New York-based blogger Karley Sciortino has turned her fascination with talking about sex into an unexpected career. She originally started Slutever as an online diary when she moved to London at 19 for acting school. When tryst tales became a prevalent theme—and caught the attention of Vice Magazine, who tapped her to contribute to their site—she decided to hone in on the topic of sexual behaviour. Now back in New York, with an online column at Vogue and nearly 14,000 Twitter followers, Sciortino is making a name (and a living) by frankly discussing our deepest bedroom secrets. Herewith, our entirely uncensored convo.
How did you land on the name Slutever? It was sort of serendipitous, because the word was just something I took from what my friend used to say in high school. She said “slutever” instead of “whatever” and I just thought it was funny. At first, I didn’t intend for Slutever to be a sex blog; it was more of a personal blog for years. But, in hindsight it’s really fitting because it’s both flippant and funny, and I think it’s sort of this idea of like a fluid sex positivity. It’s reclaiming the word “slut” in a way.
What does “slut” mean to you? I think It’s important to rethink that word because even in a time when women’s sexuality is used in such a powerful way—[think of how] Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus are harnessing sexuality and using it as a positive—we have slut shaming. But by using slut in a positive way, it sort of disables people from using it to insult people. And I will proudly say that I’m slutty and I don’t care. A hustler or player is a positive thing so why don’t we think that a promiscuous woman is successful?
Do you remember your first experience with the word? I got called like a slut in high school, but I think—[and this is] sort of clichéd psychoanalysis—when someone insults you it’s because they’re jealous. The important thing to remember is that you can sleep with a lot of people and if it’s making you happy and you’re conducting yourself in a respectful way, then that’s fine. It’s like, I slept with someone because I wanted to and felt good about it and it was a positive experience.
What’s the number one thing you’ve discovered about sexuality since you started Slutever? How unique everyone’s sexuality is—that’s why I feel this topic of sex is really endless. You can interview one person about a sexual experience and then interview someone else about the same thing and [they] will have completely different responses.
How would you like to see people’s views on sex change and what are you doing to help make that happen? I’m trying, in part, to sort of humanize people who are often thought of sex freaks. The guilt or shame associated with sex is this socially constructed idea that says people who have sex with a lot of people or who enjoy pain are bad. I’m routinely surprised that so many people who I meet have extreme sexual behaviours, whether it’s BDSM, swinging or being polysexual. I feel like it’s a healthier form of escape than… drugs or alcohol. People like to get outside of themselves, and this is one way to do that but we associate so much more shame or regret than we do with drinking, which has more of a presence.
Is there a sexual fetish in particular that you find interesting? I interviewed this guy who was into being an adult baby. At first glance you’re like, “Wait, that sounds weird,” because people associate infantilism with pedophilia. But once I started talking to him, he was like, “No, no! It’s totally not about that. It’s about being cared for and completely submissive to someone else and having them nurture you.” So now I see it differently. He had created this whole nursery for himself that was adult-sized so it fulfilled the fantasy, and people would pay to live in this nursery as a sex retreat.
Are there any fetishes that you still just can’t wrap your head around? Cuckolding, which is all about men who get off on their wives or girlfriends being f—cked in front of them. That would be my worst nightmare and I can’t get into that mindset. But to each their own.
What message would you like to send to women who feel embarrassed to act on their fantasies? If you frame it as being something you’re embarrassed about, people automatically think it’s embarrassing. But if you say something confidently and unapologetically—“Hey, this is what I like”—then I think that people respect you more for just being real. You have to remember that the way you present yourself is going to be the way people perceive you.
Read more: New Column Alert! Love, Kate