Alexander Cheves, who has written about sex work, kink, and gay sexuality for The Advocate (a sister publication of Plus), is a self-described slut. “Slut is another word for expert,” Cheves said. “I don’t think we’ve fully destigmatized that word as a culture.”
Cheves aims to do that with his upcoming book of essays, the first in a two-book deal he signed this week with Unbound Edition Press. The collection is tentatively titled Love, Beastly: Essays on Sluthood and is expected for release in the fall of 2021.
“Queer people have been at the vanguard of sex movements in the past, and I think it’s important for us to continue that,” said Cheves, who believes sexual shame is a “sickness” that can only be cured through “overexposure.”
“I’ve received many messages from people dealing with shame,” Cheves said. “You have to make yourself uncomfortable and overexpose yourself to everything you’re ashamed of. Thankfully, queer culture often does that for you. So much of it is hypersexual and kitschy and loud, and that sensory overload combats shame, which is a sickness that kills people every day.”
Cheves is a copywriter for the popular gay menswear brand Nasty Pig, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, and he writes content for the gay fetish supplier Fort Troff. He started writing queer sex education slideshows for The Advocate in 2016. Since then, his writing has appeared in our sister publications Out, Plus, and Pride as well as Conde Nast’s queer publication, Them.
Despite all this, Cheves never planned to be a sex writer. His original goal was a more buttoned-up profession. “I wanted to be a college literature teacher,” he said. “I started blogging for fun.”
That blog became Love, Beastly, after which his essay collection is tentatively named. He uses the blog to answer reader-submitted questions on everything from kink to coming out, and most of his questions are from LGBTQ+ youth.
His teaching dream did not materialize — he tested positive for HIV during his senior year of college, had “a life crisis,” and decided to put higher education on hold.
“When I started getting messages from readers, I realized the blog could do some good,” he said. “I hope I’ve honored those who told me to keep writing.”
Review Cheves's hot body of work on his author page at Advocate.com.