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44 Sex Acts in One Week

"a high-speed, pressure-cooker situation"

From BDSM to polyamory, from roleplay to exhibitionism, David Finnigan's new play has something to tickle every taste.

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Category: Theatre
Company: Belvoir
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44 Sex Acts in One Week

Date: 12 Jul 2021

Celina Valderrama is a journalist for popular lifestyle blog SheSquad.

Despite her aspirations to be a serious political journalist, she’s given the task of reviewing a new sex book,  The 44 Sex Acts That Will Change Your Life.

Now, Celina has to have all 44 different kinds of sex, across the full spectrum of kink, by Friday.

The problem is: she needs a partner. And the only person available is her nemesis, brooding animal activist Alab Delusa.

Now, these two mortal enemies have one week to journey through the wild landscapes of sex: from BDSM to polyamory, from role play to exhibitionism, at breakneck speed.

Over the course of this endurance stunt fucking, will the friction between them become … something more?

44 Sex Acts In One Week is a romantic comedy (in the vein of Matthew McConnaughey and Kate Hudson’s best work) that takes place in the post-50 Shades world of unscrupulous sex coaches and adult TED talks.

Sex researcher Emily Nagoski writes often about how our sexual desire consists of two components – what she calls ‘the accelerator’ and ‘the brakes’.

The ‘accelerator’ is sexually relevant stimuli, which means, all the stuff that you find sexually arousing. That could include fancy costumes, nice shoulders, a particular roleplay scenario … whatever you’re into.

The brakes are all the things that tell you ‘no, this is not an appropriate situation to be aroused’. This is the part of you that checks in with thoughts like, ‘Am I safe? Am I relaxed? Is this a sexual situation or not?’

Watching someone naked in your bedroom might turn you on. Watching the same naked person in an art studio as part of a life drawing class is a very different context. Your brain is aware that ‘no, this is not a sexual situation,’ the brakes activate, and you’re not aroused.

Nagoski talks about how a lot of couples try to reignite their sexual flame by activating the accelerator – organising fancy dates, trying out roleplay scenarios or experimenting with toys. But hitting the accelerator isn’t that useful if the brakes are still on.

For a lot of people, the brakes that stop you feeling sexual include things like: stress, overwork, not feeling great about your body, not feeling secure in the relationship, worries about money, and so on.

Nagoski’s argument is that improving your sex life requires activating the accelerator and deactivating the brakes. Do more sexy things, sure, but it’s equally important to work on reducing the stresses and worries that are inhibiting your sexual desires.

44 Sex Acts In One Week is the story of two people who hate each other trying every kind of extravagant sex act, in a high-speed pressure-cooker situation with everything at stake.

In Nagoski’s terms, this is the equivalent of putting the accelerator to the floor with the handbrake on. Wheels spin, the engine screams, and sparks fly.

But maybe these extreme circumstances are where we learn what we’re truly capable of?

As it says in the Bible, you don’t really know yourself until you’ve pegged someone behind the shelves in a camping supplies store at 10am on a Wednesday. And if Celina and Alab can make it to the end of the week without killing each other, they might just change the world.

This year, actors Bec Massey (Utopia) and Sheridan Harbridge (Prima Facie) have formed a new  company, Moonshine & Tits, as a fleet-footed response to the hairy situation artists and companies are finding themselves in.

Their response to the precarious financial situation for both actors and theatres has been to bring back the radio play. That means, in this case: no set, minimal rehearsal, mikes, scripts, music, and a foley table of fruit.

As Bec put it: ‘Audiences will have to use their imagination, but in a play like 44 Sex Acts, that’s probably a good thing.’

44 Sex Acts in One Week returns as part of Belvoir’s Festival of Everything

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