Beyond Heartbreak: Amy Sohn ’95

By Emily Gold Boutilier / November / December 2003
June 21st, 2007
Amy Sohn, who writes “Naked City,” the sex-and-relationships column in New York magazine, ended her much-chronicled single life in October, when she married painter Charles Miller, whom she met last fall through a mutual friend. Ever since announced her engagement, fans have wondered whether Sohn, who has authored the column since 2001, will still have a career. Will the sex columnist lose her edge now that she’s married to Mr. Right?

BAM How did you become a sex columnist?

Sohn I never really liked that term. I started at New York Press writing an account of my daily life. I got a reputation as being a raunchy writer, even though most of the experiences I was de-scribing ended in heartbreak and misery.

BAM What is “Naked City” about?

Sohn After three and a half years at New York Press, I was kind of scrounging for material. I was in a relationship at the time—a fairly functional relationship that wasn’t making very interesting reading. When I came to New York I presented the idea of creating snapshots of people at different stages of their love lives. I’ve written about a married dominatrix, three Italian guys who go club hopping late at night, a single father, pregnant women with high sex drives, and about half a dozen columns about my own life. When I interview people, sometimes I cannot believe the things they are telling me.

BAM Why do people ask whether you’ll have a career?

Sohn The question is slightly off-target precisely because my column is not very autobiographical. I guess the real question is: will people open up to me about their sex lives and love lives now that I have a ring on my finger? Sometimes I wonder whether people would ask those questions if I were a male writer. I just wonder how much of that is a stick-to-what-you-know-best kind of thing.

BAM Are you tired of being typecast as a sex writer?

Sohn Being single has opened a lot of doors for me. I want to become known as a journalist and fiction writer instead of as somebody who can only write about one thing. If being married forces me to dig deeper into my fiction, then that’s a challenge I’m excited to take. [Simon & Schuster will publish Sohn’s second novel, My Old Man, in 2004.]

BAM How has “Naked City” changed along with your relationship status?

Sohn I’ve done a couple more columns about monogamy and fidelity. Those issues have become more interesting to me. How do you make something last? How do you maintain intimacy? Why do good marriages work and bad marriages fail? And I’m cagier about my personal life. [My husband] reads every single one of my columns. I don’t reach into the confessional box of drawers as often as I used to.

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November / December 2003