“It sparked from the sheer need to break taboo and normalise pleasure,” says Garima Surana, the co-founder and chief business officer at Sochcast Media, about Whispers in The Dark, an erotica audio series which they have just launched, in collaboration with adult lifestyle web-store IMbesharam.
This eight-episode series launches today, December 22 to mark World Orgasm Day, and offers a guided erotic experience “tastefully sensuous and crafted to achieve climax,” says Surana. Whispers in The Dark, which will release one episode every fortnight, will soon be available on all major streaming platforms.
The idea for this audio series occurred over a casual conversation. While audio erotica is popular in the west, there is nothing like this in India, points out Surana. “We wanted to do something revolutionary,” she says, adding that India is a nation of 1.2 billion, yet “we don’t talk about sex as much as we do it.”
Her perspective is echoed by Raj Armani, the co-founder and chief operating officer of IMbesharam. “I think it’s high time our society re-aligns [with] the concept of self-pleasure, from it being a vice or a taboo to realising it as a basic human need just like food or water,” he says.
This climate of secrecy often leads to unsatisfactory sexual experiences, especially among women. Pornography often doesn’t cut it — it is too graphic and still mostly caters to the male gaze, Surana says. “I know so many women who haven’t masturbated, never had an orgasm in their life,” says Surana. Bridging the ‘orgasm gap’ was another reason for the series. All you need to do is plug in your earphones and spend time with yourself.
Whispers in The Dark has also tried to be gender-inclusive. The scripts for several of their plots are written and voiced by people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. There is also room to explore kink and fetish—one episode, for instance, is BDSM-themed while the other explores cuckolding. “We did not want just to normalise pleasure; we wanted to equalise it,” says Surana.
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Writer and LGBTQ activist Aniruddha Mahale, who wrote one of the episodes, believes that it is good that so many people’s stories have found their way into the podcast. If someone chanced upon this series and listened to them, they would find something in there for them.“That means my life experience, my kinks, my fetishes are not as alien a concept as I thought they were,” says Mahale. “I think when you normalise all kinds of conversations around sex, you normalise people’s desires in a way. Considering that we have always been taught to keep mum about desire, I think this is a great first step, isn’t it?”
Whispers in the Dark is currently available on all major streaming platforms