This uneasiness of talking about bodies and sex was familiar to some of the actors.

“I come from a West Indian background, and we barely talked about our vaginas. That was just not something that was at the breakfast table, the lunch table, the dinner table,” Sharon Richardson, who served two decades in prison for domestic violence, told me.

The men gave the show a standing ovation, particularly applauding the two formerly incarcerated women, Sharon Richardson and Rhonda D. Tucci said she expected the women to engage in the play, because they would relate to it—but that the men would be antsy.

“I thought that the men’s body language would be uncomfortable and awkward—and it wasn’t.”In a discussion with the actors after the performance, one question seemed to be on many of the men’s minds: “Where would I go take my daughter to see this?

Michael Williams, who has been incarcerated for 15 years for a robbery, has five daughters.

He says he wasn’t sure whether the advice he was giving his daughters was correct—until he saw the play.”When they got to a point when they felt they needed a man, I told them masturbation wasn’t a sin, and to get to know themselves.” Williams found one moment in the play to be both new to him and relatable at the same time.

It was put on by the theater collective Mightee Shero Productions, in cooperation with V-Day, an initiative launched by Ensler to raise awareness about violence against women.

Before the performance, the two dozen men at the Queensboro Correctional Facility, a prison that prepares inmates to re-enter society, did not know what to expect of the show.Clad in black and red, actor Lin Tucci of the hit Netflix show , a feminist script about women’s bodies and sexuality, performed every year at your local college or community center, mostly by amateur actors.This year, for the first time, the play was staged at two male prisons, for solely male audiences.Then, after the sounds of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” faded away, the show was introduced with a resounding: “Who has used the word vagina?” For the next 90 minutes, the inmates listened attentively as a diverse, all-female cast including professional actors as well as two formerly incarcerated women, acted out monologues about sexual pleasure and sexual violence.” The inmates thanked the women from bringing “some positive” in a “negative environment,” and for bringing them out of their comfort zone. But many had reflections of their own on women and masculinity.