Hearing stories of over 65’s having sex is a genius work at the 2017 Melbourne Festival

Sex is such a wonderful exploration of two bodies on an intimate and physical level. For some, it started at a very young age, for others they may have been late bloomers or are even still virgins. Either which way, sex has always been a conversation topic for everyone, but have we as a society come to a point where young people only have sex, and the oldies don’t? Sure it’s awkward to think about your parents having sex, maybe even your grandparents but let’s take a moment to really think about what the act really means.

Today, young people are almost desensitised to the ideas of sex, and it has become the norm to explore and experiment from a young age. But where did it all begin? Do you recall those early moments of sexual arousal? What was your first time like? Have you experienced abuse perhaps? Do people still have sex when they’re old and grey? There are so many layers to the notion of having sex but the conversation is kind of closed of between certain age groups. Mammalian Diving Reflex has broken down these walls and opened up the conversation in an open forum type framework called All The Sex I’ve Ever Hadwhere real over 65 year olds from Melbourne’s community reveal their personal stories between the sheets.

Every individual’s sexual history is different but being in an open space to share and listen to these stories was a really powerful way to bridge to gap. The panel consisted of six Melburnians; three men and three women, each with a lifetime of wisdom to impart unto us. Working chronologically from birth, each of the six unveiled what life and sexual antics were like through the decades. It was utterly fascinating hearing stories of delicate pursuits in the 30s to acts of sexual abuse even in the 1940s. In many ways, these members of the Melbourne community were relatable in ways even at 29 you can draw parallels.

Being open about your sexuality, experiences and tribulations is what makes our society as colourful as it is. This performance piece is a celebration of the human form and a way to open up key talking points to the audience. Yes, audience participation was included however it was very much from the premise that it is a part of the storytelling and in ways, a social experiment. Sometimes you think you’re the only one going through an issue, or you’re the only one to have ever felt that way. If you stand proud and share your story you’ll find solice in the most unthought of places.

The support and encouragement these six panelists had for each other was really endearing, and I think this work served its greater purpose. It’s totally and 100% normal that over 65s still have sex; I sure hope I am when I get there! Cultural taboos can hold us back but it’s time to break that prejudice down, and own up to our experiences and share them. All The Sex I’ve Ever Had is about accepting who you are wholeheartedly, being brave yet vulnerable, and re-establishing the idea that every single person has a story to tell. You just have to ask the questions and listen.

While All The Sex I’ve Ever Had has finished its run, there are still plenty more innovative works to see at the 2017 Melbourne Festival. Click here to view the full program.

Melbourne Festival runs until October 22nd.

The reviewer attended the show on opening night, October 12th. Images by Jim Lee.