Archives for category: male

IMG_0880“I just want to tell you,” the man in the dress shirt and necktie said, “I love what you’re doing. You’re bringing back the 1980s. Back then, everyone here was completely naked.” The smile on his face was warm and genuine, though it was hard to imagine the fond memory he was describing was accurate. People went completely naked on the piers at the Hudson River? Well, they hadn’t been developed yet; they were just rotting spurs of wood sticking out into the water; so, maybe. And yet…really?

“Yes,” he said. “You’d come here and everyone would be naked. It was free and wonderful.”

Free and wonderful: two words we could relate to, even if we still had our bottoms on. The wonderful part, especially, since it’s a wonder that in the middle of October it was still warm enough to go bare outdoors. Later, when the sun had set, we went online to search, and sure enough found this:

slide_218857_843458_freeThe Hudson Piers were once home to a flourishing gay and lesbian scene, which included nude sunbathing, until gentrification arrived and chased the sunbathers away.  Needless to say, we’re proud to be doing our part to bring it back, even if we’re only taking baby steps by comparison.

IMG_0827IMG_0814IMG_0824These days, the piers have been developed, with artful, asymmetrical grass swards and metal sculptures dotting the grounds, and the sun worshipers lounging about look like this–

IMG_0568IMG_0714But the day we came, they also looked like this:

IMG_0618IMG_0677IMG_0664And we saw the gentleman’s handstand and raised it three cartwheels.

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We certainly felt free there — no one bothered us or complained, or even gave us a dirty stare. In fact, when we saw a bare-chested man enjoying a beer at the outdoor bar at the end of the pier, we figured we’d be welcome that way too — and we were.

IMG_1023IMG_1065IMG_1077New York may not be everything it was 30 or 40  years ago, but in at least one respect it’s been freer and more wonderful since 1992, the year a state court established that it’s legal for women to go topless anywhere men can. Back in the day, maybe people went naked, but they were all breaking the law by doing so. Today, we can do what we do in total comfort and confidence.

IMG_0951IMG_0857IMG_0763Of course, the balmy temperatures won’t be around for much longer — already it’s turned colder.

But the flame of freedom? That burns all winter long.

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IMG_4928If every fall could be like this one has been so far, we’d have nothing to complain about.

IMG_4962Well, that’s not exactly true: the threat of nuclear war, racism back at home, a real son of a bitch in the White House. We have plenty to complain about. But the weather — the weather has been wonderful, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it.

IMG_5123IMG_4710IMG_4841fThis was us on our favorite rooftop sundeck, soaking up as many rays as our bodies could absorb, knowing full well that, as a certain HBO series puts it, winter is coming. We also met in the park, and we’ll let you see that shortly, but first things first. There’s really nothing like getting naked with a dozen of your friends —

IMG_4643— and for good measure a stranger or two, who quickly became new friends. (There’s nothing quite like nudity to spark fellow-feeling.)

IMG_4581IMG_4758And there’s nothing like being somewhere where it’s okay not just to take your shirt off but to take off every last stitch.

IMG_4865f(Not counting dinosaur jewelry, of course. That always stays on. Always.)

IMG_4552Someone recently commented on one of our old posts that one of our members might be upset because her vulva was showing in one of the photos. So? We have vulvas. (Most of us.) They deserve sun as much as any other part of the body, and too rarely get any. And it’s healthier to enjoy your body than to be ashamed of it.

IMG_4924IMG_4662IMG_4846What else are we not ashamed of? Reading. Reading everything under the sun, quite literally. In this case, Schott’s Original Miscellany. Not pulp fiction, but quite wonderful.

IMG_4690Also: satisfying our non-literary cravings, for instance for libations or ablutions.

IMG_4694IMG_4742IMG_5024We took butt selfies in the sun…

IMG_4810…and had fun in the shade.

IMG_5020fIMG_4941And what’s next on the docket for us? Well, we’re collecting ideas for indoor events to occupy ourselves with then the snow and sleet and wind inevitably come. But in the meantime, we’re gonna keep seizing these 80- and 90-degree days for all they’re worth.

IMG_4900IMG_4731IMG_5072IMG_4992fIf you want to carpe the diem along with us, just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. There’s always room for more curious, brave women on our rooftop, and in our hearts.

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IMG_6346Last summer, we produced an all-female, all-nude staging of Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, outdoors in Central Park, and it was a huge success: hundreds of people came to see the play in person, and millions more — literally — read or heard about it in media coverage ranging from NBC News and Salon to every major newspaper in the U.K. (They love it when Americans experiment with Shakespeare, apparently.)

img_3506One recurring theme in the comment section of online coverage, however, went like this: “They could only do this because it was women — try it with naked men and they’d get arrested!” Well, we all know a challenge when we hear one. So our Tempest directors sat down to plan an all-nude, all-male production of Hamlet. 

IMG_6354That production was staged this summer, first in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and then, just this past week, in Central Park, at the foot of the beautifully appropriate King Jagiello statue. Again hundreds of people came, and — lo and behold, no arrests. Just a marvelous production of a great play.

IMG_6343Audience members ranged from 6 to 66, roughly speaking, and at neither end was offense taken, though the youngest viewers seem to have found the iambic pentameter somewhat hard to follow.

IMG_6326Will there be another production next summer, and if so, with what genders performing? Still to be decided. We like to come up with different things to do each year. But we’re thrilled to have helped establish a new tradition: nude Shakespeare in the park. Enjoyed by all, of harm to none, bringing a fresh view to 400-year-old plays and a glimpse of freedom to the public spaces of New York City. The sight of a bared breast doesn’t cause society’s foundations to crack, nor does the sight of a vulva, nor of a penis.

IMG_6325The beauty of the world, Shakespeare wrote, the paragon of animals…in form and moving, how express and admirable; in action, how like an angel, in apprehension, how like a god! And: There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

We are animals all — and angels all. Our naked bodies are no more than we were born with, the common currency of all humanity, and to hate another’s is to hate yourself.

Or as a playwright once put it, we hold the mirror up to nature. What you see in it is yours to grapple with.

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IMG_3181Followers of this blog will have noticed that we don’t go to the beach a lot. That’s not because we don’t like beaches — we love them. But New York City makes it easy to go to the park and hard to go to the beach. Few of us have cars, for one thing, and getting to the beach is a lot easier with one.

But at least once each summer, we make a point of going. Last summer we braved the hour-long subway ride and the siren song of funnel cake vendors to go to Coney Island, and this past week we went to Riis Beach.

IMG_3103Now, Riis is famous, but few of us had ever been. It’s a right pain to get to — in the end, we wound up hiring a bus to take us there and back. And once you’re there, there’s not much in the way of amenities. A few food vendors on the boardwalk, some fenced-in fields, an abandoned nursing home building for atmosphere.

IMG_2938But…what an amazing beach it is!

IMG_3145Who knew that one hour out of Manhattan there’s a beach that’s as free and loose and casual as you’d find on the coast of Spain or a Greek island or either Riviera (French or Maya)? The sand was packed the day we went — one of the nicest weekend days all summer — but everywhere people were relaxing and getting along, and at least on the eastern end where we set up our towels, as many women were topless as not.

IMG_3412IMG_3555IMG_3057How wonderful, for once, not to be the only ones! Not that we really mind when we are — it’s ok, as long as no one bothers us. But how wonderful to look around and see all sorts of women confidently baring their breasts, and no one thinking anything of it!

IMG_3294So we staked out a little patch of sand for ourselves and lost no time in stripping down to as little as we could get away with.

IMG_2919IMG_2949IMG_2988Not to be undone, one of the three boys we had with us this time decided to rock a gold-sequined C-string, which was the hit of the beach until he made the mistake of wearing it into the water. Hello, wave; goodbye, C-string.

IMG_9912The water was lovely. Choppy, yes, some giant waves, but cold and refreshing and we took many long swims…

IMG_3576IMG_3006…then walked the length of the beach after to dry off.

IMG_3411The beach does have a more “bohemian” (aka, gay) section and a slightly more conservative (aka, straight) section, and we probably got a few more looks when we strayed from one to the other. But just curiosity, not hostility. No catcalls, nothing to break the lovely mood of the day, even when we moved from the sand to the boardwalk.

IMG_3374Back at our towels, we got some reading done. (No, Invisible Man doesn’t count as pulp fiction — it wasn’t the H.G. Wells version! — and neither does The New Yorker, but cut us some slack. We like to read a variety…)

IMG_3500IMG_3227IMG_3219And for those who didn’t bring reading material? There was sun, sun sun.

IMG_3260IMG_3319IMG_3463IMG_3095Eventually 5pm arrived, and our bus with it. We took one last dip…

IMG_3037IMG_3519…then packed our things, bid a rueful adieu to the sand and sun, and motored back to Manhattan.

Would we do it again? Oh, in a heartbeat. It’s tempting to go every week! Yes, Gunnison lets you go fully nude, which would be an improvement; Riis has a history of being used nude, but that was in the 60s and 70s, and the world is more censorious about such things now. (Unless the ocean eats your swimsuit, people understand that!) But Riis more than makes up for it with the warmth of the crowd, the quality of the scenery, and the relative ease of access (Gunnison is in New Jersey, a 50% longer drive). And you really couldn’t ask for a better place to relax with friends.

IMG_3597Probably this was our only beach trip for this summer, but if you’d be excited about joining us for another, we can consider it — just send email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know.  August is beach weather too, after all.

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IMG_3732When we sunbathe topless in the park or take our shirts off in some other public place on a 90-degree day, it has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with comfort and equality. We like wearing less when it’s hot out than when it’s cold; stripping off a sweaty t-shirt to lie in the grass or play frisbee or enjoy the spray from a fountain isn’t a sexual act when we do it any more than when a man does. We work hard to make this distinction clear: nudity does not equal sex, and the two should not be confused or conflated.

That said, most of us do also like sex.

So we were cautiously receptive when we were contacted recently by several alumnae of Betty Dodson’s famous Bodysex workshop, which has been teaching women to explore their own bodies and their sexuality for something like fifty years. (Betty Dodson herself is close to 90 years old, and still going strong.) There was a Bodysex reunion being held near NYC, and some of the participants were followers of our group, and they asked if they might come to one of our events while they were in town. Of course we said yes, and invited them to join us on our favorite private rooftop sundeck.

Now, normally the privacy we enjoy there only means we get to sunbathe fully nude rather than merely topless. But this time it meant something more, since our visitors promised to share some of their practice with us, and their practice includes group masturbation and shared orgasm.

How many of us had ever masturbated in a group before? Not many. But we’re open-minded and very much pro-orgasm and sex-positive, so we decided we’d give it a try.

IMG_3746In all, between the Bodysex alums and us there were a dozen people on the roof. Some were first-timers, some long-time members; eleven were women, one was a man.

IMG_3759IMG_3712IMG_3660We began by sharing our groups’ respective stories, and some fresh fruit, white wine, and mimosas to go with them. (What story doesn’t go better with a mimosa?)

IMG_3681cAfter that, we shifted from the couches and lounge chairs to the floor of the roof and the dozen comfy soft towels Amazon had thoughtfully shipped us the day before.

IMG_3709We had a selection of toys to choose from — ones that vibrated, ones that pulsed, ones that sucked — and enough bottles of lube to stock a medium-sized pharmacy. (What’s the difference between a lubricant that “Arouses and intensifies” and one that “Arouses and releases”? We figured we’d find out.)

IMG_3655Someone in the group had an iPhone with a relevant Spotify playlist (“30 All-Time Greatest Songs to Masturbate To“)…

IMG_3794…and someone else had a bluetooth speaker. Connections were made. The mood was set. The moment of truth arrived. So we took off any clothes we still had on, laid back, spread our legs and dove in.

IMG_3750A word about masturbation: it’s nothing to be shy about, certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes the best orgasm you can have is one you give yourself. Learning how to pleasure yourself can also help you learn how to have more satisfying sex with a partner — but it doesn’t have to be about that. The self-administered orgasm (like the self-portrait, or self-hypnosis) can be an end in itself. Masturbation isn’t anything to apologize for. We all do it, women and men, and when we do it right it’s wonderful.

Yesterday, it was wonderful.

IMG_3779It didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect for it, sunny and clear — we gave ourselves orgasms under the bluest of skies and the whitest of fluffy white clouds. The air was deliciously warm against our skin.

IMG_3742Was it strange doing something so intimate and private in a group, a number of whom were meeting each other for the first time? A little. But remember, a lot of people also say that baring your breasts is something intimate and private that shouldn’t be done in a public place or in front of someone you don’t know well. People who say that are wrong — so why should we take as a given that they’re right about masturbation having to be solitary?

IMG_3738It helped that while the act was sexual, it was not sexualized. We weren’t performing, we weren’t ogling each other or being ogled (or watched at all, really; our eyes mostly slid shut as we went to somewhere special in our own headspace). We were just friends enjoying ourselves together, feeling beautiful sensations, and sharing that experience — as one member put it the next day, it was less like a sex party than like a wine tasting, only with orgasms instead of wine. And what fine vintages we uncorked.

IMG_3763And then, soon enough — too soon — it was over. We came, we relaxed, we caught our breath. We marveled at this thing we’d just done. Did everyone have a blissful smile on her face, or did it just feel that way?

IMG_3671We all felt really nice, that’s for sure. And our ordinary event started up again. We ate grapes, chatted, joked. Shared our addresses with each other so we could stay in touch. IMG_3730

Eventually, the Bodysex folk headed off to catch their planes home, like magical sex fairies who’d done their job.

Will we ever do it again? Who knows? Certainly not in the middle of Central Park, where going topless means nothing more than that it’s hot out, and neither women nor men are free to engage in sexual acts. But on some wintry afternoon perhaps, in a private room at our favorite spa? Or if one of us has a big enough apartment and enough cushy throw rugs? Why not?

Our group is not about sex, and what we do as a matter of course is not sexual.

This was sexual.

Maybe now people will have an easier time seeing the difference.

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IMG_1625For the fourth time in four years, a group of more than 100 artists and models congregated in a public place in New York City — this time, it was in Washington Square Park — to demonstrate that art can take many forms, that the human body can also take many forms, that that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of, and that a naked human body can be an aesthetic object, not only or always a sexual one.

IMG_1559IMG_1650IMG_1743The artists came from all over the United States and all over the world — Japan, Russia, Latvia. Texas. Brooklyn. The models came in all sizes, shapes, ages, races, genders.

IMG_1648IMG_1679IMG_1774IMG_1513The theme this year was a broad one — just one word, Humanity. Nothing that would constrain an artist unduly, but a wonderful jumping-off point for art meant to celebrate what we have in common and our capacity for kindness, thoughtfulness, and decency.

Yes, decency — though five dozen naked bodies were uncovered in a public place, in front of thousands of passers-by, it was decency, not indecency, that was on display.

IMG_1688While some in the crowd showed confusion at first, by far the most common reaction was a smile. Some people we spoke to expressed wonder that an event like this was permitted, but they were overwhelmingly enthusiastic and supportive. A few expressed interest in coming back as models or painters next summer. And they’ll be welcomed gladly.

IMG_1622Some of our members made appearances under the paint–

IMG_1728–while for other models this was their first time standing nude in front of strangers.

IMG_1549IMG_1666IMG_1827And because this was an artistic exhibition, nude meant nude, not just topless — the ordinary restrictions on public nudity don’t apply when you’re creating art. Which meant that thousands of people got to see that a vulva or penis is just a body part like a nose or an elbow, not something you need to shield your eyes from.

(Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s awfully rare to see a penis presented in public in anything other than a hostile way, as an act of aggression or an attempt to provoke shock, fear or disgust. How wonderful to see penises in their natural state, just there between a man’s legs, doing no harm to anyone, and not meant to do any harm.)

IMG_1805IMG_1653IMG_1821IMG_1834IMG_1641Vaginas, of course, by their nature, are harder to display and to paint, but we proudly salute all our sisters and their marvelous multicolored labia.

IMG_1721IMG_1697IMG_1800But the focus wasn’t on any body part — it was on the totality of the human canvas and what art can be birthed from and upon it. We remain in awe of some of the gorgeous creations we saw, including the ones we saw on our own bodies.

IMG_1668IMG_1664And for all those of you who supported the event, or came to it, or participated in it — thank you.

We appreciate, and gratefully salute, your humanity.

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IMG_2904A new non-profit arts organization called Human Connection Arts wants to bring fully nude outdoor body-painting events to four cities this year: New York, Berlin, Amsterdam and San Francisco. But they need your help! They have a Kickstarter attempting to raise the money needed to fund the events, and with only 42 hours to go, they’re still $1,400 short of the goal. And if they don’t reach their goal, they get no money at all! [ETA: They made it!! Whew. Nakedness, art and free expression to ensue as planned!]

IMG_2894IMG_2902To build awareness, the HCA team brought four nude models to the streets of Greenwich Village today for an impromptu painting session that brought traffic to a halt and left hundreds of passers-by smiling.

IMG_2887Lots of people had questions, but only a few expressed anything less than delight and support.

Of course, this was in Greenwich Village — some neighborhoods might be less supportive. But it was a joy to see so many people face to face with public nudity and pleased to see it.

IMG_2868IMG_2872If you’re in New York and would like to see it live, the New York event will take place from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday, July 22, in Washington Square Park. (Be there or be, um, Washington Square. No, wait, that doesn’t work.)

IMG_2890But whether you can come in person or not, if you like what this group stands for and the work they’re doing, please consider helping out. It’s not our event or our organization, but we do like what they’re doing and we support them. We hope you will too.

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