The Dying Wish of a Comedian Turned Sex-Educator
“I am so proud of your generation. And all the work you’ve done. But there is still so much you guys need to accomplish,” states Maria Falzone, a comedian, turned sex-educator, who utilizes her comedic chops to educate young people on sexual-wellness. Maria’s 90-minute show, entitled “Sex Rules,” has been performed at thousands of college campuses across the United States. It touches on a multitude of pertinent subjects that range from how to determine whether or not you are ready to have sex, or consent to sexual safety. Maria hopes to normalize the conversations surrounding intercourse. “Sex should be something people discuss casually, just like the weather!” Maria declares between laughs.
Ultimately, Maria hopes that the show has an impact. She stresses, “I want people to have greater and safer sex.”
Maria has been performing “Sex Rules” for the past 20 years, and over the course of her career she has “absolutely” witnessed significant shifts in the ways society discusses sex. “Years ago, I performed at Indiana State University, which is total KKK-country, and when I said that we needed to advocate for LGBTQ rights, I was booed off stage,” she remembers, “but recently, I went back to that same university, and told the crowd to applaud if they would be comfortable having a gay roommate, and the whole room erupted.”
After that performance, a “tiny lesbian” approached Maria and expressed her gratitude for Maria’s championing of LGBTQ rights. “I’ll never forget this. This girl approached me and started saying, ‘I’m gay, my dad found my porn and he threw out my vibrators, and I’ve been feeling so uncomfortable on campus lately.’ And as she’s telling me this, these sorority girls walk up and offer to take her to a sex-shop and buy her a vibrator!” Maria exclaims. “That image, of the sorority sisters and the tiny lesbian walking towards a sex shop is something I never thought I’d see.”
Maria was born in Boston, but moved to San Francisco in her early twenties to pursue a career in comedy. There, she performed alongside the likes of Robin Williams and Kathy Griffin. “The reason I got into stand-up, was because I wanted to be in charge. I could write, direct, and perform,” Falzone reveals. After performing at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, Maria was expecting to receive offers to star in television shows, but instead was approached by a woman named Susie Landolphi, who offered Maria the sex-ed job. “I just fell in love with the work,” Falzone muses.
Over the phone, Maria exudes charisma as she speaks quickly with a thick Boston accent and a passion that is palpable. Despite a devastating medical prognosis that gives Maria as little as 4 months to live, her energy is high, and she has been devoting much of her time to emboldening the messages she hopes to leave behind. “Sex needs to be discussed at home, from an early age. When children are aware of their genitals, and what kind of touching is appropriate and inappropriate, they’re much safer from predators," Falzone states. Falzone also advocates for the encouragement of sexual exploration from an early age, “Children should know what masturbation is, and shouldn’t be made to feel bad if they do it. By exploring your sexuality from an early age, you can learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Which will ultimately lead to greater sex. Only you are responsible for your own orgasm.”
Facing a terminal prognosis, Falzone is hopeful that the messages she’s been delivering on stage will continue to be impactful. “Consent is a major topic for the show," Falzone informs, “Knowledge is power. And power is protection. When you really know your body, and know what feels right, you are in control. You are more equipped to be able to say ‘no.'” Between the #MeToo movement and the Kavanaugh hearings, the national discourse surrounding consent is expanding, and perhaps, we can thank Maria Falzone for that.