“Orgasm Interviews on Intimacy”
Women seldom talk about their most intimate feelings—not even with their girlfriends, husbands, or boyfriends, let alone with anybody else. This is one of the main reasons why we—Linda Troeller, photographer, and Marion Schneider, writer—started this project. We wanted to open up a space where women could talk about their orgasm interviews, orgasmic thoughts and feelings. This book was created for all those who want to understand more about women and the female orgasm.
Orgasm Interviews. On the very first evening we met in 1994, we discussed the possibility of launching a project regarding female eroticism. It took four years to bring about our first book, The Erotic Lives of Women. It was called “one of the most gutsy and imaginative erotic books of the decade” by the New York Times when it was published in 1998. Our goal was to show eroticism from a female perspective. We did not influence the women in how to present themselves, what they would wear, and how they would show their feelings—these were left to the women interviewed to decide. Thirty-four women from all over the world found the courage to talk and to show their feelings to the camera.
Orgasm is an even more intimate topic. Women and men are confronted with prefabricated models of it. Is what they see and read in the media really what it’s like? Does it represent their feelings? Very young people are already dealing with these questions, because the world of images and intimacy is entering every part of the global community. They switch roles and explore who else they could be in playful sexual situations.
Orgasm Interviews. The world of orgasm is physical, but it is also a world of fantasy, culture, history—and very much a world of the soul. Some women were eager to express themselves because they had suffered from strict taboos or from other forms of repression of their feelings or their individuality. Some women simply wanted to share their joy and pleasure and wanted to help other women to find out about it, too. The chance to be in an intimate situation with a female photographer and a female writer offered safety and security for the interviewees, enhancing the probability that their statements would be a genuine and authentic revelation.
Orgasm Interviews. This book and this project are intended to foster the discussion of female sexuality. The concept of gender and gender roles in the Western world is attaining greater flexibility thanks to a quickly emerging plurality of forms from mono- to trans- to pan-gender culture. Due to the growing global impact of visual media, all parts of the world are affected by this process. The book encourages women to express their thoughts and feelings on orgasm, and to share them with others. It involves 25 women of different ages, nationalities, and cultural and social backgrounds. Nine of the women are German, six are American, three are Dutch, three are Israeli, two are Colombian, one is French, and one is Portuguese. Many of them participated in editing the photographs that show their feelings best.
Marion Schneider & Linda Troeller
Orgasm Interviews. For me, photography is a glow of the present, and the possibility of entering the next atmosphere. When I was 20, I experienced a deep kinship with my first camera, a Rollei, at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, when Georgia O’Keeffe told me, “Let the powers ‘out there’ in the desert guide you.” Leonora Carrington, the surrealist painter from Mexico, sent me to “take the waters” in San José Purúa to expand my consciousness. Both women guided me to learn about mythic absorption.
Orgasm Interviews. A few years later, I learned the power of intimacy and how to make one’s relationship with a “sitter” evolve while I was on the other side of the camera as a model at “Nude in the Landscape” at the Ansel Adams Workshop. Japanese photographer Eikoh Hosoe and French photographer Lucien Clergue photographed me differently. Hosoe molded me, choosing an appointed spot, and Clergue challenged me to choose my own way and captured an interpretation of how I presented myself. These seminal constructs guided me to develop my own ways to identify very, very personal triggers to heighten, charge, and divulge instincts to recognize transcendent, compelling moments.
Orgasm Interviews. Since my first published photograph of a woman with a cut-off wedding dress ripped off at the waist, standing over a huge cactus, was published in the Village Voice, I’ve often chosen to explore taboos. This project goes deeper into the chasm of sexual identity. Photography, like radiation, is dangerous, uncanny, but also potentially healing.
Orgasm Interviews. Judith Butler writes that one may feel the need to be recognized in order to live, but that at the same time, the prerequisites for being recognized make life “unlivable.” My practice is to reflect on things we need that take us forward, or give us pause: “Who am I?” “What is natural?” “What is borderline?” “What is eternal?”