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So today I noticed an unfamiliar "Correspondence Item" in my Notifications Feed, when I went to check on my most recent faves and comments (etc.). This is the area of the feed where I occasionally receive requests to add a picture to a group. But this time, there was a notice asking me if my latest deviation contains Explicit content, with links to the site's policies on such matters (which I am intimately familiar with - I even wrote a journal about them), and a pretty strong insinuation that I might want to "edit" my deviation (although if there's a problem with the image, I don't know how editing it, as opposed to simply deleting it, would help).

Warning-censored by zharth

In my several years of posting nude photography to this website, this is the first time this has ever occurred (I suppose I should be proud of that?). I'm a little bit miffed, though, because I am meticulous about following the rules (I probably understand them better than some of the staff). But I suppose what I should really be surprised about is that this is the first time it's happened. Certainly, I've uploaded some images over the years that, while I don't think they break any rules, are possibly suggestive enough to warrant suspicion. And, honestly, I didn't anticipate any problem about this particular image in question.

So I don't know if somebody has reported this image (a possibility, since I posted it under Spontaneous Portraits instead of Artistic Nudes, and I can imagine that gallery's regular audience has a lot less experience with nude art - but I did place it under a Mature Content filter, as usual), or if staff earmarked it for closer inspection during a routine check. I don't think there's any real problem, because there's nothing in the image that violates DeviantART's policy - although, in the end, that may be up to subjective interpretation. Clearly, there's no sexual activity depicted, so I imagine the question comes down to whether or not my penis is erect.

Now, being the model in the image, I remember taking it, and my penis was definitely not erect.* Anybody who understands the male genitalia will know that it is a constantly fluctuating organ. Knowing what constitutes "an erection" and what doesn't isn't always clear cut, as there is a series of transitional stages, and not a single, hard line, between one extreme and the other. My surprise, however, is that this image was singled out, and not many others (which have apparently passed without incident) that are far more suggestive (at the risk of drawing enemy fire upon myself, I don't understand why the physiology of erections should be taboo, while it's perfectly "decent" to imply to potentially suggestive audiences that putting your tongue on somebody's genitals is great fun! - and totally not sexual in any way). I don't think my penis even looks erect in this image (trust me, you'd know ;-p - although this is a casualty of restricting images of erections: nobody knows what they look like!). The only reason it's pointing "up" is because I was spinning it around in circles using my hips. Is it because I referenced a stunt ("helicoptering") that is often associated with strippers and erections? I assure you it can also be done with a flaccid penis. (Go ahead, give it a try some time).

Nor do I see how this activity could constitute "manual" stimulation (which requires the use of hands), that would cause it to fall afoul of the restriction on images of "masturbation". The purpose of this activity was not sexual in nature. It was done merely for laughs. And because, hell, anyone who is equipped with a penis and testicles has surely spent a lot of time fooling around with it - and not just in a sexual manner, either. There are scores of images on this site that are perilously close to crossing a line (and some that do), involving hands on penises but not necessarily in an overtly sexual way. I'm confident in my decision to post this latest deviation to my gallery. But since these things often come down to interpretation, the question I am posing to you is this: do you think there is any explicit content in this image?

I appreciate your feedback. I don't think anything bad is going to happen. But if I do disappear all of a sudden, or if the image in question vanishes, you'll know why.

*Here is an unedited outtake from the same shoot, to demonstrate the flaccidity of my penis. Yes, it's pointing straight up. But if I were erect, my penis would be touching my belly button. I'd show you a picture (there are plenty out there on the internet), but I'm not allowed. Funny how the piece of evidence that would prove my innocence is disallowed in court.
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:iconrwedgie:
RWedgie Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I have had problems with this, an art of mine of 4 years ago was denounced ... today? This does not make any sense
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2018  Professional Photographer
I imagine that deviantART relies on its users to flag suspected inappropriate content, rather than moderate everything before it's uploaded. And it just took this long for some busybody to flag your work. As long as you follow the rules, I wouldn't worry about it.
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:iconstreame2:
Streame2 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2018
Not only is the content explicit, it is shockingly so. Your toes and eyes are exposed for the world to see. Your face is uncovered and the hair on your head is at your trademark length. Should you ever pass away, Google, not dental records will be used to identify you. Rumour has it that Google is licking its chops and updating its business model to take advantage of this new lucrative revenue stream you have created Dance! . 

You may want to reconsider posting content where your toes, fingers and eyes are clearly exposed. I think I've fainted. Such explicit content may be disturbing and intoxicating to some. Before you post again, make sure you "Look before you leap" Petting is sensual!  
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2018  Professional Photographer
Yeah, I think the ship has sailed on that one. :lmao:
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:iconbrayonhopper:
BrayonHopper Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
There are TOS-Nazis on DeviantArt, who surf the new art feed looking for any pictures of penises. They will report in a heartbeat, even if it doesn't violate the TOS. This is why a group has started to police the Vagina pics, and report them as TOS violations as well. Artistic Nude art should be neutral to both sexes.
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2018  Professional Photographer
Thanks for the reply! I'm not surprised there are people who do this, just surprised that they singled out this particular image, and not so many others. In fact, I'm surprised it hasn't happened to me sooner and more often. Anyway, if these people don't like penises and/or vaginas, they should be petitioning deviantART to change their rules, not annoying the people who post them - an equally futile effort, I'm sure. But I've never known the forces of chastity to be particularly smart.
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:iconboronk:
boronk Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
uhm.. it looks kinda like boner and thats against TOS.. despite it isnt.
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2017  Professional Photographer
That's what I was thinking. Thanks for the feedback. That still raises a lot of questions, though. Perhaps deviantART should amend their TOS to include "penises (whether flaccid or erect) in a vertical orientation".
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:iconboronk:
boronk Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
the problem is probably that there are a  lot of gay art makers who regularly try to push the limits of the TOS by showing semi hard stuff being put in position to look full.. so I guess you just got under the wheels because of well they try to get the unsure stuff safe...
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2017  Professional Photographer
Well, if nothing happens, I'll just chalk it up to an overzealous reporter. I'm just really shocked, because from my perspective, knowing my anatomy as well as I do, I'm not even a little bit hard in this image. And, frankly, it strikes me as a little bit absurd that there are people going around with a magnifying glass inspecting the appearance of people's genitalia - not because they like to look, which is something I can understand, but in order to enforce such a petty standard.

I mean, I understand the reasoning behind restricting images of erections (even if I don't agree with it), but if even flaccid penises (on a site that welcomes nude art) are subject to suspicion on account of being positioned in such a way as to resemble an erection, it almost suggests that it's not just the erection itself, but even the concept of erections - the idea or knowledge that penises can become erect (and, I suppose, the implication of what that's for - although if you're really naive, I don't imagine you'd be able to guess out of the blue) - that's forbidden. And, to me, that smacks of a really dangerous, Orwellian perspective that flies in the face of sex education.

But, as I said, hopefully it's just some crackpot who uses the site, holding a position with which the staff won't agree.
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