It’s all about the birds and the bees, apparently. But given that female bees flee their natal hive to join a harem of males, then enslave their own daughters and spend their lives churning out babies of mixed paternity, who knows why society earmarked bees as romantic role models. Still, we may have gotten it a bit more right by including birds in the life lesson. What could be lovelier than two birds making a nest together?
With some awkward exceptions, such as birds of paradise (single mothers), emus (single fathers) and dunnocks (communally breeding and multiple-mating hippies), birds could well be religion’s advertisement for the natural goodness of heterosexual monogamy. Our use of language shows just how much we aspire to emulating the pair bonds of birds. From young ‘lovebirds’ exchanging their first ‘peck’ on the cheek to ‘empty nesters’ whose offspring have decided to ‘spread their wings’, the whole happy marital trope can be described in bird metaphors. It’s all well and good – that is, until someone gets cuckolded.
The latest issue of the digital Lifted Brow is now available!
In this issue: Oscar Schwartz tells us stories from Tinder; erotic fanfiction by Briohny Doyle; Sofjia Stefanovic plays with sex dolls; H.D. Thompson reviews his NYC dates; sexy poems by James Brown; illustrations; and a comic from Leigh Rigozzi!
“We were at a party, you and I, in celebration of a long-forgotten cause for joy.”
A girl sits at a table with a book in her hands. She’s wearing a chequered dress that is at once demure and revealing. The film is black and white, yet the girl is monochrome herself – dark jet hair and ivory skin. She opens the book and begins to read a passage from it aloud. At first she seems nervous and somehow fragile, her breathing shallow as she reads quickly.
On a recent trip to New York, I had some free time up my sleeve and at the suggestion of a friend, began an online dating quest to immerse myself in the city and get to know the locals and all that jazz. Once I figured out how to use OkCupid—it took me eight hours and ten cups of coffee to realise you can just skip those fucking never-ending introductory personality questions—I had dates coming out the wazoo. All my wazoos.
Maybe it was a coincidence that I started to re-examine magic when I started crushing again, but they both felt supernatural. If love is the meeting of two of the strongest human drives—fear and desire—then it makes sense that magic should accompany it, with its promise to lead us out of the paralysis that accompanies that hope/fear junction. I had fallen hard for a boy with black hair, blue eyes, and a girlfriend. It felt like being eaten alive. Magic, and the promise of taking back my life, was very alluring.
The occult is attractive because of its furtive nature—something feminine and hidden, underground, semiotic. I spoke to my mother once about issues I was having in a relationship—“He won’t listen to me, he won’t take my suggestions on board”—and she advised me to “make him think it’s his idea”. Like Conjureman Ali said, we manipulate our partners, whether we think we do or not; taking it into my own hands was an intoxicating idea. I decided to do a spell of my own. I immediately questioned that decision.
The Sex Issue: 56 contributors, 88 pages, free condom, $12.
Make yours part of the sexy subscriber giveaway.
Issue 21 of Australia’s most interesting magazine — The Sex Issue
TLB21 is our long-awaited Sex Issue — a bumper entire 88-page edition of the magazine dedicated to discussing, criticising and celebrating the notions and ideas of ‘sex’.
Available to order right now, the Sex Issue goes to print this week, meaning you’ll have it first thing next week if you get in fast.
Inside the double Jonny Negron covers of the Sex Issue you will find: Adam Curley goes on a journey to find the vulnerable River Phoenix; Sofija Stefanovic seeks out eerily lifelike sex dolls and those who own them; Oscar Schwartz uses Tinder; Amy Gray remembers her sadomasochistic sexual history; Sam West reviews a whole lot of different porn sites; H.D. Thompson reviews all the dates he went on in one NYC summer last year; Beth Blanchard watches some sexually hysterical literary readings; David Donaldson ponders the language we use to describe sex in the animal kingdom; Sam George-Allen wonders where magic stops and sexual attraction starts; Ara Sarafian discusses the world of sex as it exists in Afghanistan; and Zenobia Frost digs deeps into the current state and ideas surrounding polyamory.
Patrick Marlborough reminisces about his glory days of masturbation; James Brown is back with more poems — these ones as sexy as all get-out; Astrid Lorange feeds you one-liners; Jenny Sinclair has chopped and hacked into ye olde sex manuals and in doing so makes them new; and Dr Christopher Fox explains how we’ve got it all wrong with penis sizes.
Law School is a bit special this time around: joining Ben Law and his mum Jenny to answer your sex questions is the one and only Dan Savage. And my oh my, doesn’t he get stuck right in.
Our regular columnists tee off, sexually speaking, with Christine Priestly’s profile of escort and porn star Madison Missina, Briohny Doyle’s take on BDSM, Rhianna Boyle’s close-up analysis of the birds and the bees (mostly the birds), Nina Gibb’s personal tale of sexual bodysnatching aka sexomnia, and Chad Parkhill’s take on how we mix alcohol and talk of sex and sexual abuse.
In the uber-creative department, we have Shia LeBeouf erotic fan fiction from Briohny Doyle, and sexually charged short stories from Krissy Keen and Darrent Groth.
Middlebrow! It’s the best arts/culture lift-out that’s ever been realised, and this issue is no different. Andre Dao remembers the time he met sound artist Tom Grant; Rebecca Harkins-Cross takes a look at the mothers-doing-sons book — Anne Fontaine’s Adoration; Ellena Savage tackles hebephilia; Stephanie Van Schilt is and always has been a dirty little creep; Michelle Law signs off on her TV column with a general overview of sex on the box; Shaun Prescott argues that sex in video games can never be sexy; and Matthew Clayfield represses his sexual instincts with the idea that theatre criticism is a type of eulogy. Plus the recommendations: Holly Childs recommends making things happen in non-/half-IRL spaces; Jessica Friedmann recommends trying to conceive; and Benjamin Riley recommends you find out the colour of your penis. And Lachlan Mitchell wrote some dirty poems and took photos of them on his iPhone.
And there are comics and artwork from Sam Wallman, Leigh Rigozzi, Audrey Schmidt, Merv Heers, Evie Cahir, Zeijan Shen, Michael Hawkins, mickey zacchilli, Ruth O’Leary, and Kasia Lynch. Also find editorial illustrations from Ellen Porteus, Nicky Minus, Tessa McDonnell, Lashna Tuschewski, Sara Drake, Krystal DiFronzo, Bonnie Draws, and Maria Blackwell.
We launch the Sex Issue in Melbourne on March 1st, and in Sydney on March 2nd. Both events feature performers and artists that’ll blow your mind, sexually. The Melbourne event is ticketed, so grab one before they sell out.
(Contents Page — click to enlarge)
You can also purchase this issue as the first part of a subscription: six issues per year for $50/$80.
(click to enlarge)
Yesterday we relaunched the Brow’s digital editions for 2014, with ‘THE 3D YELLOW MAN EDITION’.
After a brief hiatus while we sorted out our ‘shit’, we’re back delivering new and improved content via The Lifted Brow iOS app, with a new Digital Editions Editor, namely one Alexander Bennetts. Every fortnight Alex will be publishing a digital edition of the Brow, and inside will be freshly commissioned fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, and more.
We’re proud that the first issue after our relaunch is one that features work from Sam Wallman, Briohny Doyle, Ines Estrada, Phil Estes, Matt Banham, Angelo Giunta, Marijka Gooding, Matt Huynh, and J.Y.L. Koh, whose story ‘The Three-Dimensional Yellow Man' is the most wonderful Tom Cho-esque piece of writing, about a one-dimensional yellow ninja who steps out of a 3D film on George Street in Sydney, to the horror of local cinema-goers.
The story was shortlisted last year for the Overland and Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers, and will be taught this year at the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and possibly Monash University.
Read it here, read it now, read it any which way and how.