The Swedish pop star gives us her best tips on awkward situations, sexual fantasies, polyamory, and crowdsourcing a boyfriend on Twitter
Don’t you hate reading endless profile interviews with pop stars that don’t include cringe-worthy details of their sexual escapades? “I think we should talk about sex more, in school and with each other, it's not a taboo or nasty or disgusting,” Zara Larsson, 20, tells us over the phone from her visit to Cologne, Germany.
The “Never Forget You” singer is relaxed – and extremely amused – traversing the complicated topic of love and lust. She’s making a conscious effort to talk about sex as part of her work with Durex. The condom brand’s recent RED campaign calls on young people to “have sex and save lives” and “give a fuck”, with proceeds from sales of the condoms going to the Aids charity. She’s always been confessional in her songwriting though. “Ain’t my Fault” is a horny homewrecker anthem as she sings “It ain't my fault you keep turnin' me on”, about another girl’s boyfriend. Her most recent track “Ruin My Life” is a masochistic plea to fall back into an addictive, toxic relationship. Despite this, she reveals likes to keep her songs and sex life separate. “One guy had his playlist on, and then in the middle of (sex) my song came on,” she laughs. She had to stop and ask him to turn it off out of embarrassment.
So, we opened up our DMs, and gave readers a chance to ask Zara for personal advice to navigate their own sex lives and dating woes.
As a 20-year-old woman, do you think that age difference matters – what's the oldest and youngest you would go?
Zara Larsson: It’s definitely down to the individual. Sometimes you have to be careful when there’s an element of power involved. If there’s a situation with an older man who makes more money, and he really plays on that financial position, ask yourself whether it feels at all predatorial. Really, these things are only a big deal when you’re young, because the older you get, that line erases a bit. If you're in your 30s and you date someone who is 50, you're both grown, you both have a career, you both make money and you have your own life. 20 and 40 feels bigger.
I personally would not go for someone who is over 30, because I don't know how much we would really have in common. How would they deal with me bringing all of my friends around? That being said, love is love and can travel through generations, you both just need to be on the same page.
Social media can be kind of toxic in relationships: how much of their relationship should people really be sharing online?
Zara Larsson: Sometimes it's fucking hard. For people who share that, I can appreciate them for being real. So many couples on the ‘gram just look flawless and so happy, and you're just like, “Oh my gosh, do you never fight?” Me, personally, I wouldn't really share that because I know that I'm also a singer, and just think it's boring if my love life becomes the hot topic instead of my music.
It's very easy for people if you have a bigger following for people to twist and turn your words. The fucking weirdest thing happened the other day. I said in an interview me and my boyfriend didn’t really have chemistry at the beginning, which is true. We met and we were like, ‘Hmm, maybe not’. Then we saw each other a year and a half later, and it was completely different. So the headline this fucking newspaper wrote was: ‘Zara and her boyfriend didn't have chemistry’.
Then last night, a dude knocked on my door at my house in Stockholm, my mum opened and this guy had a huge snake around his neck and was like: “What's up, you see my snake?” My mum was like, “Yeah, what the fuck?” And he was like, Yeah, I just wanted to let you know that I'm really happy that Zara realises that she and Brian don't have chemistry”. What? Don't bring your snake to my house! (Laughs) You've gotta be aware of who is watching, and make sure the other person in the relationship is comfortable too. For me, it's just me and my baby's business, everybody knows we're together – but I don't want people knocking on my door with their snakes.
“It’s very hard to be madly in love or super turned on by your partner all the time. We all have fantasies, and I wouldn't feel too bad about a dirty little thought” – Zara Larsson
Is there such a thing as a perfect age for a woman to lose her virginity or have a baby?
Zara Larsson: There is never gonna be a perfect timing for having a child. It depends on the culture if you grew up in a big city, a small city – I think all that has a part on it. I’m busy right now, so I always said it would be good to have kids when I'm around 30, when I've done all I wanted to do. But, of course, there is a part of me that wants one now (laughs). The thing that matters is that you really want the baby and can't wait to meet this little person. It shouldn't be like: ‘fuck, I got pregnant, I really don't want it but I feel like now I really have to keep my baby because of the timing’.
It's hard not to be affected by (outside pressure) about having kids, getting married, or getting into a relationship. Sometimes families expect it, but the ultimate answer is obviously not to listen to what other people say. Try and have some supportive people around you that respect your decisions even if it's not necessarily your family. It’s your life.
Would you consider being in a non-exclusive relationship and how would I go about making it work?
Zara Larsson: Right now, if my boyfriend were with someone else, I wouldn't be ready. We talk about that, like, “If we're gonna be together for life, there will probably be moments where we are not in love, or we even fall in love with someone else”. You have to talk about that and make sure you communicate whatever you decide.
If you dream about another person while you're having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend does that count as cheating?
Zara Larsson: Not technically. You don't have to tell them (laughs). It’s very hard to be madly in love or super turned on by your partner all the time. We all have fantasies, and I wouldn't feel too bad about a dirty little thought. If you think you may not be in love with them anymore, then that is something else.
“You've gotta be aware of who is watching, and make sure the other person in the relationship is comfortable too. For me, it's just me and my baby's business” – Zara Larsson
You met your boyfriend after a legendary tweet – what are your tips for sourcing a boyfriend via social media?
Zara Larsson: I had the help of my followers, who retweeted it and he saw. These days you expect guys to do it, so it was a little unexpected (for me). People think it’s so hilarious the fact that I posted a picture, but I just really wanted him to know that he was cute. People are like, “Oh my god that's legendary”, but would it be if a guy did that? I don’t know. I don't even know if I would respond and be like, “What's up?” But, what's the worst that could happen? Start by liking a few pictures, or maybe comment the fire emoji (laughs). You know, just slide in the DMs, see what happens.
Where do you get the confidence to make sure your nerves don't get the better of you on dates? How do you make sure you don't end up acting crazy?
Zara Larsson: Just tell them: “Look, I'm actually really nervous”. Just saying that and being honest about it takes away like, 50 per cent of the feelings. Then you can laugh about it and loosen up a bit. I would be really relieved hearing that someone that I liked felt nervous to be around me, I'd be like, “Oh my gosh, same” (laughs). What's the worst thing that could happen, that it's not a good date? OK, “thank u, next”.