I be me and you be you
I got this link from Heidi. There is some good information there, so I do recommend reading it, but there are a few things that bug me. So, go read it, then come back and we shall discuss. While you’re gone, I’ll sit here and be productive in a way I’m not supposed to mention on the Internet. Just ignore the noises I make.
*thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk*
*skish, skish, skish, skish*
Oh, dear, back already?!
I write this as I’m thinking it out, so please bear with me.
So, I walk a path in my life where I get to battle with those anti-sex folk and the feminists who think I’m coerced somehow and the people who think my job oppresses others and, well, anyone else who is against open sexuality for some reason. I make money as a sexual entertainer.
This post is not about my work, though. This is about how my life, which is built mostly around my sexuality, is something I want to keep and something that I don’t want to be threatening to others. One of the biggest problems with the battle over sexuality is that there doesn’t appear to be a place for compromise. This is what my problem with the above linked article is. I love the article, but it seems to suggest a few things that aren’t entirely accurate, at least, not from my perspective.
The claim that the promise of sexual freedom in the feminist movement failed is one thing that I have a beef with. For one, the feminist movement hasn’t focused on sexual freedom that much. At least, not really. Sure, we got the owning our own bodies, thing. But very few sources really taught us how to be sexual. Can we really blame the feminist movement for that, though? Isn’t it more likely that the movement has simply lacked foresight to create a replacement for the culture that we tried to bury? And the sexual freedom feminists are not the ones responsible for the culture that created things like Paris Hilton (as a side note, I think Paris Hilton is unfairly focused on, anyway, in the media, but we can have that rant another day).
Own your own body. That’s what they told us. That’s what I learned in gender studies, that’s what my sister was taught when she was in High School. But nobody bothered to tell us what owning our own body meant. They did tell us about masturbation, but they didn’t tell us much and, really, when most of the external sexual culture is not written for our gender, what were we supposed to do with that information, anyway? The reality is, there are no guidelines for women to find their own sexual beings. Owning our sexuality is a tough task when we have no way of figuring it out. Right now, in the midst of our sexual movement, that’s the biggest difference between a boy’s sexual development and a girl’s. Boys have resources. Girls have to search for it. This doesn’t mean that modern sexualization is wrong. It does mean that we need to create better information for girls to look to.
I love the message that the author sends where the article says: “We push back by giving young people the tools to navigate their way through the bewildering blitzkrieg of messages which they receive about sexuality.”
Yes and no. You don’t need to push back, you just need to give people (everybody) tools for learning about their own sexuality.
To really, truly, accomplish sexual freedom, though. People like me need to be able to be comfortable living amongst people who are the opposite. I’m aware that I send a strong sexual message to my peers. I’m aware of how people view me and my impact on those around me. I also think that my existence and the messages I send are just as important as the existence of and messages sent by my more reserved peers.
I’m not exploited. That’s another complaint I have with the above article. It briefly touches on the idea of sexual exploitation, but it doesn’t really clarify and it seems to imply (at least to me, I could be wrong) that sexual elements of culture, in the media, are somehow related to that exploitation. I hear a lot about exploitation in my industry. I won’t say that it isn’t there, but I will say that the impression the general public gets about it is pretty far off base. Sexual exploitation is a sad, sad reality. Most of the sex industry, though, isn’t exploited. Most of us are here by choice. Most of us get to pick our work and do with it as we wish. It is my opinion that those in the sex industry and those that represent sexuality in the media suffer when people continue to suggest we’re all exploited. The anti-sexual theme in our culture is damaging. It creates an environment where the antagonism of our peers and the antagonism of law enforcement when we’re in need of help makes it easy for us to be dismissed.
There is a small element of my life that puts me in a precarious place, where getting help is harder, which makes it easier for me to be taken advantage of and it is easier for me to be a target. This isn’t just because of my work, though that’s what many groups would have you believe (the general public is very good at blaming victims). Instead, a large element of the dangers that my work poses is because of the opinion of our society.
I’m not going to accuse Hugo Schwyzer of being a person that contributes to that problem until I see more of his writing (so far, that article is all I’ve read). But, I do wish the author had at least made that element of their opinions more clear.
A little personal background to toss some of this into context (and to perhaps reveal an admitted bias): I was once a conservative Mormon housewife. Crazy, huh? Me. The hyper-sexual girl who’s making a living out of it was once a girl who was not only restricted when it came to sexuality, I was terrified of it. I was also very unhappy. Now, I consider myself very liberated. I have more freedom in my life than I’ve ever had before and it keeps getting better. Being in the sex industry and finding my own sexuality have given me extreme pleasure and happiness. I like the world I’ve built for myself. As if that wasn’t enough, this life I have now enables me to help others.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that I want to see sexual freedom, but I want to see real sexual freedom. I want to keep the people like me and the people who don’t want to be like me on the same playing field. I want to be their equal and I want them to be my equal and I don’t want to be pressured into turning into them and I don’t want them to feel like they have to be like me. I think we all need to find our place on the sexual spectrum that makes us most comfortable and happy. It doesn’t have to be one way or another and it doesn’t have to be a battle over which human sexuality is correct.