Agents of Ishq describes itself as a multimedia project about sex, love, and desire aimed at a generation of Indian youth for whom positive views of sex and sexuality remain taboo and/or absent in their culture.
This is an intimate essay that mixes art and vulnerable self-reflection to reconsider how the male genitalia is culturally framed. As the editor notes, the essay represents an “artist’s entranced paintings of male nudes and her tender essay on the penis’s strange invisibility in a phallocratic culture.”
The author reflects on the strained sexuality in her parents’ relationship, and concluded that it represented one thing: making love alone.
For those who grow up in sexually-repressed cultures and circumstances, perhaps this doesn’t seem too far off. But the author continues by rejecting that model and affirming her own sexuality and her passionate curiosity for others’.
“I dream of a society where women make choices and where men are spread naked across magazines …”
“The most difficult truth of the male sex is its visibility. Whatever its status, you can not retract it, it stands there, it hangs, it exceeds.”
“Men’s sex is their proudest and most fragile part, the lyrical paraphrase of their personality, the last sentence at the bottom of a poem which makes it come into existence.”
This essay makes me think of Georges Batailles and Michael Taussig. At a surface level, their essays on “The Language of Flowers” brings to mind how we encode these objects with certain narratives and meanings. And also their writings on jewels, adornments, and the body. Perhaps there’s something more here, a thread to follow somewhere down the line…