The Sex Issue of Ladybeard, a new feminist magazine, sets out to substitute airbrushed depictions of sex and sexuality for honest reflections on the experience(s). Over 70 contributors open up sex to fresh perspectives in the Issue. The results are eclectic: A transman's experience in a dirty Berlin bathroom stall sits next to a piece on relationships in the wake of the economic crisis in Greece; ten steps to mind-blowing masturbation sit alongside portraits of women imprisoned for 'moral crimes' in Afghanistan. The idea is to liberate the reader from their preconceptions about what sex should be.
The images in the magazine are as playful as they are explicit, the whole design pushing the limits of what we mean by 'the graphic'. Lead illustrations by Peter Stemmler set the tone; colourful and bold, their depictions of sex are shocking, but the very fact that you might be shocked by them is a comment on the fact that we let much more troubling depictions of sex slip by unquestioned. Work by Linder and Klaus Is Koming repurposes old and new pornographic material, and artists including David Austen, Nicola Tyson and Stewart Helm are interviewed about how they draw sex.
Titillating and challenging in equal measure, this issue looks at sex in all senses: reproductive, romantic, traumatic, mind-blowing, formative, and sometimes, just plain disappointing.
Ladybeard takes the glossy mag as a point of departure, taking the form and revolutionising the content of the traditional women's magazine. It is feminist but it is not just for women, promoting gender fluidity and self-definition.
Get your copy of The Sex Issue at the Launch Party on Saturday 14 November at Hackney Showroom. Get your tickets HERE