Suburban Smutmongers' Audio Porn

Sounds Erotic brings dirty words right to your ears

Toe sucking. Tightly laced corsets. Sex on a motorcycle. Double penetration at a sex club. None of these things are what I anticipated when I met Brian and Catherine OliverSmith at Book Expo America. Wearing pastels and holding their sleeping baby, they looked like they'd landed in D.C. from suburbia—and they had. Incongruously, their Sounds Erotic line of audio CDs (soundserotic.com) features some of the raciest content at the publishing convention.

The idea sprang from their marital bed: Catherine would read lusty stories to Brian, getting him so worked up he wanted her to toss the book and get busy. What if someone could read filthy fantasies to both of them, freeing up their mouths and hands?

No strangers to dirty talk, they'd racked up $700 phone bills during their courtship, so they knew how powerful racy words could be. In October 2004, they launched Sounds Erotic with three CDs, putting their money where their ears (and other body parts) were.

Meet the OliverSmiths: No strangers to dirty talk
photo: Catherine and Brian OliverSmith
Meet the OliverSmiths: No strangers to dirty talk

The discs are divided into the Sugar, Spice, Spank, and Penthouse Audio (penthouseaudio.com) lines. They own the licensing rights to Penthouse's content, and it's their raciest line (though Spank has plenty of titillating scenarios, including the four that open this column). "People are so busy that it's tough to shift from being an employer or soccer mom to suddenly being a lover," explains Brian over the phone. "I recommend popping one in on your way home from a date or listening on the subway after work to get you in the mood."

Each CD offers around eight stories, mostly with female protagonists. In one story, "Up and Down," a businesswoman and a delivery boy ride an elevator—and each other—during their regularly scheduled office tryst. While the story line is hot, some of the language sounds clichéd: "The huntress became the prey. The boss became the servant. She existed at his mercy." But I got into "My Babysitter," which features a "middle-of-the-night fuckfest" in which a horny wife watches her husband screw a young woman she's handpicked for the job.

With the erotica genre exploding, the time is ripe for audio porn. Past CD models such as those produced by Passion Press and Swell Audio were ahead of their time. Now there are erotic podcasts like Violet Blue's Open Source Sex and Sage Vivant's Four Minutes, Once a Week. The OliverSmiths are banking on people playing their smutty CDs—and even sold their house to fund their business. You can find their products at drugstore.com, and in adult stores, lingerie shops, and bookstores—sometimes labeled "Sounds Romantic." Even though Sounds Erotic and Sounds Romantic offer exactly the same product, the latter's more delicate packaging is attractive to Barnes & Noble. "It's not racy until you actually put it in the CD player," says Catherine. They don't care whether you call what they do porn, erotica, or smut, as long as you give them a listen (free story samples are available on their site).

The CDs A Lick & a Promise and Tongue & Tied didn't send me rushing off to masturbate, but could make an already frisky couple more amorous. I listened to one while walking across the Williamsburg Bridge, hoping to exercise and do my research simultaneously. But listening again at home, I got a better sense of the erotic potential and may pack them when I visit a long-distance lover with a penchant for phone sex. One reader's voice reminded me of a schoolteacher's—warm and rich, but a little formal. Given another woman's breathy voice, it hardly mattered what she was saying—all I heard was sex.

While the OliverSmiths set out to market the CDs to couples, they find plenty of individuals downloading them for "personal enjoyment." One woman uses them to get pumped while working out, but the fan base includes truckers, the blind, and actresses Gabrielle Union and Charlize Theron.

Advertising on Craigslist in L.A., they've found writers and sultry readers, including the "voice of Neutrogena," though they're always looking for more. Catherine says, "We tend to like the ones that don't start with sex. We want a story line, not just a vignette."

They laugh when I ask if their high-quality voice talent has ever balked at reading one of their tales. "There was one line in particular that this woman just didn't want to say. I believe it was 'I want to tongue-fuck her ass,'" recalls Catherine.

While she says her friends "always expected her to do something like this," being in the adult industry has taken some adjustment. They've gotten plenty of support from other small-business-owning couples, such as Freddy and Eddy (of freddyandeddy.com). "Because the adult industry is vilified," says Catherine, "people who are actually in the business are very friendly. It's like being part of a club."

This fall, they'll launch five new CDs, including Spank of America ; the travel-themed Long, Hard Commute; and a threesome disc. Spanish translations, Sounds Queer, and a nonfiction "sex ed for grown-ups" line are in the works. "We're so open that it's shocking to realize there are married people who can't talk to each other about what they like sexually," explains Catherine.

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