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University of Washington: Sex Workers Q & A, Tomorrow!

23 May


Tomorrow is an exciting day for me! For the first time, I will be speaking a formal public setting about having experience as a sex worker! And to be able to meet this other fabulous people I’ve heard about (via The Stranger or the grapevine) is making this an AWESOME day!

So if you happen to have an hour free tomorrow and live in the Seattle area, come on down!

This is exactly what I have been wanting: a healthy place to talk about sex work and gain experience. Educating the public on sex workers is a passion of mine though I didn’t realize it until the last few years. I was jealous of a sex worker who spoke openly about it at the first Portland SlutWalk. It changed my fear into desire.  She was courageous and I wanted to be like her. Someday, I hope I have a chance to thank her.

Pushing to speak publicly about it has not been an easy task to wrap my mind around. My number one concern has been my safety. When I moved to Seattle and began a new venue of adult entertainment, a man I was dating at the time advised me not to tell anyone since not everyone “will understand.” I took his advice to heart for a number of years but in the process I learned I was simply living in fear. There was this whole section of my life I “couldn’t” talk about and that’s… very strange for me. It’s difficult learning to balance privacy, safety and.. sharing. I’m not a very private person so this has been a strange and sometimes painful adjustment.

It became even more important to me to speak out and up for sex workers (who cannot speak up publicly for various reasons) when I was sexually assaulted several times (or threatened with it) in the course of 2 years. The chances of being sexually assaulted significantly increases for people who are sex workers. People I was open with about my work treated me in interesting ways: Many thought they had to save me, assuming I had terrible self-esteem. Many thought I was cheater (or as they said, “promiscuous in a relationship”). Some thought I needed attention to feel better since I wasn’t “well off” as they were (that definition has many meanings and they all meant different things by it). I was once told how embarrassing it would be if my mother knew that all I grew up to be was someone who swung around a pole…

And I ask.. Even if I was using my body to be empowered, why is that so terrible? Don’t we do this all the time in many ways? By the way we choose to dress that day or choosing to put on make up (or NOT put on make up. That has also been a source of empowerment for me)? What about athletes who use their bodies to make money? I’ve never understood sex to be an embarrassing thing (this is what lead me away from Christianity). I feel ZERO shame about being a sex worker.

But what is very shameful to me is the way human beings have decided they could treat me because they knew I was one. And that it hurt me. It was only other peoples’ shame that made me feel shameful and doubtful.. was there something wrong with me?

I can say this: I have not seen a sex worker any more “broken” than any other person on the street: accountant, game developer, program developer, bicyclist, marathoner, CEOs, etc. You name it: people are people.

So why do sex work? Honestly, it’s just interested me over time. It happened because I answered an ad to be a phone sex operator. Before that I had explored posting erotic/nude photos while I was 80 lbs overweight as an exercise: to find beauty in my body that I was having trouble feeling comfortable with.. and to also inspire others to feel good about themselves too. So I tried phone sex work and it was fascinating. I even told my Dad. Not because I thought he’d want to know (he didn’t) but because I would be more embarrassed if he thought I wasn’t working. And it turned out it was fun, weird, scary and also.. very helpful to a lot of people. I did cam work and various things (though nothing illegal because I’m a pansy about having anything “on my record”–I’m still a “good girl”).

What I learned is this: Sometimes people just need to tell someone. They need someone who is empathetic. Sometimes, unfortunately, their partners for whatever reason are not at liberty to do that. Sometimes they are liars. Sometimes their partners enjoy them coming to me. Sometimes I see couples enjoying themselves.

What I learned is compassion and to be more open and less condemning. And yes, being a sex worker was very empowering for me because as a friend put it: We are practicing our boundaries. My friend was dead on about that. I’m not going to pretend sex work is always fun. It isn’t. It’s like any other job: trite, boring, requires patience, etc. Except sometimes you have to deal with seriously strange or scary people (who feel they are allowed to be this way to you). And sometimes it requires so much critical thinking I need a nap afterward. It’s frustrating, maddening and mind blowing.. because it is rare to see this side of a person.. unless you are very patient and non-judgmental.

People are amazing and sex work has made me love them more and tolerate less bull shit in my life.

And, one last bone to pick: Sex work is NOT sex trafficking. Jesus Fucking Christ. If I see one more person confuse those two things… 😛

So anyway, come down tomorrow and join me.. and some fabulous, smart, educated people (because believe me: you can’t be a dummy to do this work that’s for sure).


Shake Your Tail Feather, Fellas

12 Oct

Two years ago in November I went to the Everything To Do With Sex Show in Toronto. It’s an annual event I highly recommend attending (it’s a tour throughout Canada and also makes a stop in LA. Check the link for tour dates). I saw all kinds of things, most of which I don’t remember. What I do remember is how overwhelming huge it was (that’s what she said) and the giant inflatable penis I took a picture with. It was too funny.

I saw glass dildos and wooden dildos for the first time. I asked the wood dildo crafter (what else do you call them?) “Why would anyone buy a wooden dildo and not glass one? Wouldn’t you get splinters?” No, he said. It has that coating over it to protect it. It’s light and safe in water. I’ll never forget what he pointed out about glass dildos. “Sometimes, sometimes, they can break if you heat them up and cool them down a lot.” Revulsion and terror ran through my body thinking about what that must be like. That was the conversation I thought of when reading this story. It doesn’t state she was using a glass dildo… just the thought of something inside destroying.. Anyway, read the story.



A few weeks ago, I read Mistress Matisse’s column, “Control Tower” in The Stranger. Here is what she said:

“In that worldview, women are assigned value based on appearance. We may get a low score or a high one, but we can’t opt out.
Now, it’s sexy to be objectified when you want to be.
Performing a stylized female sexiness on chosen occasions is both a gift to a lover and a narcissistic pleasure.
Trying to be a sex bomb all the time, however, is tiring, expensive, and hard on anyone’s self-esteem.
That pressure creates some female resentment of men, because men aren’t expected to do the same.”

But it’s more accurate to say we don’t allow them to.”

Touche Mistress, touche.
I was dragged to a Chippendale show in Reno eight years ago. I scoffed at the idea and about half-way through the show until I saw someone I thought was super sexy. That made all the difference but the idea of men prancing around in a thong shaking their bottoms was ridiculous to me. You could’ve summed up my attitude with this: “That’s women’s work.” I know a lot of people will not agree with my opinion that objectification is not bad. Listen, I loooove looking at my man. I looooove looking at myself sometimes and whenever I go out on the town, I see women who are freaking HOT. I appreciate that! The truth is we objectify all the time. Objectification is bad when that’s all you’re summed up to be. Don’t lose sight that person is living, breathing and is as equally valuable as you are, as are all living things.

But the idea of objectifying men? Weird.

I was shocked sitting in my anthropology class when I learned about males dancing sensually for women, to turn them on and lure them into their beds. They danced seductively. It was a difficult idea to understand but now that I’m a little older, a little more open, a little wiser.. I see that men just wanna shake up and fluff up their feathers for us too. We should let them.

And no, it doesn’t make them silly or gay. Just makes them a little flashy. It isn’t just women’s work,  you know.

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