Regular visitors to our site know that one of our best bloggy friends is PopSugar—maybe you’ve enjoyed a Sexxxy Excerpt or two from our featured titles? Well, we wondered about the people behind their saucy “Love and Sex” page, so we went straight to the source—Tara Block, editor of POPSUGAR Love & Sex and Smart Living channels. Tara told us all about how the magic happens…
What does the “love and sex editor” do on an average day?
I wake up and check my email before I even get out of bed because I probably have at least 50 new emails (not an exaggeration) to start my morning. I scan them quickly for any new trends or big stories that I need to weigh in on from the East Coast. Then I get into the office and help my team sort out which trending, timely stories they should prioritize first. We talk in person (or group chat) about the plan for the day and they each send me what they’ll be working on that day, including meetings, interviews, posts on timely themes from past brainstorm lists, and anything else they’ll be working on. I then send out a schedule to the team breaking down what we’re doing and where we’ll all be. The rest of my day is spent answering a lot of emails from partners, other site editors and departments, PR contacts, etc.; attending brainstorming and team meetings to go over social strategies and content planning; assigning and editing the content that goes up on my channels; coordinating articles from outside contributors and partners; keeping an eye out for what’s trending on social media; and, if I’m lucky, writing a few stories myself. Depending on the day I may also be interviewing an author, celebrity, or expert or attending a press trip or wedding event.
How did you get started with PopSugar?
In 2010, I was working as a copyeditor at a local paper in San Diego and freelancing at a handful of local magazines (this was back in the days of print!), but I was looking for job opportunities back in the Bay Area, where I’m from. I saw the POPSUGAR job opening for a copyeditor/writer in San Francisco and applied. My parents still lived in the Bay Area so I was able to fly up for the interview and stay with them. Since it all happened pretty fast — two weeks! — I just moved home so I could start right away and commuted around 2 1/2 hours (each way) for the first three months I started working there. Online media was still sort of new back then, so it helped that I had a personal blog on the side in addition to my professional experience that showed I could use HTML along with showcasing how my style, writing voice, and interests aligned with POPSUGAR.
Do you have a favorite feature that you’ve written/edited?
I’ve written thousands of stories since I started at POPSUGAR, but one that’s near and dear to my heart is this post on love lessons from Harry Potter (http://www.popsugar.com/love/Harry-Potter-Love-Quotes-31739280) I originally wrote back in 2013 and have since updated. I’m a big Harry Potter nerd, so this was truly a passion project. It’s a fun mix of emotional nostalgia and silly humor.
What’s the craziest “sex & love” post you ever ran?
Well, if by “crazy” you mean “racy” . . . there was the twerking butt sex toy (http://www.popsugar.com/love/TwerkingButt-Sex-Toy-37867777), our roundup of the best celebrity bulges (http://www.popsugar.com/love/Celebrity-Bulges-35253687), a tell-all interview with a guy with a micropenis (http://www.popsugar.com/love/Micropenis-Interview-37692431), and some very explicit tips on how to become a sex goddess (http://www.popsugar.com/love/Tips-How-Become-Sex-Goddess-37944417).
Have you received content that’s “too hot” or edgy for the site to run?
Honestly, we’re not afraid the push the envelope with our sexy content, but we wouldn’t run straight-up porn. For the most part our readers like the tease more anyway — kind of like in real life!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
That I never get bored!! This job is constantly evolving with the times as technology advances, people’s interests change, and POPSUGAR grows and expands — and I never know what the next day will hold. So much of my job is just writing about things I find fascinating, shocking, or funny; reaching out to really cool people I know or don’t know to share their inspiring stories; and working with incredibly talented and driven coworkers. What’s not to love about all of that?
If you weren’t doing this, what job do you wish you had?
In another life I could see myself as a librarian or a book store owner. I love reading, and it’d be nice to have a simple job with a slower pace where I could just give book recommendations all day long and help people find their next favorite book. I’d probably get bored, but it sounds nice!
Does someone have to be a “sexy” kind of person to work on the love & sex page?
Definitely not! I’m probably not at all what people would think of when they hear “sex editor” — I’m a pretty vanilla book nerd married to the guy I’ve been with since college — but I will say you have to be the kind of person who isn’t easily embarrassed by sex. My computer screen is constantly filled with NSFW images and videos (ironic, since I’m looking at them FOR work), we’ve had everything from penis extenders to boxes of condoms and sex toys sent to us in the office, and I once had to ask a guy on camera about his small penis. So if you’re squeamish about looking through GIFs of bare butts or editing explicit excerpts from romance novels (http://www.popsugar.com/latest/Sexy-Excerpts), this might not be the job for you.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers/bloggers who’d like to work for a site like PopSugar?
Have a diverse portfolio of work, but have a topic or interest you’re really passionate about. This isn’t your college application; you don’t have to show you’re an expert in everything. We want to know what you’re obsessed with and what you love to write about more than anything — that’s what makes you stand out. And this might sounds like a “duh” answer, but read the site. We can tell when you don’t, and the best way to nail your writing samples will be to show you can write in our style and with the POPSUGAR voice.
What “sexy” trend do you think our romance authors should incorporate into their next novels?
NOT the twerking butt sexy toy. The first “sex trend” that comes to mind is male birth control, but not really sure how that’d translate into a romance novel. I feel like I’m reading more and more about how we need to accept that there are women (and probably A LOT of women) who will not be able to orgasm from penetration alone aka “the myth of the vaginal orgasm.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/g-spot-vaginal-orgasm-myth_n_5947930.html) I’d like to see more books (and movies for that matter) take this into account. Orgasms are great, but one size does not fit all when it comes to sex — and there are still ways to portray a steamy sex scene that isn’t just he put the penis in and now she’s orgasming one minute later.
Tara Block is the editor of the Love & Sex and Smart Living channels at POPSUGAR, where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests. She dishes out dating and career advice, offers wedding and travel inspiration, and shares reading recommendations.