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May 102011

Sex talk and comedy have a longterm, permanent relationship.

WE have all heard the jokes about sex. I don’t need to repeat them here. Some of them are genuinely funny. Most of the ones I’ve heard are degrading, derogatory to women, and often based on misinformation. If someone were basing their entire sex education on the jokes told and the “funny” things people say, they’d have a pretty skewed perception of how to have safe, happy sex.

Enter educators like Maria Falzone.

Maria Falzone has been a comedian for years. About fifteen years ago she was encouraged to bring her razor-sharp wit and impeccable sense of timing to the world of sex education. She presents her “Sex Rules” show, filled with her personal experience and spot-on advice, to students at colleges and universities and to the rest of us at community events and comedy clubs.

I’ve seen Maria present twice now, once at Momentum and once at a local comedy club, and would see her again in a heartbeat. She’s smart and funny, and speaks my language—sexual empowerment and release of sexual shame for all.

The Momentum Conference was like school for me (only more fun than any school I’ve ever been to) and I took copious notes. Here’s what I said after hearing Maria speak: “I laughed until I cried, and I adore her. Such a fabulous message. I’m feeling giddy to be in such a sex-positive space. The most beautiful moment: watching this entire roomful of people burst into applause and cheers as Maria tells us that we need to educate our young people about sex.”

The show at the Comedy club was just as fun and inspiring. My friends and I sat in the front row of a room packed full of women—this show was women-only, but not all of her shows are. (I definitely suggest going to Maria’s shows with friends so you can share the laughter and joy.) Maria soonhad us laughing, first a little nervously, then gustily,when she told us that she says clitoris (emphasis on the second syllable) because it makes it sound so much more powerful and bad-ass. Though usually shy of speaking in such a situation, the toy maven in me just had to speak up when Maria shared with the audience that she loves vibrators and owns five of them. “Did you say you have five vibrators,” I asked, a little timidly, fearing to upstage her.

“Well, yes. How many do you have?”

“Oh…I (soft laugh) I couldn’t even begin to count.”

“I love you,” was her sincere response, and my evening was made.

I want to regale you with Maria stories. I want to share her hilarious tales about her Italian-born parents (her mother’s warnings about what would happen if Maria had sex, and the time Maria’s father found her vibrator still make me chuckle), or the funny-but-sad tale of her first sexual experience, or the inspiring things that have happened in her lectures to college students, or her sassy, women-positive one-liners. Maria’s speaking has a panache, though, that this blog doesn’t have, and I really want you to see the show if you can, so I won’t spill all her secrets.

Instead of spilling all, I’ll leave you with a few gems:

  • The only reason to have sex is because you want to and because you like it. When you can have sex with the sheets off and the lights on, you can have shame-free sex. (Though I’ll add that turning the lights off or keeping the blankets up can add unique fun and challenge for established lovers.)
  • We empower our young people by teaching them about sex. Children are never too young for us to start teaching them empowerment over their bodies. By not teaching them, we give the power to sexual predators, who capitalize on children’s shame and lack of knowledge.
  • We have so much shame around sex in our society.
    Straight people get the message that sex is wrong, bad, shameful.
    Queer people get the message that they are wrong, bad, shameful.
    No one is wrong, bad, or shameful for any consensual choices they make about sex.

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