Artist Mischa Badasyan says his art project “Save the Date,” in which he forced himself to go on dates and have sex with a different man every day for an entire year, has permanently ruined the way he is able to view and experience sex forever.
The 28-year-old, who was born in Russia and now lives in Berlin, embarked on his sex project to challenge ideas of sexuality and homosexuality in the new age of ‘hook-up’ & dating apps like Grindr and Tinder.
Last year, Badasyan’s said his project aims to ask powerful questions about today’s hook-up culture, particularly within the gay experience, and how that, in turn, translates to loneliness. Casual, consistent sex is not only an old gay stereotype but is also easily enabled by apps like Grindr, Scruff or Mister. Badasyan’s performance may seem ludicrous at first, but he’s only pushing an everyday reality to its extremes.
“I didn’t like the dates, I didn’t like the sex, I didn’t like anything,” he told VICE in a follow-up interview after he completed the art project.
Badasyan said he was forced to stop using apps like Grindr and Scruff because of the constant stream of negative responses he received. He instead resorted to finding partners the old-fashioned way, by cruising the streets of Berlin.
He says his sexual encounters quickly became emotionless and stale, causing him to look for ways to intensify his experiences.
“I had to use violence to enjoy sexuality,” he said. “I was punching people. I became a machine.”
Some of the men he met also turned violent. “They didn’t punch me, but they were screaming at me, one guy was about to hit me with a car, another smashed me with a bottle of beer,” he recalled.
He also received an online death threat from a neo-Nazi and was pepper-sprayed by a man on the street.
“Some of my dates became friends, art partners, and buddies,” he said.
One of his dates was with a 20-year-old student Ahmed Baldr, who identifies as heterosexual.
“I had never had any sort of relationship with a man before, and I was curious what a date with Mischa would be like. So I wanted to be a part of the project,” Baldr told VICE. They went on a dinner date and partied at a club before hitting the bedroom.
“Badasyan slept with a huge variety of people over 365 days and nights, from a 76-year-old journalist to a Berlin-based Scottish yoga instructor and at least one Serbian porn star,” writes VICE. “During the year, Badasyan traveled to and slept with people in Sweden, Denmark, Holland, the Czech Republic, and Poland.”
The performance artist admits that his sexual encounters have changed the way he is able to view and experience sex forever.
“My sexuality is very strange now,” he said. “I don’t go on dates with gay people anymore. The only way [I can] enjoy sex is voyeurism in men’s bathrooms, and by picking up of straight, bi, and undecided guys in the street in Berlin.”