The author – Karley Sciortino
Karley is a hot blonde writer, television journalist, and producer.
She is the author and founder of Slutever, the blog she launched in 2007 that explores sexuality through both humour and intellect.
She writes Vogue.com’s Breathless column about sex and relationships and is a regular contributor to Purple magazine.
She is host and executive producer of Slutever, a documentary series on Viceland that explores sexual behaviour.
She is also the kind of feminist the post #metoo world needs the most (although probably the one many self-defined feminists hate the most), the one who believes that, at its core
feminism is about freedom and a woman’s right to make decisions for herself.
In 2018 Karley released her debut book Slutever: Dispatches from an Autonomous Woman in a Post Shame World (Grand Central Publishing, Feb 2018).
Karley Sciortino. Photography by Graham Dunnfor Playboy.
The book – Slutever: Dispatches from an Autonomous Woman in a Post Shame World
When I first came across Slutever, I thought it was yet another book reclaiming yet another word (and yet another time the word ‘slut’) in the name of sex positivity and female empowerment, two often-abused topics in a (supposedly) sexually liberated world.
I’m obviously referring to The Ethical Slut, the radical guide to nonmonogamous relationships worshipped as ‘the poly bible’ that, back in 1997, re-framed the word ‘slut’ to be a positive label.
Though this time the reclamation is different and is not meant to also redeem the word, to bleach it up and strip it of its inherent naughtiness, but to preserve its controversial nature and outline a more contemporary and less harmful definition of slut, freed from the negative connotations coming from centuries of accumulating social stigma and stereotypes around sexuality.
In this new enlightened depiction of sluttiness
A slut is a person who seeks out visceral experiences through sex, […] someone who has non moral obstacle between themselves and their desire to enjoy sex.
All I expected when I put the book in my Amazon basket was nothing more than a fresher, updated reclamation of the S-word, just put in funnier words by a hotter writer (sorry Dossie and Janet), namely a sex-radical hedonist in a pink PVC mini dress.
Grand Central Publishing
Slutever is an enthralling memoir (although this definition is limiting too, believe me) written with pioneering honesty and enviable frankness by a hot, smart, curious young woman who’s not ashamed to explore her sexuality free of the burden of any type of dogma and then to spill her guts on the internet, as a sex blogger, putting stories about her sexual exploits and fantasies where other people can read them and feel less alone.
When dealing with sexuality – or any other sensitive topic – it helps to hear the stories of people with experiences similar to our own, because it allows us to better understand our own experiences and our own bodies. It helps us to not feel so alone, basically.
The dispatches of Karley’s sexual exploration start with her goodbye to virginity, shortly after making a formal pledge to her family that she would wait until she was married to have sex. Understandably, that’s what happens when you grow up in a conservative Catholic family and your mum let you find the tape of a show preaching about the benefits of chastity and the joy of virginity on your way back from school.
Since then, she embarks on a journey of sexual discovery picking from the whole menu of sex possibilities, navigating casual hookups, open relationships, bisexuality, BDSM, sex work, sex parties and other slutty stuff.
I’m not going to spoil our sexual cosmonaut’s forays into the slut kingdom, it wouldn’t be fair to you, You deserve to savour and devour every page of the book as much as I did.
Reading Slutever felt like finding the key that unlocks the secret diary of your best friend so you can finally spy on her in minute detail, breaking into the most intimate and kinky alleys of her life (the analogue version of eagerly browsing her Facebook wall if only this was honest and had no-filter pictures). And once you start reading you can’t stop, because you know that, sooner than later, you’ll have to put the book back before you get caught.
Now, roughly at the same age as Karley, I haven’t had (and I probably will never have) a quarter of all the slutty adventures she’s had (and she’ll have). Having been in a (mostly) monogamous commitment for more than a third of my life, my relationship/sexual status couldn’t be more different from hers. Yet I always had the feeling I could truly understand her throughout the entire book and I couldn’t agree more with every enlightened assumption and reflection the sexual investigation led her to.
I loved the genuinely voracious curiosity through which Karley navigates sexuality, constantly questioning herself about her ever-changing status of slut, what she wants and why, and trying to figure herself out. Karley dives into every new sexual scenario and hears people’s stories in a way that is completely devoid of all kinds of judgement and deeply respectful. Each first-hand experience (bad, embarrassing and drunk included) and each encounter or talk with other creatures from the world of kink contribute to shaping and expanding her idea of sexuality and the definition of sex itself.
Sex has connected me to people in myriad ways. […] It has made my life more dynamic. It has been a shortcut to intimacy. It has been a source of rebellion and provocation, as well as a continual form of entertainment.
But also, sex has made me seem more interesting to myself. It has coloured my personal narrative.
I’ve been captivated by Karley’s honesty and courage in displaying the ups of her sexcapades without omitting the downs, including all the mental breakdowns, the reflections post-low-bar-experiences and many ‘existential bathroom-mirror moments’ she’s faced with.
Karley had the ability to humanize the slut character showing its complexity and all the nuances that make human a living being and are called feelings.
Turns out, being a slut doesn’t make you immune from being human and having a high sexual appetite and satisfying it is not always bread and butter.
Was the whole slut adventure risky at times? Yes. Did Karley get lucky all the times she said yes to things she didn’t really know? Probably.
Sex can be high-risk. Things go wrong. People get hurt.
Slut power is about freedom, but it’s also about taking responsibility. The world is not a safe space. There is no such thing as safe sex.
It would be naive and stupid to think that seeking out visceral sexual experiences is just easy and funny and immune from bad things. But there are two ingredients that can make the difference between being a victim and not being a victim: consent and consciousness. Even in the drunkest and lowest moments, being a slut and getting involved in a potentially dangerous experience has always been a decision, and this is probably the safest and healthiest way of approaching sex.
Our own bodies can be tools for freedom. We can fuck for love or for fun or for money, but it should always be up to us to make that decision.
Finally, I found Slutever to be one of those brain-shaking, eye-opening, perspective-shifting books that make you see the world from a new, enlightened angle (and make you think that being paid for having sex is a viable option on the job board menu). Something close to watching Dexter and suddenly crossing into the murderer side. (Obviously, I’m not comparing being a murderer with being a slut).
I feel like recommending this book to literally everyone, or at least to anyone (especially women) who ever questioned their sexuality. I find Slutever not to be just a book for slut-wannabes (although it’d be a bible to them) or a forbidden book in the straight-hetero-monogamous kingdom (maybe a shock therapy?).
I do believe Slutever can inspire women to live a truly liberated sexual life free of all those bullshit we grow up informed by, whether they are stereotypes, taboos, social stigma, cultural constructs and any kind of shaming.
Because at the end of the day, as long as we’re not hurting anyone (who hasn’t explicitly asked us to), then we should be free to have whatever type of sex we want.