As a woman, I feel very uneducated about my own body at times. I’ve been looking at a handful of books so far this semester, but for the most part my focus has been on two books - one called The Vagina Bible and another called The Joy of Sex. Most of what I’ve read is information totally new to me, even though I figured I knew a lot more than I did. Upon discussing some of my research findings with the class, I’ve found that they don’t know a lot either. Because of this, my thesis has shifted slightly from ‘how sex equates to body confidence’ to ‘how being educated about a woman’s body can improve the quality of sex’.
Several questions have come about since finding this new path. Are other women this uneducated about their own bodies? Will they ever find this information if they don’t plan to go looking for it? Why are women — and others — so misinformed? I’m hoping that through my thesis I can shed some light on the topic and help others learn things they otherwise may not ever know. As far as my audience, I believe it could appeal to a myriad of people. Women, of course, but also men who are looking to please their female partners better, or perhaps trans women who are wanting to get a better understanding of womanhood. In general, I do want to be inclusive but without outright saying who it is or isn’t for. Over the next couple of months, I will be continuing to read and finding more information to fuel my thesis and my work.
With my thesis work, I will be exploring the relationship between sex and body image/confidence. Self confidence can be hard to come by. Extra weight, stretch marks, rolls, every kind of imperfection you may have can become something beautiful during sex or other sexual activities. You may even choose to adorn these imperfections with items like lingerie or sex toys. I wish to touch upon subjects here that may make others uncomfortable, like female masturbation. But I also want them to see something beautiful within the thing that makes them uncomfortable. I want to bring to light that these topics should be regarded as normal, empowering, and also a form of self care. In the bedroom, you are in control of yourself. It is both beautiful and messy. That is what I think is most powerful.
My current thought process is that line could be a strong direction my work could go in. I see line in the curve of the body, where belly fat squishes together and where bodies become intertwined. Line is in the clothes being thrown in a pile on the floor, in the intricacy of lingerie, and in the stretch marks on the skin. Color could perhaps become a player as well but I also believe that it does not matter in the bedroom, specifically when it comes to skin. If color is to come into play, I believe it should only appear in subject matter such as sex toys, lipstick, bondage rope, lingerie, etc., as accents and not overwhelming factors. Overall, the goal of my thesis is to provide something empowering, beautiful, and perhaps even a bit shocking or unexpected to others.
For my thesis, I would like to explore the connection between body image — or body confidence, if you will — and sex. There are hundreds of factors that contribute to both of these topics working in harmony, and I believe that things like sex, sexuality, BDSM culture, etc., can improve your confidence and body image. I have personally struggled with my image and confidence my entire life. In the bedroom, extra weight, rolls, and stretch marks become part of the intimacy. They almost become an asset, and you can adorn them with lingerie, bondage — really anything that comes to mind — but the body can also be beautiful by itself. My current relationship has allowed us both to explore the beauty of the naturalness of our bodies, without fear of the judgement of others.
To create my work for this, I would definitely like to focus on mine and my partners bodies, since I know and connect with them. However, there are several people I also feel comfortable contacting who have expressed similar experiences with their loved ones. With the access to technology we have today, there are also plenty of people posting their stories and insight into these topics, as well as endless sources in our libraries. Another great resource is social media, where I follow plenty of artists who focus on sexual themes in their work and have listed them below.
There are several techniques I know on top of my design knowledge that I want to consider utilizing for seminar, such as letterpress, printmaking, and bookbinding. I also wish to learn embroidery this Summer, which could give my topic either a delicate or a raw feeling depending on how I use it.