Birthday morning, 18 August 2014 - Jago Rackham - Polyamory

Jago Rackham on Lust, Love and Polyamory

 

Our editor, Jago Rackham, chose to discuss polyamory, lust and love for our first issue. Toward the end of his article he argues that a relaxed view of sex

allows us to avoid lust, if thought of as obsession toward the physical. Perhaps, it allows us to feel a purer version of love, in what for a couple of atheists is an ironically Christian sense. I have begun to think that rather than cutting out sex in order to concentrate on a higher love, one should exert control over it. Historically, the greatest exercise of this power has been seen as abstinence. Yet this, much more than any polyamorous engagement, seems to be the mark of someone who is overwhelmed. The mark of someone so consumed that control is an impossibility. After all, abstinence is more often than not the mark of an addict. Just as with wine, one knows that those with the greatest control have the largest cellar. Moreover, there’s nothing that makes one more sexually inclined than not having sex, as is evidenced in the sex lives of the ‘abstinent’ clergy.

Read Jago’s article in issue 1: subscribe and support our Kickstarter here.

Censorship

Jerry Barnett On Censorship

In our first issue, the anti-censorship campaigner Jerry Barnett writes

It would seem unfair to label the British prudes, yet , the establishment in Britain has always seemed to be particularly determined to keep us far from erotica, pornography, and other instances of sexual expression. For a nation that prides itself as a global beacon of liberty, the UK has a multitude of censorship laws; a disproportionate amount of which are dedicated to keeping us all ‘safe’ from sex.

He goes on to argue that, far from simply keeping the people from sex, such laws represent – and underpin – the UK government’s large and powerful censorship machine. Earlier this week, a had a brief chat with Jerry about the issues raised in his article.

Read more

Ailsa Ogden Feminism

Nikki van der Gaag on Feminism & Men

In our first issue, the feminist campaigner Nikki van der Gaag argues that men, boys especially, must be inducted into feminism if the movements success is to be ensured because

boys who witness their fathers using violence against their mothers are more likely to use violence against their partners when they grow up. At the other end of the spectrum, boys who see their fathers sharing the housework, looking after the children and being respectful towards women are likely to replicate this positive behaviour when they become adults.

Read more

Condom Over Knife - Sasha Kurmaz - 2010 = Homonormativity

Richard McDonald on Homonormativity

In our first issue Richard McDonald asserts, simply, that

The ‘good life’ is a capitalist one.

From this position, he examines what happens when gay men are inducted into this good life through victories (marriage equality) and greater acceptance:

Gay (white, cis) men are now protected as members of the productive economy, able to buy into the dynamic of cruel optimism that lives in the image of the nuclear family: the stable job, the high wage, the relationship founded on marriage, the children born in wedlock, and so forth. This signals a momentous shift away from the radical rethinkings of kinship once so dear to gay men. As capitalism offers us a tool with which to carve out a space for ourselves in mainstream society, it tempts us to leave behind the radical aspects of gayness and queerness that it finds distasteful. When the dust settles, and your space is carved out, the template of sexual identity you have left is a very strict one. It represents a new wave of homosexual normality: the ‘homonormative’ template.

Read more

Jean Dielman Chantal Akerman

We Miss You, Chantal

For our first issue, the poet Trisha Low wrote a wonderful, heartfelt piece on the passing of the great Chantal Akerman.

It’s 2015, not that it matters. I’m supposed to be working, but I’m distracted, my lover is supposed to meet me at home, but they’re a half hour late, messy haired and callous, because they like to make me wait. What’s the worst thing that could happen, I ask myself absently, like my Dad taught me to, years ago to calm myself. They could be dead. That wouldn’t be so bad, I think to myself, uneasily, but I know that’s not true. I check my phone because my hands feel too idle. My friend Liz has posted on tumblr – Chantal Akerman has died.

Read more

Molly Parkin describes her shoot for LYRA

Molly Parkin had the best idea for her photo shoot in issue 1

… I could hurl numerous garments together, it is so easy for me, and I thought that I wanted to do something different. I don’t recoil in shock and horror when I take my make up off and after I cleaned my face. I could be like this happily in front of myself and in front of the lover or anybody. There is something moving about it, the kindness and connection in that bare face. So, let’s shoot that.

And here’s the woman herself talking about growing old, and the beauty this brings.

Photo: Molly Parkin by Anthony Lycett, who photographed Molly for us earlier this year. Check out his wonderful portraits.

Subscribe to LYRA and support our Kickstarter here.

Ailsa Ogden education

Constance Watson on Sex Education

Earlier this year the education secretary Nicky Morgan announced that PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) would not become compulsory, leaving the choice to teach children about sex and sexual health, among other things, up to the whims of heads.

Read more

Woman's Emporium

Sh! Woman’s Emporium

I used to live across the street from Sh! Woman’s Emporium in Hoxton, but I didn’t go in until I interviewed their founder, Ky.

I’m not sure why: partly, until recently, men needed to be accompanied by a woman. And it was too close. I don’t like having to say hello to someone every morning (a problem I had with Goodhood) because, often, I am in no mood to do so. And, I always figured, if I needed to buy something from them I’d rather the experience be somewhat alien finding the erotic, generally, to reside in the unknown. After a few weeks, it simply ceased to really exist for me. It was just another shop I walked past, like Goodhood or, latterly, Prohibition Vapes.

Read more

Fighting Bricklayer - Masculinity

David James Fox On Aggressive Masculinity

Earlier this week, the artist Grayson Perry attacked Bear Grylls’ (that name!) for promoting a ‘useless’ brand of masculinity that’s ‘a hangover from a more violent age’. He argued that the sort of thing Bear (!) gets up to, hunting, killing, climbing et al, are useless in our modern age – well, obviously.

Read more

Mauritshuis Borch - Woman Writing a Letter

Why I started LYRA

I don’t relate to the way the mainstream media portrays women, and it makes me angry. All the time. It’s the paradox on which they operate: selling unobtainable beauty while shunning women for being, well, women. Relying on an ugly sexualisation, using sex to sell, while leaving the issues that make many of us, women especially, uncomfortable around sexuality and nudity. Never spreading an understanding of sexuality because such an understanding liberates.

Read more