Our Showcase this month is Molly Cavell. With our Lovehoney Student Ambassador campaign kicking off online, we wanted to connect and talk with a like-minded, sex-positive student. Molly is an incredible student in Leeds that creates erotic, feminist art and textiles. We spoke to Molly about her work and what it means to her. Molly also speaks about the importance of removing negative stigmas attached to sex toys, a conversation at the focus of our Lovehoney Students’ content.
Hype: Hi Molly, it’s lovely to chat with you. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do!
Molly: Hi I’m Molly and I’m a sex & gender positive artist from Leeds. My work is all about sexual liberation, encouraging women & non-binary folk to embrace their sexuality & rebel against the conservative/sexist rules of society.
Hype: We love your unapologetic attitude towards sex, where does your inspiration for work come from and how did your art shape into the incredible erotic and empowering work that it is now?
Molly: I have always been a really sexual person, I love sex and masturbation, that’s always been really normal and natural for me. It became apparent to me in high school however that it wasn’t okay for me as a woman to talk about sex, whereas the male students were and I hated it. From then on I started creating sex-based work as a big “f you if I want to talk about this I will” and channeled that energy into my art.
Hype: For your dissertation, you created a piece based on female sexuality, the obscene and its restrictions. Can you tell us more about this piece and what it represents?
Molly: a glimpse of a penis or vulva is common on social media, but thousands of artists are censored and I am done with it. I was interested (whilst also fuming) to find out why my artwork is censored. Where’s the line between the obscene and just a human body? My research took me from the concept of the Virgin Mary policing unobtainable standards onto women to contemporary artists facing prison sentences for creating vulva art – all of which is absurd. This dissertation was just more proof that I have to keep going with my sex-based art agenda.
Hype: Even in 2021, its often seen as ‘crude’ for women to talk about sex so openly and casually. This is something our Lovehoney students want to challenge and change through normalising talking about all aspects of sex, openly online. How do you respond to the view that sex is a private conversation?
Molly: Sex is NOT anything to be ashamed of. Sex is powerful, liberating, fun, pleasurable, an experience to have with another person, an experience to have with loads of people, an experience to have alone. When we keep it hidden it can become dangerous. If we don’t talk about sex and how to be safe and how to enjoy it, it becomes the opposite of what it’s supposed to be. Most people in their lives will have it so why not get the best and safest experience possible. With education from art like mine, professionals, schools (when taught properly), or a group of friends, sex can (and will) become a normalised thing to talk about, which means everyone will get the best out of it.
Hype: As part of our campaign with Lovehoney, our students are encouraging people to try out sex toys and have fun with them! Tell us why you think it’s important to explore sex toys and sex scenes in your art?
Molly: I show sex toys in my art simply to promote their use and get rid of this stigma that surrounds them. Sex toys are NOT something that replaces another person first off, sex toys simply make sex/masturbation waaaay more fun. Sex toys allow people of all genders to really explore what they like and don’t like.
Hype: Why do you think it’s important for women to talk about female pleasure on their platforms?
Molly: Female pleasure unfortunately is still taboo. We, as a society, have been conditioned into believing that women aren’t supposed to be sexual beings – we’re supposed to be polite and not crude and this and that and it’s a load of rubbish. Women can be whatever they want to be and no one should tell us how we should be. So when men call me disgusting for being vulgar and swearing and talking about sex and wanking I will simply talk about it louder because it empowers me. It’s so important for other women, if they want to/if it empowers them, to talk openly about sex and not care about any labels or boxes they try to put us in because we only have one life and if something gives you pleasure, scream it from the rooftops.
Hype: One of the reasons we love your work is that it shows such diversity in gender, genitals, and sexual wellbeing. Do you think it’s important that such diversity is shown on social media and in art?
Molly: 1000%. Diversity needs to be included in everything, whether it’s showing diversity in skin colour, body size, sexuality, gender, genitals, disabilities, literally anything you can think of. As human were all so different so why should we exclude anyone because there isn’t (Or shouldn’t be) an ideal way to exist. Showing a diverse range of people allows people to feel seen so it’s 100% necessary!
Hype: Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to students who are starting to explore what sex and sexuality means to them, what would you say?
Molly: I would say take your time, it’s no rush. Explore yourself and know yourself, masturbate, communicate, set boundaries for yourself and just allow yourself to take as much time as you need. Everyone is constantly changing and evolving and one day you might like one thing and the next you might not and that’s okay. Have fun with it, sexual liberation is fun and freeing so really just go for it in any small or big way you can/want too!