Compilation zine, Twoey Gray, Rebecca Sweets & Rabeea Syed, 34 pgs, IG: @prude.mag
If you’re looking for the inclusive sex zine of the century, then I would recommend getting your hands on this zine. Prude is a lengthy collection of pieces including poetry, short stories, and comics that have been carefully chosen and arranged to tell the diverse and important stories of people who celebrate the word “no” — prudes.
Prude was put together by Twoey Gray, Rebecca Sweets, and Broken Pencil’s own Rabeea Syed, who writes the regular “Exposure Unit” column. They include their own pieces as well as contributions from others zinesters, writers and artists. The experience is wide-ranging and thus exciting and unpredictable as the pages turn.
Perhaps not surprisingly, most submissions are written in the first person. The short story, “Prude On Call” by Twoey Gray introduces the reader to Delilah, an individual on the asexual spectrum who is also a sex worker. Gray writes that Delilah’s work is so much more than just having sex with strangers because of her incorporation of “intellectual, emotional, spiritual connectedness with her clients.” In “I Have Vaginismus, But I’m Not A Virgin”, Sebastian Lavender writes that they have a condition that doesn’t don’t allow them to have penetrative sex. They describe their frustration at being labeled a “virgin” by peers who can’t imagine that “penis in vagina” might not be the only format for “real” sex. Jubilee’s poem “The Psalm Of The Single Girl In Church” confronts religious stigma against women who choose to live without a husband or children. “Jesus Christ was a single man. It is not an accident that not all holy numbers can be paired evenly,” Jubilee writes.
The colours in this zine are vibrant and eye-catching, and each page walks through a unique colour scheme to complement the content and create a rolling momentum for the reader.
Prude is a great read for basically anyone who’s had sex or thought about it, and who is comfortable discussing the topic. It’s especially relevant for asexual people, sex workers, and anyone who has ever been shamed for just not wanting to have sex. It may be an uncomfortable read for some, but its the kind that you might end up sharing with friends to open up a conversation around one of the most complex activities there is.