Karley Sciortino, aka Slutever, is a sex and relationship writer based in New York. With the appetite of a libertine and the curiosity of a cultural anthropologist, the prolific 32-year-old explores all manner of between-the-sheets topics on her own blog, in a popular monthly Vogue.com column, Breathless, and in a Vice online video series.
Currently, she's wrapping up shooting an eponymous Viceland show, which premieres January 10th. She also has a book, which she describes as "part memoir, part slut manifesto," coming out February 6th and now available for pre-order. Somewhat miraculously, she found time to chat with us.
Hi Karley! Let’s start at the beginning. Why did you decide to make sex your beat?
I grew up in a Catholic family where sex was never really talked about and I think that when something is othered or made to feel forbidden it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. When I was younger, I saw sex as a form of provocation. One of my favorite quotes is from Camille Paglia, a real icon of mine, about Madonna: “[Her] provocations were smolderingly sexy because she had a good Catholic girl’s keen sense of transgression. Subversion requires limits to violate.”
We have a hunch that Breathless is one of Vogue.com's more reliable traffic-drivers. Which columns, in particular, have gotten a lot of attention?
I’ve found that people respond the most when things get more vulnerable. So there was a column I wrote a couple years ago about going through a breakup and dealing with heartbreak and how bad it is to be dumped, how it can be identity-crushing in a way. And there was one about turning 30 and evaluating my life and having a foursome on my 30th birthday. And recently, I wrote about how being single in your 30s is different and how it changes your approach to dating. I always kind of gauge the overall reaction to my columns by the number of emails I get that are like, “Oh, that made me feel better!"
And the responses are mostly positive?
I feel like I don’t even get that many trolls. Seriously, I should have more trolls.
From the perils of dating someone with an Android to the art of sexting, your writing frequently addresses issues unique to sex and dating in the digital age. What sort of topics are you currently mulling over?
I want to write an article about how much my phone and social media have affected my relationships, fueling jealousies and disconnecting me from my partner. There’s the very real problem of feeling like other people have better relationships when I look at Instagram, essentially just because they’re better at doing their couple marketing and PR. But it can affect your self-esteem and how you view your own relationship.
In my new relationship, I’ve really tried to not engage with that. I also try not to use my phone on dates. It’s like, okay, for the next few hours we’re going to be together and not use our phones. It’s crazy how much more you connect and feel valued. You just feel like the other person is actually listening to you and hearing you.