Sex in Art: A Peek Behind the Scenes of an Erotically Charged Website

Amy Keyishian

There’s sex. There’s art. And then there’s erotic art, which is becoming more and more important as online porn gets weirder and ickier. My personal favorite compendium of sexy art is (NSFW) Sex in Art, founded by Justin Fox, an Australian with a passion for passion.

Because I love my job, I sat down with him (well, sort of) to find out how he selects the art on his site, where he draws the line between sexy and seedy, and whether it’s still art if it makes you shiver deliciously and then jump your husband’s bones.

What was your inspiration for starting the site? Do you consider it more of a virtual gallery, or a sexy magazine, or -- how do you define this site?
At the time I was seeing someone who was very much sexually charged. She took nude photos of herself and also allowed (and loved) me to take nude photos of her. Together we started Sex in Art, but we broke up a year or so into it and I've kept it going since then. I've always had a thing for fashion imagery and privately I've always had a thing for porn (even though I know it's "bad"). In recent times a lot of photographers have blurred the lines between porn and fashion and it's that gray line that excites me the most.
Sex in Art is a blog which links to individuals and/or groups that I think are creating inspirational imagery inspired by sex.

Where do you see Sex in Art going?

The site has grown organically and currently over 3,000 unique visitors from all over the world visit the site every day. I'd love to keep the site going and create a Sex in Art coffee table book. A traveling art exhibition featuring the select artists we promote is also in the cards.
What do you hope Sex in Art provides that nobody else does?
To be honest, there are a lot of similar sites out there these days. But I like to think that the viewers of Sex in Art like my taste and artists I choose to feature. It’s my eye, then, that sets me apart from the others.

What is the difference, to you, between porn and art?
The mother of all questions! Personally I think "porn" is a dirty word but "sex" isn't. When I think of porn I can't help but cast a negative opinion of the industry behind it. Generally speaking, I think porn tends to degrade and art tends not to.

What makes an image sexy -- and what's an example of something hardcore that you don't find sexy?
What one finds sexy is up to personal interpretation. In the '70s, Robert Mapplethorpe took a lot of black-and-white photos of flowers, which display a raw sexuality even more powerful than his nudes!
As for something hardcore that isn't sexy: It doesn't take long for me to feel sick when I click around some of the porn sites out there.

How do you find the artists you feature on the site? Have you ever approached someone and had them say no, I don't see myself as a Sex in Art kinda artist?

I get quite a few submissions from people who suggest artists to feature as well as the artists themselves who would like to be featured. I also browse Flickr and links off blogs, which usually lead me to discover artists I like to feature.
I have had a few artists over the years let me know that they would rather not be featured. Only a handful though -- most artists are more than happy to find a spike in their site statistics after a Sex in Art feature.

Are there artists on the site you find more challenging than sexy? Why are they included?

"Challenging" is a great way to put it. Sometimes I'll feature an artist not because I find their work simply sexy or beautiful but because I find it intense, dark, desperate, dynamic, etc. So long as I find it inspiring, I consider it noteworthy.
Do you have investors, staff, or is this pretty much a one-man operation?

No investors and no staff. Sex in Art is very much a passion project and it's just me at the moment but I'd love to get more people involved.


What do you think of What's your favorite image from the site -- or does this not do it for you? Tell us in the comments!


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