Stories about Cindy Pierce’s college appearances:
Starting the Discussion — The Dartmouth
Sex Is Not a Dirty Word
— Campus Activities Magazine
Sex and the Cindy — Her Campus
Pierce Jokes About Sex, Sort Of
— The Dartmouth
Comedienne-author to take the stage with sex advice, honestly
— The Dartmouth
“Finding the Doorbell: The Work of Cindy Pierce” documentary
Starting the Discussion
The Dartmouth — February 28, 2011
By Keshav Poddar
This past Monday, a friend of mine asked if I would like to accompany her to a “comedy” show in Collis Common Ground. Always down to be entertained, I readily agreed to come. Another male friend of mine joined us, but as we were sitting down I noticed something strange. I turned to my friend and somewhat anxiously remarked, “Dude, look around, there are only like 15 guys in here.” Indeed, it was at this point that the succubus who tricked us guys into attending handed me a piece of paper indicating that this event was part of the infamous V-Week. I consider myself sympathetic to issues of women’s rights, but at that moment I had no desire to bear witness to some sort of female empowerment rally. A chill ran down my spine as I began to contemplate the baptism-by-feminist that was certain to ensue.
In fact, Cindy Pierce, a local mother and teacher, delivered perhaps the most hilarious, informative and resonant performance I have seen since coming to Dartmouth. Her approach of addressing gender dynamics was neither self-conscious nor combative and she fully engaged everyone in the audience, both male and female. In narrating her journey to sexual maturity, Pierce refrained from laying blame for issues of gender relations at the feet of men or women. Instead, she stressed that the inculcation of poor sexual values in youth and our unwillingness to openly discuss issues of sex are the result of an incomplete dialogue between the genders.
The inclusive tone of the night stood in marked contrast to the contentiousness of past discussions of gender relations on campus. For the men in the room, Pierce’s comic notion of “asshole tickets” undoubtedly sparked far greater self-awareness than the anonymous song blitzed out to campus this fall proclaiming that “Dartmouth frat bros will steal your soul.” Her graphic accounts of experiencing the female orgasm certainly inspired a few cringes, but these stories also appeared to strike a far greater chord with the women in the room than the controversial Orchid Project campaign to send “vagina mirrors” to every woman on campus. Seeing the overwhelmingly positive reactions of both men and women to Pierce’s comedy allowed us to forget the divisive rhetoric that has plagued this campus, if only for a couple of hours.
There is no better evidence for the efficacy of this event than the transformation of my male friend’s attitudes. Upon finding that the next hour of his life would be primarily dedicated to learning about masturbation and female genitalia, he promptly hung his head and attempted to coerce me into leaving. Nevertheless, he stayed and became more engaged and less uncomfortable as the night went on. He was even inclined to stay after for a bit of the optional question and answer session. This past week, he has been quoting Pierce’s lines far more than any of the girls who saw the show with us. The power of humor has led him to be far more open to frank discussions about sexuality.
It is unfortunate that there were relatively few men watching the show that night. Had more males attended, I’m certain that Pierce would have influenced their perspectives on feminism and gender dynamics on campus. Pierce noted that one of her first talks at Dartmouth took place at Gamma Delta Chi fraternity, and that her presence was well received by the fraternity brothers. I must admit that, had I known that this event was part of V-Week, I would have been much more reluctant to attend.
This attitude is, regrettably, shared by much of the male population on campus. We bear a measure of culpability for dismissing V-Time conversations out of hand. However, our hesitancy is also the product of our polarized debate on gender — even the passing mention of an event relating to gender dynamics evokes a negative connotation in our minds. It is therefore unsurprising that the size of the male presence at the comedy show, and at V-Week events in general, is modest. It will take more discussions akin to the one I saw last week for the men and women of this campus to have the dialogue they deserve.
Campus Activities Magazine — Feb. 2013
Cindy Pierce is a rare personality. She’s one of those people who can make situations most people feel uncomfortable and awkward with completely natural, an important trait for someone who specializes in discussing relationships and sexual health. “That is the focus of my life at this point, for all ages.” It took a bit of a unique background for Cindy to become the specialist she is. “I grew up playing sports with boys, that was a huge thing. I played baseball and ski raced so I was with boys 10 months a year, which put me in a position to hear a lot about what boys were thinking. I became sort of a sister to them and that has persisted throughout my life. Men in particular have always opened up to me and I think that is my strength. Especially among groups of college men; I don’t scold them or make them feel embarrassed about openly discussing sexually related topics in mixed company. I really want to help them get information that will help them make better choices that will make campuses a safer place for all of us.”
Cindy puts an important highlight on not blaming young men solely for all sexual health concerns on a campus, but does maintain a focus on them. She illustrates why by posing an interesting question to her audiences. First, she asks the men to list some of the precautions they take to remain physically safe on campus. None of them can name any. She then asks them the same question about steps women take and they make a long list, from going to parties in a group to walking in well lit areas. “I think getting to the heart of the matter is communicating with the males and getting to the issues like sexual assault and consent. My talks can span topics that interest both men and women, but typically tend to be shied away from when it comes to openly communicating among groups. These topics can range from sexual health to female pleasure to the hook up culture, genital image issues, cosmetic genital surgery to anything else that people really want to know about but don’t get to discuss.”
Cindy learned a lot from six older siblings and in turn passed it on to almost two dozen nieces and nephews and, somewhere along the way, became known as the go-to person for broaching uncomfortable topics. “Some friends kind of bossed me (laughs) into trying to do a show. It was at the very busiest time of my life, when I had little kids and I was hesitant because I didn’t think people would really be interested in it. I tried out a show on these topics and it really resonated; then I tried it out with my niece’s sorority and then my nephew’s fraternity and some momentum started picking up. I found that not only is it a universal talk, but there is a desperate need for it. It’s open, humorous information without scolding that through comedy and storytelling has become a shared experience between my audiences and me. The only person who gets thrown under the bus is me,” she jokes.
If you ask the average person about their “human resources” or “sex ed” class, you’ll pretty much get an instantaneous nuclear eye roll. Whether you learned the “birds and bees” from parents prior to that or not, it usually ended up being a weekly hour of red faces and snickering far more than honest discussions about sexual development, health or (re)productive questions. Cindy has crafted an approach to circumvent that teenage unease. “It’s like when I am talking about female pleasure. No one is talking about this; no one is comfortable talking about orgasms, yet we have all these women on campus who think because guys see screaming fits of insane passion in porn they have to do it as well. It goes even beyond that, to the point where there are women submitting to violent sex, choking, anal sex and many other things that they might not necessarily find pleasurable but are expected of them because of certain societal paradigms that are quite often perpetuated in our alpha male society.”
Don’t think Cindy is going to come in and start handing out “The Puritan’s Handbook,” or guilt anyone into feeling awkward no matter what their preferences might be. “My feeling is, you can do all of that and more if it really turns you on, but you better first find what makes your and your partner’s body work. So many young (and even middle-aged) women don’t know what makes their own bodies tick before all of a sudden you’re hearing about people getting into threesomes and foursome…well have you ever thought about figuring out a onesome and a twosome?” she asks laughing. “How about starting with the basics before moving on to things that may or may not be what all parties involved are interested in pursuing? Female pleasure is just one example of ground I cover, and a perfect example of something men want to know about but almost never do. Everyone says men don’t care about that and it’s simply not true. So many men from young to old care about female pleasure and think by the age of 18 or so they can no longer ask about it. Unfortunately the number one reference source they then go to is porn, which could not be more misleading.”
The second major reference point for these guys who feel so awkward about speaking openly about sex in most circumstances might seem to be a more reliable one but is in fact just as nefarious an information source as porn. “These are the guys who are ‘players’ or have sex a lot and typically end up being the least reliable, I have discovered. I have interviewed many these guys who are ‘the’ source in a fraternity or on an athletic team and when I talk to them, they tend to not know very much at all. They have had tons of sex and I think young women feel like it is a great opportunity to have sex with the big stud, but no one is giving these guys any feedback so they doesn’t actually know that much.”
This is not a show just for women, or men for that matter. It’s a flexible, open and frank discussion that can be catered to the needs of your group. Give Kirkland Productions a call at 866-769-9037 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how Cindy Pierce can help your students begin a healthy, open dialogue.
Her Campus — February 28, 2011
By Morgan Peele
When it comes to sex, Cindy Pierce rarely stays within the lines.
By attending her one-woman show at UCF on March 1st, you will see why.
The comedian will be performing Tuesday night at 7 PM in the Harris Corp. Engineering Center at UCF.
This will be your chance to get advice, hear stories that you can relate to but never have the guts to say, and feel comfortable discussing a topic that intimidates many.
Pierce is being brought to campus by the Offices of Fraternity and Sorority Life to promote safe sex. When she is not tending to her family-owned inn in New Hampshire, Pierce travels to more than 20 colleges, including Purdue and Dartmouth, to express her beliefs and nonconformities on sexual ideals.
When it comes to sex, there are no questions or topics Cindy Pierce will not cover. Pierce searches for the humor in sexual education rather than shame.
“Because I learned to find humor rather than shame in the female bodily experiences and sex…[I am] able to bring humor to even the most embarrassing situations,” she said.
Sex inhibitions are never a dilemma for this comedian and co-author of “Finding the Doorbell.” Pierce is well known for her blunt honesty and unfiltered comical humor to address intimidating sexual topics.
Her friends encouraged her to tell her funny, personal stories on stage, which jump-started her great show. After talks with some sorority sisters at Dartmouth College, Pierce spoke to her first scheduled audience in 2004; leading the way to her sex comic career.
“…That sealed the deal that men and women, old and young, are not as informed as they would like to be,” Pierce said. “The qualitative research has been going on forever, and the formal research started in 2004.”
Scanning through her pictures on her website, one can tell that Pierce rarely holds a serious poise. In fact, the majority of her pictures are amusing poses or embellished faces you would find on a frat stars Facebook page.
This brings curiosity as to why such a lighthearted comedian would specialize in a topic that today’s society views as such a serious matter.
Nonetheless, she is not intimidated by it.
College students are granted the gift of learning from Pierce’s sexual mistakes that she has personally made. Leaving her with the embarrassment to deal with and you with pure comical entertainment.
Pierce grew up the youngest of seven children, with her siblings beginning to marry when she was only age five. Hearing about such mature experiences at such a young age subjected her to a quick understanding and maturation about commitment and sex.
Pierce explained, “Early in the game, I learned that long term commitment was no picnic and required honesty, humor, and communication.”
Hanging around boys, older siblings, and in laws, gave Pierce curiosity, which led to knowledge that threw her into the world of sex. She has no regrets about this as she began to teach her own children about sex at a young age. Pierce believes the topic of sex should be desensitized so that it is easier and more comfortable to talk about.
“Personally, I am a believer in teaching kids about sex in first grade before the Internet steers them wrong,” Pierce said.
In her discussions, Pierce broaches the topic of porn and how the porn companies give a false idea of women and sex. This sets our generation up for high expectations and false ideas. This leads us to be intimidated on the topic of sex.
“The average age a kid looks at porn is 11.5″ Pierce mentioned.
The demystify factor that Pierce speaks about in her book is the heavy influence porn puts on our culture and the unrealistic expectations porn portrays. She intends to go into greater detail during her performance next week.
When asked about her appearance at UCF this week, Pierce prepares us for the honesty and bluntness that will occur. She hopes to bring the UCF college community health and wellness when it comes to sex. Pierce expects for our college community to be ready for the “straight talk.”
“I lean towards the male/female dynamic because one of the biggest issues on campuses is the drunken hook-up scene that can become an unreported sexual assault very quickly,” Pierce explained.
Pierce strives to help young adults feel comfortable with their bodies and lack of experience by relating to the issues young college students struggle with daily. By informing her audiences, she hopes to improve the relationships by setting higher standards for sexual expectations.
“Young men listen to me because I don’t scold and call them out. I want young people to benefit from a real sex education the way I did.”
By attending her graphic and direct show on Tuesday evening, UCF students will gain a new insight and perspective into the world of healthy sex. Whether you are female or male, students can be prepared to laugh and learn all in one session. Pierce’s personal friends like to call her performances ‘Public Service Announcements’ as they believe it’s a gift to anyone who gets to hear it.
A writer for The Randolph Herold said, “Pierce may have been late to enter womanhood… but she made up for lost time by parlaying her insights into an uncanny ability to distill any situation to its funniest common denominator then spin it into a positive message that appeals to men and women, young and old.”
Students should look forward to this one time opportunity to learn and grow in the natural sexual world as sexual beings. This will be the chance to ask questions and hear stories without feeling embarrassed or judged.
Finally, Pierce mentions, “Anyone who takes life and his or herself so seriously will probably not be interested in my program or bringing more humor into their world of sex.”
The Dartmouth — February 22, 2011
By Danielle Levin
Sex comedienne Cindy Pierce kicked off V-Week with a warning that her show would be a no-holds-barred, sexually explicit night, and then outlined her main goal of the program: to have women “be present in your body, regardless of how it looks or how you feel about it, [because] when you’ve got your pleasure zones dialed in, nothing can stop you.” Pierce’s material covered college and post-college sex culture on Monday during the hour-and-forty-minute long show in a packed Collis Common Ground.
Her performance ranged from the outlandishly humorous (tales of swapping Penthouse pictures with the boys on her baseball team), to the endearingly candid (a description of her first orgasm, which took place in her college’s library), to the purely heartbreaking (a personal experience with near-rape).
During her performance, Pierce identified three major obstacles in trying to find fulfilling sexual relationships: the lack of pleasure education, porn culture and the alcohol and hookup culture.
Pierce described the recent upswing in students’ high-risk drinking behaviors as the single greatest threat to healthy sexual relationships, in an interview with The Dartmouth.
On the subject of pleasure education, Pierce put forth her theory of “asshole tickets.” The idea is that men are granted a number of “asshole tickets” — essentially a license to behave callously — in proportion to their charm and intellect, and the tickets are accepted as legal tender everywhere.
Pierce scolded the critics who only “wag our fingers at young men” without providing guidance about to how to be a responsible, conscientious lover or partner, and went on to say that, “we, as women, we as parents, need to stop taking these tickets.”
The witty comedienne also criticized women for failing to share the “knowledge of orgasms” with each other. She described her quest to achieve orgasm as a series of discussions with sisters, older female relatives, teammates and fellow students, all of whom failed to mention orgasm as a part of sex. A pervasive theme throughout the performance was one of peer-to-peer guidance — she described how in reaction to her first orgasm she thought, “We really need to get the word out!”
Pierce lamented the alcohol and hook-up culture, which she attributed to a combined desire to find a release from academic pressures and a desire for social lubricants in order to facilitate attaining as much sexual experience as possible.
“Mileage does not guarantee experience,” Pierce said. Being truly good in bed requires “communication, trust, respect, humor and,” she added to laughter, “knowing a person’s last name.” She described the commitment needed for female sexual satisfaction both on the part of women themselves (“No guy is going to know how to give you an orgasm until you know how to give one to yourself”) and on the part of their partners, citing statistics such as the average time needed to achieve male and female orgasms (4 and 20 minutes, respectively).
Pierce emphasized that the peer-pressure fueled culture of drinking in order to hook up doesn’t disappear after college, and that individuals needs to make an active choice if they want to reject those pressures, saying, “seventh grade never ends ’til you grab it by its collar and pull it down.”
Pierce also talked about the alarming increase of vaginal reconstruction clinics — there were eight new clinics founded in one year in New York City alone — and the disconnect between fantasies created by pornography and the reality of sexual encounters. Anecdotal material from her male friends and men who have seen her perform showed the schism that porn is creating between the sexual expectations of men and women, citing questions she had been asked like, “Why do women like it when we come on their faces?”
Another split that needs to be addressed for the sake of healthy sexual relations was that of students’ private and public lives, or their “basement selves and classroom selves,” Pierce said.
Pierce has performed at Dartmouth V-Week twice, and has spoken to sororities, fraternities, teams and senior societies. She has also performed at numerous other college campuses.
The Dartmouth — May 14, 2007
By Matthew Ritger
Clitoris! Female ejaculation! G-spot! Female prostate!
Now that that’s all out of the way, you should be ready to meet Cindy Pierce. Pierce is a mother of three, the inn keeper at the Pierce Family Inn just outside of Hanover, and a hilarious comedian who is bringing her one-woman show “Finding the Doorbell: Sexual Satisfaction for the Long Haul” to Dartmouth.
“The clitoris is an undergrad degree as far as I’m concerned,” Pierce said. “The g-spot, the female prostate, female ejaculation — that’s a masters.”
Personally, I was glad she didn’t explain how to obtain a Ph.D., but the show promises to be side-splitting, entertaining and even informative. One of Pierce’s male friends once said he felt like he was “just rummaging around, or trying to extract a booger,” when trying to pleasure a woman. Boys, if you’ve ever felt similarly lost, and girls, if you’re not a fan of being rummaged — this is the show for you.
Pierce grew up on the fast track as the youngest of seven siblings. Her parents pulled the plug on their life in Greenwich, Conn., when Pierce was six and relocated the family to Etna, N.H., and the inn. With the hilarious anecdotes of her wild siblings and her own unique adolescence, Pierce’s life has been replete with material for her show.
“I think of myself as an emotional hermaphrodite,” she said. For years, Pierce was (and still is) more comfortable in the presence of men. Growing up, she was the ultimate tomboy; she often was mistaken for a boy and kicked out of female bathrooms. First the lone girl on the Hanover High baseball team, she later captained both the women’s soccer and ski teams at the University of New Hampshire. “I knew there wasn’t a lesbian stitch in my body, though,” she added.
Pierce’s unique position as a liaison between the sexes has been a driving force behind her show, which essentially encourages open discussion of touchy but necessary subjects. Pierce has found that humor is by far the best lubricant for such discussion.
“She’s like a can opener,” said her husband, Bruce. “She’ll tell you anything about herself, and get you to tell her anything. She’s all about the truth. For her, it’s as if not telling everything were to lie.”
Though Bruce sometimes feels like he’s “taking one for the team,” the rest of us are lucky to benefit from Pierce’s openness.
“People are either buckled over laughing, or their mouths are hanging open,” Bruce said, describing the audience at one of Pierce’s shows. “But no one is bored.”
On top of her life as innkeeper, mother, wife and touring comedienne, Pierce is now in the process of writing a book based on her show. Pierce and her co-author and friend Edie Thys Morgan are hard at work on “Finding the Doorbell,” which is due to publish next month.
“Everyone we know wants a better sex life,” Morgan said. “And there are a thousand books out there about how to do it.” They begin naming the strategies competing books champion — tantric sex, 365 positions, one for every day of the year (“You’d have to put me on a salary to try that book!” Pierce exclaimed).
“This is the sex book for the people who wouldn’t even be caught dead in the sex book section,” Morgan said.
“I don’t want to be on a trapeze while I’m taking it from behind,” Pierce said. “I just want good sex!” Morgan and I both cringed.
“It just seems that sex has gotten so low on the priority list for so many couples,” Morgan continued. “Even exercise is higher.”
“Sleep! They’d rather sleep!” Pierce piped in. “When you’re having good sex, you think: This is great! I want to get up in an hour and do it again!” she said. “But you don’t tell your husband or boyfriend, because he’d set the alarm.” Morgan and Pierce then went off about the hyper-scheduled existences that many of their friends lead.
“These days, you can BlackBerry yourself into celibacy,” Morgan sad, laughing.
The book is targeted at monogamous couples, but Pierce is well aware that such couples are a highly endangered species at Dartmouth. Her show, which will take place this Tuesday in Occom Commons, will be catered to a college audience.
“My whole life is based on courage,” Pierce said. “I just don’t care what people say. That’s what my family taught me.”
Luckily for the rest of us, Pierce has taken that courage to the stage, using humor to transform life’s most awkward situations. No doubt we could all use a tip or two on how to learn the art of booger extraction — or at the very least, just have a good laugh.