• 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.

    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

    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.

    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.

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

    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 its 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.

  • Model with painting by arkadiy kozlovskiy

    Pornography or Erotic Art?

    Is erotic art pornography? While not a simple question to answer, addressing it is necessary in order to bring clarity, appreciation, and understanding of this topic by what at times can be considered an...

    Is erotic art pornography? While not a simple question to answer, addressing it is necessary in order to bring clarity, appreciation, and understanding of this topic by what at times can be considered an extremely sexualized society. We must ask: What is erotic art? What is pornography? What is the difference between them, and how can we develop a knowledgeable perspective on the issue?

    In order to understand the difference, we must first address the definition of each word. Art is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” A work of art conveys a concept, an idea, or a group of ideas. It is communication between the artist and the viewer, listener, or reader. Within art and the viewing of it, there is no shame; at least, there shouldn’t be. Art inspires interest and deep thought, however, there is not usually a blatant push for action intended by the artist. For example, a work of tastefully erotic art can hang on a wall and be understood by artists and the individuals viewing it, that while sexy, the piece is not necessarily intended to motivate the viewer to engage in the eroticism being portrayed. At this point, one can begin to see the difference between art and pornography, once the purpose of erotic art is understood.

    pornography or erotica by arkadiy kozlovskiy
    Arkadiy Kozlovskiy | Yulya Svet

    We must next define the word pornography in order to understand its meaning as well. The word pornography originates from, “pornographos,” a Greek word that refers to prostitution. Webster’s defines pornography as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement,” or, “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.” The motivation of pornography, then, is not communication of a concept or idea. Its intention is for action on the part of the viewer, reader, or listener. Within pornography and normally, a consumer of pornography, there is generally a strong push for gratification of sorts. There is not usually an inspiration of deep thoughts and consideration contained in the intention of pornography toward its consumer. For example, a sexual depiction as part of a marketing campaign may be considered pornographic, as it motivates action. The sexual depiction is not represented for contemplation, appreciation, or communication of an idea other than to motivate the viewer, listener, or reader to engage in what is being sold. Unfortunately, as a result of the pornography industry and the sexually saturated marketing campaigns so prominent today, there is a gross lack of understanding of the difference between erotic art and pornography.

    Within pornography there is generally a strong push for gratification.

    Let us not leave out the perspective that erotic art is a communication of beauty, while the purpose of pornography is not for the consumer to take the time to appreciate beauty and ideas. Tasteful art is about the artist, and what is being communicated by him or her. It is an invitation of the artist extended to the consumer to participate in his or her art via intellect. Pornography is about the viewer, listener, or reader, and what can be gained by him or her as a result of consuming it.

    pornography or erotica by Harry Carmean
    Harry Carmean (1974)

    The understatement of tasteful art when comparing erotica and pornography is also to be appreciated. It evokes thoughtful emotion of the consumer. The communication of art can be assessed, understood, and reassessed with appreciation. However, pornography is seldom understated and does not usually promote the consumer to take the time to assess or thoughtfully examine. The general motivation is clear, blatant and at times, forceful. This brings to the forefront the argument that what is considered pornographic does lie within the viewer. An artistic work that one individual may view as simply erotic, may cause that “strong emotional” and motivated reaction within a different person that may be considered pornographic.

    It is important for consumers of art to fully understand and continue to educate themselves on the difference between erotic art and pornography. It is a path of understanding and personal growth not to be regretted.

    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.

  • 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 are 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 body suits, 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,” travelling 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 is 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.

    JB, Minneapolis (2016)