• Joshua M. Jenkins, Editor-in-Chief

Impenitent Pussy


Artist - Lauralee Benjamin (website | instagram)

Photos - New York Rye (website | instagram)

Words - Liza Tuchfarber


Women (and so many other marginalized groups) have been fucked over hard this election season. Enduring the verbal ejaculate coming from our so called “leaders” and its continued smearing across the news, internet, and any other stainable surface has been infuriating and defeating. Was there ever an American election where so many people wept in fear over the result? I am nearly paralyzed with rage over having to call a man venomous with homophobia, misogyny, and racism my president. He sees women in terms of what they can do for him, and any woman not servicing him holds no value. One in every six women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and since half of America chooses to believe the lies of one white man over the voices of a dozen women he assaulted, it doesn’t look like that number is going down any time soon.

A woman’s pussy is not for the groping hands of a megalomaniac, it’s for worshipping. This is not the time to hide away. Me and my pussy are pissed off and will be spending the next four years trying to educate and raise the confidence of female voters and women everywhere. No matter our sexual desires, preferences, or journeys, we must always be proud of who we are. As much as I, and I assume every other woman, would love to shove a dildo into each resistant orifice of Donald Trump’s body, we must seek revenge and solace elsewhere. Let’s peel ourselves off the floor and gather strength from each other. For inspiration and viewing pleasure, I know an artist that I hope is as cathartic for you as she is for me.


Lauralee Benjamin is a talented illustrator not about to apologize for being a woman. She shouts out pussy praises with every electric color of the rainbow. Her highly-sexualized, utterly-devoid-of-men illustrations of women powerfully declare that we are in control of our own, unique sexuality. I am helplessly mesmerized by all of her artwork (and a little turned on.) Lauralee is a vibrant woman, currently living in Queens, New York with her equally-talented girlfriend, Aisha Vanhorn, whose photography is also featured in this post. Lauralee recently quit her day job to devote herself to her art and its promotion. She is steadily gaining popularity and was a vendor this October at the annual Amber Rose SlutWalk in Los Angeles, CA, an event committed to raising awareness about gender inequality and sexual injustice.



Her images of fully exposed young women, often tightly tied, ready to supplicate and submit, can be shocking. But somehow their positions and expressions rouse a spectrum of familiar feelings. Lauralee’s work is not just about being in control of your sexuality, it’s about our journey towards that, and unveils many unrestrained, helpless moments. If you have ever turned green with the sickness of desire, burned blue with the anger of rejection, or cried red with the agony of loss, you can relate to these portrayals of women. The images elicit responses ranging from power to shame. Lauralee kindly reminds us, while navigating through tempests of love and lust, we are not alone. But even more importantly, through neon hair, arched backs, and strap-ons, no one should apologize for their sexuality or its exploration.

Read below to find out more from the woman who has so brilliantly captured and displayed all the colorful emotions of sex and love.


What is your background? How have you come into your own as an artist?

I've always been into art, since I was a child. I went to an art focused high school and then went onto an art college for a couple of years. I had only ever focused on realistic pencil portraits until about three years ago when I decided to try something new, for my own personal expression.

What was one of your favorite responses to your artwork? Why?

My favorite responses are any that I get from people like me, because it gives my feelings some validation. I feel proud when women, black people, and gay & trans people relate to my artwork.


Can you explain your color choices in your work?

At first I was only using graphite pencil because it was the only medium I had ever tried to master in school. I was intimidated by paint and color. When I started drawing nude women, I was put off by having to draw realistic hair, which I hate doing...so my best friend, a textile designer, made me 4 or 5 colorful and fun textiles to replace hair. I used those faithfully, with just pencil, for over a year.

I had been wanting to experiment with color, inspired by some of my favorite artists, Fabian Ciraolo and Alphachanneling. I experimented with different markers until I found felt pens, which have a tip like a paint brush so you can feel like you're painting while using the control of a pen or pencil. From there I moved onto these paint brushes that have hollow sticks for holding paint inside of them. They make painting feel more like drawing. Finally I started using regular acrylic and water color paints. I love bright colors, but I prefer a monochromatic palette, just a personal preference.


If you were only able to use a basic pencil and one color for the rest of all your works, what color would it be? Why?

I love the color blue. It seems to have the biggest range of tones and contrast. I like how a bright, loud blue can signify angry or excitement while a sky or muted blue gives off peace and tranquility.


For those little understanding of bondage, how would you explain your art and those images to them? Is the bondage in your work literal, metaphorical, or both?

For the most part the bondage I depict is metaphorical. They are sort of the physical manifestation of the feelings I'm illustrating. Bondage is especially relevant for me because it's one of those situations where the person who appears to be in control is not always who's in control. Also, what appears to be pain, can be something else entirely.

How have you evolved sexually? How has your own sexuality influenced your work?

I think my art evolved as a result of my sexuality evolving. I started to abandon the portraits and move towards this surrealist nude period I've been in, when I rediscovered my own sexuality. After a very bad breakup, I went through some depression and insomnia, and just a generally bad period. Some of my best (and first) nude pieces came out of that time.


Are you more often the heartbroken or the heartbreaker?

That's hard to say. The heartbreak that led to my starting this series had me as the heartbreaker, but the subsequent relationship after that, which I think took my work to the next level, had me as the heartbroken. I think I have a history of breaking my own heart by pushing people away and then being shocked when they go away.


I can’t help but notice there are no dicks in any of your pics. Why is that? And have you considered incorporating men in future work?

I do have a few dicks, but they're always on women! I just have very little interest in the sexual dynamics of relationships that involve men. Straight men have no shortage of different sexual outlets, references, resources, etc. They also *seem* to deal with less of the mind-fuck that women do when it comes to romantic relationships.

I'm not opposed to illustrating a male body, I just haven't had the desire to yet.

What messages are you trying to communicate to women and girls through your artwork?

I'd like to communicate a message of body acceptance, acceptance of our emotions, and sexual fluidity. I'd like all women and girls to embrace and celebrate the hard feelings we try to suppress. I'd like everyone to take those emotions and flip them into something positive for yourself. For me, it was taking the pain of heartbreak and turning it into art. And of course, being body positive will never go out of style. I draw nude women being sexual to take the shame out of their nudity and sexuality.


What are your goals as an artist?

I'd like to keep expanding with different mediums and styles. I am sure my work will always share some hallmarks as being mine, but I would love to get into sculpture and installation art. Since my work is so literal, I'd like to take it to the next level, where it's not only literal, but literally in your face, as big and bold as possible.


Shop Lauralee's merchandise here (tank tops, wall prints, her book, Queen of Your Body Parts and more!)

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