Alright, alright, okay, okay I’ll admit it – I’ve been obsessed with Gigi Engle from the very first time that I read something of hers. There’s something so bad ass about the way she writes – combining honesty, sexuality and sass that just speaks to my soul (and I would be willing to bet yours too). We have been following along as she helped us figure out our sex lives at Elite Daily and are equally excited for her new position at Thrillist – plus, we hear there is something much more exciting in the works.
Tell us how you got your start as a sex writer! Was it always your dream job?
I always wanted to be a writer and I’ve always been fascinated by human sexuality. So, the two really ended up fitting well together. I started this blog when I was in college, Cigars and Jewelry, where I blogged about my dating life and all the dick hunting I used to do. I loved talking about my hoeing. I don’t really give a fuck about what other people think so I feel like it was easy for me to get into a profession where my focus is such a taboo topic.
We absolutely loved your boyfriend’s sweet article about what it is like to date you, and your piece about finally feeling at home in NYC after moving in with him. How do you balance writing about sex and maintaining some level of privacy for your relationship, or do you try to?
My boyfriend is really supportive of everything I do, so I definitely got really lucky in that respect. Writing about sex means that will inevitably have to talk about our sex life and he’s fine with it.
Sometimes he gets weird about my writing about him, but not that often. He is my test subject for all kinds of things. I turned my hands into vibrators for an article and he was there for me, I also tried the first feminist, couple’s sex toy and he was all about that. The only time he drew the line was when I wanted to make a mold of my vagina and put it on the Internet. He wasn’t comfortable so, I let that one go. We’re really good communicators so it works out well for us. I couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend considering I write about sex and that would maybe get weird for some guys (though IMHO, if someone wouldn’t date me because I’m a sex writer I’d tell them to go eat a bag of dicks.)
Do you ever have sex and think about the article that you’ll write about it?
I think about my articles all the time when I’m fucking. It’s where I get some of my best material. For example, I hate shower sex and have written about it exhaustively. But, my boyfriend and I actually had really good shower sex one day. What was so interesting about it was the fact that I could see myself in a the reflection of the shower glass and that was a huge turn-on for me. So, I wrote an article about why we find it so sexy to watch ourselves while we have sex. I don’t tell my boyfriend I’m thinking of articles while we have sex because I’m sure that wouldn’t help the mood.
We know that a lot of companies gift you sex toys to take for a spin and hopefully write about – what are a few favorites? Anything we should definitely stay away from?
My favorite things I’ve written about are the Eva from Dame products; which is a small, clitoral vibrator you can wear during penetrative sex. It makes having an orgasm during sex A LOT easier. I also love my Form II from Jimmy Jane, it’s a small personal vibrator that has two bunny-like ears that go on either side of the clitoris. I also have a variety of nipple clamps from Babeland that I’m obsessed with.
I would definitely say stay away from Luz De La Riva’s stimulating nipple cream as it tastes vile and barely does anything to your nipples. It was kind of a bummer. The PR company that sent it to me was NOT happy with me, but I believe in writing completely honest reviews. I’m not trying to make you happy, I’m trying to inform my readers on what they need to know.
What is the best piece of career advice you have received? What advice do you have for ladies who want to turn their passion for writing into a career?
The best piece of advice I ever got was from an editor at NBC’s iVillage, Lindsay Tigar. She was the one who told me to start my blog, Cigars and Jewelry. It really helped me get into a routine of writing regularly, which eventually made me love writing about sex.
My advice to ladies out there who want to make writing a career would be to INTERN, INTERN, INTERN everywhere you can. I did five internships while I was in college and it helped me get my job at Elite Daily as well as provide me with the tools to learn everything I needed to know about writing on the Internet. My favorite resource is Ed2010, but I haven’t looked for internships in four years so definitely shop around. You’ll make so many amazing connections for the future.
We expect that being a sex writer, while fun, has its challenges – what are they and how do you overcome them?
For some people, writing about sex can be scary and nerve-wracking. A few of my friends who write about sex do so under pen names. I don’t have the same kind of concerns because I’m not shy and don’t care if people hate me for writing about sex. What I do is important and we need to stop pretending that sex doesn’t exist. We have to talk about it.
My biggest challenge is dealing with harassment. It doesn’t bother me like it used to, but getting rape threats and being hounded with vicious vitriol can be difficult. You just have tor remind yourself that these people are sad and pathetic and their horrible comments actually say a hell of a lot more about them than you. And don’t read the comments on your articles! Just don’t.
Did you ever worry about your parents, or partner reading your pieces?
Oh, definitely not. My parents are SUPER supportive of my writing. My dad doesn’t read my sex-specific pieces anymore because I think he was a little overwhelmed hearing about me giving blowjobs and what not, but he is still incredibly supportive of everything I do. My mom reads everything and loves it. The only thing she ever tells me is, “Gigi, why do you have to say fuck so much?” It’s not the fact that I’m writing about anal that bothers her, it’s a swearing. My parents are pretty adorable.
What is one sex myth that you would like to see busted?
Oh my god there are so many sex myths I’d like to see busted. People are incredibly uniformed and I’m doing my best to help alleviate that fact. I guess I’ll always be on a die-hard mission to make men understand how a female orgasm works. I’m so over guys thinking they can just stick it in your vag and expect you to come. So, education on the importance of the clitoris will always be top priority for me.
How do you remedy a case of writers block?
I actually don’t really get writers block. If I’m feeling stumped on something, I just start writing it anyway. Sometimes it comes out horribly and I have to go back and delete a lot of it, but if I just keep writing words, eventually the whole thing will manifest.
What’s next for you? We’ve heard whispers about a book!
I am working on my first book! I can’t say too much about it yet. It is feminist non-fiction. The main goal of the book is to empower women through their sexuality. It’s very much in-line with my usual subject matter. I’m represented by Defiore and Company and we’re hoping to begin talks with publishers in the near future. It’s a very exciting time right now.
What are your two favorite things about living in New York?
There is just so much happening in New York! I moved here seven years ago and have loved every minute of it. I think my two favorite things about NYC are the incredibly interesting people I’m constantly meeting and, I know this one is cheesy, but I’m completely in love with the High Line Park.
What can we find you doing on the weekends?
On weekends, I’m usually pretty low-key. I try to plan nights with my friends during the week so I can take the weekend to unwind and recharge my creativity. Being a writer can be exhausting sometimes. You can find me at the gym with my boyfriend or just hanging out at home reading or writing. I also love to cook.
What word encompasses the twenty-something decade?