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Thomas Demand. Room (Zimmer). 1996

Bi-Pap Machine and Lover's Perfume

For your museum dedicated to female orgasm, you asked me to contribute an artifact from the site of my orgasm(s).…I am giving you a bi-pap mask (an old one, which I no longer use).

This tangle of tubing may seem a strange choice; but the fact is, I am usually hooked up to my bi-pap when I have an orgasm. A bi-pap is a ventilatory support machine – that is, it helps to augment breathing. I wear this mask over my nose, strapped around me head.

A mechanical pump sends a strong puff of air through my nostrils, and into my lungs, in response to each of my breaths. This makes each breath deeper, fuller, and more effective…

I began using the bi-pap in 1997, after a particularly bad series of respiratory infections. A sleep study determined that my breathing became very shallow at night, when I slept….This is a fairly common complication of my physical disability, spinal muscular atrophy.

I had resisted the idea of “becoming dependent on a machine,” for breathing. This reluctance seems ridiculous to me now…after all, I have relied on a variety of machines for a long time – everything from my motorized wheelchair to my voice-activated computer…. I think part of my hesitation revolved around the fact that the bi- pap and all its accoutrements would be such a conspicuous presence in my bed…Would it interfere with my sex life? Would it be too awkward, weird looking, and un-sexy?

The reality is quite different. If anything, the bi-pap has played a very positive role in my erotic life.

I lie in bed with my lover, and the bi-pap pump is either a nice rhythmic lullaby or when we’re in the mood, it’s heavy breathing before the foreplay even starts. The mask covers my nose, but leaves my eyes and my ears available for kissing, chewing, etc.

My mouth is a bit less accessible but if feels all the more exciting when my lover lifts the tube up to reach in and lick or kiss my lips. Then, when her hand travels down along my shoulders, back, hips ad ass, the long tube winds like a vine between and around us….

Our mounting excitement brings us closer and hotter She probes, seeking the places she knows will bring me toward orgasm. As she finds each one, each sacred spot, I close my eyes, and I breathe. Deeper and deeper, nourishing my energy without straining my lungs.

Breathe, breathe, breathe…oh BREATHE. My breaths turn into moans, then screams,then grateful sighs…After ward, I lie there, breathing without effort, letting the orgasm’s echoes suffuse my body and follow me into sleep.

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