Learning How to Date Sober with Alexandra Roxo // Written by Alexandra Pereira

We live in an age where the average person spends the equivalent of one day each week on their phone. And we all know that endless scrolling through your Insta feed is the opposite of mindfulness. While our neo-Luddite nightmares of extreme “phubbing” (snubbing someone in favour of your phone) are ubiquitous, we’re still struggling to strike a happy medium between rinsing the internet’s benefits without avoiding its black hole.

Alexandra Roxo is one millennial who might just be managing to do it. From her online sexual guidance and life coaching sessions to making the two season web series Be Here Nowish (starring Slutever’s Karley Sciortino and aired on i-D and VICE) and another indie drama feature starring Dianna Agron and Paz De La Huerta, Roxo is balancing an online presence with IRL activities. Her workshops are about recognising that “people want to hear truth, and without the internet, some people wouldn’t have it around.”

This week Roxo is launching the first in a series of group Skype and one-on-one mentoring sessions (from LA to wherever you happen to be on Skype) after the popularity of her longstanding column, Holy Fck.

Sharing your most intimate fears and desires can be daunting, obviously, so you can keep it anonymous or use a pseudonyms if you want. The whole idea being to help people deal with real life gripes in a (virtual) safe space.

Your stories are shared online, through films, web series and now your new digital salon. How do you get around being faced with screens 24/7?
I love the Internet! It’s great. But I also co-lead retreats and workshops that do some major energy-moving that doesn’t happen online as much. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, too many apps and hours behind the computer.

Creatives are married to their devices and it’s hard to detox! It’s business. I fantasise about just living off the grid in the woods but I know I need to make shit and be out there. Some of my friends with normal jobs were getting pissed at me and so I made stricter rules for myself. No multi-tasking. No phone at meals, ever. Or when hanging one-on-one with someone. When I’m uploading to Insta I consider it work, so I try and do it alone. I would also like to try and start emailing only certain hours of the day.

I just can’t be following people that trigger my shadow shit. If it makes you feel shit then unfollow.

Why do you think people shun this idea of a digital detox?
The internet is magical. When we did our first virtual ritual, 100 people tuned in from around the world. They all could see me in my home in LA and I led them in meditation. I just did a show on Condé Nast Live with my bestie and collaborator Daniella Rabbani and it was the same: people asking questions about sex live from all over the globe. The internet is the fastest way to disperse information.

Your work focuses on female spirituality and sexuality. How do you think women use technology – specifically carving an online persona – differently to men?
There is the beautiful side of creating online persona. And then the shadow, the darker, anxiety-fuelled side. I try and keep my online persona as close to my IRL self as possible now. There was a time when I was trying to look cool, sexy, and very curated. That was cute and all, but not 100% me. I never want to make other women feel like they aren’t good enough and I’ve unfollowed anyone who triggered that in me. It’s not their fault. I just can’t be following people that trigger my shadow shit. If it makes you feel shit then unfollow.

For dudes I do think it’s different. But the modern man is needing society’s help in finding his place. He’s been emasculated at times. Either having to choose a toxic masculinity (i.e. bro type) or some sort of soft male persona.

When I was sober, I was checking in with myself and making sure I wasn’t wreaking any energetic havoc on myself.

You’ve talked about showing people how to have conscious sex in a Tinder filled world. How can we do that?
It’s actually easier than it sounds. It comes down to hard cold real honesty. Do I want this? How does this feel? Keep your alcohol intake in check. I went on a Tinder adventure last year and I realised the best experiences I had were sober. When I was sober, I was checking in with myself and making sure I wasn’t wreaking any energetic havoc on myself.

We live in a sex-negative society. We are basically raised in a state of trauma around sex. You can’t show a nipple anywhere online but you can show heads being blasted off. What does that say about culture? My salon will be a space to explore, share, get weird, be real and dream up the space you want to be in both sexually and erotically. Talk about sex with your friends in public and ask stuff like, “Have you guys ever done a rim job on date two?” or “What does a cervical orgasm feel like?”

Your work also looks to unveil the repressed desires that hide behind our “too busy” veneers. What do you think our excessive use of technology says about our repressed desires?
People hide behind their phones a lot and they also hide behind meditation, yoga and all kinds of stuff. People avoid and bypass their desires. The “too busy” to connect or meet up with someone is an excuse not to open yourself up. And so is needing three martinis on a date. Being vulnerable is fucking hard. If BDSM scares you, try going on a date sober and looking someone in the eyes and leaving your phone in the car. That’s scary. But it can feel so so good.

Alexandra Roxo’s ‘Holy Fck’ salons start today and are ongoing. Sign up to one here.