Monthly smut slam a haven for sex nerds

Storytellers have five minutes to impress judges with their tales

The Winnipeg Smut Slam is a monthly event where participants have five minutes to impress with their best story, but there’s one rule: every story told has to be about sex.

Raja Rajeshwari has been chosen as the winner of three slams, which have a rotating cast of judges. “I’m a big fan of anything sexy times,” she says. “(Smut Slam) kind of wraps up all of the things that I’m really about.”

Each month, there’s a different theme, and November’s is freedom.

Participants do not bring notes or props up on stage, and Rajeshwari appreciates the unrehearsed nature of it all.

“I think it removes people from their normal mindset, and you just see a whole bunch of weirdos come out. And then you feel at home ’cause you’re like ‘yes, there’s more of me! I’m not alone.’”

All are welcome, from the shy and curious to those who, like Rajeshwari, are self-described sex nerds.

Smut Slam was initiated by professional speaker and phone sex operator Cameryn Moore. The sex-positive event is popping up across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Winnipeg’s Smut Slam is hosted by local comedian and burlesque performer Heather Witherden and co-produced by The Handsome Daughter.

The events are meant to create an open space for sharing and acceptance. Tara Clark says she’s definitely felt a sense of community at the slams.

“The environment at this event is so completely accepting,” she says. “You can feel that it’s just a very safe space for people to speak, and I always thought that was really inspiring.”

Clark is impressed by the feeling created at a bar, which can be an overwhelming environment on other nights. “That’s the interesting thing, that once you’re in there and you’re there specifically for that event, it does feel very inclusive, very cocoon-ish,” she says.

When Clark first attended, she says she and her date took the pressure off themselves by saying they’d simply leave if either of them didn’t like it. 

She encourages the buddy system and says the setup lends itself to those who may need to take a break.

“We’ll just take our beer and go drink in the front of the bar if it’s getting too uncomfortable,” she says. 

Clark says there’s no need to worry about judgment from the audience or event organizers. “I like the fact that they have it in places where you can sort of discreetly move away if you want to. No one’s looking, no one’s caring,” she says.

Audience members who have something to share but aren’t up to speaking can still contribute. 

“There’s a little bucket and people write into the bucket so they can tell stories anonymously via Heather,” Stephen Evans, who has also won an event in the past, says. 

“She’ll just pick them out and tell a story and everyone will say ‘your life is awesome’ as a group in response.”

For those interested in speaking, Rajeshwari says it’s as simple as going and signing up. There is a second signup at intermission, in case the first half emboldens a few storytellers.

The next Smut Slam is Nov. 29 at The Handsome Daughter. Tickets are $10 at the door, which opens at 7:30 p.m.

Published in Volume 71, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 24, 2016)

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