Exploring Erotic Art’s Sexual Diversity with Eromatica

Eromatica wants you to find yourself in their images: couples of various ethnic, gender, and sexual expressions embrace, engaging intimately, next to solo figures and body parts reflective of the multiplicity of human sexual experiences. These Eromatica creations are less a manifestation of a single experience and more of a welcoming of every experience, depicting and celebrating the vastness of pleasure.

And it all comes from an individual, a single person spreading what intimacy is and can be: Carlos Cabada, a nomadic artist and coder currently based in Monterey and originally from Veracruz, Mexico. Cabada first published the erotic art project, Eromatica, in March 2017 to illustrate the “necessity to feel love and be loved.” The art became therapy, a way to quiet anxieties and stresses related to love. “I was going through a hard era of my love life and self-confidence,” Cabada explains. “That boosted me to make it into something. I’ve also always been frustrated with how society treats gender-roles, mostly in relationships, so I thought I could contribute to diminish this gender gap with my art.”

Cabada’s work wasn’t always erotic in nature, as they explain. Instead, such sexual depiction came to be as their asexuality made way for more sexual interests as a 20-something. Their art shifted from abstraction (“Random people doing random things”) to an outlet to appreciate themselves, their sex life, their body. Acts like masturbation became naturalized, helping them in a way they saw could help others too.

“Since I started this project, I’ve been fascinated with seeing a lot of people tagging their loved ones, sending themselves my images,” Cabada says. “I’ve also been receiving lots of message from my Instagram followers saying how helpful my art has been to them, that they have been helped, boosting their confidence, accepting their bodies, accepting sex as something natural…I can tell my pieces have been helping them to free their minds from these taboos the same way it helped me.”

It’s the feedback they receive that “attracts me to do this type of art.” Any given image in Eromatica’s portfolio captures not only sexual desires, but also different genders and sexualities and ethnicities. Instead of looking at a subject from one angle, Cabada attempts looks at people and their self-expressions with multiple perspectives in mind. Fusing together a variety of angles removes any stigma or gaze and frees figures from “social-induced constraints.” The goal is to then make way for more confident and pleasurable life experience. Inclusivity, to Cabada, is the landscape where the work takes place.

Cabada recognizes that humans are complex creatures, individually and collectively. “Humans are so diverse in so many ways,” Cabada says. “That cannot be represented in one single tone. So if you are an artist and want to let people feel connected to your art, diversity should be your last name.” The internet has made the collective human experience that much more elaborate. It’s the digital vortex, and its endless information that connects so many who would not otherwise connect, that also serves as the artist’s inspiration. “The Internet allows us to express ourselves worldwide without limits and if we have the tool and audience to take a step forward in these subjects, I’m not doubting a single second to confront it.”

Our current tumultuous political and social climate has raised questions about an artist’s role in protest. Should art be strictly escapism or should it be a direct commentary on such chaos. For Cabada, the answer is clear: “If I can help to reach gender equality, I’ll do it, if I can help to reach queer rights, I’ll do it. And all artists out there working with humans should do it too.” They go on, “The only way to correctly work with art and humans is being one 100 percent inclusive…We, as artists, influence how society behaves. We act as ambassadors and raise our voice for them, so we better act right.”

Naturally, discussions on an artist’s influence becomes even more complicated when social media’s prevalence is considered. In a culture that is already censored, platforms like Instagram police bodies and impose rules that enforce a sex-negative society. Predictably, Instagram had a negative response to Eromatica’s when it first launched and all the uninhibited attention it garnered. Like so many before it, today’s @eromaticax only has an x because the first account, @eromatica, was axed. “It’s nonsense how I need to hide women’s nipples and bare butts in my illustrations,” Cabada says. “I hope Instagram gets a little less strict…[There] are lots of artists out there asking Instagram for a change on this.”Whether it be on Eromatica’s Instagram, online shop, or apps, the level of discomfort moderators may feel could not only have to do with the work’s X-rated nature, but also with its relatability. “The more the image resembles your appearance and/or your partner’s appearance, the more likely you are going to feel connected with the illustration,” Cabada says. And the more personal a story feels, the more personal, more affecting it may become.

Cabada’s images are so affecting, in fact, that they’ve gotten more than a few messages from followers about how their “illustrations make them feel sexual pleasure in some way,” Cabada says. “I love confessions like these. It tells me I’m fulfilling my goal.”