There is an entire world of erotic art out there that you have quite possibly never explored. If not, you’ve missed mining the stimulating results that erotic images can provide to enhance or expand your relationship, and may possibly even enhance or expand your activities in the bedroom.
Bree Zlee Bodnar, originally from Cleveland but now working as a poet and artist in Kentucky, believes sex is an important aspect of a loving relationship that affords an imitable spiritual connection. Erotic art has become an important component of her work – and her love life. Initially, she began drawing nude studies to impress a man she was seeing. He had shown her pictures from the Kama Sutra, so she wanted to create sutras of them as a couple. “I didn’t realize how easily I could draw human bodies,” she says. “But of course, the angles and curves of the legs and ankles, elbows and shoulders are quite familiar, as they are things you see your whole life.” A year later in 2016, she was awarded an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to see how nude studies are received in various parts of the Bluegrass State. She received insightful feedback that further fed her belief in the power of art to stimulate viewers through seeing the mysterious, voluptuous, sensuously rolling landscapes of the body. “A woman in her 80s said she appreciated that I portrayed women in charge of themselves and managed to make sex seem beautiful and sacred rather than shameful or dirty,” Bodnar says. “Another woman half her age told me her husband took my drawing of a woman naked from the waist up and put it down in the cellar – without discussion.” You can check out some of her images from that book and others at Bodnar’s website, “The Artist Bree.” She will also customize images of couples who can choose a template or commission her to draw some fantasy or memory they share. “Couples enjoy the drawings as anniversary gifts, birthdays, or simply to spice up their love lives,” she says. “They can be humorous or tender, and they may include an inside joke, unsung fantasy, or memorialize a special moment.” (She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.) The Kentucky artist serves as a model for couples who can enjoy the power of erotic art to awaken sensuality and sexuality in their relationships.
Ultimately for Bodnar, sex is an important and central aspect of a loving relationship. “Sex affords an inimitable spiritual connection,” she believes. “It is a private bond that can be the glue a couple needs to make it through rough sledding. Without sex, spouses are essentially roommates. Sexy is healthy. The brain sends out chemicals that kill pain and quell anxiety. It can break a migraine, which is why I kind of smirk at the irony when a woman in a television show turns her husband down because she has a headache.” The man who privately displayed Bodnar’s art in his basement probably appreciated the sumptuous and angular elbows, shoulders, thighs and knees, along with the energized eyes and luxurious lips and Mona Lisa smiles Bodnar brings to her art featuring nude bodies, often engaged in sexual or post-coital positions. In her images, love is in the air and in the landscape of the bedroom or wherever the lovers find themselves in action. “The definition of eroticism means pertaining to the passion of love or concerned with treating love. It can also be extended to concerning or depicting the arousal of love,” says Alyce Mahon, author of Eroticism and Art. “That’s where perhaps it starts getting into more slippery zones because it engages with sexual love or giving sexual pleasure.” Worldwide, museums are filled with nude figures often in erotic situations, whether poised reclining in the boudoir or picnicking in a meadow. That was the main subject of a 2019 podcast discussion about erotic art that she had with Ferren Gipson.
If you and your partner/spouse/lover are ever vacationing in Miami, FL, one of the best-known such institutions is the World Erotic Art Museum in the Wilzig Museum Building. There you will find exhibitions such as “The Eroticism of Things. Collections on the History of Sexuality.” How can you best employ and leverage erotic art in your relationship? “Introducing these softer images, well, softer than porn at least, is another, gentler of opening a line of sexual communication with your partner that may be easier, more honest and less intimidating for some people to do,” says writer Francis Elizabeth. He happens to be an aficionado of the cartooning artwork of Robert Crumb and his world of giggly, zaftig women and the always striking, sometimes homoerotic photography of Bruce Weber. “Next time you find yourself with your significant other, long-term or recently compatible, leave your laptop open with a few pictures of Mr. Crumb’s heavy-bottomed hussies on display,” Elizabeth advises. “This should definitely strike up some sort of sexually charged conversation.” Teamed with acclaimed cartoonist Gary Dumm, known for his works with Cleveland comic legend Harvey Pekar, Elizabeth spent several years creating the book Drugs and Other Things to Do in Cleveland that will be published later this year. The book is Elizabeth’s story chronicling the lives of eclectic, eccentric North Coast characters who frequent sometimes seamy locations, but the text is lavishly illustrated throughout with Dumm’s classic underground comic cartoons, many of which have an erotic bent. Of course, the other choice couples can make is to become erotic artists themselves. Or perhaps more accurately, you can become a living piece of sex art to spice things up. All you need are some body paints, a canvas, and an active imagination, shall we say, to feel your way through the process. This link will take you to a thorough primer of how to make a sex painting. After that, it’s up – and down – to you!