IS IT NAÏVE to believe in monogamy? Are humans polyamorous by nature? Dance Naked Productions broaches these questions with Inviting Desire: The Dawn of Sex—a mixed bag of awkward and erotic vignettes, which covers all the topics you've pondered in the deepest recesses of your mind, and plenty you probably haven't. If you think you have your sexuality all sorted out, Dawn of Sex will bluntly ask you to reexamine.
A group of six women of different ages, body types, and backgrounds, perform a series of vignettes based in part on information provided by around 200 women surveyed about their sex lives. Aspects of the show feel like a slumber party (although X-rated): there's pillowed seating at the bottom of the stage, cathartic complaining about partners, gossipy bits, and popcorn. Sometimes the show is goofy (e.g., a scene involving couples therapy that substitutes a stuffed gorilla for the husband). Often it's erotic (men in the audience seemed stuck with their legs crossed or their hands folded at their crotch). Sometimes it's over-the-top awkward, to the point where it's almost confusing—namely, a scene where unicorns discuss their sex life. See also the show's banana-themed promotional materials.
Although there's a general emphasis on polyamory (audience members receive a ticket to Ron Jeremy's Club Sesso), the tone of the vignettes at least tries for variety. There's a sweet story about a couple far into a monogamous relationship (which even involves a cookie jar) AND there's a sweaty story about a jungle orgy.
One of the biggest strengths of the show is how stripped down, sincere, and vulnerable the performers make themselves—especially commendable in Milepost 5's super exposed, tight space (which, strangely, has church pew seating). Sometimes, though, the performance feels oversexualized or forced; signs in the audience encourage cuddling. And, as exciting as it is, the show drags—two hours in, and we were only finishing with intermission.
For whatever questionable tastes the show reflects, several days later I found myself bringing up the show with the guest I brought. In the end, the best part of The Dawn of Sex may just be the conversations that happen afterward.