Below I’ve listed my favourite podcasts that inform my romance and erotica editing. These podcasts are excellent sources for book recommendations, trope discussions, and general knowledge about romantic relationships and sexuality.
Perfect listening for a #StetWalk – just remember, these are generally NSFW, and you may not want young children listening.
Agents of SMOOCH
This podcast is a celebration of romance and love in all its forms in media, largely focusing on movies and TV. "Director of SMOOCH" Annette Wierstra and her fellow agents are smart, funny, and engaging, and they talk about character dynamics and chemistry, genre conventions they love and hate, the importance of settings (hello, small towns), and everything else that goes into making a successful or not-so-successful romantic story. The agents' enthusiasm for smooch content shines through in every episode.
They've recently covered Stranger Than Fiction, Stranger Things, Bridgerton, the Matrix movies, Ever After, favourite on-screen kisses, and romantic role-playing games, and they’ve devoted 12 episodes to breaking down each of the relationships in Love Actually.
And their tipsy commentaries for the Twilight movies and 50 Shades of Grey are not to be missed.
Chick Flick Fix
Currently retired but with 60 episodes in their back catalogue, Chick Flick Fix is another of my favourite podcasts. The two hosts, Julia Skott and AJ Knox, state their mission as: “We watch chick flicks and rom-coms and decide if they need fixing. Can we make them better, or can we make them weird?”
They've covered a wide range of movies, including His Girl Friday, Miss Congeniality, But I'm a Cheerleader, Always Be My Maybe, and the Hallmark Channel movie A Christmas Prince. The “fixes” that they propose are always insightful, and they can be as simple as giving a secondary character more screen time or as in-depth as adding more nuance to relationship dynamics or addressing disability more accurately. And the “make it weird” suggestions are too funny for me to spoil here!
My Dad Wrote A Porno
Do I even need to explain this one? Apart from the fact that the title is pretty self-explanatory, My Dad Wrote A Porno is a full-blown cultural phenomenon. Hosted by Jamie Morton (the guy whose dad wrote the porno in question), Alice Levine, and James Cooper, the podcast explores the age-old question: what would happen if your parent wrote an erotic novel, and you didn’t immediately run screaming for the hills but actually decided to read it?
In each regular episode, Jamie reads a chapter of one of the books in his father’s Belinda Blinked series (at time of writing, there are six, all published under the pseudonym “Rocky Flintstone”) and the three hosts poke fun at Flintstone’s rocky understanding of anatomy, the strange tonal shifts between racy encounters and corporate sales meetings, and the improbable plot twists, while getting invested in the story and characters in spite of themselves. There are also “Footnotes” episodes with bonus content, Christmas specials to put you in the holiday spirit, a touring live show, and even an HBO special.
Mention pomegranates, Steeles Pots & Pans, the Asses and Donkeys Trust, or the flesh of mankind to a MDWAP listener and watch them struggle to keep a straight face. Then go listen.
Author and LGBTQIA+ activist Dan Savage's long-running sex-and-relationship advice column and podcast have informed my attitudes toward human sexuality more than any other media on the planet. Witty, graphic, and blunt, but consistently compassionate, Dan is the Ann Landers of sex (he even bought Ann Landers' desk at auction after the legendary advice columnist's death).
Dan and his guest experts (including doctors, researchers, journalists, legal professionals, and other advice columnists) taught me about ethical non-monogamy, a dizzying array of kinks and fetishes, ongoing threats to reproductive health and justice, and strategies for having open and honest conversations with sexual and romantic partners. Reading and listening to Savage Love have informed how I edit nonfiction related to sex and gender studies as well as my approach to editing sexual and romantic content in fiction, and I highly recommend checking it out.
I’m showing my age by including a podcast about Sweet Valley High – a long series of teen-drama books from the 1980s – but hear me out. The hosts of this podcast, Anna Carey and Karyn Moynihan, “explore the strange and terrifying world of Sweet Valley High, book by book,” with enough affectionate snark that an episode could lift my spirits even on the darkest days of the pandemic.
This podcast is one of the funniest things I have ever listened to, and it frequently reminds me how ridiculous and stereotype-filled romance tropes were in my youth. Anna and Karyn get so invested in the over-the-top drama of each book that I also end up rooting for my favourite character pairings and booing the villains. And whenever one of the books handles sensitive subject matter in an outdated 1980s way, the hosts do a great job of adding content warnings to their episodes and bringing in a much-needed modern perspective while still being highly entertaining. Well worth a listen!
Do you listen to any podcasts to stay on top of genre trends and tropes? Let me know in the comments below or continue the conversation on Mastodon or Twitter.