People rarely kiss and tell.
At Bedpost Confessions, a live show about sex, relationships and everything in between, kissing and telling is what they do. With thousands of podcast listeners, Bedpost Confessions is one of the most popular recurring shows in the Austin area. The show, created in 2010 by Sadie Smythe, Mia Martina and Julie Gillis, intends to not only entertain with racy topics but to educate as well.
During the performances, audience members are encouraged to participate by anonymously submitting their experiences, secrets and unmentionables, which are then read aloud by a handful of performers. Gillis said by bringing in all walks of life, the show is able to highlight more honest and memorable stories. While the audience is commonly made up of individuals aged 30 and up, Martina and Gillis stress the importance of younger people speaking up about their sexuality and experiences.
“We would love more college kids to come,” Gillis said. “Texas schools are known to either not have sex education or it’s incorrect.”
Having taught seminars at the University of Texas, Gillis said she’s experienced the ramifications of poor communication about sex and relationships.
“People in college are at a really important age where you need other people to talk to and understand that your body and sex is healthy,” Gillis said. “The stories are a way to teach. Our show is built on ethics and education that’s merged into entertainment.”
In a culture that censors nudity, sexually explicit language and often puts heavy emphasis on modesty while shaming promiscuity, Gillis said she understands why attending one of their shows for the first time can be nerve-wracking.
“I think that in our general culture, sex is a little dangerous,” Gillis said. “It’s something we’re all encouraged to have but been also encouraged not to have. So a show about [sex] is really dangerous to some people. I don’t know what the audience expects, but once they arrive and hear the stories they have such a good time.”
For many, opening up about personal subjects such as sexuality can be difficult. To create a supportive environment that encourages their attendees to share their thoughts and feelings, Bedpost Confessions holds their shows in some of the more intimate venues in Austin, such as Spider House Patio Bar & Cafe.
“Being open about one’s experiences in sexuality and relationships can be hard but very fulfilling,” Martina said. “Working with people, getting them to write down their stories and then wanting to come back after their first show — it’s fabulous to see that process.”
The producers of Bedpost Confessions are taking a different approach to storytelling on Feb. 18 in their series (un)Spoken. While the normal shows cover all topics, usually with a humorous approach, (un)Spoken handles heavier, more serious issues. Featured stories in the upcoming show cover a range of subjects, from the life and death of past relationships to the pains of being forced into reparative therapy. This month’s theme is “Coming Together/Breaking Apart.”
While the more serious subject matter may be harder to speak up about, the show retains its humor and power with the honesty and sincerity of its stories. Martina said (un)Spoken is a chance for people of all ages, genders, sexualities and backgrounds to share their stories, what they’ve learned and what they still may have questions about.
“Whether the stories are about things that break you or if they’re stories about loss and gains, the experience is very powerful,” Martina said.
- When: Feb. 18, 8 p.m.
- Where: The North Door, 501 Brushy St
- Admission: $12 for students, $15 GA