I Want Orgasms, Not Roses, already the title of the book announces the subject. Eva Szombat‘s photos too.
I Want Orgasms, Not Roses is about women, their toys, their sexuality, and the chains they broke out of to be fully themselves. A collection of portraits and interviews about trauma, shame, desire, acceptance, and rebellion. While sexuality can be freely discussed in western popular culture, there is a rise in fundamentalist values. Abortion rights are under debate, LGBTQ representation is restricted. There is hardly any conversation about sexuality in Eastern Europe, while sex itself is often represented in media.
Hungarian photographer Éva Szombat wants to examine how we can become more open, more accepting, and how we can get rid of our frustrations. She separates shame from sexuality through the use of photography by making the invisible visible and by asking women to show what they desire and how they were able to achieve it.
The book has been realized in collaboration with Everybody Needs Art and Longtermhandstand, Budapest.
My whole life I’ve been interested in sexuality more than I dared to admit to myself. I believed it was bad manners for girls to be in- terested in such a thing so openly. I believed this until I met people who would fearlessly talk about sex, masturbation, orgasms, the clitoris, porn, and fantasies. It was liberating to belong to this group.
In 2017 I posted a public advertisement. I was looking for people who would show their sex toys to the public. To my great surprise many answered my call. They also had a strong desire to talk about their sexuality without shame.The contributors came from various walks of life: students, social workers, hairdressers, translators, artists, dominatrixes, entrepreneurs, employees, unem- ployed people, freelancers, wives, girlfriends, single people, di vorcees, mothers-to-be, mothers, and even a grandmother. In addition to taking pictures, I was conducting interviews, which let me dive deeper, dredging up serious traumas in more than one case. I learned something new in every single session.
While working on this project I found my grandmother’s memory book, which she got during World War II. Memory books are a centuries-old tradition in Hungary equal parts souvenir and scrap- book, they are given to schoolchildren during their education, full of inspirational quotes, jokes, and advice for their future life, all written by their friends, family, and teachers.
The messages in it, that were meant to prepare one for life, often corresponded with the thoughts my participants had told me about their own inhibitions. These lines from many generations before served as pointers for girls. They implied that if you were born a woman you should be modest and obedient, bear the pain and suffering. The participants, just like myself, internalized these thoughts .– Éva Szombat
Eva Szombat : I Want Orgasms, Not Roses
Texts by Éva Szombat
Designed by Anna Bárdy
16,5 x 23 cm
160 color illustrations