ABOUT THE PROJECT
WHAT’S WITH THESE CUBES?
I think people should talk about sex more to bring it out of the shadows and the realm of taboo. Sexual communication should be natural, just like sex is natural. And fun, like sex is fun. A lot of people feel isolated in their sexual experience and desires, because nobody talks it. There is way too much shame. People wonder if they are “normal,” and if they are the only one who feels this way or does this thing. I can assure you – whatever it is, you are not the only one!
Take a look — the graphs give you a window into the sex lives of other people. They “de-sexualize” sex to make it more accessible. The Project is a way for you to see the amazing diversity of how people express their sexual selves, and come to a place of greater acceptance for YOUR own unique sexual expression.
Making a graph is a way to explore what you desire in very different way, for a new perspective. We all tend to have a basic sexual script – the way we’ve come to think sex happens. We got it from movies and books and all the many ways our culture lets us know: this is how sex happens.
You think sex is natural? Not really: once you’re past the basics, all the actual techniques are learned. What we learn is our sexual script. For a lot of people that script says “Kiss. Foreplay. Intercourse. Sleep.” I see these graphs all the time. I think making a graph is a way for people rethink their script. Consider new ways to let their sexuality flow. New stories to tell.
Stories are how we make sense of our lives. The stories we create out of our experience and perspective shape our reality. But when it comes to sexual topics and sexuality, those stories can be hard to tell. Cultural taboos, shame, and embarrassment can get in the way. The Graphic Sex Project is a way for you to tell stories about your sex life in a way that is comfortable and approachable. And fun! It uses pathways of creativity to uncover uncomfortable topics. It produces a visual representation that can be used as aid to conversation and reflection. It gives you an image further reflection or to facilitate partner communication.
Making a graph is a way to really think about what you really want, to think outside your script. When you know what you want, it’s easier to say what you want. When you can say what you want, you are more likely to get it.
I’m not a therapist. I write and edit non-fiction television and feature documentaries for a living. I started this project as an icebreaker activity in a women’s discussion group I founded called Women Uncorked. In the group, I invited people to make a “graph” of a positive sexual experience using little colored cubes, sticker dots, and markers. Then the group would talk about what feelings, thoughts, and insights came up while they were doing the activity.
People shared desires they didn’t even know they had. Women found words for things they didn’t know they wanted. The conversation was stimulating… revealing… deeply personal, and very spicy! — the night was a hit, and GSP was born.
Who would have thought that playing with little blocks could be so… constructive?
As a filmmaker, I know the power of the story to shape our experience. As an editor, I know the exact same things can be rearranged to tell very different stories. Many times, we fall back on the same sexual script over and over – first do this, then this, then this, orgasm, cuddle, sleep. How can your sexual script be shaken up? What other ways can your sexual story unfold?
I see each graph as a little story – and a powerful tool for sexual communication, and for getting the most out of your sexual experiences.
The installation showcases hundreds of graphs people have made — both at previous installations and now using the on-line graph builder.
Looking at the collection is great equalizer. There are graphs by people of every age, gender, orientation, and relationship status. It’s a powerful message that while there is a tremendous range of sexual behavior, we all have so much in common, and that the differences between individuals is much greater than the differences between our culturally defined group divisions.
Straight people find commonality with the graphs of queer people, similarly the young with the old, men with women, people in long-term relationships with people just entering the dating world.
People can also choose to make a graph at the installation, and take a picture to add to the collection.
Live installations of the Project continue. Contact us for information about having the Graphic Sex Project at your event. It’s a fun and entertaining crowd-pleaser for adult and sex-positive events, and a great educational tool for sex positivity.