The Heart

By Mermaid Palace, Radiotopia & Kaitlin Prest

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Category: Sexuality

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Subscribers: 1637
Reviews: 7

 Feb 17, 2023

 Dec 17, 2020

 Aug 6, 2020
Some of the most powerful, cognizant thinking and reporting in all of podcasting. Small minds need not apply.

 Jul 19, 2020
I heard an add for this on 99% invisible. It was so off-putting I assumed it must have been edited poorly, or needed context, but I was wrong. "Race Traitor" is the most egregious display of virtue signalling I have ever seen. Horrible

 Nov 16, 2019


The Heart is an audio art project and podcast about intimacy and humanity.

Episode Date
SISTERS: But Beautiful

Kaitlin and Natalie try to create boundaries for the first time in their lifelong relationship. They work to navigate their relationship together and separately. As they embark on creating the final episode of this series, they realize they are having fun again.

Mar 14, 2023
SISTERS: What's Wrong-isode

We go back in time to before Kaitlin hired Natalie. She brings us inside of her uncertain world, and her journey to figure out what is wrong.

TRIGGER WARNING: suicidal ideation, reference to childhood and sexual trauma (no depictions), borderline personality disorder

Mar 07, 2023
SISTERS: Work-isode

It’s the pandemic, and KP hires her younger sister to work at her company. As an assistant producer. Natalie is having flashbacks to their youth, when she performed as the butler at Kaitlin’s dinner parties. Is this the new version of the butler role? As they set out to make art together, attempting to do it in a way that doesn’t reinforce old childhood patterns Natalie finally sees who Kaitlin is on a day to day basis.

TW: suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, alcohol.

Feb 28, 2023
SISTERS: Jem-isode

Natalie and Kaitlin go into their 20s living separate and faraway lives. Kaitlin comes home from New York for christmas every year, and they hug and talk into the night, falling asleep spooning like they did when they were little girls. Kaitlin makes a grand gesture and buys tickets to go on a special sister adventure: to the Jem and Holograms Convention. What ends up happening at the convention is something neither of them saw coming.

Feb 21, 2023
SISTERS: Chapter One-isode

Kaitlin was Daddy’s little girl. And then: Natalie was born. The older and the younger sister: competing for attention, being bossed around, borrowing clothes, getting in petty fights and loving each other anyway. As little girls Kaitlin and Natalie fought because they were too similar. As teenagers Kaitlin and Natalie fought because they were total opposites. What does their adult future hold? Will they be friends or a family obligation?

TW: Light reference to abusive parental behaviour. No mentions of physical violence.

For resources on parental child abuse go to

Feb 14, 2023
SISTERS: A Preview

She’s the talented one. She’s the hard worker. She’s the pretty one. She’s the one that Dad likes more….SISTERS. A preview into our newest series coming to you February 14th: on the day the world celebrates love, we celebrate Sisterhood.

The new season is coming to you as part of a brand new partnership with the incredible: CBC Podcasts!

Feb 01, 2023
Welcome to The Heart

Welcome to The Heart. We’ve been in operation for 14 years! What’s next? An overview for those new to the feed. And a window into what double double toil and radio we’ve been cooking up for 2022.

Support The Heart and donate to Radiotopia Now! From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you!

Feb 23, 2022
Axel: A Sound Poem

Axel Kacoutié brings you into his mind and his heart through rich sonic universe building. In this audio journey, he conjures sensations: warmth, light, and the feeling of waking up after having a disturbing dream.

Originally produced on the Constellations podcast.

May 27, 2021
Hurricane Boyfriend

Love found in an unlikely place: a natural disaster. As we cozy down and prepare to say goodbye to 2020, The Heart is here to wish you all some pandemic love for 2021.

Dec 30, 2020
e4e: stop living on video

start searching for transformative pleasure. In conversations with trans viewers and makers of porn, Mara investigates porn as a healing portal for trans people seeking embodiment.

Part 2 of e4e, a mini mini series where two artists seek experiences where their minds and bodies are connected.

Dec 02, 2020
e4e: chasing purple

Ari's fumbles with homemade dildos as a teen dyke riot grrrl leave a lasting impression that doesn’t evolve until years later, with an experience of embodied sex she’s never forgotten. This episode was written, sound designed & produced by Ari(el) Mejia, edited by Nicole Kelly & Phoebe Unter and hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

Part 1 of e4e, a mini mini series where two artists seek experiences where their minds and bodies are connected.

Hit Ari up!

Nov 18, 2020
One: sometimes it's lonelier in relationships

Kamala wants to fill the empty spaces of her loneliness.

This episode was written by Kamala Puligandla, produced by Phoebe Unter, edited by Nicole Kelly and hosted by Kaitlin Prest. Kamala is the Editor-In-Chief at and her first novel, Zigzags, is coming out on October 19th, 2020. Order her book here.

Part 1 of One, a mini series about loneliness.

Oct 07, 2020

Melanie, her family (the voices in her head), and her ill-fated lover discuss potentially having a baby, and her first pregnancy 9 years ago.

Appearances is an audio mindtrip by Sharon Mashihi and Mermaid Palace. Subscribe to the series where you listen to podcasts, or on

Sep 30, 2020
Neon Touch

At an erotic play party called Neon Touch, two friends — Meesh & Mercury — feel sparks.  

This episode was produced by Nicole Kelly and hosted by Kaitlin Prest. Neon Touch is hosted by Meghan Gordon & Angela Penaredondo, who go by the names Meesh & Mercury when they play. Meghan is an artist and gallery director. Angela is a writer and educator.

Aug 12, 2020
Race Traitor: betray white fathers

Phoebe has an idea of a white race traitor: someone who makes personal sacrifices for the betterment of humanity. Someone whose actions halt the patterns of white supremacy. She goes looking for one and meets Stephanie Hofeller.

Part 4 of a 4 part series. Produced by Phoebe Unter, edited by Sharon Mashihi and hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

Jun 17, 2020
Race Traitor: what makes a mom a white mom?

All parents shape our identities. Phoebe’s affluent white parents made a particular set of choices to raise her in an all-white neighborhood with a sordid history. Phoebe investigates what she inherited as a result.

Part 3 of a 4 part series. Produced by Phoebe Unter, edited by Sharon Mashihi and hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

Jun 03, 2020
Race Traitor: can we be friends?

In a community with a strict “no new white friends” policy, Phoebe asks: how does my being white affect our relationship?

Part 2 of a 4 part series. Produced by Phoebe Unter, edited by Sharon Mashihi and hosted by Kaitlin Prest. Featuring Nicole Kelly & Kamala Puligandla.

May 20, 2020
Race Traitor: who taught you to be white?

Phoebe is surprised to learn that even she, an angry Jewish dyke, still participates in upholding white supremacy culture.

Part 1 of a 4 part series. Produced by Phoebe Unter, edited by Sharon Mashihi and hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

May 06, 2020
Mardi Gras Is a State of Mind

What can a body do?

This episode was produced by Mara Lazer.

Apr 08, 2020
Asking For It

Meet Goldie.

The cycle begins, in episode 1 of Asking For It, a new fictional series from Mermaid Palace.

Mar 25, 2020
Divesting From People Pleasing: Affirmation

In the final episode of the Divesting From People Pleasing season, NK talks with her friends & Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis about some of the things that surround her personal narrative.

This episode was produced by Nicole Kelly & hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

Mar 25, 2020
Divesting From People Pleasing: Memory

When trauma is held in the individual and collective body, shame, grief, and rage are passed down for generations.

Part 3 of a 3 part series.

Divesting From People Pleasing is a mini series produced by Nicole Kelly, edited by Chiquita Paschal, and hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

Feb 26, 2020
Divesting From People Pleasing: Power

The body has information.

Part 2 of a 3 part series.

Divesting From People Pleasing is a mini series produced by Nicole Kelly, edited by Chiquita Paschal, and hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

Feb 12, 2020
Divesting From People Pleasing: Threat

As NK gets older, she gets smaller, she gets more and more quiet. But the self loathing voice in her head just gets louder.

Part 1 of a 3 part series.

Divesting From People Pleasing is a mini series produced by Nicole Kelly, edited by Chiquita Paschal, and hosted by Kaitlin Prest.

Jan 29, 2020
Lesbian Separatism Is Inevitable

How NK & Phoebe fell in art love.

Jan 15, 2020
A New Season

**After a long break, The Heart is starting up again.  Since we left, the world has changed. And we’ve changed too. **

Artists Nicole Kelly and Phoebe Unter are taking the helm of the show for a new season of episodes.

From Radiotopia and Mermaid Palace.

Jan 06, 2020
Mermaid Palace

Named after the very bedroom within which many of the episodes of The Heart were made.

In this ep you heard the singing of Sharon Mashihi and phone answering of Mooj Zadie. The manifesto writing of Nicole Kelly and Phoebe Unter, the mic meandering of Dylan Gauche, the phone answering of Mooj Zadie, the song of Drew Denny and Christina Gaillard and the big dream of Kaitlin Prest.

Additional credits: Jen Ng, Mo LaBorde, Allie Pinel, Chiquita Paschal, AJ Moultrie, Sarah Rose, Allison Light, Caitlin Thompson, Rider Alsop, Bianca Grimshaw, Alexandria Fisk, and one long phone call with Jenna Weiss Berman.

Extra special thanks to Jen Ng, our design queen. You can see her incredible work on the website,

Oct 29, 2019
The Shadows

It’s here. Finally. All 6 episodes of The Shadows, presented by Kaitlin Prest and CBC Podcasts.

Subscribe to The Shadows.

Follow on Insta / Twitter at @theshadowscbc. You can find our FB group here.

Sep 22, 2018

Kaitlin has a dream, and The Heart says goodbye (for now). Listen on headphones.

Produced by Kaitlin Prest with help from Phoebe Wang. Thank you to all of the listeners who sent us your voices so KP could meet you on the moon. In this episode, you also heard the voices of Mitra Kaboli, Phoebe Wang, Jen Ng, Sharon Mashihi, Samara Breger, Meg Bell, Jessica Grosman, Pejk Malinovski, Sean Cole, Lulu Miller, Veronica Simmonds, Johnny Spence, Nancy Prest, Natalie Prest, Allen Watts and Brendan Baker.

Music by Inne Eysermans, special thanks to Katharina Smets.

If you wanna keep up with KP: ~*click here*~

Dec 20, 2017
An Announcement

In 2018, The Heart will be taking a break.

~* The Secret Link *~

Dec 08, 2017
Man Choubam (I Am Good)

Sharon is a weirdo and refuses to conform to cultural standards. Her mom does not approve. They confront their longstanding differences on a Persian self-help cruise.

Dec 06, 2017
God + The Gays

Growing up, Phoebe was a Jesus kid. In college, after Tinder-swiping her way to gayness, she comes out to Christians and hopes that they’ll accept her. In this episode, Phoebe goes on a mission to find out how people with fundamentally different beliefs, can be friends.

Nov 22, 2017
Signature Research

There is a way that these narratives are supposed to go. But life isn’t simple and linear, it’s messy and loud, and everything keeps coming back again and again and again. This piece by Dylan Gauche won the Best Student award at the 2017 Hearsay International Audio Festival. [Trigger Warning]

Nov 07, 2017

Being a queer or trans person of color is hard anywhere, but can feel especially isolating if you’re living in Seattle, WA. A heavily fractured city that is undergoing massive gentrification. Darqness, an electronic music collective, is working to dismantle that and bring QTPOC together.  Producer Ellie Lightfoot, a Seattle native, spent the last year with this seven person crew to find out why these parties are so necessary.

Oct 24, 2017
A Woman on the Road is Alone

“A man on the road is solitary,” the writer Vanessa Veselka said. “A woman on the road is just alone.” This is a spotlight episode via Bitchface Podcast, about a hitchhiked trip to Vegas and women with agency doing whatever the F they want.

Oct 11, 2017
Bodies: Goddess

Maria is a poet and activist living in Houston, Texas who Mitra spent a few days with.  Mitra got to meet some of Maria’s family, hung out with her pets and ate delicious food during her time with Maria. For Maria’s whole life all she has wanted was breasts. Big breasts to be specific. This story follows the poet, Maria from childhood to adolescence to womanhood.  In this piece you heard poetry from book Poetic Confessions Vol 1 and more.  To learn more about Maria’s work you can check out her website. Maria is also the co-founder of The National Women with Disabilities Empowerment Forum.

Sep 19, 2017
Bodies: Itch

For years, Cassie has been plagued with an itch in her butt. The itch has travelled with her across the country, from one apartment to the next and transcended all of her major relationships. Cassie talks to past and present partners to see what they think she is up to when she is scratchin’ her bum late at night.

Sep 05, 2017
Bodies: Meat

Meatis an international podcast created on the surface of a person’s skin. It is a vision of the world from the point of view of human flesh. In people’s everyday life, there’s a wall between their ideas, dreams and desires and the real world: our body. A cage for the human behaviour made by flesh and bones that affects the way we interact with the rest of the world: the sound of our voice, the line of our movements, the space we take up on a bus because of our weight, the dominant or submissive position we are forced to take when we argue with someone because of our height: our reality is a constant argument between what we have in our head and what the body we are born with is able to do.

In the inaugural episode of Meat, Jonathan Zenti candidly and beautifully discusses his body and how he loves it despite the fact that not everybody else does.

This episode was created for Radiotopia’s Podquest, by PRX and made possible with funds from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Aug 22, 2017
Bodies: It’s not me it’s you

Abigail wants to have penetrative sex but it’s not working. She is worried it’s her fault or at least her vagina’s fault. In her quest to find out why she cannot have penetrative sex, Abigail finds an essay called Frigid and a community of women who have similar issues. In talking to them she realizes that her partner’s are contributing force to her pain and discomfort during sex.

Aug 09, 2017
People Who Need People

Samara and Kelsey got hitched. We celebrate their marriage by re-releasing this episode (originally ‘Samara + Kelsey’) with a life / wife update.  

This episode was originally produced by Samara Breger with The Heart.

Jul 10, 2017
No: Questions

Episode Four: Many listeners were left with lingering questions and thoughts after the first three episodes.  What do I tell my kids? What if my no DOES mean yes? What role does alcohol play in consent? In this episode, some Heart producers and Samara Breger (our trusted sex educator) unpack some blind spots and larger themes around consent. [Trigger Warning]

Part of “No”, a mini-season.

Produced with the generous support of the IWMF.

Jun 14, 2017
No: Answers

Episode Three: Kaitlin’s search for the answer to why coercion is so omnipresent lands her in one obvious place. Straight, cis-gendered men. In this episode, Kaitlin consults the men in her life that she trusts the most to see if they had ever pressured someone into having unwanted intimacy. But she knows she cannot end her search here. [Trigger Warning]

Part of “No”, a mini-season.

Produced with the generous support of the IWMF.

Jun 07, 2017
No: Inheritance

Episode Two: We catch up to Kaitlin while she is in her mid-twenties, waiting to fall in love. [Trigger Warning]

Part of “No”, a mini season.

Produced with the generous support of the IWMF.

May 23, 2017
No: Advance

Episode One: We meet young Kaitlin as she navigates her first sexual experiences and the confusions of girlhood. [Trigger Warning]

Part of “No”, a mini-season.

Produced with the generous support of the IWMF.

May 10, 2017
Trailer: No

Our new season, starting May 9th. Kaitlin explores her sexual boundaries from youth to adulthood.

Apr 28, 2017
First Comes Marriage

Arranged marriages, although they sound scary to our Western ears, are considered extremely successful. Divorce rates are much lower. But those are statistics. What about being in love with the person that you married? A Harvard study found that partners in arranged marriages, over time, end up being more in love than couples who marry for love. Our friend Ryan Kailath has known this his whole life, because he grew up with it. His parents met for 15 minutes before they married.

*Includes the trailer for our upcoming season, “No.”

Apr 04, 2017
Pansy: Local Honey

Local Honey is a transfemme performance artist and musician living in New Orleans. Let her modulated voice and soft giggles croon you into her reality, where feminine sound is a weapon, a force, a celebration. Local Honey explores family, performance, noise, trauma and gender.

Ep 4 of ‘Pansy’: A season where masculinity and femininity meet.

Credits: Writing and music by Local Honey. Production support from Julia Alsop. Editorial Support from Cassie Wagler. Special thanks to Julia Serano.

Feb 20, 2017
Pansy: The Beloved

Some say there are as many genders as there are people.  And even more ways to creatively think about and claim them. In this story, Allen’s gender is complicated by a discovery he makes through meditation.

Ep 3 of ‘Pansy’: A season about where masculinity and femininity meet.

Credits:   Written and produced by Allen J. Watts. Production support from Julia Alsop. Editorial support from Cassie Wagler.

Feb 07, 2017
Pansy: Ultraslut

Blake’s crushing. Hard. On his new best friend and favorite person: Korry. They spend every day together. They sleep in the same bed together. They plan their futures together. But there are signs that show that Korry might not be feeling the same way about Blake. Blake begins to suspect it has something to do with the fact that Korry’s attracted to straight-acting, masculine-looking, manly men.  

And Korry’s not alone.

In this episode, we continue our conversation on gender and femininity and look at what happens when we move out of the heterosexual dating world and into the queer one. Kaitlin assumed that gay and queer life is one big femme-loving genderfuck. But flipping through gay hook-up apps, it’s easy to spot a “no fats, no femmes” trend. So what’s the deal?

Ep 2 of “Pansy”: A season about where masculinity and femininity meet.

Credits:   Produced with Julia Alsop. Editorial support by Cassie Wagler. Special thanks to the folks at the Food 4 Thot Podcast and to Julia Serano.

Jan 25, 2017
Pansy: Twirl

Todd once loved a woman. And she loved him back, but there was one thing that she just couldn’t get over, he twirls. This piece explores what it means to be effeminate when you’re a straight cis-dude. Kaitlin talks to men who embrace and resist their femininity.

Ep 1 of “Pansy”: A season of stories about letting your feminine flag fly.

Produced with help from Julia Alsop and editorial support from Cassie Wagler. Special thanks to Julia Serrano.

Jan 11, 2017
Mariya – Extended Cut

Featuring never-before-heard scenes and a post-award interview with Mariya Karimjee, this is an extended version of the award winning documentary, “Mariya.” A story about Mariya’s journey to figure out sex after FGM.

Released in May 2016, “Mariya” received the Gold Award (Best Documentary) at the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Mariya Karimjee is a writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. Read her original essay here.

Editorial support from Brendan Baker, Allen Watts, Kelsey Padgett, Samara Breger and Nadia Bajwa. Additional support from Kari June.

Another version of this story can be heard on This American Life.

Nov 23, 2016
Love, Harry

Have you ever had a friend you thought you might be in love with? Have you ever slept in a bed beside this person, and wondered if your hand was grazing yours on purpose?

Sharon receives emails from Harry, a not-so-secret admirer. It’s her best friend Kaitlin. Sharon is (mostly) straight, but could Kaitlin be the man of her dreams? Years after Kaitlin wrote those emails, the two friends sit down to talk about them and what they meant. They ask each other the questions that have always been beneath the surface of their friendship.

This episode was originally produced by Kaitlin Prest and Sharon Mashihi for the Love Letters episode of Audio Smut in 2014.

Nov 08, 2016
For Helen

This episode is a rerun of Mouthwash, in honor of the late Helen Breger and all of our grandparents’ salacious histories.

Produced by Samara Breger with The Heart.

Oct 18, 2016
Diaries: My Everything, My Bear

In a suitcase full of books and papers there is a little notebook with a bear sitting alone in a hot air balloon. This journal is one of the only things Alex saved when they got rid of all their possessions and moved to Ohio. The journal is filled with accounts of the life and the love they left behind.

This episode was written by Alex DiFrancesco with production help from Julia Alsop.

Alex DiFrancesco’s work has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The New Ohio Review, and Brevity. Their first novel, a radical acid western called [The Devils That Have Come to Stay](, was published in 2015.

Oct 04, 2016
Diaries: No Way Out

Ashley’s Livejournal features the angsty outpourings of a teenager from the early 2000s living in Southwest Florida. Just like many who came of age at the time, she flushed feelings out into the anonymous online public. Looking back on these entries, Ashley tries to read into what was really happening beneath the surface.

Sep 08, 2016
Diaries: The Big House

At the back of a closet, in a cardboard box, writer Tina Horn’s diaries gather dust. In the box there are girlhood diaries covered in collages of unicorns, dragons and David Duchovny. There are mixtapes with fat multicolored glitter and there are simple, spiral bound notebooks filled with obscenities.

This episode is part of the Diaries mini season and was written by Tina Horn. Tina is a Lambda Literary Fellow and the recipient of two Feminist Porn Awards. Check out Tina’s podcast and more.

Aug 16, 2016
Diaries: BFF

Writer Molly Osberg has carried her journals to every house she’s lived in since 2007. They’re decorated with pictures of her and her friends’ faces smooshed together, one friend in particular; Amelia. Molly and Amelia met in detention and were inseparable for most of high school. Together they learned how to become the people that they are today.

This episode is part of the Diaries mini season, and was written by Molly Osberg. Special thanks to Allen Watts, John Walker and Amelia.

Aug 02, 2016
The Understudy

Sophie Townsend has been a widow for a year and a half. She is too busy taking care of her children to entertain the idea of dating, until a man compliments her shoes.

Voicing by Andy Leonard. Produced by CBC’s Love Me with Sophie Townsend.

Jul 19, 2016
Mr. Fix-it

A conversation between mother, Sophie Townsend and daughter, Anna about Mr. Fix-it, husband and father.

Produced by Sophie Townsend and Marty Peralta for The Hearsay International Audio Festival.

Jul 05, 2016
Silent Evidence: Salt in the Wound

Episode four of Silent Evidence; one woman’s story of childhood sexual abuse.

In the final episode of the Silent Evidence mini-season, Kaitlin and Tennessee sit down and talk about what happened and didn’t happen in the last three episodes.

Discussion topics in this episode:

Dr. Youssefi,

Restorative Justice,

Being in Crisis,

& Silence.

Find out more aboutSilent Evidence.

Produced by Tennessee Watson and Kaitlin Prest with The Heart. Editing by Sharon Mashihi and Mitra Kaboli. Assistant Production by Ashley Cortez. This project was made possible with funding from the IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.

Jun 09, 2016
Silent Evidence: Hands on the Wheel

Episode three of Silent Evidence; one woman’s story of childhood sexual abuse.

In episode three, a court case unfolds. Tennessee decides to call the cops and tell them about what happened with Dr. Youseffi. Detective Kimberly Norton picks Tennessee up at the airport in Virginia so she can file an official report. What Tennessee and Detective Norton discover is that Tennessee is not alone. Four women come forward, in three different counties. Only one prosecutor picks up the case.

Find out more about Silent Evidence.

Produced by Tennessee Watson and Kaitlin Prest with The Heart. Editing by Sharon Mashihi and Mitra Kaboli. Additional help reporting by Jocelyn Frank. Assistant Production by Ashley Cortez. Editorial advising by Pejk Malinovski. Music by Matthew Daher.

This project was made possible with funding from the IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.

Jun 02, 2016
Silent Evidence: Ten Foot Pole

Episode two of Silent Evidence; one woman’s story of childhood sexual abuse.

In Episode two, Tennessee tries to reconcile with the abuse that she suffered. From performance art to installations to hair-brained schemes, Tennessee feels a little better every time she asks people to listen to her story. However, she has underestimated Dr. Youseffi’s impact on her life. She decides to confront him at the gym.

Find out more about Silent Evidence here.

Produced by Tennessee Watson and Kaitlin Prest with The Heart. Editing by Sharon Mashihi.

This project was made possible with funding from the IWMF Howard Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.

May 26, 2016
Silent Evidence: Not the Right Time

Episode one of Silent Evidence; one woman’s story of childhood sexual abuse.

Tennessee Watson is a documentarian and artist who has been struggling to speak out about something that happened to her when she was a kid, something that she knew was wrong. When Tennessee was seven her gymnastics coach fondled her vulva. In part one of Silent Evidence, Tennessee takes us in and out of her memories, from childhood to adolescence as she comes to terms with what happened to her and finally revisiting the gym where she was abused.

Find out more about Silent Evidence here.

Produced by Tennessee Watson and Kaitlin Prest, with The Heart. Editing by Sharon Mashihi.

This project was made possible with funding from the IWMF Howard Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.

May 19, 2016

Based on the 2015 essay from The Big Roundtable, writer Mariya Karimjee takes us on a journey from her childhood in Pakistan, to her adolescence in Texas, through college, all the way to where she is now, back in Pakistan as she navigates family, love, her body and her personal relationships, all despite the physical and emotional trauma that she has suffered.

Mariya Karimjee is a writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. Read her original essay here.

Editorial support from Brendan Baker, Allen Watts, Kelsey Padgett, Samara Breger and Nadia Bajwa. Additional support from Kari June.

Another version of this story can be heard on This American Life.

May 04, 2016
Ghost: You

We end our series with a final ghost; it’s you. Every time I hear that song, you’re next to me. Whether I like it or not. In a cafe, in my bedroom, when I watch that stupid vampire series. The ache pains me but what’s worse is knowing that some day, maybe not too long from now, the pain will go away.

Special thanks to Damien Luxe who voiced this story for us.

Apr 06, 2016
Ghost: Violet

Kari is nothing like the actresses in the scenes that she films. She’s tall, robust, the kind of girl who can pick up a camera and take it where it needs to go. Violet, on the other hand, is petite and soft. She’s got a body that’s made for the kind of sex you see in porn. Kari knows first hand because Kari is the camera operator for Violet’s porn shoots. But the scene that looms largest in Kari’s head was one she didn’t film. It’s Violet’s scene with Brian, Kari’s current boyfriend, Violet’s ex. Violet was Brian’s big love and Kari is nothing like her.

Mar 22, 2016
Ghost: Emily

Does love ever really die? Even though Kaitlin has a beautiful boyfriend she still hears the ghost of those she once loved ring in her ears. But, there’s another ghost in her life; her boyfriend’s current love. This ghost disturbs her. It angers her. It brings out a side of her that she wishes would go away.

Produced for Falling Tree Productions, as heard on BBC’s Between the Essays series with editing by Sharon Mashihi.

Mar 08, 2016
Ghost: Alex

Powerful memories are like paused tapes in our minds – a hum barely heard beneath the noise of our everyday – ready to be played at any moment. This audio fiction explores the process of falling in love with someone, fading away and eventually discovering all that you have left of them is a memory. Carter, our narrator, is on a present-day first date with Frankie but is distracted by memories of past lover, Alex, which play like a tape in his head. But with each replaying, the tapes seem to have warped, or maybe Carter has.

Produced by Dane Stewart, Katie Hill, Matthew Kariatsumari and Michelle Macklem. Special thanks to Renée Hodgins, Emily Skahan and Mira Burt-Wintonick.

Feb 23, 2016
Ghost: Bobby

A personal account of the haunting absence of a lost love. This is a story about grief, loss and reaching for freedom. The sense of emptiness that comes after saying, I love you, every day until, suddenly, you don’t. But the love is never truly gone. It’s with you always, leaning over your shoulder as you rediscover a world in which it no longer exists.

This episode was originally produced for The Hearsay Audio Festival. Special thanks to Kelsey Padgett, A.C. Valdez and Allen Watts.

Feb 10, 2016
Samara + Kelsey

At the beginning of a relationship, the small decisions feel like big decisions: When to text? What to wear on the second date? How naked to get. For Samara and Kelsey, the first decisions were a bit bigger. When Samara’s dad was hospitalized for a mysterious, dangerous illness, Kelsey decided to move in with Samara and spend every night at the hospital with her and her family. As the two fell in love within the cold, stale confines of the hospital, a new decision appeared on the horizon: Would they keep loving each other when things were okay? Or did they need chaos and tragedy to keep them going?

Jan 13, 2016
Mr. Claus + Mrs. Claus

You’ve got a squeeze on Christmas Eve? You know you’ll have their lovin’ — but what about ol’ Mrs. Claus? Her man’s out — she’s got nuffin! In our retelling of “The Night Before Christmas,” join lonely Mrs. Claus as she searches for affection in the most unlikely of places.

Dec 22, 2015
Idiot + Dummy

Idiot + Dummy met where many boneheads meet: in grad school. One night, they ran into each other on the subway. The two are alike in a lot of ways. They both stay up late, go to punk shows and raves, do drugs, and have sex — lots and lots of sex.

As the two get closer, commitment and monogamy become harder and harder to negotiate. Idiot flees from her true feelings as she gets blindsided by a Dummy.

Written & produced by Julia Alsop in collaboration with The Heart. Voice Acting by Brian Dolphin, Julia Alsop, Jenn Custard & Sophie Traub. Special thanks to Allen Watts, Max Pearl, Pizza Haus & the original “Dummy.”

Dec 09, 2015
Desiray + Aaron

Desiray felt a deep, human connection the moment she first heard his voice: Aaron Carter spoke to her through his music. When Desiray was down, Aaron always cheered her up. When she needed him, his music was always there. And when they finally met, it was almost as if Aaron could read her mind. Maybe the deep, human connection Desiray felt as a kid was real. Dozens of concerts later, Desiray and Aaron are almost friends — almost. Now Desiray wonders: “Can a fan ever be a true friend?” Does Aaron value her as a friend, or as a fan? And if she’s just a fan like any other, can she live with it?

This story was produced by Galen Koch in collaboration with The Heart. Special thanks to Kelsey Padgett, Justine Champine, Desiray Roy, and Aaron Carter.

Nov 17, 2015
The Magic Wand

Vibrators have been the friend of the female orgasm for over a century now. Back in the 1800s you could only get access to one via a doctor’s appointment. To cure your irrational woman feelings, hysteria. When they started selling them for home use in the 20th century, companies made up weird, fake uses for them; nail buffing tools,special attachments for vacuum cleaners, etc. One very popular way to market the vibrator was to call it a back massager.

Probably thousands of different vibrator have come and gone but there is one that has outlasted them all and maybe will go on into the future as the queen of vibrators: The Hitachi Magic Wand.

Sep 22, 2015
The Beach

Being naked can be scary. There you are, your whole self. No decorations, no cool skirt or shoes or shorts to look at instead of…you. This story is about one special woman, our naked hero. After undergoing surgery and getting an ostomy (a bag that sits on your hip that your poop goes into), being naked was forever changed. Nonetheless, our hero decided to continue frequenting her favorite nude beach, walking naked and free all summer long.

This piece, originally titled after our hero’s Zine, “My Pink Button”, was produced by Jess MG and aired on Audio Smut a long long time ago.

Aug 19, 2015
The P-Spot

Once upon a time, Kaitlin went to a radical sex education workshop. At the workshop, the facilitators spent 45 minutes going into extreme detail of the complexities of the female system of sexual arousal. Then they spent 15 minutes on the male system. The facilitator insinuated that it was very simple – touch the dick, make him come. During the question and answer period the male bodied people in the room protested, insisting that the male anatomy is just as mysterious and complicated as the female anatomy. This is when Kaitlin learned about the P-spot – the prostate orgasm.

One Saturday night, Kaitlin ventured onto St. Laurent Boulevard in Montreal and asked strangers if they had ever had their P-spots touched. This is a collage of their answers.

Aug 04, 2015
The Intimacies

Once upon a time, we did an episode about what happens when there is too much going on sexually. The Ethical Slut says that love isn’t finite. Loving more than one person means having more love instead of less. This can be true. However, love is a complicated emotion. And sex can often be wrapped up in all these complicated and conflicting emotions. More isn’t always better.

This story was submitted to The Heart by an anonymous Dominatrix and written for podcast by Julia Alsop.

Jul 21, 2015
The Real Squishy

Most people remember the first time they got off, most of us conveniently forget the era before that when we have no idea what masturbation was. When all we knew is what felt good. We develop strategies that seemed very innocent to us at the time. We didn’t know that there is a name for this kind of feeling good. Or, that certain things that feel good are supposed to be done in private. There was a time when nothing had names and we were just kids.

Jul 07, 2015
Riis Park

In the summer of 1960 Joan Nestle was 20 years old and in love. At the time she lived in a Lower East Side tenement apartment and the city was hot, sweaty and humid. Joan and her girlfriend Carol would ride the subway for an hour and half to Riis Park. Riis Park was and still is an easily accessible queer beach in New York.

Joan wrote about these memories in her book, A Restricted Country. Beach goer and producer Cassie Wagler brings us her adaptation of one of the essays found in Joan’s book – Lesbian Memories 1: Riis Park 1960. Poet Iris Cushing is the voice of Joan.

Joan Nestle is a femme, a lesbian, a writer, activist and editor, and a scholar of butch-femme history and theory. In 1974 she co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives – and the archives were housed in her apt for years. You can read more of Joan’s work on her blog.

Jun 30, 2015
Gina Gold

At 5 years old, Gina was parading around the stage with a number pinned to her chest. But as the host of The Little Miss America Competition sang the national anthem, she felt he might have as well been singing,“You’re so whiiiiite, you’re so bloooooonde.” Even still, Gina, the toothless, black Shirley Temple, made it to the final round. When she didn’t hear her number called she looked out into the sea of eager parents and found her parents. Her mother, sullen and disappointed. Next to her mother, sat her father with tears streaming down his face. From that point on all Gina wanted to was to be seen, to fit in and to be beautiful.

By the time Gina was 24, she didn’t feel too different from that little pageant girl. She got into theater school but her optimism didn’t last. Soon after getting accepted she was drinking beer for breakfast, failing her classes, and fantasizing about skipping town. That’s in addition to the issues she was having with her boyfriend…

Jun 17, 2015
The Lost Pardner

Badger Clark is remembered for shaping the poetry of the Old West with striking impressions of the cowboy life. But his poem “The Lost Pardner” about the intimate love of two cowboys has a special kind of beauty. It points to the often forgotten queerness of frontier life, where there was plenty of space to be alone and plenty of cowboys to be alone with.

Badger Clark wasn’t the only one out there. Queer fur trappers, stagecoach drivers, European explorers, and poets, like Clark, made their way out west looking for the freedom of a new context. And for many of them, that’s what they found.

May 20, 2015
How to Become a Princess

Just after the new year, Kaitlin and Mitra take a business trip to small town Ontario to meet Steffy. At six foot two inches, Stefonknee is the tallest six year old you will ever meet. Of course, she isn’t actually six. She is an age-player, meaning she likes to pretend to be a kid. She fluidly moves in and out of her six year old self and her adult self. In addition to her male and female identities.

Steffy is in a place of peace with her identities after a very traumatic falling out with her family, which for trans folks, is unfortunately, not uncommon. Here are the results of a 2011 survey the American trans community.

The National Center for Transgender Equality is launching another survey this summer. You can sign up to take the survey or help distribute it here.

In addition to our dynomite team, this story could not have been possible without the help of so many people. Production Assistance by Maria Dønvang. Editorial Advising by Julia Alsop, Brendan Baker, Kelsey Padgett, Tina Horn and Ignacio Rivera.

The biggest thanks to Mummy & Daddy and of course, Stefonknee Wolscht.

May 05, 2015
Dual Control Model

Our friend Dr. Emily Nagoski debunks tired, widely held ideas about sex and replaces them with perfectly clear, scientifically sound explanations. One of those new ideas totally blew our minds, so we’re bringing you our take on the “Dual Control Model.”

Dr. Nagoski has compiled all of her brilliance into a book, called “Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Change Your Sex Life,” in stores now. Trust us, it’s a good read.

If you’d like a fun illustrated guide that explains the model, check out Oh Joy Sex Toy’s version (the best webcomic in the world).

Apr 21, 2015
The Subway

A one day’s love has a life cycle. It’s born, it lives a very brief life, and then it dies. That’s it. It’s usually cut short by circumstance, often by time or distance. Sometimes there’s only enough magic for the one night for one night of connection–just a little bit of love.

But what if there’s a chance that there’s a little more magic left? Can a one day’s love live another day? After a whirlwind night on the subway with a mysterious man with an easy laugh and terrible taste in music, Caroline decided to give her one day’s love a second chance.

This second installment in our “One Day’s Love” series is about trying to turn one special moment into many special moments. Can it be done?

Mar 17, 2015
The Hurricane

Eintagsliebe, a sort of real German word meaning one day’s love. Or, a fling. This can be analogous to the mayfly, eintagsfliege. The mayfly sneaks in through an open window, lives her little mayfly life to the fullest, perhaps even finding her true mayfly love. Then before she knows it, death has overtaken her. She lies limply in the windowsill.

It was Friday October 26th 2012 and Hurricane Sandy was slowly descending upon New York City. Mitra was at dinner with Kaitlin, feeling a bit down in the dumps, she decided to make a love plan that turned into a prophecy. Upon Mitra’s return home, she finds a man sitting on her couch that she cannot deny her attraction to.

This series is an ode to the short and sweet moments in life, the ones you can never get over. The moments that you wish lasted longer because they were so intense, so perfect, so everything you’ve ever wanted to feel with another human being. You wish you could document every second of your parallel existences together, to show the world, that your love is the best. But you don’t because, much like the mayfly, it’s going to be over before it can ever really start.

This story was produced with help from Lucas Adams. Lucas draws cartoons. You can find some of this work here.

The song, Eintagsliebe by Marteria was a huge inspiration for this series. Listen to it here and be inspired.

Special thanks to Daniel Gross and Michele Robinson for confirming that Eintagsliebe could in fact be a german word.

Mar 03, 2015

It was sometime in the early years of their marriage when Gerda Weganer asked her husband, Einar, to dress in women’s clothes and sit for a painting. The intended subject was running late, and suggested to Gerda that Einar be her stand in. “His legs and feet are as pretty as mine,” she said.

All dressed up in a wig, painted with rouge and powders, and buckled into high-heeled shoes, Einar, now Lili, looked into the mirror with a singular wonder: “Was it really possible that I could be so good looking?”

So begins the story of Lili Elbe, a transgender painter and painter’s muse, who underwent one of the first series of modern gender confirmation surgeries. Her third surgery, meant to implant a uterus, eventually killed her, but not before she documented her life stories into papers that would later be compiled into the book, Man into Woman.

Lili Elbe’s hope was that her book fall into the hands of people like her. She wanted her words to help generations of trans people know that they weren’t alone. Unfortunately, the book is out of print. So when we got our hands on a copy, we couldn’t wait to share one of our favorite scenes, Lili’s christening night. Here’s a little history, from The Heart.

Feb 17, 2015
Beauty Is Pain

It’s fun to try to be beautiful when people are giving you positive attention for it. It hurts if you’re not meeting that standard and people treat you like you aren’t even there. You watch the people who are getting a lot of positive attention for being that certain kind of beautiful and you are made to feel invisible.

Or worse, people go out of their way to make you feel bad.

It’s hard to be a woman, yes. It’s a lot harder to be a woman who’s hairier, wider, bigger, taller, square instead of round, straight up and down instead of curvy, big hands, big feet, no vagina and maybe no breasts either. A woman who isn’t quite looking like what some people think a woman should look like. But who is finding her way.

To these women, the world can be downright cruel. More than cruel, violent. Harassment often escalates into assault, and more often than you would like to hear, escalates into full on homicide.

For these women, being womanly in the way we are told we have to is sometimes about more than beauty. It’s about survival. This episode is about the story of one woman’s quest for beauty.

It was a collaboration with badass poet and radio maker, Julia Alsop. After we finished production we invited Zil Goldstein into my walk-in closet magic sound booth to talk through some of the blind spots in the story. Zil is a nurse practitioner, working specifically to help medical providers be more LGBT aware.

If you are interested in learning more about the disproportionate amount of violence that trans women face theNational Coalition Against Violence Project puts out a yearly report.

Feb 03, 2015
And 27 Other Firsts

Short and Sweet:

Mid month we bring you something short. Whitney Jones (producer at PITCH) tells us about his first love, and 27 other firsts in chronological order. Originally produced on Cowbird.  You will also hear some previews of first kisses, which we’ll be sharing at our Launch Party.


Jan 20, 2015

When we do something for the first time, we enter into a world with new rules. It’s the creation of a new path, a new possibility. We meet this threshold with no knowledge of what will happen, how we or the world will react.

Once the rules of the game change, once we do something that we’ve never done before, the question of how to navigate the new world is what comes next. What do we do after the first kiss? Will it give way to the first holding of hands, the first public display of affection, the first sex, the first week sleeping in someone else’s bed every night? Or will it be the first, but also — the last?

This is a story featuring Drew Denny, a singer, songwriter, filmmaker and artist. You can check out her first feature film here.

Jan 06, 2015
Welcome to the Heart

A radio show is born.  Again. We all go through phases and have an identity crisis or three. Audio Smut started as an hour long broadcast radio show at CKUT in Montreal, and has transformed into a delicately crafted podcast now part of PRX’s Radiotopia network. We cordially welcome you to The Heart.

Dec 01, 2014

An Interlude.

This is an interview about necking (or lack thereof). A kiss over time: at the beginning, in the middle, at the end. If you don’t like how somebody kisses, can you grow into it? Samara’s Grandma tells us her story.

This episode is part of our kissing series. If you want to hear more, go here:

Sep 16, 2014

Episode Twelve.

Kaitlin and Kyle. They met at a kissing booth. On their first date they went on a recording adventure (for one of the early Audio Smut documentaries about the Drag Queens). They became obsessed with each other. They ended up making audio recordings of a lot of almost everything that happened between them.

This is the last episode of the season. It is also the last episode of Audio Smut. Don’t cry! We will be starting something new in a few months, better and more beautiful than ever before.

Aug 20, 2014
Movies In Your Head

Episode Eleven.

Audio Smut presents: a radio play. This episode was a documentary experiment, produced in collaboration with composer Shani Aviram. We set out asking questions about how perception is altered in early romantic relationships. How does your sense of reality fail you when you’re falling in love? After months of research and 17 interviews, we decided to write a single narrative encompassing the experiences and facts we unearthed.

Jun 23, 2014
My Natural Pocket

A Quickie.

Behold the almighty power of the V. Vaginas can hold the largest and smallest of objects with barely the slightest uncomfort. So it just makes sense to stash your weed in there. Star reporter, Ruth Eddy tells us how she came to use her natural pocket.

Jun 08, 2014
Coming Of Age

Episode Ten.

This episode is about growing up, becoming an adult, entering a stage of independence: shaving cream, tampons, driving, voting, doing your own dishes, doing your own taxes and sex. This episode will take you on a path of rituals, formal or otherwise.

May 12, 2014
Love Letters

Episode Nine.

The written word: a way to fuel a romance, a way to capture someone’s attention, a way to break up. We read people’s most private letters, and tell the story of the relationships that were made and broken by them.

Apr 02, 2014
To Nora

A Quickie.

In 1909, James Joyce wrote his wife, Nora Barnacle, a series of very sexy letters. While her side of the correspondence has been lost, we still have Joyce’s letters–and they’re really good. In this quickie, we’re reading you one of our favorites.

Mar 09, 2014
Fu*k Love

(Welcome to Season Two)

FU*K LOVE. Family. Responsibility. Survival. Economic Stability. These were once much more important to things to build your life on. This episode looks at the ideal of true love, how it came to be and what exists outside of it.

Feb 23, 2014
A Valentine

A Quickie: Do you believe in true love?

Does it really exist, or is it just a mythology made up by Hollywood? How would you define true love? Jonathan Goldstein shares his thoughts on this Valentine’s Day special.

Feb 13, 2014

Episode Seven.

Psychologist and sexologist, John Money came up with the theory of a lovemap. A lovemap is a template. It’s a template that we are constantly measuring our sexual and romantic experiences against. It’s the map of what we like, who we like and how we like it. Money’s idea is that we all have one, and they tend to be pretty specific, right down to how exactly you need to be touched to have an orgasm. In this episode of Audio Smut we explore different kinds of lovemaps; sexual lovemaps that deviate from preconceived notions of what is suppose to happen when one body meets another, dating lovemaps unveiling our tendencies in relationships and finally, the physical map of touch.


Nov 05, 2013
Afternoon Delight

A Quickie: This quickie is a history- a love map, if you will- of how Kaitlin manages to be such a productive person.

Also, this is the reason why Kaitlin insists on holding our meetings in coffee shops. Here, the lines between public and private, work and pleasure, get a little blurry. Check it out at In the Dark Radio’s installation at the Latitude festival (\_id=799).

Jul 26, 2013
Getting By

Episode Six

Homelessness isn’t really something that can be easily defined. Sometimes people make choices, other times people have no choices. In this episode, we have three situations from three very different people about how they managed to get by.

Jul 08, 2013
Yellow Jumpsuit

A Quickie: Keith’s virginity story.

Keith is and always has been an extremely charming man. I know it was the 90s, but there is nothing charming about a yellow jumpsuit. Poor clothing choices aside, Keith still proves to be a chick magnet. If you love this story, stay tuned for our next episode coming out on Sunday July 7th where you will hear more of Keith plus some other truly incredible tales.

Jun 25, 2013
Happens to the Best of Us

Episode Five.

It’s your highschool sex ed class. Mrs. Green is going to play a movie. You are very excited. The room goes dark, the movie begins. You’re already a little bit aroused; you’ve seen pornography before but never in public with all your friends. Until you see the VAGINAS DESTROYED FOREVER because of unprotected sex. Penises OOZING MYSTERY SLIME never to ejaculate normally again! Encrusted growths! Rotting flesh! You carry a mortal fear of STIs for your entire adult life. Until you get one.

Jun 11, 2013
Movie Night

A Quickie: What will people think?

This story happened to a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of Audio Smut Producer, Erin. When surfing the Casual Encounters on Craigslist one must be prepared to be surprisingly turned on. Things get hot on there. Our shero finds a posting that speaks to her. She is turned on and cannot get this man’s fantasy out of her mind. She is so struck that she responds. She has never responded to a Craigslist ad. She is terrified, excited, and extremely nervous. Tonight, we go to the movies.

May 20, 2013

Episode Four.

The good times and the bad times of making babies. Babies being born is a topic we accidentally avoid on audio smut. But the fact is, we have bodies that make us babies and sex is involved, albeit in many different ways. In this episode, we look at three different stories of babies being born.

May 08, 2013
The Wrath of the Potluck

A Quickie: The time that god punished you for having a threesome with my sister.

Devon is one of Kaitlin’s oldest friends from high school. They now live in different cities and see each other yearly if they’re lucky. Kaitlin’s sister recently moved Toronto. The rest of this story is in the gutter, literally. Devon has a very sensitive stomach. He ate too much curry and spicy peppers on the night that was to end with him and two beautiful, naked women. A dream come true, right?

Mar 25, 2013

Episode Two.

Seriously, what’s the big deal.

In this episode, we tackle one of the biggest taboos. We eat food, everyday and eventually that food has to come out. Yeah it’s gross and stinky but it is one of the most natural things that our body does. Nonetheless, it’s quite common for people to have hang ups around anything that has to do with butts.

Mar 03, 2013

A Quickie: We bring to you a surprising letter from Mozart.

Feb 28, 2013
The Sensorium

Episode One.

Experience more than sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. Venture with us beyond the 5-way sense scape.

Feb 05, 2013
The Illicit Couples Retreat

Audio Smut Experiments: ventures beyond radio into the realm of sound installation, performance and audio art work.

The Penn Hills Hotel and Resort was abandoned by it’s owner in the late 2000′s after failing to pay their taxes. The expansive property is a time capsul: heart shaped bathtubs, floor to ceiling shag carpet and circle beds. Seven exclusive couples were invited on a late night getaway to the Penn Hills Hotel and Resort in the Poconos. There was live music and drinks. They were then checked into their rooms and given time to get intimate in whatever way they liked.

Jan 25, 2013
I Like Me

Audio Smut Experiments: ventures beyond radio into the realm of sound installation, performance and audio art work.

Audio Smut in collaboration with a visual artist who remains anonymous created a slide show of sexy self portraits accompanied by audio that explains her thought process when she was taking the photos of herself. She explores concepts of womanhood, beauty and being comfortable in her body as is, unaltered. The slideshow was presented once and only once, but the audio is still a treat.

Jan 13, 2013
Audible Picture Show

Audio Smut Experiments: ventures beyond radio into the realm of sound installation, performance and audio art work.

People sitting in a dark movie theater in Brooklyn sat and listened to a series of sound art pieces. This was one of them.

Oct 15, 2012