Now in its fourth season, the Fruitbowl podcast blows the lid off of sexuality — the podcast is subtitled An Oral History of Queer Sex.
Topics covered include body positivity, cruising, polyamory, coming out and the lack of queer education in schools, among many other subjects.
The format of the show is simple. Creator Dave Quantic interviews an LGBT person about the history of their sex lives and their approach to sexuality. When an episode is posted the listener hears only the interviewee, who talks for about an hour. Interview subjects come from across the LGBT spectrum, gay men, lesbians, trans and non-binary people, white people and people of color. Quantic, who is based in Seattle, travels all over the country to conduct these interviews. The interviews can be found on the Fruitbowl website, along with photos of the subjects. No interview is posted until the subject listens to it and gives their approval.
In one recent episode a 69-year-old gay man named Mike, who spent his childhood in Florida but now lives in New York City, shares his story. Mike doesn't hold back. He recalls his first time masturbating, his first time having sex with a man he met through a personal ad, and his adventure at the Mine Shaft, a notorious sex club in New York City. Mike also recalls a time when coming out wasn't a safe option, yet Mike remained true to his identity. Mike speaks matter-of-factly about his life, holding nothing back. It's entertaining, but definitely for adults.
Quantic tells SFGN that the seed for Fruitbowl was planted in 2018, when he made a short documentary for the Hump! Film Festival, which is a porn-oriented short film festival that The Stranger, a local paper in Seattle, puts on each year.
"I didn't want to just make a standard porn film for that festival," he says. "Instead I decided to interview eighteen of my friends about their sexual histories, and about some funny stories that might have happened to them, or how they first learned about sex. The answer to that last question was mostly porn. A lot of queer people learn about sex through porn."
The film won the Jury Award at Hump! that year.
"Hump! films are only allowed to be five minutes long," said Quantic. "So I had all this extra awesome interview content from the eighteen people that I interviewed about the rest of their personal histories. I decided to take those eighteen leftover interviews and turn each of them into a podcast episode."
After that Quantic began to interview more people, mostly people he did not know, enlarging the list of questions that he asked, forming a 20-question interview that has been consistent from that point on. He produced more podcast episodes, filming each interview with the intent of eventually making a docu-series or a feature-length documentary about queer sex.
"It's not just about sex and what people's preferences are in the bedroom," Quantic said. "A lot of it is about the coming of age years, and the formative moments that we all share as we discover our queer identities. A lot of the stories are ones that we never get to share with people in a meaningful way because when we were experiencing that part of our lives we were usually doing it all by ourselves. I find that a lot of people are very hungry to share that story because they probably went through quite a lot to get to where they were comfortable coming out and they just want to describe that part of their lives."
Fruitbowl is in independently produced production, with Quantic paying for most of the expenses out of pocket. There is a Patreon, which currently brings in $283 per month, hardly enough to cover the cost of travel to conduct the interviews or equipment rental, though Quantic has also had a few sponsors.
Sometimes podcast listeners will contact Quantic about being an interviewee after listening to an episode or two, but Quantic also does a fair amount of scouting, especially when it comes to people who are not gay cisgender men.
"I'm not a lesbian," he said. "So I have to be more proactive with finding femme identified and women interviewees because I have to prove that I can be trusted with their stories. I think it would be different if I was a lesbian filmmaker for example. So there's some leg work done in that respect."
Quantic reports that he's only gotten positive feedback from people who find it deeply meaningful and moving to hear other people's stories. He's gotten a lot of notes from people who've come out late in life, people who may have been in heterosexual relationships. Many of them find peace and recognition in hearing other people's stories and hearing about how other people came out.
The title Fruitbowl came about because Quantic wanted the name of the podcast to be fun and add a sense of humor to it.
"The subject matter in itself can be pretty heavy," he said. "I didn't want there to be an overt seriousness to the podcast because the pod does that on its own. I've always thought it was really funny when people refer to queer people as fruits. I never understood it, but I think it's hilarious."
To listen to the Fruitbowl interviews, become a Patreon member or inquire about being interviewed, please visit the Fruitbowl website: https://www.fruitbowlpodcast.com/
Mike’s interview: https://www.fruitbowlpodcast.com/podcast/s4e10mikeb