dirty stories

Listen To Your Skin: Erotica Reading [Recording]

In March 2021, I read some erotica for the reading series Listen To Your Skin, which has some featured readers and then an open mic where anyone can read.

Here’s the recording!

I read some from Best Lesbian Erotica Volume 5, including my piece Whatever I Want, Whatever I Say. One of my favorite things to do when reading from a book is to have the audience call out page numbers, and I read that page — my goal for Sweet & Rough was for there to be something dirty on every page. It doesn’t always work, but it’s exciting to just drop in for a few paragraphs and see what it’s like.

For the Best Lesbian Erotica anthologies, I’ve been aiming for a little bit more storytelling rather than something dirty on EVERY page, but I still want the erotic tension building.

After that, I read from Penetalia: Collegiate Erotica, which was published by a group of students at my university in 2004, and was one of my first erotica publications. I found it on the shelf in my mom’s house and thought about my 25 year old self, and how brazen I was to give a copy of my erotica publication to my mother. I wouldn’t do that now.

It’s hard not to be embarrassed by the story in Penetalia, though I generally feel good about that — if you’re not looking back at your old work with distance and even embarrassment, you aren’t growing, says many writing teachers. It’s a sweet story I used to read a lot at open mics and readings, and I still almost know it by heart.

The reading series Listen To Your Skin happens monthly online, and you can sign up to read your own work if you want to. If you’ve never read your erotica out loud in front of people, I highly recommend it.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

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