Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Deliciously Bad Gets Ranty

I have a problem. The problem is I am angry. Really really angry, and I'm trying to write. I don't like writing when I'm angry because I find a lot of points get missed and lost and I get a bit shouty and sweary which, in turn, makes me look like a petulant child who hasn't got her own way
So I might just put down a few points now before I forget and then, come back to it all a bit later when I am feeling a bit calmer.

Okay. Slightly calmer rant... Slightly...

This all started on Saturday night when a friend wrote a Facebook status (and I will tell you now I am paraphrasing because this particular “friend” has since deleted me and I have no access to the actual status post to copy and paste it verbatim).
The status asked that if sex work was as empowering as some sex workers “claim” it is, would they then encourage their daughters to enter the profession? And then she went on to say no, of course they wouldn't because really it's a degrading and exploitative job and no-one should ever feel proud or “empowered” because of it.
She continued to quote (I say quote, but there were no actual links or anything) statistics that the majority of girls who work get into it solely because of drug habits and last resort desperation, and that the ones who advocate it as a positive thing are just kidding themselves because everybody knows there's nothing empowering or positive about sex work and it's never actually a “real” choice.

She says this knowing full well what I do, that I am also a mother to a daughter, and that my world, my job, my career has been built of the positivity of sex work.
I couldn't help but wonder if her whole status was a dig at me. If not completely she would have known full well that I'd not only see it and read it, but that I would also comment on it, and that I would comment on it the way I did, so why not block me beforehand, or make that particular “thought” invisible to me?
No, I think there was definite intention there for me to see it, and for me to respond.
So I did.
And I got blocked.

The thing is, when it comes to my daughter and what I will “encourage” her to do, it actually has nothing to do with a specific job or title and has everything to do with giving her the tools to make choices and decisions on her own.

I will “encourage” her to be a good and decent person. To treat others with respect and to not judge anyone by how they look, where they are from, who they love or what they do for a living. I will “encourage” her to make her own well-informed choices and live her life in a way that makes her happy, satisfied, fulfilled and confident. Whether that future job is as a surgeon or a sex worker is entirely her choice and, if I do my job as a parent properly, will be the right choice for her.



However the thing that really really pissed me off in her uninformed and ignorant rant was the idea that sex work is not empowering or a real “choice” and that all of us sex workers who claim it is are just kidding ourselves or have been “brainwashed” by the patriarchy into thinking it is.

I am going to put it in a very simple way.
I love sex. I fucking LOVE it. I have loved it before I even knew what it was or that there was such a thing as the patriarchy. All I knew was that something down there felt really good.
As I grew up and learnt more about it I loved it even more. And as I started to do it I realised I was really, really good at it.
So, something I really enjoy, am good at and can be paid to do is somehow NOT my choice?
I work for myself. I have no pimp, no manager, no brothel. Just me and a few advertisements dotted around the place, but I am being forced into this?
No. Really I am not. And to say that I am is insulting and ignorant.

Now we come to the whole “exploitation” thing. But before I go any further I will put in my usual disclaimer: I am aware that the sex industry is not perfect. I am aware there are many, many girls who are being forced into this work. Being trafficked and held prisoner. I know there are drug problems and that rapes and attacks happen. I know there are men who exploit this industry to the point of girls being killed while they work. I know this. I am not a fucking idiot. I have spent the last fifteen or so years researching, writing about, talking about and talking to sex workers. I know the drill. I know there is a horrible dark side and I would never ignore that or pretend it's not there.

However (and it's a pretty big however) every coin has two sides, and there are some really amazing, positive sides to the sex industry.
For example, when my “friend” goes on about the people who use the service, she claims they are all just degrading women and using women and seeing women as nothing but objects, I wonder what she would say to one of my clients who I will call Phil.

Phil was shot in the back when he was nine in an accidental farm incident. He has no feeling below his waist and is in a wheelchair. He is quite shy too and finds it very hard to talk to women, let alone have the courage to ask one out on a date or be intimate with.
But he is human. He has urges and needs and desires. He calls me every few weeks and I go and hang out at his house for a few hours. He's a funny guy and we get along great. He is a great kisser, considering he's not kissed all that many girls before, and really knows how to use his hands and tongue. Yes, he pays me for my time. That's my job. But there are times that I go hang out and have a coffee with him just on my own time because we get along. We chat on the phone sometimes if he is feeling lonely and I have even gone out to dinner with him and my husband. I genuinely like him and he genuinely likes me.
If it wasn't for me he would get absolutely no sexual intimacy at all and I think that's a real shame. Sex is a basic human need like food and shelter and (look at the problem with the catholic church) can turn people funny if they can't have it.
Phil is not my only disabled client, there a couple of guys I see who have mobility issues and other disabilities, but who are (like I said) red blooded humans who want and desire sexual contact but, because of their situations, really find it difficult to find.

Are they really just exploiting me? Isn't it (when you really think about it) almost the other way around? I mean they are paying me $3-400 an hour for what should essentially be free and is for most people.

I wonder if this "friend" of mine has ever heard of Accsex and the fabulous work they do. I seriously doubt it. But I can tell you that every single person involved in that program would be so very insulted by her attitude. And saddened. Really really saddened.


Then there are my female clients. I actually see more and more women these days, but there are two I see a lot. One is a bored bisexual housewife who likes to spend days in bed watching lesbian porn and eating pussy, and the other is a lesbian who works such long hours and travels so much she has no time for a relationship or even to meet someone for casual sex.
Is she exploiting me? Is she just some fucked up, sleazy misogynist who wants to humiliate and use me?

There's Gary who has just been divorced and really doesn't want a relationship, but still wants to have sex. There's Fred who, at 30, was still a virgin and was scared he would disappoint a potential mate so wanted some tips. Harold is 70 and his wife died last year. We don't have sex but he likes to cuddle and talk about the days when he and his wife had a wonderful sex life. Actually a lot of my clients don't want sex. They want company and conversation.

Susan has really bad endometriosis. Like really severe. She cannot have sex at all. It is painful and uncomfortable and upsetting. And I mean all sex. Not just penetration. Unless she takes super-strong pain medication she finds all orgasms painful and, because the medication has some severe side effects, she really doesn't take it all that often.. But she really wants her husband to be able to have a sex life so she called me. I went out for coffee with her and we chatted for a long time about the whole thing and now, every month or so I go out to their place and spend an hour with her husband. Sometimes she is there, sometimes she isn't. But the arrangement works really well for them both and they have a wonderful, strong relationship.

I see couples who want to experiment and spice up their love life with a threesome. I see people who have lost their partners to illness and accident. I have even spent time with a very gay man who just wanted to make sure he was gay (long story, have blog about it, will post one day).
I do not believe a single one of these people is exploiting me or using me or treating me as just an object. To say that is almost like saying that I, as a woman, am not allowed to enjoy or be promiscuous with my sex life because enjoyable non-relationship sex is purely men's territory and anyway men only want sex to use women.
It is highly insulting to every single one of them (and to me) to make that claim.

Once again I will state that this job is my choice and I fucking love every damn second of it. To claim I do not is ridiculous.

In the course of the last few years writing my book I have spoken to over two hundred working girls and I can tell you for an absolute fact that out of all of them there are only three who entered into the job as a last resort for money, and that none of them did it to pay for a drug habit.

I will also tell you that in that bunch of two hundred there are law students, medical students and even a couple of police officers. There are mums and wives. There are women saving to buy a house. Women supporting their families because their partners are unable to work for whatever reason. And there are women who, like me, do it purely for the sex. Yes there's money involved. It's a job. But to say it's only about the money is stupid. I mean, would you do YOUR job for free??
The difference is that I rarely come home from work in a foul mood from dealing with all the shit most people deal with day to day with their bosses, work colleagues, and jobs they have to do. I get to play and laugh and joke and orgasm at my job.


This “friend” of mine claims to be a feminist. But, in my understanding, the word “feminism” it is about allowing women to have the right and freedom to make their own choices. Whether it has to do with work, voting, sex, autonomy, money, whatever. It is about choice and, in my opinion, that should not be conditional. It should just be.

End rant!
(PS All names have been changed)

29 comments:

  1. I saw this on the Mamma Mia site and good on you. I really enjoyed reading your side of the story. I have never really thought about the sex industry at all much and have never had judgement for it, so I applaud you for your honesty. I also think maybe your "friend" is not quite your friend, but that is none of my business either and I'm pretty sure you are old enough to decide either way haha. I am really curious as to what your husband thinks but totally understand it is none of my business edit her. When I started reading I just assumed you were a single Mum (totally should never assume anything, not polite really :), so I was a little surprised when "husband" popped up. Anyway i just wanted to leave a positive comment as I know you will get a lot of bad but I am sure lots of good too. Good luck to you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thankyou for this eye opening post (which i too read on mamamia)..and as you said, people should never judge why others choose to do the things they do. My husband has been ill for quite some time, and not able to work...to the point that I now have considered doing some form of sex work to earn some money (we have three kids to support), I have sent out countless resumes, been to endless interviews, and no luck (and peanuts for pay on offer too). But I've never brought up the subject with my hsband, cant quite imagine how he's react! Anyway, I wish you well, and I dotn think you are hurting anyone, infact from the sound of it, you are actually helping quite a few people :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.
      :)
      My only advice would be never do it if you cannot be honest to the most important people/person in your life.
      Open communication is key.
      :)

      Delete
  3. Hi Eva, I really enjoyed this post on mamamia and I applaud you in your strength in making your own choices, particularly when they step outside of the mores of mainstream society. I respect that. What I would like to know though is, do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, what would you say to those feminists who would say that you harming their movement. Is it something that you ever had to struggle with? I ask with no judgment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely I believe I am a feminist.
      Feminism, like I state in the blog, is about freedom of choice and autonomy.
      I am living proof of that.
      :)

      Delete
  4. Hi, I enjoyed your blog. I hope you can humor my curiosity but do you still have sex outside your profession or if you have a boyfriend/lover/husband what does he think of all this? It's one thing to see you or rather read that you are perfectly satisfied with your career choice but what about the people around you, are they as accepting?

    Thank you and I want you to know I admire the work you do. I would love to meet you one day to pick your brain because I believe in your comments regarding how you raise your child and I can't help but mention that I love sex as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I have a fantastic out of work sex life.
      lol
      Here's piece a journo did on me and my husband.
      :)

      http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/husband-tells-of-his-life-married-to-a-sex-worker/story-fni0d7e5-1226693480721

      Delete
  5. Thank you for your articulate and interesting blog. I have long felt that criminalising the sex industry merely fosters the ugly side and does nothing to protect the workers and their clients from violence, exploitation and std's. In my country, South Africa, many young girls take to this work because of poverty and abusive or disfuntional homes and they are further victimised by archaic and hypocritical laws. We have an horrendously high rate of HIV and AIDS which is spread throughout the region by migrant labourers and long distance truck drivers. There are also many foreign women from this continent and beyond who are brought in illegally as sex slaves. This is all a reflection of our poverty stricken, violent and unsophisticated society which has little respect for the rights of women and children. Your gentle and charming account is a refreshing contrast to all this horror.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.
      I do try very hard not to let my experiences diminish or ignore the very real issues that face many women around the world, and indeed here in Australia too. But I do have a very positive outlook at my own experiences and that is valid too.
      Cheers for reading!

      Delete
  6. Just read your article and agree with everything you said. We live in a much more liberal world (well in the West anyway), but alas remnants of the sex-phobic teachings of the Church still live on. That's why sex work (or swinging, open relationships, porn, homosexuality, etc) is still 'underground', and why a lot of people like your friend make such assumptions. It changes when people stop and actually think about what they've assumed their whole life based on what their parents and general society has taught them. I consider it the same as getting married, having kids and buying a house - people just do it because it's what's expected of them, but sadly some people realise it's not for them when it is too late.

    Keep on writing articles, you will wake some people up!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is a sign of patriarchic and misogynist world view that sex workers and sex are dirty. Many like to think they are modern sophisticated human beings but they are still hung up on the same archaic views that kept women at home and without the vote. In some ways we have advanced, in others we are just as primitive as generations before us that many think had backward culturally biased views. Thank you for the post I look forward to reading more of your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should start writing more!!
      Haha
      Been away, been busy and also... procrastination...
      Haha xE

      Delete
  8. I just read your opinion piece on mamamia. It is one of the best things I have read in a long time. I too believe you don't 'encourage' or 'discourage' a child from certain jobs or careers. You simply encourage them to follow their dreams, seek happiness and find work which fulfils them. Things you have obviously achieved. The world needs more people like you in it. How many other people provide satisfaction and comfort via their work in the way you do? I look forward to more of your insights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks heaps!
      I am glad I'm not the only one who sees it this way.
      :)

      Delete
  9. Hi Deliciously Bad,

    I've been looking for contact details for you everywhere. Can you possibly send an email to mistress.lux@hotmail.com or lucy@lucy-blake.com? We've posted a link to your blog on a website and I just need to get your permission :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Loved that entry. It was quite relevant to an argument I was having with some so-called feminists a while ago.

    The basic claim was that the patriarchy tricks women into using sex as currency. Ludicrous for so many reasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes. I am used to those comments.
      Rad Fems. Ugh. Worse than sleazy men in some cases.

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for your sharing insights and experience. I've also had enough of puritan and 'holier than thou' attitudes. I also thought you'd find this article interesting:
    and this one

    ReplyDelete
  13. not sure why the links aren't coming up :-(

    ReplyDelete
  14. It is disgusting the environment you expose your daughter to... people like you should have their children taken away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a really stupid comment.

      Delete
    2. Haha. Says the "anonymous" poster with no balls to own what they say.
      :)
      No, really. Your comment was noted. And laughed at.
      Next time you want people to take you seriously, try owning it.
      xE

      Delete
  15. I always wonder about people who claim sex workers are exploited. Many jobs are exploitative, and I must say I don't think that people who choose to work in this industry are exploited. Clearly you love your work, so good for you.

    I suspect there are many people who would love to have your attitude to their jobs. So how many people working in a slaughter house love their work, not many I suspect; how many working in deep mines, how many people who spend 8 hours a day in call centres having to put their hand up to go to the toilet, how many taxi drivers, how many executives heading towards an early heart attack, how many sales people love being told no 50 times a day. Seriously who are any of us to judge you.

    I have never been to a sex worker, but if I did I wouldn't be thinking that I was exploiting them.

    I'm glad I found your blog

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why do you call yourself a sex worker and not a prostitute?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because to me (and many other sex workers) the word prostitution refers to trafficking and I am most certainly no trafficked nor am I exploited like the awful things that can and do happen within the underworld of the industry.
      Sex worker refers to the service I provide.

      Delete

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