The things you whisper. The things you do in the dark...or light. The things you feel but you don’t know how to name. This is a radio show about all of those things. It’s about the triumphs and the terrors of human intimacy, the bliss and banality of being in love and the wild diversity of the human heart. Part of the amazing Radiotopia Network by PRX.
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Abigail wants to have penetrative sex but it’s not working. She thinks it is her fault or at least her vagina’s fault. In her quest to find out why she cannot have penetrative sex, Abigail finds a community of women who have similar issues. In talking to them she realizes that it’s not her body, it’s her partners.
Credits: Written and produced by Abigail Bereola, fact checking by Julia Alsop, editorial advising by Molly Osberg. Additional editorial support by Samara Breger & Julia Alsop. Bodies theme music produced by Allen Watts, special thanks to Jess E. Jelsma.
As part of Radiotopia’s network-wide theme, Doing Time, we have a story from 2010. In the early 2000’s, Kathleen reads through the personal ads of a magazine; on a whim, she writes to a man. Thus begins a relationship with the greatest love of her life.
‘Private family visits’ is the correct term for conjugal visits. Its purpose is not just for sex, but to help maintain strong relationships between inmates and their families. Studies have shown that private family visits can help reduce recidivism.
Episode Four: Many listeners were left with lingering questions and thoughts after the first three episodes. What do I tell my kids? What if my no DOES mean yes? What role does alcohol play in consent? In this episode, some Heart producers and Samara Breger (our trusted sex educator) unpack some blind spots and larger themes around consent. [Trigger Warning]
Episode Three: Kaitlin’s search for the answer to why coercion is so omnipresent lands her in one obvious place. Straight, cis-gendered men. In this episode, Kaitlin consults the men in her life that she trusts the most to see if they had ever pressured someone into having unwanted intimacy. But she knows she cannot end her search here. [Trigger Warning]
We meet young Kaitlin as she navigates her first sexual experiences and the confusions of girlhood. [Trigger Warning] Episode One of “No”.
Credits: Director: Kaitlin Prest, Assistant Producer: Ariel Hahn, Editors: Mitra Kaboli and Sharon Mashihi, Associate Producer: Phoebe Wang, Design: Jen Ng, Scoring and Sound Design: Shani Aviram, Editorial Advisers: Stephanie Foo, Pejk Malinovski, Nick van der Kolk, Brendan Baker Produced with the generous support of the IWMF.
Tom Banks is 23, gay, and an expert at meeting guys online. He’s spent hours in chat rooms and on dating sites, searching for advice and love. On the internet, Tom is whoever he wants to be. Thomas, the hopeless romantic. Brian, a tan beach lover. So…who is the real Tom Banks?
Credits: This episode was produced by Jess Cox (This is About) for Radiotonic on ABC. Sound design: Timothy Nicastri; Actors: Rupert Reid, Tom Conroy.
Arranged marriages, although they sound scary to our Western ears, are considered extremely successful. Divorce rates are much lower. But those are statistics. What about being in love with the person that you married? A Harvard study found that partners in arranged marriages, over time, end up being more in love than couples who marry for love. Our friend Ryan Kailath has known this his whole life, because he grew up with it. His parents met for 15 minutes before they married.
*Also, check out the trailer for our upcoming season, “No.”
Marlo never expected a bathroom bill to reach her home state of Washington. But it did.
In 2016, the Just Want Privacy Campaign started petitioning to keep transgender students from using restrooms that match their gender identities. Marlo navigates what a bathroom bill means for her and her transgender daughter.
Credits:This episode was originally aired on How to Be a Girl; produced by Marlo Mack with editing assistance from Jim Gates and Whitney Henry-Lester.
Local Honey is a transfemme performance artist and musician living in New Orleans. Let her modulated voice and soft giggles croon you into her reality, where feminine sound is a weapon, a force, a celebration. Local Honey explores family, performance, noise, trauma and gender.
Ep 4 of ‘Pansy’: A season where masculinity and femininity meet.
Credits: Writing and music by Local Honey. Production support from Julia Alsop. Editorial Support from Cassie Wagler. Special thanks to Julia Serano.
Some say there are as many genders as there are people. And even more ways to creatively think about and claim them. In this story, Allen’s gender is complicated by a discovery he makes through meditation.
Ep 3 of ‘Pansy’: A season about where masculinity and femininity meet.
Credits: Written and produced by Allen J. Watts. Production support from Julia Alsop. Editorial support from Cassie Wagler.
Blake’s crushing. Hard. On his new best friend and favorite person: Korry. They spend every day together. They sleep in the same bed together. They plan their futures together. But there are signs that show that Korry might not be feeling the same way about Blake. Blake begins to suspect it has something to do with the fact that Korry’s attracted to straight-acting, masculine-looking, manly men.
And Korry’s not alone.
In this episode, we continue our conversation on gender and femininity and look at what happens when we move out of the heterosexual dating world and into the queer one. Kaitlin assumed that gay and queer life is one big femme-loving genderfuck. But flipping through gay hook-up apps, it’s easy to spot a “no fats, no femmes” trend. So what’s the deal?
Ep 2 of “Pansy”: A season about where masculinity and femininity meet.
Todd once loved a woman. And she loved him back, but there was one thing that she just couldn’t get over, he twirls. This piece explores what it means to be effeminate when you’re a straight cis-dude. Kaitlin talks to men who embrace and resist their femininity.
Ep 1 of “Pansy”: A season of stories about letting your feminine flag fly.
Produced with help from Julia Alsop and editorial support from Cassie Wagler. Special thanks to Julia Serrano.
Kaitlin’s favourite thing to do during the holidays is curl up on the couch with an alcoholic holiday beverage and rewatch the Christmas specials that play year after year. And so, The Heart offers you our very own Christmas rerun: Mrs. Claus.
<3 Happy holidays <3
This episode was written by Samara Breger and produced by Kaitlin Prest.
“The first time I tasted her was the first time I felt like I could know her.” Rhonda spends their entire day relishing and re-living the sensation of going down on their girl. After they’re down South, face buried between her legs all morning long, they spend the rest of the day rediscovering the lingering scent.
This episode is a re-release from the “Sensorium” episode, originally produced in 2013.
Sharon receives emails from Harry, a not-so-secret admirer, her roommate and best friend, Kaitlin. Sharon is (mostly) straight, but could Kaitlin be the man of her dreams? Years after Kaitlin wrote those emails, the two friends sit down to talk about them and what they meant. They ask each other the questions that have always been beneath the surface of their friendship.
In a suitcase full of books and papers there is a little notebook with a bear sitting alone in a hot air balloon. This journal is one of the only things Alex saved when they got rid of all their possessions and moved to Ohio. The journal is filled with accounts of the life and the love they left behind.
This episode was written by Alex DiFrancesco with production help from Julia Alsop. Alex DiFrancesco’s work has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The New Ohio Review, and Brevity. Their first novel, a radical acid western called The Devils That Have Come to Stay, was published in 2015.
In this episode we refer to Radiotopia’s own in-house diary experts, Mortified. The Mortified Podcast is a storytelling series where adults share the embarrassing things they created as kids—diaries, letters, lyrics & beyond—in front of a live audience. We hear from founder Dave Nadelberg about how Mortified began, and from Leslie McClane about her favourite teenage activity. From Episode 61 “How Not to Masturbate (and Other Hollow Victories).”
Ashley’s Livejournal features the angsty outpourings of a teenager from the early 2000s living in Southwest Florida. Just like many who came of age at the time, she flushed feelings out into the anonymous online public. Looking back on these entries, Ashley tries to read into what was really happening beneath the surface.
At the back of a closet, in a cardboard box, writer Tina Horn’s diaries gather dust. In the box there are girlhood diaries covered in collages of unicorns, dragons and David Duchovny. There are mixtapes with fat multicolored glitter and there are simple, spiral bound notebooks filled with obscenities.
This episode is part of the Diaries mini season and was written by Tina Horn. Tina is a Lambda Literary Fellow and the recipient of two Feminist Porn Awards. Check out Tina’s podcast and more.
Writer Molly Osberg has carried her journals to every house she’s lived in since 2007. They’re decorated with pictures of her and her friends’ faces smooshed together, one friend in particular; Amelia. Molly and Amelia met in detention and were inseparable for most of high school. Together they learned how to become the people that they are today.
Written by Molly Osberg. Special thanks to Allen Watts, John Walker and Amelia.
Produced by Tennessee Watson The Heart. Editing by Sharon Mashihi. Assistant Production by Ashley Cortez. This project was made possible with funding from the IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.
Episode three of Silent Evidence; one woman’s story of childhood sexual abuse.
In episode three, a court case unfolds. Tennessee decides to call the cops and tell them about what happened with Dr. Youseffi. Detective Kimberly Norton picks Tennessee up at the airport in Virginia so she can file an official report. What Tennessee and Detective Norton discover is that Tennessee is not alone. Four women come forward, in three different counties. Only one prosecutor picks up the case. Find out more about Silent Evidence.
Produced by Tennessee Watson and Kaitlin Prest with The Heart. Editing by Sharon Mashihi and Mitra Kaboli. Additional help reporting by Jocelyn Frank. Assistant Production by Ashley Cortez. Editorial advising by Pejk Malinovski. Music by Matthew Daher. This project was made possible with funding from the IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.
Episode two of Silent Evidence; one woman’s story of childhood sexual abuse.
In Episode two, Tennessee tries to reconcile with the abuse that she suffered. From performance art to installations to hair-brained schemes, Tennessee feels a little better every time she asks people to listen to her story. However, she has underestimated Dr. Youseffi’s impact on her life. She decides to confront him at the gym.
Episode one of Silent Evidence; one woman’s story of childhood sexual abuse.
Tennessee Watson is a documentarian and artist who has been struggling to speak out about something that happened to her when she was a kid, something that she knew was wrong. When Tennessee was seven her gymnastics coach fondled her vulva. In part one of Silent Evidence, Tennessee takes us in and out of her memories, from childhood to adolescence as she comes to terms with what happened to her and finally revisiting the gym where she was abused.
Based on the 2015 essay from The Big Roundtable, writer Mariya Karimjee takes us on a journey from her childhood in Pakistan, to her adolescence in Texas, through college, all the way to where she is now, back in Pakistan as she navigates family, love, her body and her personal relationships, all despite the physical and emotional trauma that she has suffered.
Mariya Karimjee is a writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. Read her original essay here.
Editorial support from Brendan Baker, Allen Watts, Kelsey Padgett, Samara Breger and Nadia Bajwa. Additional support from Kari June.
Another version of this story can be heard on This American Life.
This episode comes to us by way of the tech podcast, Note to Self. They gave Kaitlin a call when they were working on a story about an app that helps couples talk about sex. GraceAnn Bennett, the advertising executive turned tech entrepreneur is the woman behind the app. When she got married she was a virgin. Navigating sex proved to be very difficult. Nineteen years later, it didn’t get any easier. They eventually divorced and GraceAnne, with the help of the Kinsey Institute made this app.
This episode was produced by Note to Self. Special thanks to Allen Watts.
We end our series with a final ghost; it’s you. Every time I hear that song, you’re next to me. Whether I like it or not. In a cafe, in my bedroom, when I watch that stupid vampire series. The ache pains me but what’s worse is knowing that some day, maybe not too long from now, the pain will go away.
Special thanks to Damien Luxe who voiced this story for us.
Kari is nothing like the actresses in the scenes that she films. She’s tall, robust, the kind of girl who can pick up a camera and take it where it needs to go. Violet, on the other hand, is petite and soft. She’s got a body that’s made for the kind of sex you see in porn. Kari knows first hand because Kari is the camera operator for Violet’s porn shoots. But the scene that looms largest in Kari’s head was one she didn’t film. It’s Violet’s scene with Brian, Kari’s current boyfriend, Violet’s ex. Violet was Brian’s big love and Kari is nothing like her.
Does love ever really die? Even though Kaitlin has a beautiful boyfriend she still hears the ghost of those she once loved ring in her ears. But, there’s another ghost in her life; her boyfriend’s current love. This ghost disturbs her. It angers her. It brings out a side of her that she wishes would go away.
Produced for Falling Tree Productions, as heard on BBC’s Between the Essays series with editing by Sharon Mashihi.
Powerful memories are like paused tapes in our minds – a hum barely heard beneath the noise of our everyday – ready to be played at any moment. This audio fiction explores the process of falling in love with someone, fading away and eventually discovering all that you have left of them is a memory. Carter, our narrator, is on a present-day first date with Frankie but is distracted by memories of past lover, Alex, which play like a tape in his head. But with each replaying, the tapes seem to have warped, or maybe Carter has.
Produced by Dane Stewart, Katie Hill, Matthew Kariatsumari and Michelle Macklem. Special thanks to Renée Hodgins, Emily Skahan and Mira Burt-Wintonick.
A personal account of the haunting absence of a lost love. This is a story about grief, loss and reaching for freedom. The sense of emptiness that comes after saying, “I love you,” every day until, suddenly, you don’t. But the love is never truly gone. It’s with you always, leaning over your shoulder as you rediscover a world in which it no longer exists.
This episode was originally produced for The Hearsay Audio Festival. Special thanks to Kelsey Padgett and Allen Watts.
Devon is one of Kaitlin’s oldest friends from high school. The two live in different cities now and occasionally see each other over the holidays. On one such holiday reunion he recounted a story to Kaitlin of what could have been one of the best nights of his life. However, Devon also attended a potluck that evening.
At the beginning of a relationship, the small decisions feel like big decisions. When to text? What to wear on the second date? How naked to get? But for Kelsey and Samara, the first decisions were a bit bigger. When Samara’s dad was hospitalized for a mysterious, dangerous illness, Kelsey decided to move in with Samara and spend every night at the hospital with her and her family. As the two fell in love within the cold, stale confines of the hospital, a new decision appeared on the horizon: would they keep loving each other when things were okay? Or did they need chaos and tragedy to keep them going?
You’ve got a squeeze on Christmas Eve? You know you’ll have their lovin’. But what about ol’ Mrs. Claus? Her man’s out–she’s got nuffin! In our retelling of The Night Before Christmas, join lonely Mrs. Claus as she searches for affection in the most unlikely of places.
Idiot and Dummy met where many boneheads meet, in grad school. One night, they ran into each other on the subway. The two are alike in a lot of ways. They both stay up late, go to punk shows, raves, do drugs and have sex. Lots and lots of sex. As the two get closer, commitment and monogamy become harder and harder to negotiate. Idiot flees from her true feelings as she gets blindsided by a Dummy.
Written & produced by Julia Alsop in collaboration with The Heart. Voice Acting by Brian Dolphin, Julia Alsop, Jenn Custard & Sophie Traub. Special thanks to Allen Watts, Max Pearl, Pizza Haus & the original Dummy.
Desiray felt a deep, human connection the moment she first heard his voice. Aaron Carter spoke to her through his music. When Desiray was down, Aaron always cheered her up. When she needed him, his music was always there. And when they finally met, it was almost as if Aaron could read her mind. Maybe the deep, human connection Desiray felt as a kid was real. Dozens of concerts later, Desiray and Aaron are almost friends. Almost. Now Desiray wonders, can a fan ever be a true friend? Does Aaron value her as a friend, or as a fan? And if she’s just a fan like any other, can she live with it?
This story was produced by Galen Koch in collaboration with The Heart. Special thanks to Kelsey Padgett, Justine Champine, Desiray Roy, and Aaron Carter.
In part two, we pick up at ‘the break.’ Unsure of whether this break was actually a break-up, Kaitlin pushes on, determined to make the show. Along with Kaitlin’s new found freedom came very real struggles with making the show, in addition to losing a friend. How will this pair overcome their differences and get back together?
A creative partnership is in many ways just like a romantic relationship. Kaitlin Prest and Mitra Kaboli reflect on the hardships of their 5-year collaboration. In part one of this story, we dive deep into their beginnings. The unlikely pair gets knocked up with a radio baby and has to overcome their differences for the common good. But, every great pair comes to the question, is this worth the trouble?
Poo might be the most embarrassing, shameful bodily function. So of course, there are lots of people who bring it into the sexual domain, because that’s the place where taboos get worked out and subverted. The hero of our story has always had a thing for poo and one day he places a craigslist ad looking for the sundae to his cherry.
Vibrators have been the friend of the female orgasm for over a century now. Back in the 1800s you could only get access to one via a doctor’s appointment. To cure your irrational woman feelings, hysteria. When they started selling them for home use in the 20th century, companies made up weird, fake uses for them; nail buffing tools,special attachments for vacuum cleaners, etc. One very popular way to market the vibrator was to call it a back massager. Probably thousands of different vibrator have come and gone but there is one that has outlasted them all and maybe will go on into the future as the queen of vibrators: The Hitachi Magic Wand.
The Heart is hosting a celebration of love, commitment and business, also known as…a WEDDING! Kaitlin and Mitra are getting married (well, sort of). As of April of this year, Kaitlin Prest and Mitra Kaboli are legally bound — as business partners. It’s an LLC of Love!
The very first Heart Wedding will mark the commitment between creative director Kaitlin Prest and senior producer Mitra Kaboli as they embark on a new business partnership and reflect on a 5-year-long friendship. The wedding will be part radio-listening event, part performance art and all celebration.
October 16, 2015 The Bell House 149 7th St. Brooklyn, NY 11215
Being naked can be scary. There you are, your whole self. No decorations, no cool skirt or shoes or shorts to look at instead of…you. This story is about one special woman, our naked hero. After undergoing surgery and getting an ostomy (a bag that sits on your hip that your poop goes into), being naked was forever changed. Nonetheless, our hero decided to continue frequenting her favorite nude beach, walking naked and free all summer long.
This piece, originally titled after our hero’s Zine, “My Pink Button”, was produced by Jess MG and aired on Audio Smut a long long time ago.
Once upon a time, Kaitlin went to a radical sex education workshop. At the workshop, the facilitators spent 45 minutes going into extreme detail of the complexities of the female system of sexual arousal. Then they spent 15 minutes on the male system. The facilitator insinuated that it was very simple – touch the dick, make him come. During the question and answer period the male bodied people in the room protested, insisting that the male anatomy is just as mysterious and complicated as the female anatomy. This is when Kaitlin learned about the P-spot – the prostate orgasm. One Saturday night, Kaitlin ventured onto St. Laurent Boulevard in Montreal and asked strangers if they had ever had their P-spots touched. This is a collage of their answers.
Once upon a time, we did an episode about what happens when there is too much going on sexually. The Ethical Slut says that love isn’t finite. Loving more than one person means having more love instead of less. This can be true. However, love is a complicated emotion. And sex can often be wrapped up in all these complicated and conflicting emotions. More isn’t always better.
This piece was submitted to The Heart by an anonymous Dominatrix and produced by Julia Alsop.
Most people remember the first time they got off, most of us conveniently forget the era before that when we have no idea what masturbation was. When all we knew is what felt good. We develop strategies that seemed very innocent to us at the time. We didn’t know that there is a name for this kind of feeling good. Or, that certain things that feel good are supposed to be done in private. There was a time when nothing had names and we were just kids.
In the summer of 1960 Joan Nestle was 20 years old and in love. At the time she lived in a Lower East Side tenement apartment and the city was hot, sweaty and humid. Joan and her girlfriend Carol would ride the subway for an hour and half to Riis Park. Riis Park was and still is an easily accessible queer beach in New York. Joan wrote about these memories in her book, A Restricted Country.Beach goer and producer Cassie Wagler brings us her adaptation of one of the essays found in Joan’s book – Lesbian Memories 1: Riis Park 1960. Poet Iris Cushing is the voice of Joan.
Joan Nestle is a femme, a lesbian, a writer, activist and editor, and a scholar of butch-femme history and theory. In 1974 she co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives – and the archives were housed in her apt for years. You can read more of Joan’s work on her blog.
At 5 years old, Gina was parading around the stage with a number pinned to her chest. But as the host of The Little Miss America Competition sang the national anthem, she felt he might have as well been singing,“You’re so whiiiiite, you’re so bloooooonde.” Even still, Gina, the toothless, black Shirley Temple, made it to the final round. When she didn’t hear her number called she looked out into the sea of eager parents and found her parents. Her mother, sullen and disappointed. Next to her mother, sat her father with tears streaming down his face. From that point on all Gina wanted to was to be seen, to fit in and to be beautiful.
By the time Gina was 24, she didn’t feel too different from that little pageant girl. She got into theater school but her optimism didn’t last. Soon after getting accepted she was drinking beer for breakfast, failing her classes, and fantasizing about skipping town. That’s in addition to the issues she was having with her boyfriend…
Badger Clark is remembered for shaping the poetry of the Old West with striking impressions of the cowboy life. But his poem “The Lost Pardner” about the intimate love of two cowboys has a special kind of beauty. It points to the often forgotten queerness of frontier life, where there was plenty of space to be alone and plenty of cowboys to be alone with.
Badger Clark wasn’t the only one out there. Queer fur trappers, stagecoach drivers, European explorers, and poets, like Clark, made their way out west looking for the freedom of a new context. And for many of them, that’s what they found.
Just after the new year, Kaitlin and Mitra take a business trip to small town Ontario to meet Steffy. At six foot two inches, Stefonknee is the tallest six year old you will ever meet. Of course, she isn’t actually six. She is an age-player, meaning she likes to pretend to be a kid. She fluidly moves in and out of her six year old self and her adult self. In addition to her male and female identities. Steffy is in a place of peace with her identities after a very traumatic falling out with her family, which for trans folks, is unfortunately, not uncommon. Here are the results of a 2011 survey the American trans community. The National Center for Transgender Equality is launching another survey this summer. You can sign up to take the survey or help distribute it here.
In addition to our dynomite team, this story could not have been possible without the help of so many people. Production Assistance by Maria Dønvang. Editorial Advising by Julia Alsop, Brendan Baker, Kelsey Padgett, Tina Horn and Ignacio Rivera. The biggest thanks to Mummy & Daddy and of course, Stefonknee Wolscht.
Our friend Dr. Emily Nagoski debunks tired, widely held ideas about sex and replaces them with perfectly clear, scientifically sound explanations. One of those new ideas totally blew our minds, so we’re bringing you our take on the “Dual Control Model.”
The final story of our series is about two people who took a one day’s love and tried to make it last for ever. Sarah and Kim were braver than most of us. Instead of leaving the one day’s love to linger in their memories and fantasies of accidental future meetings, they moved in together. They uhauled it. After the lake and 6 weeks of talking on the phone every day, Sarah amtraked to the big city and settled in to the apartment they signed a year’s lease for. They hadn’t even slept together yet. But they were crazy about each other. They wanted more. They wanted it all.
The great question: is chemistry enough to get through the yet unknown interpersonal frictions and differences?
So many thanks: editorial genius as always by Mitra Kaboli and Sharon Mashihi. The team and beyond who helped get this episode together: Samara Breger, Jen Ng, Shira Bannerman, Megan Detrie, Julia Murphy, Martin Johnson, Ido Fluk, Hana Crawford and Brendan Baker who gives me advice all the time about everything.
A one day’s love has a life cycle. It’s born, it lives a very brief life, and then it dies. That’s it. It’s usually cut short by circumstance, often by time or distance. Sometimes there’s only enough magic for the one night for one night of connection–just a little bit of love.
But what if there’s a chance that there’s a little more magic left? Can a one day’s love live another day? After a whirlwind night on the subway with a mysterious man with an easy laugh and terrible taste in music, Caroline decided to give her one day’s love a second chance.
This second installment in our “One Day’s Love” series is about trying to turn one special moment into many special moments. Can it be done?
Eintagsliebe, a sort of real German word meaning one day’s love. Or, a fling. This can be analogous to the mayfly, eintagsfliege. The mayfly sneaks in through an open window, lives her little mayfly life to the fullest, perhaps even finding her true mayfly love. Then before she knows it, death has overtaken her. She lies limply in the windowsill.
It was Friday October 26th 2012 and Hurricane Sandy was slowly descending upon New York City. Mitra was at dinner with Kaitlin, feeling a bit down in the dumps, she decided to make a love plan that turned into a prophecy. Upon Mitra’s return home, she finds a man sitting on her couch that she cannot deny her attraction to.
This series is an ode to the short and sweet moments in life, the ones you can never get over. The moments that you wish lasted longer because they were so intense, so perfect, so everything you’ve ever wanted to feel with another human being. You wish you could document every second of your parallel existences together, to show the world, that your love is the best. But you don’t because, much like the mayfly, it’s going to be over before it can ever really start.
It was sometime in the early years of their marriage when Gerda Weganer asked her husband, Einar, to dress in women’s clothes and sit for a painting. The intended subject was running late, and suggested to Gerda that Einar be her stand in. “His legs and feet are as pretty as mine,” she said.
All dressed up in a wig, painted with rouge and powders, and buckled into high-heeled shoes, Einar, now Lili, looked into the mirror with a singular wonder: “Was it really possible that I could be so good looking?”
So begins the story of Lili Elbe, a transgender painter and painter’s muse, who underwent one of the first series of modern gender confirmation surgeries. Her third surgery, meant to implant a uterus, eventually killed her, but not before she documented her life stories into papers that would later be compiled into the book, Man into Woman.
Lili Elbe’s hope was that her book fall into the hands of people like her. She wanted her words to help generations of trans people know that they weren’t alone. Unfortunately, the book is out of print. So when we got our hands on a copy, we couldn’t wait to share one of our favorite scenes, Lili’s christening night. Here’s a little history, from The Heart.
It’s fun to try to be beautiful when people are giving you positive attention for it. It hurts if you’re not meeting that standard and people treat you like you aren’t even there. You watch the people who are getting a lot of positive attention for being that certain kind of beautiful and you are made to feel invisible.
Or worse, people go out of their way to make you feel bad.
It’s hard to be a woman, yes. It’s a lot harder to be a woman who’s hairier, wider, bigger, taller, square instead of round, straight up and down instead of curvy, big hands, big feet, no vagina and maybe no breasts either. A woman who isn’t quite looking like what some people think a woman should look like. But who is finding her way.
To these women, the world can be downright cruel. More than cruel, violent. Harassment often escalates into assault, and more often than you would like to hear, escalates into full on homicide.
For these women, being womanly in the way we are told we have to is sometimes about more than beauty. It’s about survival. This episode is about the story of one woman’s quest for beauty.
It was a collaboration with badass poet and radio maker, Julia Alsop. After we finished production we invited Zil Goldstein into my walk-in closet magic sound booth to talk through some of the blind spots in the story. Zil is a nurse practitioner, working specifically to help medical providers be more LGBT aware.
Short and Sweet: Mid month we bring you something short. Whitney Jones (producer at PITCH) tells us about his first love, and 27 other firsts in chronological order. Originally produced on Cowbird. You will also hear some previews of first kisses, which we’ll be sharing at our Launch Party.
When we do something for the first time, we enter into a world with new rules. It’s the creation of a new path, a new possibility. We meet this threshold with no knowledge of what will happen, how we or the world will react.
Once the rules of the game change, once we do something that we’ve never done before, the question of how to navigate the new world is what comes next. What do we do after the first kiss? Will it give way to the first holding of hands, the first public display of affection, the first sex, the first week sleeping in someone else’s bed every night? Or will it be the first, but also — the last?
A radio show is born. Again. We all go through phases and have an identity crisis or three. Audio Smut started as an hour long broadcast radio show at CKUT in Montreal, and has transformed into a delicately crafted podcast now part of PRX’s Radiotopia network. We cordially welcome you to The Heart.
This is an interview about necking (or lack thereof). A kiss over time: at the beginning, in the middle, at the end. If you don’t like how somebody kisses, can you grow into it? Samara’s Grandma tells us her story.
This episode is part of our kissing series. If you want to hear more, go here: http://audiosmut.tumblr.com/
Kaitlin and Kyle. They met at a kissing booth. On their first date they went on a recording adventure (for one of the early Audio Smut documentaries about the Drag Queens). They became obsessed with each other. They ended up making audio recordings of a lot of almost everything that happened between them.
This is the last episode of the season. It is also the last episode of Audio Smut. Don’t cry! We will be starting something new in a few months, better and more beautiful than ever before.
Audio Smut presents: a radio play. This episode was a documentary experiment, produced in collaboration with composer Shani Aviram. We set out asking questions about how perception is altered in early romantic relationships. How does your sense of reality fail you when you’re falling in love? After months of research and 17 interviews, we decided to write a single narrative encompassing the experiences and facts we unearthed.
Behold the almighty power of the V. Vaginas can hold the largest and smallest of objects with barely the slightest uncomfort. So it just makes sense to stash your weed in there. Star reporter, Ruth Eddy tells us how she came to use her natural pocket.
This episode is about growing up, becoming an adult, entering a stage of independence: shaving cream, tampons, driving, voting, doing your own dishes, doing your own taxes and sex. This episode will take you on a path of rituals, formal or otherwise.
The written word: a way to fuel a romance, a way to capture someone’s attention, a way to break up. We read people’s most private letters, and tell the story of the relationships that were made and broken by them.
In 1909, James Joyce wrote his wife, Nora Barnacle, a series of very sexy letters. While her side of the correspondence has been lost, we still have Joyce’s letters–and they’re really good. In this quickie, we’re reading you one of our favorites.
FU*K LOVE. Family. Responsibility. Survival. Economic Stability. These were once much more important to things to build your life on. This episode looks at the ideal of true love, how it came to be and what exists outside of it.
Psychologist and sexologist, John Money came up with the theory of a lovemap. A lovemap is a template. It’s a template that we are constantly measuring our sexual and romantic experiences against. It’s the map of what we like, who we like and how we like it. Money’s idea is that we all have one, and they tend to be pretty specific, right down to how exactly you need to be touched to have an orgasm. In this episode of Audio Smut we explore different kinds of lovemaps; sexual lovemaps that deviate from preconceived notions of what is suppose to happen when one body meets another, dating lovemaps unveiling our tendencies in relationships and finally, the physical map of touch.
A Quickie: This quickie is a history- a love map, if you will- of how Kaitlin manages to be such a productive person.
Also, this is the reason why Kaitlin insists on holding our meetings in coffee shops. Here, the lines between public and private, work and pleasure, get a little blurry. Check it out at In the Dark Radio’s installation at the Latitude festival (http://www.inthedarkradio.org/?page_id=799).
Homelessness isn’t really something that can be easily defined. Sometimes people make choices, other times people have no choices. In this episode, we have three situations from three very different people about how they managed to get by.
Keith is and always has been an extremely charming man. I know it was the 90s, but there is nothing charming about a yellow jumpsuit. Poor clothing choices aside, Keith still proves to be a chick magnet. If you love this story, stay tuned for our next episode coming out on Sunday July 7th where you will hear more of Keith plus some other truly incredible tales.
It’s your highschool sex ed class. Mrs. Green is going to play a movie. You are very excited. The room goes dark, the movie begins. You’re already a little bit aroused; you’ve seen pornography before but never in public with all your friends. Until you see the VAGINAS DESTROYED FOREVER because of unprotected sex. Penises OOZING MYSTERY SLIME never to ejaculate normally again! Encrusted growths! Rotting flesh! You carry a mortal fear of STIs for your entire adult life. Until you get one.
This story happened to a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of Audio Smut Producer, Erin. When surfing the Casual Encounters on Craigslist one must be prepared to be surprisingly turned on. Things get hot on there. Our shero finds a posting that speaks to her. She is turned on and cannot get this man’s fantasy out of her mind. She is so struck that she responds. She has never responded to a Craigslist ad. She is terrified, excited, and extremely nervous. Tonight, we go to the movies.
The good times and the bad times of making babies. Babies being born is a topic we accidentally avoid on audio smut. But the fact is, we have bodies that make us babies and sex is involved, albeit in many different ways. In this episode, we look at three different stories of babies being born.
A Quickie: The time that god punished you for having a threesome with my sister.
Devon is one of Kaitlin’s oldest friends from high school. They now live in different cities and see each other yearly if they’re lucky. Kaitlin’s sister recently moved Toronto. The rest of this story is in the gutter, literally. Devon has a very sensitive stomach. He ate too much curry and spicy peppers on the night that was to end with him and two beautiful, naked women. A dream come true, right?
In this episode, we tackle one of the biggest taboos. We eat food, everyday and eventually that food has to come out. Yeah it’s gross and stinky but it is one of the most natural things that our body does. Nonetheless, it’s quite common for people to have hang ups around anything that has to do with butts.
Audio Smut Experiments: ventures beyond radio into the realm of sound installation, performance and audio art work.
The Penn Hills Hotel and Resort was abandoned by it’s owner in the late 2000′s after failing to pay their taxes. The expansive property is a time capsul: heart shaped bathtubs, floor to ceiling shag carpet and circle beds. Seven exclusive couples were invited on a late night getaway to the Penn Hills Hotel and Resort in the Poconos. There was live music and drinks. They were then checked into their rooms and given time to get intimate in whatever way they liked.
Audio Smut Experiments: ventures beyond radio into the realm of sound installation, performance and audio art work.
Audio Smut in collaboration with a visual artist who remains anonymous created a slide show of sexy self portraits accompanied by audio that explains her thought process when she was taking the photos of herself. She explores concepts of womanhood, beauty and being comfortable in her body as is, unaltered. The slideshow was presented once and only once, but the audio is still a treat.