Is It Anyone’s Business? The “Reality” Of Lifestyle Blogger Content

essentials objects fashion blogger

When it comes to lifestyle blogging, is omission of certain “lifestyle elements” untruthful or tactical?

New York Magazine's The Cut published an article Wednesday, “No Sex Please — We're Domestic Goddesses” exploring what the author, Lauren Sandler, calls “The Internet's most ostentatiously blissful women — the curators of domesticity on Pinterest, Tumblr, and thousands of female-driven blogs, ” saying they “occupy a sexless aspirational world.”

Citing Deb Perleman's Smitten's transformation into Smitten Kitchen and the sister bloggers (Elsie and Emma) behind A Beautiful Mess, Sandler says that a new kind of cyber-exhibitionism for women exists in lifestyle blogging; where these women are curating a perception of domestic bliss, without ever acknowledging that “physical pleasure exists, never mind its key role in domestic bliss.”

The article doesn't harp on or chastise these kinds bloggers, rather, the author acknowledges some of the sexuality issues facing modern women, and wonders if the readers, writers and curators of “food porn” and “shelter porn” couldn't all benefit from extending the intimacy of this blogging into the bedroom. She mentions Dooce and The Pioneer Woman as examples of content that spans a more all-encompassing “lifestyle” perspective.

Joanna Goddard of Cup of Joe recently dipped into a “taboo” topic on her blog, causing some to question if she'd been hacked, and most to praise her honesty and share their stories in the comments. (Though in fact Goddard was previously the writer of Glamour.com's sex and relationships blog.)

Some bloggers go there, and some bloggers don't, and just because a topic – any topic – isn't addressed openly on a blog, shouldn't prompt readers to assume it's lacking from their life. Ultimately everyone must decide for themselves what they feel comfortable sharing, what they think is appropriate, and what will appeal to their audience. 

Do you think that many lifestyle blogs are leaving out a critical component of the domestic life, or is it really none of our business?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

27 Responses

  1. Lexi

    I think you hit the nail on the head in regard to people needing to do what they find to be appropriate.

    I can see how some readers may be confused by a random post about vibrators on a blog that had previously never mentioned anything sexual (not necessarily talking about Cup of Jo, just hypothetically.) I think if you want to branch out into that topic, it’s probably a good idea to give your readers a warning beforehand just because of the likelihood that it will be NSFW, or that some of your audience may not be comfortable with that sort of material.

    I don’t think any sort of blogger, even lifestyle bloggers, have a responsibility to share every aspect of their lives with the internet. Even though I personally am pretty open about sex in real life, I don’t think I would be comfortable having those sort of details floating around on the internet through my blog.

    I completely respect a blogger’s right to choose what sort of information about themselves they think is appropriate.

  2. The Lingerie Lesbian

    This is actually a huge issue with my blog. Even though I most blog about the “fashion” aspects of lingerie, sex and sexuality naturally come up. It’s hard to say how personal to get exactly, but I always feel like honesty helps a lot and people like to talk freely about something that might otherwise be taboo. There is always a fear, I think, that there will be too much revealed about your sex life or it’s something you wouldn’t want your parents to read. Usually I decide by asking myself, is it something I would read? Will it be embarassing in 5-10 years? If the answer is no, go for it.

  3. nionvox

    I’ve been thinking about bringing in something of that sort, (as a Q&A section) as I do know some relevant experts in that area. If we can help people with their problems, then why not? I’m not easily embarrassed, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of 🙂

  4. boxandbrownie

    For me, I blog about things I’d happily share with acquaintances. The details of my sex life aren’t one of those things – basically it’s none of people’s damn business. The closest I’d come to discussing sex is announcing a pregnancy, personally.

  5. Lynnette

    I think the key thing the original auhor of the article is missing is audience. In defense of Elsie & Emma, one of the things Elsie wrote previously as part of their Blog Love e-course is that they wanted to make sure their blog was appropriate for young girls to read as well, so yes they’re going to keep it fairly PG. The example she used was cussing – she didn’t have a problem with it in real life but it wasn’t something they felt was appropriate for their blog. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    To me it’s no different than real life: the conversations I have with close friends are going to be different than the conversations I might have someone else. That’s not glossing over anything, that’s just going with what you’re comfortable with and what’s appropriate for your audience. I don’t see blogging as any different.

  6. Nasreen

    No one has to get personal if they don’t want to. It’s simple as that. If they’re comfortable letting people on the internet see it then fine 😛 but yeah we shouldn’t assume


  7. danielle

    i write about fashion and music. i don’t think anyone who reads my blog wants to know about how often i clean my house, what i had for an afternoon snack, or the last time i had sex. it’s a blog, not a personal tell all. i say let your blog serve its purpose and leave out the details that aren’t necessary!

    • MonicaP

      My blog is about clothing, makeup, my dog, a recipe here and there .. um, I think I’ll skip the personal stuff ..


  8. Janelle

    Totally agree. I post about fashion, love, and general advice for twenty-something ladies, and I just re-did my banner to state that. I love doing lifestyle post as much as I love doing fashion post, but I think it’s up to the readers to remember that they are on somewhat personal blog sites. That means that the posts are more than likely the viewpoints of the writer.


  9. Donna

    I wouldn’t expect a lifestyle blogger to post about their sex life. I respect people’s privacy, and even though they may discuss decorating, cooking, or other aspects of every day life, that doesn’t mean they should discuss sex or anything else extremely personal. I think it’s odd that The Cut thinks they should. If it’s comfortable for someone, fine, I wouldn’t mind reading about it, but it’s not wrong for them to avoid it.
    Leandra of Man Repeller recently wrote a funny post about her period, and I thought it was great that she did and that we could comment on it. But since she’s known for pushing boundaries, it wasn’t surprising. To each (blogger) their own, and we as readers will read what we enjoy.

  10. Donna

    After reading the entire article on the Cut, I understand a little more why they wrote it. That column is dedicated to women’s issues, and sex IS a woman’s issue. I get what they’re saying about Martha Stewart and the representation of the “perfect” domestic life. There is a trend now to show the details of one’s life online on social media sites, and what is shown is what each writer considers the best parts of their life. IF a large number of women believe that in order to have a happy life they have to match a standard of housekeeping, decorating, cooking, etc. that they see on blogs, that’s a problem. But it’s not the blog writers problem.
    I think that there are some good points made in this article about women, sexuality, and stereotypes about what brings happiness. The problem is that saying that lifestyle bloggers should be discussing their own sex lives is wrong. The great thing about blogs is that anyone can write one and they can write whatever they choose. Btw, anyone who is interested in the topic of women, domestic stereotypes, and their representation in the media should read “Where the Girls Are” by Susan Douglas. GREAT non-fiction.

  11. purplebananasandfudgeballs

    Really, Sandler? So now my(general) sex life and it’s existence or lack thereof is being judged from my blog posts? Hahahahahahaha. Maybe her curiosity about the nonexistence of their sex lives would be satiated if Perleman posed seductively with heads of cauliflower and spoons? Wait, was her(Sandler) piece meant to be satire? If not, my head refuses to wrap around it. I mean the notion that if a blogger isn’t blogging about it, its probably not true or doesn’t exist is quite silly. www.purplebananasandfudgeballs.blogspot.com

  12. Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie

    Such an interesting topic to consider – I would categorize myself as a “lifestyle” blogger since I primarily cover fashion, food & fitness – but it would never occure to me to discuss anything more intimate than a date night outfit…

    To a certain extent I feel like bloggers feel like their private lives are sacred, the things that they keep just between themselves & their partners are especially personal for them because they’re withheld from the public. And on the flip side I’ve watched numerous bloggers gush about relationships only to break up and essentially have to issue a retraction. I feel like tackling the issue of sex might be easier from a clinical or objective standpoint than to discuss your current intimacies…

    Very thought provoking though!

  13. Emily

    Such an interesting read. I think it’s up to the blogger about what they do or don’t feel comfortable writing. I personally don’t think I would go the sex route because so many family members read my blog, but I do also think it’s important to be honest about life so that it doesn’t always appear to be a fairy tale.

    I think a big component in being open is being identifiable – the hard part is knowing when to balance what you feel that people should know as opposed to what you should keep private. I’m not sure if anyone truly knows the answer.

    Isn’t That Charming.

  14. Krista

    With my education focusing on sociology and counseling, I liked the points raised by The Cut’s article. I think we need to loosen up a bit in the US in regards to our sexuality. I say this after living in Europe for 3 years and noticing a different attitude about sexuality. As a lifestyle blogger, I vote for “do what feels comfortable.” For me, that is leaving my sexlife out of my blog. I am not afraid to discuss sex, and though I’m a fan of great images and storytelling, my readers won’t read about my exploits anytime soon? Bottom line: blogs are edited versions of our lives, no matter how you cut it. I think it’s great that there are places we can go to read those kinds of things, but I don’t think it’s dishonest if you don’t want to share it with the world.

      • Krista Peck

        Thanks! I think it’s interesting that one of the biggest elephants in the blogging room has been outed. However, I think it minimizes how far we’ve come as women to immediately assume that we don’t share because we’re just boring, embarrassed, or whatever. But at the same time, I do think that we’re a lil uptight in the US and wonder how much that does play into our decision to be so reserved overall. I think it’s common to discuss sex & deeply personal things w/ our closest friends, but we don’t often discuss them with friends we aren’t as close to, so why would we share it with our readership (which can include or siblings, parents, colleagues, etc.). Definitely an interesting topic as I can see both sides of the coin, but I think most bloggers and even readers of blogs know that blogs are edited…how much editing we do is really up to us.

  15. The Dame Intl

    First of all, blogging allows us freedom to say whatever we want, but this can also create anxiety in those worried about losing a valued audience by saying exactly what’s on their mind. I think if you start with an honest voice, your readers will appreciate whatever feel the freedom to say.

    We also live in a society that still believes women aren’t their own sexual beings and therefor can’t possibly have a real voice about sexual matters.

    I say, more power to women’s honest voices, whatever the subject.

  16. Cynthia

    I don’t think the lack of posts on sexuality is because a blogger is a prude, but because blogs are more personal than say, Cosmo, so things are more likely to stay private, even if it’s a more general post. The issue at hand here is blogging versus “real journalism,” because articles about sex in publications like Cosmopolitan don’t “reflect” back on the personal life of the writer as much as a blog would – even if the blog isn’t a personal publication.

  17. Akaleistar

    Very interesting. I think bloggers should post what they feel comfortable with the rest of the world knowing, but I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that lifestyle bloggers who don’t post about sex are “curating a perception of domestic bliss, without ever acknowledging that ‘physical pleasure exists, never mind its key role in domestic bliss.'” Why should posting about what I do in the kitchen obligate me to post about what I do in the bedroom?

  18. Rachel

    I think this is a bit ridiculous, it is like assuming because outfit bloggers don’t post pictures of the underwear they are wearing under their clothes, that they don’t wear underwear!

  19. samwow

    I think the point of having a blog is to post what you want, like sure no restrictions on those who do post about these things, but who cares if you dont? it’s your blog, do what you like.

  20. Lara Takahashi

    I wouldn’t post about sex topics either. That is not only my business, but my husband’s privacy too. If we happen to have an argue, I don’t post about that either. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a normal marriage.
    Besides a blog is a public thingy. I will not post something I would not say in front of my friends, mom, dad, in laws, boss… !

    Those people who do post about things that others consider as private – that is fine as well. Each individual draws the line by herself / himself.


  21. Macala Wright

    FMM wrote a piece earlier this year about what’s too much information when it come to blogging. Time to bring it back up 🙂 http://insidefmm.com/2012/05/bloggers-personal-information/

  22. Any Second Now

    My byline to my blog is “Fashion. Music. Family. Life.” I started it as a way to showcase my style, and decided to include other aspects of my life to bring a more personal spin on my blog. I consider myself to be a personal style/lifestyle blogger because I incorporate my family and my love of music along with my personal style and fashion posts. But that’s where I draw the line, and I don’t feel the need to go into anything further. I will include little bits and pieces of what’s happened to me personally (like when I took the Whole30 challenge with bloggers like Vahni from Grit and Glamour), but that’s it. Blogging is at the discretion of the blogger, and if that blogger wants to include their sex life, then that’s up to them. I’m not one of them, and I don’t think that should make me refrain from calling myself a “lifestyle” blogger.

  23. unitech vistas gurgaon

    I was wondering,how can eg. a certain Kardashian on tv be superior to lets say a cardiothoracic surgeon or a astrophysicist or even a social worker.

  24. Michele

    As a beginner in the blogosphere, this post proved to be truly helpful!

    I have trouble with really determining what my blog is truly about and I struggle with finding a theme and plan for where I want my blog to go. I belive that no topic should really be off limits if it happens to be important to you. Sure, some themes are taboo and maybe not for everyone’s eyes but by putting a little disclaimer and adding a “more” bar to your post to prevent those who don’t want to read that post from seeing something they wish they hadn’t!

    Stay true to yourself as a writer and artistic individual.