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Overview: Susie Bright worked for the feminist sex store Good Vibrations, and in 1984 launched the first U.S. lesbian sex magazine, On Our Backs, with photographer Honey Lee Cottrell, publisher Deborah Sundahl, and Nan Kinney. Susie served as the magazine's editor. An expert on the history of the pornography business and its censorship, she has reviewed erotic movies and written broadly about sexual issues.

Detailed biography: Susannah "Susie" Bright (also known as Susie Sexpert) (born March 25, 1958) is an American feminist, author, journalist, critic, editor, publisher, producer, and performer, often on the subject of sexual politics. Known for her founding role in the magazine On Our Backs, she is also an expert on the history of the pornography business and its censorship and has reviewed erotic movies and written broadly about sexual issues. She is one of the first writer/activists referred to as a sex-positive feminist.
     As a teenager, Bright was active in the 1970s in various left-wing progressive causes, in particular the feminist, labor, civil rights, and anti-war movements. She was one of the members of the high school underground newspaper, The Red Tide, and served as Plaintiff suing the Los Angeles Board of Education for the right of minors to distribute their own publications without prior censorship or approval. (Judgement in favor of Plaintiff).
     She was a member of the International Socialists from 1974-1976 and worked as a labor and community organizer in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Detroit, MI, and Louisville, Kentucky.
     Bright was one of the founding members of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, and wrote under the pseudonym Sue Daniels in both The Red Tide and Workers' Power .
     Bright trained with San Francisco Sex Information in 1981. From 1981 to 1986, she worked for and managed Good Vibrations, which Joani Blank had opened in San Francisco in 1977, the second feminist sex toy shop in the country (after Dell Williams' Eve's Garden). Bright wrote Good Vibrations' first mail order catalog, the first sex toy catalog written from a women's point of a view to a female audience. She founded the Good Vibrations Erotic Video Library, the first feminist curation of erotic films available at the time. During this time, she got involved with a group of artists called "Mainstream Exiles" and co-wrote and starred in two plays: "Girls Gone Bad" and "Knife, Paper, Scissors."
     In 1984, she launched the first women-produced magazine on the topic of sex and erotica, On Our Backs , "entertainment for the adventurous lesbian," with photographer Honey Lee Cottrell, publisher Deborah Sundahl, and Nan Kinney. Susie served as the magazine's editor until 1991. Known as the "Pauline Kael of Porn" Bright wrote feminist reviews of erotic films for Penthouse Forum from 1986 - 1989. She was the first mainstream journalist who covered the adult industry trade, and Bright was the first female member of the X-Rated Critics Organization in 1986.
     She taught the aesthetics and politics of erotic film imagery starting in 1986 at Cal Arts Valencia, and then in the early nineties at the University of California. Her film-reviews of independent and mainstream films and videos are widely published, and her commentary on gay film history are featured in the documentary film The Celluloid Closet .
     Bright founded the first women's erotica book-series, Herotica , in 1988 and edited the first three volumes. Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World , the first collection of her own stories, came out in 1990. She started The Best American Erotica series in 1993, and has edited it annually since then. She published the only portfolio of lesbian erotic photography, Nothing But the Girl , co-edited with Jill Posener, with 30 interviews and photographs from photographers around the world. It won the Firecracker Award and the Lammie Award in 1997. She was voted into the XRCO Hall of Fame, 5th Estate, in 2005.
     Bright worked a screenwriter and film consultant in several films: Erotique, The Virgin Machine, The Celluloid Closet , and Bound , and appeared as herself in an episode of the HBO television series, Six Feet Under.
     She started a website in March 1997, and began her blog, Susie Bright's Journal , in 2004.
     Since 2000, she has produced and hosted a weekly program In Bed with Susie Bright on Audible, Inc., where she discusses a variety of social, freedom of speech and sex-related topics. Interviews, book and movie reviews are common, as are letters from listeners.
     Since 2012, Bright has worked as an editor-at-large executive producer at Audible Inc, and was nominated for a non-fiction Audie Award as executive producer in 2013.


  1. Co-Author with Aretha Bright, Mother/Daughter Sex Advice, Bright Stuff, 2012

  2. Author, The Erotic Screen: Volume 1, Bright Stuff, 2011

  3. Author, Big Sex Little Death, Seal Press, 2011

  4. Author, Love and Lust: A Sex Journal, Chronicle Books, 2010

  5. Author, I Dare You Cards, Chronicle Books, 2010

  6. Editor, Bitten, Chronicle Books, 2009

  7. Editor, X: The Erotic Treasury, Chronicle Books, 2008

  8. Series Editor, Best American Erotica, Simon and Schuster, 1993 - 2008

  9. Editor, Three Kinds of Asking For It, Eric Albert, Greta Christina, and Jill Soloway, edited by Susie Bright, Simon and Schuster, 2005

  10. Editor, Three the Hard Way, by William Harrison, Greg Boyd, and Tsaurah Litzky, edited by Susie Bright, Simon and Schuster, 2004

  11. Mommy's Little Girl: Susie Bright on Sex, Motherhood, Pornography, and Cherry Pie, Thunders Mouth, 2004

  12. How To Write a Dirty Story: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Erotica, Simon and Schuster, 2002

  13. Full Exposure: Opening Up to Sex and Creativity, HarperSanFrancisco, 1999

  14. The Sexual State of the Union, Simon & Schuster, 1997, 1998

  15. Author and Co-Editor, Nothing But the Girl: the Blatant Lesbian Image, Cassell, 1996

  16. SexWise, Cleis Press, 1995

  17. Susie Bright's Sexual Reality: A Virtual Sex Reader, Cleis Press , 1992

  18. Editor, Herotica III, Penguin USA, 1994

  19. Editor, Herotica II, Penguin USA, 1992

  20. Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World, Cleis Press, 1990

  21. Editor, Herotica, Down There Press, 1988


  1. Susie Bright's Journal, 2004 - present


  1. Editor-at-Large and Executive Producer, Audible, Inc., 2011 - present

  2. Executive Producer and Host, In Bed with Susie Bright, on Audible.com, 2000 - present

  3. Author and Director, Full Exposure, Produced by HarperAudio, 1999

  4. Contributing Author and Perfomer, Food, Sex and Relationships, with Harriet Lerner and Mollie Katzen, produced by Worley Management and Sounds True, 1997

  5. Contributing Author and Perfomer, Cyborgasm, produced by Lisa Palac and Ron Gommpertz, Heydey/Time Warner, 1994.

  6. Contributing Author and Perfomer, The Edge of the Bed, produced by Lisa Palac, Heydey/Time Warner,1995.

  7. Editor and Performer, Herotica, produced by Passion Press, 1995

  8. Editor, Herotica 2, produced by Passion Press, 1995

  9. Editor, Herotica 3, produced by Passion Press, 1997


  1. Special Feature Interview, Reissue of "Belle de Jour", (directed by Luis Buñuel) produced by Issa Massu, Criterion Collection, 2011

  2. Featured Guest, 1969, produced by Rob Epstein, broadcast on The History Channel, 2009

  3. Featured Guest, Six Feet Under, produced by HBO, broadcast on HBO, 2006

  4. Featured Guest, Retrosexual: The 80s, produced by VH1, 2004

  5. Featured Guest, Sex in the 20th Century, narrated by Peter Coyote, produced by MPH Entertainment, broadcast on History Channel, April 2001

  6. Featured Guest, A Return to Modesty, produced by Lifetime Television, August 1999

  7. Documentary feature, Susie Bright, Sex Pest, produced by Mike Bluett, directed by Cheryl Farthing, for Channel 4, London, England, November 1998

  8. Script Consultant, Choreographer, and Featured Cameo, Bound, produced by Dino DeLaurentis, and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, 1996.

  9. Co-star, The Celluloid Closet, produced by Telling Pictures and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1995.

  10. Screenwriter, Let's Talk About Sex, produced by Brandon Chase, and directed by Lizzie Borden, 1994

  11. Documentary Feature, Reel Sex #8, HBO, Produced by Patty Kaplan, March 1994

  12. Producer and Narrator, All-Girl Action, 1990

  13. Producer and Narrator, How To Read a Dirty Movie, 1990.

  14. Co-star, The Virgin Machine, directed by Monica Treut , W. Germany/US, 1988


  1. Editor, Susie Bright's Journal, 2004 - present

  2. Golden Dukes Annual Judge, Talking Points Memo, 2007 - present

  3. Syndicated Columnist, Jezebel, 2009

  4. Syndicated Columnist, Alternet, 2007

  5. Syndicated Columnist, Huffington Post, 2006

  6. Columnist, CRAFT, 2006-2009

  7. Columnist, Bust, 2002-2005

  8. Columnist, Playboy, 1999-2000

  9. Columnist, Libida, 2000-2001

  10. Contributing Editor, Salon, 1997-2000

  11. Contributing Editor, San Francisco Review of Books, 1992-1994

  12. Editor, On Our Backs, 1984-1991

  13. Contributing Editor, Penthouse Forum, 1987-1989

  14. Frequent Contributor: Esquire, New York Times, Elle, Dwell, Playboy, MS., The Realist, UTNE Reader, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Hungry Minds Review, Village Voice, & The Stranger.


  1. Co-Plaintiff, ACLU v. Gonzales (C.O.P.A. case), Supreme Court, 2003-2006. Judgement in favor of Plaintiff.

  2. Consultant, Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Commissioner of Customs and Revenue and Minister of National Revenue - S.C.B.C. Action No. L020443, Queens Court, Canada, 2003-2004. Judgement in favor of Plaintiff.

  3. Plaintiff, Bright v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. , 18 Cal.3d 450, 1974-1976. Judgement in favor of Plaintiff.


  1. Sexual State of the Union Address:

  2. 92nd Street Y, New York

  3. Alfred U., New York

  4. Antioch University, Ohio

  5. University of California at Berkeley

  6. University of Colorado, Boulder

  7. Bryn Mawr College

  8. Carnegie Mellon

  9. California State University at Chico

  10. Cornell University

  11. Florida State University

  12. Gay and Lesbian Community Center, New York

  13. Harvey Milk Democratic Club, San Francisco

  14. Haverford College, Philadelphia

  15. Hobart and William Smith Colleges

  16. Humboldt State Univesity

  17. Hunter College, NYC

  18. University of Indiana, Bloomington

  19. University of Wisconsin at Madison

  20. McGill University

  21. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

  22. MIT

  23. Murfreesboro State University, TN

  24. Ohio State

  25. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  26. Northwestern University

  27. University of Pennsylvania

  28. Smith College

  29. Society for the Scientific Study of Sex

  30. Solo Mio Performance Festival, Boston

  31. University of Toronto

  32. Tucson Public Library

  33. Tulane University

  34. Vassar College

  35. Washington State University, Bellingham

  36. Wayne State University

  37. Wellesley College, Massachusetts

  38. Wesleyan Univerisity

  39. Williams College

  40. Sex Education in the Doctor's Office:

  41. University of California, San Francisco

  42. University of California, Berkeley

  43. The Politics of Sexual Representation:

  44. University of California at Santa Cruz

  45. The Case of Pornography, Keynote speaker

  46. UCSB conference on Pornography and Censorship, Santa Barbara

  47. Reading, Writing and Rethinking Erotica:

  48. Esalen Institute

  49. Omega Institute

  50. New College of California

  51. How To Read a Dirty Movie, film show and lecture:

  52. HBO Broadcast

  53. Virginia Tech

  54. Hamburg Gay Film Festival

  55. Berlin Gay Film Festival

  56. Castro Theater, San Francisco

  57. University of California at Santa Cruz

  58. Pacific Film Archive, University of California at Berkeley

  59. Nuart Theater, Los Angeles

  60. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  61. Collective for Living Cinema

  62. Dobie Theater, Austin

  63. Roxie Theater, San Francisco

  64. San Francisco State University

  65. Stanford University

  66. Cal Arts Valencia

  67. The Victoria Theater

  68. All Girl Action, The History of Lesbian Eroticism in Hollywood, film show & lecture:

  69. Castro Theater, San Francisco

  70. University of Washington, Seattle

  71. British Film Institute

  72. Amsterdam Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Holland

  73. Nuart Theater, Los Angeles

  74. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

  75. Hallwalls, Buffalo

  76. Chatham College, Pittsburgh

  77. Gay Film Festival, Music Box Theater, Chicago

  78. Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Castro Theater, San Francisco

  79. Sex In Public: Erotic Expression, Censorship, and Sexual Repression, a lecture:

  80. American Library Association, San Francisco

  81. Modern Language Association , San Francisco

  82. University of Indiana, Bloomington

  83. Slim's Spoken Word Series, San Francisco

  84. Yale University

  85. University of Arkansas

  86. Cornell University

  87. Wesleyan University

  88. Amherst College,

  89. Harvard University

  90. Brown University

  91. State University of New York, Binghamton

  92. Hunter College, New York

  93. Sex Educators and Erotica, a lecture:

  94. Society for the Scientific Study of Sex

  95. Institute for the Study of Human Sexuality

  96. Keynote Speaker, Multi-Topic:

  97. BlogHer

  98. San Francisco Public Library

  99. Crown Gallery

  100. University of Kansas at Lawrence

  101. Sacred Elixirs

  102. University of Ohio at Columbus

  103. L.A. Times Book Festival

  104. Romantic Times

  105. Seattle Public Library


  1. Gail Rich Award, Santa Cruz, 2002

  2. Lambda Literary Award, Best Art Book of the Year, 1997, for Nothing But the Girl

  3. Firecracker Award, Best Art Book of the Year, 1997, for Nothing But the Girl

  4. Full Exposure, National Bestseller

  5. Best American Erotica, National Bestseller

  6. Sexual State of the Union, National Bestseller