When I saw the recent photo shoot that Lady Gaga was in for Vogue Hommes Japan, I almost instantly remembered Madonna. I thought: “Are we creating a new Madonna?” But then I answered myself: “Of course not. Yet. These photos are only a small part of Madonna, as Lady Gaga is.”

When I was young, Madonna frightened me. When I saw her performances, her photos, her dates, or anything else, I just felt uncomfortable, even without knowing why.

When I turned 10 years old, my father came home with the new photo-book Madonna had done, simply called SEX. The photos shocked the world and, above all, they shocked my world.

For some time I knew the book existed (my father never hid it from me), but I didn’t know how what it was like. The first time I saw it, it had to be secretly, as it was not suitable for my age. I could not get past the first pages. That was something I never imagined could be done! But a few days later I had recovered from the shock, and I saw it for a second time…and for a third time…and then a weird feeling of discovery took over me. Yes, I had discovered something new, bizarre, and, therefore, interesting.

As time went by, Madonna and all those people in the book did not frighten me any longer. They even began to create in me a strong curiosity. I started to relive all those images inside my head, and I became a voyeur of those strange beings. And I was afraid someone might notice it. Would I be sadomasochistic if those images were appealing to me? Would I be a homosexual if I wasn’t disgusted to see those men and women kissing each other? Could I ever look at Madonna, Naomi Campbell and Isabella Rossellini in the same ever again?

“This book is about sex. Sex is not love. Love is not sex. But the best of both worlds is created when they come together.” This is how the book begins. And I would add: our main problem is that we don’t know how to deal with them, precisely when they come together.

I do not consider myself an expert in sexology. I leave that to Freud. But I do know how to talk about myself. And I know the mess I made for years, between sex and love. And I fell in love with people I could not have sex with, and I had sex with people I could not fall in love with. And sometimes it was good, and others not so much.

I think the greatest confusion arises by the lack of honesty. “A lot of people are afraid of what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want. I could not say it better.

When we like someone we cannot be honest regarding our true sexuality, as to what we actually like. We are afraid that other people might find us weird. And we are honest only to those we don’t feel so close to, because we are not afraid of what they might think of us.

This is the reason why we develop a profound and, therefore, intense admiration, for people who can express themselves sexually, with an open mind. We find it strange, but, with time, we get used to it. We despise, but secretly become fascinated. They set us free, in an act of exorcism.

Madonna has been testing us since she appeared, sometimes in a bizarre, almost forbidden way. That’s why we like her. And that’s why Lady Gaga posed for Vogue.

The complete book is here.

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