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For more information about how we use your data please refer to our privacy and cookie policies. However, their endless noise and nervous energy can take a toll on even the toughest of constitutions. On the face of it, the mostly off-the-radar retreats I visited seemed to have little in common beyond their non-urban location; one lies on the northeast coast, the others in different parts of the rural interior. All are the brainchildren of entrepreneurs — Portuguese, French and Brazilian respectively — each with a very particular vision.
Bathroom sinks are stone troughs, the taps rusted metal tubes. As were the long, largely agenda-free days. There was little to do beyond wandering up and down the endless sands, wondering whether the colour of the sea was closer to the aquamarine of Roman glassware or the age-weathered turquoise of medieval Turkish pottery. I bestirred myself for an excursion just once, to nearby Praia do Gunga, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, to eat a lazy lunch of prawns in coconut milk.
On the afternoon I arrived, crossing a footbridge accompanied by two honking geese, a famous New York-based baker was cooking up a batch of sourdough in a wood-fired bread oven he had designed and built earlier that week.
As evening fell, Rengade drove me around the estate in his 4x4, pointing out the award-winning eco house by Marcio Kogan, the land-art installations in recovered wood by New York-based Belarusian artist Pasha Radetzki, and the elegant Amazonian dwelling of grass and tree trunks by members of the indigenous Xingu tribe. What should guests not expect? TVs, minibars, a swimming pool or consistent phone coverage or WiFi signal.
But so do those of Reserva do Ibitipoca, the next retreat I visited — and then some. Yet Ibitipoca is wary of publicity, and remains something of a Masonic secret among its mega-wealthy and predominantly Brazilian clients. Ibitipoca lies at the southern edge of Minas Gerais, the largely agricultural state in southeast Brazil, just three hours by car from Rio de Janeiro.
Despite its relative proximity to civilisation, it feels — truly — like the back of beyond. While turning off the main road onto a dirt track winding through rolling countryside that, were I to squint and mentally airbrush out the tropical vegetation, looked a bit like the Welsh Borders, I was seized by sudden scepticism: But then, the payoff: The hotel is a converted fazenda at the heart of a private reserve that, at nearly 4, hectares, dwarfs the nearby State Park of Ibitipoca.
He also reveals that, remarkably, the room hotel and annexe are owned by staff on a cooperative basis. The sash windows of my room gave onto a view as spectacular as any to be glimpsed from any hotel bedroom in the world. The house itself is splendid, redolent with atmosphere and shows a raw and rustic edge. Panels and shutters are painted in mossy green and eau de nil, the high-ceilinged rooms hung with antique chandeliers that shed a deliberately low light.
The Reserva is serious about energy saving. Antique local and modern Brazilian pieces mix in the rooms; the fabrics are hand-dyed, all created by Rio-based textiles designer Mucki Skowronski. The house has libraries and lounges, and a porch with hammocks for snoozing. At breakfast I watched a donkey cart come by, loaded with firewood for the big black stove in the dining room; just beyond the window, a macaw made light work of a papaya.
Verses by Fernando Pessoa were chalked up on a board, a new one every morning. Lavish outdoor meals were conjured from nowhere, in unusual places. One night dinner took place beside a waterfall, with torchlight and braziers. My fellow guests were a happy mixture of well-heeled bohemia and upper-middle-class families.
Despite the sublimity of the surroundings, there is no dressing up here, and no standing on ceremony. On my last afternoon I explored the estate with Brittany Berger, a young US ecologist employed by the Reserva, who explained the plans afoot here: I left Ibitipoca with a twinge of something that combined regret and envy.
Not everyone, surely, would appreciate this exquisite blend of high living with rustic simplicity, nor these wondrous natural surroundings. As I headed back to the sprawling city, the airport and home, I had never been so keen for a hideaway to stay just that: The Travel Newsletter Find your holiday inspiration.
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Panels and shutters are painted in mossy green and eau de nil, the high-ceilinged rooms hung with antique chandeliers that shed a deliberately low light. The Reserva is serious about energy saving. Antique local and modern Brazilian pieces mix in the rooms; the fabrics are hand-dyed, all created by Rio-based textiles designer Mucki Skowronski. The house has libraries and lounges, and a porch with hammocks for snoozing. At breakfast I watched a donkey cart come by, loaded with firewood for the big black stove in the dining room; just beyond the window, a macaw made light work of a papaya.
Verses by Fernando Pessoa were chalked up on a board, a new one every morning. Lavish outdoor meals were conjured from nowhere, in unusual places.
One night dinner took place beside a waterfall, with torchlight and braziers. My fellow guests were a happy mixture of well-heeled bohemia and upper-middle-class families. Despite the sublimity of the surroundings, there is no dressing up here, and no standing on ceremony. On my last afternoon I explored the estate with Brittany Berger, a young US ecologist employed by the Reserva, who explained the plans afoot here: I left Ibitipoca with a twinge of something that combined regret and envy.
Not everyone, surely, would appreciate this exquisite blend of high living with rustic simplicity, nor these wondrous natural surroundings. As I headed back to the sprawling city, the airport and home, I had never been so keen for a hideaway to stay just that: The Travel Newsletter Find your holiday inspiration.
Email address Please enter a correct email address. You are now signed up to the Travel Newsletter. You have successfully subscribed Thank you. Financial Times - How to Spend it Close. Search How to Spend it Search. Show more Gift guide links Gift guide. Show more Men's style links Men's style. Show more Women's style links Women's style. Work is a key element in their lives; not coincidentally, it is referred to as something which enables them to preserve confidentiality and discretion in their relationships or even to maintain a guise of heterosexuality.
As middle and upper class professionals, they all have access to the equipment they need in for internet connection, which for many is in fact a part of their basic work routines.
With most of their time taken up by work, or perhaps study, as well as social and family relations in which the demands of heterosexuality prevail, digital media enter their lives as an element that extends daily heterosexist pressures and allows modulated contact with other men.
Online searches thus become part of the context in which, from the initial expansion of commercial internet until today, there has been a prevailing separation of platforms set up to search for heterosexual love partners mainly on the part of women and online environments associating male homosexual desire with the quest for sex.
Rather, it purifies heterosexual sex by associating it with love and the reproduction or constituting of families, while updating longstanding conceptions that associate male homosexuality with unfettered sexual desire - thereby reproducing a historic association of masculinity with desire and male homosexuality with sexual desire alone. The centrality of the search for sex without commitment becomes an a priori that leads users into using these tools in accordance with the above-described premises, sometimes even unconsciously.
One of the most evident elements lies in the way the platforms and tools geared toward a male homosexual public are designed, valuing image over written text. Although written text may not be the major attraction of these platforms, they nonetheless provide a number of forms for self-identification and search that incorporate categories created by the porn industry.
This is an understandable commercial strategy, given the fact that sites and applications are lucrative businesses whose advertisers include companies that provide pornography, erotic products, nightclubs, saunas and other services geared toward homosexuals. Furthermore, as Sharif Mowlabocus In this context, regardless of user's initial intentions, once online he is easily induced to creating a self-commodifying profile that enables him to enter a kind of sex market.
Piscitelli, Assis e Olivar Although my field of research is not that of commercial sex, it is intersected by the market through the material and symbolic exchanges that take place within it.
It is possible to use digital media in the search for love and sex partners without paying for use of sites and apps, yet in addition to the restrictions that this imposes, users continue to be exposed to the advertising of related services. One way or another, all users' activities fall within the realm of the market and, insofar as they search for love, they are expected to present themselves as desirable and to commoditize themselves according to the most valued patterns of a sphere characterized by open competition.
This requires the use of photos in which the user embodies the standards that prevail within advertising that targets the male homosexual public.
The centrality of the body in this commodification process is easily recognizable. Within apps, the typical profile of the successful person is also one which renders the user sexually attractive, done through the use of photos in which muscles, facial hair and well-defined stomachs can be seen. These photos evoke not only gay porn, but also the kind of image that is attached to sex work.
The blurred distinction between sex workers and ordinary users in application programs is so evident that it has become increasingly common for profiles to appear with the message of alert "I am not a sex worker". Despite concerns regarding uncertain boundaries between commercial and non-commercial sex, many ordinary users adopt search criteria that remind us of those that characterize the sex market.
Although profiles are varied, searches tend to be distributed between those who are seeking casual sex, those looking for something between immediate sexual gratification and relationships, and those who reject sex without commitment "hookup" in the U. According to authors such as Michael Kimmel , the hookup became popular in university environments and among middle class youth wanting to postpone commitment during a stage of life devoted to studies, looking for a job and seeking professional stability.
My research enables me to question this perception, recognizing that the current form of search tends to be described as safe, practical and objective. In interviews conducted with users who were over 50, there were repeated references to different ways of searching for a partner, emphasizing that cruising demanded more time and immersion, requiring a person to hang out in public places until he found a potential partner and demanding more engagement and energy than today's use of digital media.
Furthermore, it involved greater risks of exposure, of being seen by people belonging to one's network of friends, family and acquaintances, of being extorted by a "partner" or even becoming the victim of violence. According to these older interlocutors, new media enable people to engage in searches from their home or workplace and also allow for greater objectivity and effectiveness in face to face encounters.
One of my interlocutors, a 55 year old with a post-graduate degree and an intellectual-type profile, went as far as associating current digital platforms with neoliberalism, the demand that people devote themselves more to their work and the search for partners whom he labeled as "bourgeois".
The tools these platforms provide afford the possibility of visualizing partners with particular physical characteristics, as well as obtaining personal information that also provides clues as to their socio-economic position. In the interviews that I conducted from the end of , there was a common valorization of these tools even though - among my middle and upper class interlocutors - I heard frequent complaints alleging a lack of "interesting" candidates.
The term "interesting" is a reference to user profiles with socially and economically valued characteristics such as a university education, financial independence and physical appearance denoting participation in a sophisticated consumer market. In short, for most of my interlocutors- university-educated white males over age 30 engaged in liberal professions that they describe as "conservative" -, work can be recognized as the center of gravity of their lives. It provides a financial basis for their existence and is their prime source of symbolic recognition, sustaining their relative independence, their quest to negotiate desire and avoid breaking with their families or suffering social retaliation.
Within such negotiations, digital media supply a fundamental opportunity to have access to male partners without putting their heterosexual public image at risk, even when the latter is merely a taken for granted assumption.
Most importantly, from their point of view, to simply be presumed to be heterosexual may be much safer than to be suspected to be or - worse yet - identified as homosexual, a condition which can interfere with their recognition at work and their opportunities to develop, maintain or move up in it. The use of digital media and of applications in particular involves allocating the desire for other men to a space and time that does not interfere with their presumably heterosexual lives.
Over thirty years ago, in his now classic " Capitalism and Gay Identity" , John D'Emilio defended the thesis that homosexualities as we know them emerged out of the development of an individualized labor market, giving people the opportunity to engage in same sex relationships within a context of relative independence from their families.
At present, there is empirical evidence indicating that the high level of turnover and flexibility in the sex and love lives of my interlocutors is directly related to the heterosexism that prevails within their occupations and, concretely, on the job. Variations on casual sex respond to the material and moral restrictions that surround it.
Men who sought independence from their families in order to free themselves from moral scrutiny soon find themselves having to face similar demands within the realm of work. Thus, what some of them referred to as "feeling as if they were being watched" or actually being under surveillance is related to a similar, more impersonal but no less efficient form of scrutiny.
It sheds light on the how mediated technologies are used to negotiate the visibility of their desire for other men which in turn are related to body techniques that enable them to present themselves within the terms of current standards that erase the socially recognizable signs of homosexuality. The first thing one notices upon entrance into the world of chatrooms, sites and cellphone apps for the search for same-sex partners is the way the "gay scene" - which includes the platforms that have been set up for it - is held in contempt.
There is constant repetition, within profiles, of phrases like "I'm out of the scene and looking for someone who also is", as well as negative descriptions of users to be avoided: The plethora of self-presentations or texts within profiles that painstakingly insist on what is not wanted and, above all, whom one should keep away from, sheds light on a context of socialization marked by a type of symbolic violence that reproduces the prejudices about homosexuals that run rampant in daily life in Brazil.
The apparent paradox behind the fact that these men who in searching for other men disqualify not only the platforms themselves but also most other users can be understood in another light when we take into consideration that, as men socialized within the hegemonic culture, they tend to share dominant ways of imagining homosexuals. In general terms, prevailing representations continue to associate homosexuality with "deviant behavior" or "deviant character traits" such as effeminacy.
In addition to what has been pointed out above, rejection of the gay milieu in general, and of many of the homosexuals whose profiles are available on online platforms, is also related to the underlying logics on which access and interactions are based.
In the first place, the choice of platforms may be - as in Tiago's case - an option or alternative to the face-to-face offline sociability involving personal exposure within a wider spectrum of homosexual persons. In other words, use of these platforms may in itself be indicative of person's predisposition to refuse such instances and contacts, resorting to these technologies as a means of more individualized interaction.
Furthermore, using these platforms implies exposing oneself to an unknown online public, 9 one which, in my research, tends to be imagined in ways that conform to dominant cultural references about what homosexualities are like.
Given the fact that the majority of these references are negative, it is not hard to understand why users would refer to - and even carefully enumerate - the characteristics that they scorn and do not want to be associated with.
These platforms then become a context in which the user, in Tiago's terms, "relates defensively" - and, as he adds, "in the expectation that they are able to provide a more secure ambiance for searching for a partner".
Security is gained through controlled exposure, since the public, although made up of strangers, shares the same basic goal of putting together a network to find same-sex partners. Whether my interlocutors had had previous experiences in spaces set up for a homosexual public or not, most of them claim to use these platforms because they permit them to search for other men who also avoid the gay scene. Rejection of the gay milieu dates back to the late s and early s, at the height of the AIDS panic when choosing a partner "out of the scene" - that is, outside the circuit of gay clubs and bars - meant searching from a pool of men less likely to be HIV positive Miskolci, It is worth reminding ourselves that was a time in which there were no effective treatments available, and AIDS was considered a fatal illness.
To be diagnosed as HIV positive was like receiving a death sentence. Thus, it comes as no surprise that when commercial internet became available in the mids, homosexuals began to use it as a way of finding partners "out of the gay scene".
The emergence of a hegemonic body standard - that of the well-built, muscular man "sarado", a Brazilian Portuguese term that evokes the idea of a body strengthened through workouts, healthy and probably not HIV infected - also dates back to this moment. Researches done in different national contexts have similarly pointed out that this valuing of muscular bodies was a result of the AIDS epidemic. In fact, before drug therapies became readily available, doctors prescribed steroids and recommended work outs at the gym to avoid weight loss and motivate HIV patients to keep up a healthy life style Peterson e Anderson, ; Masseno, This makes it easier to understand the disqualification and refusal of the gay milieu - and even of the platforms linked to it, which can be considered an online extension of the former.
Furthermore, today, now that AIDS is no longer considered a fatal illness and the HIV virus is controlled through drug therapies, the cult that has sprung up around muscular bodies has been increasingly associated with "discretion", rather than public recognition of a homosexual identity. During the two years I devoted to this research, I struggled with the enigma of how, within online platforms, my interlocutors could claim to be seeking discreet, masculine types that could pass as straight, and yet when I asked them to describe or show me images of men like these, what I saw were men whom, at least within metropolitan contexts, could be recognized as gay.
They displayed images like those created by advertising and publicity targeting homosexuals, men who have come to represent a model of the successful and therefore "attractive". Bodily discipline confers moral qualities on these subjects, while simultaneously eroticizing them and making them socially respectable through their recognition as "well-adjusted". In spite of what direct online assertions might lead us to believe, the search for discreet men that materialized in the quest for a muscular body may be less related to the fact that they can pass for straight and more to do with the kind of model that they have come to embody.
The bodily discipline that involves exercise, dieting and supposedly healthy habits distances these men from prevailing stereotypes of homosexuals as undisciplined, social deviants who are prone to reproachable or dangerous habits. The muscular body is seen as the opposite of the thin, fragile one 10 that emasculates, and serves to denounce a homosexuality that is associated with effeminacy, lack of strength and even sickliness.
At the end of the last century, images of the wasted bodies of AIDS victims were widely represented in the media, haunting a whole generation of men who came to symbolically associate - consciously or not - homosexual desire with the threat of contamination, illness and death. Yet in spite of the hegemony of the muscular body, 11 a wide range of body types are shown on internet apps.
Melhado analyzed more than profiles of men who seek other men on one such search site. The very close fit between the way users define their bodies and those who seek them could suggest that what lies underneath is a search for partners with similar life style and values.
In other words, it is evident that what really prevails is not so much "muscular men" but the hegemony of a type of masculinity within forms of self-presentation and searches for partners. Alongside the centrality of a male gender within the prevailing regime of representation lies the growing rejection of sexual "passivity" associated to femininity.
In recent years, through observing and analyzing hundreds of user profiles, I have witnessed - in addition to the now well-known "masculine bottoms" -, the emergence of profiles which claim to be "top seeking top", men who introduce themselves online as heterosexuals seeking relations with other men or men who "want nothing to do with bottoms", a strategic way of presenting themselves as "masculine" without necessarily claiming to be "top" or "versatile".
Quite astutely, the rejection of a bottom profile may be seen as the assertion of their own desire to be penetrated within a sexual relation, thus avoiding the kind of stigmas that are still attached to certain types of sexual preference.
In short - and being perhaps a bit impressionistic - we can speculate as to whether the economy of desire that we have briefly described here revolves around the rejection and erasure of the "fag" "bicha" , an established cultural stereotype that in our society evokes the quintessence of homosexuality.
Not coincidentally, one of the traits that is associated with the "bicha" is his working class origin 13 ; the "bicha" is the homosexual that can be recognized for his femininity and therefore - in the terms that are dominant in today's apps - as one who has failed in managing the secret of his sexuality.
This is a failure frequently associated with "flamboyant behavior", a supposedly bothersome way of behaving that is expressed through gestures and voice that are "feminine" or, at least, insufficiently virile for current hegemonic masculine standards.
This description not only denotes the refusal of a stereotype or way of being homosexual, but of homosexuality itself, increasingly rejected as a means for self-understanding and relegated to those who fail in negotiating the visibility of their desire for other men. This is a fact that makes it possible to recognize both the maintenance of a heterosexist context and the creation of gender technologies that are supposed to enable men who desire other men to keep their desire secret.
Most significantly, it is a visibility regime based on an economy of desire that rewards discretion, awarding those who are successful in keeping their desire and practices secret a position that brings them closer to heterosexuality. Within the context of the open normative competition of online platforms, to seem or even to declare oneself straight is equivalent to maintaining a subject position that is desirable insofar as guarantee of moral recognition and material well-being.
I have also brought historical and sociological elements to bear on reflections regarding the social character of the desire that fuels this search and the kind of economy that it injects into the present. In dealing with the experiences of historically subaltern subjects who seek same-sex partners, I associate the empirical sources of my research with theoretical and conceptual reflections that aim to contribute toward making its sociological analysis possible.
This has led me to conceive, still in preliminary form, of what I call a regime of visibility, which I describe as connected to a new economy of desire that I consider to be a characteristic of our contemporary social and cultural scenario.
The importance of reflecting on historical contexts as visibility regimes is also linked to the way in which they draw boundaries around the limits of what is thinkable. Queer and gender studies have problematized these limits in order to incorporate that which has been excluded from canonic social theory, historically negligent in its disregard for the role of desire, gender and sexuality in social life.
I hope to have been successfully explicit in showing how, over the last two decades, a connected set of economic, political, cultural and technological changes have created a new social reality in which sexuality and desire have a more fundamental role than they did in the past. Within post-industrial contexts, centered as they are around services and consumption, personal life becomes a cornerstone for self-understanding as well as in terms of the recognition of others.
Work continues to be a fundamental aspect of people's lives, even if only insofar as it provides the material conditions they need to take their place within a segmented and "connected" consumer market that awards increasing protagonism to online relating and relationship. Without abandoning other relational spaces, my interlocutors make up part of a specific segment of online interaction, one which pertains to a variety of online same-sex partner search platforms. Although these values come from previously existing offline sources, they require new online characteristics and act to shape types of subjectivity and corporeality.
They undergo subjective and bodily changes through their use of these media, frequently subscribing to the visibility regime that is based on discretion and secrecy. My research suggests a current transformation of the space occupied by the expression of same-sex desire in contemporary social life. It is a transformation that occurs through the negotiation of public visibility, in terms of exchange that involve safe forms of exposure which do not erode heterossexual hegemony and foreclude any type of gender bending.
In queer terms, we could say that we have gone from a heterosexist to a heteronormative society, from one that took heterosexuality for granted to one that demands that non-heterosexuals adopt its political and aesthetic standards. From margins to center, from the ghetto to the market, from abjection to recognition, paths have been walked without deconstructing heterosexuality as a political and cultural regime, evident insofar as it continues to provide hegemonic forms of representation.
The new regime of visibility is associated with a new sexual economy in which the desire for recognition is shaped by values that come from a heterosexual regime of representation and its cult to intransitive, binary gendering. Although some changes have taken place, heterosexual male domination tends to be preserved in symbolic, political and economic terms.
In the era of digital media, the latter has in fact become eroticized and serves as a representational model that users look to in their secret searches for discreet, masculine men. It is arguable whether, through online same-sex platforms, there is really a search for "heterosexual" men.
I suggest that it is more likely that this constitutes a specific sexual arena where what is shared is a collective fantasy in which hegemonic representations of the masculine homosexual man become the most desirable object. And if desire can be understood as the search for self-recognition through a desiring other, then it is in the search for recognition from a masculine heterosexual male that that is actually in operation on these platforms.
Even when not really present therein - perhaps he doesn't really even exist! Capitalism and Gay Identity In: New York, Monthly Review Press, , pp. How to be gay. University of Harvard Press, Consuming the romantic utopia: University of California Press, The social organization of sexuality. The Chicago University Press, Indiana University Press, Networked Masculinities and social networking sites: Masculinities and social change, vol.
O rosto do desejo: Vibrant - Virtual Brazilian Anthropology, vol. Queering masculine peer culture: RICE, Eric et alii. Sex risk among young men who have sex with men who use Grindr, a smartphone geosocial networking application. Special Issue 4, [http: No problem I can't solve. Over the course of my research, I interviewed a large number of people and accompanied some of their daily lives more closely. I introduced myself from the start as researcher and honored my ethical commitment to preserving their anonymity.
The Portuguese in Brazil. When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil in , their situation as colonialists was very different from that of Spain in Mexico and Peru. Dom Pedro II (English: Peter II; 2 December – 5 December ), nicknamed "the Magnanimous", was the second and last monarch of the Empire of Brazil, reigning for over 58 years. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, the seventh child of Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil and Empress Dona Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the Brazilian branch of the House of Braganza. www.siliconirelandnewswire.com is the number one site to find discreet encounters with married women looking for men in your area. We can only allow you to see a few samples of our lonely housewives.