Gay London Student to Lose Virginity in Live Art Project

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Oct 28, 2013

A gay student from London says he plans to lose his anal virginity live on stage for his art project, Britain's newspaper the Daily Star reports.

Clayton Pettet, 19, is a second year student at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London and plans to have sex in front of a crowd of 500 to 100 people on Jan. 25, 2014 for his art project, "Art School Stole My Virginity." According to the newspaper, Pettet, who has been planning the event for years, and his partner will have sex "until completion" before holding a Q&A session with the audience.

"The key thing about performance art is that it should only be performed once, and this is the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime performance," he told the Daily Star. "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.

"I want the audience to see if anything has changed between me and my partner," he continued. "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."

The Huffington Post reports Pettet posted on his Tumblr account to explain his idea as some have accused the student that his performance will "cheapen" sex.

"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," he wrote. "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," the post reads.

The Daily Star reports Pettet has not told his parents about the project but has informed teachers at the famous college, where indie rocker Jarvis Crocker and entertainer M.I.A. attended.

LGBT rights groups have criticized the student’s project, including the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, which says losing virginity on stage is not art.

"I’m not quite sure how that’s art. My view is that we believe that all sexuality is a gift from God," the group’s spokesperson Rev. Sharon Ferguson said. "It’s about what you do with it and how we use it is an expression of our love for God. For my imagining in sex as an art form, I don’t think this falls into that category.

"My issue is around is this the right expression of someone’s bodily sexuality? As an art project in front of an audience, where is the love, respect and mutuality in that? Stunts like this cheapen our own sexual relationships," Ferguson added.

Nevertheless, Pettet says on his Tumblr for the event virginity is an "abstract" notion created by society and that male virginity is even more debatable because it doesn’t involve breaking a hymen and is "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," he said.


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