• Fetishes: leather straps and belts

    Fetishes | Intrigue and Sex

    There is a daring allure in the word “ fetishes.” Closets filled with shoes, or men obsessed with women’s feet are common representations. The dictionary definition of the word tends to portray it...

    There is a daring allure in the word “ fetishes.” Closets filled with shoes, or men obsessed with women’s feet are common representations. The dictionary definition of the word tends to portray it as a negative concept. “Abnormal” is a word used to define fetish, and oftentimes latex clothing comes to mind for many at the mention of it as well. The “true” definition of a fetish is one’s inability to experience sexual gratification without the presence of an object they find particularly critical to their sexual experience. In fact, the word comes from the French term fetiche, meaning “to make,” and was originally used to describe an object with supernatural power. However, in today’s society, the term fetish is used far more generally and covers a broad range of interests and desires.

    The idea that “true” fetishes are actually psychologically abnormal is derived from the medical definition of a fetish: When an individual must experience sexual pleasure only through the presence of a particular thing, inanimate or otherwise, this can interfere with relationships or disturb day-to-day function. While that may be, the broader and more general use of the term to describe an interest, in particular, sexual activities is the more common use.

    Fetishes: leather straps on nude female body
    Fetish Leather Straps

    The psychology behind them is as complex as the psychology behind any individual’s sexual interests. Human beings are unique individuals. What causes one person to prefer potatoes and another to despise Swiss cheese? One could endlessly discuss the possibilities and probabilities. Jane may enjoy being tied up while Lisa enjoys foreplay involving nipple clamps. Neither of them necessarily require those things to experience sexual gratification, but they enjoy engaging in the activities, nonetheless.

    Fetishes are often experienced through depersonalization.

    Fetishism is often experienced through depersonalization with latex bodysuits, corsetry, the simplicity of preferring a particular position during sex, blindfolds, whips, crops, paddles, being tied up or tying up someone else, reverence or “worship” of a specific area of the body, and countless others. If one can dream it, someone somewhere likely has a fetish for it. It is interesting that many men of the Victorian era are said to have developed foot fetishes as a result of the strict head-to-toe attire of women at the time. This very claim asserts that a concept can become sexualized all the more if it is kept away or hidden from view like a secret. This lends an intriguing psychological perspective on all fetishes and the endless possibilities of their origins.

    Many with fetishes either do not know or do not care about where their particular interests originated for them. Perhaps an awkward introduction to a crop against their skin prompted an eventual desire for the sting of a whip or flogger. Childhood games may have been the catalyst for an adult with a rope fetish. Many consider their sexual activities to be a “journey,” traveling toward a sort of enlightenment and further knowledge about themselves. Whatever the perspective, fetishism is arguably widely misunderstood.

    Fetishes: Rope Bondage
    Rope Bondage

    As in the case of an individual who wishes to submit and be dominated but does not wish to sexually interact with anyone: Someone who wishes to be of service or submit in other ways. It has been stated by psychologists that sexuality and sexual activity are at least ninety percent mental, therefore, the objective of a submissive person could be to fulfill a sexual need that is mental but doesn’t necessarily need to be physical.

    The physicality of fetishism is often communicated in a social way at adult events like “fetish balls” and BDSM clubs. These events are quite popular among many fetishists. If ever planning to attend one, go with a companion, as putting safety first is always wise. Events like these often include “play” areas, where those interested in exploring their own fetishes can experience them in a theoretically safe and enjoyable environment. As a rule, sex doesn’t usually take place at these events because the focus is on the fetishes themselves and not sexual intercourse.

    Exploring the unknown can be intimidating, but getting to know one’s own sexual interests/fetishes can be empowering, uplifting, and exciting. In a light-hearted, safe, and enjoyable environment, exploring one’s own fetishes need not carry a stigma of shame.

  • Dr Laura Henkel, Sexologist

    Sexologist Laura Henkel Interview

    So, you know about sex? And indeed, she does. Dr. Laura Henkel is a sexologist and a specialist in erotic art. Laura’s curated exhibitions, performances, film premieres, and artists’ talks, have been...

    So, you know about sex?

    And indeed, she does. Dr. Laura Henkel is a sexologist and a specialist in erotic art. Laura’s curated exhibitions, performances, film premieres, and artists’ talks, have been instrumental in bringing erotica into the public sphere in a thoughtful, visually fascinating and provocative way. She’s got the smarts, charm, confidence and beauty to enthrall.

    Dr Laura Henkel

    In addition to these platforms, Laura is the founder of the groundbreaking gallery in Sin City Gallery, the site of over 100 exhibits, including an amazing Bunny Yeager exhibit as well as the contemporary artwork of Jeff Wack.

    Dr. Laura Henkel is a sexologist and a specialist in erotic art.

    The captivatingly smart and beautiful Laura is also the brain behind the well-known 12 Inches of Sin, Juried Exhibition of International Erotic Contemporary Art, now in its fifth year. This year saw the publication of a series of four books, one for every year of the exhibition, delightfully illustrated with artist’s statements, critical essays and forewords by people in the field: artists, performers, critics, curators and collectors.

    “A Boy and His Monsters” | 12 Inches of Sin show

    As Laura puts it, there is so much art they can barely fit it in. Only a Texan with this much charm can enchant so many people into releasing their inhibitions about erotic and provocative art.

    The Interview.

    APG: So Laura, have you always been so “sex positive?”

    Laura: My ‘sex positive’ nature stems from my upbringing. No subject was taboo and my parents taught me to respect diversity.

    APG: Interesting. Do you think it’s intimidating to be in a relationship with a sexologist or just totally fun?

    Laura: A little of both.

    APG: Tell me about your favorite artistic expressions of sexuality –contemporary, modern, historic?

    Laura: My favorite historic-artistic expression is sculpture and primarily marble. Michelangelo’s ‘The Slaves’ is absolutely exquisite. There are so many other art forms that I enjoy: performance, video, photography, paintings. I like art that is intellectual. To me, that is sexy.

    “Dying Slave” | Michelangelo Buonarotti

    APG: Tell me more about your background please?

    Laura: My undergraduate studies focused on transpersonal psychology. Transpersonal psychology is concerned with the study of humanity’s highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unifying, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness. When I decided to attend graduate school, I knew I wanted to continue those studies by specializing in human sexuality. For me, human sexuality embodies body, mind and spirit, as a whole in its truest form.

    APG: This is such a complex concept, and yet you make it clear with such ease. So okay, can you explain what a sexologist is?

    Laura: Sexology is the scientific study of sexuality. A sexologist is someone who has studied all areas of sex including anatomy, physiology, sexual development, sexual orientation, the dynamics of sexual relationships, as well as the mechanics of sexual contact/acts. A sexologist looks to other disciplines to understand human sexuality such as history, sociology, psychology, biology, gender studies, and more, in order to see how sex works in the context of social, cultural and religious environments.

    APG: What’s the craziest “sex-focused artwork” or “sex-focused artistic performance” you’ve organized?

    Laura: Hmmm, craziest. I think that may be a moving target as to what may be considered reasonable. I do think ‘The Operation’ by Marne Lucas and Jacob Pander is one of the greatest artistic films ever made.

    “The Operation” [1995] | Pander & Lucas
    APG: People often seek tips, ideas, or sexy things like erotica to stimulate a relationship; do you have any standard advice for spicing things up?

    Laura: As long as it is responsible, respectful and consensual… anything goes.

    APG: I like this advice. So…Seduction: what is it?

    Laura: Seduction is an art form in its own right. It is enticing. It is desirable. It is alluring.

    APG: On the other side of the spectrum… You were once quoted saying that you have watched over 300 hours of porn. Was this part of your studies? Did this expand your knowledge of human sexuality and make you more open, or can this desensitize a person?

    Laura: This was required curriculum for my graduate studies. The objective was to discover what my own judgments might be and the feelings associated to particular subject matters in order that I would not project or transfer my position onto someone else. The experience definitely made me think more openly and be clear about my own personal likes and dislikes.

    Portrait of Sappho by unknown artist in Campania, Italy C First century
    Portrait of Sappho by unknown artist in Campania, Italy C First century

    APG: Fascinating! Are there particular types of people that seem universally appealing? Are they scientific or cultural reasons?

    Laura: Sappho, from the Greek Island of Lesbos, was an intellectual poet who wrote many love poems to other women in 600 B.C. There has always been a fascination and fantasy in this context.

    APG: People were excited about the work by Japanese illustrator Hajime Sorayama. It will only be the second exhibit of the artist’s work in the United States, so this is quite notable. I love his imaginative, humorous, and sexy work.

    Laura: Yes we are so delighted to organize Hajime Sorayama’s show. Of course, I am a fan of the work; he is a true artist with an amazing imagination.

    art print by hajime sorayama
    Hajime Sorayama | Art Print

    APG: I noticed that many women sexologists are also activists in some capacity, are you?

    Laura: I believe that arts and culture are essential to creating an even greater community, and improving the quality of life of its citizens. Art challenges boundaries, fascinates, arouses and captivates by affording a peek into ourselves and others in its truest form.

    APG: Thank you Laura, this has been really intriguing!

    Art Provocateur is the premier online gallery of erotic art prints. Browse our galleries of limited edition and one-of-a-kind artwork. We have the largest selection of erotic and nude art from both established artists and rising stars.

  • sexy pin-up art dita von teese

    Bondage and the Art of Sex

    Sexual restraint is an activity not limited to the modern age. Also known as bondage, this erotic and sensual art is performed by more people worldwide than most would presume. Bondage, in...

    Sexual restraint is an activity not limited to the modern age. Also known as bondage, this erotic and sensual art is performed by more people worldwide than most would presume. Bondage, in the BDSM subculture, is the practice of consensually tying, binding, or restraining a partner for erotic stimulation. Often viewed as taboo or a form of deviant kink, discussing tying up one’s partner during a sexual or sensual act the night before is hardly a common dinner conversation. Nonetheless, the passion and levels of sexual pleasure that can be achieved by participants of erotic and sexual restraint activities can be high.

    Binding someone for the first time may open the door to years, even a lifetime, of enjoying erotic bondage.

    Jay Wiseman, author of SM 101, a sort of guide book to all things bondage, writes, “Binding someone for the first time is a special moment. This is particularly true if they have never before been bound in an erotic context. (Most people played “cowboys and Indians” games during childhood.) A wise dominant recognizes this opportunity. They ‘imprint’ their play partner in a positive way. This may open the door to years, even a lifetime, of enjoying erotic bondage.”

    Dita Von Teese BDSM 5041
    Photographer: Craig Morey

    Sexual and erotic restraint isn’t a new concept, clearly. The artistic portrayals of subjects restrained in a sexual way can be capable of evoking curious emotions, even for those who may have never experienced or pursued sexual restraint as an activity. Historical art pieces such as the marble relief by Erastus Dow Palmer (1863) represent a sort of sensual restraint. Today, even famous models like Betty Page and Dita Von Teese have explored posing nude for bondage fine art photography.

    The modern novel 50 Shades of Grey, particularly, has shone a fresh light on the art of restraint for many people. The passionate relationship dynamic between the two main characters, which includes aspects of sexual restraint, sparked a bit of a phenomenon worldwide. Many were introduced to a more romantic and relational concept of restraint. Apparently, 50 Shades of Grey makes the art of restraint more appealing to many readers (and non-readers) as a form of passionate lovemaking as opposed to the brutal and taboo concept of bondage that so many in society have come to shun.

    Photographer: Sukida

    Regardless of 50 Shades of Grey popularity, however, the question often on many non-restraint-practitioners minds is, “Why?” Why is restraint practiced by so many during sex, and what are the reactions, emotions, and sensations that make it so popular with those who practice it? The emotions and sensations experienced by the person being restrained as well as the person performing the restraining can vary widely. Each experience is unique. That being said, when asking a person who enjoys being restrained what it is that they enjoy about it, they may respond that being bound can feel “safe” and “helpless” simultaneously. These feelings are usually experienced by someone playing a submissive role in the activity, and though everyone is an individual with their own desires and reasons, being bound can cause a submissive to experience a high with their partner that can bring them to sensual and sexual heights of ecstatic proportions.

    bondage bdsm 6239
    Photographer: Perry Gallagher

    Likewise, the dominant partner who performs the restraint, be it with rope, handcuffs, tape, or their own body can experience a sense of ecstasy and a rush that results from the sexual and erotic power they experience as they restrain their partner. Often, the partner performing the restraint is seeking the trust and obedience of whom they are restraining, and the result can be an overwhelming sense of emotional and sexual connection. The sensation the restrained partner may experience as a result of struggling against their restraints can be exhilarating as well.

    art of bondage

    Whether a novice practitioner or an expert, there are several types of restraining mediums available. Scarves or cotton rope can be very erotic tools to use, as they are both comfortable, soft, and sensual against the skin. Not everyone enjoys the same sensations, however, and handcuffs may be the choice for someone who enjoys the sensation of hard, cold metal around their wrists (or ankles, for that matter). Shackles, though slightly bulky, can be a very hot experience for someone seeking that completely “helpless” sensation. Tape can be a devilish tool for those with erotic fantasies of being kidnapped or the enjoyment of the sensation it brings to the skin as it is ripped away. When used with care and caution, it can make a naughty and erotic addition to a bondage tool kit.

    Photographer: Sukida

    Erotic art depicting bondage can be tempting to realize for ourselves, and it’s no wonder. The level of sexual heat to be experienced when restraining or being restrained during sexual encounters is an experience not forgotten. Bondage, when done well, can bring the body, spirit, and partners to a place of emotional vulnerability and sexuality never expected.

    Art Provocateur Gallery presents a beautifully curated collection of BDSM and erotic art from around the world. We welcome you to peruse BDSM art for sale at ArtProvocateur.com.