My mind often wanders during sex, especially sex with someone I don’t know well and am not all that emotionally intimate with. Usually it wanders to predictable places – do I look okay? am I making the right amount of sounds? are they having fun? – but sometimes it wanders to art instead.
I’m using the word “art” in the broadest sense here, one that includes writing and music alongside visual art. It’s a big, big part of my life, and consumes a lot of my waking hours – either actually making the art or just thinking about making it, which is part of the creation process too. Especially when I’m knee-deep in a particular project, I often walk around in a sort of haze, taking in what’s happening around me but secretly stewing on whatever artistic problem has been needling me. What’s the right line for the end of the second verse of that one song I’m writing? What’s the right angle (so to speak) for the dildo review on my docket? What strange thoughts of mine can spiral into a newsletter? (Hello, I love you, thank you for reading.)
Making art is arguably one of the most erotic things I ever do, depending on how you define “erotic.” Some people say that eroticism is about pleasures of the body, whether those pleasures be having great sex, eating a big slice of cake or wading into the ocean. (Or perhaps all three at once, if you’re lucky.) But I also think there can be something genuinely erotic about the spark of joy and recognition I feel when a piece clicks into place within something I’m working on: the perfect metaphor, the perfect rhyme. It’s a visceral “aha!” moment that feels as intense, as rapturous and exciting, as when a partner stumbles across exactly the right spot on my body and touches me there in exactly the way I need.
I think one of the reasons these moments feel so powerful for me is that they give me a sudden, intense boost of self-esteem. I mean that in the literal sense: esteem for myself, respect for myself. An entire day of moping around, staring at a blank screen and feeling like a washed-up hack can be counteracted in one singular moment, when I have a sudden idea that even I have to admit is brilliant. It helps me remember why I make art in the first place (aside from the obvious: money, survival), and that I am indeed talented enough to “deserve” the money and survival that art-making affords me. (I’ve put “deserve” in quotes because capitalism is fake and everyone deserves to survive, regardless of the work they do or don’t do. Deservingness is a feeling, not a fact.)