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The mysterious powers of the Smut Slam

It's not like I'm shy about the stuff I want to share!

I don't even understand why all of you people are here!

At this point in time, when Smut Slam as a concept and as an event is spreading pretty fast, I feel compelled to confess: I don't really understand how it works.

Smut Slam is the show in the Cameryn Moore wheelhouse that I feel proudest of, in terms of creating and spreading positive change, and it’s also the one that I have the least to do with, in terms of stage time. The metaphor for Smut Slam is a top: I just pull the string and let it go. So far it hasn’t flown off the table, but I definitely have no idea where it’s going to go. Ever.

As the creator and frequent host of this dirty-storytelling open mic, I get to live with that uncertainty every time. I help my branch hosts cope with that too; we have no way to pace or structure the evening, because random draw is a fucker, so you just get the show you get. We try to contain the uncertainty with the time limit and the rules of engagement (e.g. consent-based stories only, no sexism/racism/transphobia/etc, stories told at Smut Slam stay at Smut Slam), but I don’t know ahead of time what people are going to tell, and I don’t know how well they’re going to tell it.

Many people would say that’s one helluva risk, and yeah, we have had a few stories that have skirted around the edges of the rules. Frankly, I don’t even understand how that metaphorical top hasn’t flown off the table and smashed all the china. But I am banking on one belief with Smut Slam, a belief that underlines much of the work that I do: we do not have enough real sharing around sexuality in this culture, and people are hungry for it.

Given the space and encouragement—that’s what the Smut Slam host is there to build—a certain percentage of any size of group will have a sex story that maybe they’ve never told, or that they are proud of, or that they still are a little hurt or confused by. They will feel an imperative to share. And guaranteed 100% of that group, whether they are sharers or not, will be fascinated or at least interested in hearing what is said at the mic. How can they not be? This is a little glimpse at the inner workings of someone else’s sex brain. This is a relatively unfiltered moment of truth.

And whether we can totally relate to the story, because the same sort of thing happened to us, or whether it feels utterly exotic and impossible, the Smut Slam audience can trust that this story is not being used to sell us anything or make us feel bad about our own sex life. It just is.

It’s hard for me to figure out exactly how that translates to change in the world, the telling of stories, because the change I see it channeling toward is so very broad. Smut Slams model openness and authenticity, I guess; that’s the culture they contribute to. Smut Slams are events of radical, collective acceptance, where I, the host, pass no judgment whatsoever on the truth of what was spoken. (Judges are assessing the performative quality of the piece, but the actual story itself, the truth is not up for questioning or evaluating.) Not only do I not pass judgment, but I tell my own stories, and strive to avoid passing judgment on myself (sometimes the hardest task of all).

We are witnesses, when all is said and done, when the scores have been tallied and the prizes have been given out and the mic unplugged and stored back under the stage. We see and hear one another; we believe one another, in all of our smuttiness.

*****

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