Chad Kultgen, author of The Average American Marriage, talks porn, squirrels and civil rights
Chad Kultgen is the epitome of everything that is lewd in this world. His work is dirty, offensive and polarizing (see: The Average American Male). He makes a living transcribing explicit sexual fantasies with the women who frequent your local fitness center, and could give a rat's ass about how marginalized he makes you feel -- you average American person, you! On Thursday, February 21, Kultgen will be appearing at the Tattered Cover in LoDo to promote his new book, The Average American Marriage. Prior to his arrival in Denver, Westword caught up with the controversial author to talk about America's ever-growing addiction to porn and how there's no possible way online dating sites could have been created by a higher power.
- John Oliver talks llamas, Ray Lewis and the greatness that is Herman Cain
- Screw Fifty Shades; check out the kinky work of local authors Reggie and Kasi Alexander
- Kasi Alexander on BDSM, polyamory, and why mainstream readers are ready for her book
Westword:Can you briefly describe what The Average American Marriageis about and its relationship, if there is one, to The Average American Male?
Kultgen: The Average American Male was my first book. It came out in 2007 and was loosely about a guy who was in his mid- to late- twenties and was involved in a relationship with his girlfriend who he eventually realizes he doesn't like so much. So he finds another girl he thinks he likes more, winds up with here, only to realize she is kind of the same as the first girl; but in the end he throws in the towel and proposes marriage to her anyways.
The Average American Marriage is my fourth book and it's a sequel to that first book. The two books in between are unrelated. In The Average American Marriage, the character is now married to the girl he wound up with in the first book. It's about five or six years later, they have cute kids and it's just about him dealing with being a guy in his early-to-mid-thirties realizing the things he thought he was going to do when he was twenty are probably never going to happen, and not only realizing that but kind of being okay with it -- losing the fire of life, if you will.
Are you married?
No, I'm not married. Nor do I have children.
Do you think if you were married there would be some parallels between what you wrote in your book and your own marriage?
Jesus, I hope not. Kind of the whole point of writing these books was to make it a series and check back in with this character every five years or so and have that guy serve as a story that can be told about the average man living in America during the same years that I'm living. In doing that, I'm also hoping my life never really mirrors his own, because it's not a fun life. It's not a bad life. The guy makes enough money to comfortably support his family. They live in a decent place. There's no real worries. But he also has no real joy in his life. It's kind of a mundane, drone-like existence. Just keep walking until you die, basically. So yeah, I hope my life never parallels his.
Your writing can be pretty vulgar at times, to say the least. Do you curse like a sailor in real life or are you really reserved and instead rely on your writing to cathartically exercise an alter ego?
No, I'm pretty vulgar in real life. [Laughs]
Porn plays a large role in your writing. Have you ever considered being in a porno?
Being in a porno? No. I shot a sex tape with one of my ex-girlfriends but that was about as close as I've ever come to being in a porno. Yeah, I don't think I'd ever be in a porno but I do think porn is an interesting piece of culture that nobody really talks about honestly. Guys watch porn every day -- at least, my friends do. Porn is such an integral part of pretty much a lot of guys' lives. Its something that, if not daily at least every other day or weekly, guys are watching on the Internet. And it's just not really discussed; or, it's discussed in a kind of joking way with a wink and a nod. That's a strange thing to me, that we can't just openly say, yes, everyone watches porn -- clearly -- and it's a piece of who we are not only as a country but as a world. Sex is the only reason we exist. It's our only function. And it's just weird to me that it gets dismissed. So I always try and include it in pretty much all my books as something that's an activity for most of the main characters in my books.
Why do you think that is? As a society are we still not ready to talk as openly about porn as we may be twenty years down the road?
Yeah, I think specifically in American we've been so scared of sex and sexuality that we can't discuss it. You have a show on TV right now called The Bachelor which is supposed to represent this very traditional idea of what relationships, marriage and courtship are -- or were -- and it was just revealed in the tabloids that the guy who is the bachelor is a virgin. The guy is in his mid thirties and he's a virgin. That is so abnormal it's beyond belief and yet he's held up as the example of the perfect bachelor. Here's 25 ladies who are all gonna be fighting it out to get his proposal and to me that's super weird.
So yeah, it's strange that we can't talk about it in America now. But the good thing about the Internet is that it has opened the floodgates for information exchange. By the time kids who are five to ten years old now are running things it's just not gonna be that way. Because kids now, instead of finding their dad's Playboy stash or reading Cosmo to learn about sex, they just Google whatever they want. They watch the most hardcore porn imaginable and that's their sexual education. As a result they're far more open about it.