Happy Anniversary Bedpost Confessions

Photo Courtesy Lisa Dean

It’s hard to believe that Bedpost Confessions, a show and experience and mission that I’ve been blessed to be a part of, is having it’s second anniversary tonight at 8 pm.  I’m so in love with all of our performers over the past two years, who are filled with talent and courage and the ability to weave a spell of magic around and through the space, not to mention our volunteers and venue staff who give us such support and warmth and a feeling of safety and whose dedication really floors us. Finally a huge thank you to the audience members who have come back again and again, brought friends, and given us such great feedback and shown such passion for the show. You all are amazing.

For a little over two years Sadie, Mia, Rosie and I have been meeting, talking, thinking, contemplating, structuring, and dreaming about Bedposts. They are awesome women.

We’ve wrestled with what it is, what it can be. What the ethics are around human sexuality and how we discuss it. Why discussion and open conversation are even needed. Why consent matters and why critical thinking is so important. How our bodies belong to us and are beautiful and should be seen as joyful and beautiful and pleasurable.

And of course, about how to make the shows entertaining, informative, and filled with top notch talent.

Along the way we’ve gotten feedback from our performers and audience members, some of which has been incredibly surprising and inspiring. I mean, as a producer I’m always happy to hear, “That show knocked my socks off!” but I’m thrilled deep into my heart when I hear that coming to the show and listening to the stories has allowed a couple to open up their dialogue with each other.

Or encouraged a person to take more risks in their relationships.

Or gotten a parent to get more involved with promoting comprehensive sex ed in schools.

Or led someone to work in social justice.

Or helped a woman heal after an assault.

This is when I know we are doing holy work.

Holy. That’s a trigger word for any agnostics or atheists out there and I get that. But it’s a great word! Here is it’s etymology. I went ahead and bolded the section I’m referring to when I say holy.

“holy (adj.)
O.E. halig “holy, consecrated, sacred, godly,” from P.Gmc. *hailaga- (cf. O.N. heilagr, O.Fris. helich “holy,” O.S. helag, M.Du. helich, O.H.G. heilag, Ger. heilig, Goth. hailags “holy”). Adopted at conversion for L. sanctus.

Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but probably it was “that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated,” and connected with O.E. hal (see health) and O.H.G. heil “health, happiness, good luck” (source of the German salutation Heil). Holy water was in Old English. Holy has been used as an intensifying word from 1837; used in expletives since 1880s (e.g. holy smoke, 1883, holy mackerel, 1876, holy cow, 1914, holy moly etc.), most of them euphemisms for holy Christ or holy Moses.”

Of course we are putting on a great show. Theater is an ancient form of worship after all, calling down the gods and all that. And storytelling is a primal form of sharing and connecting with others. But the work behind all that is what I’m so moved by. The dedication to something that many in our country aren’t really positive about, or even our state (just look at things like our teen pregnancy stats, sex ed in schools, and fights against groups like Planned Parenthood for starters).

I personally wrestle with the reality that there are individuals in the world who do not share my beliefs about sexuality, relational rights, and how our bodies are as much a part of our souls as our…soul is. If there is one. Which I don’t want to get into at the moment. Regardless, I honor where those folks are but will continue to stand with my mirrors reflecting goodness back at the world and with my candles to light the way for those wanting to walk that path.

What I mean to say is, is that I am proud to do holy work regarding our bodies, our minds, our sexuality as humans. I’m proud to stand up and fight for the right of people to love and join and raise families. I’m proud of the work we are doing to celebrate consent for humans of all genders, to support individuals in their right to control their reproduction, and I’m proud that we recognize that our bodies bring us pleasure and joy and playfulness and that we can indeed find an ethic that supports and respects bodily autonomy, health and connection without having to engage in shame, fear, ignorance and repression.

I wrote this last year, about our wholesomeness. And this year about the work being holy. Which is, indeed, the same thing.


Wholesome, July 2011

I’ve been thinking a great deal about sexuality lately. Shows are growing quite popular, kind of to standing room levels, and the vibe in the room is always so good, so….wholesome, even.

I have a hard time explaining what I mean by that, wholesome, though here is a lovely definition, “Promoting health and well being in mind or spirit, or body.”

How can a show that covers the raunchy range of human sexual experience, that includes confessions of extremely creative and (by my measure) nearly physically impossible bodily acts, be wholesome? Certainly our Right Wing wouldn’t consider our show “good for the country.” I’m sure we’d be branded as witches, Jezebels, harlots and traitors of proper womanhood, if they got a hold of us.

Well, there are the obvious things one could point out. There is no nudity. There aren’t any kind of hook up mechanisms. There aren’t images or films involving actual sex. But that’s not really what I’m getting at. And to consider nudity unwholesome is a whole other post, isn’t it?

There are also a few less obvious things I’ve noticed. A wide range of ages, races, orientations, abilities and gender identification. Humor. Humor does tend to keep things light, but it also helps reveal things.

What I think it gets down to is honor. I think this wholesomeness, this health, vitality, sound, fit and hearty production; this sensual literate intelligent funny experience is something that happened quite organically, because it came naturally from the hearts of the producers, the artists who have performed with us, and the audience who has gathered over the past year.

The approach is that sexual rights are human rights. That what we do is political. That how we gather is intentional. That we are relational animals and want to connect in a multitude of ways.

I think, and I believe my co-producers and artists agree, we are honoring an integral part of the human experience, sexuality and relationships, that is often quite dishonored in our culture.

To do that, means other people can feel honored and offer respect to the body, to pleasure and to connection. To feel less shame about our bodies, to be kind and loving and accept each other in all our diversity. To promote a feeling of well being in mind and body (as well as a creation of very happy tingling and sexy feelings all over).

So for me? That’s the very definition of wholesomeness.


–Looking for one-on-one coaching on relationships, sexuality, life passages, or need support with personal or career goals? Seeking seeking a facilitator for your group or team to help promote healthy group dynamics and effective communication? Contact me here!

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2 responses to “Happy Anniversary Bedpost Confessions

  1. Pingback: Stories of Community | Julie Gillis

  2. Pingback: Spirituality and the Left | Julie Gillis

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