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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Kelly Stone to combine sexual education and comedy in her performance, ÒGREYed expectationsÓ

Kelly Stone once walked in on her son attempting to insert a tampon into his butt. Her son knew what a tampon was and what it was used for - that it was for his mother's "gina," and he didn't have a "gina."

He proved his knowledge by bumping the tampon into his testicles.

After Stone told this story to an audience, it produced two responses: laughter and awareness, things she constantly utilizes as a sexual educator.

Stone, a sex educator and comedian, will be presenting GREYed expectations on Wednesday as part of Sub-Board, Inc.'s (SBI) Sex Week. Her performance, a combination of education and comedy, focuses on consent and communication in sex and sexuality, according to Jane Fischer, director of SBI Health Education.

Sex Week is a collection of events hosted through SBI that focus on "education, exploration and discussion of healthy sexuality," Fischer said. She hopes it will be an opportunity for students to consider and discuss aspects of sexual health, such as the choice to be sexually active, communication with partners, safe sex and how consent functions in concept and in practice.

Demire Williams, assistant director of health services, met Stone at the National Sex Ed Conference in New Jersey this fall and enjoyed the way Stone delivered material in a way that made the audience laugh while simultaneously provoking thought about healthy sexuality, Fischer said. When Williams asked Stone to come speak at UB, she agreed.

"I use comedy and use humor to break down barriers," Stone said. "I think if I can get you laughing, then you're letting down a wall and then you can let in some information."

Stone does this in the comedy club as well as the classroom.

Her comedy has always been "sexually charged," Stone said. She started doing stand up in 2006 while living in Philadelphia.

"The very first time I did comedy, I talked about how it really irritates me how people say it takes balls to do something because balls are really not powerful," Stone said. "My punch line was that, you know, instead of saying that it took balls, let's agree to say that it takes labia majora."

That's when she lost the audience, Stone said. She tried the joke multiple times in different cities. The audience would be laughing until she said the word majora, "and then all of a sudden, silence."

Education and comedy have always been connected for Stone. She can't remember a set where she hasn't had to explain something to her audience.

She credits her upbringing as one of the underlying motives for her current career as a sexual educator.

Stone was a first-generation college student, born to a 17-year-old mother; her sister, when Stone was in college, became pregnant at the age of 15. Stone was the only person in her family to not have a child in her teen years.

She didn't want her mother's life and her way to avoid that was by practicing abstinence until college. However, Stone realized how ignorant she and her friends were about sexual health, and after taking an adolescent development class during her junior year of college, Stone became interested in becoming a sexual educator.

After finishing her undergraduate degree in family consumer science, Stone took a couple years off, some of which she spent working in a bar. She attended the University of Texas at Austin for graduate school, studying health education and focused her master's thesis on adolescent sexual behavior and partner negotiation for condom use and self-advocacy.

Partner negotiation and communication is something she will discuss during GREYed expectations.

The idea for the performance came after many of Stone's students came to talk to her about 50 Shades of Grey. With the recent craze over the novel, she decided to read the book, so as to have a "better conversation" about it. After she finished reading, Stone realized many people were trying things without proper knowledge.

Stone believes sex is a "common denominator" of society.

"We live in a sex-phobic and a sex-centric society," Stone said. "We're a little bit schizophrenic [about] how we think about sex. So it's almost like you're being offended while you're laughing at the same time."

Stone believes because the country is founded on Puritan heritage and values, as in The Scarlet Letter, there is a lot of sex phobia. However, at the same time, movies and advertisements feature sex heavily because sex sells. So while sex is everywhere, people are still afraid to discuss it.

Stone is a single mom, a sexual educator and a comedian. She is very open with her two boys - who were born 15 months apart - which sometimes shocks people, she said.

"I've been at parties where my 2-year-old, when he was two, walked up to a pregnant woman and patted her belly and he said, 'you have a baby in your uterus,'" Stone said.

When people looked toward Stone after her son said this, her response was: "don't you?"

Many times, people are shocked or will "freak out" by what her children say because it's so appropriate, Stone said. Her children have attended drag events and understand that a married man and woman do not always raise kids.

She answers their questions, but she doesn't tell them things they don't need to know, such as information about the clitoris.

Open communication is something Stone will discuss during her performance. She believes open conversations between partners about sex is very important, although Stone thinks many people still don't know how to do so.

"Maybe I sexted you and I told you I want to do dirty things, but now you're over and I just ate a big meal and started my period and I don't want to do that, but I don't know how to talk to you about that," Stone said. "That's what I'm really interested in is getting people having a better conversation about it."

While Stone understands the topic of sex is difficult to discuss sometimes, she believes her performances are relatable to everyone in an audience, no matter how someone's sexual experience level might differ from another's.

Fischer describes Stone's performance as a blend of comedy, education and entertainment. Stone plans on combining personal stories, interactive dialogue and a text-your-answer technology during her show to see different opinions on different sex acts in which individuals might be participating.

Kelly Stone's GREYed expectations will be held in Norton 112 at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Stone wants students to know that "it's OK to try something and not like it, and it's OK to try something and like it." The biggest take-away message of the show, Stone believes, is the idea of asking and gaining consent.





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