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Somerville library encourages sex positivity in zine making workshop

Discussions of zine activism and the elimination of sexual shame at Somerville Public Library on May 3.

Pleasure Pie will host a sex positive zine workshop at Somerville Public Library on May 3.Pleasure Pie

Folding a piece of paper and writing or drawing across the pages could be considered a zine, according to Nicole Mazzeo.

Pleasure Pie — a Boston-based activism organization promoting sex positivity — will host a sex positive zine workshop on May 3 at Somerville Public Library’s West Branch. Mazzeo, the organization’s founder, will speak on the history of activism through zine making and lead discussions on consent and sexual liberation while participants create their own zines.

“[Zines are] a mix of visuals and text that are meant to be more engaging and easy to read and more conversational,” said Mazzeo.


She said makers have more freedom over creative work because zines operate outside a traditional publishing process. A zine is a self-published work where the maker writes or draws about a topic of interest on a small booklet. They can be stapled or sewn together and distributed.

The library’s workshop is available for 20 people, and community services librarian ShanTil Yell expects it to reach capacity.

Yell said Somerville’s Central Library also has an extensive zine collection, with selections by local artists and creators. The West Branch has a smaller collection for the public to sift through and check out.

Zines are “a cool opportunity for [people’s] personality and their interest to shine through,” they said.

A zine titled "A Field Guide to Lesbians”. Pleasure Pie

Mazzeo said a zine that she enjoyed from a previous workshop was “Teaching Consent to My Kitten.” The short story follows a person telling their kitten that they are going to hold them for as long as the kitten is happy about it and put them down when they aren’t.

She called it “a sweet depiction of what consent means” that can be read to all ages. “You can read that zine to a toddler, and it would be at least appropriate, if not make sense,” she said. Mazzeo has led zine workshops at Simmons University, Tufts University, and Emerson College, among others.


Pleasure Pie also sells zines they’ve made on their Etsy shop about sexual education, experiences, and freedom.

“My hope is that people will feel really empowered by the event. They’ll learn something new, that it’ll be a good creative outlet for them,” said Yell. “The main thing is that they feel empowered about their sexuality and their creative expressions.”

Sex Positive Zine Workshop. May 3, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Free. Somerville Public Library — West Branch, 40 College Ave., Somerville.

Maddie Browning can be reached at