Written by Alex CatarinellaKarley Sciortino has been killing it with her sex and dating writing for nearly a decade on her wildly popular site, Slutever, where she seemingly holds nothing back. Her hilarious and often no-f*cks-given voice has recently-ish resulted in nabbing her very own Vogue column. (And a book deal.) A casual reader will probably say her column (“Breathless”) gives many a ‘Carrie Bradshaw Gone Wild’ vibe, but it’s so much more than drooling over designer duds. (It’s also more salacious Samantha IMO.) Which makes sense when you take note of some of Sciortino’s outspoken feminist female writer influences, like pro-sex (and porn) provocateur and self-described dissident feminist, Camille Paglia, to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who gave that iconic “Why We Should All Be Feminists” speech, which Sciortino says is a must watch. (And yes, Sciortino also gets down to Candace Bushnell and her original Sex and The City column. “It’s everything.”) In other words, we are Sciortino (healthy) obsessives, and died when she recently hosted a sex and dating q+a for a small gathering of the girls in the alice + olivia Meatpacking store. Post-event, we caught up with Sciortino and got her to spill the tea re: her fans/trolls, disaster dates, and what’s next for one of our favorite writers/fearless feminists. She better work!
Do you ever have a week where you're feeling the pressure and you're like "Damn, I've said it all... What should I write about this week?"
Honestly, I don’t—thankfully! Sex is such an endless topic, and it’s so subjective, so there’s always another story to tell. Also, we live in such an exciting and accelerated time, and society’s attitudes around sex and dating are changing so fast—particularly in terms of female sexuality and LGBTQ culture—so now feels like a particularly important and exciting time to talk about sexuality and relationships.
What would be an ideal date for you in NYC?
I love going to the MET. It’s one of my favorite spaces in New York. It’s rare in NYC to be in a space that’s so big and grand, but that’s also quiet. It’s very calming for me actually. So I would say MET and then anywhere that I can eat steak and drink a martini. I’m partial to French bistros. I think the best dates basically just involve good conversation and a drink.
If you had a date tonight, what would you wear? Do you have a go-to look?
On dates I usually go for something form fitting, but that isn’t insanely skimpy/club-esque. I like a body con dress, but that’s full coverage, so you’re a good combo of sexy and classy. And I’m really into fishnets right now, but the kind that are very tight knit. They definitely add a sexy edge, and they also somehow add the illusion of definition to your leg (important).
There’s been too many to count, but I can tell you about the worst date I’ve had in the past 24 hours. Yesterday I met this guy from OkCupid for a drink, who turned out to be a Trump supporter. It really threw me—he was in his late 30s, Jewish, worked in tech, grew up in Manhattan... in other words, he had no excuse! He was ranting to me about how smart Donald Trump was, and I’m pretty sure it was the first time in my life that I got up literally mid-first drink and just walked out of the bar like, “I can’t...”
What's the craziest fan email/tweet/gift/etc you've ever received?
I mean, I get like 90 unsolicited dick pics a day. Does that count? I also have an insane troll who sends me at least 3 emails a week, all with the subject line “Hey big vile nose!” I used to find it funny, but at this point he’s just clogging my inbox.
What are you reading as of late? Who are some of your favorite writers? What's the first publication/website you check out when you wake up?
I just read Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel, the famous sex therapist. It’s about eroticism in long term relationships. It’s an incredible and very practical look at intimacy, and attempts to answer the question “Can we desire what we already have?” I recommend it! In the morning I check The New York Times on my phone, though recently I’ve been just glimpsing at it to see if I missed anything major, because the news has been so depressing as of late. I think I’m in denial.
Same. What are your thoughts on listening to music during sex? Do you have a sex playlist and, if so, please share?
I actually sort of hate music. People never believe me when I say that, but I feel like music is really abrasive, and it dictates the mood of the situation too much—especially during sex. I’m down for like background music at a restaurant (I tend to like something non-offensive. Like piano music) but during my regular life I only really listen to podcasts or the news, and during sex I apparently just like awkward silence.
Do you consider yourself an "over-sharer"? Is there anything you'd consider "too much"?
There are definitely things I don’t share, usually when I’m trying to protect the people close to me, or to preserve the privacy of elements of a romantic relationship. And then of course there’s some stuff that I can’t say, or I’d be put in jail lol. However, other that that, I’m pretty much an open book! I find the more you’re open and honest about your heartbreak, fuck-ups and embarrassing attempts at self-discovery—the more you are “naked” so to speak—the better chance you have of connecting with people.
What advice would you give your early twenty-some self when you first launched Slutever?
I wish I knew that I didn’t have to please everyone. I think a lot of women spend (read: waste) a lot of time trying to make everyone happy. As a woman who writes about sex and relationships, I’ve been told many times over the years—particularly when I was younger and starting out—that what I do isn’t “serious writing,” and that the subject of sexuality is “girly”—girly of course being synonymous with insignificant. It used to bother me, but I don’t care anymore. I think it’s important to ask yourself, who do I want respect from? Because some people will never give you respect — and you have to be able to accept that. There are some people in the world who will never give respect to a woman who writes personal essays that focus on sexuality. And that’s fine. I don't need to please everyone, but that’s something it often takes time and age to work out!
Who were your female idols growing up? Who do you look up to nowadays?
I have so many! My heroes tend to be outspoken, feminist female writers. I love Roxane Gay (her book Bad Feminist is one of my favorite books of the past couple years); Candace Bushnell (her original Sex and the City columns are everything); Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (her “Why We Should All Be Feminists” speech should be a must-watch for every girl and woman!); Camille Paglia (she’s a controversial feminist, but she’s a pioneer of the pro-sex movement within feminism, and she’s been a huge influence on my thinking around sexuality); Joan Didion (because of course); and I love Fran Lebowitz, because she makes me think it’s OK to criticize everything.
What's next for you? I feel like you should've had a book deal years ago.
Yup, I’m currently writing a book that will be published in Jan of 2018, which is not so far off from my Vogue column. It’s about the increasingly liberated attitude toward sexuality of women of my generation, told through stories from my life, my friends’ lives, and research into modern sexuality. It’s somewhat of a slut manifesto, really. My parents will be proud.