At fringe festivals in Adelaide and Minneapolis over the last three years, I’ve seen entertaining and educational shows on these taboo topics. Yet, mentioning this to friends brings nervous laughter, uncomfortable reactions and a desire to avoid discussing the topics. These normal, small, but important parts of our bodies – we all have them – just can’t be discussed normally…and we are the poorer for it. Let’s talk about them.Penises
Puppetry of the Penis is a show that has played worldwide for many years…but I’ve only seen it recently. For an hour you see two well hung naked guys (no puppets here!) turning their penises and scrotums into the most amazing shapes (the hamburger is a highlight). It’s very, very funny. Girls screamed with laughter. Boys/men (at least those not so well hung) squirmed.
The penis is an ugly shape. But it has very important functions (peeing, sex, procreation). Most men want bigger ones, feeling they are undersized (though women say size doesn’t matter). Most men see very few penises (there’s a ‘don’t look’ etiquette and men are constantly seeking information on ‘average’ size).
Men don’t discuss their penis or share information about them. But their ego is connected to good penis performance (getting erect and ejaculating on demand). So, all round, it’s good to see some penises, laugh at them but learn too in a non-confronting environment.
Glittery Clittery was a 3-women fully clothed, entertaining and educational musical show with a person-sized vulva/vagina/clitoris puppet to demonstrate the parts and how to use the clitoris for best sexual performance effect. Unless you are using a mirror or down there having a close look, the whole vulva area is not easy to observe, despite its important functions (peeing, sex and procreation for vaginas, sex pleasure for the clitoris and vulva as overall protective agent).
Men are mostly focussed on the vagina (to satisfy their own penetration needs). Women know that the clitoris is their main source of pleasure (though men have little education on how to give that pleasure) and people mostly call the vulva the ‘vagina’, demonstrating our overall ignorance!
While vulvas are generally viewed as beautiful, vaginas (which are basically invisible) and clitorises are not pretty, but they do give rise to amazing, wonderful experiences, regardless of looks – just like penises.
Boobilicious was a 4-women, fully clothed, non-sensual, entertaining musical show that tried to ‘normalise’ what have become, in the white Western world, the most sexualised objects of a woman’s body. While the real object of breasts is to provide milk for babies, clothing (bras), media (Page 3 Girls), fashion, entertainment and porn have elevated the breast to the highest level of importance to men…and hence to women trying to appeal to men. An alien visiting earth might imagine that procreation only happened if a woman had the ‘right’ breast shape.
The show dealt with ‘real’ breasts (hence deliberately not titillating at all), the problems of not having ‘perfect’ breasts, the fact that non-white/most societies do not focus on the breast (many societies see topless women as normal, just as there are topless men), and the problems of gravity and asymmetry for breasts.
Since we see so many breasts in everyday society, this show was less educational, but it did demonstrate how important the breast is perceived to be. During the show, I wondered what life would be like if we instead focussed on the elbow or the ear as a sexual centre… They are actually equally or more important than breasts…
I’m probably almost as embarrassed as you are about these topics. I wouldn’t volunteer to go on stage for these shows, as some did. Exposing my penis might embarrass me. Yet, if we could normalise these parts of the body, know the range of their looks, see them more often (nude swimming, going nude, full nudity in entertainment – both sexes), talk about them and their functions, their health, their problems, our society might be just a little bit better balanced. And why did this software keep changing ‘vulva’ to ‘vulcans’ as I wrote?)
Thanks to those brave bpeople for their entertaining and educational, normalising shows. Much more is needed to get rid of the nervous laughter they evoke.