While trolling Facebook a while back, a particular Elite Daily article caught my eye. I clicked. I laughed. I moved on with my day.
A week later, another post caught my eye and I noticed that the article was written by the same sharp-witted lady, Miss Gigi Engle. Ok girl, you’d caught my attention.
What caught my eye? Her unabashed candor.
Although I’m a pretty frank-to-a-fault broad in my personal life, I often struggle with transparency in a public forum – my mother reads my work! As much as I preach about vulnerability and authenticity it’s tough to put yourself out there and not give a flying you-know-what if your boss/teacher/cousin’s dog’s groomer reads it. And Gigi does put herself out there proudly, a trait I admire. A trait that’s brought her work to the level it is now, and a level that will quickly be surpassed with some projects she has in the works! (Shh, mum’s the word.)
Not familiar with her stuff? Check out this New Yorker’s archives on Elite Daily, her current work as the sex and relationship writer on Thrillist where her bio regards her as a “dick whisperer”, or check out the podcast she collaborates on with her boyfriend, Dirty Sexy Monogamy.
Alright, enough about my girl-crush. Let’s open up and allow Auntie Gigi to bestow some of her freedom inducing wisdom on us.
When you kicked off your writing career did you see it going in the direction it is now?
I had a personal blog in college called Cigars and Jewelry, where I documented my wild dating antics in NYC. Meanwhile, I pursed a career in fashion writing working at places like Men’s Health. Before graduating college, I was offered a job at Elite Daily and it was then that, to my joy, that someone would actually pay me real, American dollars to write about sex for a living. I have always been a die-hard feminist, but I’d say my writing has certainly become bolder over the course of my burgeoning career.
What inspires you to write about topics that women are often fearful to speak about even with their best girlfriends?
I think human sexuality is absolutely fascinating and have always wanted to write about it. I write what I do because I want women to feel less alone. I want other women to know that they fantasies, masturbation habits and desires are NORMAL. I say what I say because someone has to. I’ve never been one to shy away from scrutiny.
Have you dealt with any aversion to your writing content or style?
I’ve had editors try to cut my writing style or attempt to make it more conventionally literary. The issue is that it’s not “me.” I write like I speak. Sure, my creative writing teachers are probably reading what I write and shaking their heads, but I’m your cool tell-me-anything Internet auntie, not your next Ernest Hemingway, baby!
I love that, personal integrity – even in a conventional “art” – is so important and this day in age your personal brand. It’s working for you. How has your writing affected your personal life and relationships?
My writing has never affected my personal life because I’ve never surrounded myself with people who would compromise my writing in the name of love or friendship. I’m willing to change names for the sake of my friend’s privacy, but if we experience a good story together, you better believe I’m going to write about it.
Has there ever been a moment where someone you knew in your personal life was embarrassed or offended by your writing? How did you handle it?
The people I keep close to me, get me. So, I haven’t really had any aversion to my writing. Honestly, if someone is offended by writing, they can go fuck themselves. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life when I’m trying to change the world.
What’s the biggest struggle you personally face when it comes to articulating your thoughts?
I’d say my biggest struggle is my tendency toward long-windedness. My editor always tells me I choose to use five words where I could choose to use one. I just have a lot to say!
To overcome this problem I try to take a second look at what I’ve written and cut out words that aren’t necessary like too many “thats” or other connecting words.
What question do you get asked most often?
People are incredibly interested in knowing what my boyfriend thinks about all of this. So, I tell them the truth. My boyfriend is incredibly supportive and I think that has made me comfortable taking more risks as a writer. He is the first to volunteer to try new sex toys or sex position. He doesn’t always understand my subject matter and occasionally get s a little timid, but he supports me unconditionally.
What advice for sexual freedom do you most often get asked?
Readers often ask me how they get their partners to participate in certain sexual fantasies. Whether it be a threesome, using a new sex toy or role-play, people have a lot of questions and things they want to try. The thing that stops them most often is fear of judgement. Sex is already such a vulnerable situation to be in that we don’t voice our desires for fear of rejection. I always tell my readers the same thing: You have to communicate. More often than not, your partner will be open to trying something new.
When we were in our teens we were told sexuality was going to become easier to navigate – but body issues, insecurities, etc, seem to plague us through our 20s and even our 30s still. What is your biggest piece of advice for women when it comes to being open, confident, comfortable, and most importantly satisfied, in the bedroom?
Self-love is the antidote to social pressure. In a world where women are constantly told they aren’t good enough, it takes a strong constitution to be able to achieve a real sense of self-worth. If you want to be a whole, well-rounded person you have to take the time to work on the relationship you have with yourself. Spend time alone, enjoy being single, masturbate and learn about yourself. Once you really start to adore the woman you’ve built, only then can you find you be confident, comfortable and satisfied in the bedroom.