This artist is drawing the ads men post on craigslist in a hilarious NSFW new book “(no kissing)”

There's an infinite amount of ways to be intimate.

[C]raigslist classifieds ads have succumbed to a strange function in a world of ubiquitous dating and hook-up culture. The website, which has foregone any kind of update or rebrand since its inception in 1995 is a hotbed for sexual requests that fall outside of the conventional spectrum. Embellishing this mostly text-based, email-like world with kinetic visuals is London-based artist Dominic Myatt whose new book (no kissing) explores the adverts posted by men for men.

Eschewing heteronormative, penetrative sex, Myatt was more drawn to the more obscure and rarely discussed facets of male-on-male sex acts i.e. piss, puffer jackets and “ROUGH” nipple play. We spoke with the young artist to talk about the nature of real intimacy in online spaces, the connections between sexuality and identity and the ties between public and private pleasures.

(no kissing) is stocked exclusively by BOOKMARC by MARC JACOBS in Tokyo, Seikosha Books in Kyoto and Parades Gallery in Matsumoto City. The book will be released in the UK on the 23rd March and will be available at Donlon Books, Ti Pi Tin and online at mnkpress.com.  

Hey Dominic, many of these ads are very specific, why do you think Craigslist has become a place for more obscure fetishes compared to more popular dating/sex apps ?

I think it’s perhaps the anonymity of Craigslist that makes people feel more open to detail exactly what they are looking for sexual or otherwise. It’s also something that feeds itself.

How did you choose which ads to draw? Is there anything you wouldn’t have drawn?

It took a long time to go through all the ads I had collected, but in the end a lot of them boiled down to one simple penetrative sex act – I was more interested in sexual acts that notably different from this visually. 

Why just "men seeking men"?

I only focused on the men for men ads as it was something that interested me more than heteronormative sexuality. I also didn’t want to explore ads that involved females or were posted by them as I didn’t think there was anything I could add through drawing, especially through the male gaze. Queer bodies and sexuality are not largely discuss or focussed on so that is also a reason I wanted to explore this world. 

Did you follow up with any of the men who posted the ads? Were they aware you were illustrating their requests?

I never contacted any of the posters – it was one thing to observe and draw imagery from their anonymous posts – but I wouldn’t have been happy wasting their time to source more material for me to draw on. I think this would have defeated the purpose of the book too. It was also an exploration of sexual fantasy and desire, rather than a straight forward illustrative guidebook to sex.

"(no kissing)" suggests there’s no actual intimacy here but do you think these drawings might show that there are infinite ways to be intimate with another person?

Definitely – I think that there is a prescribed idea of what intimacy is, especially in ‘traditional’ mixed sex relationships. I think the ads and drawings in the book show a myriad of ways in which one can be intimate with another – wether physically, emotionally or both. In one of the ads, the poster describes themselves as ‘straight and married’ (and also ‘sane’), perhaps they are being intimate in one way with their spouse but desire a different type of intimacy with a stranger online – even if it only amounts to a brief exchange of emails. 

What did you learn about men’s desires and the way they manifest online in your research for this book?

Researching the ads for this book allows you to see different ways sexuality ties in with identity – and also how nuanced and specific each individuals sexual desires are. 

Cool…Thanks Dominic!

To get some better insights into this world, come to the public book launch on the 23rd March at Hoi Polloi in Shoreditch.