A gay student plans to lose his virginity live on stage — all in the name of art.
Clayton Pettet, a 19-year-old art student at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, plans to have gay sex in front of a crowd of between 50 and 100 people in London on Jan. 25, 2014, for a project called “Art School Stole My Virginity,” according to the Daily Star. He and his anonymous partner will have sex until completion and then hold a Q&A with the audience afterward.
His aim is to explore the ideal of virginity.
“I’ve held on to my virginity for 19 years, and I’m not throwing it away lightly. Basically it’s like I am losing the stigma around virginity,” he said, per the Daily Star. “I want the audience to see if anything has changed between me and my partner. Since culturally we do hold quite a lot of value to the idea of virginity I have decided to use mine and the loss of it to create a piece that I think will stimulate interesting debate and questions regarding the subject.”
Although the plan has stirred controversy, with some arguing that it “cheapens” sex, Pettet took to his Tumblr to promote his idea:
The Idea of “Art School Stole My Virginity” came around when I was Sixteen, when all my peers at school were losing their Virginity it was incredibly hard for me to ask why I was still a Virgin and why it meant so much to the people all around me. My piece isnt [sic] a statement as much as it is a question. The whole aspect of Virginity was incredibly emotional for me and has been ever since. … I want my piece to inject some speed into the arts, a performance of the people if you will. I feel like now is the time for the new scene. To lose my Virginity with the new age is the Avant Garde that London has been unintentionally waiting for.
On the official website for “Art School Stole My Virginity,” Pettet explains that virginity is an “abstract” notion built up by society. He argues that male virginity is even more abstract because it doesn’t involve the breaking of a hymen, as it would between a male and a female, and is essentially “an undetectable moment in time.”
“This idea becomes more complex when one considers all types of sexual relations,” he writes. “Men and men, women and women? Virginity has almost become heteronormative in its definition, given that in the most graphic of terms it is the moment when a penis first penetrates the vagina. Therefore when is the moment of loss for a human male? And is virginity even real, for women and men? Or is it just an ignorant word that was used to dictate the value of a woman’s worth pre marriage.”
Pettet was not immediately available to comment.
This teenager is not the only young person to make headlines recently for doing something unorthodox with virginity. Last year, a 20-year-old Brazilian woman named Catarina Migliorini auctioned off her virginity for $780,000. She later told The Huffington Post the whole plan was hatched by the filmmaker of a documentary called “Virgins Wanted, and she said she felt victimized. She claimed she never actually got the money or had sex.