I added 30 more pins to my Pinterest board, found research papers and books, as well as wrote initial versions of my artistic statement for the project.
Planned Parenthood of America, “The Health Benefits of Sexual Expression”, Katharine Dexter McCormick Library, 2007. Web.
This paper discusses the common perception of sex in contrast to benefits of sexual activity. Despite the negative connotation sex has, it’s actually quite good for humans. When you prepare appropriately for the risks, sex can improve physical and mental wellness.
Yip, A. K. T., Keenan, M. and Page, S. Religion, “Youth and Sexuality: Selected Key Findings from a Multi-faith Exploration”. Nottingham: University of Nottingham, 2011. Web.
This paper reports findings about attitudes toward sexuality in religious young adults. Considering that the target audience for my thesis project is young adults who are/were religious, I believe this paper is quite relevant.
Ray, Darrel. “Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality”. IPC Press, 2012. Book.
This book discusses the perception of sex when it comes to religious people, as well as how religion affects sexuality. My project is targeting people who have been affected by religion and are interested in learning about sex, so I believe it will be a good reference.
Ryan, Christopher. “Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships”. Harper Perennial, 2012. Book.
This book not only talks about modern sex, but also discusses mainstream science’s view of science over the years. It targets common misunderstandings and explains how our bodies and sexuality work. I believe this book will help debunk stereotypes and false information people might have learned before interacting with my project.
Synopsis of initial readings
The perception of sex in comparison to the reality is quite different. Despite the fact that sexual activity has many benefits (including lower risk of mortality), people are terrified or completely ignorant about sex. This fear and ignorance is caused by a lack of positive information about sex in schools and online. Most textbooks that discuss sex cover the mortifying risks more than the positives.
Religion heavily affects the way people think about sex. Many religious young people reference religious texts to form their attitudes about sex, and many religious texts have a negative or nonexistant opinion about sex. Religious people often find the relationship between sex and religion to be one filled with tension, and some even compartmentalize the two subjects in order to lead a fulfilling life.
Religion can cause people to throttle their own sexuality. For example, some Christians report feeling shame and guilt instead of pleasure during sexual moments. This is caused by years of learning that sex is negative and dangerous. Some religious people practice celibacy due to the fact that they think of it as more fulfilling and believe that partners who truly love them will wait. However, they’re often missing out on chances to learn more about their identity.
Our complicated relationship with sex is caused by centuries of man-created ideologies and rules. Through unpacking these theories and misconceptions, we can improve our relationship with sex, and in turn improve our health. This process will probably feel awkward and scary – sex will feel unnatural, or even wrong, to people who are new and/or inexperienced, but with practice and self-exploration it becomes more normal and eventually beneficial.
The clash between sex and religion makes me curious. As a person who grew up quite religious and afraid of my sexuality, I have always wanted to express my feelings about the subject. My project will help others who have had the same experience and encourage parents to provide their children with a more positive sex education.
My project will people who know nothing about sex and/or are afraid of having sex due to misinformation. Across the world, people are not taught about sex or are only taught the risks of having sex. Part of growing up to be a healthy human being in our modern society includes having a positive relationship with sex. Through this project, people will learn to understand their own sexuality.
As a woman who grew up in a religious family, sex has always been portrayed in a negative light. However, when I became an adult I was suddenly expected to view sex in a different way. I hope my project will teach people that sex can be positive and that self-understanding is the most important part of sex.
Artistic/creative merit of proposed idea
Sex is a topic many people are afraid to discuss. In the United States, there is currently a movement toward less sex education despite the clear proof that more sex education keeps young people from having early, unwanted pregnancies. This is especially true in heavily religious parts of the country.
Unfortunately, most forms of media that discuss sex are either sterile and scientific or in-your-face with the intention of being shocking. My goal with this project is to approach sex from a positive standpoint and not as if it’s a taboo. By the end of the project, I hope people will have an open, honest resource to use and learn about sex.
Why my idea is a meaningful contribution to the field of digital media
There are only a few interactive forms of media that have covered sex from a sterile or non-taboo perspective. I believe that this project will inspire people to think differently about sex and how they use it in their work. In the future, perhaps people won’t stick to the common idea that “sex sells” because sex will just be normal.
Catt is a game maker, product designer, and developer who is currently working with SoundCloud. She has done design work for companies of all sizes including Bedrocket, NASDAQ OMX, and Scholastic. She started coding interactive dress-up dolls at the age of 12, began designing at the age of 15, and graduated from SVA with a BFA in Graphic Design in 2011.
Catt makes video games with the intention of pushing the medium forward and encouraging empathy as well as self-understanding. She covers a range of topics including but not limited to race, gender, and sexuality.
In her spare time, Catt organizes events for Tech Under Thirty; teaches game development with The Code Liberation Foundation; and draws comics. She is currently completing an MS in Integrated Digital Media at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.
You can follow her @cattsmall on Twitter and read her blog at www.cattsmall.com.