The Future

A Good Place: This is not a dildo

Adult Arts and Crafts is an Instagram page where dildos are art, and therefore, refreshingly normal.
The Future

A Good Place: This is not a dildo

Adult Arts and Crafts is an Instagram page where dildos are art, and therefore, refreshingly normal.

The internet is too much,
but this place is just right.

Dicktective Shercock Holmes wears a tweed cape and matching hat. In his mouth is a gentleman’s pipe. He is, of course, a dick. No, really. He’s a dick. 2019 has gifted us Adults Arts and Crafts, the brainchild of artist Jen Stein. Dildos are Stein’s medium of choice: she turns them into rockets and Ewoks, covers them in pills and flowers, and even slapped a Louis Vuitton logo on one along with the label “ART.” Her Instagram page, in addition to featuring creative dildo staging, also has some sublime caption work.

Scroll to the left of the Dicktective and you’ll find the Penis Colada, whose caption reads:

If you like penis colladas
And getting caught in the rain
Its 2019 and skin is in
so take a sip and don’t complain…

This isn’t a massive Instagram with a half-million followers, but Stein has cultivated a healthy community of around 5,500 fans who follow the Instagram account’s various dick-related content. #DICKor, as Stein calls her dick decor, which can be purchased on her Etsy page for anywhere from $32 for a cupcock (a steal, really, when you remember you’re getting to buy a real-life fake cock erupting from a cupcake) to $250 for various other works of dildo art, including Shercock himself.

Much of the art community can be accurately described as a bunch of pretentious dicks, and Adult Arts and Crafts meets this halfway: it’s all the dicks with none of the pretension. “ITS ART. GET OVER IT,” reads the Adult Arts and Crafts homepage, a response to (presumably) a sea of inquiries from bewildered men all over the internet. But beyond the charming artfulness of the account, there is a substantive undercurrent to Stein’s art, a reason I find myself cheered and smiling, joyfully lost in a sea of dicks after scrolling through her Instagram. I love a world in which a dildo can be anything: an ice-cream sundae, a witch, a bong.

Growing up, I was shy and awkward, the sort of person who, upon entering adulthood, was still more likely to purchase a Bible than a dildo. Living in a small town, I couldn’t even imagine walking into a sex store — that is, until the day I did. My friend wanted to buy something and asked me if I’d tag along. Inside, I looked around. Big dicks. Small dicks. My friend was holding up a dick. “This one?” she asked. I nodded, blushing the color of a small crimson vibrator. I purchased nothing. Leaving the store, I had to admit I admired my friend’s boldness.

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The pea•cock 🦚

A post shared by Adult Arts & Crafts (@adultartsandcrafts) on

We’re given the message that dildos should be hidden, tucked away in secret drawers. We’re told queer and female bodies, opinions, and above all, pleasures, should be hidden. Perhaps this is why I love Stein’s work so much: I love the idea of dildos made not to be hidden in a drawer, but to be put on display. If dildos can be the basis of found art — which is to say, art objects themselves — this means they’ve been assigned a place in the everyday, just as valid as Marcel Duchamp’s urinal.

This presents a useful study in contrasts. While sex workers are banned from Instagram without explanation, a page dedicated to dildo art does seem to present itself as a reframing of the dildo as a refreshingly mundane item. Dildos are no big deal. They’re not shameful. They’re normal, functional objects of sexuality. And they can be art. Stein’s work embraces all of this. This piña colada dick deserves a place on the mantle, her work says. For those of us who grew up believing our sexuality was shameful, these art dildos might represent a small step toward leaving this shame behind and taking ownership once again. As Stein writes in her Instagram bio, “Tried to manifest good dick in LA but that wasn’t working, so I took matters into my own hands.”


Of course, this wasn’t the only reason for my interest in Stein’s work. After all, I was first drawn to her creations for their playfulness and humor; Adult Arts and Crafts is a page where dildos are covered in teddy bears, where mirrored dildos have actual disco balls.

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Anyone need a disco stick? 🌐✨

A post shared by Adult Arts & Crafts (@adultartsandcrafts) on

Like many things in life, perhaps the easiest explanation was the simplest: I like Stein’s Instagram page because it makes me smile, because it’s fun and funny, and it’s a welcome departure from the rest of the internet, which leaves me feeling frustrated, hopeless, and angry. Instead, Stein’s creations have me laughing like an idiot, scrolling through the internet, saying, “These dildos don’t make me angry! I like funny dildos!” It’s the same feeling I had when I first loved the internet, which for me were the days of Livejournal and Homestar Runner. It was a simpler, easier internet back then. The dildos were bringing me back to that place, and I liked it. I wanted to stay inside the safety of this dildo fortress.

The delight and charm of Stein’s work makes it tempting to dismiss her work as only playful, as merely a potential table topper at a bachelorette party. But captions like “Nothing about this country feels right” and “Shoot cum not guns,” give some political grounding to Stein’s artwork. She does have some more intellectual pieces, like this one of a dildo in a pink frame situated next to a photo of a chair, whose caption reads: “If you don’t get this reference I don’t care, one and three chairs,” a reference to One and Three Chairs, Joseph Kosuth’s conceptual art that invites viewers to consider the meaning of a chair.

Art characterized by such mirthful sexuality naturally receives stupid questions. “Do you hate men?,” Stein was asked a few months ago on The Jason Ellis Show, a shock jock program on Sirius XM satellite radio. Though she initially gave a short denial, she later clarified her point in an Instagram story: “To be clear I do not hate men. I love some men. I love some women. I like people based on their ethics.”

I, too, like people based on their ethics. Good ethics, in fact, connect the emancipatory attitude of this Instagram with the fact that years after my friend took me to my first sex store, I now have no shame walking into a sex shop. Perhaps when I say I recommend art dildos, what I really mean is this: I recommend an abundance of pleasure, and a healthy lack of shame.

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Bethany Marcel is a writer living in Portland.