Talking with the best fake sex performer in the nation.
It’s a slippery slope from signing up for an introductory improv class to winning the title of best fake sex performer in the nation. Or at least it was for Chicago-based Kate Anderson, who won the 5th Annual National Air Sex Championships in December 2013 under the stage name Cuntastrophe. For Anderson, who began competing in 2009, the competition offers the chance to act out her most far-fetched sexual fantasies. But what started as a newfound natural talent has morphed into something bigger, a way for Anderson to encourage others to feel empowered by their sexuality. She plans to retire, but if there’s anything that could bring her back to the stage, it would be figuring out how to perform the ultimate routine: Air Sex with an octopus.
What, exactly, is Air Sex?
Air Sex is one part performance art, one part comedy. It’s performance art of sex. It’s a competition where a performer mimes having sex with an imaginary partner or object – and “partner” is a very open word, just so we’re clear. There are way more than human beings that people have sex with in these things. You’re judged on your commitment to your piece, and your creativity in the performance, both in terms of how you present it to the audience, but also how you please your imaginary lover and how you finish. It’s really key to not back down on the literal climax of your performance. The audience are such voyeurs — we’re all such voyeurs. That’s what they came to see, so don’t you dare back down. The only rules are that you can’t get naked, and you can’t have a real orgasm.
How did you first decide to compete in the Air Sex championships?
Growing curiosity over a 24-hour period. I had a friend say, “Hey, what is this weird Air Sex thing?” And this was years ago – the first time I competed was 2009. Then over the course of the day, I was talking through it with friends and I was like, “I mean I could probably do it. What if I did that?” And then I came up with a routine with a friend and won, epically. It was fun.
When was your first victory? Did it take you by surprise?
Yes, it did. I won regionally the first time I competed in Phoenix. It was my first performance in front of a live audience. I fed so much off the audience’s energy. I was really afraid they’d be like “Ew, gross, no!” But the Air Sex audience is the most supportive audience ever. I’m an improviser now, and improv audiences are also great, but Air Sex is even better because I don’t think there’s any judgment from the audience. Everything I did, they were like, “More!” And I really went for it because of that. They started screaming, so I air-fucked myself more vigorously, and they were more and more into it. It was like a really great one-night stand that catches you off guard. My first performance was euphoric.
How do you prepare for the competition? How much of the routine is planned versus improvised?
I plan all of my routines before I go onstage for the first round. I really like to let the song inspire my routine. I’ll pick songs that I think it would be fun to have sex to, or songs that turn me on, or songs that feel like sex, even if you wouldn’t have sex to them. Mine are mostly choreographed.
How much do you practice before the big day?
Hardly at all. It’s actually best to get feedback from somebody else. If anybody else wants to compete – and they should – the best thing to do is to perform your routine for a friend and get feedback about what they want to see more of. Because those are probably the parts that you’re like, “Oh, I shouldn’t,” but they’re like, “Oh, you should.” It’s mostly coming up with a song. When I hear the song, I already have a fantasy in my head. I practice a lot right before the show, but not months and weeks and years of training like Rocky.
Do you draw from specific sexual experiences in your routines?
A long time ago there was a guy who shot in my eye. One of the most painful things that’s ever been in my eye is semen. I incorporated that into a routine, where I wiped it off my face, licked it off my hand, tied him to the ground and tied a mouth dildo – I don’t know what those are even called – and I fucked his face. Which, if I was a more sexually mature creature at the time the aforementioned semen shot in the eye happened, I so would have done that. I sort of bring fantasies to life. When I won in Chicago, someone asked me if I really hit my pussy that hard. And I was like, “Sometimes? When it calls for it?” So for the most part it’s pretty close to my own skin, or it’s things like, man I want to do this and there’s no one to do it with me.
How much thought goes into selecting your outfit?
What would make me look sexiest, is mostly what I think. I really like performing in heels for vanity reasons. I do think I dress to look good, things that, if I’m jumping around a lot, keep my boobs from jumping out. That’s something women should keep in mind – and anybody who has anything that can move and fall out. Both balls and nipples have been seen in this competition by accident. As people who do Air Sex will tell you, there are two ways to go about it. One way is the sexy way, and one way is the comedy way. Both ways are totally valid ways to compete in Air Sex. I naturally fall on the sexual side because I’m like, “I have a place to be free!”
Do you perform sober?
I do. Other people have performed potentially blackout drunk, and either way it’s fine.
Is there anything you’re uncomfortable doing onstage?
Other people who do more comedic things have had sex with babies, which is a weird, terrible thing, or cows, things most people don’t have sex with. I just wouldn’t choose to have sex with a cow, or most animals. Most – if there is an animal I’d want to have sex with, it’s probably an octopus [laughs]. Some of my favorite porn, it’s so weird, is tentacle porn. And I don’t even know if I could bring that into Air Sex. All of these different limbs putting me in places. That would be a feat.
Do you think more men rely on comedy and more women rely on sexuality?
I think women are pretty fifty-fifty. I think more guys fall into the comedy category. I think their stories are a little bit more heard. Like they can’t get it up and they might take a bunch of pills and then it works, or they had sex with eight women at one time. I think they have a lot more publicly to draw from that nobody’s going to shame them for. As a lady onstage, I’ve never worried about the perception of my choices. In New Orleans, the last three were me, a guy who I think was winning on sexy, who had a sexy dancer body. He had sex with a cow. And the other girl had a routine where she was an old lady who really liked it in the butt. So I think it’s pretty mixed among the women. Less guys rely on sexy. Less guys in general I think are comfortable with that.
Do you view the Air Sex competitions as purely for fun? Contributing to a larger conversation about sex? What’s your attitude in general?
I do see them as contributing to a larger conversation. I think they’re very fun, but I also find them to be super empowering. They’re very sex-positive, which I’m happy to be part of. I think that’s why the audience is so supportive. There are people there who are perverts, but most of the audience thinks that this is just a really great way to express yourself.
Have you ever had partners feel intimidated by your public displays of sexual prowess?
Yeah. One of the last girls that I dated. I’ve been doing this so long. There’s before I came out and after I came out, which is funny. Before I was even aware. Most everyone I’ve ever dated actually is fairly intimidated by how sexual I am. I don’t even think about it, but I’ve done all kinds of things. I’ve used toys and they don’t freak me out. I’ve had one partner to several partners at a time – not polyamory but normal sex and orgies. Most people I date aren’t as sexual as me.
Do your friends and family know about your Air Sex champion status?
My friends get a huge kick out of it. They’re like, “My friend is the national Air Sex champion!” My sister knows, and the last time she watched a video of my performance, she said, “Congratulations. I know this makes you happy so I’m happy for you. I couldn’t watch past the first minute because I got super uncomfortable.” And my parents don’t know, to my knowledge. Unfortunately my grandparents may know, because they’re on Facebook, and I just hope they’re like, “She’s in an improv show with no pants on!” My sexual upbringing was pretty prudish, so I don’t bring these things up with my mom. When my nipples started to hurt because my boobs started to grow in fourth grade, she said, “Well do you want to talk about it or would you like a book?” And I was like, “I would like a book!”
Now that you’ve earned the highest crown, do you plan to continue competing?
[Air Sex host] Chris Trew asked me in New Orleans if I was going to keep going and I said that I’d retire, and that’s sort of how I feel about it. I feel like my life would be crazy if I went down this path of being an Air Sex champion all the time, because I think I would actually get so much more involved – from women’s reproductive rights to how they teach sex ed and everything else. I feel like the natural path would turn me into some kind of advocate or activist around it, and I’m not sure if I would want that to be my life. But maybe those feelings will change.
Any other advice you have for all the wannabes out there?
Do it, is actually my biggest advice. What happens is, people get to the show, and they’re like, “No.” They see the performers and by the end of it they’re like, “I had a perfect routine and I totally could have beaten everybody.” Everyone who’s ever done it has said nothing but positive things about it. It is super empowering, and the audience is on your side. They’re like, “Do it! We love you!”
Just bring whatever you have strong feelings about. A time that you hated, a time that you loved, something you’re dying to do but no one else will do with you. Do those things. Because someone out there in the audience will be like, “Me too! Me too!” And that person will fuel your whole show.