The Hook-up: xoxoamore

Introducing xoxoamore
And more specifically, we’re chatting with the site’s managing blogger, Erika Szabo. She and a couple of xoxoamore’s bloggers (who we’ll be talking to in the future), participated in the sex blogging panel at Playground. I was instantly intrigued that by the idea of a sex blog put out by a mainstream sexuality store…and whether it would be any different than the indie sex blogs. And it is, but in great ways. xoxoamore is a fantastic site of articles, advice and a wonderful video series.  
How did you get into blogging?

Hmm… Oddly enough, my job as a blogger started on a total whim. For a long time I wanted to be a fiction short story, poetry writer, but I took a chance and started writing for a music blog my friend wrote for. From there I went on to write for a few other music and film blogs and magazines including PopMatters.com and BlackFlash Magazine. My time with these outlets was fun and, by that time, I was really getting a knack for writing reviews and features. I just really liked the spontaneity and freedom, most of all; it gave me the chance to explore all of my passions. Right now, those are centered around video games and sexuality (interesting combo, I know). You can check out my current work on Future Shop Tech Blog, Eggplante and my sex-positive blog xoxoamore.

How did xoxoamore come into being?
I think it all started the moment I began working at Seduction in 2010. I’ve always been a sexually open person, but my experience working here taught me a lot about other people’s perceptions and kinks. It also helped me approach sex in a much more professional and educational way, essential when discussing it with customers. About a year in, my boss started looking for someone to do product details for the Seduction website which I went for immediately. I snagged the position and we got to talking about creating a sex-positive blog inspired by our customers, and the idea quickly took off. xoxoamore is over a year old now and has been a total labour of love, I honestly couldn’t be happier knowing everyone at the blog is creating quality content that our readers can take away and explore.

Is there a difference, for you, in blogging for an employer, than for yourself, particularly in terms of sex?
Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a total free spirit. I’ve never liked the idea of working under someone else’s schedule or rules, unless it was something I was really, really passionate about. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about that working at Seduction, and I’m given total freedom in managing the blog. I get to do this a few days a week in Seductions’ back office and hang out with my boss’ poodle. I really couldn’t ask for more.

What are your favourite topics to write on?

Tough question! I think it really depends on what I’m feeling at the moment. Maybe it’s a Sex 101 on Urethral Sounding (coming soon, by the way) or a review on a silicone dildo I recently tried. As long as it inspires me I’ll probably write about it at some point or another.

What are the best and worst sex toys you have reviewed?
The best would have to go to Luxotiq’s Athena double-ended glass dildo. Not only is it probably one of the prettiest toys I own, it feels magical.
I consider myself fortunate that I haven’t really had a toy that’s been so bad I’d consider it my worst. There’s definitely been a few that haven’t worked for me, but by no means are they poor quality. Sometimes I don’t think people realize how important quality is in a sex toy, whether it has to do with the materials being used, design or variation in use. I’m glad to know reviewers are so critical about these very personal products, so you can rest assure I will be too when it ultimately happens. I won’t be happy, but at least I can help avoid any regrettable purchases.

Be honest: how is managing a bunch of sex bloggers?
Oh, I love it. We don’t have a very big team so it’s not as difficult to manage as you might expect. And, personally, I don’t think I want it to be much larger than it is now unless we have guest blog posts, also fun additions to the site. The one downside to managing xoxoamore is that I don’t have as much time to write my own content. Web design, editing, emails and promotion take a lot of time and energy, but I try my best to sneak in some of my own articles in every now and again.

How do you like starring in video posts?
I don’t usually like doing video posts, I’ve always preferred working in the background, but Tyson (our videographer for xoxoamore’s video series, XO Video) is so fun and easy to work with. I hate memorizing scripts, I can’t express the same sort of enthusiasm in acting as I do when I write, but he makes it so much more enjoyable than I would have ever imagined. That said, we recently filmed a few Pole Dancing 101 videos which were a total blast. Pole dancing is a huge hobby for me and something I’m so happy I could bring to the medium. I can’t wait to do more.

What other types of writing/blogging/casting do you do?
I already mentioned this earlier, but on top of sexuality writing I also like to write about video games. I’ve been an avid gamer since my family got a Super Nintendo and that passion has stayed with me over the years. I feel so lucky that I get to making a living doing what I love most.

What can we look forward to in the future from xoxoamore and yourself?

We have tons more reviews, sex 101s, videos and guest blogs in store. There’s always plenty happening in Toronto so I’m sure we’ll be offering plenty of event coverage as well. In addition to all that, I’m hoping to possibly start a sexuality podcast as long as there’s enough interest. That’s still way down the road, but hopefully something that will become a reality.
As for my personal endeavours, I’d love to do a sexuality workshop or two, primarily on urethral sounding or starting a sex blog. But before I can do that, my first job is to get rid of my awful case of stage fright. Not sure how or when, but it’s gotta happen.
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