13 Photos Capture the Complex Intimacy of an Open Relationship
Perhaps because they're not as common as monogamous relationships, adults in open relationships often face questions about the sometimes complicated arrangements such a choice necessitates. In an effort to portray some of the daily realities of non-monogamous life, photographer Keren Moscovitch has created a series, "Me Into You," which she calls a "depiction of love, intimacy and sexuality as contextualized within an open relationship."
"The project began as a way for me to process my experiences in a sexually open community, an environment that was new, exciting and, at times, challenging," Moscovitch told PolicyMic. "For me, photography is a way to connect and interpret, honor the beauty and vulnerability of my subjects and spark conversation. I am inspired by moments of connection, intimacy and tenderness."
The images are at times explicit, at times fragmentary, but all are undeniably intimate. Sometimes the subjects of the photos are distinguishable, sometimes not, an artistic choice that serves to blur the lines from one scene to the next, creating a fluid alternate universe where it's unclear when one person ends and another begins.
Moscovitch said all of the individuals in her photos were aware of the project, and the level of intimacy was determined by each person's comfort level.
"I am really grateful for the openness and vulnerability of my friends and lovers," she told PolicyMic. "It's a real gift. It's not easy to surrender like that and have your image seen by the world in a way that you can't control. Also, lives change, circumstances shift, and it can be uncomfortable to be confronted by the past."
Although relationships change and evolve, Moscovitch said the aim of her photographs is to show the universal nature of concepts such as "connection, intimacy, sensuality, sexuality and taboo. It is also about being willing to shift and re-evaluate boundaries in order to create more connection and intimacy. This can all be accomplished through monogamy, polyamory or even asexuality! It's not about structure, it's about experience."
While not necessarily the main point of the project, Moscovitch said she has noticed a stigma surrounding open relationships, which informed the way various people have reacted to the work.
"I've had friends tell me that my partner is disrespecting me by being with other men or women," she said. "For me, it's not about the other people, it's about how we all relate. The choice of how to express that love, connection and intimacy is up to each individual. American society (really, Western capitalist society) is very compartmentalized. It's about each man for himself, and there has been a loss of appreciation for collaborative and interdependent societal structures as exist in other parts of the world, and as existed throughout human history."
As a result of these questions, some people have been "really challenged" by the work, she said, "because they are used to a different relationship paradigm and see this on some level as wrong or scary. They are also not used to seeing other people's bodies in such an intimate way. Our culture tells us that unless it is plucked, waxed, dieted and airbrushed, it's not beautiful or sexy."
On the other hand, however, Moscovitch said she's also received emails from around the world thanking her for validating their own experiences. And her pictures have certainly sparked a dialogue about intimacy openess, which, Moscovitch said, was the point all along. "My photos are part of the conversation," she noted. "They don't answer questions, they ask them."