How to Really, Really? Really! Love a Woman

An erotic Valentine’s Day comedy on paying lip service to the Divine

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of her premiere at the Clinton Street Theatre, Eleanor O’Brien of Dance Naked Productions returned to the stage where How to Really, Really? Really! Love a Woman was born. O’Brien’s passionate energy flooded the theatre as she fiercely performed the sex-positive solo show on the very fitting Valentine’s Day evening. 


She opened the erotic comedy special with an acknowledgement to the Clinton Street Theater and its continued support for the LGBTQ+ community, with applause from the audience made up of members of Sex Positive Portland, Stand Up Smut and other local inclusive groups. After thanking the owners for donating the space for O’Brien to fundraise for her upcoming performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, she warned the audience, “Now, this show is gonna get a LOT more explicit!”


As the lights dimmed and the curtains opened, O’Brien’s impressive spirit and vulnerability captivated the audience as she dove into topics such as Goddess worship, the Divine Feminine and how they have inspired her sexual encounters so far.


O’Brien called out, “Who here has worshipped some pussy today?!” as a bowl of Hershey kisses made its way around the audience for those who had paid their service to the Divine. Another bowl of packets of lube was passed as an offering for those who had worshipped their own pussies at some point that day—a reverse tithing of sorts, because, “as you know, the Goddess helps those who help themselves!”


In the first attempt of incorporating her new GIF-making skills into her performance, images of prehistoric goddesses, ancient cave art depicting worship of a female figure, labia, breasts and female divine figures adorned the screen. 


O’Brien admitted to the audience, “I used to think that the whole Goddess Movement was just sorta cheesy, faux-feminist, Pier 1-manufactured bullshit.” This was until she came to what she refers to as her Great Awakening, in which she learned of the history of united worship of the Goddess.


She began to touch on the massive cultural shift from worshipping the Divine Feminine to denying the acknowledgment of the power of female pleasure on a large scale.


“I’m talking about the life-changing magic of going down and paying lip service to the Divine,” O’Brien said. “I’m talking about eating pussy.”


O’Brien dove into the postitive and negative personal experiences of oral sex she had received over the years with intimate detail. She eventually came to describe her first sexual encounter with a woman and how great of an impact it had on her spirituality and on her worship of the Goddess. 


O’Brien also spoke on heavy topics in today’s society such as the stigma surrounding sex and female pleasure, the impact this stigma has on how we express and suppress our sexuality as a culture and unpacking sexual trauma. She expressed the shame and embarrassment she has experienced surrounding her own body and sexuality throughout her life as a woman.


“Like many of you, I grew up in a time before the ‘Great Awakening,’” O’Brien said “When I was growing up, the cultural message around sex and relationships could pretty much be summed up in three words: Boy gets girl. Boy asks, girl resists. Boy pushes, girl gives in.” 


“‘No’ means ‘maybe.’ ‘Maybe’ means ‘yes.’ ‘Yes’ is never a girl’s first answer, and ‘no’ is just something to overcome.”


O’Brien mentioned the impact the #MeToo movement has had on our society and the desperate need we have to acknowledge something is fundamentally wrong with the ways we approach sexuality as a whole. She calls for a shifting of the paradigms we are exposed to and a reclamation of our bodies, pleasure and the importance of consent in all encounters. 


After the show, a panel of sex-positive community members were invited to the stage to answer audience questions. On the panel was Sally Eck, a professor of Women’s Studies at Portland State. 


Among the questions asked was, “are clitoral or vaginal orgasms more common?” While several of the board members suggested clitoral orgasms were personally the answer to their big O’s, there was not a one-size-fits-all answer, as everyone’s body responds differently to a variety of stimuli. One panel member mentioned that the debate is obsolete due to new findings discovering that parts of the clitoris extend around the vagina, making the answer unclear. 


As the questions continued to pour in, the curtains closed and lights turned on—no pun intended—signaling the racy night was coming to an end. As valentines, singles and groups alike poured out of the theatre, O’Brien left the audience with one request—“Now go home and practice!”