Culture | Out of the bedroom and into the world

Smut zine Lickety Split seeks to expand your sexual horizons

First things first: “smut” – for those of you who’ve long felt tortured by its frightening phonetics – is really just a fancy synonym for porn. It was never anything to be afraid of, and now that I’ve cleared it up, I’m sure you all feel pretty silly.

But hey, cheer up. All that smut you’ve been missing out on, that whole universe, “the wild world of smut”…well, it’s finally opened up to you. And though it might seem a little scary at first, the fine folks at Lickety Split smut zine have got your back, supplying you with a kink kiddie-pool of sorts, an introductory step into the wider kink ocean.

It’s a role that the magazine’s publisher, Amber Goodwyn, takes care to imbue in each of the magazine’s pages. Rather unassuming herself – as it happens, kinkiness isn’t necessarily worn on one’s sleeve – she regards Lickety Split as a valuable venue for people to express all sides of their sexualities.

To that end, she prizes her magazine’s inclusive, sex-positive attitude – an understandable precondition for featuring pansexual (i.e. all orientations, even those you weren’t aware existed) content. But besides the underlying live-and-let-live ethos, there’s little tying together the sheer variety of material featured here, covering everything from prose to photography. For such a compact zine – its bi-yearly issues rarely exceed 70 pages – it sure packs a shitload of smut.

But as bite-sized and accommodating as this taster may be, prospective readers should still approach its content with an open mind and a lighter mood. Plainly put, don’t expect to keep a straight face flipping through its pages: depending on who you are, Lickety Split may shock you, put you off, or totally blow your mind. O magazine this is not.

And speaking for myself – an ardent vanilla-sex enthusiast – I must admit to having expressed dismay at some of the content. As much as I normally enjoy sex comics (very much), there’s something about regular artist Eric Hanson’s strips that strike me as oddly gratuitous and juvenile; smut for smut’s sake, if you will.

Nevertheless, impromptu campus polling would tell you that I’m just easily offended, and that the magazine isn’t going too far. Goldwyn tends to agree: “I think we have to give people more credit for what they can handle. I don’t think we’ve crossed anyone’s lines. But I guess people do have different sets of rules.”

Not that Goldwyn approves of all perspectives, expressing distaste at those who castigate her for exhibiting sexuality out in the open – not “keeping it in the bedroom,” as it were. Worse yet are double standards privileging dominant straight culture and chastising queer culture.

She’s not pointing fingers, though, which is something I appreciate. As a member of the dominant culture in question, I understandably don’t keep track of all the rights it sometimes unwittingly denies others. “I think the fact that you can kiss your girlfriend on the metro and not feel unsafe about it afterwards…” she argued, “it’s a huge amount of privilege,” implying that it should be a right.

But conscientious as its writers may be, Lickety Split somehow consistently avoids coming across as militant. Instead, each page (not to mention the Sherwin Tjia-drawn covers) points to some intimate tie between its creator and the oft-personal material they’ve chosen to contribute. “These aren’t magazines you tear through and throw out,” Goodwyn relates. “They’re more like yearbooks about peoples’ sexualities.”

And kitschy as that may seem, the sentiment still comes across very clearly, reinforced by the magazine’s do-it-yourself appeal – something we can perhaps credit to Lickety Split’s place within the Montreal underground.

Their forthcoming launch party, this Friday’s XXX Masked Ball, will see a performance by Goodwyn’s band Nightwood along with two other acts. Considering Goodwyn’s promises of a wild time, it’s something you might want to attend. Who knows, you might even discover something you didn’t know – or didn’t want to know – you liked.

Lickety Split’s XXX Masked Ball takes place this Friday, November 21, at La Sala Rossa. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the $10 entrance fee includes a copy of the latest issue of the zine. Visit for more smut.