About Tristan

Tristan Taormino is an award-winning author, columnist, sex educator, speaker, media maker, and podcast host. She is the author of nine books and editor or co-editor of 25 anthologies. She keynotes, lectures, and teaches workshops around the world. She is the host and executive producer of the long running podcast Sex Out Loud. She is the creator of Sex Educator Boot Camp, a professional training program, and she runs a coaching and consulting business for sexuality professionals. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with her Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Wesleyan University in 1993. 


She is the author of nine books:  A Part of the Heart Can’t Be Eaten: A Memoir. Duke University Press, 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM, Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female EjaculationThe Big Book of Sex ToysThe Anal Sex Position GuideOpening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open RelationshipsTrue Lust: Adventures in Sex, Porn and PerversionDown and Dirty Sex Secrets, and two editions of The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. She is a co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure, with Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Constance Penley and Mireille Miller-Young; it is the first collection that includes writings by scholars, academics, producers and performers. She conceived and edited The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge which features the work of leading kink experts from around the country. She is the editor of 25 anthologies including Stripped Down: Lesbian Sex Stories and Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica. She is the founding editor and helmed 11 editions of the bestselling series Best Lesbian Erotica. Her books have sold over 500,000 copies and have been translated into many languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, and Czech; they have been nominated for more than a dozen awards and have won seven, including three Lambda Literary Awards. She’s written for a multitude of publications from Yale Journal of Law and Feminism to Paper Magazineand served as editor of the feminist magazine On Our Backs. For nine and a half years, she wrote a bi-weekly column in The Village Voice, which was awarded two Sex-Positive Journalism Awards. She began her writing career at 24; with little publishing experience and even less capital, she founded Pucker Up, a magazine of writing and photography dedicated to sex and gender and was responsible for every aspect of the 64-page publication, from editing and marketing to sales and distribution. She is currently at work on a memoir.


Tristan’s work, writing, and films are routinely used in college courses to explore the complex issues of relationship and sexual diversity, politics, and media. As a speaker, she is widely regarded as an expert on sex education, LGBTQIA+ communities, kink and BDSM, ethical non-monogamy and polyamory, feminist pornography, the sex positive movement, and alternative sexual practices and relationships.

She gives keynotes, presentations, workshops, and trainings on these topics as well as public health, social justice, and sex-positive models for sex education at conferences, organizations, colleges and universities. She has given nearly 500 presentations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and Brazil.


She is executive producer and host of the long running podcast Sex Out Loud, now in its eighth year, with 3 million downloads to date. Among the hundreds of guests she’s interviewed are former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Olympia Dukakis, Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, Kandi Burruss, Justin Vivian Bond, Gene Demby, Dan Savage, Sonya Renee Taylor, Soraya Chemaly, Jessica Valenti, Jen Richards, Kate Bornstein, Bridget Everett, Ignacio Rivera, Scott Turner Schofield, and Betty Dodson. The show receives about 25,000 downloads per month.

Tristan has been featured in every major media outlet. She has appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, NBC’s The Other Half, National Geographic’s Original Sin, HBO’s Real Sex, as well as shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, E!, The Discovery Channel, Buzzfeed, Verizon go90, and YouTube. She was the resident sex expert and recurring panelist for two seasons of Ricki Lake (2001-2002); she has created and shot three different TV pilots, most notably one for MTV in 2003. She has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and podcasts including two appearances on The Howard Stern Show. She has been featured in hundreds of publications including O: The Oprah MagazineThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, RedbookCosmopolitanGlamourEntertainment WeeklyNew York MagazineMen’s Health, and Playboy. She has been named to several media lists, including Out Magazine’s 100 Gay Success Stories of the Year and The Advocate’s Best and Brightest Gay & Lesbian People Under 30.

As the head of adult film production company Smart Ass Productions, she directed and produced twenty-four sex education and porn films. Her work garnered 40 award nominations, 6 AVN Awards, and 8 Feminist Porn Awards. She was the first female director to win the AVN Award for Best Gonzo Movie for her film Chemistry. She was awarded The Trailblazer Award for her body of work at the Feminist Porn Awards in 2010. Although she retired from the adult industry in 2014, she is an active champion and supporter of sex workers’ rights.



Tristan has created and produced groundbreaking events and community resources. She is one of the original co-founders of Dark Odyssey, and produced 18 annual sex-positive events from 2001-2011. She created and produced The International Feminist Porn Conference at the University of Toronto in 2013 and 2014. She founded The Open List—a list of therapists, doctors, sex and relationship coaches, and other professionals who are experienced and knowledgeable about gender and sexual minorities and alternative relationships—which has provided free resources to the public since 2008. Tristan works as a consultant and coach for a diverse array of individuals, companies, and organizations, including those in sex education, healthcare, technology, retail, and the entertainment industry. She specializes in branding, marketing, public relations, community outreach, product development, strategic partnerships, and diversity and inclusion. She is the creator of Sex Educator Boot Camp, an in-person and online professional training program. Want to bring Tristan to your event? Contact her today!