Sex-positive laughs: new comedy show turns Melbourne on
By: Archer Magazine
THAT SEXY SHOW is one of the more sex-focused events at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Teams of comedians, including Triple M’s Geraldine Hickey, battle it out for points in a game show with a sex-positive slant.
We spoke to Honor about the sex-negative culture in Australia, coping with abuse, and her self-proclaimed obsession with sex.
Trigger warning: this content contains descriptions of sexual abuse that some readers may find confronting.
Q. You’ve been doing comedy shows for two years. What encouraged you to create a sex-themed game show?
In my artwork I’ve always been fascinated with shame, with the shadow, with the things that go unsaid. I’m also fascinated by sex and sexuality. I did a number of artworks around sex and shame, including graffiti-ing walls with giant pictures of my naked crotch…
Humour affords us a powerful opportunity for connection, education and change, firstly because it’s fun, so people want to come, and secondly because it removes your guards, and makes people open to possibility.
Q. How racy does the show get?
It gets pretty racy. It’s an R18+ show and we make very few concessions. We play pornography (of the ridiculous variety), dissect Cosmo sex tips (sometimes with physical demos), and find the strangest sex toys the beloved internet has to offer.
Q. What does sex-positivity mean to you?
I just recently finished a workshop with Dossie Easton, co-author of The Ethical Slut, a game changer of a book for me. She defines a slut as “someone of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical notion that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you”.
I would probably add that “anything is ok between consenting adults”.
For me, sex-positivity isn’t just about sex being a good thing, it is also founded on an understanding that people express their sexuality in different and beautiful ways, and they are all valid.
Australia is still a very sex-negative culture. This is prevalent in our sex education system; slut-shaming; rape-culture; the hoops sex workers need to jump through to do their job; and the awful “sex advice” churned out by teen magazines every month.
Q. Where does your obsession with sex come from?
My sex education was completely inadequate and in no way prepared me for mature sexual relationships. This inadequacy led me to some awful situations, including a long-term relationship in which I was emotionally abused and raped for over a year. I was never told that I had agency over my own body, that being in a relationship didn’t equate to becoming someone else’s property. I thought repeated non-consensual sex was what adult relationships looked like.
This experience solidified my sex obsession as I learned (the hard way) the consequences of a consent-negative, slut-shaming society. This is why I’m passionate about how we talk about sex, because I know how much silence and stigma can damage a person, how it can isolate you and erode your sense of worth, and how easily this can be dispelled by being open and accepting of each other.
Q. How has Australia developed, in your eyes, in terms of its willingness to discuss sex?
We still have a long way to go, but with the democratisation of media that the internet has afforded us, sex-positive communities are connected across the globe, and able to petition support more easily. Just last week, I weighed in on a proposal to change legislation around sex workers in Canada.
While I’m a relative young’un in the sex-positive world, my more esteemed sluts tell me that the younger generation are finding congruent sexual freedom at a younger age. So while the iGeneration may be lauded for being constantly attached to their phones, they have the opportunity to connect with specific communities in ways that offer them more choice, freedom and legitimacy.
That Sexy Show is on at The Butterfly Club on 10 April and 17 April at 10pm. Buy tickets here.