What’s Your Most Memorable Penis Experience? An Art Project Is Asking People to Spill the Beans.

Artist Indu Harikumar’s latest project, Cock-a-doodle, aims to normalise conversations around the penis, and all kinds of feelings and experiences associated with it.

Dick. Cock. Lund. Anaconda. Lollipop. Banana.

We talk about the penis a lot. But we don’t talk about it the same way we talk about other body parts including the eyes or lips.

How a penis looks and what it can do can be a source of great pride for a penis owner. Even when obliquely referred to in rap songs or swear words, its ties to power, male privilege and pleasure are undeniable. The phallus and phallic symbols have a long (pardon the pun) association with masculinity and virility.

Advertisement

On the flip side, a small dick or one that can’t “perform” becomes a powerless, shameful, emasculating thing best left zippered up. This association with strength and dominance allows little room for the penis to be talked about in more nuanced and vulnerable ways. 

Mumbai-based artist and illustrator Indu Harikumar, 42, wants to change that. She wants us to talk about the penis in the same way we talk about our love handles or a partner’s collarbone. She wants us to have sentimental, passionate, and authentic conversations about the cock. Her latest crowdsourced art project, cheekily titled Cock-a-doodle, invites people to share their penis stories – experiences that centre around the penis as a source of pleasure, pain, insecurity, fear, disappointment, or pride. 

But there’s a catch: You cannot talk about your own dick, if you have one. You may only share stories of your experience with someone else’s. So, you can talk about your partner’s penis, your partner’s relationship with their penis, penis experiences you’ve had, or stories you’ve been told by someone with a penis. This switch in POV creates room for perspectives that are astute and compassionate, but also for recollections that might not always be flattering.

The artist will then create digital artworks around these stories and share them on her Instagram handle @induviduality. Contributors can send in stories via email and remain anonymous, if they so choose.

Image Credit: Indu Harikumar

As with her previous art projects – 100 Indian Tinder Tales and Identitty among them – Indu said this one also stemmed from a place of curiosity and insecurity, of wanting to know if other people had had the same experiences as her, or felt the same way about penises as she did. “We all want to air our experiences without being slut-shamed,” she said. “I also wanted to see how power plays out in sex, and how this impacts relationships.” The penis seemed to hold a lot of answers, what with it being the seat, staff, and symbol of patriarchal power.

The project was kickstarted in May, and Indu has already received around two dozen entries – each detailing a fascinating, sometimes humorous, penis encounter. 

In one story, a contributor flips the idea of the penis as a tool for male pleasure on its head. For her, giving head is a way to take power in her own hands (and mouth) as it puts her in charge of giving her partner pleasure. 

Image Credit: Indu Harikumar

In another story, a person talks about how a big penis can become a receptacle of much of a man’s self-worth, and how this misplaced self-worth can make a person an enthusiastic lover but one that doesn’t want to commit to a single partner.

There’s another around the micropenis, which is the medical term for abnormally small penises that result from hormonal issues or birth defects. But instead of being a source of disappointment, the contributor reveals that he was relieved to learn that his Grindr date had a small member. He didn’t have to worry about choking on his date’s big penis, and enjoyed having it in his mouth. 

Image credit: Indu Harikumar

There are also stories about penis piercings, vaginismus, and abuse.

“It’s heartening to see people open up about their insecurities around the penis,” said Indu. “A lot of people feel icky giving blowjobs or want to know how you breathe when you’re giving one. Others have had their partner pass their insecurity about their penis on to them by criticising their bodies. These things don’t come up in everyday conversation, even with close friends,” said the artist.

Mumbai-based artist, Indu Harikumar, wants to have more sentimental, passionate, and authentic conversations about penises. Photo: Chaitali Mitra

Cock-a-doodle creates space for these experiences to be shared in a more palatable way. Unlike the kind of graphic phallic artwork seen on walls in Bhutan, Indu’s art is subtle, with figurative illustrations filling in racy details, and a comic book-style four-panel format narrating plot. Black, white, and a dash of red are the only colours that populate the artworks.

“I would like people to engage with the project without feeling shame or fear,” said Indu. Unlike conventional sex-ed courses where the flow of information is unidirectional, this project allows one to enter the story and take whatever one wants.

For the contributors, sharing their penis experiences has been liberating. “I am married to a woman but also enjoy being with men sometimes,” one of the contributors told VICE. The 35-year-old creative ad director from Mumbai, who shared his experience being with a man who had a small penis, requested us to not use his name because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Projects like these give me a chance to talk about intensely private things I usually keep to myself.”

Image Credit: Indu Harikumar

Another contributor, a 28-year-old researcher from Delhi who also preferred to stay anonymous, hopes that by sharing her story, she makes people feel more comfortable about their own sexual experiences. “When I was younger, the idea of oral sex was icky – especially since we are often raised to be ashamed of our genitals and of our sexuality. When I first realised that I enjoy blowing someone, I felt a small amount of shame – like I was some sort of sexual deviant. So, if anyone out there feels the same, I hope my story makes them feel like they’re just… normal,” she said.

Indu is looking out for more stories around the penis to add to her project. “The dick pic hasn’t come up yet. I’d also enjoy reading tips on how to give good head and learn how people bring in pleasure and play when they have sex,” said the artist. So, if you have experiences to share, give it a go. This might just be one of the safest, most non-judgmental mediums available for you to share your quirkiest, kinkiest, craziest penis stories.

Follow VICE India on Twitter and Instagram.

Tagged:

Art, India, penis, comic, Dicks, nude art, nsfw art

More
like this
This Male Vibrator Is the Tesla of Multi-Tasking Penis Toys
'Finish Me!' We Tested the Voice-Controlled Dick Sucking Machine
Inside India’s Handjob Spas
The Invisible Trauma of ‘Bhabhi’ Porn in the Lives of Indian Women
Inside India’s Nudist Communities
What Is a Breeding Kink? How Unprotected Sex Became a Turn-On
Lesbian Women Tell Us How Straight Men Just Can’t Let Them Be
How to Watch Porn in a Healthy Way, According to Megan Barton-Hanson