The Deep South’s Dames of Dildos

In Alabama, where sex toys stores are illegal, a church-going grandma, enterprising mom, and sassy granddaughter built a booming business hawking penis pumps and butt plugs — and helping every person find their path to pleasure:

One day in 2015, Mary told Christy she wanted to open up a clothing boutique in Muscle Shoals near Florence. Mary’s husband was showing signs of dementia. She wanted to get out of the house more, make extra money, have a sense of purpose. Christy said she’d help finance the store under one condition: In addition to carrying women’s sundresses and blouses, the store would have to stock what she simply called “toys.” Mary didn’t quite understand.

At this point, Christy, who first learned about home sex-toy parties back when she was 19, had hosted these in-home Tupperware-like events herself for a decade. Sex toys had become an important part of her life. Yet these parties weren’t accessible to all women; you had to be invited. If a Florence-based woman wanted to buy a sex toy and she didn’t know about the parties? Sure, she could buy one online, but how could she know what it felt like? How to use it? The sex education that came along with the vibrators Christy sold in women’s homes was missing from Amazon.com. She wanted to open a store where she could help provide that.

Source: Narratively
Published: Jun 9, 2022
Length: 21 minutes (5,400 words)

My High School’s Secret Fantasy Slut League

Lena Crown picks apart some disturbing facets of growing up in a wealthy Californian high school. Ready to learn about Fantasy Slut League?

She still finds it hard to take FSL seriously, or to think of it as harmful. This is despite the fact that the culture of competition behind FSL often made her question her worth — made her feel, in her words, “never pretty enough, never smart enough, never quite enough.”

Author: Lena Crown
Source: Narratively
Published: Mar 17, 2022
Length: 36 minutes (9,019 words)

Meet the Obsessive Role-Players Who Live Inside the World of Grand Theft Auto

“Renegade developers co-opted this controversial video game’s source code to build a complex alternate universe where breaking character is the cardinal sin. Millions tune in to watch.”

Source: Narratively
Published: Nov 4, 2021
Length: 17 minutes (4,384 words)

She Spoke to the Dead. They Told Her to Free the Slaves.

“In 1850s Vermont, Achsa Sprague swore that the spirits who miraculously helped her walk again also possessed her with a crucial mission: freeing every soul in America.”

Source: Narratively
Published: Oct 21, 2021
Length: 19 minutes (4,900 words)

My Bizarre Reign as New York’s King of “Virgin Russian Hair”

“It was an irony that blonds for once — at least poor Slavic blonds — were the exploited, and not the exploiters. For someone like me, who had grown up in India, a place colonized and plundered by Europeans, this fact felt empowering in a way. Surely, it felt wrong too, sacrilegious even, but the writer in me was fascinated by the guilty pleasure of selling the very embodiment of whiteness: blond hair. This internal idea that I was embarking on an ambitious literary experiment made it easier to dispense with the ambiguous moral aspects of the venture.”

Source: Narratively
Published: May 13, 2021
Length: 20 minutes (5,167 words)

The Shot-in-the-Eye Squad

“As Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation, the rubber bullets and tear gas canisters started to fly. This epidemic of “blinding by police” inspired our unlikely network of survivors.”

Author: Wil Sands
Source: Narratively
Published: May 20, 2021

The Obsessive Life and Mysterious Death of the Fisherman Who Discovered The Loch Ness Monster

“A humble Scotsman saw something strange in the water — and daringly set out to catch it — only to have lecherous out-of-towners steal his fame and upend his quest.”

Author: Paul Brown
Source: Narratively
Published: Dec 10, 2020
Length: 22 minutes (5,504 words)

Conscripted into the Emperor’s Private Orchestra

“What do a crew of talented musicians do when forced to serve at the pleasure of a notoriously cruel dictator? They play like their lives depend on it.”

Source: Narratively
Published: Jun 30, 2020
Length: 20 minutes (5,186 words)

The Crime Victim Who’s Obsessed with True Crime Shows

“Before the shooting, watching true crime shows was a diversion. Afterward, it is no longer simply a genre to me.”

Source: Narratively
Published: Jun 25, 2020
Length: 8 minutes (2,063 words)

How the World’s Most Venomous Fish Convinced Me to Stop Working Myself to Death

“”I…Googled pictures of stonefish. I thought about the insidious nature of those gnarled, prehistoric-looking venom traps: how freaky it is to think that they’re always there, perfectly still, camouflaged in the coral. Waiting for you to hit rock bottom. How sometimes the most unavoidable pain comes from the things that are hardest to see.”

Source: Narratively
Published: Jun 22, 2020
Length: 11 minutes (2,841 words)