This Photo Series Captures Women Before, During And After Orgasm

Here’s a photo series that’s anything but anticlimactic.

To break down taboos about female sexuality ― and celebrate the glory of the orgasm ― photographer Marcos Alberti teamed up with sex toy company Smile Makers for a very bold project: The esteemed photog captured women at four different stages of pleasure: before orgasm, while masturbating, during climax and after orgasm.

The portraits in “The O Project” are provocative, to say the least:

<i>Woah.</i> (Photo: <a href="https://www.masmorrastudio.com/oproject" target="_blank">Marcos Alberti</a>)
Woah. (Photo: Marcos Alberti)

The womens’ facial expressions are natural, relaxed― and a lot less exaggerated than what’s often portrayed in mainstream porn:

Yup, looks familiar.  (Photo: <a href="https://www.masmorrastudio.com/oproject" target="_blank">Marcos Alberti</a>)
Yup, looks familiar.  (Photo: Marcos Alberti)

That was intentional. Alberti told HuffPost that he hopes the photos normalize female masturbation and show what women really look like at the peak of pleasure. (Plus, given how elusive and misunderstood the female orgasm is, it’s refreshing to see women actually getting off.)

“I’m always happy to pick a taboo topic and turn it into a light and fun photo shoot, but I also want to start a conversation about female sexuality with this,” he said. “And I want women to know that what they see portrayed on television and the Internet is not always real.”

The <a href="https://www.masmorrastudio.com/oproject" target="_blank">sex toy company Alberti worked</a> with said they wanted to "upend the social stigma around female sexuality."  (Photo: <a href="https://www.masmorrastudio.com/oproject" target="_blank">Marcos Alberti</a>)
The sex toy company Alberti worked with said they wanted to "upend the social stigma around female sexuality."  (Photo: Marcos Alberti)

If the style of portraits looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen Alberti’s work before. The photographer was approached by Smile Makers for the project after his “3 Glasses Later” photo series, which captured people after one, two, and three glasses of wine, went viral last year.

“They wanted a project that would be powerful for women,” he said. “I saw that they were a sex product brand that really cared about empowering women. After the first call with them, I knew I wanted to do it.”

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The headshots are fun and sexy, but also tastefully done. (Photo: <a href="https://www.masmorrastudio.com/oproject" target="_blank">Marcos Alberti</a>)
The headshots are fun and sexy, but also tastefully done. (Photo: Marcos Alberti)

The sex-positive photo series features women of all ages and nationalities: Singapore, South Africa, China, Thailand, the U.S. and Russia are just some of the countries represented in the project.

See more of the series below, and scroll down for a behind-the-scenes look at how the photos were taken.

H/T Bored Panda

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Nick Cannon

Cannon once <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2012/12/11/nick-cannon-mariah-carey-sex-music-hero/">admitted that he made love to estranged wife Mariah Carey</a> while listening to her music, adding that he'd masturbate to her tunes "when she's not there."     "Sometimes there's special nights when you turn the music on and sometimes it's morning, you roll over and get it poppin'!"
Cannon once admitted that he made love to estranged wife Mariah Carey while listening to her music, adding that he'd masturbate to her tunes "when she's not there." "Sometimes there's special nights when you turn the music on and sometimes it's morning, you roll over and get it poppin'!"

Heidi Klum

"Some people are more experimental in bed and others are more boring. If you are wild and crazy, bring it on so the other person is well aware that you have little devil horns that come out every once in a while," <a href="http://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity-lifestyle/celebrities/heidi-klum-feature?click=pp">she confessed to Marie Claire</a>, adding, "It’s good to make an effort to dress up sometimes, to do things outside of the norm."
"Some people are more experimental in bed and others are more boring. If you are wild and crazy, bring it on so the other person is well aware that you have little devil horns that come out every once in a while," she confessed to Marie Claire, adding, "It’s good to make an effort to dress up sometimes, to do things outside of the norm."

Kyra Sedgwick

The actress told Good Housekeeping <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/kyra-sedgwick-kevin-bacon-doesnt-lie-doesnt-cheat-sexy_n_2270357.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity">she and Kevin Bacon have spiced up their love life</a> now that children Travis, 23, and Sosie, 20, have headed off to college: "There's a lot more walking around the house naked," Sedgwick confesses.
The actress told Good Housekeeping she and Kevin Bacon have spiced up their love life now that children Travis, 23, and Sosie, 20, have headed off to college: "There's a lot more walking around the house naked," Sedgwick confesses.

Gwyneth Paltrow

<a href="http://www.redbookmag.com/fun-contests/celebrity/gwyneth-paltrow-tracy-anderson-interview#slide-1">Speaking about Tracy Anderson's fitness method</a>, Paltrow told Redbook magazine: "It did such wonders for my life, my confidence, my sex life, everything."
Speaking about Tracy Anderson's fitness method, Paltrow told Redbook magazine: "It did such wonders for my life, my confidence, my sex life, everything."

Olivia Wilde

Wilde gave the crowd a mouthful when she shared personal details about her love life at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/olivia-wildes-vagina-monologue-jason-sudeikis_n_1951973.html">the These Girls event at Joe’s Pub</a> in October. She confessed that she and Jason Sudeikis “have sex like Kenyan marathon runners.”
Wilde gave the crowd a mouthful when she shared personal details about her love life at the These Girls event at Joe’s Pub in October. She confessed that she and Jason Sudeikis “have sex like Kenyan marathon runners.”

Cameron Diaz

"The fountain of youth [for me], let's see...I guess it's exercise, healthy diet, lots of water, lots of laughter, lots of sex," <a href="http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2010/06/01/cameron-diaz-july-vogue-2010-cover">Diaz told Vogue in 2010</a>, adding, "yes, sex, we need that as human beings. It's healthy, it's natural, it's what we are here to do!"
"The fountain of youth [for me], let's see...I guess it's exercise, healthy diet, lots of water, lots of laughter, lots of sex," Diaz told Vogue in 2010, adding, "yes, sex, we need that as human beings. It's healthy, it's natural, it's what we are here to do!"

Jada Pinkett-Smith

Jada and Will have been married for 11 years and have two young children, but they know how to keep the spark alive. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/16/jada-pinkett-smith-have-s_n_216427.html">Jada told Redbook in 2011</a>: "Be sneaky... your girlfriend's house at a party. The bathroom. A bedroom. Think of places outside that are comfortable to have sex. Does he have access to his office? Have a fantasy date. Be his secretary! Pull over on the side of the road... Just switch it up."
Jada and Will have been married for 11 years and have two young children, but they know how to keep the spark alive. Jada told Redbook in 2011: "Be sneaky... your girlfriend's house at a party. The bathroom. A bedroom. Think of places outside that are comfortable to have sex. Does he have access to his office? Have a fantasy date. Be his secretary! Pull over on the side of the road... Just switch it up."

John Mayer

Remember when Mayer couldn't keep his mouth shut about his sex life with ex-girlfriend, Jessica Simpson? "Sexually it was crazy. That's all I'll say," <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/john-mayer-jessica-simpson-was-crazy-2010102">he told Playboy in 2010</a>, "It was like napalm, sexual napalm. Did you ever say, 'I want to quit my life and just f**king snort you? If you charged me $10,000 to f**k you, I would start selling all my s**t just to keep f**king you?'"
Remember when Mayer couldn't keep his mouth shut about his sex life with ex-girlfriend, Jessica Simpson? "Sexually it was crazy. That's all I'll say," he told Playboy in 2010, "It was like napalm, sexual napalm. Did you ever say, 'I want to quit my life and just f**king snort you? If you charged me $10,000 to f**k you, I would start selling all my s**t just to keep f**king you?'"

Lamar Odom

“You can tell I’m into the bald,” Odom told George Lopez in 2010 <a href="http://hollywoodlife.com/2010/03/11/khloe-kardashian-lamar-odom-bald-lopez/">while sitting with wife Khloe Kardashian</a>. “You got to keep it clean down there. It’s disgusting if you let it go crazy.”
“You can tell I’m into the bald,” Odom told George Lopez in 2010 while sitting with wife Khloe Kardashian. “You got to keep it clean down there. It’s disgusting if you let it go crazy.”

Michael Douglas

"God bless her, [Catherine Zeta-Jones] likes older guys,"<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/michael-douglas-thank-goo_n_432716.html"> Douglas told AARP</a>. "And some wonderful enhancements have happened in the last few years -- Viagra, Cialis -- that can make us all feel younger."
"God bless her, [Catherine Zeta-Jones] likes older guys," Douglas told AARP. "And some wonderful enhancements have happened in the last few years -- Viagra, Cialis -- that can make us all feel younger."

Robert Downey Jr.

TMI! "I was a compulsive, serial masturbator," <a href="http://www.popcrunch.com/robert-downey-jr-masturbation-confession/">the actor confessed</a>, adding, "I utilized that organ and rode it for everything it was worth."
TMI! "I was a compulsive, serial masturbator," the actor confessed, adding, "I utilized that organ and rode it for everything it was worth."

Angelina Jolie

“I am very lucky with Brad,” <a href="http://hollywoodlife.com/2011/05/31/angelina-jolie-cleopatra-brad-pitt-jennifer-aniston/">she told the Telegraph</a>. “He is a real gentleman, but he is also a real man’s man. He’s got the wonderful balance of being an extraordinary, great, loving father, a very, very intelligent man and physically he’s a real man,  in all things that it means.’”  She also discussed having sex during pregnancy, <a href="http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20205854,00.html">telling EW</a>, "It’s great for the sex life. It just makes you a lot more creative, so you have fun.”
“I am very lucky with Brad,” she told the Telegraph. “He is a real gentleman, but he is also a real man’s man. He’s got the wonderful balance of being an extraordinary, great, loving father, a very, very intelligent man and physically he’s a real man, in all things that it means.’” She also discussed having sex during pregnancy, telling EW, "It’s great for the sex life. It just makes you a lot more creative, so you have fun.”

Ashlee Simpson

After reuniting with then husband Pete Wentz at the 2009 Australia MTV Awards, Simpson got a little ahead of herself, announcing: "Sorry we haven’t seen each other in a while, so we’re going to find a quiet place to go fornicate." (<a href="http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Simpson+talks+of+finding+quiet+place+to+fornicate+at+MTV+Australia...-a0212351994">Via the Courier Mail</a>)
After reuniting with then husband Pete Wentz at the 2009 Australia MTV Awards, Simpson got a little ahead of herself, announcing: "Sorry we haven’t seen each other in a while, so we’re going to find a quiet place to go fornicate." (Via the Courier Mail)

Jessica Simpson

"I’m kind of unstoppable right now," Simpson told Ryan Seacrest <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/pregnant-jessica-simpson-my-sex-drive-is-unstoppable-right-now-2012133">about her sex life during pregnancy</a>. "The Big O is, like, the biggest O ever.”
"I’m kind of unstoppable right now," Simpson told Ryan Seacrest about her sex life during pregnancy. "The Big O is, like, the biggest O ever.”

Ricki Lake

"When I get home [from rehearsals], I train horizontally," Lake told People <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20540947,00.html">while she was competing on "Dancing with the Stars."</a>"[Partner Christian] has noticed a difference in my stamina over the last couple of weeks."
"When I get home [from rehearsals], I train horizontally," Lake told People while she was competing on "Dancing with the Stars.""[Partner Christian] has noticed a difference in my stamina over the last couple of weeks."

Sting

Sting loves to romance his wife Trudie Syler. "There's a playfulness we have; I like the theater of sex," <a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-articles/sting-trudie-styler-interview-0211?click=main_sr">he told Harper's Bazaar.</a> "I like to look good. I like her to dress up. I like to dress her up."
Sting loves to romance his wife Trudie Syler. "There's a playfulness we have; I like the theater of sex," he told Harper's Bazaar. "I like to look good. I like her to dress up. I like to dress her up."

Zoe Saldana

"I like missionary and I like being on my knees too," <a href="http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/celebrity/536025/gwyneth-paltrow-and-zoe-saldana-talk-favourite-sex-positions.html#index=1">Saldana told Marie Claire</a>. "And I love being on top ... I love doggy-style or standing up."
"I like missionary and I like being on my knees too," Saldana told Marie Claire. "And I love being on top ... I love doggy-style or standing up."

Jane Fonda

"At 74, I have never had such a fulfilling sex life," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/jane-fonda-sex-life_n_1661999.html">Fonda told Hello! magazine</a>. "The only thing I have never known is true intimacy with a man. I absolutely wanted to discover that before dying. It has happened with Richard, I feel totally secure with him. Often, when we make love, I see him as he was 30 years ago."
"At 74, I have never had such a fulfilling sex life," Fonda told Hello! magazine. "The only thing I have never known is true intimacy with a man. I absolutely wanted to discover that before dying. It has happened with Richard, I feel totally secure with him. Often, when we make love, I see him as he was 30 years ago."

Kelsey Grammer

“We didn’t do anything much more than kiss for several months,” Kelsey told Conan O’Brien <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/camille-grammer-kelsey-grammer_n_1874717.html">about seeing Kayte Walsh</a> while he was still married to Camille Grammer. “I just wanted to clear that up. She was worth the wait.”  “I would think that would be difficult,” Conan said, laughing. Kelsey replied, “Well, for a guy that hadn’t had sex for a decade it wasn’t that hard!”
“We didn’t do anything much more than kiss for several months,” Kelsey told Conan O’Brien about seeing Kayte Walsh while he was still married to Camille Grammer. “I just wanted to clear that up. She was worth the wait.” “I would think that would be difficult,” Conan said, laughing. Kelsey replied, “Well, for a guy that hadn’t had sex for a decade it wasn’t that hard!”

George Clooney

Although Clooney lost his virginity at the age of 16 ("young, very young, too young"), he told Rolling Stone <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/pictures/confessions-of-a-dirty-mind-george-clooney-talks-sex-politics-and-fame-20111109/0190256#ixzz2EmC4l4Sw">he had his first orgasm when he was much younger.</a> "I believe it was while climbing a rope when I was six or seven years old," he explained. "I mean, nothing came out, but all the other elements were there. I remember getting to the top of the rope, hanging off the rope, and going, "Oh, my God, this feels great!"
Although Clooney lost his virginity at the age of 16 ("young, very young, too young"), he told Rolling Stone he had his first orgasm when he was much younger. "I believe it was while climbing a rope when I was six or seven years old," he explained. "I mean, nothing came out, but all the other elements were there. I remember getting to the top of the rope, hanging off the rope, and going, "Oh, my God, this feels great!"

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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