As we’ve seen in the last few years, there has been a movement to destigmatize sex.
People are opening up talking about their experiences with sex and sexuality and have given us insight into their intimate worlds through blogs, podcasts, and art.
We get to see firsthand their experiences and how exploring sex has impacted their lives and identities.
That is what we have with Michela Negri.
I found Michela through a collaboration they did with Uteropedia.
They used their vision of art to explain the concept of the clitoris.
It was so beautifully drawn and explained that I was left in awe and knew that I needed to learn more about the artist that made the clitoris even more appealing than it already was.
So I made my way to their Instagram page, where I stumbled across a goldmine.
I discovered multiple detailed drawings explaining sex education concepts ranging from anatomy to gender identity.
At this point, I was like, “I need to know everything I can about this artist.”
So I slide into their D.M.s and have brought you an exposé of sorts on one of my favorite artists in the sex education niche.
Now I can introduce Michela to you, but I think it’s best if you get to know who they are from their own words.
Michela Negri: From Their Perspective
Hi, my name is Michela Negri, and I’m an illustrator, content creator, and currently studying to become a sex educator. I was born in 1996, and I live in a little town called Dolzago in Italy.
In 2018, I graduated with honors in Illustration at I.E.D. Milano, and I’m currently attending a class about becoming an expert in sex education at A.I.S.P.A. School in Milan.
I love everything that comes from the past, vintage dresses, collecting pipes, and I’m obsessed with dogs, pugs in particular.
Drawing for me is like breathing.
I’m a very quiet, introverted, and shy person, but I can’t stop drawing naked people, my favorite subjects indeed.
I also like to recreate my personal vision about movies, T.V. series, and books that inspires me.
I talk about sex and sexual health, and as a non-binary person, I educate my audience about LGBTQIA+ themes.
Curiouser & Curiouser…
Michela’s passion for sex education made me want to know more about the curious human behind the drawings of naked people.
And since Michela is from a small town in Italy, I wondered how that impacted her view on sex.
As we know, sex is a universal subject, but it is not universally accepted–so how does one go from living in a small town to drawing naked people & teaching others about the most “taboo” subject there is…
To get my answer, I did the unthinkable.
I asked them.
And the great thing about people who love to talk about sex and are comfortable with themselves is that they answer honestly.
So I started easy and asked them:
How did they get into sex education?
Michela informed me that they got into sex education through Instagram.
It sounds weird, but it’s true. Through socials, especially during the lockdown, I had the pleasure of getting to know many people on IG, such as gynecologists, obstetricians, sex toys brands, and so on, who also talk about queer sex education.
I know everyone hates Instagram and says it’s dying, but the power it holds to introduce people to different worlds is undeniable.
We see this with Michela.
If it wasn’t for Instagram, would we be so lucky to see their artwork used to explain subjects that people are too ashamed to admit that they want to learn more about?
But I didn’t stop there.
At this point, I needed to know why it was so important to Michela to educate people on sex.
And their response made me rethink why I do what I do.
I think it’s [sex education] a very important topic to bring to people, especially children. In Italy, we don’t have sex education, which is a problem. Growing up without effective sex education [programs] creates problematic adults, perpetrates toxic behaviors, and a lot of misconceptions around sexuality.
I like to write about sex because I love talking about it and being able to give people the chance to learn about it.
Still, there was something that I knew was missing, and Michela was kind enough to (unknowingly) point it out to me.
Talking and teaching people about sex helps reduce the stigma and shame surrounding the topic and helps people become more comfortable with who they are.
If someone is insecure with who and what they are, they take it out on everyone.
As Michela pointed out, they “perpetrate toxic behaviors,” which hurts everyone, not just the person.
If talking about sex makes the world a safer, more loving place to exist, then who wouldn’t want that?
Small Towns, Big Drawings
When Michela first mentioned that they lived in a small town, I jumped at the opportunity to dig deeper.
I have this stereotype about people who grow up in small towns.
Have you heard the saying people that live in small towns have small minds?
Yeah, well, that’s basically it, but on top of living in a small town, it’s a small town in one of the largest Catholic countries in the world: Italy!
A country littered with God’s symbolism and the Pope every corner you turn.
Yet here we have an artist who is paving their own way and letting us know that they want to be able to live in peace with their sexuality and not suffer at the hands of the small minds that live around them.
So I just had to stick my nose further into her business and ask them
How does living in a small town in Italy impact your view on sex and yourself?
“Italy is not a country that prioritizes sex education, and this has a negative impact on the population,” Michela let me know right off the bat, confirming my suspicions that the Catholic country is not so accepting of the things that go on behind closed doors or… open ones.
“Sex in Italy is a very big taboo,” they proclaimed, which I found strange.
In one sense, I understand, considering the heavy push towards religion.
But, America has always portrayed Italy as this hyper-sexual nation where the men are constantly harassing the women. Meanwhile, the women yell at their men because they catch them cheating or looking at another woman.
Yet, the subject of sex is taboo and looked down upon.
Does this sound like another country that we know?
Let me give you a hint: It has a star-spangled banner.
Michela let me know that this taboo has made it difficult for her to talk about her sexuality and feel shame for who they are.
Yet she let me know that she found herself to be one of the lucky ones.
I had the big fortune of growing up in a very open family. My dad is a urologist, my mum was a nurse, and we always had a positive dialogue around sex and LGBTQIA+ themes. This made me notice my own privilege because not all the other people of my age, or even younger, can speak with their parents in the way I have.
This openness in her family facilitated her to become comfortable in her own skin.
In their art and the space they created on Instagram, Michela does what her parents did for her.
She is giving people the space to have a positive dialogue around sex.
As we all know, not everyone is as lucky to have that privilege.
Sexual Wellness = Personal Wellness
So as we know on Come to Mia, I am all about sexual wellness.
I believe sex, sexuality, and all that ties into our overall wellness; you can’t have one without another.
So I had to ask Michela what does sexual wellness means to them.
And the response they gave was just chefs kiss amazing.
Sexual wellness means consent, self-respect, and the respect of others. It means living our own sexuality in the best positive way, autoeroticism, and also in relation to others. [It means] exploring our bodies, feeling our emotions, and feeling a connection between our mind and pleasure. It also means sexual health rights, awareness about STIs, accessibility to a good knowledge around contraception and birth control, medical assistance, etc.
Michela sees sexual wellness as a connection to ourselves, and you can see that in the art that they draw.
Every stroke is painted with the intention that people learn how to find solace within themselves.
Moreover, Michela wants everyone to know that sex is
not just about “having sex.” Sex and sexuality are part of our lives, and each one of us needs these instruments to build our own path of sexual wellness.
What Michela Taught Me
When I first DMed Michela to collaborate with me, I didn’t think they would answer because I am such a small account, but I am so glad they did.
They have been able to put into words what I’ve been feeling but have not been able to say.
They taught me that
- We don’t need to let our environments define us or how we act. We are free to pave our own path.
- The connection between our mind and pleasure needs more attention. I’ve had sex where I’ve felt nothing because I didn’t want to listen to that connection. When you are ready, take a seat, and try to hear what your mind has to say.
- Sex education is a way to find ourselves and create a safer, better world. When we can accept who we are all the way, the less anger, and shame we will feel and spew onto others.
Now y’all know I couldn’t leave this interview without asking Michela some burning questions so we can get to know them even more intimately:
- Favorite Sex Position?
- Any position in which I can kiss my partner, actually :D. If I have to say one, the Lotus position. It is very intimate and intense.
- Favorite place to have sex?
- Say what you want, but in my opinion, the bed is the best place to have sex, cozy and comfortable.
- Sex toys? Yay or Nay?
- Obviously, a big YES! (They know what’s up)
- Favorite thing to draw?
- I really love drawing people, naked people.
Check Michela’s Portfolio Out
You can check out our collaboration on Instagram!
And if you love Michela’s work as much as I do, check out their Instagram page!
You can also donate to support their work by following this link!