Category: Articles about Salon

No topic’s taboo at this Philly Erotic Literary Salon – Philadelphia Citypaper

Wonderful article written by erotica author/editor Rachel Kramer Bussel

Published 10/30/2014


“We have a virgin in the crowd,” Susana Mayer announces to big applause from the rapt group gathered at the Bohemian Absinthe Lounge on Sansom Street. The host isn’t referring to a sexual blank slate, but to a newbie reader at her monthly Erotic Literary Salon.

The salon, held in an upstairs bar space above Time restaurant, embraces all sorts of writing in a no-judgment zone. Want to hear sexy stories? You’ve got them. Want poetry and real-life revelations? Check. Want to learn about bisexuality, porn or other sexual topics? A guided discussion starts off each evening and draws plenty of audience participation. Mayer, a sexologist who’s been running the salon for six years, calls the three-and-a-half hour event “edutainment.”

Those who want to read sign up at a session for the following month or via email. The only requirement? Include a backstory, because Mayer knows those listening to the stories are thinking, “Is that a real story? Did they do that, or did they dream about that?” Here, the audience finds out.


About 20 people read at October’s salon, standing at a mic set up in front of the crowd. They read short pieces on everything from prehistoric mating rituals to an Italian fling, Tantric sex to wedding-night remembrances. They were alternately tender, enlightening, hot and provocative. The vibe appears to be less about getting off than building community.

Jackie, a cross-dresser who shared a humorous true tale of her double life, told me, “It used to be the cock-and-pussy show.” Now, she says, the writing is better and more varied, but still has “an erotic aspect of some sort.” This racially and age-diverse salon is for people who aren’t afraid of dirty words, and are looking to expand their minds. “There’s no shame in anything you want to talk about here,” one attendee said.

Pretense and pompousness, along with a fear-inducing stage, are missing. You don’t need to be the second coming of Anaïs Nin to be a hit. Many approached the mic holding cell phones or tablets to read from; some spoke timidly, while featured reader Lynn Hoffman, author of Radiation Days, used his voice to boom out his poetry about having orgasms after 40.

It’s a room so open-minded that frequent reader Jennifer came out to the crowd as transgender before she told her own family. At the session last week, she offered a humorous take on lesbian sex, referencing “boob-level 69,” but got serious when she said, “My greatest challenge now is being seen as halfway between male and female.”

Nobody can reveal every nuance of their lives in five minutes or less — the time limit to the readings — but you’d be surprised at how much a good storyteller can pack in.

Mayer has a doctorate in human sexuality, and her educator hat showed during last week’s opening talk about masturbation and the history of hysteria. People volunteered what they’d been told growing up about solo pleasure. (My favorite? That they’d run out of sperm!)

She doesn’t screen what people say, but she will offer her two cents. One night, when someone waxed rhapsodic about putting soap inside a woman’s private parts, Mayer was quick to warn that this could be dangerous.

She admits her no-holds-barred approach can “make people squirm,” but to her, that’s a good thing. Local comedian Rachel Fogletto did standup, mimicking getting come on her face, while others offered odes to anal play, threesomes and goddess-centered sex. It’s apparent there’s no right or wrong way to approach eroticism.

The salons are open to the public, 21 and over, and Mayer charges $10 ($8 for students/seniors). The next salon, Nov. 18, will feature erotica writer Emerald and a discussion on ageless sex (“Sex has no expiration date, or does it?”), Mayer’s forte and the subject of her forthcoming book. Be prepared to laugh, learn, gasp, talk to strangers and, yes, squirm.

✚ Rachel Kramer Bussel is the author of the essay collection Sex & Cupcakes and editor of over 50 erotica anthologies, most recently Hungry for More and The Big Book of Submission.

She tweets @raquelita.

Tonight, May 20 – Bisexuality Focus of Storytelling Salon – The Erotic Literary Salon

Tonight, The Erotic Literary Salon-Live. Ray Simon, freelance writer for PGN – Philadelphia Gay News, wrote a lovely article on Terri Clark. She will lead the Tuesday, May 20th Erotic Literary Salon’s “The Talk: For Adults.” Her subject will be bisexuality.


Excerpt from the article:

More important, Clark is bisexual, an identity she arrived at a bit unexpectedly, after many years openly and happily living as a lesbian.

“When I identify as part of the community, I usually identify as bisexual,” Clark said. “Sometimes I will use the word lesbian-bisexual. It’s what’s known as a fractured identity, so a hyphenated identity: lesbian-bisexual. And the reason that I do that is to maintain a connectedness with the lesbian community.”

Given Clark’s personal experience of issues like physical attraction, sexual identity and gender fluidity, she hopes to convey the richness and complexity of human sexuality to attendees.

One way Clark plans to accomplish that is by helping attendees redefine bisexuality. Ask what bisexuality is, she said, and people will usually reply, “Oh, it’s just somebody who’s attracted to males and females.”

But that definition is simplistic, she said.

“It’s way too dichotomous and does not capture the fluidity and complexity of people who identify as bisexuals,” Clark said.

Read entire article: PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News. Phila gay news. philly news – Bisexuality focus of storytelling Salon

Philadelphia Inquirer – Style & Soul Section

If you have not read the article about the Salon in yesterday’s paper please do so. Some comments have been added.

I truly didn’t expect it to read differently based on my interviews and some of the questions I was asked. For someone who is not as comfortable with this genre as the attendees of the Salon are, Lini Kadaba has written a nice piece.

Wish she had mentioned why my chosen mom decided to change from using her pseudonym to exposing her real name. She would have then portrayed a more accurate reason for using it. I know she was strapped for space, wish she hadn’t left that out.

Who cares whether I’m single or independent, there were far more important things to note. Perhaps the public gets off on gossip and writers feed their desires.

I agree with Riccardo Berra, his comments are worth noting.

“On the whole, a good article, but I think the author misses a couple of points. Regarding the use of pseudonyms, it’s not just fear of a spouse, but fear for one’s “straight” career. I write professionally and it’s clear from the “If it all sounds a little too weird” author’s comment that my concern is justified. The author also misses one of the principle virtues of the salon. Gays, straights, bi’s, BDSM’ers, vanilla romantics and dar, edgy writers all have a safe place to share our incredibly diverse modes of desire and attraction. Where else am I, a straight man, able to directly hear and applaud the life and loves of a lesbian poet? I’ve been a feature presenter and a monthly reader too. My 300 page novel is both literary and explicit. It explores committed relationships which are sexually charged. Just like real life. If it seems weird or escapist, maybe it’s because the rest of the month, we live in a culture that is not just a little weird about sex and love. Susana provides a little hypocrisy-free island. She’s looking to change attitudes. Judging from the tone of this article, she has a way to go. Also, although people come as couples and Susana is often accompanied by her 90 year old chosen mother, there are no families here. This is _not_ for kids. Yes, I’ve posted under my pseudonym. Can you blame me?”

The Philadelphia Inquirer – The Sensual Literary Salon – Erotic – Susana Mayer – The Ageless Sex Life – my professional site

I like it – “Sensual Literary Salon,” that it is. Although it would certainly not garner me the hits the word “erotic” gets me via Google. Lini Kadaba has written a truly lovely and accurate (kudos) article on the Salon.

This is not the first article that has been written about me or the Salon, it is however the first time in the Inquirer, a rather mainstream Philadelphia Paper. So I feel my goal of mainstreaming erotica is occurring in this city of “brotherly love.”

I must admit it is rather scary to have someone interview you several times, come to the Salon – especially on one of the edgier nights (always different) and only consult you for accuracy concerning facts. I have just read this article as you have, no preview, and I’m more than pleased. Quite lovely.

If I had to be picky, based on my count at the door, the number was 45 not 35 that attended the last Salon. I can only imagine how many will be lining up to enter this Tuesday. Come early for a seat. If you want to read, go to the top navigation bar and follow the guidelines. Or, just come to listen, be entertained, meet new friends, applaud. All are welcome 21+

I blog daily all things erotica at this site and all things concerning sexuality at my professional site:

Enjoy this wonderful snowy day.