Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex.


Dirty Deeds Sexuality and Agency in Commodity Culture
September 20, 2011, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , ,

If you’re based in Melbourne, come along tomorrow and see this free seminar. A very good friend of mine will be talking at it so I know it’s gonna be great!



Next Wave, A Sex Worker Manifesto
September 2, 2011, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , ,

Annabelle Xaah – Next Wave, A Sex Worker Manifesto.

Really fascinating and well worth a listen. I really enjoy the whole Red Umbrella Diaries podcast series, a whole lot of stories from sex workers from many different walks in life.



Guest Post: Sex worker Verses Pro Domme: “She’s just a hooker with a Whip”
June 13, 2011, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Sex | Tags: , , , , , ,

A friend of mine and woman who I admire very much, Mistress Avika, wrote an article recently that I really enjoyed and asked if I could repost here. She was generous enough to oblige and so you’re lucky enough to be able to hear her intelligent, informed and interesting point of view.

Sex worker Verses Pro Domme: “She’s just a hooker with a Whip”
By Mistress Avika. 

Sex is a touchy subject around professional Dominas, Mistresses and ‘old school’ slaves. It is frequently said that  Mistresses who have sex with their slaves, bottoms, subs or erotic adventurers are not real Dommes. That a woman who does that is “just a hooker with a whip” and can’t possibly also deeply understand other reasons for engaging in BDSM. I disagree.

This issue arises from a complex set of ideas and opinions that has its basis in some real and valid ideas as well as some outdated sexism and sex negative prejudice. I seek ways to honor the valid reasons at the same time recognise and address the limiting and unhelpful aspects of the anti-sex and anti sex worker attitude.

There are many different states of consciousness, states of embodied pleasure, release and sensation that are possible. Different techniques and intentions result in different results. One is not inherently more valuable than any other. It all depends on what you want to experience.

For folk right into our BDSM(Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) fetishes and D/s (Dominant/Submissive) explorations, the goal of our activities is often a particular state of consciousness called subspace and/or topspace. These forms of play can be about eroticism but it is not necessarily about overt eroticism and might not be about eroticism at all. The focus is in the state of consciousness that can be achieved through these activities and exploration of the pleasure, intensity, transformation, deep peace, trust, intimacy and plain old fun these states can evoke.

Traditional, penetrative sex could in fact hinder the person attempting to access these particular mind /body states of being because it releases different chemicals in the body, guides the mind down a different route to a different destination and if ejaculation is involved, can cut short the powerful journey created by all the other activities. For many people, cumming breaks the spell of subspace /top space.

BDSMers, fetishists and power exchange players (here on shortened to the umbrella term “kinksters”) have traditionally faced a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding throughout history. When outsiders come along, they frequently think we are sick and misunderstand what it is we are trying to achieve with these seemingly perverted and extreme activities. On the other extreme outsiders become fascinated and want to join in. Initially they assume it is all about traditional sex and “horniness” and have never in considered the other possible reasons for engaging in these activities. This can be a source of frustration to kinksters because these new comers are often pulling in a different direction to us and making all sorts of false assumptions about what is on offer.

As a pro Domme I am flooded with enquiries that misunderstand the intent of what I am offering and assume that it is all about “kinky sex”. It would be easy for me to become frustrated and put those people down for “not getting it” but really, what is actually wrong with enjoying, actively exploring and delighting in “kinky sex”? I sure like it! It’s just another option on the menu for me to explore, savour and revel in. Some folk that initially come to me for Kinky sex, end up exploring other states they didn’t know existed and therefore could never have asked for. Others remain delighted to explore all the kinds of forbidden sex they have never had an opportunity to experience with anyone else.

I believe that a lot of the tension between those into kinky sex and those into exploring subspace/topspace for its own sake, is based on constant misunderstanding of the intent of what one is trying to achieve. The reason people engage in kinky sex is different to the reason that kinksters engage in BDSM for its own sake. If you use certain tools or activities and have certain intents, you get one kind of mind/body result. If you use another set of tools, activities and intents, you get a different mind/body result. One is not inherently more valuable or “better” than the other. Both are different options and both are valid in their own right. Not just valid, but deeply pleasurable and rich sources of ecstatic living.

It is not useful when exploring a sex positive, femme-empowered place to assume that all sex workers are victims that don’t enjoy what they do and are inherently degraded because they have sex for money with clients. Sex work may not be something that you could or should do but that does not mean all of us are wired the same as you. No doubt there are as many opinions on this topic are there are people so I shall just stick to my perspective.

I do many different things. I am a pro Domme who guides people into a variety of different states of consciousness in body and mind. Some are overtly erotic and others ecstatic… still others are a deep quieting of the mind… others intense adrenalin pumping highs… or about transformation and self discovery… some about submission… some about “getting off”… because guess what! “Getting off” is FUN! This idea that getting off is not as noble a goal as the others is based in an assumption that pleasure and play for delights sake is somehow wrong, less valuable than “serious” intents and adds to the cycle of sex-shame our culture has nursed for millennia.

I’ve had enough shame about sex drilled into me from an uber religious upbringing, anti sex feminists, cultural fear of sexually powerful women and dominant ideas about how sex work is inherently degrading to women. Indeed how sex itself is inherently degrading to women and just the act of engaging in sex means the woman is being submissive. After all, only men want sex right? Women like it when they are in the “honeymoon” period of a romantic relationship but that wears off right? Then women use it to “get stuff” like a nice house, their way in an argument or a new perfume… The worst of these are sex workers who clearly only do it to get money… it is just assumed that men want sex more than women do and to “give it to him” is about his pleasure, not hers. Especially if it is particularly dirty sex. Oh and then there are the positions women naturally get in for sex… Unless she is on top, those positions are inherently submissive right?

I can’t speak for other women but when I close my eyes and search deep into my body and mind, strip back cultural expectations, assumptions and politics to search my authentic being for answers, I find that I feel very powerful when engaging in sex of all kinds. I love what I do. I love being a sex worker, a teacher of the erotic arts who guides people into deeper relationships with their shame-free ability to experience limitless erotic pleasure… I also love my work as a pro Domme who facilitates journeys into submission and other kinky altered states. I also really love having good old fashioned sexy fun with open minded, respectful clients. Fun for fun’s sake rocks my boat too. I do not value one path over the other.

The key is to be very clear about what it is that each client is trying to achieve and what I want to achieve with each client. I choose the tools, activities and intents together with the client in order to best achieve the desired outcome based on their particular wiring and our combined dynamic. I do not engage in activities I do not want to. If I feel inside myself and it feels wrong, I don’t do it. If a client is not respectful, I do not offer them a session. I do not accept every client that asks me for a session. I ensure that we are matched first. Otherwise I recommend another professional who they may be more suited to skills, goals and personality-wise.

Working this way has lead me to develop some intense and mutually beneficial professional relationships with clients that have opened and changed us both. I cannot tell you how incredibly delicious it is to be part of someone’s erotic and/or BDSM journey. That moment when someone slips into a new state of being that rises from deep within their authenticity through a session I have created for them… OH. MY. GODDESS! I cannot imagine a more rewarding way to spend my time on this planet. (Of course as part of my “work” I constantly explore my own ability for erotic and ecstatic pleasure… oh poor me! Such a victim!)

As a professional, I am not replacing the intimacy of a romantic relationship. That is not my role. My role is to explore, teach and facilitate certain experiences utalising my highly trained skillset. The result is different to that of the kinds of play I engage in with a romantic partner and for me, one is not a threat to the other. For me, engaging in sex outside of fluid bonded, romantic, intimacy does not take from the sex in my romantic relationships at all. In fact, it really adds to it because having a career and spiritual path dedicated to erotic exploration means I constantly feed the fires of my eroticism and do not suffer from “bed death” after the honeymoon period has finished. The way I engage in sex work is not damaging or degrading to me or my personal relationships.

To summerise: Whether our goal is to explore sub/top space or other states of consciousness for its own sake, to revel in the pleasure of kinky sex, to explore transformation, dirty horny deliciousness , intensity, submission or spiritual connection it’s all valid. We just need to be clear about our intent and use the right tools to achieve our goal. Not every professional wants to explore all these different modes. Many specialise in the none sexual sessions and that is fine. Each person has to do what is right for them and honor the way they are wired. This does not mean that someone who is a pro Domme and a kinky sex worker is not a “real” Domme. Putting one form of exploration on a pedastool over another is just another form of prejudice. Instead I invite us to value all the paths possible and consciously choose which person is right to explore our unique wiring with based on compatibility of intent, skill level and repoire. There is no such things as a “real” Domme. It is just a matter of whether or not the professional you seek understands and can cater to your particular aims for a session. Every kind of Domme is perfect for someone.



Making Sex Work – Feminism vs. The Sex Industry
October 12, 2010, 12:32 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , ,

I just came across this awesome video while reading Serpent Libertine’s blog. It’s a message to anti-porn, anti-sex work feminists and it basically expresses my own thoughts on the issue in a far more succinct and articulate manner than I am capable of. I’d love for people to check it out and spread the word.

There seems to be an overwhelming upsurge of militant feminists who are very much against sex work to the point where they want it abolished. I don’t own the term “feminist”, I can’t say they’re not feminist… but I could like to suggest that they’re bad feminists. Bad feminists, down! I said DOWN! BAD! No schmackos for you! Uh, anyway, as one of the women in the video put it, and I’m sorry if I misquote her:

“This is my body, this is the only thing I alone am ever going to truly own and I should be able to use my body as I see fit, regardless of whether you or anyone else sees it as morally or ethically wrong. The right to choose what happens to one’s body and the right to control what happens to one’s body is a fundamental right that I and others are extremely passionate about. The moment we say ‘no you can’t do this with your body’ is the moment we step foot on a slippery slope that ends up with people – not just women, men included – being denied their most basic right, the right to body autonomy.”

Yes! Fucking… yes!

Edit: If you’re interested, there’s also a follow up video dealing with some of the arguments people have made about the topic. It’s pretty great, I’m in love with the awesome lady who does these.



Sharing is sexy – round two
September 25, 2010, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Gorgeousness from just a perfect day.

How To Respect Sex Workers from Ms. Magazine. This is SUCH a great little article! Interesting comments, too.

Sympathy for the Anti-Porn Feminists by sex positive activist, Clarisse Thorn. It’s a great article and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety. However, here are some bits that stood out for me:

“So how can I have sympathy for anti-porn feminists? Only because I remember how I felt just a few years ago. I remember that I felt so confused about my own sexuality; I remember how resentful I felt, that sex seemed so easy for men — that the world seemed to facilitate their sex drives so thoroughly, particularly by providing all this porn!”

Also:

“Anti-porn activists rely on the societal belief that men’s sexuality is hard to control, scaring us into believing that allowing porn will enable uncontrollable men.”

Teenagers and Pornography – Looking at porn doesn’t have to be a dirty secret by David Heslin. I’ve meant to share this article with y’all for awhile now and the other day I actually met the guy who wrote it, turns out he’s been dating a dear friend of mine! Small world etc etc. I digress, this is an interesting article with some novel ideas:

“Society must, at some stage, accept that not only is there a widespread demand for pornography, but that it also has the potential, in the process of adhering to certain values, to aid healthy adolescent sexual development. It may seem ludicrous to envision government-funded pornography, but there is no reason why such an enlightened initiative would not be theoretically feasible. Through broadcasters such as the ABC, the government already gives funding to comedy, entertainment, current affairs programs and sport; the only reason, it seems, that pornography could not join those ranks is its general lack of perceived legitimacy.”

Senior Citizens and BDSM, a nifty article by Rabbit Write:

“One thing that may benefit older people getting into the BDSM community is that often experience is valued — age can be hot. “I have a number of the younger ones ask me if they could play with me,” Peaches says. “Sometimes you get respect because you’re older and sometimes you get respect because you deserve it.””

What’s it LIKE to be in a D/s relationship? By a very awesome friend of mine. So, what’s it like?

“It’s… secure. It’s very secure. You know where things are. You know the rules, not because they’re built by society and trained into you by magazines and schoolyard gossip, but because you’ve talked about it and figured it out together.”

One in four lap dancers has a degree on the BBC News website. I watched this short little clip and I like how articulate the woman speaking is:

“I think part of the stigma is because there’s a lot of misinformation, a lot of myth about the adult entertainment industry. One of the exciting things about this report is that it’s been ethically carried out and it’s actually asking the women what they feel about their job and why they do their job and one of the most striking things is job satisfaction and of course, the money (…)”

Do women really want male lap dancers? by Ellen Levenson. Mostly, I found the article pretty “meh” but I wanted to link to it just for this one quote that tickled me:

“I do take umbrage at a man, even a psycho-sexual therapist, telling me that he knows what women want. The long-standing theory, that women aren’t turned on visually, feels like something men may have made up to make themselves feel better, telling each other in secret exchanges in changing rooms or masonic temples: “Yes, I’m ugly, smelly and have a small penis but she loves me because I make her laugh and know how to unblock the sink.” “Get a grip,” I want to say. “What we really want is a big, hard …” Alas, this is probably only true when it comes attached to someone who can make us laugh and unblock the sink.”

Cleavage at the Work Place at the awesome Cuntlove blog. I actually intend to expand upon this with some of my own thoughts and experiences at some point, because as a big(ish) boobed women I entirely relate:

“A small chested woman will never be  told that her shirt is too tight or that she shouldn’t wear v-necks or whatever, but I somehow manage to look slutty wearing a t-shirt for crying out loud. It just, well, to be honest, when I was told that I was a good-looking woman, but that my cleavage shouldn’t be so exposed or that it was inappropriate, I felt embarrassed as all hell and suddenly aware of being female and that that was somehow bad.”

And finally, my absolute favourite of the batch…

The It Gets Better Project
, for LGBT teenagers, started by the awesome Dan Savage who I am kind of sort of a huge fan of. Apparently, 9 out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are 4 times as more likely to attempt suicide. A lot of these teens live in rural areas where they have no access to LGBT support groups etc. This project basically aims to get the important message out to LGBT teens that it gets better. You can read more about it here, LGBT folks can contribute, and you absolutely have to watch the video below, it is incredibly touching, lovely and almost brought tears to my eyes because I’m a big sooky crybaby.



Sharing is Sexy – Round One
August 12, 2010, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hey I’m super busy with various projects but I thought I’d start a segment on this blog where I occasionally share stuff by other people that I like or find interesting. Huzzuh!

http://ireensarrows.tumblr.com/post/210906379
I might have to try this. Emma Frost by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Annie Sprinkle, who is awesome, said in this article:

“The answer to bad porn is not no porn, but to try to make better porn.”

Sex Workers: Stigma and barriers to health. The UCL Institute for Global Health’s 12th symposium. I found this talk really interesting and though the video is a bit long, I highly recommend a listen as I think education is a wonderful way to challenge people’s assumptions and beliefs surrounding sex work.

Porn Star Lorelei Lee talks obscenity. Here are some choice quotes from the article:

“If we lived in a society in which women’s sexuality was celebrated, and was seen as usually proactive rather than usually passive, I don’t think people would jump so quickly to the concepts of exploitation and dehumanization when they thought of female performers.”

Annnnnddd…

“Porn, I think, is sometimes dark because sex is sometimes dark — because people are sometimes dark. Of course, porn is also often lighthearted, funny, ugly, gorgeous and ridiculous. Human desires evolve out of our varied, complex experiences in the world. Sex is so basic to our humanity, and sexuality is an arena, like dreaming, that connects us to the parts of ourselves we don’t always fully understand or have words for. This is what makes sexuality fascinating and endlessly variable and certainly worth performing.”

Sex is not the enemy. This lovely tumblr blog is a great resource for pretty, sexy pictures and good articles. In fact, it’s where I found a few of the things I’m now sharing here!

Greta Christina on Porn, Social Criticism and the Marginalization of Kink. This article reminds me why Greta Christina is one of my favourite bloggers:

“The problem isn’t with critiquing kinky or rough-sex porn for perpetuating misogyny.

The problem is with critiquing rough-sex or kinky porn for perpetuating misogyny… simply because it’s rough or kinky.”

Copyright Infringements in the Porn Industry. An interesting article on the challenges faced by the porn industry. I’d be interested to hear any thoughts people might have on this one.

The Gore-Gore Girl – “XXX through a feminist lens”. In this article she said:

“In my experience, people seem to think that women want no close ups of genitalia, and no “nasty” content, while men of course desire exactly these very things. Men and women aren’t so simple though y’all (…)”

SANGRAM’s Bill of Rights posted here. This is my favourite so I saved it for last…

1. People have a right to be approached with humility and respect.

2. People have the right to say YES or NO to things that concern them.

3. People have the right to reject harmful social norms.

4. People have the right to stand up to and change the balance of power.

5. People have the right not to be “rescued” by the outsiders who neither understand nor respect them.

6. People have the right to exist how they want to exist.

I think that could be applied to a lot of things. Awesome.



Sex work and stuff

A friend of mine has recently “come out” as a sex worker and has received some criticism for it. I believe that a lot of this criticism is based on people’s ignorance, misunderstandings, or warped imaginations. As she said; sex work isn’t the problem, peoples perceptions about sex work are the issue. My friend is one of the most self-aware, strong women I know (she’s the very same women who gave me the advice that helped me learn to orgasm) and it irritates me that people think they can judge her for a career choice she enjoys far more than previous administrative type work. It is my personal belief that before people judge sex workers, instead of only listening to sensationalist media articles and so on, they should actually listen to what sex workers themselves have to say.  So on that note, I’m going to share a few links and stuff.

I just watched this short film What I Love about Being A Sex Worker. It’s basically a collection of sex workers explaining why they like their jobs. It’s short, succinct and nice to see a film from a sex work positive angle for a change. Now obviously these are probably people doing it out of their own choice, people who may have the privilege and power to be able to set their own conditions. To say sex work is always empowering and enjoyable would be to deny the reality of many people, but it’s also wrong to deny that there really are many sex workers who truly do enjoy their work. Happy, healthy sex workers are not just mythical creatures who exist only in men’s magazines to titillate, they really exist.

One of my workmates introduced me to blog I’ve enjoyed reading, Letters from Working Girls. I’m sure some of them are possibly fabricated but a lot of them ring true to me and in any case, it’s interesting to read all the varying viewpoints. I’m yet to check out its sister sites, Letters from Johns and Letters from Men Who Watch Pornography though I wonder why that can’t just be “Letters from People Who Watch Pornography” because I wouldn’t mind submitting to that.

Rather belatedly, I recently got around to reading Naked on the Internet by the fabulous Audacia Ray. Her book explores the way women are using the internet to explore their sexuality through things such as blogging, webcamming, professional sex work and so on. Though I felt it only skimmed the surface of its subjects (fair enough too, it’s only one book!) I found it interesting and relevant.

Bound, Not Gagged this is a cool blog for sex workers, it’s great because mass media tends to portray sex work in a very specific, sensationalist way whereas blogs such as Bound, not Gagged create a space where sex workers actually have a voice.

Sex Work Awareness is a neat website, the first line in their mission statement reading “We believe that all sex workers have a right to self-determination; to choose how we make a living and what we do with our bodies.”. Nice.

And finally, to prove that sex workers truly are real people, here are a few of links to sex workers who I admire and enjoy reading about. Mistress Matisse, a professional dominatrix. Sequoia Redd, wonderfully opinionated, gorgeous and open about her sex work. Furry Girl, possibly even more opinionated and very articulate, I don’t always agree with her but I find her viewpoint refreshingly challenging.

Of course “sex work” is a very open term, referring to someone who works in the very broad sex industry. Personally, I believe you can apply the term “sex worker” even to someone who works behind the scenes and  as I edit pornographic videos and images, and as I’ve also been in a select few pornographic videos and images, I suppose you could call me a “sex worker” (though I think of it as more of a hobby than fulltime occupation!). So here I am, grew up in the wholesome countryside, had a relatively stable and supportive family life, went to university and got my masters degree and now am involved in sex work just because it interests me. People are always surprised when they learn about what I do and I suppose that goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, nor its occupation!