Stahl Stenslie (NO) Sexiatrics

A project on extravagantly sensual and elder bodies

Devices, 2013

We live in an age that adores and sexualizes youth in all its beauty, desirability, potentials, sexual needs and explicit practices. And yet, aging is the future of all youth. Soon after it has turned 25 the body starts its slow decay, blurring the senses, slowly impairing and reducing the intensity and strength of sensory impressions as well as physical strength and performance. So how do you function from a sexual perspective once age sets in? How do you desire with aching back, cramped fingers, stiff limbs, and a reduced blood flow that makes your sex organ dysfunctional? If you still have sex, how do you have it? Do sex and sexual enjoyment stop after we turn 60? Or 80? Sometime, it has to stop. Or?

From a medical point of view having sex makes people happy. For all ages, young and old. Sexual satisfaction and happiness are vital for both mental and emotional health equilibrium over the course of time. Abstention from sex is known to cause anxiety and depression. Other interesting ‘side effects’of sex are that on a regular basis sex can increase a person's lifespan. Scared of a stiff back? Well, having sex releases endorphins that act as natural painkillers, i.e. fewer pills and more fun. So what about your heart? Will the strain not kill you? In rare cases, sex is actually found to reduce cholesterol levels. In other words, sex makes you live longer and feel better. So we can have sex in old age. But do we?

Indeed, contrary to what we might like to think, quite a percentage of old people keep having sex all their lives. Perhaps not as frequent or calorie-wise steamy as before, but they keep on doing it. It might even become better with time. Improved self-confidence over time and enduring sexual relations appear to give a more relaxed attitude towards and therefore a more pleasant sex life. In light of recent research that has uncovered that a much larger percentage of elderly people are having sex, and that they are partly having better and more intimate sex we might better name this future intimate Intimiatrics (from Intimate + Geriatrics). However, as our populations grow bigger and much older, there will be a future Sexiatric mass market for the sex industry. Thereby making it possibly more pornographic, but perhaps also promoting the elderly’s needs and desires for a healthy and life-prolonging sexuality. What is it like to have elderly sex in young bodies? To prepare our youth for their future, the Sexiatric project models younger bodies as being 70 years or older, thereby training them for their late sensory developments.

Several sensory devices will be exhibited: 1. The Age-Strap that positions the body in the pose of a disintegrating 80 year old. 2. The Tactile’O’pairment that reduces the sensitivity of the fingers, but without taking it away. 3. The Straightjacket for Penises: a skin like condom to wear over the male genitals, restraining the blood flow to diminish sensory impressions and contribute to an impotent sexual sensation. 4. The Vaginal Cave mimics the skinfolds of elderly vaginas and adds volume to the erotic areas around the hips, stomach and inner thighs, thereby reducing the sensitivity both of the genitals and raising the bar to getting sexually excited.

Weeks, 2013,

Stahl Stenslie (NO)

Stahl Stenslie works as an artist, curator and researcher specializing in experimental media art and interactive installations. The technological focus in his works is on the art of the recently possible - such as i) panhaptic communication on Smartphone, ii) somatic and immersive soundspaces, and iii) functional and lethal artguns 3D printed in low-cost plastic material. His aesthetic focus is here on art and artistic expressions that challenge ordinary ways of perceiving the world. Through his practice he asks the questions we tend to avoid or the answers to which lie in the shadows of existence. He has been exhibiting and lecturing at major international events (ISEA, DEAF, Ars Electronica, SIGGRAPH). He represented Norway at the 5th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey, co-organized 6cyberconf and won the Grand Prize of the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs. He has moderated various symposiums like Ars Electronica (Next Sex), ArcArt and Oslo Lux (2013). His PhD is on touch and technologies ( Currently he is teaching and researching as a full professor in Art and Technology at Aalborg University, Denmark.