"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.[more inside]
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
"Flaunting themselves on Instagram, they are also all proudly and openly gay ... But at the same time, they all look fairly heteronormative: hunky, sporty, the kind of guy who would call himself “masc & musc” in a hook-up app and would never take a photo of himself at Drag Brunch. And all are careful to avoid appearing like they are doing this just to get laid. By showing that, they would be revealing that they are vulnerable and have needs, and an #Instastud can never look unsatisfied with his life." Meet The #Instastuds - The Cut looks at the gays on instragram who really want to you look at them and how they live. Contains a link to a discussion of “Fire Island Pines, Polaroids 1975 to 1983” at Salon. (NSFW, nudity)
Base, animalistic and ravenous: Daniel Berger's book What Do Women Want claims that a sexist bias has obscured research into the female sex drive. (previously)
Adults over 50 are the fastest growing demographic for online dating sites, according to a recently [sic] study from UCLA’s department of psychology. Yet while older adults often value companionship over passion and marriage, experts say frisky behavior by seniors should never be underestimated. “I hesitate to generalize that they’re only having gentle, intimate moments,” says Melanie Davis, co-president of the national Sexuality and Aging Consortium. “Older adults can have really hot sex.” But not, typically, in long-term care facilities.
One thing I am going to do differently as a parent is go easy on the ‘save sex for someone special’ rhetoric with my kids – both with my daughter and my son. Feminist and mother Blue Milk on the downside of encouraging young girls to "save themselves."
"People have always had an ulterior or imaginative life," opines writer Will Self. "There's something about the act of will involved in believing in preposterous things that I believe is the very kind of muscle and key of having an imagination... here, you have an arena that is inherently psychotic." In a series of interviews about the nature of human imagination and violence as they are transformed by the Internet, Self muses on how primal human desires are being satisfied more efficiently and easily by the increasingly connected life, and wonders how this will change us as much as society.
Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera is an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London which examines voyeurism through the medium of photography. In addition to works from professionals such as Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Miller, Shizuka Yokomizo, Guy Bourdin, Nan Goldin and Robert Mapplethorpe, it includes amateur and CCTV "stolen" images taken both with and without the knowledge of their subjects -- all intended to "explore the uneasy relationship between making and viewing images that deliberately cross lines of privacy and propriety." [more inside]
What do women want? A post-feminist look at female desire.