The other day, our colleague told us she was going to spend the day talking with people in the street about… SEX! Working with artist Anne-Laure Herrezuelo – who specialised in designing interactive art experiences – and the Spark Fest Asia team, we have asked women and men to talk and draw about sex. The variety of the outputs has amazed us. Here are only a few!
1. Most important one: everyone has their own experience of sexuality.
Far from the standardized vision pop culture gives of sex, each and every one of us has their own sexual identity, their own vision of what sex is. When we ask these women and men “If sex was a place, what would it be?”, replies range from the bedroom to Paris, to a green field or a waterfall, a forest or even… a cupboard under the stairs!
2. Many people would have loved to talk more to their parents about sex.
“The talk” is always featured as an excruciatingly embarrassing moment. But it turns out, we may actually be asking for more! Parents are actually the main people with whom the participants to this project would have loved to ask questions about sex.
Why don’t we? Obviously, it doesn’t feel easy or natural. But if we were craving for more honest talk about sex with our parents, let’s reflect on how we can make it happen with our kids!
3. People are so romantic!
When Anne-Laure was asking “Draw me what sex is for you”, it wasn’t all penises and vaginas. Of course, male and female genitalia were part of the picture (literally). But people also drew hearts and hugging arms and spaceships (because, why not!) and shower of light and warmth…
4. Women have difficulty drawing their own sexual anatomy.
It could be because sometimes women don’t know their own anatomy that well. In a study conducted in the UK, 70% of women were able to recognize male genitalia correctly, while only 50% correctly identified the vagina! And women also feel more often ashamed of what their vulva look like. You may remember this very moving photography project called “Your Vagina Is More beautiful Than You Think”, by photograph Layla Martin captured the gap between how a woman sees her body, and the way her partner does.
Conversely, drawing a penis came much more naturally to participants!
5. There are clear differences in culture.
We have decided not to present the cultures/ethnicities of the participants. Nevertheless, one striking learning of all these discussions was how culture impacts the way we can or cannot communicate safely about sex. This is consistent with findings of studies and surveys we have conducted in different countries.
6. With sex, time becomes infinite…
A beautiful notion surfaced in some interviews, that we found very moving: when we have sex, we escape the frenzy of the routine and time becomes infinite, like suspended… How cools is that?
Many thanks to Anne-Laure Herrezuelo for gathering these learnings. More to come on this exciting project!