Tag: the erotic literary salon


Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Erotic Literary Salon, tonight in Philadelphia.



AS A KID, Ela Darling fell in love with the idea of virtual reality. This was the late ’90s, early 2000s; Johnny Mnemonic and the Nintendo Virtual Boy had already come and gone, and VR had moved from brain-busting sci-fi concept to schlocky punch line to faded cultural footnote. But still, Darling was an avid reader and D&D player, and the idea of getting lost in an immersive world—“making visual what I was already losing myself in books for,” as she puts it—was something she found not just exciting but romantic.

Not surprisingly for an active reader, Darling went on to get a master’s degree and become a librarian. Perhaps more surprisingly, she then stopped being a librarian and started acting in pornographic movies. (Yes, that means she officially became a sexy librarian. Fun fact: She has the Dewey decimal number for the Harry Potter books tattooed on her back.) And after a few years of bondage scenes, masturbation videos, and girl-on-girl movies, Darling attended the E3 videogame trade show and tried an early version of the Oculus Rift, the headset that jump-started the current VR revolution. “The first thing I think of when I hear of new technology,” she says, “is ‘How can I fuck with it?’ or ‘How can I let people watch me fucking on it?’ Usually there’s one or the other application if you think hard enough.” With Oculus, Darling didn’t have to think too hard at all; now, at 28, she’s busy forging a future as creative director (and star performer) of VRtube, a nascent online studio and distribution center for VR porn.

It’s not just enterprising actresses who think this way. Call it Rule 34a: Whenever a new media technology appears on the horizon, someone pops into a comment thread to say, “I can’t wait to see what the porn industry is gonna do with this.” And indeed, from VCRs to CD-ROMs to streaming video, nearly every home entertainment platform of the past 40 years was either popularized or downright pioneered by companies that could help people watch other people getting freaky. It generally works out well for everyone: If half of all videotapes for sale in the US in the late ’70s hadn’t been X-rated, it might have taken VCRs a lot longer to reach critical mass in the early ’80s.

Yet no visual technology has ever been so perfectly suited to sexual applications as VR. Yes, video brought sexually explicit content from theaters into homes, but virtual reality promises to eclipse even that shift. Historically, we’ve found titillation at a remove. In erotic woodcuts, DVDs, even streaming webcam shows, there’s a frame—whether a book, a Polaroid border, or a screen—through which we experience whatever it is that turns us on. VR is more than just another iteration. It doesn’t just change the frame. VR erases it. It allows us to exist inside the environment. The NSFW possibilities are endless. Yes, we’re at the dawn of this thing, and all the easy points of reference—Star Trek’s holodeck, the Matrix, Community’s Dreamatorium—are years of refinement and R&D away. The real question is what we’ll do in Year One.

Here’s what we’re not going to do: pull a Lawnmower Man. That is, we’re not going to put on full-body haptic suits, climb into gyroscopes, and transform ourselves into shimmering posthuman forms that overcome our bodily shackles and merge with one another in a transcendent liquid singularity. A huge part of the reason VR has finally tipped into mainstream consciousness is that it’s lightweight and low-­footprint: a headset display, some sort of input controller, and sound. Sure, the libidinally aspirational can shell out for omnidirectional treadmills and mo-cap harnesses to facilitate Peak Air-Hump. Japanese sex-toy company Tenga has even helped design a complicated prototype that syncs a virtual sex simulator with … well, you can imagine with what. But for the foreseeable future, VR will be aural and visual only; if localized tactile feedback is what you’re after, you’re gonna need to handle that yourself. (Good riddance, “teledildonics.” You’re the worst word ever, and you’ll be despised long after your passing.)



We’re also not going to lose ourselves in a panoply of CGI flesh calibrated to our every kink and whim. Not that people ­haven’t tried: The past two years of VR game development are littered with the husks of abandoned projects with names like Sinful Robot. The problem is, as their developers learned, creating a fluid 360-degree video­game is already difficult—and making it stereo­scopic and photo-realistic complicates things exponentially. Players can handle the janky facial animations in an action game like Far Cry 4 because they’re secondary to the purpose of the game (i.e., Shoot Everything). Certainly, depictions of sex can be arousing at low fidelity, as erotic comic books and vast swaths of hentai anime suggest. But obliterate the proscenium the way VR does and suddenly those lossy signals lead straight to the uncanny valley, that very unsexy place where things look sorta real but not real at all. The vast majority of VR-­capable “adult games” are Second Life–like knockoffs with graphics that look like waxy (and waxed) blow-up dolls. While a VR version of phone or FaceTime sex isn’t tenable yet—even if you could see each other, you’d have headsets on—the most promising avenue appears to be 360-degree 3-D video, like the kind some people are using to produce VR concert experiences or the projects showcased at Sundance’s New Frontiers program in January.

When Ela Darling and her collaborators filmed some test footage for the Oculus RIft, what they found wasn’t just titillating, but human.
When Ela Darling and her collaborators filmed some test footage for the Oculus Rift, what they found wasn’t just titillating, but human.

Regardless, what we are going to do is find something virtually (sorry) unheard-of in pornography: intimacy. The thing that’s going to take us there is “presence,” that phenomenon that occurs when head-tracking latency, screen quality, and processing wizardry combine to trick your brain into thinking that you’re existing in a virtual space, rather than just watching a screen that extends past the edges of your vision. If your brain believes it, your body reacts in kind—with all the responses that come along with that.

So if you’re standing at the edge of a skyscraper in VR and you lean over the side, you experience vertigo. If you’re in a darkened corridor on an alien spaceship and you hear a rustle behind you, you freak the fuck out—full, heart-pounding fight-or-flight response. If you’re sitting in a musician’s apartment while he noodles on a piano, his dog sleeping behind you on the hardwood floor, you feel serene. (This isn’t speculation; I’ve done all those things in various VR environments—some CG, some video—and I’ve had all those reactions.)

The big question is whether sexual content in VR will induce the same reptile-brain response. Ela Darling would certainly like to know. She found like-minded colleagues last year when they posted on Reddit about wanting to make VR porn. They flew her from California to Maryland last April; in true tech startup fashion, they turned out to be 20-year-old college students. (“It was very Weird Science,” Darling says.) Nonetheless, they shot a test scene in their dorm room. Rather than invest in an array of pricey high-end Red cameras like many other fledgling VR video companies, they went decidedly DIY, taping together two GoPro cameras to create a stereo­scopic 3-D image with a wide field of view on the cheap. (Again in true tech startup fashion, Darling initially wore an R2-D2 swimsuit.) After she flew back to LA, one of the students emailed her; he’d finished processing the test scene and was so blown away by the result that he wanted her to be a partner in the venture. “This is unlike any porn I’ve seen,” he wrote. “It’s like I’m watching an actual person.”

More great articles: http://www.wired.com/2015/02/vr-porn/

Press Release-March 17- St. Patrick’s Day Salon-Featuring Jackie

Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon, the Captivating Jackie Will Present “What Makes Me Wet,” Along With Attendee Readers, Tuesday, March 17.


Tuesday, February 25, 2015


PCSalons@gmail.com – contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Salonnière,

PCSalons@gmail.comreserve a time slot to read at Salon (5 min max)

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com – guidelines for reading.

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com – blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.

The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, March 17. Jackie, a regular attendee of the Salon, will share an excerpt from her longer piece “What Makes Me Wet.” Her autobiographical erotica will have your head spinning as your perceptions and notions of sexuality are challenged.

Prior to Readings – Adult Sex-Ed

Topic – TBA

Approximately twenty attendees will also entertain with their 5-minute erotica, sex memoirs, rants, short stories and poetry.

PHILADELPHIA: The Erotic Literary Salon, unique in the English-speaking world has launched a growing movement mainstreaming erotica. Salons attract a supportive audience of 65 or more individuals. Approximately 20 participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken word performers of original works/words of others, the rest just come to listen, enjoy and applaud. Frances, our resident nonagenarian (97 years young) occasionally recites her original erotica.

Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (limited seating), for cocktails, food and conversation. Adult Sex-Ed between 7:00-7:30, readings begin at 8:00. Admission is $10, discounted for students and seniors to $8. Salon attendees must be 21.

Creator of this event, Dr. Susana, is Philadelphia’s best-known sexologist. She lends her voice to the Salon by offering relevant information to support the discussions that arise in the Salon and blog.

…surprisingly comfortable….Salon devotees praise her for the space she has created….”

“I think Susana is doing a very brave thing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2010


“There are laughter and tears along with the hot rush of blood – to the face.

Daily News, March 15, 2010


“I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.

First-time attendee and reader 2013



Tonight – The Erotic Literary Salon-Live with Monica Day (Power of One Program) and the Femme-Mynistiques

Roads all clear in Center City, Philadelphia after a dusting of snow. Just enough to look like a winter wonderland and hide all the grime of the city.

So very excited about this evening’s entertainment, plus the readers of the Salon.

The Femme-Mynistiques are back with their powerful a cappella voices. Combining hip hop, tribal house, down-tempo, electronic music – and for those who don’t usually appreciate hip hop, sit back, relax and open your ears to some of the best sounds around.


Monica Day will be sharing her erotic life, fearlessly and totally uncensored for this her fourth Valentine’s presentation at the Salon. Monica is an artist, writer, performer, workshop leader and personal coach, plus the founder of The Sensual Life and the Power of One Program.

We have all experienced the power of both sharing and witnessing the intimacies of others at the Salon. People’s lives transform when they are able to share themselves in intimate ways with a room full of strangers. We have a fundamental need to be seen, and an equally strong desire to hear about the inner lives of others to validate our own experience.
Once, we sat around fires, and we shared ourselves with one another — deeply, creatively, vulnerably. It forged our ties as a family, a tribe. But today, we have made artists the keepers of our collective stories and experiences — and for many of us, it has limited our access to their power to transform and heal us.
Monica Day’s program — The Power of One — seeks to reclaim the power of expression, and return it to the source. To place the brave person willing to speak themselves into the world, onto the stage.
We have become a world of watchers. Television, movies, theater — we go, looking for ourselves in that mirror. Wanting to be moved, inspired, turned on — by the artists we employ to act out our cultural narrative.
The entertainment value may be incredible — but often, the real, raw, vulnerable truth is missing.
We have watched Monica Day explore this theme at the Salon for many years now — both in her own readings, as well as those she works with in her workshops. The Power of One is her most ambitious program yet — 5 people will take 10 months to create their own, individual, solo show, which will be professionally staged, performed, and filmed in NYC the first weekend of December.
She is currently interviewing candidates for the program, so if you are interested, contact her. We would love there to be a few local participants who might share their words with us as they develop them.
The Salon has witnessed the transformation of several participants from Monica’s previous workshops. It was awe inspiring for the attendees to watch her students evolve and grow on so many levels.
Don’t forget to come hear Monica read at the Salon tonight.


The Erotic Literary Salon-tomorrow-February 17 Tuesday, Philly Shade of Erotica-Philly Daily News

The program for tomorrow’s Erotic Literary Salon is huge, 2 presenters – Monica Day and the Femme-Mynistiques, plus approximately 20 readers. I love snow, but hopefully not too much tomorrow. If there will be a cancellation I shall post tomorrow at this site or you can email me directly at pcsalons@gmail.com

Jenelle Janci, who attended the last Salon and interviewed a few attendees, had her article published in the Philadelphia Daily News. Do add your comments to the only two presently on their site, “gross” and “interesting.” I would love for someone to answer their observations via article.



A SEXY young woman wearing a slinky black dress and red patent-leather heels approached Susana Mayer before the first Erotic Literary Salon, in 2008.

“Can I really read anything?” the woman asked. She then asked to go first and shared an original piece about her “daddy” – and she didn’t mean her biological father.

“That really set the pace,” said Mayer, the salon’s founder. “I couldn’t have planned it to be better, because then people thought in their minds, ‘I can read anything.’ And in fact, somebody did. Someone who lived close by said, ‘I’m going home and getting my diary at intermission.’ ”

The Erotic Literary Salon is an open mic for authors and fans of original erotica. Mayer hosts the event on the third Tuesday of every month upstairs at Time restaurant, on Sansom Street. It’s 21-plus and there is an admission fee. The next salon is Feb. 17.


Mayer is a professional sexologist who advises clients on sexual matters and has studied sexuality from a variety of angles. She created the Erotic Literary Salon after conducting focus groups for her doctoral dissertation and finding that many middle-age women were experiencing difficulty becoming aroused.

When Mayer suggested reading erotica, some women balked because they perceived it as demeaning. Keep in mind, this was pre-Fifty Shades of Grey.

That best-seller’s not on Mayer’s favorites list, by the way. She said it doesn’t properly represent the BDSM community.

“The content upset a lot of people who are into BDSM, because it basically said you have to be damaged goods to do it or want to do it, and that’s not true,” Mayer said.

Not for women only

After those focus groups, Mayer set out to introduce women to erotica through meetings where they would share pieces that interested them. These gatherings were intended for women only, but when the owners of the event’s original location said they couldn’t legally bar one gender, men were allowed in, too.

Those meetings evolved into a salon for those interested in sharing their own work, from twentysomethings to a 98-year-old woman named Frances who writes about her multiple boyfriends. Mayer said she doesn’t see or censor any of the material before it’s read, which she admitted is unusual, even for an event of this kind.

“There’s this fear that someone is going to get up there and read something really off the charts, and they do,” Mayer said. “We have things where people are sitting and squirming in their seats and their mouths are open and they’re going, ‘Am I really sitting here listening to this?’ ”

Before the juicy readings commence, Mayer hosts an “Adult Sex Ed” Q&A with guest speakers. Each month has a different topic; last month’s was the benefits of legalizing prostitution.

An education

The pieces read aloud aren’t always meant to be titillating. Mayer said that reading intimate works is healing for some participants, recalling a night when three women who hadn’t met before unexpectedly shared pieces about being raped.

Given the salon’s purpose, some attendees interviewed for this story didn’t want to go public. Dennis, who asked that his last name be withheld, said that he has been attending salons with his partner for 2 1/2 years. He said that education is an important component of the evenings.

“It’s a place to really have intellectual discussions about your sexuality,” Dennis said. “It’s getting an education that would have been nice to have under my belt before I was a 38-year-old man.”

That learning can happen through the Q&A or just by listening to readers.

“It allows people to have a chance to be introduced to concepts that they may or may not have thought about before,” said one woman who has attended for four years.

Readers shared an array of erotica at the January salon, from a piece lamenting the downsides of having too much “great sex” to variations on the X-rated limerick, “There Once Was a Man From Nantucket.”

A woman who identified herself as Mimi was a first-time attendee that night. Mayer requires “virgins” like Mimi to attend at least one evening before sharing their own work.

“I hope I’ll drum up the courage and be able to read someday,” Mimi said.

First-time readers get extra love from the audience, and Mayer also asks every reader to provide a backstory with their piece.

A performance artist who goes by Tommy D “Naked Man” shared his poem, “Balls.” He said that the salon fills a niche: “There’s no other place, really, unless you count private engagements or gigs and events.”

If someone is looking to be healed, educated or to share a secret, the Erotic Literary Salon can help, Mayer said. “The bottom line of what the salon is doing now is just validating people’s fantasies, people’s lives, what they actually do, and getting rid of shame.”

Shame, she continued, is “the killer of people’s, I would say, sex lives. And boy, the salon is a great place to get rid of that.”

Erotic Literary Salon, third Tuesday monthly (next one, Feb. 17), upstairs at Time, 1315 Sansom St. 21+. $10, $8 for students, seniors and military. Table reservation, 
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/literature/20150211_Philly_shades_of_erotica.html#xeqsMlK0ZXKkiOyI.99