It’s perhaps an inevitability in this post-Sex and the City world that Karley Sciortino would be routinely likened to Carrie Bradshaw — albeit a “simply cooler” “slutty, post-woke” variety. With her website Slutever and her Vogue column, Breathless, Sciortino wonders aloud all the questions plaguing the Tinder-swiping, gender fluid, sex-positive generation, from “Is Sleeping With Your Ex Always Such A Bad Idea?” to “Is Love Making Me Basic?” Sciortino’s show for VICELAND, also called Slutever, is now in its second season of self-described “enlightened voyeurism,” with its final episode airing on March 31. The show goes where Bradshaw only tip-toed in her Manolos, diving into a world of VR porn, sugar babies, and sex witches. We gave Sciortino a list of questions lifted from Glenn O’Brien’s legendary 1977 interview with Andy Warhol that covered all of the bases — from favorite soda to favorite artist, from God to outer space, from love to lust. Below, the “pussy power” champion talks writing naked, over-dosing on her Hitachi, and how Cupid is a blind baby.
What was your first work of professional writing?
My first piece of quote-unquote published writing was on my blog back in 2007. I was 21. Which I guess isn’t technically professional in that it wasn’t paid, but I kind of consider that my first writing because it was what turned me into a professional writer in the end. At the time, I was living in London in this squalid frigging commune, taking too many drugs and having excessive amounts of monotonous sex. I would rant on my blog about the trials and tribulations of my life as a slutty squatter. It was the early days of blogging, so it was a Blogspot with the disgusting black background and pink neon writing. Do you remember it looking like that?
Did you get good grades in school?
In middle school and high school, I did. I graduated seventh in my class. I was a real overachiever. I only did one semester of college of which I flunked, then I dropped out. I took a sharp turn in the other direction.
What did you do for fun when you were a teenager?
I was really into sports. I was the captain of the varsity basketball and soccer team. I used to do this thing — it used to be called robo-tripping, where you drink cough syrup or take cough medicine and then drink alcohol. We would go into the apple orchard near my house in Hudson Valley and drink warm keg beer and take cough medicine and just lie on the ground.
Pepsi or Coke?
Do you change your clothes to write?
I’m not one of those people that gets dressed in actual clothes and goes to a coffee shop or an office to write. I prefer to write in my bed. My writing uniform is often a giant T-shirt covered with Sriracha, or I’ll just write naked or in my underwear or in really gross pajamas. I feel like writing is so mentally nightmarish that I have to be stupidly comfortable in order to tolerate it.
Do you ever take any drugs?
Not really. Weed I hate because it makes me paranoid. I can’t take coke or MDMA anymore because my mental health is too fragile to even risk it. If someone gives me a Valium or Xanax, I’m really happy and I will take it. Other than that, not really.
Do you think people should live in outer space?
I mean, no. That is just annoying.
Do you sleep alone?
I usually sleep with my boyfriend because we live together for the most part.
Do you sleep in the nude?
I do usually. Sometimes I will sleep in a big T-shirt but for the most part I sleep naked.
Do you believe in marriage?
Interesting question. I do. I never grew up thinking about my wedding or planning it. The idea of a wedding is anxiety-producing for me. Dancing with your dad in public in front of everyone. I kind of have social anxiety, so it would be one of those things where I would be more drunk than I want to be and I would have so much anxiety that I wouldn’t be present. I do think it’s nice. I like the idea of committing to something. I also think when you have kids, it is nice, the idea that your kids have this stability and you have a family. I get where people say that is it insane to think that just because you love someone the only way to express love is to get the government involved, but there is something about marriage that I find really romantic.
Have you ever been in love?
Yeah, I have been in love a few times. People are like, how do you know, and if you’re asking that, I almost think that you haven’t. I feel when I have fallen in love that I am bowled over by it and it is so all-consuming. It truly high-jacks your brain for a period of time, in those early stages of love.
It is this neuro-chemical high. Is it not?
Dr. Helen Fisher has done all these studies where they put people who are newly in love in brain scanners. When you are in that phase of obsessive love, your brain looks very similar to the way it does when you are high on cocaine. That is, your brain is rushed with chemicals and a lot of dopamine and oxytocin. You are going pretty mental. It is a type of insanity.
Isn’t that kind of a scary thought?
I guess there is a biological or chemical response to it, but it also feels random. It is something bigger. Because the minute you fall in love, it feels like there is something overwhelming about this person. I always like the representation of Cupid as a blind baby because it does feel accurate. Love does feel blind and random. It doesn’t feel rational when you fall in love with someone. It feels like a blind baby could have made that decision for you.
That flies in the face of the algorithmic logic of dating apps.
We think that romance is more rational than it is. You can say, “Okay. I like hiking and adventure and cooking, I’m a Democrat and I want to live in Manhattan.” You think if you find someone that matches that criteria that you are more likely to fall in love, or you’ll find the right match for you. I don’t think that is true. I think love is largely unpredictable and that sometimes we’re impractical about it. It can be disappointing because you are like, ‘Oh this is the perfect person for me, and it didn’t work out.’ That is the wrong way to approach it.
Do you believe in the American Dream?
Sort of. I’m apologetically American in a way that even I find annoying. I like that rampant delusional idealism and ambition. I lived in England for over six years, and they are totally the opposite. They’re embarrassed by ambition, never admitting to wanting everything, constantly self-deprecating, anti-patriotic. It is kind of depressing. I would rather have the ridiculousness of the American Dream than give up.
What do you look at first in a man?
I think the face for everyone, men and women, is hard to avoid. I like noses. I am attracted to men with big noses. My mom said that it is a mistake, that our children will have a horrible fate, but I can’t help it. On women I like it too. There is something about a big nose that adds character to a person’s face.
Did you ever see a movie that got you hot?
The hottest movie in the world is The Dreamers. I know it has an incest component which is kind of freaky, but everyone in it is so beautiful — Eva Green, who I think is the most beautiful woman in the world, and Louis Garrel, who I think is the most beautiful man in the world. The fact that they are both in the same movie is sort of overwhelming. It is so much about sexual tension. Every time I watch it, it’s just a soft core porn for me.
What do you think about masturbation?
It’s a great stress reliever. I think the more you masturbate, the better your sex life is. You are able to explain to someone what you want and take control of your pleasure if need be.
Is there such a thing as too much?
I will say that if I go through a period where I am watching a lot of porn, the porn gets slowly more and more extreme because I am getting too desensitized. If I am using my vibrator a lot then sometimes I feel like it will be harder to come during sex for a little second. Then I will be like, I need to calm down. It’s like you’re torn to the drugs you shot up. You’ll be watching a 40-person gang bang while using your Hitachi wand in order to come. If you don’t masturbate for week, then you become hyper-sensitive, which is nice. But I also think that life without masturbation is tragic.
Do you think that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?
I would say no because is seems more exciting if there was some mastermind multi-person plan. I want to lean into the conspiracy theory.
Do you believe that Nixon got a raw deal?
How much time do you spend on the phone everyday?
I’m not sure. I email on my phone a lot. I sometimes write on my phone, like actually do writing. I’m a big phone call person. I am on the phone more than I would like to admit.
Do you look in the mirror when you get up in the morning?
Not just by default, but if I am going to leave the house, yes.
Do you believe in God?
Not like a classic idea of God, I truly don’t know. I don’t believe in any typical idea of a singular God, but I like the idea that life is not entirely meaningless.
Do you have any secrets that you’ll tell after everyone’s dead?
Do I have any secrets that what? I don’t know what that means.