The Gorean Image
copyright 2005 by Pat Powers
I've been assembling a collection of Gorean images in preparation for future articles, much as I've assemble images of head harnesses, bit gags, wrist ankle ties and so forth in the past for other articles. But as I've assembled the images, I've discovered that the process of assembling the images has itself provoked an article.
That's because the images that I've identified as "Gorean" come from such a wide range of sources. I've defined "Gorean" to mean "things you might see, or which are strongly evocative of things you might see on the planet Gor wrt slavegirls."
The definition encompasses a LOT of different categories of images, I discovered when I began thinking about it. That's why I put in STRONGLY evocative, otherwise any image of a woman could somehow be twisted to fit it. Here are the categories I came up with:
- Sexual bondage images that are consistent with the level of technology on Gor. That is, no vibrators. No images of women in pantyhose or boustiers or other garments that require tech not evident on Gor. Silks and other fabrics that don't LOOK high-tech (whether they are or not) could qualify as Gorean, though they aren't necessarily all that Gorean in and of themselves. Generally, most of the "fetishy" stuff involving obviously high-tech fabrics like PVC or rubber would be ruled out here. Leather -- definitely Gorean.
- Public bondage, nude or otherwise. Slaves wander the streets and squares of Gor while bound, sometimes while naked and bound. So an image of a person bound in public has a Gorean feel to it, though some feel much more Gorean than others.
Obviously, some female corporate analyst in street dress, handcuffed after being arrested for white collar crime, doesn't have all that Gorean a feel. Whereas some cute little DragonCon attendee in a leash and cuffs grinning as she walks among those not in bondage gear has a definite Gorean feel to it. Some of the bondage games that people get up to at camp and in college dorms (as are ably recorded on the Bondage In Everyday Life site) have a definite Gorean vibe to them, even though the participants may or may not be consciously playing with sexual bondage feelings.
The European "sport" of appearing nude in public in un-naked venues has made finding imagery of this sort on the Web surprisingly easy.
But perhaps the easiest public bondage images to find are images of outdoor bondage. These are simply bondage images taken out of door, without necessarily having anyone around to see them. Obviously, though, you can be outdoors and still have plenty of privacy, especially in dangerously underpopulated countries like the United States. Much tougher in a place like Japan. The point is, it's not quite so Gorean when a slavegirl is outdoors in conditions that include privacy. The slavegirl is not quite so "on display" as it were.
- Public nudity. On Gor, when slavegirls appear in public, they generally are naked, or nearly so, among the clothed free citizens. So when women are naked in public, there's a definite Gorean vibe. More especially when they're naked and everyone else around them is clothed. Even more especially when it's a public venue where naked women aren't necessarily part of the expected scene, as opposed to one where nudity is to be expected. Frex, a woman walking naked down a city street at lunch hour, say, in front something as prosaic as a Burger King restaurant, is a lot more Gorean than the same naked woman at a nudist colony.
- Near-nudity in public. This one's a little trickier. Generally, if a woman is wearing a thong bikini on a beach full of women wearing thong bikinis (and, sadly, some men wearing thongs) there's not that much of a Gorean feel to it. But if she's wearing a thong bikini in a crowd of people wearing business suits or casual street clothes, then there's a DEFINITE Gorean vibe going. When a woman is dressed in revealing, sexy, scanty clothes in a crowd of others who are not, it's got a Gorean feel.
- Belly dancers. Even if Norman's novel Dancer of Gor didn't exist, belly dancers would still have that Gorean vibe -- exotic, exciting, primitive, and in its raks sharki incarnation, sexy as hell. (Tribal Fusion belly dancers are not very Gorean, due to their habit of concealing their bodies in clothes and silks and whatever else they can find. Their dances can be beautiful and fun to watch, but they're not all that Gorean.)
- Harem girls, especially slavegirls. Very Gorean, of course. Images of women wearing harem girl outfits, as for Halloween, etc., also have this vibe. Sometimes such images may occur in a Halloween costume brochure, sometimes in soft core porn. Any venue where fantasy dress-ups are encouraged might well net a few harem girl outfits. Frex, one of the most productive venues that I know of are science fiction conventions where costuming is a very big deal, which is to say, most of them. There are always at least a couple of Slave Leia outfits to be seen, and quite frequently, there are many Slave Leia outfits to be seen. And Slave Leia looks like she stepped right out of a Gor novel.
- Submissive images and poses in vanilla girly photosets. This is a tricky one. Almost any image from a vanilla girly photoset is likely to have some submissive aspects to it, as such photos generally involve sexual display positions, which almost always have an element of submissiveness to them. Some poses are more Gorean than others, however.Poses in which the woman is kneeling, for example, have a strong Gorean element to them -- in fact, any pose which emulates one of the standard Gorean slave positions enumerated in the novels would qualify.
There are some subtle distinctions which can be made here. A popular pose in girly mag spreads involves the woman posing on her hands and knees as if ready for doggie style sex. I feel that the pose is a LOT more Gorean if the woman's head is down to the ground while her butt is in the air. But most of the time, she is on her palms with her arms supporting her upper torso or on her elbows with her head raised. Poses where the woman's head touches the ground with her butt raised in the air are surprisingly rare in vanilla girly mag photosets. Also, any pose in which the woman holds her hands behind her back is Gorean in nature. These are also rare in vanilla spreads, though not all that surprisingly, as the women in such spread typically use their hands to display their bodies.
A surprisingly common Gorean image in vanilla scenes is a woman lying prone on the floor, with her upper torso held up by her straightened arms, as if she has attempted to do a push up without using her legs or back. She's almost always seen smiling up at the camera in such instances. This strikes me as a particularly Gorean, submissive pose, and it's weird to see it used often in girly mag poses when they seem to eschew submissive imagery in other respects, insofar as it's possible to eschew submissive imagery while actually creating sexy imagery.
Vanilla girly mag images in which women pose with their legs spread extremely wide -- not just wide enough that their genitals are clearly visible, but so wide that they are almost doing a split -- are Gorean in feel. It isn't necessarily for a woman to spread her legs all that wide to give a man a clear view of that one square inch of heaven. If she's almost doing a split to make such a display, there's a definite element of submission there.
And of course, images in which the women spread their labial lips apart so that their inner naughty bits are available for inspection are very, very submissive and have a powerfully Gorean feel to them, especially if the women's hands are bound as she does so. Especially if she's face down as she spreads her labia. But unbound or bound, face up or face down, if she's spreading her labia it's a really strong submission image and it's got a strong Gorean vibes. It's easy enough to imagine Gorean masters requiring their slavegirls to display themselves thusly - to anyone they choose, at any time they choose - on demand.
You might think that a woman spreading her labia apart with bound hands plumbs the absolute depths (if that's the right phrase) of submissive sexual display. You would be wrong. There's another step beyond that, and that's women with pierced labia who have their labia spread wide by rings set in the labia. Such women (or at least, those among them who have posed for photosets and videos, often have amazingly stretchy labia, so that when those wings are stretched apart, you can practically see their uvulas. In fact, one of the models for www.hogtied.com, Pierced Angel, actually has six GROMMETS set in her labial piercings. Grommets like you see in a tent -- smaller than you see on tents, of course, about the size of a dime ... but still ... GROMMETS. They were used to hold her labia apart while she was bound in various positions while her captor went after her very exposed clit with a vibrator. You could see the love juices welling right out of her and trickling down her labia as she became aroused. Amazing stuff.
You might think that a woman with rings set in her labia so her pussy can be displayed through bondage plumbs the absolute etc., etc., etc. You would be wrong. There are also people who use speculums to examine women's vaginal interiors while they are bound, a la Annie Sprinkle's famous stage show where she invited members of the audience up to examine her cervix with a speculum.
Now, if you're using medical equipment to look at women's labia, you're way past Gorean and into gynecology. If you think the delta of Venus is fun, wait 'til you see the Islets of Langerhans! Might as well just get a degree and be done with it. My feeling is, the inside of a woman's vagina is best felt and not seen ... and the absolute best thing to feel a woman's genitals with is ... a man's genitals.
- Jewelry. Women love jewelry. I think this accounts more than anything for the lightning-fast acceptance of belly button rings, nipple rings and to a certain extent, labial rings once whatever cultural watershed had to be crossed to get the new locations for jewelry "in play' was crossed. It wasn't just that these were hot, sexy places to wear jewelry. It's that they were NEW places to wear jewelry, hence more places to wear jewelry, hence -- and here is the important point -- MORE JEWELRY.
The fact that nipple and labia jewelry are in places guys are very, very interested in is the point with regard to Gorean imagery. If guys OWNED women -- if women were their slavegirls instead of their wives and girlfriends -- they'd take the same interest in their appearance as they take in their cars. They'd want to detail their women, especially the good parts -- so you have to figure that Gorean slavegirls would be wearing that stuff in public, whether they liked it or not.
Also, images of women wearing the sort of jewelry often described as "barbaric" can be very Gorean, especially if the women are otherwise scantily clad or naked. Metal armbands, slave anklets (of course) as well as anklets generally, leather or metal collars with a ring set in the front, thick bracelets, especially with rings set in them, belly chains ... all very, very Gorean. Needless to say, they go very well with decorated gags.
- Strippers CAN be Gorean, but they are not NECESSARILY Gorean. You would think that strippers would be the best source of Gorean imagery going -- after all, they ARE women who perform nude, and in sexually inviting ways, before clothed men (and women). And they are. But surprisingly frequently, the strippers don't always look all that Gorean.
For one thing, their "pre-stripping" outfits can involve non-Gorean fantasies: schoolgirls, nuns, high-tech kink, etc. For another, their dance routines, although definitely sexual and inviting, aren't necessarily all that submissive in nature. Some of them appear to believe that anything involving not standing absolutely still while naked constitutes nude dance.
Still, when strippers look Gorean, they can look INCREDIBLY Gorean. Frex, some strippers wear harem girl or slave girl outfits when they dance, and some strippers use elements of belly dance in their routines. This makes them look like they just stepped off a balcony in Ar. And a common garment for strippers is a simple silk scarf that is tied about the waist, accentuating the hips and giving her an extra garment that can be quickly and easily removed when dancing. Its simplicity, sexiness and elegance makes it look very Gorean, indeed.
Those strippers who take gigs at bachelor parties and such where they strip and crawl all over various men in very sexually suggestive ways while naked or practically naked can look ESPECIALLY Gorean, because they perform naked in crowds of clothed people. You can imagine similar situations arising commonly on Gor, as slavegirls are casually ordered to disrobe and sexually serve this or that person on the street or at home.
Sometimes strippers even use handcuffs, though this often involves a dominatrix/policewoman fantasy which isn't all that Gorean. A naked, cuffed woman crawling all over a man among a crowd of clothed people is about as intensely Gorean an image as you can imagine.The only more Gorean element would be for her to give him a blowjob on such an occasion -- we wouldn't be surprised to learn that that happens on rare occasions, too, but published photos of such events are, not surprisingly, very rare. (Interestingly, a web search for stripper turned up several pics of male strippers getting their cocks sucked by members of the (all female) audience while the rest watched. Looks like fun for the guys, but not very Gorean, of course.)
- Vanilla sex scenes, most notably scenes in which men make dominance moves while fucking are also powerfully Gorean, and surprisingly common in vanilla XXX tapes. Frex, images where men control a woman during oral sex by placing his hands on her head as she sucks are strongly Gorean. (Check out the especially tasty vanilla dominance image at left.) Images where men seize women's hair while they're taking them from behind are strongly Gorean.
Also very Gorean are images in which women suck cock without using their hands, most especially if they hold their hands behind their back as if bound. It's even more powerful if the woman's hands ARE bound, but it's not very vanilla under those cricumstances, is it? (Images of women sucking cock with their hands actually tied are also quite rare. There were a spate of them in XXX films in the early seventies in such films as "Defiance of Good and Evil, and there are some new ones floating around the Internet, mostly from Russian sites, but not a hell of a lot for the 30 intervening years.)
Just as images of women with their butt in the air and their head on the floor in girly photosets are more Gorean than others, images of women being taken from behind in that position are very Gorean. Such images are surprisingly uncommon in vanilla XXX imagery -- in most cases, just as in the girly photosets, the women kneels with her arms keeping her torso off the ground. This pose has some distinct advantages, but it's kinda strange that with doggie style sex in almost every vanilla XXX tape made, so few of them have the women posing with their heads flat to the ground. Even rarer are scenes of women taken in this way with their hands extended in front of them, not so suprisingly as this is a striaght up submission pose.
The interesting thing about all this imagery, to my mind, is all the places it can easily be found in. It's not just porn, hardcore or soft core, though porn definitely has its contributions to make to Gorean imagery. Much of the time, there isn't any conscious intent to produce bondage-related or even dominance and submission imagery, which makes it more fun. I've found these images on all sorts of sites having nothing to do with sex, much less Gor. Most of the people pictrured in this article would probably go "What's Gorean?" if the topic was mentioned to them. It's not something they're doing deliberately, but an accidental byproduct of what they're doing, and undoubtedly sometimes the product of hidden and/or subconscious bondage and dominance impulses. Makes looking for it, and recognizing it for what it is, a fun kind of game.
And, frankly, any time you get the chance to spend some time looking at images of hot women being sexy, it's a good thing. As Confucius used to say, "If you look at 1000 pictures of hot women, and yet find no pictures which are Gorean, you still have looked at 1000 pictures of hot women."