Sex vs Sensuality

I have spent a great deal of my life trying to differentiate between sex and sensuality. It feels like it is often a fine line that I have often crossed without really understanding which side of the line I was actually on. Some guys are just naturally oozing with a raw sensuality while others are very mechanical and get stuck in a pattern. One of my favorite lines from the play Chicago when they are in court is describing Amos making love to Roxy as he’s twisting his hands, as if rubbing her boobs but in the motion “…as if adjusting a carburetor. I love you honey, I love you”. I feel like most of my life has been lived on the sensual side. I love romance, soft light, am passionate about kissing, lips gently, but aggressively playing off your partner’s mouth, the tenderness of our lips colliding, wrapping, wet, licking, tasting. I like to look deep into the eyes of the person I am with to watch the expression on their face as you make love to them. I have recently fallen in love with the cover art from old romance novels that are illustrated in the most perfect vision imaginable. There is a passion, the embrace, the woman with her neck back, extended, bare as the man holds her in a firm embrace with a raging intensity in his eyes and a soft supple boldness to his mouth and lips. Those cover images just take you to that place and you can feel the sensuality oozing out for you to pick it up and buy it. Unfortunately, we don’t really see this in gay literature of this sort. So why is it that when men are together it is portrayed so differently? Recently my friend Alison, whom I adore, asked me if I would be interested in creating a cover for her upcoming book, about three men in a relationship. She has a basic outline and I love where she is going with it and I think the cover somehow should hearken back to those days of the old torrid romance novels, hence my research on the subject. Of course it will be about beautiful light. So does beautiful light make an image sensual? Men have sex in small cubical in the back room of a video arcade lit merely with the flicker of porn flashing across the screen. Is this actually just sex or does it cross the boundary of sensual. After all they are generally strangers and the light though artistic not necessarily romantic. In my mind’s eye I live and dwell in that world of the romance novel cover from the 50’s or possible 60’s. It’s my vision of my world and I see how much of this I bring to my work in the studio. I think most of my images are sensual without being sexual. Sometimes I work to the verge of those images crossing into a sexual nature. I have always been leery of seeing a man’s penis exposed in the image, because for most that distinguishes the line moving toward porn and I began this year with a questions “Does showing a man’s penis make an image pornographic” which turns out the be the most read posting I have written all year, so there seems to be a lot of people interested in the subject as there is no right answer because of its subjective nature in the mindset of the viewer? Some cultures are conditioned for it and some against. I know I discard an awful lot of images to get to the ones that really capture the essence of view on the subject. But it’s really what makes this sort of imagery fascinating and pulls us in. Pornography gives us the wanker; we are either wowed by something extraordinary in it, or merely click on searching for something better to ignite our fantasy. I am captivated by the images that make me want to linger and pull me in igniting something deep within myself. To me this is what this sort of art should be and what I am committed to produce with each image I work.

2 thoughts on “Sex vs Sensuality

  1. Elizabeth Lister

    >Omg, I can't believe you're doing research for the cover, Terry! You are so very thorough – that is awesome. I know you will come up with something fantabulous 🙂

  2. Belinda M.

    >Just stumbled across your lovely blog…:)
    As a m/m romance author, I can tell you we are starved for beautiful, sensual images of men. Yours are so very lovely!

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