It's one thing to swap stories of sexual escapades with your girlfriends after a few glasses of wine, but would you share your most embarrassing, kinky, shameful, awkward, or hurtful sexual experiences in front of 300 strangers? Men and women have been doing just that for nearly seven years at Bawdy Storytelling, a sex-themed storytelling series that was founded in San Francisco by self-proclaimed "sexual folklorist" Dixie De La Tour. Dubbed "The Moth for pervs," Bawdy is a sex-positive show if ever there was one, where real people share true stories about their sex lives that are emotional, hilarious, and shocking. Besides the now-multicity, monthly curated shows (which are all themed), there's also a monthly story slam competition in San Francisco and LA, a brand-new podcast, and a TED Talks-esque event on the horizon.
I recently chatted with Dixie — after attending the "It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time"-themed show — about how rare it is to talk openly about our sex lives, how she came up Bawdy Storytelling, and the most memorable stories she's heard. "It's amazing therapy," she told me. "People walk out of there going, 'I can't believe I did that.' They feel so empowered by it, because we all have this side we show the world. Nobody shows that side to the world." Get the interview and a couple videos from the show below:
POPSUGAR: Why don't we open up more about our sex lives?
Dixie De La Tour: It's tough to talk about sex because it's so private and your feelings around it haven't developed that callous that we have on so many other things in our lives. We've never learned to work that muscle. We've made it this thing that's not discussed. But when we do, it's such a raw, emotional place. There is so much sex education and there's so much "I thought I was the only one." I get emails the next day going, "I have new things on my sexual bucket list. I had no idea those even existed!"
PS: How did you come up with Bawdy Storytelling?
DDLT: Part of my sexual journey was figuring myself out and going through every community that I was invited into: the BDSM scene, the swingers scene, the polyamory scene, the orgies. I learned pretty quick that it wasn't about having sex myself — it was about facilitating what other people wanted.
Then one day, I was invited to a storytelling event and I went, "Wow, we need this in our community." The first one was really small, and at the end of it, they went, "It feels so good to talk about these things that you don't ever share with anyone else and you connect in this way you've never connected before." After I hear your story, you feel so drawn to somebody. The connections that happen, the relationships that start because people walk up to people who walked off stage and are like, "That was amazing . . . I felt this way," and they start dating and have children.