Writer Karley Sciortino, 33, returns to host the second season of Slutever (starts Tue., Apr. 16 at 9.30pm; SBS VICELAND), which takes another look at sex and sexuality. Watch the trailer below.
Since you’ve been working in this area, have you noticed a change in people’s perceptions?
Totally. I started writing about sex a decade ago now, and culturally we are in such a different place. The sexual double standard is finally beginning to fade. Women are owning their sluttiness with pride more and more. I mean, we have a long way to go — there’s clearly still a slut-shaming problem — but we’ve come a long way. We also have so much more of a nuanced understanding about sexual fluidity. It’s still more accepted for a woman to be fluid or bi than a man, but more men are feeling comfortable to talk openly about the spectrum of their sexual desires. Ten years ago there wasn’t a cultural conversation happening about consent, and look where we are now. Same with gender identity. BDSM was still thought to be practiced only by deviant freaks in basements, and then Fifty Shades happened, and now every basic b**** on the planet has a leather crop in her handbag. It feels like we are definitely moving at an accelerated speed, and that’s exciting!
What have you done in Season 2 to take it beyond Season 1 of Slutever?
I’m so proud of Season 2. In Season 1, the topics we explored were bigger and broader — there was a lot of shock value, for instance topics like ecosexuality (e.g. when people are turned on by nature), or the world’s most expensive sex toys, or a dominatrix who performs an extreme and sadistic (yet loving!) form of BDSM. In Season 2, however, we tried to explore topics that are more relatable to most people. For instance, subjects like how women relate to their bodies, sex education, non-monogamy and bisexual men. This season’s interview subjects are also more diverse in terms of race, gender and socio-economic class, and we shot in more rural parts of America, too, which I think adds new depth to this season. But overall, the goal is still to celebrate sexuality, and to learn and lol simultaneously. We want to remind people that sex is supposed to be, ya know, fun!
Sex aside, what gets you off?
Hmm... good question. I’m really attracted to people who are tall and thin. Love a skinny guy! I’m super turned-on by intelligence and humour (hot take!). In terms of general life stuff, I love sitting in restaurants and having long dinners with friends with lots of wine and good conversation. I love walking aimlessly around New York while listening to podcasts. And I love good talkers — they’re the sexiest of all.
Do you feel like your efforts to reclaim the word "slut" are getting somewhere? Will it ever be viewed as a neutral word?
I hope they’re getting somewhere! There’s definitely an emerging cultural movement to take back the word "slut". I’ve seen enough memes that say “Be a slut, do whatever you want” to feel confident about that. In my book Slutever, I redefine the word slut as a person who seeks out visceral experiences through sex — who has sex with whom they want, how they want and isn’t ashamed about it. So being a slut is not necessarily about having a high body count; it’s about being sexually activated. But I also write that the goal isn’t for the word slut to be seen as “neutral.” Because there is something bad about being a slut — something naughty, controversial and unpredictable — and I don’t think we should lose that. To totally flip the meaning of “slut” into something solely positive or empowering denies the transgression that’s inherent in slutdom, which is part of what makes it so sexy. Basically, this is a long winded way of say that I think we are making good progress.
What's the most confronting thing you've encountered while working on the show? And what did you learn from it?
There are definitely lots of things I confront when making the show that challenge my ideas about sexuality. For instance, we did an episode this season on VR porn, and we met some young people who only like to have sex in virtual reality, and forgo IRL sex all together. And maybe I’m being “old school,” but I think there’s something lost in that — that it’s so valuable to get off our phones and connect with each other, to touch and be clumsy and silly and to take sexual risks. But then again, who am I to decide what’s right for someone? There will always be things that don’t make sense to me about other people’s sexualities, but the goal is always to not judge. I can be confused, for sure, but not condemning.