SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
February 29, 2024

The sexual liberation of Fringe

The Adelaide Fringe was the beginning of my sexual awakening. When I first moved to the City of Churches, I thought Adelaide was bloody boring. I was craving culture and sexual expression. I wanted to see people pushing boundaries. Then came February.

sexual liberation of Fringe
  • Words: Jamie Bucirde

Walking through the giant pearly gates of The Garden of Unearthly Delights and seeing the glitz and glamour of the performing arts ignited something inside of me. Every year since, Fringe has gotten more and more raunchy.

I’ve had many ‘firsts’ during Fringe season: my first time sleeping with a woman, my first threesome, my first time on a stage taking pieces of clothing off as a performer. I’ve been taken home by sexy acrobats and thrown around like I was a part of their show. I’ve tip-toed down the path of both exhibitionism and voyeurism and have now found a place I’m truly excited by.


This article first appeared in our 2024 Festival edition, which is on the streets now.

Seeing others push the boundaries of their sexual expression has been a mirror to what I can be. I’ve been to a Fringe show where an older man painted a portrait of me with his penis, and a woman dressed up as a giant sparkly vulva that sang about the patriarchy. You truly cannot make this shit up.

Fringe has introduced me to some of the most sexually liberated people I know – artists.

I’ve met people who live outside the rules of mononormativity and stereotypes. I’ve met people who talk confidently about open relationships and nail the craft of communication. Artists are fluid, and it’s fucking freeing.

For 31 long days of the year, Adelaide is exposed to the cultures and sexual flavours of the rest of the world. It is truly magnetic. But oddly, once the clock strikes midnight on March 17, the sparkle of little old Adelaide is dulled, and the flavours diluted. Have you ever thought to ask why?

Adelaide was once the most progressive city in Australia.

We were the first state to legally enforce a woman’s right to vote in Parliament in 1894. But since then, conservatism has trumped progress. It is reflected in our laws, our culture, our societal norms and our ‘beigeness’.

You’re familiar with the immediate suffering of the hospitality and nightlife scene post-Fringe. Have you ever stopped to draw the same parallel to the arts, and all the wonderful cultural changes they promote, too?

Access to safe spaces for queer folk, people of colour, and the normalisation of alternative relationship structures dwindles in the post-Fringe months. How can we have the biggest arts festival in Australia yet remain one of the most conservative cities in Australia? The math just isn’t mathing.


Jamie has a post graduate degree in sexology from Curtin University. Read the entire back catalogue of her column, On the Cusp, here.

As Adelaide grows, let’s bring the openness and freedom of Fringe season into the rest of the year. It’s time to reflect and make active efforts to educate ourselves on the diversity of human sexuality, create safer spaces and stay curious without judgement.

I know we are ready for a cultural shift. I challenge you, my darling readers, to use this Fringe to push the boundaries of your own sexuality. Engage in new conversations, notice what you see, try new things, sleep with new people.

2024 Fringe is the season of great sex.


I asked some of my favourite artists to give me an insight into why Fringe is sexually liberating for them.  Don’t forget to check out their shows while they’re in town. While we’re at it, check out my new Fringe show too! Cusp by Jamie Alexandra is my own personal ode to sexual liberation. 

Reuben Kaye, Cabaret Artist

“Everywhere artists go there is sexual liberation because sex and art are inherently linked and vital to humanity – now more than ever! Art and sex are two beautiful, visceral acts that change the world, change us as people and after last Fringe, best done with more than two people and on a surface that gives you a bit of lumbar support… I’m still seeing a physio, and that’s coming from me. And my love language is swallowing (which when done correctly within a certain tax bracket is an act of service).”

Jascha Boyce, Acrobat

“The Adelaide Fringe Festival acts as a vehicle for liberal sexual expression and education providing a safe space for diverse artists to share their experience. This is both on and off the stage. I am a diehard fan of Adelaide but after spending the last 10 years touring the world, it’s always a little disappointing to witness the festival season drawing to a close and with it the fading of this candid expression.”

ALEX DE PORTEOUS, Cabaret Artist
Ce Soir À Paris & INFERNO

“Sometimes I wonder if I have felt everything there is to feel, then I get naked on stage and am reminded forcefully that the span of human experience is infinite. To live a life in the arts and to perform is to lay your soul bare every night, in front of hundreds of people.

“Festival season is the perfect opportunity to get out (literally) and be sexually liberated. As humans we often look to others for permission, and I see no better way to educate ourselves and others than experiencing the euphoria of sexual and artistic expression on a balmy summer night under the festival lights.”

Share —