Friday, September 30, 2011

Thoughts on Kidder Kaper Leaving Sex Is Fun

A few years ago I got really into podcasts about sex. There was a period of time when, on a weekly basis, I was listening to Savage Lovecast, Polyamory Weekly, Kinsey Confidential, Ropecast, Mistress Matisse and Open Source Sex on nearly a regular basis, along with one of my favorite podcasts, Sex Is Fun. Then I decided I could better spend my subway commutes reading and I backed off a little, but I still tune in on a semi-regular basis.

Early week I downloaded a recent episode of Sex Is Fun where they interview Susie Bright -- you should never miss a word out of Susie's mouth, if you can help it -- and I got an unpleasant surprise: at the beginning of the interview, one of the show's four hosts, Kidder Kaper, announced that it was going to be his last interview. Then on Tuesday, Kidder explained his reasons for leaving on his farewell episode.

If you haven't listened to Sex Is Fun before, you really should. It's a fun and informative podcast. It isn't as polished a production as some podcasts. It often feels like a morning talk radio show, with all the spontaneity that comes with it. There are four hosts: Laura Rad, a sex educator and recent mom who prefers not to put too much of her personal life on the show; Coochie, a experimental, kinky girl who supplies some dry humor; Gay Rick, who provides a gay perspective and also works as a sex educator in the fight against HIV; and then there's Kidder. It's difficult to explain exactly what Kidder's role on the show is, but he's definitely the leader. His on-air personality is a well informed frat boy, rude but fun, for whom the whole subject is one big party, and who's always ready to stick a new sex toy in his butt for the sake of his loyal listeners. And if the line of duty takes him to a totally hot swingers resort on the Gulf of Mexico, it's not too much of a price to pay. In recent years Kidder written sexy party games for (I've had a couple of really fun parties with his Super Thoughts & Actions), wrote a Sex Is Fun comic book sex guide, and he's prone to daydreaming on the show about writing sex ed guides for Christian teens, or starting a sex-positive cable network. It seemed like, if any one could do it, it would be Kidder with his endless supply of enthusiasm.

Considering I'm not an all-that-regular listener anymore, I found myself getting really sad listening to him talk about how and why that endless enthusiasm has run out. I have difficulty explaining exactly why I feel that way. I can't fault him for wanting a change. My enthusiasm for writing this blog ebbs and flows and it's not a tenth of the work Sex Is Fun must be. And I certainly don't expect the guy to live up to an online persona he has cultivated. Besides, if I ever miss the sound of his voice I won't have to go far. With 295 episodes in the archive, I could listen for years before I ran out.

All the same, it's sad to see someone so unique move on. The other hosts of Sex Is Fun are great and I'm sure the show will continue to be good, but there was nobody quite like Kidder on sex podcasting and personally I'm going to miss listening to him. When I hear him talking about how the show has accomplished everything that he wanted for it and it seems like the right moment to leave, I wonder if he knows just how good he still is. His enthusiasm (which he claims has been feigned lately, but you'd never know it) is infectious. He sounds like a big kid, the kind who's impossible to be mad at even when he says something that offends you, whose eagerness to talk can overpower any inhibition. He spends a lot of his final episode praising his colleagues -- and rightly so -- but I wonder if he understands that it's his zeal that opens the door and lets Laura, Coochie and Rick's message in.

Kidder's not going away. He's still prolific on Twitter and Facebook, he and his wife Jade are writing a new blog, Kaper Life, and he promises new projects on the horizon in the farewell episode. (I'm still hoping for to see that cable network some day.) But when he says he's coming at the world from an angrier place these days, when he says he's tired of answering the same questions from people who are ignorant about sex, and when talks about confronting religion like he's fighting a war, I hope he hasn't lost the fun. I wish Kidder luck on all of his future projects. I just hope he doesn't forget to Play With It.


  1. I don't know what to say. I am honored to be written about so well by someone who writes so well. I am touched and humbled and I thank you for understanding me so well.

  2. Thanks for commenting -- it's nice to know I wasn't totally off base. I'm looking forward to following your blog and, hopefully, to hearing your voice on the Internet from time to time. Keep up the good work, Kidder. It means a lot to me and a lot of other people.