It's no mean feat encouraging people to send in their personal sex stories, even if it is via a totally anonymous email address. Yet The Anonymous Sex Journal managed it, collating all entries in their pilot issue, entitled 'Foreplay'.
It's a clever design which stands out from many other magazines available. It's small, with a transparent red, wipe clean passport-style cover; just about the right size for one to slip into their back pocket. The entries, unedited from their original submission ("from loss of virginity to post-coital clumsiness"), are accompanied by Margot Bowman's striking illustrations, rendered in flouro pink and red.
To celebrate its Valentine's Day launch, we speak to founder Alex Tieghi-Walker about the Journal's journey so far.
How did the Sex Journal come about?
At a boozy Christmas party, a friend and I were talking about our more unusual past sexual experiences. Once we'd told a few to each other we couldn't stop – we'd had some really comic episodes and knew that everyone else did too. So few people actually have a normal sex life, yet hardly anyone talks about the more memorable occasions. It's not like it's taboo in this country, it's just not in our nature to divulge that information, and I wanted to create somewhere to celebrate those more peculiar incidents. This journal is testimony to just how colourful our sex lives are – and not in a boastful way, as is often the case when people do talk about sex. These stories are a combination of virginity loss, post-coital clumsiness, graphic, vivid fantasies and weird, awkward and embarrassing incidents; they capture those small moments that stick in your mind and influence the rest of your sex life.
"This journal is testimony to just how colourful our sex lives are"
How would you describe the working process?
I created an open-access Gmail account where users could log in and submit their stories to me totally anonymously. The anonymity is very important – it acts as a comforter of sorts, or an invisibility cloak, meaning that the way they write is genuine and heartfelt. It was so interesting to read all the stories – whilst I couldn't relate to some of them, I could certainly identify with many moments. Even though everyone has such different attitudes and inhibitions when it comes to sex, the same ingredients are always there – spunk, tits, bums and the rest, as well as the little moments before and after sex – so I'm sure that everyone can read one of these stories and find something they can empathise with.
Can you tell us one of your favourite stories from the Journal?
"For some weird reason we didn't stop or hide... just sort of froze in position: me on all fours with my bum facing his dad.. at least he couldn't see my face...or my mouth to be specific."?"
What are your hopes for future Journals?
Foreplay is the prequel to a much larger project. I want to see how people respond to a record of this nature and whether it makes them laugh or wince, and how they connect to it. I also want it to be a means of showing how easy it is to talk (or write) about this subject. For subsequent issues I'd like to categorise the stories to focus individually on topics relating to sex – so jealousy, fantasy, love, technology, fetish, passion. I'd love to do a nearly-in issue – those sexual experiences that could have been and nearly were but still contribute to your sexual DNA. In this issue there are stories that touch on all of this, but I'm aiming to create a larger collection, or series – a retrospective of sex for our generation.
Text by Laura Bradley