It’s not considered couth to brag about your sexual escapades, but a new T.O. storytelling event requires attendees to make their privates public.
As anyone who has read erotic fiction can attest, describing sex is a task that can frustrate even the finest wordsmith. Wil, a masseur from Toronto, seems to have no such problem: In need of an analogy to illustrate how one of his past partners performed enthusiastic oral sex, he paused for half a beat, then said, “She sounded like Scrooge McDuck when he’s flabbergasted.”
Wil delivered this zinger from the stage of the Gladstone Hotel’s Melody Bar, where he was recounting a particularly memorable scene he had witnessed at the Oasis Aqualounge, a sex club near Allen Gardens. (Let’s just say the scene involved lots of people, orgasms, and bodily fluids.) He was the second contestant in a new monthly sexual storytelling competition called Tell Me Something Good.
Inspired by the popular Bawdy Storytelling slams in Los Angeles, the event’s premise is relatively simple: Bold, adventurous, or just plain drunk attendees drop their names in a red box. A dozen of those submissions are selected, and, one by one, the chosen few get up, throw caution to the wind, and tell a bar full of strangers a true tale of their sexual (mis)adventures. A panel of judges lounge on a nearby sofa, sip mixed drinks, and dole out increasingly erratic scores.
TMSG is the handiwork of Sophie Delancey, VP for Montreal-based porn website The Art of Blowjob, and Samantha Fraser, an organizer behind Playground—an annual sex and relationships conference. Fraser claims Toronto is “in many ways, sexually constipated,” and is hoping to relieve that blockage by providing a safe space for people to share what they get up to in bed. (Or out of it, as the case may be.)
The first slam was held in February and attracted about 75 people. Since then, its popularity has grown significantly. The event I attended happened the evening after the Feminist Porn Awards, and the crowd included porn pros and fans in town for the occasion.
This month’s theme was “Visuals & Voyeurs,” centred on stories of watching or being watched during sex. The performers were mainly twentysomethings, split evenly between guys and girls, and several of them were involved in non-mainstream porn in some capacity.
A self-confessed “shy guy” named Harley kicked things off. He works with SPIT Magazine, a Toronto-based alternative-porn collective, and he didn’t seem that shy as he spun a yarn about the pleasures of shooting a guy-on-guy sex scene. One young woman followed shortly after, narrating a childhood moment when she found a tape of an adult film belonging to her mother—starring Santa Claus. Yet another performer recalled a visit to see a contemporary dance piece that contained some rather unexpected penis puppetry. There was also time for a foray into semantics, with a discussion on what constitutes frottage. (No consensus was reached).
While there was clear appreciation for most transgressive antics and outlandish sexcapades, a certain level of etiquette was required. Right off the top, Fraser rattled off a list of at least 10 attitudes that were off-limits. They included homophobia, transphobia, fat-phobia, and slut-shaming. (This inclusivity was reflected in the overarching rule of not “yucking on someone else’s yum.”)
By turns funny, messy, icky, and occasionally touching, the dozen or so stories added up to a vivid reminder of how many different forms those yums can take, even in a city as ostensibly prudish as ours.
In the end, it was Wil and his angry-duck references that took home the winner’s prize of a skimpy tank top. But, in my opinion, the best performer was a woman who, upon forgetting her story due to stage fright, promptly pulled down her pants and invited the judges to spank her instead. Not even Scrooge McDuck could beat that.