Josey Vogels is one of the country’s most famous sex and relationship writers, but don’t expect her to be a leather-clad vixen doling out saucy advice whenever possible.
Instead expect her to give off a down-to-earth vibe, more reminiscent of a close friend with whom you would share dinner and drinks.
“People have some sort of notion that I’ll show up in latex brandishing a whip, but I’m very vanilla and very much a small town girl,” says Vogels, laughing.
As she sips a coffee, Vogels reflects on a career that has taken her off the family dairy farm in Newtonville , Ont., and into the bedrooms of Canadians.
Vogels, the youngest of eight children, always knew that farm life wasn’t for her. When she finished high school, she moved to Toronto to work in community radio.
Vogels then applied to the journalism program at Concordia University and began to hone her writing skills both in-class and at the school paper. After graduating, she was recruited by Hour magazine as an arts editor. It was there that she initially pitched her sex and relationship column, My Messy Bedroom.
“I was feeling like sex wasn’t really getting talked about. There really wasn’t a healthy positive debate within the community,” says Vogels. “It didn’t reflect the lives of my friends.”
Although the then all-male team of editors thought Vogels would run out of material in six weeks, she cultivated her beat by scoping out unique stories.
“I didn’t want to come across as clinical, I wanted to be your girlfriend,” she says. “People got a kick out of that.”
The success of My Messy Bedroom launched Vogels into the columnist spotlight and in 2007 she left Hour to pursue freelancing. Today, along with My Messy Bedroom, she has two other nationally syndicated columns — Dating Girl and Metro’s The J Spot (see p. 35).
Vogels is also an accomplished author, having published five books with a sixth on the way.
She credits her success to a writing style that is both frank and fun.
“My whole thing is that I always want to make it feel like an intimate conversation,” says Vogels. “We’re so uptight about sex. Sex is funny and we don’t have to take it so seriously.
The sky is not going to fall.”
Vogels is also quick to point out that she treats sex and relationships equally in her writing.
“Talking about sexuality without the context of the relationships is kind of like the apple pie without the ice cream,” she says. “Relationships touch all of our lives and trying to understand and negotiate them is one of our biggest challenges as human beings.”
However, aside from drama of relationships, Vogels admits there are cool perks that come with the job too.
“On a practical level, how can you not love getting up in the morning and thinking about love and sex all day?” she adds.
“I have an interesting bookshelf and a lot of sex toys. It blows my mind that I get to make a living out of this.”