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Beyond the manifested design of a sex-toy door handle, The Pleasure-Object is a speculative work that explores new expressions of sexuality by fostering the normalization of self-sex and distanced partnered sex facilitated through engagement with everyday objects, redesigned for pleasure, and retrofitted to common interior structures.
The Pleasure-Object considers the ergonomics of sexuality, or “ergoerotics”, the deeply therapeutic and educational properties of touch, as well as human haptic compulsions as factors that can inform design to address negative coping behaviors and mental effects when the body is restricted from performing in a familiar, normalized, or desired way.
Social distancing and isolation measures for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, enforced by governing bodies or through self-imposed regulation, have resulted in a negative impact on mental health due to a lack of physical social interaction, contrasting or challenging individually respective, previously perceived, normal levels. These measures have had disproportionate effects on populations with pre-existing experiences of societal exclusion. The specific social interaction which this project is concerned with is the intimate physical relationship cultivated by two sexual beings and the negative impacts on mental health that result from the inability to engage in partnered intimacy and sex.
Physical distancing measures will eventually see an end, but the behaviors we have become accustomed to during this time: a hyper-awareness of hygiene, personal space, and of any anxiety or discomfort interacting with other humans, have potentially lasting ramifications in our society and in some individuals. The Pleasure Object is a speculative design piece that proposes the redesign of fixtures and hardware in the home. This invites intimate interactions that supplement a desire or need for somatosensory comforts and compound the experience of the home as a safe space when experiencing willed or forced isolation and societal exclusion.
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