INTERVIEWS                  imagofeminae 2020

Female Sexuality & Polyamory 

NIKA MAKSIMYUK (Visual Artist & Journalist)

Interview by Dipl.-Psych. Paiman Maria Davarifard

I was born in Russia, Moscow in 1992 and was raised by a single mother. Since teenage years I wanted to be a journalist and I studied journalism in Lomonosov Moscow State University by choice. Working in oppositionary political mass-media, I experienced a lot of police brutality and seen people put into prison just for having an opinion. Now I think that art is a safer and a more effective way to change the world to better, than journalism. Safer not necessarily for the artist, but for the people featured in his or her works. When you go to the demonstraition and make photos, the people, who's faces can be recognized, are under risk of being imprisoned. Also, I think, art helps uncover the truth about the world even better, deeper, than journalism. And the truth about the world was always a point of interest for me. 

I imigrated on political reasons. I don't like what is going on in the country and I see it becomes not better but worse, I feel not safe there and moreover - in Russia I am constantly anxious about how my actions can put others in danger. I make photography, performances, I learn to make videos and to paint. Recently I am very interested in cinema and I am thinking of getting second education in cinematography. I was always making self-photoportraits from time to time, but on quarantine I started doing it really a lot, cause I felt like it was the only way to sublimate my feelings.     (Nika Maksimyuk)

image:  Photographic Art Work A Self Portrait

by Nika Maksimyuk Berlin 2020. Copyright © imagofeminae

TATTOOS by: On the chest - Zzent tattoo studio, On the hips: Buffalo - Nadia Bobkova, Fox - Maxim Chirva.

image: Nika Maksimyuk Berlin 2020- A Self Portrait of the Artist. Copyright© by Nika Maksimyuk.

imagofeminae: how do you define, understand and experience your sexuality as a woman?

Nika Maksimyuk: Romantic relationships are basically everything for me. It was so as long as I can remember. I am polyamorous. It means I can have romantic feelings for a few different people at the same time, both men and women. 

My sexuality is strictly bound to romance. And I know it is pretty common for women. Of course, there are exclusions - I know women, who can enjoy simply sex. But by my observations, they are minority. I know much more men who are capable of sexual attraction without romantic feelings. This difference between male and female sexuality has a huge impact on relationships. Unfortunately, it often results in a woman being just used by a man for satisfying his sexual needs, when she is in love with him. It is the most common type of abuse in heterosexual relationships. 

I could never feel sexual attraction to a man without having romantic feelings to him. When I was younger, I could feel it to women. I could get sexually aroused just looking at random pictures of female body, but I already don’t have this for long. I think it was something infantile. Now I also have sexual attraction for a women only if I am in love with her. 

Perfect system of relatonships for me would be having a few romantic partners and having sex only with them. If I fall in love with someone new, I tell all the current parnters, and if they are all OK with that, I try to build relationships. I enjoy building relationships, confessing love, supporting and taking care of the partner. It is my very favorite thing in life. It is pretty standard for a girl, but I am OK with being a “typicla girl”. I think women shall not be ashamed to be themselves. 

But it is very hard to build multiple romantic relationships. And even not jealousy is the main problem (though that problem exists too) The main problem is - most people overestimate sex and underestimate romance. Especially men. People are afraid of responsibility - and poly-romance is A LOT of responsibility. I don’t understand common obsession with the theme of body. I view body as merely a tool for expressing your feelings, your ideas, your thoughts. And sex is one of the ways to say “I love you”. 

imagofeminae: how do your partner(s) cope with this concept of love?

Nika Maksimyuk: Polyamours people are very vulnerable in relationships. One problem is that they are under threat of abuse based on sudden jealousy. The other is they have huge risk of being used for satisfying simple lust, cause people think that if we have sex with more than one person, we definitely simply enjoy any sex with anyone. Which is not true. Being open bears huge risks. Being a romantic is dangerous, cause we trust ourselves to persons we barely know.

On the other hand, polyamorous relationships can bring a lot of happiness if they go well. And also a lot of personal growth. It is handling a lot of responsibility, it is finding compromises, it is constant empathy, listening, understanding, feeling. It is having deep converstations and emotional connections with a few - yes, it does make you more thoughtfull, more versatile, more creative. It is great possibilities, for which we pay with great risks of more pain and more loss. And also with rejection in conservative society. Polyamory is actually not a new thing. There just were times when society was OK with it (for example, in ancient Greece) and times when society was unwelcome to it. But polyamory will always exist, just because  some people exist, who have inner resources and needs to love a few. Prohibiting them and shaming them won’t change them, they won’t become mono. In traditional conservative relationships they can not be happy, they will only suffer. It is the reason some poly-s are single by a compelled choice. It is even better for a poly to stay single, than to be in classical mono-relationships. At least in this case nobody will try to control their feelings. 

imagofeminae: what is the social context of Polyamory for you?

Nika Maksimyuk: Tolerance to polyamory would make the world better not only for polys, but for monogamous people too. Why can’t they see it? Acceptance will stimulate polys to be honest with everyone about who they are. Then monos will be informed in advance and will not try to build relationships with them. There will be much less cheating, lying and broken hearts. And even non-romantic sexuality should be accepted as normal. Cause if we shame people who simply like sex, they would simply not reveal their true motives and will try to get sex with deception. Of course, I do not argue that being honest is everyone’s personal responsibility, but also I understand, that for many people it is hard to go against the society and be honest about who they are when it is not accepted. 

imagofeminae: how does this concept of sexuality affect your art?

Nika Maksimyuk: Most of my works are dedicated to romantic relationships. And I use the colors accordingly, for example, I use a lot of red, which is the typical color for love. But also it is color for blood - for pain, for violence. I explore topics of toxic relationships, emotional deprivation, abuse, unrequitted love and break-ups. I believe that art can change the world to better. It can raise tolerance, empathy, acceptance, it can touch hearts and stimulate people to rethink behavioral patterns. And moreover, art can create another worlds.

In my works I have social, political and environmental topics as well, but the majority of what I do is dedicated to love and relationships. My art is mostly personal, it is the language I try to speak, not being understood through words.

Female Sexuality & Polyamory   NIKA MAKSIMYUK (Artist & Journalist) Interview by Dipl.-Psych. Paiman Maria Davarifard - Berlin July 2020 - imagofeminae # XXV Spring Summer 2020. INTERVIEWS