spicy audiobooks

The Totally Unexpected Way I Rediscovered My Sexuality

All I needed was a pair of headphones.

It was the middle of the work day and I was in the process of updating social media accounts for one of my clients. I like to watch true crime docs, or listen to a podcast or an 80s playlist as I work. On this day, as I created inspirational quote cards for Instagram, I thought I’d listen to something a little different: “And then he moaned, good girl, into my ear.” Shivers, butterflies, weak knees. Then panic. My nanny was downstairs with my daughter. Did she hear that? Nope. Headphones secured.

Up until this point, I had gone my entire adulthood not knowing what a praise kink was, much less that I apparently have one. And it’s all thanks to spicy audio erotica, a discovery I was not expecting in my 40s. Not that long ago, I was unable to say the word "erotica" in mixed company without feeling dirty or ashamed. But here we are.

As a girl raised Christian who attended a private Catholic school in the '80s and '90s, my sex talk basically consisted of, "Don't do it until you get married." I may have been around 14 or 15 when I first stumbled upon anything that resembled porn. It was a documentary series on late-night cable about people living in a free-love-type commune. By myself, flipping through channels, I came across these images of older naked folks rubbing on each other. Refusing to catch my mother's wrath for something this low rent, I quickly changed the channel.

My curiosity was piqued, but not enough to try to find anything like that again. I didn’t wait until marriage to have sex and had a pretty active sex life through the years before I eventually got married. But while sex was fun and all, I felt like I was missing out on something. Much later in life, I realized that "something" was self-confidence. I wasn't taking any agency over my own sex life. I was never comfortable being the one to initiate sex. What were my desires (besides Method Man), and how should I voice them? "Sexy" was never a word I would use to describe myself. Sex was fun, but it was also embarrassing, something that was done in the dark and only talked about drunkenly through whispers and giggles.

The older and more experienced I got, I poked my head further out of my shell. Eventually, I began to recognize the sexy nature I hold within myself. I found myself in a great group of women I trusted to have those conversations with. After taking pole dancing classes for a few years, I felt comfortable in my body. Going way outside of my comfort zone, I spent a few months as a Pure Romance parties consultant and found strength in my words as I learned to speak freely about sex.

Fast forward to a few years ago. There I was, working from home thanks to the pandemic. One day, I was half paying attention to a documentary on female sexuality, The Principles of Pleasure. They mentioned this app called "Dipsea" that contained "short and sexy audio stories" written for women by women. Intrigued, I downloaded the app, and after answering a few questions about myself and my preferences, the vault opened. The first story I listened to was about Jonathan, an “off-limits” co-worker who liked to participate in some sexting during work meetings. Jonathan was dirty and not shy about it. New kink unlocked.

I had never come across anything like this in my life. Harlequin romances from the grocery store never really seemed like my bag; I spent some time in the early 2000s blushing over Buffy fanfic, but my interest waned. But Dipsea caught my attention and held it. The app offers a wide selection of spicy stories in both written and audio form, with tons of tags to help you find your kind of thing. I met Killian, the sexy Irish pub owner who is more than happy to indulge your praise kink; I followed along with a rough and wild romp with Jack, that old high school friend you never got a chance to cross the finish line with. There are hundreds of these stories! And it all makes for a safe space to "try on" different types of partners, scenarios, and kinks without adding to your body count.

Trying to transition from work to engaged mom to sexy wife is exhausting, especially if all of those personas take place in basically the same location: your home, which needs to be cleaned, by the way. These stories have been a great tool in helping me temporarily go back to that space I was in when my husband and I first started dating — younger and semi-foolish with minimal responsibilities. There's an added thrill to popping the earbuds in and listening while doing housework, with no one the wiser. Very helpful when you want to get a jump start on later evening activities.

All that erotic audio made me start to appreciate the act of sex as being so much more than bodies connecting. It's the hours of anticipation leading up to it. Losing myself in the soundtrack of Portishead. The smell of lavender on the soft sheets in a dimly lit room. The feel of my husband's skin and the grunts in his chest.

Many life transformations had to happen for me to be able to say that now, in my 40s, I am in a sex-positive space. So many other aspects of my life and personality had to fully develop. I am ready to take agency over all areas of my life. Being in a loving, committed relationship with a husband whom I genuinely trust and adore also helps me find the freedom to explore my sexy side.

But… I am still me, and hopefully, I will not dissolve into a puddle of flop sweat once I hit "send" on this essay.

Kahmeela Adams-Friedson has been called a "pop culture savant" with particular expertise in all things '80s, '90s and Horror film. After producing and hosting several podcasts dedicated to film and telling stories of women and artists of all mediums, she consistently brings delight and discovery to the art of the interview — just ask Gloria Rueben. Kahmeela has designed a career that allows her to create in multiple areas of media. Her opinions on life, film, and literature can be found on many podcasts, in the Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Magazine, Looper and BUST Magazine, just to name a few.

If you fancy yourself a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you can listen to her ReVisiting Sunnydale Podcast, where she and her co-host rewatch the cult classic with more mature eyes.