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The Vagina Dialogues

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Miriam Datskovsky: I never, ever would have guessed I’d write a sex column. I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household. I haven’t been observant for years, but it was quite the shock to my mom when I started doing it. During the spring of my freshman year, the Spectator had a contest for a sex columnist. My first column was about how all my guy friends were being really girly and all my girlfriends were being very nonchalant about sex and hooking up.

Sohn: Do people assume you’re easy because you’re a sex columnist?

Elise Nersesian: People are fascinated by you, and they also think you’re automatically sexy because of it. Like I’m sitting there surrounded by vibrators. They think you’re great at sex.

Cutler: That’s what you want, though.

“I get guys who think I’m judging them every second, and believe me, I am. Every woman does that.”
—Jessica Cutler

Sohn: Do guys you date expect more of you because of what you do?

Cutler: If a guy wants to date me, he needs to Google me and read a lot of stuff and be cool with it. I get guys who are really intimidated, who think that I’m judging them every second, and believe me, I am. Every woman does that. In New York, I date a lot of attorneys or bankers, and they all want me to sign confidentiality agreements. I tell them, “I’m not going to sign anything!” And then I never hear the end of it, but they never produce a paper. We just keep having sex.

Cutler has been sued by one of her paramours, Robert Steinbuch, a lawyer for the Senate Judiciary Committee, for “disclosure of private facts.” She wrote about him under the pseudonym “RS,” referring to incidents of spanking and hair-pulling. His identity was revealed in the blogosphere after he filed suit a year later.

Sohn: Talk about the guy who’s suing you.

Cutler: I can’t, for many reasons, but you know what I must think . . . If you want to set a precedent against anytime anyone mentions any sex act that they have with somebody, I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Sohn: So basically, if he wins, it could ruin the careers of everyone at this table.

Nersesian: Years ago, if you were caught on a sex tape, it would be the end of your career, and now it actually raises your status. There are these strippers who are coming out with memoirs, and it’s these women saying, “We can take off our clothes because we want to be with men, and we can take control of our sexuality like men,” but I think they’re thwarting feminism completely.

Datskovsky: I think a lot of people would think that we are thwarting feminism.

Sohn: Do you consider yourself feminists?

Cutler: I always do. I grew up reading Ms.

Sohn: Didn’t a lot of guys give you money after you had sex with them?

Cutler: They paid my rent, yeah. It’s not unusual. It’s common practice for guys to give you money, pay your rent, and buy you gifts. They just thought, She makes crap money. Twenty-five K? I still have that going on. I will probably be dating dickholes anyway, so I might as well be letting them pay my rent for me. If they offer, why not say yes?

It becomes clear that there is a schism at the table. Nersesian, Klein and I roll our eyes at Cutler because she offends our p.c. instincts, but Datskovsky and Bussel, on the other hand, nod emphatically—as though her brazenness is an act of rebellion itself. Cutler embodies today’s feminism lite: As long as you’re honest about your desires, no matter how morally vacuous, you’re “kick-ass” and “revolutionary.”

Bussel: What I think is really interesting at this table is, where are the guys writing about sex, beyond [gay syndicated columnist] Dan Savage? I think it stems from straight guys not being as comfortable talking about sex in general.

Datskovsky: Men are not accustomed to being open about their emotions or fears and concerns and shames. Men can write and talk about sex and not feel like any less of a man—but really only at the joking level.

Sohn: Why are sex columnists so popular these days? It seems like they’re everywhere, like in college newspapers. Is it just because of Sex and the City?

Datskovsky: On the one hand, the show was great because it opened the dialogue.

Nersesian: It made it normal to talk on your cell phone on the street about a blow job and to be open with your girlfriends.

Bussel: There’s so much more openness now, whether it’s about being gay or looking at porn, going to strip clubs, trying kinky sex, having a threesome.


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