All photos: Caleb Cole
Cameryn Moore is an award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator, sidewalk pornographer, and a long-time phone sex operator. We caught one of her workshops in Berlin last year and were enamored by her unconventional ways to communicate and celebrate sex positivity.
Moore is the writer as well as performer of five solo shows: Phone Whore, slut (r)evolution, for | play, The Pretty One, nerdfucker. Moore also created the ongoing storytelling open mic called Smut Slam. Smut Slam is a “storytelling open mic featuring real-life, first-person sex stories, and BEDx, a bar education night for sex geeks”. Read our conversation with the revolutionary below.
Did your career as a phone sex operator motivate you to dive into sex education?
Cameryn Moore: Tangentially, yes. My work as a PSO inspired my first solo play and much of my blogging, certainly. When those pieces got out into the world and I started touring Phone Whore, I realized how very much people aren’t used to thinking deeply and talking openly about their sexual experiences and fantasies.
With "Phone Whore", what patterns did you see/hear with people revealing their sexual experiences and fantasies?
Moore: If you mean after my play Phone Whore, with the Q&A afterward, people generally are not revealing their own experiences and fantasies. If audience members want to share that sort of thing with me, because they have questions specifically about that and they think I'm a good person to talk to, they usually take that up with me in private messages. Sometimes I have to lay down some pretty hard boundaries around that, actually, because they're not paying me for that time! But I try to leave just a little space for people, a listening ear for a few minutes, and refer to good resources, and even in that limited time, people open up a lot, almost always about things they feel they can't tell anyone else about. Anyone who watches Phone Whore and knows that it's mostly autobiographical, based on my real experiences, they get a sense pretty quickly that I am sympathetic and open and non-judgmental.
What has been your favorite part in connecting with clients, workshop attendees and audience members in regards to your work?
Moore: With phone sex clients, my favorite part was when they felt comfortable enough with me to share the sex fantasy that they actually wanted, not what they felt they were supposed to want as “manly men.” With workshop attendees and audience members, I think my favorite part is when we get into deep conversations after the workshop or show, and they can share with me where their own thinking about my work has taken them. My plays and workshops and events are not the last word on anything; I just want them to nudge people into thinking about their own lives in ways that they hadn’t considered before.
What is your definition of sex positivity? This can be as short or as long as you'd like - just trying to get a feel for your perception. :)
Moore: Sex positivity is the idea that we should be able to easily access the information and resources we need to have the kind of (consensual) sex we want (and don’t want), and that sex on those terms should be a positive thing in our lives.
What is your current focus?
Moore: I’m working on building a strong global network of Smut Slams, the community dirty-storytelling open mic that I started back in 2011. It is another place where people can share about their authentic sex and relationships, and it’s something that I can see myself doing for decades more. I also continue to want to develop solo shows, whether those are theatrical plays or more comedic works, that explore sex and sexuality and love and power. As far as sex ed goes, I’m working on one or two more workshop concepts, around open communication and kink talk, but my focus will always be on performance and stories as places where transformation can occur.
Have you been to Berlin before moving here? Everyone has their own story about what drew them to the city. What is yours?
Moore: My story is pretty prosaic, actually. I am actually biding my time in Berlin until my fiancé and I have saved up enough money for me to emigrate to the UK. That will take a little while—we are both at present broke-ass artists—but I didn’t want to be waiting so far away, back in the States, so I decided to come here and make the most of it. It’s fine, because I have great performer friends here and Berlin is the perfect place for a Smut Slam, in any case.
For your future workshops around open communication and kink talk, do you prefer to have them open-ended and more general in a sense? Do you ever see yourself leading a class that becomes more specific?
Moore: For more intro workshops, the material has to be open-ended, because I am not sorting people out based on either experience level or content. For this particular topic, I also usually do more games and immersive exercises, so students are able to get more specific and bring even more of themselves to the table.
How have the Berlin Smut Slams been? Has the culture lived up to your expectations?
Moore: Berlin Smut Slams have been AMAZING. I won't say they are better than anywhere else, because Smut Slams always attract the sorts of people who are attentive listeners and/or excited tellers of smut; our people self-select really well. However, the Berlin scene definitely has lived up to my expectations for international attendance--this is a major crossroads city--and for range of experiences brought up to the mic.
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