HTC Senior Avery Plummer launches nymph(o) magazine

HTC Art History major Avery Plummer launches nymph(o) magazine.
K.E. Fisher
November 3, 2021

The genre of the queer, sex-positive magazine has been through the ringer over the course of time. As most varieties of media have had to face digitalization and a decrease of interest in physical print, few people — particularly young people raised in the “digital age” — take charge in encouraging the art of putting sex-positive writing and content into print.  Avery Plummer, a senior Art History student in the Honors Tutorial College, is one of those people. She’s taken on the task of creating and producing “nymph(o),” a magazine focusing in on queer sexuality and experiences. The first copies of nymph(o) launch on Thursday, November 4. 

Part of her senior thesis, Avery defines nymph(o) as a queer, sex-positive magazine that features art, photography and writing from herself and other student creators. At its core, nymph(o) focuses on queer history and the portrayal of queer sexuality in media — something important for both LGBTQ people as well as cisgender, heterosexual people to learn about. 

The title of the magazine aims to put a new spin on the word nymphomaniac, as Avery writes on page two: “... nymph(o) proposes a new connotation for the word — a combination of ‘nymph’ and ‘nymphomaniac’ that surpasses any gendered expectation and aims to represent people for what and who they authentically are.” That is the definition that Avery hopes readers can find confidence and personal identity in, as she refers to readers throughout the magazine as “nymph(o)s.”

As a freshman in college, Avery discovered “On Our Backs” (OOB), the first woman-run lesbian erotica magazine that ran from 1984 to 2006. With encouragement from her Director of Studies, she decided to dive into research, which continued throughout the next four years. In nymph(o), Avery features interviews from Deborah Sundahl and Annie Sprinkle, two of the prominent creators of OOB. 

Avery reflects on OOB by describing it as the first time female sexuality was displayed in a way that portrayed women as more than purely submissive creatures shown through the male gaze. It is this mission of OOB that Avery hopes to continue in her work on nymph(o). 

On page 12 of the magazine, Avery explains that nymph(o), inspired by OOB, makes an effort to continue steering feminism in a direction that affirms and celebrates intersectionality, queer sexuality, and sex positivity. “We take the sex-positive groundwork that OOB laid down and we work to continue expanding what feminism, femininity, and sexuality can look like.” 

While the ideas and inspiration for nymph(o) has been a largely internal project for Avery, she credits the Honors Tutorial College for providing her the time and resources to explore her fascinations with this subject. Creative tutorials in sexuality studies and even printmaking have helped prepare her to take on such a project. 

“HTC really allowed me to learn all of these different skills that I just might not have been able to take the classes for,” said Avery. “It also gave me a lot of connections. I’m just very thankful for the resources that I’ve been provided.” 

While Avery did much of the writing in this first edition herself, she hopes to continue to put more and more responsibility of content creation into the hands of other queer artists and allow it to grow by expanding the community that it serves and represents. One of the main goals of nymph(o) is for that reception of content to be expanded, and that the sense of community surrounding the magazine can be broadened to welcome more of an open-call of artists and writers. 

“Having it be my thesis and having to make it my words was kind of a challenge that I had to overcome,” said Avery about working with the magazine as her thesis project. “So I tried to kind of take a step back when I could and, you know, explain that this is just the beginning and that it will be a big community effort.” 

The launch party for nymph(o) will take place at the Athens Community Center on East State Street on Thursday, November 4, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Artwork and screen-printed merch from local artists will be sold. Money raised from magazine sales will benefit the Cincinnati-based Ohio Lesbian Archives.