Editor’s Note: This interview was originally published on December 22, 2015.
Founder of the sex blog, Slutever, and writer for the “Breathless” column in Vogue, Karley Sciortino gives SGP the detailed account of her success – plus insight into her daily life and thoughts on feminism, slut-shaming, and sexuality. You’ll definitely want to check out this proud slut’s work after reading this incredible interview!
All Photos by Stacey Mark
What do you do, how long have you been doing it?
I’m a writer! I’ve been doing that for about nine years. And I occasionally make documentaries and probably-pointless-but-hopefully-entertaining videos for the internet and I’ve been doing that for about five years.
What inspired you to start your blog, Slutever, and the “Breathless” column in Vogue? What has the journey been like?
I started Slutever back in 2007, but at the time it wasn’t really a “sex blog”. It was more of a personal blog where I wrote about the gross squat that I lived in, being poor, partying, and occasionally I’d blog about the random people I was banging. At the time I was living in a squatted, disused hostel in south London with 12 other people – a lot of drifters, druggies, and “artists” who weren’t producing any art. It was the sort of house where you’d come home to find the living room full of naked people high on DMT conducting a tantric ritual. Or you’d wake up and a homeless Romanian family you’d never seen before would be baking bread in the kitchen. Literally both of those things happened. So I started writing the blog, intending mainly to create a written record of all the weird things that went on in our house.
At the beginning, the only people who read Slutever were the people I lived with. It wasn’t until about 2010 that I’d really say Slutever became a sex blog, which happened organically as I got more interested in things like BDSM, sex work, gender studies, alternative relationships, feminism, orgies, etc. I started interviewing porn stars and escorts. I think I just got more mature and started to care about sexuality on a deeper level. Today, I want Slutever to be a place where people come to engage in an open, progressive, frank and funny dialogue about sex and relationships, where fringe sexual behaviours are accepted, rather than thought of as ‘bad’ or creepy. As of about 6 months ago, I no longer write it on my own; I now commission other people to write for the site – contributors range from a sex researcher, to a queer film scholar, to a sugar baby, etc. So that’s very different. But as for my own writing, it’s still the same at its core: a lot of over-sharing about sex and dating, and my efforts to not totally fuck up my life.
As for Vogue, I was lucky enough to be approached by them about writing a column two years ago. It’s been so fun—I pinch myself every time I get to write articles for Vogue with titles like, “I Rang in My 30th Birthday with a Foursome,” and “Is Butt Sex on Trend?”
That’s amazing! What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I wake up at like 8 or 9 am. I walk to get coffee a few blocks from my apartment, and drink it while reading the news on my phone for like half an hour while my brain turns on. Then I get into a giant soft T-shirt and get back into bed and I generally try to write for as many free hours of the day as possible, always while lying down. I can’t write sitting up—seriously, I’ve tried and tried and it just doesn’t work. Typically at some point I take a break to have lunch (almost always a Greek salad with chicken from the diner next door), take a walk, maybe do some lazy pilates while watching the Daily Show, pick up my dry cleaning, etc., and then I’ll try to work some more until around 7.30pm, when I inevitably have dinner plans. Basically every night I have dinner with either a friend or a person I’m fucking, preferably at a French restaurant where I can eat steak and have 2 or 3 martinis, and then I either go home and read or go home and fuck (depending on who I had dinner with), and that’s really a super ideal day for me.
What aspect of your work do you enjoy most?
The moment I finish something. Writing is kind of torture TBH. Oh, and I love to get to interview people whom I admire. I got to have a long, winding interview with the incredible porn star and slut icon Stoya the other day. That was my fun.
What is the hardest part about your work?
I think the hardest part about writing—which is probably the hardest part about any type of work—is just focus: saying to yourself, “I’m not going to leave my house for the next 8 hours, and I’m just going to sit here by myself and think and write.” Writing is a very solitary, quiet experience and sometimes I wish that my work involved more interaction with other people!
Totally agree. What is your favorite topic to write about?
Myself! That sounds awful and narcissistic, but to be fair, I think one of the reasons I feel most comfortable writing about my own experiences is because I sometimes feel insecure about my ability to comment on or critique things outside of myself—it’s like I don’t feel like I have the authority, or something. So until I grow the balls to do that, I’ll just keep being narcissistic.
How do you experience and overcome slut-shaming, or criticism about your field of work?
I feel very lucky that I exist in a very liberal bubble of people and have to say that I genuinely only very rarely deal with slut-shaming (and when I do it’s usually in the form of basic-bro rage in YouTube comments, which I just find wildly entertaining). However, in my recent Stoya interview, she said something really amazing on this topic. She was detailing how she deals with slut-shaming every day—how she’d been denied a bank account, denied apartments by landlords, how she gets death threats, but despite all that she said, “I manage to still be honest about who I am. So I don’t have sympathy for people who are like: ‘Society says that I shouldn’t be sexual, so I’m going to take it out on everyone around me.’ No – go find the balls or the ovaries or whatever it is you need that will allow you to be who you are.” Preach!
In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about feminists?
Well the huge one would be that feminists hate men. But the feminists I align with, who tend to be amazing, pro-sex, pro-slut feminists, love men… clearly 🙂
You’ve written a lot of amazing pieces on ways women in our society are challenging stereotypical ideas of femininity. What are your favorite ways to mock these oppressive stereotypes, and how do you hope they will empower women?
I recently wrote an article that I’m really proud of called Bimbo Feminism, which looks at femininity as parody—female drag, some people call it. It basically tells the story of how over the years I’ve found it funny to parody the look of the stereotypical blonde tart, like as if Elle Woods was on her way to a sex party, basically. The article goes on to question whether parodying feminine stereotypes can be empowering, or even subversive. Oh… and I also am a self-proclaimed slut, as are the fine women at this establishment, which I think certainly challenges some stereotypical ideas of how a woman should be 🙂
What are some resources you’d recommend for readers to learn more about their own sexuality?
I recently read a book called, Real Live Nude Girl, by Carol Queen, who’s a famous sociologist and sexologist in the sex-positive feminism movement. The book was recommended to me by the legendary porn star and sex educator, Nina Hartley, and I’m so glad I read it. The book is a series of essays about Queen’s own journey of sexual self-discovery and also about sex-positive culture in general. And it’s written in a really entertaining and fun way, so you can learn and lol at the same time.
Thanks for chatting with me! Before you go, do you have any plugs or upcoming projects you’re working on that we can look forward to?
I’m writing a book. Eek! It’s hell, books are so fucking long! But afterward I’ll be able to say “I wrote a book,” which will be great at dinner parties. I also wrote a movie (about a slutty girl! solidarity!) that, fingers crossed, is filming in 2016 🙂