Interview: Writer, Sex-Blogger & Feminist Vanessa de Largie talks about sexuality and her best-selling books

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Trigger warning: This post includes information about rape and domestic violence and may be distressing for some readers.

Vanessa de Largie makes no apologies. The former actress and feminist is now a successful author and sex blogger for The Huffington Post. Her writing is fierce, funny and honest with things like “The Blowjob Artist”, “The Squirting Princess” and “The Hum-Balls-Harlot” just some of her most recent posts. She is also a successful memoir writer with her books, Without My Consent and Don’t Hit Me! focusing on rather difficult topics like her rape and an abusive relationship which saw her become a victim of domestic violence. The AU Review sat down with de Largie to talk about feminism, sexuality and her best-selling books.

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How long have you been writing and working in the arts industry?

I’ve just turned 39 and have been pushing my dream uphill since I was a kid. I started at The Johnny Young Talent School at the age of three — training in dance, singing and drama. Mum got me my first agent at 14. In 2011, I was burnt-out from the acting industry and decided to take a break and focus on writing. I’ve never looked back. Writing has given me an inner-peace that acting was never able to provide.

Can you briefly describe your book, Don’t Hit Me?

Don’t Hit Me! is a collation of journal entries, poems and lyrical prose about my journey through domestic violence.

Why do you think people should read Don’t Hit Me?

Basically, I published my raw journal. I would like to think that my book offers hope and nourishment to survivors.

You have written brutally honest books about being a victim of domestic violence and rape. How did you prepare yourself to write about such difficult material?

Without My Consent is about my journey through rape at age 20. I never intended to write about it. It wasn’t something I discussed. Rape culture breeds fear in rape victims. Victims don’t tell anyone in fear that they will be disbelieved, judged or interrogated. Although the book is only novella-length, it took me 18 months to write. Many writing sessions ended in tears, anxiety and alcohol.

Was the process of writing about these horrific events cathartic at all? What advice would you give to individuals who are facing similar circumstances?

Very cathartic. Reliving the violence whilst writing about it, enabled a release. It was a very healing experience. I encourage all survivors to use writing as a form of therapy.

How important is it for victims of domestic violence and rape to have secure support networks? How big a role did your friends and family play with respect to your own circumstances?

Whilst I was living through the violence in Don’t Hit Me! my brother and father died and my mother was fighting terminal brain cancer. Mum’s death was the catalyst for leaving my abuser. I couldn’t grieve for Mum, Dad and my brother Damian whilst being physically abused. Domestic and sexual violence are a very secretive business. I think support networks sound great in theory but I’m not convinced they work in reality.

You have a blog dedicated to covering feminist issues and sexuality. What issues would you like to see covered in more detail in the mainstream media? Why did you choose these ones?

I was fortunate to land a gig as a sex-blogger for The Huffington Post. From the very first article it just took off. Many sex-blogs written by women are tame and politically correct. My blogs are fierce and male-friendly. I also run an additional sex-blog called The Victress.

I have no interest in female-friendly porn, sensuality or romance. My blogs are for women and men who are seeking something fiercer, dirtier and un-PC. There is a definite inequality in literature and what is deemed acceptable for women to write about. I’m promiscuous and I make no beg-your-pardons. Interestingly enough, I was advised to tone down my writing by others in the industry. They believed it would sabotage my career opportunities. Thankfully I kept true to my voice. If anything, my sex-writing has only increased my opportunities in the mainstream. I want to see sexually fierce women like myself represented in mainstream media. I want it to become so normal that it no longer shocks.

Who is your feminist icon and why? What advice would you give to young women who may be struggling to identify as feminists?

Germaine Greer would have to be my feminist icon. She is more fierce than most women half her age.

I’m not sure about this new brand of feminism that is sold to girls.  It’s very sugary and shallow. But I do understand the reason for mass-marketing it this way with slogans like: If you believe that women should be treated equally then you’re a feminist.”

Feminism is much more complex than that. I believe that being a true feminist is your ability to support a woman in her choices, whatever they may be — sex-work, porn, stripping, promiscuity etc. I would encourage young women to read, read, read. I’ve been reading books about feminism and gender since I was a teen and I still have so much to learn.

Your work includes being a regular sex blogger and columnist. What is one of the biggest myths that people believe with respect to sex?

The biggest sex-myth is that women have lower libidos than men. The second biggest sex-myth is that women require emotional attachment in sex. It’s BS!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell The AU Review about Don’t Hit Me! or your future works?

Don’t Hit Me! has been a #1 Amazon Bestseller in four countries. It is the recipient of two international book awards. The book was originally self-published but was picked up by a Seattle publisher and re-released as a paperback and eBook.

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For support and 24 hour assistance regarding domestic violence, please visit the National Sexual Assault Online Service at: https://www.1800respect.org.au/ or call 1800RESPECT

For more information about Vanessa’s books Don’t Hit Me! and Without My Consent visit: http://www.vanessadelargie.net/without-my-consent.html and http://www.vanessadelargie.net/dont-hit-me.html

 

Originally published on 22 April 2016 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/interviews/writer-sex-blogger-feminist-vanessa-de-largie-talks-about-sexuality-and-her-best-selling-books/

Visit The Au Review’s homepage dedicated to the arts at: http://arts.theaureview.com

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