So—er—James Joyce was a bit of a filthy fuck. Not a fan of full stops; big fan of a lady fart. His long-distance lusty letters to Nora Barnacle, his wife, are expansive, elaborate odes to her arse and its ample possibilities. “It is wonderful to fuck a farting woman,” the literary giant writes – the thought likely waking his thing again.
Joyce is among a host of erotic epistles celebrated in the twinkling Your Sexts are Shit. Reciting the sexual scribblings of the great and the good—Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Gertrude Stein—Rachel Mars treats their scribbled fantasies as artworks in their own right. They are. She reads tumbling, heaving, throbbing expressions of pent-up desire, put down on paper and popped in the post. The best stir your soul as much as your senses.
Never shying away from the tongue-in-cheek humour of big brains getting their rocks off, Mars raises a toast to the human libido, elevating the carnal alongside the cerebral. In her hands, intimate human connection seems such a wondrous thing.
Flipping between tactile envelopes and digital projections, she sets historic hand-written notes against today’s sexy texts. It’s hard not to think something’s been lost – delayed gratification, perhaps, or expressive abandon that makes writing itself seem somehow orgasmic. Could Joyce get so jizzy with it via SMS?
Mars is no luddite in matters of lust, mind, and she suggests there’s brilliance in sexuality sharing a space with banality on our phone screens. Bodies that fuck are, after all, bodies that fart, put the bins out and, yes, read James Joyce.