“We talk so much about sex in our culture, but not about masturbation,” says Margulies about the inspiration behind the project. “We wanted to make sure to show these products in everyday situations -- like someone could have actually been using them -- and in a way that didn’t sensationalize these fetishes.”
“It wasn’t about judgement at all,” adds Gebhart de Koekkoek.
To capture the toys in their most organic form, the duo focused on shooting them in a “documentary style. “We actually ended up caring for the toys deeply,” says Margulies. And the whole process became far more about destigmatizing masturbation and encouraging self-love.
To celebrate the release of the issue -- and the relaxing of social distancing laws in Berlin -- the duo have teamed up with TRIBES. gallery in Berlin. On June 3, Gebhart de Koekkoek and Margulies will be showcasing works from “Is This Thing On?” and selling select copies of the magazine. Additionally, the duo will be sharing an installation that features the IRL toys, so guests can see, feel and touch the toys and the texture.
Sadly, though, you won’t be able to take any of them home.