Having sex on … stage?

A picture from Clayton Pettet's Tumblr page. Image from Tumblr.
A picture from Clayton Pettet’s Tumblr page. Image from Tumblr.

Clayton Pettet, a 19-year-old performance artist and sophomore at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design has decided to create the performance art piece of a lifetime. “Art School Stole My Virginity” will consist of him losing his homosexual anal virginity with his partner and fellow artist on stage, in front of a live audience. The performance will take place on Jan. 25 in Hackney, East London and on top of all of this, Pettet will be asking the audience for feedback.

Pettet explained on his tumblr that “The idea of ‘Art School Stole My Virginity’ came around when I was 16, when all my peers at school were losing their virginity it was incredibly hard for me to ask why I was still a virgin and why it meant so much to the people all around me.”

Pettet goes on to explain that his “piece isn’t a statement, as much as it is a question. The whole aspect of virginity was incredibly emotional for me and has been ever since. It became a thought process that turned into the performance piece that I wish to create for the London Art Scene has slowed down recently and whilst London is in its prime and is constantly changing the contemporary anymore.”

Pettet wants his piece to “inject some speed into the arts, a performance of the people, if you will. I feel like now is the time for the new scene. To lose my virginity with the new age is the avant garde that London has been unintentionally looking for.”

Obviously, Pettet has caused controversy in all sorts of communities. Everyone is raising an eyebrow, yet this is to be expected. According to the Huffington Post, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement has denounced the project a parody of a relationship between two gay men.

Spokesperson Rev. Sharon Ferguson isn’t: “Quite sure how that’s art. My view is that we believe that all sexuality is a gift from God. It’s about what you do with it and how we use it as an expression of our love for God.” Ferguson later said, “As an art project in front of an audience, where is the love, respect and mutuality in that? Stunts like this cheapen our own sexual relationships.”

Now that we have the facts and some perspectives, let’s break this down.

This kid has some big brass ones.

Good for him. This is bravery if I’ve ever seen it. Most people who have experienced sex know that losing your virginity isn’t always the most glorious experience. It can be painful, uncomfortable, messy, nerve-racking, anxiety-ridden and downright disgusting. Here’s this kid willing to do it in front of an audience filled with everyone from professors and peers to straight-up strangers.

I believe that art is anything created for the expression or provocation of emotion. Therefore, this kid is certainly performing art. Come on people; how many things on this earth do we have without rules? Not many. Two of those limitless things are indeed art and sex. Break some rules every once in a while.

Furthermore, I highly disagree with Rev. Ferguson. I don’t exactly understand how screwing is supposed to be an expression of our love of the big G-O-D. Also, who gives a s–t if it’s in front of an audience? How does that show that there is no “love, respect, and mutuality?” These two students can truly love each other, respect one another, and both mutually want this experience.

Can we just let this kid do what he wants?

No one is asking anyone else to get up on stage and bump uglies, so let this kid create all the art he wants.  On top of that, no one is even asking anyone to go. This art piece is a choice, and attending it is one as well. If you don’t like it, then don’t go. Even as a gay man, this makes me squirm a little bit. Would it be interesting to see how “Art School Stole My Virginity” is staged and performed? Hell yeah. Does that mean I want to go and watch this kid get plowed for the first time? No, it doesn’t. Frankly, I have zero intention of attending Pettet’s performance, but I’m still in full support of this idea.

Let’s push some boundaries. Let’s scare people and make them feel nervous. That’s what art is about. I have said it before, and I will say it again: the only things people really care about in art are things that make them horny, piss them off or make their jaws hit the floor. We live in a day and age where in a video game like “Grand Theft Auto 5” you can get a lap dance and select “touch the stripper” as an option (if you don’t believe me, the link is an instructional video on how to have a virtual threesome.)  There are places, in this world, on our planet, where women are having sex with donkeys on stage for money.

If this kid wants to f–k on stage with someone he cares about and perform it as art, then let the kid f–k.