Sexuality is like a language and I really wish for people to become multilingual
Director Maxime Dreesen met us at De Studio’s cozy salon, where their Salon Sex Sessions will be happening. They talked about their research and upcoming protest performance Youth For Sex. We discussed the danger of taboos, the need for Countersex Education, and the importance of both laughing and failing.
So, tell us about Youth For Sex.
It’s about finding alternative forms of sexuality and fantasies. We play with the boundaries of what sexuality is. Youth For Sex is a young, fun group of people who want to learn from each other. We've been writing manifestos, creating alter egos, and writing a protest song. Every week we’ve worked together to develop these young people’s personal stories. Each of them has their own fight, and my biggest goal was to create a space where they feel free. It's not a typical theatre project, it’s an activist project. We’ve been making a performance with the beauty, emotion, and vulnerability of asking for a revolution.
Is it created for a youthful audience specifically?
For me, it’s important to reach as many people as possible. Making a social contribution gives me a lot more joy than being purely artistic. I want to show something that I would have wanted to see myself when I was young. Liberation, emancipation and anti-discrimination begin when you see someone being themselves in a beautiful, vulnerable way and expressing their story. The political message comes across because you see a human being just being a human being and asking for acceptance. We’re not apologizing: we’re claiming our space.
Everything bad begins with taboos
How will you develop the project?
The first edition of Youth For Sex is over now. Their stories are there, their energy is there, their manifestos are there. I hope people take the manifesto reader home and read it. Mostly I’ll take what I’ve learned and take it into my new performance Countersex Education.
In failure, there’s a beauty in reinvention
How was your own sex education?
It was quite traumatic and so limited. Sexuality is way more than pregnancy and STDs, it’s fantasy, gender, possibilities of pleasure, power play. There’s so much going on. Parents are afraid that if you teach sex to young people then they’ll start too young, or if you teach about homosexuality then they’ll become gay. That is super ignorant. Everything bad happens with taboos. People start to develop in secret and feel ashamed. There's self-harm in the idea that it's bad to be horny. This project started because I was angry. I would have processed my sexuality much earlier if I had had the freedom to learn about it. I felt like society took that away, brutally.
How do you see sexuality?
Sexuality is like a language, and I really wish for people to become multilingual. People can speak multiple languages, but you have to learn them and get in touch with them. In every language, there's beauty and identity.
Sexuality never stops. I see sexuality as playing. My profession is playing and performing, so sex is a great match. You can play a role, create scenes, concepts and explore things you enjoy. It's a game. I think laughing with sexuality is almost taboo, but it can be so much fun.
What central ideas have come up in your research?
My biggest fascination is failure. It’s also why I like to work with non-professionals. In failure there’s a beauty of reinvention, it's not necessarily bad. I try to unlearn a lot and dismantle concepts of sexuality and gender. In the future, I hope I can help people to forget who they are a bit, so they can reinvent themselves.