Guest Post | Do it yourself: Orgasm Installation

Hey there! I just finished my B.A. project at Muthesius University of Fine Arts about female orgasm through masturbation and I’d like to give you a little insight into what I found.

Important note: In the project and this post, I refer to people who own a clitoris and will call this the “female orgasm” for consistency, although the clitoris is not part of the female identity and, of course, not all people with a clitoris identify as a women and not all women have a clitoris. When I use the word male and female or men and women, I mean the way we have been socialized to be male and female.

I’m a spatial designer and whenever I undertake or create something I make a point to connect it with something political. That’s important to me. I want to reach a lot of people, even if they’re not into design or art. I would like to make a small contribution to our world by creating societal change. And here’s how I tried to do it this time.

Do it yourself

Pubescent male masturbating seems to be the most common thing in the world—for most people. Yet, in many societies women are ashamed of the fact that they do it too.

I can still remember the evening I first talked to some friends about masturbation. We were fifteen years old and a friend asked the group if we sometimes masturbate. Everyone was embarrassed and only after intensive follow-up accompanied by a lot of shame, most admitted that they did. That evening changed my attitude, made me think, and opened my eyes.

In my current social circle female masturbation is fortunately not such a big taboo. I know that I live in a bubble, but even in this bubble, I’ve noticed that nobody ever talks about how the orgasm actually feels or what it does to us. Let‘s start! Let’s talk about what we feel. Let us appreciate the miracle that can trigger cosmic, ecstatic, intoxication-like, and indescribable feelings which put us in extraterrestrial space and make us feel our own body more intensely than ever before. Let‘s get rid of our shame. Slowly but surely, we can all get the topic out there by simply talking about it.

I created a spatial experience for people to witness and feel female orgasms. By trying to depict these feelings in a physical space, my hope was for people to exchange their thoughts and feelings about the perceptual shifts that orgasm and sexual arousal can trigger in us. And the best thing about it: you can do it yourself!

Masturbating for a survey

Every person experiences and feels their orgasm in a different way. That’s why I created a survey to collect many different perspectives on the individual orgasmic sensations during masturbation to then apply them to the space installation. It was necessary to find out how other clitoris owners feel shortly before, during and after orgasm. I wanted to know how others sense and perceive their bodies and their surroundings. It was necessary for respondents to deal intensely with their own body, many had to think about the questions while masturbating to answer them properly. This was your part.

I received about forty answers to my survey and that was more than I expected. In my opinion, this survey on it’s own has achieved incredible results. Friends and complete strangers suddenly talked to me about their orgasmic states a lot more openly and through their own volition. Some of them appeared as if they were just waiting for someone to finally ask these questions. Conversations sprang up at parties when people asked me about my bachelor thesis. And when others heard us talking about orgasms more people joined in, ultimately filling a kitchen with people talking about their orgasms and masturbation. Incredible.

Among other things, I found it particularly beautiful that by far not only clitoris owners were interested in the project and the questions. It shows that this project could just as well be related to the ‘male’ orgasm. It would be interesting to know if the results are similar.

Spatial Design

After intensive study of the physiological four stages of sexual response of Masters & Johnson and the corresponding phenomenological stages of Hermann Schmitz in the theoretical part of the bachelor thesis, I sorted your survey results based on the following stages: excitement, plateau, orgasm/climax, and resolution/intoxication.

The translation into spatial design accordingly consists of four areas arranged one after the other, each in a container, which visualise the course of the four phases of sexual arousal. Each container is assigned to a stage—visitors have the opportunity to walk from the excitement through the plateau stage to orgasm and into the subsequent intoxication.

Four phases Orgasm Merle

None of the rooms represent an ideal or “correct” state of orgasm. It’s simply the way I chose to depict it and is only one of countless ways to spatially represent or feel the stages of sexual arousal. Many of you will not identify with one or several of the stages because everyone perceives their body differently. I think this is something positive; it creates an exchange and the opportunity for others to share their personal experience. The conversation should be about how the phases are perceived and how the design clarifies how individually sexual arousal is felt.

More Information

Sounds interesting? Wanna see the translation into space? Just check out the PDF!

You can have a closer look at the fourth stage (resolution/ intoxication), which I built in real life, in this video.

Questions or feedback? Contact me on Instagram @m.erlemariie or per email.

Thank you for all the answers to my survey, you all contributed to the fact that I was able to implement this project. Thanks to all the people who gave me incredible support—also a big thanks to Roxanne who made it possible to publish my project here on evulving, you’re amazing! Lots of Love!

XOXO Merle Eckert

Author: Merle
Instagram: @m.erlemariie

This is part two of What’s your orgasm like? posted November 18, 2019.