A while ago you talked about meeting Iris Apfel and how she made you change your mind about the way you dress—she persuaded you to be more elegant with your style. Why did her comments affect you so much?
Yeah, that’s true! OMG, I just interviewed her again the other day—she’s fucking 94, and I asked her if she remembered telling me that I wasn’t elegant, and she did! Her memory is insane. She asked me if I still showed my midriff. But anyway, when I was younger I used to dress really slutty, like in PVC mini dresses, and I found it fun to be sexually provocative. When I met Iris I was about to turn 27, and it was a time in my life when I was suddenly concerned with being taken seriously. Turning 27 felt “adult,” and I didn’t just want to be the lol, self-aware, bimbo slut blogger any more. So Iris telling me I looked trashy triggered something. In hindsight, I think my desire to be seen as a more sophisticated writer was being manifested through my clothing. I threw out all my Rainbow lycra mini-dresses and started dressing like the First Lady, basically. I started buying all of these Escada power suits and twinsets and dresses from this really chic but grandma-ish label called Adolfo that Nancy Reagan used to wear a lot. But it’s been a couple of years since then, and I’ve actually phased out of that “elegant” moment. Now I’m having a different crisis: I’m 29 and scared of getting old, so now I feel like I’m making efforts to dress “younger.” I’ve been wearing these denim booty shorts all summer, I’m buying a lot of really tacky 90s D&G and Versus Versace animal print dresses from eBay and I’ve started to wear sneakers, which I something I never, ever did. So it’s a swinging pendulum, really.
Why are you scared of getting older? We interviewed Françoise Mouly from The New Yorker and Paola Antonelli of MoMA for past issues— they’re both over 50 but they’re badasses, and they look so powerful. Apart from my face not looking great first thing in the morning, I’m look¬ing forward to becoming an older woman.
No, you’re right. So far getting older has been amazing—each year means more independence, more career goals achieved, more friends and more confidence. As you get older you feel better in your body and in your mind—you know what you want, and you feel more confident cutting out the things you don’t want in your life; be it people, parties or certain jobs. I think I’m just worried about conforming, weirdly. I don’t want to be one of those people who hits 30 or 35 and suddenly becomes “a normal” with a lawyer husband and a baby on the way, consulting for brands or something.
How many times have you read an interview with someone only to get to the end of it and realise they’ve not actually said anything? In an age where everyone is media-trained it is refreshing to meet someone who is as up front and honest as you hoped they would be.
We met Karley Sciortino, the writer behind the well-known sex blogSlutever, to talk about sex, religion, the art of dressing elegantly and why being a mess is sometimes a good thing. Here's an extract of our conversation, to read the full interview get your copy of issue #5 here.
How has Slutever evolved since the beginning?
It wasn’t until about 2010 that Slutever really 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—that type of thing. I think I just got more mature and started to care about sexuality on a deeper level. 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 ac¬cepted, 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.
Parts of my twenties were a complete mess and I’m glad they’re over, only to be relived internally if I’m feeling masochistic. You’ve shared some of your most personal moments from your twenties with a huge audience—how do you feel about it now that you’ve gotten a little older? Are there things you wish weren’t around anymore?
I’m fine with it. I very, very rarely regret things. I think regret is a pointless waste of time. Sure we all fuck up, but we learn from our fuck-ups. I spent my late teens and early twenties living in squalor, taking drugs almost daily, drinking, partying constantly, not showering, eating out of the garbage and sleeping with questionable people. I didn’t really “get serious” about writing until I was 25. Sometimes I look at my 25-year-old friends who are so ambitious and already have great jobs at New York magazine and a book deal, and are just so together and well-read and have great clothes, and I can’t help but think, “God, maybe I should have got my shit together a bit earlier,” ya know? But then I think, “Fuck it, why regret what I can’t change?” I also think those wasted squatting experiences and the people I met during that time are really invaluable. Doing everything by the book is boring and doesn’t make for interesting stories, and stories are everything to a writer.
Has your own sex life changed as you’ve got older and been in a longer-term relationship?
It actually hasn’t changed that much. I’m in a three-year relationship now, but it’s an open relationship so I sleep with other people. I’m very curious and need a lot of sexual novelty; I can’t see a long-term monoga¬mous relationship ever working for me. Who knows, maybe that will change with time, but it’s been this way since I started having sex at 16. The types of people I sleep with have changed over the years, though. I used to sleep pretty exclusively with very thin guys, who would usually fall into the category of a “hipster” or like an “artist-type”. Now I’m more all over the place. I sleep with women, some older men. I’ve come to like a more muscular male body type, rather than just the super skinny dudes. I’ve also become obsessed with Tinder, and love that I can fuck the most RANDOM guys through it, who I’d never meet in my regular life. Like for some reason I recently became curious about what it would be like to fuck a super normal dude accountant-type who uses hair gel and lifts weights and lives on the Upper East Side, and so I found a guy on Tinder who fit the profile. It was funny—I never need to fuck him again, but it was fun to have sex with someone who’s completely different than my usual type, who has none of the same references as me. Tinder is like anthropology.
In a recent study, a large proportion of the women questioned said they didn’t masturbate because they thought it was dirty. Some of the same women were quoted saying they didn’t feel in control of their own sexuality. Why do you think so many women are still out of touch with their own sexuality?
That’s sad. I think a lack of proper sex ed. is a big problem, especially in America. I also think that some women probably masturbate—or watch porn or have sex, or whatever—more than they will admit, because we still live in a culture with a sexual double standard and the lingering effects of a boring and oppressive Madonna-whore complex, so women don’t feel they can be as honest about their desires as men can.
What do you think about religion and sex? It seems that abstinence and piety don’t stamp out people’s sexual desires, but can force those feelings underground or create huge feelings of shame and guilt.
Totally. I experienced this first-hand when I worked as a dominatrix and almost all of my clients were sexu¬ally-repressed Hasidic Jews who wanted me to pee on them. Also, I grew up in a really strict Catholic family where I was told from a young age that having pre-marital sex was a sin. This had an adverse affect on my horny teenage self and made me want to have sex with everyone, all the time. So, while religion sometimes re¬stricts people’s sexual behaviour, other times it can push people to be more rebellious or perverse. One of my favorite quotes from Camille Paglia (who grew up in an Italian Catholic family like me!) is: “Subversion requires limits to violate.”
Who do you look up to or admire the most?
In terms of people in my personal life who inspire me, Andrew Richardson has been a mentor-type figure in my life. He’s the guy behind the smart sex magazine Richardson. I met him when I was 25, and at the time I still had a fear that sex writing could never be commercial or respectable enough to make a “real” career out of, so it really inspired me to meet someone who’s created such an elegant career focusing on sex. He’s also the person who told me to stop wearing cheap shoes—he said I could fuck better people if I spent money on better shoes. When he said that we were in a hotel room in Berlin and he literally threw the shoes I was wearing—I think they were some trashy Zara sandals—out of the ten-story window.
What does the future look like?