A look at three recent sex-themed creative projects that aid in reconstructing its taboo nature
By CJ Sommerfeld, Staff Writer
A colouring book integrates the imagination of 49 illustrators into 49 raunchy line drawings.
What does masturbation look like outside of pornography? What about sex? An unidealized naked? Well, probably similar to most of our own.
For much time nude bodies, especially an unclad female one, have been problematically idealized and sexualized. With nudity having functioned as a symbol of eroticism for so long, there is currently much censorship around it. While society has made progressions, censorship still lingers and is still very alive. I am sure that we all remember the Free The Nipple movement. It aimed to decriminalize and uncensor the female breast the same way the male breast has always been. It received much backlash and perhaps did not accomplish as much headway as intended.
Well, what about sex censorship? To what extent should sex be censored, and frankly, uncensored? Do non-private images of people having sex or masturbating have to be limited to some porn’s faraway existence? What do these themes look like in other contexts? Below are three contemporary projects that have aided in reinventing the way we view everything sexual.
Hannah Louise Dirty Knees
Remember Hama beads? Contemporary artist Hannah Ward works with this sort of millennial bead to create 8-bit-like nudes. Her beaded creations exhibit block-coloured visuals of female areolas and provocatively splayed bodies inspired by porno stills and her own nudes. But do not expect to see the “ideal” 36-24-36 measurements in her pieces. In a recent interview, she described her works as “a way of women reclaiming their own sexuality away from the male-gaze […] Female sexuality from the female perspective.” One way of doing so, was creating pieces where all women could see their body types represented in her work, including those who were non-binary. Peep her content and buy a keychain on her website.
Sex Ed: A Guide for Adults
Illustrator Sofie Birkin is another artist who incorporates sexual inclusivity into her works. One of her recent projects, illustrating sex illustrator Ruby Rare’s 2020 Sex Ed: A Guide for Adults, aids in redefining what sex looks like. It includes pages upon pages of body and sex positive images that exhibit a myriad of sexual persons. Despite being illustrations, the pictures do not resemble something that you would see on Adult Swim. Instead, they are erotic, raw, and frankly quite beautiful. In a video interview, Birkin unveils her tricks to inducing such emotion in her characters. “[It’s] really all in the face, in the eyes, and the eyebrows, and the mouth, and the angle of the head.” These subtle components created this sense of her characters being lost in their sexual moment. Subsequently, the reader is left feeling as if they are peering into another’s intimacy, while simultaneously seeing themselves in one of her diverse characters. Looking for a Valentine’s gift for a lover? Or maybe want to check out these erotic illustrations for yourself? Look for Sofie Birkin’s book.
Out of Line
Another book—this time a colouring book—integrates the imagination of 49 illustrators into 49 raunchy line drawings. Designer Valerio Oliveri is the creative behind the concept, as he conjured up the idea of a sex-themed colouring book while feeling horny being all cooped-up alone in quarantine. The above mentioned Sofie Birkin’s work can be found within it, as well as Alice Wietzel, Minet Kim, Johanna Walderdorff, and 45 other artists’ titillating drawings. The colouring book’s themes range from shower sex, to masturbation, orgies, queer sex, porn, and well, nearly everything that can be found in the wonderful world of sex. What’s even better about the project is that 100 percent of the book’s proceeds go United Kingdom’s akt, an organization that supports young 2LGBTQA+ persons who are experiencing homelessness. Feeling horny? Feeling like you want to colour? Why not pick one up.