Sex and Song: Blonde Redhead, “23”
So much music creates a path to enjoy, complicate, and understand sex. As someone who makes music and has also struggled in love, it occurred to me that musicians might have a unique perspective on sex and love, especially as viewed through the filter of music. But you don’t need to be a musician to feel the intimate link between music and sex. I created the “Sex and Song” series for anyone who loves both. (And that’s a lot of us, right?) Each week a different musician will write about a song that has moved them in some way relating to sex, love, or a combination of the two. And it seems only fair to start with me.
I’ve loved Blonde Redhead since I first heard them. And I’ve always thought of them in terms of sex—one listen and it is hard not to. Blonde Redhead has seen me through so many experiences, both positive and painful. They occupy a very specific, very special place for me. I was often reluctant to talk about them with partners because they were simply mine. Privately.
When 23 came out, I didn’t think I could possibly relate to it as much as I had their earlier records, In Expression of the Inexpressible, La Mia Vita Violenta, and Fake Can Be Just as Good. Nevertheless, I listened to this record alone in my room—and, when the title track came on, something inside me shifted.
Your tainted heart, my tainted love… He was a friend of mine. He was a son of god. He was a son of a gun.
I cried. I’ve experienced a lot of loss romantically. I’ve survived intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Sexuality has not always been a source of joy for me. But—thankfully—sex and love have also been sources of great restoration. Of forgiveness. Of rebirth. Even now—in a happy, loving, stable, and healthy relationship—as I listen to “23,” I carry with me so much that came before. Memories surge.
How many times?
This song consistently provides me with immense peace—even with parts of my history that don’t afford much of that. I want solace. I want to be reminded of that which is sacred. Blonde Redhead offers me this. And I’m immeasurably glad they do.
Katy Otto is an activist, writer, record label owner, and drummer for Trophy Wife. She grew up in the DC area, lives in Philadelphia, and works in social justice and arts communications.
Fetish Friday: Pictophilia
“All art is erotic.” —Gustav Klimt
Klimt’s famous painting “The Kiss” is considered erotic art, but we’re not sure it would satisfy a Pictophiliac. They may prefer a racier wing at the museum.
Why? Because Pictophilia is a sexual attraction to erotic art that’s typically a bit more x-rated, like Shunga netsuke (carvings of couples copulating); 1st century pornographic pottery from Peru; or any piece from the World Erotic Art Museum.
Curious? Want to see more sexually-charged art? You’re only a click away from a NSFW field trip to the online World Museum of Erotic Art.
Yesterday’s Frisky Friday featured the fascinating (almost mind-boggling) story of Mata Hari. Here she is in statue form, dancing in her characteristic jeweled bra in her home town of Leeuwarden.
Take a few minutes to read about her—there’s a reason she’s a legend, seriously.
The Artful Condom
Art can be anywhere you desire, even in your contraceptive of choice. Take the condom, for instance. Putting one on takes a bit of skill—at least that’s what I heard—but practice makes perfect (and fortunately there’s an app for that). While I highly discourage you from creating your own condom, feel free to create pretty things with them! Check out the images below. Apparently, love gloves make for great art tools. Blow them up, paint them, sprinkle them with glitter or add splashes of paint—you’ve got yourself an arts and crafts project that’s probably better than your younger sister’s.
Action figures are so last year. These figurines are fun and inflatable! They’re from Condomerie, the self-proclaimed “world’s first condom specialty shop.” If you happen to be in Amsterdam one day, be sure to visit their display window—it attracts the frisky folks from all over the world.
The animal kingdom gets a little kinkier with these condom giraffes.
Can’t make the Olympic games this summer? This meme shows that condoms can be fun in the bed and in sports, too! Elasun, a Chinese condom company, wants users to get in the game and just do it…literally.
Always go for the gold…in sports and in bed.
Khalea Underwood is an intern for the digital media team of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. When she’s not writing, shopping, or listening to music, the Howard University print journalism student moonlights as an older sister, a contributor for MTVIggy.com, and a copy editor for The Hilltop newspaper.