guys I know I’m a very dull gay man in terms of my numbers but that I’ve given up counting. She asked for a number and I guessed it would be somewhere between 300 and 400.

Some of you will be judging me negatively and others will be saying well done. I’m far from a prude but I’m also a long way behind lots of my friends. My sex life could be a lot better but I need to work on my confidence issues before that’s going to radically improve. Right now my numbers aren’t stacking up.

Being a bit slack

Sorry for the lack of posts this week gang. I’ve been pretty busy but didn’t have a lot of inspiration. I promise to try harder this week.

Yesterday I finally tried my hand (or should that be feet?) at slacklining. It is so bloody hard but also a lot of fun. The two guys that were teaching us were really nice guys. The eight of us in the class all had a lot of laughs despite not a lot of success. The instructors said we did really well but I’m not convinced.

My best effort was on the longer line which is actually more wobbly but I managed five steps in a row before falling off. Sadly we were all trying with one of the instructors sitting on the line to help stabilise it so heaven knows how we are going to go when it’s just the line all wobbly with no one sitting on it. The guys said, very accurately that you can’t really be thinking about anything else. It was very true. As soon as another thought crept into your mind, even if it was “holy shit, I took two steps!” that’s when you fall. So I can see the appeal of it not only for the physical challenge but also as a kind of meditation. You are so focused on not falling that all the other stresses just go away.

I’ve got two more classes and I have a feeling I’ll be doing more slacklining in the future.

A bit sad

One of the sub-groups that I really wanted to photograph for the #barenakedtruth project was gay families. One guy I know expressed an interest in joining in the project but ultimately he did not but when he said maybe I thought he and his husband would be great. We did photograph several couples and they were some of the most rewarding for me. Seeing that genuine affection and connection was beautiful. Nearly everyone of the 100 that we photographed were nervous but seeing that nervous energy turn into playful affection with the couples really made me smile.

When I thought of my friend and his husband I also thought it would be adorable to shoot the two of them with their gorgeous little son that they had through a surrogate about 4 years ago. Then I remembered that the world can be a sad and vicious place and people would see a beautiful discreet nude photo of two loving fathers and a son and cry about child porn or pedophilia.

Sure, there are bad people in the world but they are far outnumbered by the good ones and these two guys are working damn hard to keep a very happy, loving home life and their little boy is a very happy well-adjusted little kid. A while ago I wrote about a photo I had seen on instagram of a father and his two little boys, nude on the shore of a lake in Sweden. It was an adorable photo of a much healthier attitude towards nudity than the U.S/Australian one where parents can’t be nude in front of their children without vile accusations. I still won’t post that photo for fear of recrimination.

As a result, there is a bit of a gap in our photographic project which is a shame, but a necessary omission I’m afraid.

Selfie therapy

The #barenakedtruth project was a fantastic exercise in body image and accepting yourself. Sadly it would seem I didn’t get the memo. The 99 other people dived into the project with an open mind even though some of them have been completely at odds with their own bodies since birth and others wear their scars or stretch marks with pride.

On Saturday morning before the first of the volunteer models arrived, I had my photos taken by the guy organising the project and today I’ve been in a horrible mood because I hate how my body looks. My body and I have always had a bit of a strained relationship. As a kid I was self conscious because I was so skinny and now I am unhappy because I’m struggling to keep weight off. All those years of taking my body for granted and it’s now fighting back by not doing all the things I want it to do. I’m a self confessed vain queen and I’m really struggling with the aging process.

What am I doing about it? Trying new things in the gym to motivate myself and get some results is a start. Eating healthier is another step that I am struggling to take. Discipline with food has never been a strong point. The last thing that I’ve decided to commit to is self portraits. That sounds weird I know but I’ve toyed with the idea of a range of self portraits before as a purely creative exercise but now I want to do it as a way to grow to accept my changing body if not learn to like it. Once a month I’m going to create a fully finished and creatively executed self portrait. Let’s see how it goes.

And that’s a wrap

After five long days of shooting, the #barenakedtruth project is finished the photography stage. Yesterday was a day that threw some curve balls at us. Josh that is the instigator and driving force behind the project was feeling ill yesterday and that developed into some very concerning chest pains so he spent the vast majority of the day in hospital being checked up. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be anything serious although he’s still not comfortable.

That meant I was greeting, doing release forms, herding people through and doing the photography from about 1pm to 10pm. Thankfully the inspiring, amazing, sad, fascinating stories of the people I was photographing more than made up for the stresses. When you hear about peoples stories it really puts some of your own problems in perspective.

Before this project I’d photographed one nude woman and two topless women. Now that number is closer to 30 or more plus a surprising number of trans men and women at all different stages of their transitions. To see all these people of all different shapes and sizes, some of them who have been at odds with their bodies for years, embrace this experience and put themselves out there has been so much fun and very enlightening.

I know nude women isn’t the usual material for this blog but I’m very proud of this project.

It’s in his kiss

Kissing. It’s a very personal thing and it seems very susceptible to chemistry. I’ve had people that I could kiss for hours without going any further and I will be turned on and as satisfied as it’s possible to be. Other guys I might be able to have some hot sex but the kissing is just not there. Usually if the kissing is off then the rest is off but not always.

Some guys save kissing for a relationship and when it’s just a casual encounter they don’t bother. I don’t apply such rules. On my way home from a friend’s place just this evening, I stopped by a football field grandstand that is between our houses that is a bit of a cruising area and found a guy getting a blowjob from another guy. The guy on his knees was doing a good job by the looks of it and the guy on the receiving end beckoned me over to join in. There wasn’t much I could do because they had a rhythm going and both got across the finishing line they were aiming for. While he was getting a good blow job the one that beckoned me over was groping my butt, and I his. I would have happily had a good kiss but he wasn’t up for it.

A good kiss while getting a blow job is great fun but he was a guy that just liked to be serviced I think. Seems a shame but I guess it is what it is. Since they both got what they were looking for I’ve come home without a kiss or anything more. Standard.

When did it change?

Over the course of the last two weekends I’ve photographed 74 people for the #barenakedtruth project and the vast majority of them I don’t know. Some of them I’ve photographed before but that would only be about 4 so far. Others I’ve known through friends or they have become good friends of mine themselves. Of course they are posing nude so there is a slight awkwardness at first when they take off the robe to start the shoot. So now I’ve seen a few more of my friends nude than I have before. Obviously for me it’s not an issue as I’m always going to nude beaches and hanging out with nudie mates.

There are still some friends that I’ve not been nude in front of and would feel very odd about it if I were. That is mostly because it would be very uncomfortable for them given their different attitudes towards nudity etc. One friend in particular still comments 9 months after I posted full frontals of myself on here about how he’s scared to read the blog just in case.

In years gone by it was perfectly normal for male friends to be nude together. YMCA swimming pools were mandatory nude swimming for men and by all reports it just was not an issue. When did it change? Was it a growing visibility and acceptance of homosexuality making straight men more uncomfortable? Or has it been the increased pressure to have a certain physique adding body image issues to the mix that women have had to suffer for a lot longer? Maybe in recent times it’s been compounded by camera phones and people worrying about being photographed.

Whatever the reason it’s a real shame that people are so uptight these days. If the #barenakedtruth project has taught me anything, it’s that no matter what your shape you can love the skin you are in and be comfortable with it. I’m still learning to love my aging body but working on it.

Gymspiration – Roo Hamer

When DNA share their Insta Stud I usually have a quick look and move on. A few of them have made my Instalicious posts and joined the list of people I follow for a good perve. Every now and then they share someone that stops me in my tracks. We all know I’m a sucker for the ridiculously pretty guys and Roo Hamer is one of them, but instead of serving up the usual affected boredom facial expressions of a lot of fitness models there is a twinkle in Roo’s eyes and a smile at play not far from the surface.

Given that I’ve just eaten a fast food meal with only 5 days until I have to pose for my own photos for the #barenakedtruth project I really do need a bit of gymspiration and I think Mr Hamer fits the bill perfectly. He’s ridiculously hot, with an unattainable body that I’ll never have and nor would I ever make the sacrifices necessary. Food and a nice glass of wine or a cold beer are far too pleasurable.

If you are interested, Roo is a bodyweight personal trainer in the UK and is a model and kite surfer in his “spare” time.

A beautiful tribute

In a beautiful tribute to the victims of Orlando, a month on these two gay circus performers created this video. It’s a duo Cyr Wheel routine which is an apparatus usually performed solo. As circus performers they have been told on many occasions that two men showing intimacy in an act would be too much for the audience but that was the whole point of this video. To stand strong in the face of adversity. Visibility and education is the only way to reduce discrimination.

You never know

Today we start the second (very full) weekend of photographing people for the #barenakedtruth project. It’s been a very rewarding and eye opening experience for me so far. The idea behind the project is that you can’t hate someone whose story you know. People’s stories have been fascinating. Norrie is the pioneer who transitioned from male to female who then stopped hormones and now identifies as somewhere in between. To Tom who said that he used to feel like a passenger in his own skin and that his reflection disgusted him.

One of the guys who is posing today is an actor and a very good looking guy with a really fit body but he is still nervous. He and I were chatting on facebook about the shoot and the topic of insecurities came up. He said he had plenty of those. That comment confirmed something that I’ve been thinking for a while. I’ve photographed some of the most beautiful guys in Sydney and a lot of them are just as insecure as those people who don’t fit the hot model image.

This project has given me faith in the people of the LGBT community. Some of the most warm hearted people have come and left themselves vulnerable in front of my camera. Vicki posed last Sunday and yesterday she had a double mastectomy in her fight against breast cancer. I am very grateful for everyone bringing their vulnerability and using that as a motivation to be bold and expose their #barenakedtruth for this project.

Freedom Trailer from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

Bless Berlin

On the weekend I found these images via the Accidental Bear. There is very little in formation to go with them. I am guessing from the little information that I have that they are the work of photographer Manuel Moncayo. I really love the relaxed, easy nature in which the men are all nude with each other. That is probably from a combination of two things. Their German-ness and the fact that (I’m assuming) they are a group of gay men who have probably, or will probably hook up.

I don’t say that in any judgemental kind of way. A lot of gay men, including myself have become great friends with people I’ve dated or hooked up with in the past. Most gay men have slept with at least some of their friends.

The relaxed way these guys are all just hanging out exploring the fields and woodland nude is so lovely. This pretty much epitomises the feeling I get from social nudity and relaxing nude in the sun. When I try and explain how liberating and freeing it is to people who haven’t tried it, this is the feeling I’m trying to express. Yes, we all look and check out everyone’s junk to see how we compare but that’s it. It’s another part of the body. Now let’s relax.

Hands off

As a photographer, when I deliver the final product to the client or, for my own creative work it is the final product. During a shoot of an hour or so I will take about 300 images. Then I will select the ones that I think are the best and begin the editing process. Sometimes that means lots and lots of work, adjusting colours, bringing out more details, reducing others and making lots of creative decisions to fully suit my creative “vision”. As the artist I am fully within my rights to change my mind and revisit that editing down the track but once it’s online that is it.

Today a model that I photographed reposted one of his images which I always appreciate. Unfortunately he adjusted the tone of the image making it much lighter and cropped out the watermark thereby cutting any credit for myself out of the image and making what is a larger project, all about him. It’s a very disappointing thing for someone to do. In this day and age of digital imagery and Instagram filters it is an unavoidable reality but it is one that I do not agree with.

I have now photographed this model twice and both times he has been late and a bit unprofessional. I have also seen some other behaviour on social media that doesn’t really sit well with me so I think I will step back and just not work with him again.

As a word of advice to anyone who has had professional images taken by a photographer, by adding filters, cropping or altering the image you are reducing all the photographers hard work, training and skill to very little. We are paid to do what we do because we are good at it. Hands off. I won’t tell you how to do your job if you don’t try and do mine for me.

P.S. The model is none of the lovely models in the images above.