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I AM pretentious…

Question via Tumblr:
So do you just pretentious to be into smelling farts?

Pretentious and smelling farts don’t typically belong in the same sentence. Unless there’s some high class fancy farts out there on Rodeo Drive, but those are out of my shooting budget at this time.

I’m gonna assume you mean ‘pretending.’

You may have noticed – I perform a LOT of different fetishes on my website. If they were all my personal fantasies, I’d be one of the most sexually eclectic people in existence. I make fetish porn because its fun, allows me to explore sexuality, and have sexual experiences I wouldn’t otherwise.

Here’s a smattering of what I am personally into:

- Oral sex

- Anal sex

- Vaginal sex

- Masturbating

- Trying new things

- Roleplaying

- Humor & laughter

- Power exchange

- Body worship

- Doing socially unacceptable things

Anything I do on camera involves at least one or more of the above - because my enjoyment is my priority. Which makes for good videos.

The scenarios I do on camera come from a mix of fan requests, previous clips that have been popular, and my dirty mind. Sometimes the scenario is a more erotic one, where we’re both enjoying the smell/taste. Other times I play the dom or the sub. Sometimes its downright funny, though my fans prefer I not laugh so much (which is really hard at times).

If you’re interested in my feelings on the subject, you can also check out these blogs:

Mind Over Matter: Making Your Fetish into Mine, or What its Like to Star in Fetish + Fart Porn

My Life is Ridiculous: The Beautiful Simplicity of Fetish and Fart Porn

Why the Hell Do People Like Fart Porn? What Body Function Fetishes Say About Western Culture

Edited: August 5th, 2013

The Elderly Get It On Too

Madam Allegedly Employed GILFs, Catered to Elderly Johns

By Peter Berton

TOKYO – Asian media is buzzing with news about the prostitution trial of 53-year-old Risako Yokota. She was busted in February and charged with violating Japan’s anti-prostitution law.

“Yokota did not run your ordinary, run-of-the-mill brothels,” JapanDailyPress.com reported. “Her two prostitution clubs, the Kairaku Kukan and the Maihime, targeted senior citizens. The 10 prostitutes she employed were aged 40 and above, the oldest at 70 years old.”

Various media have followed the case since, reporting the suspect allegedly charged her elderly clients between 12,000 and 14,000 yen (about U.S. $121 to $141) for a two-hour appointment. Her sex workers reportedly received a 3,000-yen-per-client commission (about U.S. $30).

Prosecutors claim Yokota began by offering deri heru, or outcall services, for which she would schedule sex workers to arrive at clients’ homes or hotel rooms. In 2006, she established two permanent facilities.

“I knew from my experience in the deri heru trade that a prostitution club would be profitable,” Yokota told the court during trial.

In fact, Yokota’s share of the revenues from her business reportedly topped U.S. $530,000 in two years. More importantly, based on a top rate of $141 per visit, the revenues translate into at least 3,546 visits by satisfied customers.

As for the revelation Japanese pensioners are paying for sex?

“The public should not be surprised at this phenomenon, as more than 20 percent of Japan’s population is 65 years old and above,” JapanDailyPress pointed out.

And, apparently, frisky.

“The government has admitted that Japan’s population is an aging population – the country owning one of the world’s highest proportions of senior citizens,” JapanDailyPress noted. “The population make-up may have played a big part of Yokota’s business. She certainly is not denying any of the allegations made against her.

“It would not be surprising at all if there might be more of the same illegal brothels all over the nation,” the site concluded.

Edited: May 16th, 2013

Is Sex Work Inherently Degrading to Women?

Are all female porn stars, prostitutes, and sex workers victims of abuse, who need our pity and help escaping?

Its a common belief. One often invoked by anti-porn and anti-prostitution activists, like Shelley Lubben (who has been accused of REALLY being a scam artist with mental health issues).

J Marloe has an interesting perspective looking at prostitution. Why does society look at male and female prostitutes differently? Do women really need saving from sex work? Here’s Marloe’s take:

“Exploitation” evokes a zero-sum game: one person gains at the expense of the other. However, prostitution — and especially male prostitution — is almost always a commercial transaction in which both parties agree on a price beforehand. The exploitation argument seems to rest on the spurious claim that women find sex inherently unpleasant, and that any woman who engages in it for reasons other than love is having something taken from her, no matter what fee she commands. In comparison, consider the same transaction between two men. Who is exploiting whom? Is it the client, who has the financial ability to buy sex from a younger man with (presumably) less financial freedom, or is it the conventionally attractive hustler, who cashes in on the fact that he’s younger and more desirable than his client? Whose erect penis represents the “weaker sex”?

Looking at a commercial sex transaction between two men thus highlights the ambiguity of traditional feminist notions of exploiter and exploited. While there is exploitation in the sex industry — pimps who take a hooker’s entire earnings, clients who refuse to pay, men who secretly videotape encounters and then sell them — there is nothing inherently exploitive about two adults engaging in consensual paid sex. It is only when the prostitute is female and the client is male — or when the prostitute is a minor and the client isn’t — that the issue of exploitation arises at all. Perhaps it’s time we ask ourselves why women and children are regarded as a homogenous group in this regard, while men are subject to an entirely different set of rules.

Concern for the mental health of female sex workers rests on a normative view of female sexuality as connected to love and relationship, reflected in the stereotype that female prostitutes must not value themselves as anything more than receptive sex organs. Yet, among gay men, hustlers are not stigmatized in this way — more likely, they are envied. Why would a man have low self-esteem if he’s being sought out and given money for his body? In gay male culture, knowing that one is attractive enough to command payment raises, rather than lowers, one’s self-esteem. It is only if one believes that the ability to have sex without love is damaging that this aspect of prostitution appears to be “unhealthy” or a reflection of low self-esteem. In fact, the required linkage of sex with love (or the injunction to be “good girls”) has historically functioned to keep women under the control of one loved man — their husband, who may or may not demonstrate equal monogamy and devotion.

Unlike the link between female prostitution and roles and perception of women in general, male prostitution is quite separate from the roles and perception of men in general, both within the gay world and without: few would argue that the presence of street hustlers in any way influences how society perceives men in general. This dichotomy arises from the different ways in which we perceive and treat women and men in society, rather than anything inherent in the sex trade. If prostitution were patently destructive, then presumably male whores would find themselves as stigmatized as their female counterparts.

In debates about prostitution, it is often women — the same women who correctly argue that women and intelligent and independent beings — who selectively invoke antiquated notions of helpless victimhood when trying to abolish the profession. If one truly believes that men and women are equal (or at least should be regarded as equal), then it should be clear that prostitutes require neither pity nor salvation on the basis of their profession alone. All of the arguments against prostitution break down when sex roles are held constant. Men can engage in commercial sex without being regarded as victims of exploitive men or as propagators of demeaning attitudes. Any prostitute (or anyone else) may be victim of circumstances beyond his or her control, and measures should be in place to help those who wish to get out of oppressive circumstances. However, to suggest that prostitutes who do not see themselves as victims just don’t know any better is patronizing and contradicts the very essence of feminism — the freedom to make one’s own choices.

Edited: May 2nd, 2013

My First Time at a Strip Club

Last weekend I went to a strip club the first time. Strip clubs often make women jealous, but I took my husband and bought him a lap dance. And myself one!

I didn’t know, but it the club turned out to primarily employ lesbians and bisexual girls. Being close to a “couples friendly” sex shop also meant many women, and even some lesbian couples, were also there to enjoy the view. While most the strippers looked bored while dancing for guys, many gave me and the other female patrons some special treatment.

Subscribe in iTunes!

Hear about my first time, and please share any stories about yours! (Especially you, ladies!)

Edited: October 23rd, 2012

Is Sex Work Just a Job?

Some sex workers say, “Its just a job.” But if I wanted “just a job” I’d go sit at a desk for 40 hours a week. To me, sex work is a lifestyle. Because in this business the most important asset I have is, well, me. My sexuality. My self.

I’m in sex work for fun, adventure, and to learn about myself and sexuality more broadly. I’ve had jobs before, I’ve pursued careers. But one thing was always missing – ME. The job came first, and I was last. I was so exhausted at the end of the day I was lucky if I had the energy to masturbate. Sex was reserved for weekends and special occasions, if that.

I had a “normal” upper middle class upbringing, though for some reason sex was always a challenge for me. I craved pleasure and connection but I was uncomfortable going there. Like many young women, I hated my body and felt ashamed of being sexual. Jobs kept me distracted. Ironically, even jobs teaching about sex (!) became an easy excuse to avoid what I simultaneously desired and feared…

Continue reading at FearlessPress.com.

Edited: October 13th, 2012

The Price of Assuming: Making an Ass Out of You, Me, and the Adult Industry (A Response From Inside)

Everyone’s got an opinion on the adult industry, mostly based on assumptions, stereotypes, and recycled arguments from 1980s anti-pornography feminists.

I recently felt compelled to comment on this blog on the “dark side” of pornography and the adult industry. Ev’yan writes about a documentary called The Price of Pleasure. I saw this several years ago (well before I’d decided to make my life’s work in the adult industry), and while I don’t remember the particulars, I was annoyed at the overgeneralized assumptions. Echoed in Ev’yan’s blog, I felt the need to reply:

Ev’yan — I LOVE your blog. I’ve commented here before, but I’ll ‘introduce’ myself here to put my comments below into context: I’m a highly educated adult model and video producer, working on my PhD and have studied gender, sexuality, and feminist theory for the last 7 years. I have all the stereotypical white middle class privileges and have many options when it comes to career choice; despite the very difficult stigma, I choose to work in the adult industry and I love what I do.

I must pose the question: Why do we (as a society) feel the need to make a black or white evaluation of porn? Porn is a type of media, like television or video games; it is not synonymous with its content. There are plenty of TV shows and movies I don’t care for, particularly violent ones, and yet I don’t throw out my TV with the bathwater. Why do the same with porn, especially when its well established “ethical” porn exists and – it seems – is a growing corner of the market? The internet has democratized porn production, and more women are producing their own content (in all genres), commercializing their own sexuality for both profit AND pleasure. (An example: LilyCade.com.)

Undoubtedly, pornography shapes our understanding of sexuality, for no other reason that we simply don’t see “real” sex anywhere else. Like you mention, my first exposure to adult sexuality was through Playboy, and I don’t think it was an entirely positive one (though not entirely negative, either). Yet scholars and documentary filmmakers continue to analyze the porn industry as if it is monolithic, producing one and only one type of dehumanizing, immoral, patriarchal male-oriented product. The beauty of the marketplace is that you don’t have to watch what you find offensive; for every film that evokes disgust, there’s another that will make you smile, laugh, and enhance your sexual experience.

When it comes to violent content in particular, there’s an important distinction to be made – (1) Are the models consenting? (2) Do the models enjoy it? First, there certainly are unscrupulous directors who try to spring certain sex acts on the models mid-scene, when they feel they can’t say no (though they always CAN). I only work on my own content, so I have no exposure to this, but I’ve heard firsthand from models who’ve had this experience. Not cool, and you can tell when you’re watching. It doesn’t make for a very good product, and generally the companies who do this aren’t the most successful for this reason.

Secondarily, of course not all women want to be beaten and humiliated on screen — but it does women just as much as disservice to say that NO women do, as it does to say ALL women do. The assumption that these women are being taken advantage of is in part due to a cultural belief that women’s sexuality is all romance and hunky men with 6 packs, that they couldn’t – shouldn’t – possibly like anything more extreme.

Undoubtedly this type of content is borderline, and the most sex-positive, woman-friendly production companies will make it clear to the viewer this is strictly consensual fantasy play.

Kink.com is an excellent example of well produced extremely hardcore BDSM. They interview all models before and after the scene, and all shoots follow specific rules. Because they’re dealing with potentially dangerous acts, they err on the side of caution when caring for the submissive model. Its a great way to explore the “darker” side of sexuality, knowing the models are exploring as well, so you (the viewer) can dip your toes into extreme sex without jumping into a situation you’re not ready to handle.

One last thing I’ll point out — when we talk about porn, everyone’s always concerned about the women being objectified and subject to violence… Yet if you ever see “mainstream” porn, often times they don’t even show the guy’s face – he’s a disembodied cock. Why is nobody up in arms about the objectification of hard dicks? And what of all the “realistic” dildos, sold under the guise of female sexual empowerment? And finally, there’s a vast world of female domination porn that features men being beaten, abused, and humiliated; its just fetishized because its less socially acceptable than the reverse. Men who enjoy being kicked in the balls, being walked on in high heels, being laughed at for the size of their penis.

Like it or not, violence and power is a part of many people’s sexuality, men, women, and everyone else. There are ways to do it safely, respectfully, and consensually, and there are ways not to. If you choose to watch porn, just support the producers, models, and directors that are promoting a sex-positive approach to fucking, fantasy, and fetish – or whatever is your cup of tea.

Some resources if you’re interested in exploring porn further:

PornMoviesForWomen.com – Great site to find female directed and female-friendly porn. I used this to find videos when I was first starting to watch porn and was sick of the crap I found for free.

PornValleyVantage.com – The blog of sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, who is one of the ONLY researchers to study the industry from the INSIDE, focusing on women’s roles in the video production world. She’s published in several peer-reviewed journals and challenges many assumptions and stereotypes about how the industry actually works.

FeministPornography.com – The official site for the documentary Feminist Pornography. Much in the way you say The Price of Pleasure changed your feelings on pornography, this did it for me in the opposite way. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if I hadn’t seen this film many years ago. Of course there are problems with the industry, but women are working from within to change that – myself included.

Edited: August 15th, 2012

Let Me Share a Secret…

I have a confession to make: I love sex.

I’ve noticed lately that I spend a lot of time justifying my work to myself. I have all sorts of academic and intellectual theories about why I do what I do, the benefit it has to people, etc. In all honestly, if it weren’t for these grand ideas I probably wouldn’t be in porn because my #1 goal in life has always been to help others.

But regardless, at the end of the day, I make porn because I love sex. I love talking about it. Reading about it. Writing about it. Doing it. Trying new things with new people. Experiencing sexual subcultures. Making sex videos. Basically…I love sex.

And I discovered a set of beliefs been behind my mental justifications: I’m too sexual. My expression of sexuality is too out there. Oh, its fine for other people. But not for me. I’m a good girl. I shouldn’t like sex, let alone earn my living from it. Sex should be – at best – a weekend hobby. My exhibitionist perverted exploits are a sign that something is wrong with me, my lifestyle, my choice in life partner. Basically, that I shouldn’t love sex.

Would I feel this if I were a man? I don’t think so. My husband doesn’t seem to have this hangup, anyway, and he’s been making porn for almost a decade now.

I can have my theories and beliefs about how porn can help people, how it can change our cultural ideas about sex and relationships, how the most effective sex information comes from those who do it. And that’s important to me. But that’s not WHY I make porn. I make porn first and foremost because I love to fuck, in whatever way fucking means today (and if you’ve seen my fetish site, you know I see sex in anything and everything). The impact it has on my fans and followers – its all secondary – because no way would I do it if I didn’t get off on it in one way or another.

Its time to be honest with myself: I love sex. And that’s okay.

Edited: July 2nd, 2012

How Making Porn Has Helped My Self-Esteem

Stereotypically, porn stars have low self esteem. But then, so do most women.

The first time my husband took naked pictures of me, I felt so self-conscious and afraid of looking stupid that I disassociated during what would have been really hot sex after. We’d been together a few months and he wanted to paint a picture of my naked body. That was pretty much the biggest compliment anyone had given me, so of course I said yes. But I wasn’t prepared for how, well, naked I felt. How exposed. How vulnerable. I was amazed when I saw what he did – I saw my body, in some ways for the first time. I really saw it how he did. It was beautiful.

It wasn’t enough to undo years of hating my body and my appearance. But it was a start.

Its hanging in our bedroom.

Fast forward about 7 months. After hanging out with naked women on his sets several times, observing the openness about their bodies and sexuality, I knew there was something for me in this lifestyle. I had a list of logical reasons why I should do porn, and plenty more why I shouldn’t – but none of that mattered. I inexplicably needed to do it.

I hated watching my videos at first. I needed to, to write descriptions, something I also felt awkward about. I’d lectured about sex to hundreds of college students, but my own sexuality, and my body, were largely hidden. I’d been hiding in my body, as if it were a robot housing my soul, merely existing on this planet.

Today I enjoy watching. I’m still my own worst critic, cringing when the dialogue gets awkward, but I’m fascinated by seeing myself. To view my body from angles I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. To really look at my pussy, up close and personal. To see how my face looks when I’m turned on. To watch myself suck his cock. To see what he sees when he fucks me. It still feels naked, vulnerable, but I don’t feel anxious about it so much. I enjoy it.

My rise in self-esteem and body image isn’t because I get naked and guys want me, though that certainly happens. At first I viewed my fans emails as suspect – I didn’t quite believe them, nor did I desire the false sense of worth that arose from their compliments. It came from seeing my sexuality, in all its weirdness, and understanding WHY they like me. It came from admiring my own beauty, parts I never saw as attractive until I saw them displayed for the world to see. The camera becomes a mirror for how I am, and in time I’ve come to like what’s reflected back.

A woman doesn’t need to take her clothes off to feel good about herself. But when a woman deeply desires to get naked, the experience of knowing that need, accepting it, and acting on it – in spite of logic that says she ‘shouldn’t – that’s where the self-esteem comes from. That’s where nudity and sexuality can be liberation. It isn’t this way for everyone; for many, it would be the exact opposite. But I can only speak of my own experience. I no longer feel ugly. I don’t daydream about plastic surgery, like I did in high school. I don’t avoid certain sexual positions because of how they make my body look. I don’t worry about my weight – I care more about my health. My body has become a source of pleasure that I’m learning to love, appreciate, and respect. All thanks, in part, to porn.

Edited: June 27th, 2012

The Ethics of Selling Sex: Reflections in the Adult Industry

People work in the adult industry for various reasons, pleasure and money being the primary ones.

I make no judgment on those who are in the adult industry just for the cash, but I do my best to avoid working with them. Of course I need to make money as well, but my primary motive is to enjoy myself and help my customers enjoy themselves too. If someone doesn’t want to be there, it gives me a bad experience, and is handed down to my members as something hot and sexy that really wasn’t. There’s enough of that crap out there, I don’t need to waste my energy on creating more of it.

I recently worked with a woman who was going through some very hard times financially. She’d been doing webcam work (solo and with her boyfriend) for awhile and loved it, but for various reasons wasn’t able to at the time. She’d done girl-girl porn on and off, and was trying to get back on her feet through adult industry work – porn and stripping. Her plan was to get back onto her feet so she could do more camming, because she enjoyed being at home and having sex with her guy for “work.” For her it was of course about the money, but she was happy to do it for the cash. Conversely, some will work for the money and hate every second of it – that’s who I avoid.

I approached her to do some clips with me and she was down except for one that required contact with my husband. Though it was minimal contact (no penetration), her guy wasn’t okay with her doing boy-girl shoots so she said no to that one. No big deal, I just asked another girl to do an extra clip, which was fine.

Shortly after, the first woman asked to speak with me. She explained she and her boyfriend really needed the money, so they talked it over and he could be okay with the one clip with my husband.

For a moment, I was torn. I felt for her situation and part of me wanted to help her out. But I felt much more strongly that:
(a) I didn’t want to hire anyone literally JUST for the money to work for my site,
(b) I felt uncomfortable providing masturbation material to my customers at the expense of a relationship,
(c) we already had it worked out with the second model,
(d) it wasn’t that much money she’d be missing out on since it was just one clip (besides, I’m not running a charity here), and
(e) if she wasn’t into it, it would definitely show in the video and wouldn’t turn out as well anyway.

I told her I understood her position, but I wasn’t okay with it. I said, “When I ask a girl to work with me, if it isn’t a ‘hell yeah,’ then its a no.” We then had a good time doing our girl-girl clips and they went on their way.

Since its impossible to know the conditions under which your favorite porn is shot, a good rule is – if the chick looks uncomfortable, there’s probably something fishy going on with her personally and/or on set. Close the window and find something else. There’s plenty of ethical producers in the adult industry with female performers who want to be there.

Edited: June 21st, 2012

Men Aren’t the Only Patrons of Sex Work: Women Pay for Sex Too

The stereotype of sex work is that women (and men) get paid to be sexy for men’s pleasure.

Lesbian writer Jessica Walden shows us that ain’t always true. Read about her experience hiring a sex worker:

I had a shower and we got to it. And let me just say: if you want something done right, you should really go to a professional. This was a completely different category of sexual experience. I felt things I didn’t even know my body could feel. She picked me up off the floor — she’s small but powerful — slung my legs around her waist and slammed me against the wall, kissing me. It was fucking incredible. And that was just the start.

She lay me down on the bed. Oh my God, holy shit, Jesus H Christ and wow. I don’t know what that first thing she did was, but it involved her mouth, hands, a pair of gloves, a bottle of lube, penetration, massage and a vibrator. I have been having sex with women since I was 17 and nothing has ever felt like that. I thought I would be getting some pleasant sex with a hot woman. I didn’t expect mind-blowing sex with a completely gorgeous creature who, when she wasn’t ramming something inside me, was kissing me passionately, looking sweetly into my eyes, or saying lovely, dirty things in my ear.

Lesbians + Sex Work (Photo: Chelsey Lichtman & Kyle Lasky)

Lesbians + Sex Work (Photo: Chelsey Lichtman & Kyle Lasky)

And there was no time to catch my breath. Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of whatever she was doing, she’d flip me over, drag me down the bed, swing me around into another position, and do something else incredibly hot. Really, what have I been doing these past 20 years? This was amazing, mind-blowing sex. The kind of sex men get to have: lusty, hot, powerful, penetrating.

But it was more than that; it was connection. That was something I didn’t expect. I looked into her eyes and was hers. Simple as that. We were two people connecting through an erotic experience. You can be with someone for years who doesn’t give you that, and here we had it after five minutes. Talking to her afterward was incredible and just as sexy as the sex. She is sweet, smart, fun and lovely to talk to. Totally dreamy.

I chose to write about this experience because it is something I felt I couldn’t really tell anyone about in casual conversation. If women aren’t supposed to want sex without attachment, we certainly aren’t supposed to pay for it. However, as Felicity told me, “When you find the part of yourself that says it’s okay, that it’s fun and exciting to have sex with someone who is there only for your own sexual pleasure, then you unlock a part of yourself. For women to do this could be very liberating.

What do you think?

Edited: April 5th, 2012

The New Cybersex: Utherverse & the Red Light Center

A quick recap of my weekend at the Utherverse Red Light Center Adult Virtual Convention , and the new face of cybersex.

 

When I hear the term cybersex, I think of AOL in the late 90s. As a teenager, I had “real” cybersex once – I told the guy to cum on my chest and lick it off. I don’t know where I got that idea – I’ve always had kinky desires – but he wasn’t into it. Otherwise, my best friend and I would have “fake” cybersex with people and tell them to do strange things, laugh, or just when it’d get hot and heavy we’d say, “I’m done, bye” and stop responding.

 

I was invited to speak at the Utherverse Red Light Center Adult Virtual Convention and had no idea what I was getting myself into. I love learning about sexuality, love seeing new ways people explore their desires, but had no idea the Red Light Center was a hub for the new cybersex.

 

Virtual sex, virtual prostitution, virtual roleplaying, and even roleplaying rooms for adult baby, abduction, and toilet fantasy. I talked to a virtual prostitute who’s top requests include Star Trek, Star Wars, and Smurfs roleplay. Yes, smurfs, he often plays Papa Smurf:

 

Cybersex as Papa Smurf in the Utherverse Red Light District

Cybersex as Papa Smurf in the Utherverse Red Light District

 

Fascinating.

 

I talked to a married couple, who met on the game and got married in real life. Real life swingers, virtual prostitutes engaging in cybersex and dirty voice chat. The wife said it was a great way for people who are unhappy in their relationships to try new things, comparing it to buying a porn site membership. Personally though, I don’t think I’d be okay if my guy was paying for sex without my being there, virtual or not. Just like I would feel uncomfortable if he were talking to girls on cam sites without me. Its the interactive component, and I’m not the only one: Second Life Affair Ends in Divorce.

 

Attendance was much lower than they predicted, but it was a good time nonetheless.  Ended the last day with a workshop on the Art of Anal, where I gave a live webcam demo on my own butt, broadcasted into the game.  Yes, the future is here, I was INSIDE a video game.  Followed by an afterparty filled with dancing avatars.

 

Pictures to follow.

Edited: February 26th, 2012

How It Feels to Be a Sex Worker: On Stigma and Shame

I didn’t just “fall” into being a sex worker .

For me, its been a deliberate and often difficult choice. Its one thing to teach and write about others’ sexuality, which I did for several years. Its quite another to put my own sexuality out in the open. The choice to be a sex worker arouses more than just my pussy, it forces me to overcome my own sexual issues.

Sex Worker

Sex Worker

 

Michael Warner asks, “Shouldn’t it be possible to allow everyone sexual autonomy, in a way consistent with everyone else’s sexual autonomy?”

In her book Shameless: Sexual Dissidence in American Culture, Arlene Stein describes sexual shame as “a judgement against the self, a feeling that one is bad, defective, incompetent, inadequate, weak, unlovable, or disgusting…arises from the failure to live up to an internal image of oneself” (6) (emphasis added).

This differs from sexual stigma. Erving Goffman is famous for writing on social stigma. Shame is something an individual feels about him or herself. Stigma is “an attribute that is deeply discrediting,” says Goffman in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.

In regular person speak, stigma is like a negative stereotype about a group of people or type of person – blacks, the disabled, gays and lesbians, sex workers. When you meet someone, if you don’t know anything about them, you could pre-judge them as being lesser, almost like the caste system in India. When it comes to sex, stigmatized sexualities are viewed as dirty, immoral, or abnormal. Stereotypical sex workers, for instance, are dirty abused women with low self-esteem, whoring out their bodies to be used and abused by others.

The stigma of being a sex worker leads many women to keep their careers a secret

The stigma of being a sex worker leads many women to keep their careers a secret.

Any individual can agree or disagree with social stigma. A straight person can fully support gay rights – when they meet a gay person, they would not view him negatively. Nonetheless, a gay person must deal with stigma, because whether they like it or not they must interact with people who think they live an immoral lifestyle. Even living in a town like San Francisco, no gay person can avoid experiencing the stigma of homosexuality – be it though family, friends, coworkers, the media, religion, or even the grocery store clerk.

A person who experiences stigma and internalizes it will feel shame. They have drunk the koolaid, so to speak, and agree on some level that something is wrong with them.

Until 1973, psychologists thought homosexuality was a mental disorder because they saw so much depression in gays and lesbians. Then the American Psychological Association ruled that it was not homosexuality itself that was a problem – rather, it was the social stigma that made gays and lesbians feel so bad. The stigma created shame about their sexual orientation. If we lived in a world where nobody cared about the gender of our sex partners, these people would feel just fine.

Sex workers – strippers, prostitutes, porn stars, webcam models, phone sex operators – are a highly stigmatized bunch. There’s that joke about fathers – your only job in life is to keep your daughter off the stripper pole. Killing hookers in Grand Theft Auto. Insulting the go go dancer’s job on Tough Love on VH1 (which I wouldn’t even call sex work).

You don’t see positive images of sex workers nearly as often negative ones. Its the reason many sex workers keep their careers a secret. Most girls I work with either hide what they do, OR have family/friends/boyfriends who openly hate it.

Being a sex worker is not a legitimate career: Just say no!

Being a sex worker is not a legitimate career: Just say no!

At times I’ve felt crippling shame for who I am, what I like, and what I do. Its made my daily life, my relationships, and pursuing my goals and dreams a bit challenging. The voice in my head has judged me for what makes me happy. Cognitively, I’ve long believed there’s nothing wrong with what I’m doing. But emotionally I’ve feel pretty terrible about myself.

As my business grows, so must I, and honestly its incredibly difficult at times. Sometimes my emotions get triggered, and I’ve spend days judging, questioning, and second-guessing myself. Why do I want to be a sex worker? Is it because of [insert bad sexual experience]? Am I becoming a sex worker to simply be rebellious? Am I kidding myself – do I really just have low self-esteem and am looking for guys to validate me? Am I overly influenced by the people in my life who support my choices? Bottom line: Do I really want to do this?

At times I’ve believed that little voice is the real me. But again and again, I see how happy I am now. I love my life. I have adventures. I meet interesting people. Sex keeps getting better. So how can my choices be wrong, if I feel so good?

Do I really want to do this? Yes.

Edited: December 27th, 2011

Erotica, BDSM, and the Adult Industry

Interesting interview with erotic writer Laura Antoniou on how sexuality and the adult industry has changed in her 30 year career:

The Politics of Porn, Power, and Gender

Edited: December 2nd, 2011