Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Meaning Behind My Tattoos, Part #3: Little Mermaid

On my right arm I have a tattoo of the Little Mermaid swimming to Prince Eric after he becomes a statue. It is done in a watercolor/ painting sort of style, back before tattoos like that were all the rage.

Outtake from space babe shoot, you can sort of see the tattoo

It's based on this painting by Greg Hildebrandt:

I had a book of fairy tales with paintings my Greg Hildebrandt to accompany them when I was growing up, well actually I still have it today! The Little Mermaid was always my favorite story, and not because of the perennial 1989 Disney classic by the same name. Oh no, I was being read this  story long before the movie came out (I didn't learn how to read until I was 8), and always had a great fondness for it. Or at least that's how I remember things going down- it's possible that my memory is incorrect and actually rewritten in my mind to make myself seem cooler to myself.

I started this tattoo when I was 20 and completed it when I was 23- it took about 13 hours all told, making it my most elaborate and intensive tattoo- at least hours wise. I chose it as I saw the story of the Little Mermaid, and my love of it, as representative of the transition from childhood to adulthood. And when I was 20 I was having a particularly difficult time with that transition. Looking back with a more mature and feminist perspective, the story of the Little Mermaids transition to adulthood is, of course, highly problematic; she feels trapped by the sea and her father's rules, she sees a human man (a prince even) on a ship and decides she loves him, she pursues him by asking a sea witch to make her human and give her legs, the sea witch tells her that if she is able to make the prince love her without speaking she can be human forever, she accidentally speaks, he turns to stone. I can't remember clearly if that's the end of the original fairy tale version- I believe it is. In the Disney version they all live happily ever after, of course.

However, this remains one of my favorite tattoos. One thing I love about it is that most people can't tell what it is unless I tell them- that used to annoy me but now I like it, since almost everyone can look at my chest and say "Tetris!" or my Twin Peaks coffee cup and say "coffee!" or "Twin Peaks!" It feels more personal this way, and opens up a more extensive conversation with those who ask about it (not that I'm encouraging any of you to ask strangers about their tattoos- I'm usually happy for the attention, but many with tattoos can get annoyed with the constant attention).

Interestingly, the statue of Prince Eric in the tattoo resembles my boyfriend at the time more than it does the painting version. He came with me to some of the sessions and I was never sure if the artist meant to make the statue look like him, if it was subconscious or just coincidental. This boyfriend was my first love, and one might even say my Prince Charming at that young, impressionable, mostly heterosexual time in my life. I definitely thought he was going to be the one I married, and TBH I would still be happy to have married him if that's how things went down. I'm glad they didn't seeing as how it never would have worked and my life would have taken a completely different course. But he was a sweet, giving, intelligent, hilarious person and I hope someone is happy with him now. Especially since I did him so wrong (if you're reading this, anonymous first love of mine, I hope you know how truly sorry I am. I have had to move on in order to live with myself, but I don't think there's any forgiving how I treated you).

This is pretty much not a sexy story, but when I think about the time of my life when I got this tattoo I think about the importance of realizing that young love may be fleeting, the importance of growing up and the importance of knowing how to ask for what you want in a relationship. Things started hot and heavy with my first love; I was his first and he was my second (sexually), and since we both still lived with our parents we used to drive around the industrial parts of Arvada late at night, find an empty and secluded parking lot, and fuck in the back seat of his car. True  and pure teenage/ young adult love, to be sure.

Later on we moved in together and we both lost interest in frequent sex, but him especially. I don't know if he may have been on an asexuality spectrum, but I do know that he was much more interested in making music, making computer games, and in doing drugs than he was in sex. And my impressionable young female self of course interpreted this as him being disinterested in me. I tried not to- I tried to listen to him about it not being about me, he was discovering that he just found other activities more interesting. I thought we were so different from other couples. I had heard about the natural decline of sexual interest that can occur when you move in with someone, but here I was 20 and he was 19 and it was happening all backwards according to what I had been told about gender and sexual interest. I was the one who was supposed to be interested in other things, not him.

My first foray into non monogamy began here. I think I may have written about it a bit on this blog here and there, and I don't want to spend too much time talking about the experience or how it ultimately failed. But to touch on it quickly, I met a friend of his who I thought was hot, asked him if it was OK to have sex with his friend, got his permission, had sex with the friend, he (boyfriend not his friend) freaked out when it actually happened and said he couldn't handle the jealousy, we broke up and I started dating his friend immediately. We still lived together in a collective house and it was a disaster. I was pretty mean to him and said his friend had a better/ bigger penis than him (the bigger part was true, but not the better part), that we were having SUCH GREAT SEX all the time (that was totally true, but no need to rub salt in the wounds), and I kept reinforcing that my ex was a great friend while the new guy was a great lover. I mean yuck, what a horrible creature I was. He dated one of my best friends for a brief period, I think partially because they liked each other but also maybe to get back at me. I didn't really care, nor do I still because really I've never been the jealous type. But at the time I definitely saw my new relationship as sexually superior to theirs, and felt sorry for her.

So instead of a sexy story you get one about how my sexuality, and entitlement to my sexual expression around others, made me the worst human possible. But back to the tattoo: it has become emblematic to me of the processes I go through in order to grow, and how painful and yet ultimately rewarding it can be to learn from past embarrassingly asshole-ish behavior. And I also have no problem having this fine specimen of a young lover forever immortalized in Prince Eric form on my arm- he deserves to be there, and deserves to live forever fondly in my memories.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Meaning Behind My Tattoos, Part #2: Phoenix

So I just got a new tattoo of a phoenix on my hip that is super sexy and super exciting Simultaneously, I'm attempting to learn how to take better "professional" photos of myself, so that I can do photoshoots on my own schedule or whenever the mood strikes. I put professional in quotes because, well, I'm still an amateur. As the photos in this post will make blatantly evident. They were taken with an iPhone, which I don't think I realized would make them look the way it did and I definitely have to figure out how to charge the battery in my better camera. And I don't know how to do lighting. And I just use my "office" as a setting and didn't attempt to dress it up in anyway. But they're not bad for a first effort! I'm about medium to medium-high proud of them.

Unfortunately, none of the photos I'm about to share show off the tattoo super well, but you can get a feel for it from them.  But I am definitely feelin' myself and I think it shows. Below find the one that shows my tattoo best.

The tattoo is done in a watercolor style and goes from just below my rib cage to mid thigh on my right side. This tattoo has a lot of personal significance for me; it is located on my right hip as I was born with congenital hip dysplasia in that hip (check out the link if you're curious what that means). I was in casts and braces for the first 3 years of my life, and the doctors were not sure I would be able to walk or have normal mobility as I grew older. However, I healed almost fully from it and only have a barely perceptive limp to show for it. This early experience with the medical world was traumatizing for me, and could be a factor in my anxiety disorder- but I came out of it more able-bodied than I was expected to be. Choosing to place a phoenix there is a reminder of my ability to experience hardship with grace, and to learn and adapt and heal and eventually "rise out of the ashes."

I promised a sexy story to go along with each tattoo, but unfortunately I don't have much to go with this one yet! I mean, other than it looks fucking amazing on my body and a couple of hotties have cum on it thus far.

Or how about this?: When I was getting the 2nd session of it done, I noticed that the artist who worked across from my artist (who is amazing, by the way, but I am reticent to share his name in this public of forum... even if the advertising might be great for him) was super hot. I mean, not just normal hot- movie star quality hot. At least in my eyes. He was working on a woman who was getting a tattoo under her breast and who surprisingly seemed in a lot less pain than I, even though hers was on her fucking ribs, right near her heart.

I had a particularly difficult time with the pain of this tattoo, which I think is apt, given it's meaning. I was able to get through the 2nd session only through watching him work on her. It was such a sensual looking experience to me- not that I want to sexualize someone elses tattoo experience, so I will just say that it was soothing to me to imagine it being sensual for them. It helped to make my tattoo more sensual, and helped me to think about how to find pleasure in the pain. I'm not usually one to make sounds during the tattoo process, but as I got higher from the pain I began to work through it by moaning lightly. I hope I didn't weird everyone the fuck out, but they all seemed to be just fine and not surprised.

Well, if the sound of that squicks you out or if pain isn't your pleasure (trust me, it's only rarely mine when I need it to be), here's some more pictures from the shoot to make up for it :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Monster Under My Bed: How Sex Has Helped Me to Manage Anxiety and Depression

First of all, I need to credit the title and inspiration for this post to a panel I attended at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit this previous weekend. The panel featured JoEllen Notte (The Redhead Bedhead), Stephen Biggs and Crista Anne. One thing that was talked about during the panel, and something that really struck a chord with me, was the need for more folks who live with mental wellness issues to speak out on sexuality, and it's importance in our healing and dealing processes (if we do use it for those purposes). I could not agree more, and even though I've already spoken extensively on my struggles with anxiety and depression- and my use of sex, masturbation and orgasm as a coping mechanism- on this blog, I think it's time to delve into the topic once again.

I was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder when I was 7,  and panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression when I was 13. These monsters have always been with me, though- I cannot remember a time in my life when they did not affect me. I began taking an SSRI when I was 13, and while it helped A LOT it has still always been a battle. I felt like I had finally reached a place where I felt "even" and capable when I started using cannabis regularly I quit my job to do sex work, and stopped taking the SSRI. That led to about a year of really bad mental and physical health, and when the disastrous stomach problems I was having were finally diagnosed and linked back to my anxiety, I finally got back on a different SSRI. I am feeling even and capable again now, but only just barely. I struggle a lot with depression especially right now. (For those curious I switched from Paxil to Zoloft).

For me, anxiety and depression are like two sides of the same coin. They actually don't feel that different to me, except for when I am experiencing anxiety more keenly I have a much harder time. Depression feels really manageable to me, and almost a relief in comparison. I actually only experience suicidal thoughts when I'm in the worst depths of deep, dark anxiety. I have a lot of somatic symptoms that go with my anxiety, meaning I get extremely physically ill and can't control it. I've been told by about a million people (including by therapists who aren't very good at their jobs) to just breathe deeply, imagine myself in a peaceful meadow, exercise, etc. and I'll feel better. Ha. Those things work for me to manage mild anxiety and depression, but when my panic attacks start to happen almost 24/7 there is really no way to manage that. I cannot emphasize that enough.

When I was going through my bad times last year, I did find one refuge that helped me to forget my problems, if even just for a few moments. I remember a moment when I had completely broken down and need my mom to come hold me while I cried and feed me and help me go to the store to get my medicine. As she was leaving she asked me what my plan was to get through the rest of the day, and I perked up and said "oh, I'm seeing a client and I should be able to manage that just fine!" My mom, who has had difficulty understanding my relationship to sex and sex as work, was nonplussed by this statement. I will admit that it is pretty weird, and it must have been real strange to see her daughter go from and absolute mess of an adult to someone who was looking forward to working. But she was nevertheless supportive and encouraging, which is the sort of reaction I'd like to see more people have when I share my inner sexual healing process with them.

If you've kept up on any sexual science at all, you'll know that orgasms cause humans to have a dopamine rush. Some people look at this and feel concern that this could lead to addictive behavior; indeed, many people are diagnosed with sex, masturbation and porn addictions. I know a lot of people struggle with the ways in which sexual compulsion can ruin other aspects of their life, but I often wonder if that's necessary. If we had more room in our society for compassion and understanding about how fucking hard it is to get through the day for some people, perhaps we could not be so quick to judge those who need/ want dopamine or other rushes. Perhaps we could have more room for consensual, safe and friendly sexual exploration. Perhaps we could stop punishing those struggling to survive with mental wellness issues for their sex, drug, or other "addictions," and we could start facilitating healthier personal approaches to those dependencies.

For me, orgasms have always been a refuge. They have been the one physical thing I could do that has most consistently helped throughout my entire life. Whether I have had them with myself or with others, orgasms have given me much deserved relief for just a few minutes or sometimes hours or even days if I'm lucky. A sense of calm and rightness in the world always comes over me; a sense that I actually can handle whatever life throws at me. So, as you might imagine, the whole idea behind sex addition or people having an unhealthy relationship to sex really burns my biscuits. Sex is the only reason (besides drugs) that I am still alive today. Sex work too. I know that's a hard one to swallow, but trust me.

I'm glad that it is so much easier for a lot of other people to move about this world, and that they don't need drugs or sex or other dopamine rushes to be OK. I'm also really, really sad that there are so many other people in this world with much more severe mental wellness issues than I, and I refuse to apologize for being depressed about how society treats mental wellness overall. I'm sick and tired of it. While this anxiety/ depression issue I have may originate from my terrible brain chemicals or genetics, the way I and others who struggle are treated as weak and less than human makes me feel terrible. I battle demons over these thoughts every single day. Please just let me have my sex and drugs so I can get through this.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Meaning Behind My Tattoos Part #1: 冬

In case it isn't implied in the title, I have decided to do a series that explains the origin of my tattoos, along with a sexy story that is associated with each (because they all have a sexy story that goes with them). Many people like to know about what inspired me to get my tattoos, so you will now find those stories right here on this blog and it will be a great test as to whether or not you've been reading ;)

(I've also already explained one of my tattoos on this blog before, so I guess this is actually part 2?)

Most friends know that I lived in Japan for about a year when I was 24 and 25 because I mention it frequently. In fact, when I returned I wouldn't shut up about how I had just returned from Japan and I can only imagine how annoying it must have been. But ICYMI, I lived in Sapporo, which is the capital city of Hokkaido, the northernmost island and prefecture. Hokkaido is a lovely little island, a land of volcanoes and hot springs and near perpetual winter. Sapporo itself is the 2nd coolest city I have ever lived in, with Denver being the 1st most cool. Sapporo has a snow and ice sculpture festival every February, and a beer festival every August. I credit Sapporo beer specifically for giving me a taste for beer and ultimately leading me into a 3-4 year period of mild alcoholism. Or whatever- alcoholism isn't even really a thing in Japan like it is in the US. Drinking is a huge part of their corporate and work culture (not that they drink and work, but they have endless drinking parties after work that you're semi-obligated to attend) (My boss also brought Sapporo to work one day and announced it was "beer o'clock" when we were done for the day and gave us all one).

Culture shock and my inability to learn anything beyond the most basic Japanese made my first 6 months there particularly difficult. I was teaching English to 3-14 year old kids for an after school English tutoring program, and they didn't want us to ever use Japanese in class so my language acquisition problems weren't a huge deal. But I had a difficult time adjusting to their work ethic and expectations around that. I once had a migraine and tried to call in sick for work, which didn't go over well. After that I went into work once when I was extremely ill and shouldn't have gone to work, but rather than send me home my boss drove me to a pharmacy and got me some cold medicine and a face mask.

I also had trouble adjusting to the cold of the winter there, and the ridiculous amount of snow that never melted. People tend to think Colorado is the same, but in Denver our winters are relatively mild and temperatures only dip below 0 Fahrenheit every once and a while, if ever. That year in Sapporo it was consistently below 0 from December through April. On my way to the school I worked at every Friday we drove past the pile of snow that the city had collected from street snow removal. It was about as tall as a 2-3 story building.

Still, I did adjust to the winter, the work ethic and the language. I was very poor and my benevolent middle class friends bought me a pair of good snow boots and snow pants. One of the teachers at the after school school who really disliked me quit, and they hired new teachers who were much kinder to me. I created a beloved teaching persona where I encouraged bad kids to vocally rebel in class in English, which ended up working well for everyone involved. I never learned to speak Japanese, but I was able to comfortably get my needs met when interacting with non-English speakers, and I was able to read and understand the language ok. I never learned kanji, the more complex form of written Japanese. But I was able to learn hiragana and katakana, which are the 2 more basic forms of written Japanese. It's sort of like I was at the equivalent of what a 5-year-old Japanese kid could read. I also learned about 3-4 kanji characters, one of those being the kanji for winter, fuyu in Japanese. It looks like this 冬. Isn't it pretty? I think that's why I was able to learn it- it's so simple and yet aesthetically pleasing.

I also used to like winter a lot more at the time I got this tattoo. lol.

I began considering getting a tattoo that featured a snowflake and 冬 around the time that my long-distance boyfriend from the US came to visit for my birthday and the snow festival in February. The period between when I left Colorado in August and then saw him in February was the longest period I went without partner sex in my adult life. We had agreed to allow sex outside our relationship while I was in Japan (this was one of my pre-poly non-monogamy experiments), but I hadn't yet met anyone to have sex with. Or rather, I didn't meet anyone who wanted to have sex with me. I was friends with the JET community there, which was the group of native English speakers contracted to teach English through the Japanese government. I will admit that I had a crush on pretty much every male JET during that time period, and also a few of the female ones as well. I even managed to make one of them extremely uncomfortable when, upon finding out he was a virgin during an evening of drinking, I offered to take his virginity with absolutely no hesitation or pretense. I think he was a little intimidated.

My sexual desire was only just barely satiated by my boyfriend's visit, and then again when I had terrible casual sex with an Irish dude in Tokyo. Everything changed when I met a 42 year old Japanese guy with passable English and cute glasses at a bar one night. We began emailing to "practice English," and then eventually ended up making out on a ferris wheel and going to a love hotel to fuck. I wasn't at all interested in him for anything other than sex, which is actually sort of unusual for me. I was expecting the sex to be just as disappointing as my Tokyo liaison, but it was surprisingly decent and was probably the kinkiest sex I had had up to that point my life. In what will probably sound like the most stereotypical sex experience to have with a Japanese man, he very politely asked me if he could tie me up and then used the belt of one of the robes in the room as a rope to do some complicated kinbaku on my wrists. I was super impressed, seeing as how he didn't have much "rope" to work with.

Since I had been impressed and orgasmic during our first fuck, I continued to agree to meet with him even though it was clear he was in love with me and we were heading for trouble. He did more elaborate kinbaku on me each time I saw him, and said funny things while fucking me like "piss out!"... which I was never sure if he meant squirt/ cum or if he actually wanted me to take a piss? It didn't really matter, it worked for me at the time. I asked him if he thought it would be offensive for me to get a tattoo of kanji when I didn't really speak the language, and he was adamant that it would be totally awesome and he hoped I would do it. So it could be say he's somewhat responsible for me going through with it, though I'm sure the opinion of one Japanese man who fucked/ loved me is no exoneration from how culturally appropriative this tattoo probably appears to most Japanese people.

He began texting me regularly and asking if I loved him and where our relationship was going. We had been together for about a month when he began talking marriage. It occurred to me that he might want to move to America, and thus was maybe just trying to use me for a green card, but then he started talking about me moving to Sapporo forever and meeting his family. I didn't even know what to say to get myself out of this situation. Eventually I explained to him that I actually had a boyfriend back in America, and he was heart broken but not deterred. I ended up breaking up with him in a subway station and then running away, saying I "had other plans and had to go," when he started to get emotional. Hey, I was 25. And he was 42. Don't judge.

I had meant to get the tattoo while still in Japan, but tattoo artists are hard to find there and I suppose I still had some embarrassment about how culturally appropriative it would be to have to bring a translater into the shop with me to explain the Japanese language tattoo I wanted to get. I got it done in a shop in Denver by a guy who was pretty pissed off at me for almost passing out during it because I had forgotten to eat before I went in to have it done. I believe it was my 4th tattoo, after my ankle cat, my shitty prison-tat armband and my little mermaid half sleeve. I always forget I have it because it is on my back and usually covered by my hair. Everyone else forgets I have it, too, which is perhaps for the best. But I do love it, and love the period of my life that it represents. Many of my tattoos represent my ability to overcome adversity and to grow as a human being, and this one is no exception to that.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

An Honest and Personal Look at My Experience with Education Privilege

About a year or so ago, my friend's boyfriend told me he thought I should probably invest my time and money in an education because, "as you grow old, you will lose your beauty. Your tits will sag and you won't be able to command the same rates and attention." Or something to that affect, I'm definitely paraphrasing. But the part about my tits sagging was definitely there, I remember that vividly because I had to laugh; my tits already are sagging, you see, and no one seems to mind.

It was such a slap in the face to me. It was over the Internet, Facebook to be exact (yes, I am out on Facebook. And to just about anyone who asks), and I admit I egged him on. It was something I believe he would not have said to me in person. Maybe. I hadn't actually seen him in person for ages at this point.

I'm a confident woman, or at least good at acting like one. This wasn't an insult to me because of the dig at my age, the fact that I am continuing to age, or the sad but true fact that my tits are sagging. It was just staggering in it's latent whorephobia and complete misunderstanding of how the sex industry works. And, because I like to believe the best in people (despite the fact my husband has thought this guy was a psychopath pretending to be normal from the moment he met him- and my husband is hardly ever wrong about people) I actually don't think he meant the comment to be anything other than "tough love." I think he's genuinely worried about me, thinks I have academic potential, and thinks I'm wasting my life on frivolity. I think it was a bit of the worst kind of non-client captain-save-a-ho moment; he thought he was helping, and all I could do was be triggered by his rampant misogyny.

For those of you who don't know, I do not have a college edumacation, as we yokels call it out here in the hinterlands. I have long relished in reminding people of this fact, as I believe there is a lot of class warfare going on around liberal arts education in our society. And for those who can't tell, I am on the side of the poor and the disadvantaged. Because I was once poor and am disadvantaged- but I'm really good at faking a higher class than I was raised because I was right on the border. Somewhere between lower and middle middle class; not all the way poor but poor enough that my parents could not afford to send me to college. And the idea of me taking out loans to make a go at college was laughable because I likely wouldn't be able to make it through. I have these things called "learning disabilities," that I actually like to call "seeing the truth behind your wage-slavery propoganda prison education industry." I struggle with jumping through the hoops and following the rules of traditional education, and some have labeled that a learning disability while others labeled it mental disability or quiet genius. Whatever label applies, the idea of needing to earn my piece of paper that says I have learned a thing by getting a letter grade and passing some tests is overwhelming to me.

This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate those who have been able to achieve a level of education higher than me; I actually quite admire all of you and wish to have a lot of deep, philosophical conversations with you. You know a lot of things I don't, and believe me; it is a great privilege that you were able to do it. I envy you that privilege. I just don't like being treated like I'm not one of you. And I especially don't like people telling me that I should attempt to obtain a certain level of education because I live a sad little whore life that is all going to come crashing down around me. Whether or not it does (and trust me, it's actually seeming extremely unlikely that it will), an education doesn't help someone like me because I don't have access to it. I have money but not that much, and I am unwilling to go into debt for something I (likely) won't complete. I am definitely the little sex worker that could, and I am definitely book-smart, but there ain't no imperialist education out there that is going to fucking suit me. I am way too mentally disabled/ aware I live in a dystopian nightmare to waste one minute of my time on traditional methods of education in this country. Or probably any country.

As you may have guessed, this sort of anarcho-thought is partially what led me into sex work, though I have honed my feelings and opinions around this topic much more since then. It's a funny thing, that- I continue to gather knowledge, learn things, fine-tune or change my opinions. I read and I pay attention to social and political and cultural issues and deconstruct pop culture. I have little time or patience for math, and yet I successfully run my own business, pay my own bills, and have significant (for me) savings. I try to work on myself as a compassionate person, and I try to learn from my bad experiences. I sort of... I don't know, function like a normal, upper-middle class person with a bachelors degree in liberal arts.

I am a depressed sex worker and I have infiltrated your club. And I have a great deal of love for those of you who have welcomed me with open arms. Thanks for acknowledging that my journey has been different and yet similar to yours. Thank you for recognizing my intelligence, even if I express it differently than you. Thank you for taking me at my word when I say I have issues instead of trying to tell me I could so easily not have them.

When my friend's BF reduced my job or my expertise to my beauty, and especially when he made the laughable mistake of assuming something like age matters, he showed me just what he really thought of me. He was very clearly and firmly telling me I am not a member of the club, but I should wish to be a member. I should try my damndest to be a member of his shitty little club where sex workers don't automatically get to join; they have to prove they can get a BA in something other than blowjobs first. I mean fuck off with that.

I do have a lot of what I will call, I don't know, intelligence or education privilege. I hate even deeming it either of those things because I firmly believe everyone has their own intelligence and their own way of educating themselves, but that does nothing to change the fact that I do carry that privilege, and it does give me a lot of advantages as a sex worker. I have frequently been told I have a gift for clear and thoughtful personal writing, and so I must believe I comport myself in a way that translates to "brainy and/or educated." I guess I'm also easy on the eyes or something, which again really makes me uncomfortable to cop to, but it's also something I've been told a lot. No doubt that has some bearing on people patting me on the back and telling me I've been a smart little Kitten. All of these facts may make me not the best person to talk about this. But damn it if I don't feel it intensely when my success is treated in a reductive manner. I've had to do a lot of thinking outside the box to get here.

All apologies for sounding like such a libertarian right now. It's not my intent. When I talk about my personal successes, I am not trying to rub it in the face of those less privileged than I. All I'm trying to convey here with this very personal investigation of my very important special snowflake feelings is that education is both a privilege, and not always needed to succeed. Everyone has a different definition of success, and it is often based on circumstance. For some people success looks like making a lot of money as a hottie sex worker and proving everyone wrong with their marketing and business acumen. For other people it means simply being able to pay for groceries and roofs over the head, and there are a lot of people way, way more on the margins than me who are being more hurt by reductive arguments against sex work than I am. My wounded pride is but a faint echo of human suffering, but I do think it is a personal anecdote that might make a little more sense to those of you up there at the top of your academic privilege ivory tower, as it may be closer to some of your own personal experiences.

For education to be a useful thing for me, and a lot of other sex workers who actually desperately need/ want access to education, it needs to be a lot of things that it isn't. It needs to be FREE, not low cost. It needs to be absolutely free for everyone. It needs to be accessible for everyone, and not have barriers that force people to prove their relative intelligence or ability to operate within capitalist and imperialist structures. It needs to have a strong focus on honest historical perspectives of white colonialism. It needs to reward people for thinking differently rather than punishing them for not being able to think in a way that the gate keepers of education find acceptable. It needs to foster skills for continued learning and education, rather than giving someone an arbitrary piece of paper that says they have learned all the things and now have the magic key to higher class and social status (and by the way, that key is getting less and less magical over time, and not giving the sort of access to class and social status that it used to, as we millennials know all about).

Perhaps this is all ridiculous idealism, and not something attainable within our lifetimes, nor a perfect model of social utopia. But until I start seeing more of you academia fuckers welcoming the common, uneducated masses into your club, I am not going to be nice about this. I will continue to laud my financial success over you. I will continue to laugh at you for thinking it has as much to do with my beauty as you assume. I will high-five those who support me and my choices, and I will write screeds about those who don't.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

International Sex Worker Rights Day: Please Listen to Us!

Editors note: since my original publication of this piece yesterday I have learned that it was in fact not International Sex Worker Rights Day, which is March 3rd. It was actually International Whore's Day or International Sex Woker's Day, which I guess is an Australian/ Kiwi celebration and I just follow a lot of Australian and New Zealand sex workers on social media? Anyhow, all of my sentiments still stand, yesterday and every day. I'm only a little bit embarrassed and cut me slack, I smoke weed.

Hey everyone! Long time no write, I know. Seeing as how this is a sex blog, and I'm a sex worker, I've been having a hard time writing about sex lately because I do sexy things for work and it's all become very complicated for me. I'm sure anyone who has ever had a job can understand that on some level.

One thing that is not very complicated for me in my life right now is my belief that society needs to get it's fucking shit together regarding how it treats sex workers. And I'm not even talking about me; I'm mostly treated pretty well. I occasionally get an email from a religious person trying to rescue me, but I can just ignore those. Sometimes people give me nasty stares because I have stickers on my laptop that say "be nice to sex workers," and "be nice to drug users," but a nasty stare is something I sort of enjoy in a sick way. Stigma surrounding sex work can and has affected me very deeply, and has complicated a lot of my existing issues with depression and anxiety. But I can't even begin to imagine how much worse it must be for sex workers who don't have a supportive network of friends and family. Or how bad it must be for sex workers who are arrested, incarcerated, living in poverty, attacked for their gender or sexuality in addition to their work, and etc. I am very fortunate to be the sort of sex worker that I am, and to get away with the shit that I get away with.

There is a ton of injustice in this world, and I am not the best person to express all of it. I'm not even the best sex worker to express the injustice that sex workers uniquely face. I'm using a blog that is mostly read by clients, friends and some other sex workers as a platform to preach to the choir here. But I do have a few things to say about our need for rights as sex workers, and so I'm going to practice saying them here in this loving and supportive articulating zone I have created for myself.

One of the most damaging assumptions made about sex workers is that we do not have the ability to speak for ourselves. It is, of course, hardly ever an assumption made about me personally. But I am often silenced as well, albeit through the different and arguably legit tactic of telling me that I am too privileged to speak for sex workers who are on the margins, or who are not doing sex work as consensually as most assume that I am (for the record, I do consent to sex work repeatedly and without issue, but I do not consent to capitalism so it's a little complicated). When it comes to sex workers who aren't me, many of them do not speak openly or loudly out of concern for their safety and/ or privacy. Many do speak and have their words erased and ignored in a fashion that is similar to how my words are erased and ignored. When a sex worker does speak, the message is almost always "because of your station/ the class you belong to/ your ethnicity/ your grasp of language or communication or level of communication, your words can not be taken seriously." It works both ways; a marginalized sex worker is told that because she did not consent to her situation, she needs help and rescue rather than rights. And a privileged sex worker is told that because she did consent to her situation, she can't be trusted and is a "collaborator," or worse. Both sex workers are thought to need help of some sort, and are thought to not have agency whether or not they think they have some or a lot of agency.

If you were to ask just about any currently operating sex worker what sorts of rights they want, you'll hear the same things over and over again: decriminalization or legalization. Money to survive. Suitable working conditions and safety. Kindness from strangers. They are not unreasonable demands. Of course, the problem occurs when we start talking about how decimalization (for the ease of my own personal argument, I'm sticking with that model rather than legalization) would affect our ability to earn income, work safely and change societal perceptions about our work. Many still believe that keeping sex work illegal is for the protection of those involved in the industry. Even with a resounding, collective battle-cry against criminalization coming from sex workers, these people wish to cover their ears and sing "la la la!" and firmly state that they know what is best for sex workers. Because sex workers are victims, because sex workers are tricked and coerced into the industry, because sex workers, in effect, are either stupid or evil. Or both.

Of course, an abolitionist would never admit that they think sex workers are either stupid or evil. They have too much pity in their hearts to even realize they're thinking such things. I believe they wear this pity and concern like an armor that protects them from having to admit to things that are much more problematic about our society than how we relate to each other sexually. When sex workers say it's about our rights as laborers, rather than our rights as sexualized women (and not all sex workers are female, btw), it forces your average abolitionist to start to confront some of their own issues with whatever labor it is that they perform. When we continually assert that sex work is work, it challenges some very fundamental ideals about what exactly work is and why we're all doing it. It requires a much deeper analysis of capitalism and labor overall, and not just a simple narrative of sex work is abusive because money and sex together in the same space equal exploitation, objectification, rape, whatever.

There is really nothing more frustrating than continually being told that you don't understand that complex politics behind your labor, and I would argue that no other group of laborers (perhaps beside drug dealers) are told that as often as sex workers are. It's insulting no matter where you land on the consensual/ non-consensual spectrum. It's hurtful and wears you down.

So, the thrust of this stream of consciousness is that everyone needs to listen to sex workers when it comes to policies that affect our lives. I have never met a sex worker who didn't know how to advocate for their own rights better than just about anyone else. It is a universal truth that no matter how "victimized" a person is by their situation, they still know what's best for them because they are the only person who knows what it's like to be them. This is something that I'm fairly certain anyone reading this blog will take no issue with. But in case you were considering talking over a sex worker and telling them what's best for them in the future, take it from me. Just don't. Even though I myself am a sex worker, I'm going to try even harder not to speak over other sex workers. And you should too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bisexual Erasure and Monogamy

From Wikipedia:

Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media and other primary sources.

Those of us who are bi, pansexual, queer or whatever you want to call it, know this all too well. If I am in relationship with a man, I am straight. If I am in a relationship with a woman, I am gay. If I'm in a relationship with someone who doesn't identify strongly with either gender, then no one knows what I am. I will either be straight or gay based on that person's perceived gender. And if I'm in a relationship with different people who fit all over the gender spectrum? Maybe then I finally get to be viewed as "legitimately" bi, pan or queer sexual. But usually not- since I am personally in a heterosexual marriage, I am still often thought of as straight.

One thing bisexual people hate being told is either that they must choose one gender or another, or that they will never be able to have a committed, long-term or monogamous relationship if they don't choose. Most bisexual people seem to hate the assertion that they can't be monogamous if they find more than one gender attractive. Personally, I hate the assertion that there's anything wrong with being non-monogamous. Either way you look at it, it is clear that our societal ideals and expectations for monogamous relationships play a heavy role in bi erasure and invisibility.

Whether or not a bisexual person chooses to be in a monogamous relationship, we need to stop defining an individual's sexuality based on the perceived gender of the partner they choose. The series Orange Is The New Black addresses this issue a lot. After Piper's fiance Larry learns that she has been cheating on him in prison with her ex-girlfriend, he asks Piper's brother Cal:

"Is she gay now?" (this is after Piper has already given him a lecture about the Kinsey scale and has told him she is bisexual earlier in the series).

Cal responds "“I’m going to go ahead and guess that one of the issues here is your need to say that a person is exactly anything.” Which is a fine and good answer, but doesn't totally get to the crux of the issue. The issue is Larry seeing Piper's sexuality as either being defined by her relationship with him or her relationship with Alex. Piper doesn't get to have any say in what her sexuality is, only her actions matter. She can only be gay or straight, and if she leaves Larry for Alex that means she's gay now.

Even within monogamous relationships everyone should have two sexual relationships. There is the sexual relationship they share with their monogamous partner, the relationship that is obvious to society and socially accepted. And then there is the sexual relationship a person has with themselves. Since the former involves another person, that relationship can be defined as straight or gay or whatever the two people involved want to identify it as. The latter, the sexual relationship one has with oneself, and all the fantasies and genders and anthropomorphic animals (if that's your bag) that exist within that relationship- those all belong to the individual. And the individual should get to decide how to identify. Alone. It's theit identity.

I have long said that I think the great downfall of monogamy is not the idea of only having one sexual partner; it's the ownership and possession that person gets to have over your sexuality that really gets to me. Not every person in every monogamous relationship always takes advantage of this implicit ownership, but it doesn't matter. Society views a monogamous couple as a solid sexual unit, defined by the sex they have together. There is no room for sexuality outside of that unit, even the sexual relationship you have with yourself.

It's maddening and it's sick.

I don't believe bisexual erasure will stop happening until people can stop seeing someone as being defined by who they choose to have sex with. You don't need to be non-monogamous to be bisexual (though it does help in my particular case), but you do need to be able to differentiate your sexual identity from your monogamous relationship. Possession has no place in personal identity and it's time we start allowing for individualism in our sexual identities. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Love Cum

I feel like such a stereotype saying it. Which I think is why I don't talk about this particular fetish of mine much. Women are often told that all the women in porn are faking their interest in ejaculate, especially on their faces or in their mouths. This has always made me self-conscious of my cum kink- not in a way where I feel shameful, but rather in a way where I worry that people won't believe me or take me seriously. I'll seem like just another business savvy sex worker who knows saying that I love come can make me a lot of cash.

Lest you be amongst those who have their doubts about the authenticity of my admission (and shame on you, btw), let me tell you about the memory that has brought me to orgasm during my self-love sessions in the last several days. Tuesday night my fuckfriend came over to my new incall to help me assemble some furniture because they are an absolute saint. This isn't actually relevant to the story, I just mention it to both set a tone regarding this lover's kindness and genorisity, and also to casually drop the fact that I have a brand new incall with fabulous, queer assembled furniture that you should definitely come visit.

Anyhow, we had sex later in the evening. We recently negotiated that we were going to stop using barriers for penetrative sex, but until this moment we had not yet had penetrative sex because we usually have sex in a more queer fashion. All of sudden it was happening, and it was happening hardcore slutty style. I was riding on top of him and cumming non-stop, which is nothing new with this fuckfriend but I was very aroused by the fact that we were doing something that we don't do very often. That always gets me off.

I started rubbing his balls and then his asshole, and all I could think was fuck, I want it. I wanted that cum inside of me so bad, and it was like this completely carnal response. It barely even feels like I'm using my brain in moments like that, it was all libido. It's literally as though I'm thinking with my pussy.

I'm sure he saw the determination in my eyes, felt the determination in my insistent asshole rubbing, and thus nature took it's course. I wasn't even sure he had cum inside of me, but it definitely felt like it and it definitely seemed like it was time to stop. I rolled off of him but before I knew it she was fingering me (the pronoun change her is intentional, deal with it), and I was so fucking turned on by the mere thought of cum inside of me that I came all over the place myself. I could literally feel my cum mixed with hers streaming down my ass cheek, and I officially died happy.

Well, I didn't die but I could have.

Since my fuckfriend's gender is complicated and non-binary, I've been analyzing why I enjoyed this experience so much. I felt guilty at first because it was very heterosexual, and I was confused by the concept that the heterosexuality of it might have been what was getting me off. If you've been reading this blog for long enough, you've probably gathered that I have complicated feelings about being a queer identified women who loves dick in my pussy. I've recently been able to come to terms with this more, because I've realized it's really not the only type of sex I like and that I'm happy to go without it with partners who aren't capable of penis in vagina sex, or who don't want to do it all of the time, or who don't like it much. So liking this experience so much with someone who I'm usually happy to not have dick in pussy sex with felt like a set-back in my queerness.

Which is bullshit, by the way. I would never allow anyone other than myself to think things like that about my sexuality. But you know what I realized after again masturbating to this memory, and other cum-related memories and fantasies?

IDGAF what your gender, presentation or sexuality are: I want your cum. For me, many of my sexual fantasies and desires definitely revolve around cum. I want it inside of my cunt (disclaimer: only with individuals I have previously negotiated that with, because this is also a boundary of mine), I want it in my mouth and spurting down my throat. I want it all over my body and I want to feel it hitting my asshole. I don't exactly want it in my eye, but I'm fine with it ending up there. Especially if you've got a hot, swollen, squirty pussy like mine and you can't aim very well.

I love the taste and the smell. I also love feeling a person cum. I love sticking my fingers in a pussy or asshole and feeling the muscles inside contract around me. I could only imagine what it would feel like to have a dick. #goals. I love the way a dick sometimes jerks in my pussy or in my hand when it's ejaculating. I love feeling muscles tense and and hips buck.

And oh, watching. How could I forget my voyeuristic tendencies? The only thing better than getting someone off is watching them get themselves off. Looking in their eyes while they do it, trying to maintain eye contact. I could mutually masturbate with anybody all night long... and I definitely cannot have a dick in me for more than thirty minutes, absolute max.

So yes, I am absolutely a cum dumpster and I'm fucking proud of it. Let's bukkake.