Humans are sexy. I’m not just talking about the hot, green-eyed Frenchman from the cafe down the road. I’m talking about you. And me. In fact all of us.
In the story of creation in Genesis, the first thing humans are told to do, ordered to do, is be fruitful and multiply. This isn’t just about babies, it’s about owning every part of who you are and what you are, about being settled in your own skin, knowing who you are and what you’re about and then getting on with it.
Command number one: be sexy.
In spite of it being right up there ‘in the beginning’ sex is very much a dirty topic in church. It’s a subject wearing a sign round its neck that reads ‘Don’t touch’ oblivious to the irony. Traditionally the Christian viewpoint on sex is that it belongs solely within marriage. So if you’re a good boy or girl and you’re not married, you are defined in some way by the absence of sex more than its presence.
Yet humans, married or not, are sexy.
So the discussion on what sex is, what sexy is, what sexuality is gets muttered like dirty talk in secret instead. Sometimes it spills out into the news, normally when the Church of England synod meets to debate women and gays. It’s rarely talked about from the pulpit, but this conversation gets whispered behind the scenes of church congregations all the time.
So Virgins was a pleasant antidote, an upfront, outright, frank series of monologues, written by actor, writer and director Chloe Austin. She collected true stories as told by women and transformed them into a series of hilarious, poignant and brutally honest monologues. They covered celibacy, masturbation, homosexuality, one night stands, abuse, prostitution, guilt, frustration, sunday school rules, and ambiguous pulpit teaching with singing, dancing and lots of laugh out loud moments. Some of the stories had real pathos and there was a considerable measure of tragedy there too.
In fact all the things that are missing from a full and frank faith-based conversation.
I guess it was written as a sort of alt-Vagina Monologues, and in that context it makes sense, but I’d have liked to hear monologues on sexuality from a male perspective too.
What was most wonderful about it were the conversations we all had afterwards, like the fabric of convention and restraint had been temporarily torn, and we could all exchange our own stories like an open confessional without judgement.