Fuck You, Pay Me: The Impacts of FOSTA-SESTA on Sex Workers’ Rights — Perspective of a FSSW/SB.

This piece will be part of a larger series that explores the impacts of the FOSTA-SESTA legislation on various sex workers.

I recommend that you read my previous piece on FOSTA-SESTA according to a Pro Domme, before reading the following interview.

If you’ve been reading this series, you will know that this particular legislation has greatly affected sex workers’ rights in the US, however, it has now started to bleed into Canada as well. Being that I live in Canada, I have seen most of these effects online as many in the industry use American-owned social media and online platforms to market their services.

I corresponded with a FSSW/SB (Full Service Sex Worker/Sugar Baby) about their experiences online and in the industry. At the request of the individual, they will remain anonymous.

How were you first introduced to sugaring, and what made you decide to start sex work?

As weird as it sounds – Instagram! I had always been interested in sex work but never knew how to get into it. It seemed so elusive and I didn’t know anyone who could help me. I followed a few sex workers on Instagram who offered advice and it got me on the right track. My very first meet and greet with a sugar daddy was meeting for quick drinks to see if we vibed. I wasn’t expecting any payment for that but he handed me $400 without me even asking or bringing up money. It felt like electricity through my body. After that I was hooked.

What challenges, if any, have you noticed in the way clients can access your services, especially with the emergence of increased censorship online (ie. Instagram) and the SESTA/FOSTA legislation? What are your views on the legislation in general and decriminalization versus legalization?

Because I am Canadian I have been affected less than my fellow sex workers in the US. We did lose a lot of our online advertising platforms (backpage, Craigslist, etc) but I started sex work after FOSTA/SESTA so I never felt the full impact. I can see how it can make it harder to find clients or screen them safely.

When it comes down to legalization vs. decriminalizing sex work, decriminalizing is much more appealing because there are no legal rules around what is ok. If it’s legalized the government can say “but only under these (sure to be oppressive) conditions.” If it is decriminalized people can have sex with money involved and it’s no one else’s business.

What is the favourite part of your job?

I love the confidence that sex work has given me. I carry myself differently and men notice. Even when I’m not dressed to the nines in a full face I can see the way men are lured to my energy and that is incredibly empowering. It has also taught me a lot about my own personal boundaries. I know exactly what I want and it’s easy to walk away from anything less than that. I’ve learned if one man won’t give me what I want another one will, and that principle now applies to all areas of my life.

How do you think your work contributes to the reclamation of female sexuality in public spaces?

We constantly hear that women are objectified — that is put on us. The truth is that we live in a culture of men who are raised to be objectifiers; it is their attitude, not ours, that makes us out to be objects. Sex work takes that power back. As a sex worker I can say, hey, you want to objectify me? Not for free! I now have turned the table.

Anything else you’d like folks to know about your work as a SWer?

Sex work is not all glamour and it’s not easy. It’s not only about having sex either. Most of my time as a sex worker is spent marketing, making content, learning business skills, and sorting through hundreds of potential dates to maybe only find a dozen. Not all sex workers have the same privileges either. As a white sex worker I have it very easy compared to BIPOC or transgender sex workers who face oppression on many, many levels. Sex work is much more dangerous for them and they have a much harder time getting help when they need it.

Anonymous FSSW/SB

With love,

B.

Image via: AURORE (@readaurore)

Erotica Series: There’s Something About (Virgin) Mary by Breanna Meow.

This piece was originally published in print by MATH Magazine, Issue Eight (Faith Issue).

The following is an account of one of Mary’s closest girlfriends, “Susan,” whose identity has been changed at her request.

Yeah, I mean, everyone knew Mary was a slut. It’s not something she hid. Back in Nazareth, we used to call her not-so-virgin Mary ’cause she was always runnin’ around telling everyone she was pure so that the guys would want that virginal pussy, ya know?

But the kicker is, she never did P-in-V. She sure as hell did everything else. One time, she came back to class late with this wide-eyed grin like something was stuck up her ass or whatever. Truth is, there was. Pulled me to the pee bush later that afternoon and showed me. Troy from the next village over whittled this wooden horse and thought it’d be hot to shove it up her butt. She fuckin’ loved it. But that’s not the point. I had to oil her ass and my hand down to get that fucker out. 

So, she meets this guy Joseph. Somethin’ is different about him, she says. He’s way older and has this kinda father-figure thing about him. I think the girl has issues. But, not my business. 

They start meeting up once a week at first, then almost every second night. She’s sneakin’ out of her parents’ hut and rollin’ around the hay in the barn out back. One night, she lets him slip it in, “just the tip,” he says and “don’t worry, ’cause I’ll pull out in time.” Month later, she’s cryin’ on my lap, she’s preggers. Her parents can’t know she’s done it. I’m like, “well they’re gonna know now.” 

She comes up with this plan, like an angel came to her in the night and says she’ll, like, bear a son who will be king or some shit. She had an imagination, that one. I kinda laughed and went along; the story’s not gonna fly anyways. 

Tells her parents the next day and they fuckin’ buy it! I can’t believe it. I’m just sittin’ here like someone’s gonna catch on, but Joseph is sayin’ the same shit, an angel came to him too and says he’s supposed to “look after” her. Ha! They knew what they was doin’ the whole time. 

Kinda lost touch with her after that. Last I hear, they’re callin’ her Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus or whatever – and she’s goin’ along with it! I tried reaching out, but she’s caught up with all the hoopla of bein’ a celebrity or whatever. Can’t say I blame her. She always wanted to live in the city. See the world and shit.

B.

Image via: Psychedelic Art Collective (IG: @psychedelic.paint)

Erotica Series: The Coven’s Cuckold by Breanna Meow.

This piece was originally published under the title “Sacred Source” in print by MATH Magazine, Issue Eight (Faith Issue).

Content Warning: Rape

He woke with a start, sweat on his brow. Something had ripped him out of a deep sleep, but he wasn’t quite sure what. He slowly rose out of bed stepping onto the cold floor, as he looked down to see his phallus rising as well. Drawn to the window, he looked outside to see the moon high in the sky, its full belly shining bright against the black abyss. 

He went to the door and stepped outside, a brisk wind sending shivers down his spine. It must have been around 3 a.m., the witching hour. No one was to leave their homes at this time. But something was calling to him, a beckoning that he could not overcome. He began walking, then running. He wasn’t sure where his legs were taking him, until he came face to face with the edge of the wood. Its darkness inviting him in.

Entering the dense forest seemed like entering a woman’s softness. He felt warm, as the damp wetness from the surrounding air moistened his skin. He kept moving forward. Suddenly, he could see a flickering orange light up ahead. Hypnotized, he walked toward it, as if pulled by some magnetic force.

He arrived at a clearing and gasped at the sight. A massive fire rose toward the sky, and around it there were twelve naked women dancing and writhing around in unnatural ways. Their chanting and grunting shook him to the core, yet made his prick rise in answer. 

He breathed as softly as he could, watching in horror as the women jerked and contorted their bodies to some demonic, unworldly rhythm. At the same time, he could not look away as something kept his gaze locked on their perfect round and supple breasts, nipples sharp from the wind, their full hips and luscious ass cheeks shaking and bouncing with each new move. 

The women were now touching themselves. An array of fingers parting engorged lips, nectar dripping from their sacred source. He could feel his pants getting tighter…his cock was rock solid. Reaching down, he grabbed the long, hard shaft and groaned. 

The women stopped in mid-movement. One by one they each turned to meet his stare. Hand still on his erection, he tried to swallow, and before he knew it one of the dark mistresses was coming toward him with a speed not of this world – she seemed to be floating off the ground!

She grabbed his hair and yanked him forward as he screamed out. Throwing him to the ground, he could hear the other women screeching and hissing with – what was it – joy, excitement? He reached for his chest, gasping for air, as his heart pounded uncontrollably. 

The lead sorceress directed two of the women to bring him to his feet, their strength astounding to him. She looked him up and down with a delightful disgust. A big smile spread across her porcelain white skin, her black eyes alight with the raging fire, her wild red hair somehow defying gravity.

“You shall be our sacrifice tonight!”

The others began howling wildly, their tongues hanging about like animals ready to dig into his flesh. He felt like he could piss himself if not for the massive erection he still held. It felt as though he would burst.

As if in response, the wicked woman pulled down his pants to expose his swollen rod. He looked down in surprise as it seemed bigger than ever. The tip of its head shiny and purple, veins along the shaft pumping full of blood. He could see bits of pre-cum oozing from the top.

One of the women holding him up released her grip just enough to reach down and touch him, slowly at first and then aggressively jerking him off. He moaned in response and suddenly felt a hand strike the side of his face. A sharp pain pierced through his jaw as he looked up to see the leader. 

“Get the fuck on your knees, you coward.”

The two women shoved him to the ground, his knees bare on the rough surface. 

“You shall drink from her delight…” she hissed, as the other women congregated excitedly around him.

Those gathered in front of him began cackling, shrill high-pitched tones. He covered his ears and closed his eyes. Suddenly, hands were all over him, pulling his limbs every which way, grabbing his cock, fingers up his ass. Through clenched teeth, he couldn’t help but let out a ferocious roar from the pleasure of it all. 

Lips were soon on his hardness, multiple tongues licking the tip and along the shaft, sucking on his balls. He moaned in ecstasy, as one of the devil’s servants pulled his hair and another shoved her fingers deep down his throat, spit drooling down his chin.

Opening his eyes, the women had parted, hushed now in silence. A figure was coming toward him, cloaked in black lace. He could make out that she was naked underneath, as she gracefully strode up to him. He could not see her face, only her lips, which were of the deepest cherry red – was it blood?

The other women began touching and kissing one another, breasts spilling over hands and mouths hovering over mounds. He watched as their sweaty bodies glistened and slide across each other. Wetness dripping from their delightful pussies. He could smell their sex, potent and raw.

The veiled mistress was now standing above him, her full bush almost grazing the tip of his nose. The leader knelt down and whispered into his ear, “Taste her, you fool.”

She opened her legs wider. He was hesitant. A hand took the back of his head and shoved his face into her. Immediately, her scent filled his nostrils, deep and earthy. His lips met hers, as he slowly parted them with his tongue. The woman made a low groan, arching her back. He began flicking her clit in rhythmic motion, her labia swelling in response to this pleasure. Reaching up, he slipped a finger deep inside and massaged her warmth. He could feel her vaginal muscles contracting around his finger as he pulled it out and licked it. She tasted like the sweetest honey dew. He couldn’t resist. He took her into his mouth and began licking up her nectar. It dripped from her as if an endless flowing fountain. He drank and drank until he was dizzy. He felt almost drunk off her love juice.

His eyes blurry, he could barely make out the faces that lowered around him. He was now on his back, every muscle relaxed and heavy. He could not move. Wetness slid over his hardness as the woman from which he drank began riding him, her hips rotating and gyrating, grinding hard and deep. He had never felt such intense pleasure. 

As the unholy priestess rode him faster, he could feel vibrations starting deep within. Her pussy was on fire, the heat almost burning his cock. She began wailing as he could feel himself close to orgasm, blood and cum rushing to his tip, her contractions squeezing and releasing him again and again until he couldn’t hold it any longer and he burst through her, loads of cum spurting into her, filling her up. He jerked again and again, cumming so much that his juices overflowed from her and began dripping out of her pussy.

He was covered in her nectar and his cum. Now completely paralyzed, he squinted to see the leader come into his sight. A dagger in her hand, glowing red hot from the fire. She pierced the skin above his heart, carving in the devil’s mark. 

He knew he was no longer free. He was theirs.

B.

For an audio version of this story, visit Spotify or Soundcloud.

Artist: Unknown

Fuck You, Pay Me: The Impacts of FOSTA-SESTA on Sex Workers’ Rights — Perspective of a Pro Domme.

This piece will be part of a larger series that explores the impacts of the FOSTA-SESTA legislation on various sex workers.

The large majority of sex workers, including FSSWs (full-service sex workers), Dommes, sugar babies, cam girls, escorts, and now many strippers, have been using online ad space and social media as a way to market their services and secure clients. In April 2018, two bills — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) — were signed into US law as a combined package deemed FOSTA-SESTA. The purpose of this law was to combat online sex trafficking and make it illegal for any online service to facilitate or assist in promoting sex trafficking.

The tragic irony of it all is that the law has not only caused sex trafficking to burrow deeper underground, but has made it dangerous for sex workers to carry out their transactions in a safe and controlled environment by being able to vet their clients using online tools and platforms. Congress has now begun reviewing the impacts of this law and are calling for data on how exactly FOSTA-SESTA has affected sex workers’ livelihoods. In other words, they’ve realized they’ve fucked up.

Subsequently, this has become very harmful to sex workers and their rights as laborers, as it has since removed platforms and increased censorship rules that many sex workers use for advertising. Instagram (now a subsidiary of the Fuckerberg conglomerate) has cracked down hard on any and all sex-related content. Many have felt its impacts, having their accounts shadow-banned, reported, and even deleted without warning. Some in the industry have since moved over to other social platforms like Twitter, where content is less regulated and policed.

I connected online with Pro Domina slash activist, artist, and musician Amara Noir. She discussed the changes that have occurred since the legislation passed, Her journey as a sex worker, and what she hopes to accomplish through Her art.

How were you introduced to Domming and what made you decide to start working as a Pro Domme?

I went into Domination somewhat blindly after the 2008 recession. I had been bartending in busy nightclubs & concert venues. There was a steep drop in My earnings & I sought out supplemental income looking to bartend/waitress private events and parties. I responded to an ad for a foot fetish party that would take place in a rented out floor of a strip club. Such gigs helped me to scrape by, a small few of them brought significant payouts. I would need more consistency, however, and thus applied to a dungeon within a couple months of My foot fetish debut.

Having been in the adult industry 11 years, have you noticed a change in the way clients can access your services? For example, what was it like before versus after the FOSTA-SESTA legislation passed?

When I started, craigslist still had adult gigs and adult classified ads which ran for $5-10. I had only trained at the dungeon for a few months before leaving to work independently. I got a $10 burner phone and found that it was much more efficient to post My own ads rather than trying to fit the whims of a random John’s “seeking” ad. This gave Me the power to promote My own interests, availability & boundaries while opening potential for numerous clients. A close friend of Mine was escorting at the time and shared Her knowledge in bidding on cheap hotel rooms. I screened clients  through a brief phone consult, and trusting My gut. I’m happy that I’ve had no dangerous encounters.

Back then, I didn’t want to be “chained to the computer.” My client list and related work history was limited enough then, that working primarily off phone contacts didn’t confuse Me. Now, I might not be able to place a client in mind I talked to 3 days ago because I’ve talked to so many in the interim and over the years.

I expanded My online presence joining twitter in 2012 & then joining adult phone service sites, and producing adult video content in 2013. It widened My audience & verified Me as a trustworthy name in FemDom. I wasn’t just a person posting to backpage who might be a bait & switch. The name on My content matched My ad. The familiarity put clients at ease when meeting in person. It was at this point I began to have freedom to travel the states at My desire – feeling confident I could book work in new cities.

When the censorship screws started tightening in 2016, I was pushing My limits with how hard I had to work to pull in consistent money. I was running on all cylinders while also beginning to suffer undiagnosed health issues. I clocked full time work hours producing a near-daily output of online content. However, at the time, sessioning with clients in real time still provided the largest portion of My income. Add in traveling a least once a month to tap new markets, networking at adult expos, collaborating with other models/producers, often hosting traveling workers at My apt. All this while feeling so off-kilter, so unlike Myself, which is to say in poor heath.

As it happens, I have Celiac disease.

I only discovered that vital information thanks to a cousin with a straight job (and health insurance) who had been diagnosed earlier that year. This was a chance discussion at her sister’s wedding reception – I bring this up cuz the beginning of 2016 was the start of the facebook algorithm impacting My life. Facebook had started suggesting My Domme IG account to followers (family, civilian friends) – basically it started outing people’s private work lives. For My own safety and privacy I had to delete facebook immediately. I lost touch with a lot of friends and family. No one knows what I’m up to. All or nothing kind of thing. I wasn’t allowed to exist online as both a Pro Domme and a sister, cousin, artist, (etc).

Then backpage went down.We were all scared of how we were going to maintain our livelihoods. There was no centralized and affordable means of advertising. Then FOSTA-SESTA was passed changing the dynamic of what was left.

I was lucky to have already established a name and years of contacts in the industry. I needed to cut back My travels for My health, but somehow I still got rolling inquiries for My home city of New York. The years of working overtime on video content and establishing My humble name in the industry was now an asset, a safety net. It was now My catalogue of passive income. I remember My nerves rattled that 1st month though. Really leaning into the anxiety and fear of “where will the business come from?” I logged hours every day “chained to the computer” scouring the web for advertising pages and directories. It was stressful. Time spent trying to resolve this new dilemma did not equal money earned or even site hits. Web Analytics told me I brought in My own traffic to amaranoir.com organically, rather than any of these directories or new ad sites.

How has this and increased censorship through so-called “community guidelines”  on Instagram affected your ability to advertise, reach clientele, and maintain a living?

My IG (@amaranoir) was deleted this past Oct. beyond what I’ve already mentioned. The shadow-banning was well in place before this and keeps many sex workers like myself from growth. It also excludes us from the world in general. We are not visible quite often, unless you are specifically seeking an individual out by name. Out of sight, out of mind. This makes it easier for people to stigmatize us and talk over us when addressing the very issues that affect us. Decriminalization for one.

The 1st month My IG was deleted I made only 1/2 my avg income. Currently I’m up to 3/4 or a little better. And I’m a privileged indoor worker with diverse revenue streams.

What is the favourite part of your job?

The humour and the necessity thereof.

Who amongst us wouldn’t appreciate coming home after a late night NYE celebration to receive a paid text from a man that says, “Mistress Look! My pooter is sparkling!” I had instructed one of My “sissy subs” to adorn himself festively for the holiday by smearing glitter on his butthole.

I had a long term sub over the other week and took an important call while in session. I didn’t want him to feel neglected, however, so I kept him occupied, by sliding My leotard over, mid-convo and filling a cup with piss for him to sip on while I finished My phone convo. After the long session, which involved various BDSM activities, he thanked me. He assured Me that this is a cherished release for him from the duties of his job and day to day life wearing a different role. Everyone needs to smile and laugh. Many need human touch, comfort or a controlled environment in which they can being treated as a literal peon, a worthless & or powerless bitch.

How do you think your work contributes to the reclamation of female sexuality in public places?

So much has shifted in the visibility of sex work since I was in college. I often wonder how it gets discussed in feminist discourse among students, young people. That’s not just Me personally, but I’m one of many people who used SW as a means for survival and embraced it as they grew. Just one of many workers whose life is a testament to the fact that sex work is valuable work. It’s valid, It’s valuable. Our existence is an act of rebellion.

What would you like folks to know about sex work?

Sex Work is the most honest work there is.

Someone on twitter had this to say when he found out that Chris Crocker is a porn star in addition to being a well known comedic internet phenom:

“I did not know Chris Crocker was out here selling pussy now. Work ain’t honest but it pays the bills.”

Rightfully, Chris responded, “The fuck?”

Sex Work is the most honest work there is. People are exploring their sexualities, secret desires, baring a part of themselves they might not feel aligns with their peers, family, partners’ respectable opinions. Also worth noting – I’m putting in the work everyday and the money goes to benefit Me. For My health. Feeds into My art. My labor is not being exploited to directly bolster the wealth of a ceo. In my work I learn so much of the human experience very intimately.

What messages are you hoping to project in your art and satire pieces as part of your activism?

We deserve rights

We deserve humanity

We deserve community and support as well as anyone else

We provide vital and valid services

We are pioneers – and as such, though you may delete us, exclude us, and erase us – you are on the wrong side of history in doing so – and also being a silent witness to that. I hope to touch on micro-aggressions and the macro-aggressive violence we can and do face. But also sharing the humor, beauty and freedom we experience, & the wisdom gained in our industry when we are able to work unbothered.

Amara

You can find Amara on Instagram @amaranoir_underhiseye, Twitter @AmaraNoir, and Her website www.amaranoir.com.

With love,

B.

Image via: SHESAID.com (IG: @shesaid)

Yes, A Stripper: Dispatches from the Pole — Why I Strip.

This piece is part of a larger series involving the many sides and perspectives of strippers from the voices of the dancers themselves.

The amount of times I’ve heard someone give their misdirected and misinformed opinion on sex workers and their livelihoods has prompted me to delve deeper, so as to provide a space where folks can share their own stories. I do not intend to speak on behalf of, or for, any individuals named here or in the industry, as I have been so graciously and generously given the opportunity to speak with the women who grind and hustle on the daily.

As a writer, it is in my nature to ask questions, to share words and uplift voices. I am grateful to the dancers that offer me their insight and experiences, so that we can all learn something in the process. The journey of stripping is such a unique one, and each individual has come to it in such different ways. One thing is common though — to reclaim, own, and demonstrate one’s body and sexuality so freely and confidently — is true liberation for women the world over.

Here are the stories of these women:

Every since I can remember knowing what a stripper was, I wanted to be one. Playing dress up was my favourite thing to do as a kid and it feels like my inner child is living hard every day.

I never felt like I needed to “reclaim” [my sexuality]. I always celebrated it and wanted to be open with it. Stripping just gave me an outlet that is appropriate to do so.

I have been largely inspired by other dancers, burlesque stars, and drag queens, so I hope to keep that cycle of inspiration alive. As far as my male clients I hope to leave them with a sense of knowing their worth, feeling heard, entertained, valued, maybe even a new sense of respect for strippers.

Madelina Horn, Vancouver (IG: @themadelinahorn)

At first it was about the money, but now it’s the freedom, the empowerment, the money, and so much more. I love being able to work where I want, when I want. I found stripping made me love myself in a way I never figured I could. I’m confident, I’m comfortable with myself, and I don’t take shit from anyone. It has transformed me for the better. Not to mention the creative and artistic side — I love getting new costumes, learning new skills and tricks, and putting on shows that wow people.

Stripping has turned me into a sexual goddess I would have never imagined was in me before I got into it.

I hope that for females, it makes them not afraid to own their sexuality and their bodies and do and wear whatever the fuck they want. For people in general, I hope it reduces the stigma about strippers/sex workers and makes them realize that we are humans with talent and emotions and we are basically women who do naked acrobatics to pay our rent.

Kennedy Rose, Edmonton (IG: @kennedy_rose1)

I strip because someone as tattooed as myself would never be allowed in the circus haha. I love being able to pick up any new prop and use it in my show. I can dress as whoever I want and dont have to wear pants. Being able to pay my bills is nice too.

I do think it has helped me reclaim my own sexuality by making me much more comfortable with my body at all angles. I’m much more confident around men now and don’t let them push me around, especially when in a bikini. Before I would hide.

It’s so hard to tell how I’ve honestly impacted someone with my dancing and knowing if they are just blowing smoke up my butt to make me feel better. I’ve had some dancers (I know not the audience) that have taken moves of mine and added to them, and that is amazing! I love seeing people make more of a move or performance by making it more complicated and impressive. I’ve also taught some girls fire, and watching them expand with that is just amazing. Everyone makes it so different.

I hear a lot that girls want to be as fit/strong as me and I hope I inspire them to continue with physical fitness or performance of any kind. I’ve had very minimal girls who have seen my show and actually taken a class or prop training skills.

As for the men, I hope they respect the craft a little more after seeing a high energy show like mine. Actually! I’ve had a sketch artist draw my show and another build a pair of loafers based on my character/show. So that was cool!

Kruella Kraken, Edmonton (IG: @kruellakraken)

I started stripping at 19. I was waitressing and barely making enough money to pay my bills and eat ramen. My manager treated me like shit because I wouldn’t fuck him. I wanted a better life for myself and had thought about stripping a lot, so I went for it.

Now I’m 8 years into my stripping career and wouldn’t change that — it has brought such incredible opportunities into my life and allowed me so much freedom. I work on average about 8-10 days a month and live a very comfortable life.

It has 100% helped me to reclaim and own my sexuality! I had such low self-esteem and confidence problems when I started. I was really promiscuous in my younger years (no shame to promiscuity at all, I just didn’t value myself) and stripping taught me that I was a prize and valuable and not to allow men to treat me like shit. I really came into my own power and learned I have this amazing dominant side that men and women alike love, and it fills all parts of me. I wouldn’t have explored and learned about sexuality if I hadn’t started dancing. I was even one of those dancers who had lateral whorephobia when I started, but I have learned so much over the years and see things so differently now.

I’m more open minded and educated and compassionate. I also learned that it really doesn’t matter what people think. The stigma against strippers is so incredibly harmful and isolating, meanwhile we are just trying to live and thrive like anyone else! I tell all my baby strippers that I mentor, if someone isn’t paying my bills or fucking me, then their opinion on my life doesn’t matter.

I have of course experienced lots of customers who think strippers are just dirty, pathetic people who have no other choice and think they can just treat us like garbage. I avoid them like the plague. But I have had so many great clients and regulars who come in seeking companionship, someone to listen to them, someone to comfort them. It’s healing. It’s consensual human touch. Some of these men cannot find compassionate touch anywhere else. They are widowed, divorced, old, alone. I feel blessed that I am able to provide a service that truly helps some people.

I haven’t had a ton of interaction with female clients (a lot of them are awful) but I’ve had lots of couples over the years. I see their sexuality and passion for another sparked. I get to see the woman explore a side of herself that she hasn’t before, that excites her, that makes her feel powerful. I love to support and see other women thrive and take their power back from the patriarchy.

Ariel, Denver (IG: @coyogalove)

Getting to know these women and others has been greatly inspiring and further motivates me to do the work that I’ve set out to do. The responses I’ve since received in this series of interviewing sex workers, has been a truly eye-opening and humbling experience for myself, and I know for many others who had preconceived notions on sex workers and their lives. It my hope that you can walk away from this piece more informed and perhaps a little more understanding of those who choose to offer their body and sexuality as a service and celebrate it as their work.

Sex work is work. Support sex worker’s rights and respect the pussy.

B.

Art by: Eve De Haan (IG: @halfaroastchicken)

The Pussy is Political.

Let me just say that as a pussy-owner, I can attest to getting into many a heated debate on the topic of, well, pussy. And when it comes to the vagine (pronounced VA-JEEN), I know my shit. Because, like, I’ve lived with one my entire life. So when you have something to say on what I choose to do with my pussy — especially if you are NOT a pussy-owner — then we have a fucking problem.

Since when did it become commonplace for people to have an opinion on my body parts? Oh, wait. Since patriarchy. And don’t get me wrong, anyone can take part in the patriarchal systems that oppress vagina-owners — even those with big ol’ cunts themselves! I mean, I’m not trying to be a bitch or anything (though you already knew this). It just really turns my crank when other women attack expressions of female sexuality because of their own repressed view on it, including towards themselves.

How many times have you heard the splainers come out with reasons you should keep your sexuality under lock and key? “Oh, don’t wear that — you’re asking for it.” “Stop being so suggestive with your tone.” “Keep your legs closed, you’re a lady!” “Don’t sleep around too much, or they’ll think you’re a slut.”

First of all, who asked you? Second of all, who the fuck do you think you are? In fact, where is it you came from? It’s like the slightest mention of sexual reclamation from a confident, sexually-liberated, and pussy-popping woman brings y’all out of the woodworks. And then you rain hellfire down upon us for not fitting your standards of femaleness — what you think a woman should act like, look like, fuck like, smell like.

I’m over it. Like, I will literally get up from a table and walk away from a conversation if you come at me with your narrow-minded, slut-shaming rhetoric. I just don’t have time for it anymore. I’m tired of it. So. Fucking. Tired. It’s like that friend who repeats the same story over and over again and you just, like, can’t even. I’m not about violence or anything, but I will straight-up slap a bitch if you tell me I can’t ANYTHING with my — MY — pussy. This also goes for all the women who don’t support their own sexual reclamation, or even take it a step further and advocate against it.

I know I’ve said this many times over, but how lovely would it be if all pussy-owners actually, you know, OWNED their pussy. And I mean this in the “reclaim-your-sacred-source-that-is-your-goddess-give right-and-fucking-duty-on-this-penis-pity-party-godforsaken-dying-earth-because-our-pussies-have-the-capability-to-heal-anything-and-everything” sort of way. (Read my piece on Sacred Sexuality here.)

But, listen, I know it’s not so simple.

We’ve been forced down in so many ways, that some of us have been so convinced our sex is wrong, or filthy, or should be kept hidden and NEVER discussed in public. I actually knew someone who could not bear the sight or (natural) smell of her own pussy so much so that — not only did she wear the least flattering 18th-century bloomers out there — but could not go a day without wearing a pantyliner.

Um, like, holy fuck. (I’m actually very saddened by this, tbh.)

So what does it take to unlearn these toxic messages that have been ingrained in us from horrible school sex education, indoctrinated by religious institutions, and shoved down our throats (sorry for the crass analogy, but it’ll get you to pay attention) from authority figures, family members, and misguided friends? Self-love. Yup, that’s right. As cliché as it sounds, it’s time to LOVE YO-SELF!

Start by looking at your vulva in the mirror. Go on, open them legs wide! Take a compact and get a closer view. Study yourself. Learn about your anatomy from books or online, and point out those parts on your own body. Then one day, perhaps you’re comfortable with exploring through touch. Take your fingers and lightly graze your lips and the surrounding area. Feel each and every crevice in between. All vulvas and vaginas are so unique. Maybe you’ll even start arousing yourself and slowly find what feels good. Yes, now it’s time to TOUCH YO-SELF!

Self-pleasuring is the number one thing you can do to take back what is yours. It is your birthright. And when you come to realize that this part of your body is yours to satisfy, to love, and to share with whomever and whatever you please — you have already begun the journey to reclaiming your sexuality.

Never forget that not one person on this planet can take that away from you.

With love from my pussy to yours.

B.

Sacred Sexuality: A Reclamation of Our Power.

Disclaimer: I am extremely critical of patriarchal interpretations of Christianity — or any institutionalized religion that treats women like second-class citizens, for that matter — so if you are not vibing with what I say, then you don’t have to follow me or my work.

I saw this quote the other day, “Your sexuality is your medicine” and it resonated so deeply that I felt compelled to write something about it.

How often are we told to downplay our sexuality as women so as to fit some oppressive societal norm wherein we are supposed to abide by the rules of censorship, compliance, and not ask questions or push boundaries? Just look at what has been happening on Instagram and Facebook of late. This has been especially harmful to sex workers and anyone involved in the sex industry — including educators, advocates, and self-confessed heauxs. So, like, why is there such a hate-on for female sexuality, and…(gasp!)…the pussy?

I think this question has a very deep and complex history associated with it, and something that needs to be explored from a variety of angles. However, because I’m an opinionated and mouthy bitch, I will give my two-cents on the issue. This is, after all, why I have a blog.

So, why don’t we revisit the story of the Whore of Babylon. Oh, you don’t know it? Well, aren’t you in for a treat! It’s from that really fucking insane part of the bible, Revelations, where the apocalypse happens and the “Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the World” rides in on a seven-headed beast, drinking from her golden chalice full of the filthiness of her fornication and the blood of saints.

Yup.

I mean, first of all — can I just say that a) this is an epic way to make your debut at the end of the world; and b) what does filthy fornication and saint’s blood taste like?? I can only imagine it’s fucking delish. So because I’m not, like, a religious studies scholar or theologian (although I randomly have a degree in political science), I can only speak to what I see as an extremely patriarchal and oppressive attitude towards women who use their vaginas for pleasure and not solely for reproductive purposes.

From this scathing imagery, we can begin to get a sense of the level of fear that female sexuality and promiscuity elicits. And let’s not forgot it was Eve that took the forbidden fruit which allowed her to become aware of her body and sexuality — and that Adam essentially shamed her for and then made them wear lame-ass leaves in modesty.

Let’s be honest — Eve knew what the fuck she was doing (insert slow clap, head nod).

Can we all just take a moment to imagine the wrath, the utter chaos that would descend upon this earth if all women were to wield the power of their divine feminine sexuality? Wars would end, children would be fed, the Earth would heal herself, and we would all be living harmoniously and vibrantly in abundance of health, life, and love.

I’m not joking.

Embodying our sexual power is potent as fuck. So much so that, in the process, we can better communicate what our desires are, where our boundaries lay, and manifest the things we want in our lives, for our community, and the world. I want to live in a society that praises the pussy, and the life source that is THE FUCKING WOMB. I want y’all to realize that this is how you came to be here. What gave you life. And you’re going to tell me that it doesn’t matter? That the vagina, the womb, the pussy — is obsolete??

NO. I refuse to accept that. I am taking back WOMAN. I am owning her. I am reclaiming her.

I AM her.

B.

Art by: Isabelle Muguruza (IG: @isamuguruza)

Yes, A Stripper: Dispatches from the Pole — Stripping and Pole Fitness.

This piece will be part of a larger series involving the many sides and perspectives of strippers from the voices of the dancers themselves.

*Some names have been changed to respect the dancer’s request for anonymity.

It’s safe to say that I heart strippers. I love watching their athleticism, their confidence, and the fact that they’re owning their sexuality in a way that many women shy away from. I wish all women could pop their pussies with the ferocity and grace that can be witnessed on stage during a performance. Alas, we have been torn down time and again by the patriarchy that we would rather keep our legs closed for fear of being slut-shamed and, in the days of yore, burned at the stake (I mean, if you wanna get extreme).

It almost seems ironic that the most sexually liberated amongst us are the women displaying their sexuality primarily for the male gaze. However, in owning it, they are subversively creating a standard whereby the pussy has the power, not the gaze.

I was recently at an event my local strip club puts on every year called “Stripperlympics” (yes, I know, brilliant right?!) which is a competition for the title of Miss Nude Alberta (in Canada). Shit gets fucking cray at these things. And by cray, I mean a metal smoker being hoisted up five feet in the air whilst ridden like a bull, hot dogs being thrown out into the crowd, circus lions (albeit a lady in a costume), fire breathing, aerial hoop and silk sets, death drops from heights that will make your palms sweaty, and glitter — SO MUCH GLITTER.

This is my second time making it out to the event and what really struck me — other than the obviously incredible performances — is how much support by way of attendance and encouragement that I witnessed from the local pole fitness community both years. This got to me to thinking about the two communities and how they jive. It also gave way to some other very important issues that have come up between those who pole for money and those who don’t.

I corresponded with four active strippers who have experienced the pole fitness community in various capacities. Here are their stories…

Simona Royal is a dancer in Australia. She first tried pole dancing at the age of 16, and continued on and off until she was 18. With experiences in both the pole fitness and adult entertainment industry, she had this to say on how supportive pole dancers are of one another, and what she feels now as a stripper in these spaces:

I don’t recall seeing any strippers be unsupportive of pole dancers. I’ve seen them be angry and frustrated with them, but not unsupportive. Most strippers seem to have respect and admiration towards anyone with athletic skill on the pole — they just want to be given the same respect in return.

I think Australia does pretty amazing when it comes to this. I’ve never felt unwelcome or criticised here for being a stripper or for my attraction to the sexier style of pole. I couldn’t say the same about some other places.

I don’t always feel like I 100% fit in to be honest, but that can apply to the club as well — I’m not stressed about it. I do enjoy interacting with both communities and I’ve met some amazing, badass people in the pole world.

I love watching various competitions and observing the differences and similarities between “pole industry pole dancing” and “strip club pole dancing.” I think there are gems to be found in both spaces, just like there is stuff I don’t really like or agree with in both areas.

One thing I will say on repeat though, is that I don’t mix well with people who pole for fun or teach/perform pole and still spread false information trying to deny strippers the credit they deserve for birthing the pole industry. The quickest way to lose my respect in this industry is to be a professional pole dancer who talks shit about strippers.

We could say there are two types of strippers: the ones that love pole dancing and the ones who prefer to avoid the stage as much as possible and don’t get too involved in it. I think strippers generally have respect for the skill and hard work involved, but they probably want spaces where they feel understood and loved too.

I’ve seen girls come into stripping from pole dancing and it’s been nice to witness how their perspectives change through the experience. They tend to become less judgemental, more understanding, more respectful of the history of pole and of sensuality in general.

Simona Royal, IG: @simonaroyal

Ania Woods is a dancer in Canada. A multi-award winning entertainer and feature performer, she spoke on the positive experiences she’s had interacting with the local pole fitness community:

So honestly, I’ve had nothing but love and support from the pole community. One studio in particular has helped me become the feature performer I am today by coaching and helping me through pole and aerial hoop. They also let me come in on my own and use their studio to practice. They come and support me and my fellow dancers in competitions and, on regular nights, they are always cheering and tipping when they come in.

I feel like the division between strippers and pole dancers is more of a person to person basis…I have personally never encountered a time when I have been outcasted by the pole community.

Ania Woods, IG: @ania_woods

Lauren* is a dancer in Canada. She says the local pole fitness studio has an amazing environment from what she’s experienced of it. But because of judgement she’s received in the past from certain spaces, she refrained from letting them know her profession:

I didn’t actually tell them I strip lol. It’s just human nature to judge or have a stigma about the industry…but it comes from a lack of knowledge. I just find it’s easier to leave out my profession for most interactions.

When asked if people start to treat her differently when they find out she is a stripper, she explained:

Yup, that’s exactly it. Always treated differently when it’s known. Women are more rude and give attitude. Men start thinking it’s acceptable to be more touchy and seductive of sorts.

I went to a circus school to learn aerial skills. The first time I went, I didn’t tell them my profession and learned a ton. The second time I told a lady what I did, and she taught nothing to me, and said aerial skills just aren’t for me and I should just not do them.

Financial industries have judgements…insurance will deny coverage for the sex industry, including dancers in non-contact establishments.

Kara* is a dancer in Canada. She has past experiences with the pole fitness community and spoke on the divisions that she has witnessed between pole dance and stripping — especially with respect to some pole dancers who choose to differentiate themselves from strippers using the hashtag #notastipper:

Pole community is just as fake as stripping. Just as competitive. Hashtag all you want, no one actually thinks you’re a stripper because you dance on a pole. It’s not even taboo to pole dance anymore. It’s everywhere. Plus, 90% you won’t even last a stripper show time. One competition song isn’t anything close to an 18-minute stripping show set, so get over yourself thinking you’re something better than a stripper. Also, strippers do far more than just pole dance. We breathe fire, do all different types of Ariels (hoops, silks, corde lisse, trapeze), swallow swords, burlesque, lay on nail beds, grinder shows…the entertainment value is higher than that of just a pole dancer. There will always be a division because pole dancing isn’t judged on how hot you are, how big your ass and tits are, how long your hair is. Strippers are fantasies for men. Pole dancers are just women with a passion for pole dancing.

In recent years, the hashtag #notastripper started coming up on Instagram feeds as a way for pole dancers and individuals in the pole fitness community to separate themselves from strippers. Regardless of its intention, some in the adult entertainment industry saw this as a slight to their profession as sex workers and the hashtag #yesastripper was born (courtesy of Portland stripper and activist Elle Stanger). When asked what each dancer thought of these social media movements, their responses were as follows:

Simona

I love the #yesastipper hashtag and I use it myself. I think all pole dancers could and should exist together with respect and acknowledgement — the foundation of which should be based on recognising and owning the fact that strippers are the foremothers of pole dancing. Whether we like it not, heritage is heritage and credit should be given where it’s due. The point shouldn’t be to bicker over who is most worthy of respect, praise or acceptance…Rather, it should be about doing the right thing and, in this case, that’s owning up to where your hobby or occupation originates from, even if it’s a little uncomfortable and makes you feel judged. That judgement and misunderstanding you feel is precisely what we should be fighting against by standing together and PROUD. Doing dumb shit like using #notastripper or saying pole originates from Mallakhamb [Indian pole sport] is the most counterproductive thing a pole dancer could do to reverse this culture where we are shamed and underestimated…Period.

Kara*

The ones that come to the clubs support us. The ones that creep our Instagrams and hashtag #notastripper are the haters that don’t understand our worlds are not the same. Strippers are more supportive of pole dancers because we don’t compete with them.

Ania

This is the first time I am hearing of the #notastripper. I don’t see it as a bad thing to differentiate from being in the sex industry…I tell men many times a day I am not an escort…I have absolutely nothing against escorting and highly support it, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing to make it clear what my boundaries are. A pole dancer is making it clear that just because she dances on a pole does not mean that she’s willing to take off her clothes and perform in the nude for money…the same way I make it clear that just because I dance naked for money does not mean I’m willing to exchange sexual acts for money.

Lauren*

Nah…I get it. There is nothing wrong with a woman trying to join a pole community for fitness and not wanting to be stereotyped as a stripper. Not all strippers are bad…but not all are good either. Guys start seeing girls on there being “seductive” so I can understand why they want to use that hashtag.

Whatever your experiences as a stripper, as a pole dancer, or both — each of the perspectives illustrated here are something to consider when giving an opinion on the matter of the pole, the stage, the club, the studio, and the culture of stripping.

This piece, and subsequent pieces on similar topics, are not intended to create dissonance among dancers or within the stripper or pole fitness community, but as a place to start a dialogue. These voices and stories offer a glimpse into a world that many still have a deeply misguided view on. My hope in this — and why I started writing this blog in the first place — is to normalize the female sexual experience in public spaces so that you haters in the back who keep freaking out at the sight of muff will SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

But, in all honesty, I just want to live in a society that honours and worships the pussy as it was always meant to be. Is that so much to ask??

Here’s to hoping.

B.

Image via: FKA twigs (IG: @fkatwigs)

I’m an emotional whore.

So, here’s the thing. I love. Like…a lot. I love so much it hurts. I love unrelentingly, unconditionally, and without limit. Sometimes I surprise myself at how much love can pour out of my heart. Especially considering it breaks again and again.

I remember when I was a kid, I thought it fine to have multiple boyfriends doting on me in the playground at the same time. I mean, it’s perfectly normal to have one to hold your juice box, another to dust your jacket off from the sand box, and the other one — what was his name, again — that just stood there with a toothless grin. Am I right?

In return, I gave them my undying affection and wrote love notes with different coloured gel pens, folded up into those really cool origami-like doodads us kids growing up in the 90’s used to do. It seemed to work…that is until I reached Junior High. (For those in the states, it would be akin to Middle School.)

One of my boyfriends, Tyler, wasn’t having any of this playground love crap anymore. He wanted a “real” relationship where we held hands, kissed on the lips, and I would finally accept the 14K gold Mini Mouse earrings he brought all the way back from Disneyland for me in sixth grade. Why couldn’t we just continue on the way it had been with innocent, awkward hugs and me running away every time he tried to give me a compliment? He broke up with me in front of the lockers with all his friends watching, to make a point. I’m still bitter about it to this day. Jerkface.

Alas, this was my first lesson in love. You don’t always get back the same kind of love you give out. But do you think I actually heeded that lesson? Fuck, no!

From there on out, I went through a string of bad — and I mean HORRIBLE — relationships, wherein I gave everything to the other and asked for little or nothing in return. My thought process was that if I offered my love fully and freely, they would be so honoured by it that they could do nothing but return their own love tenfold.

How naive I was.

But it took me 20 more years to realize how fucked up that is. I still struggle with this in some way. To give all of myself and understand that this does not require the other person to return in kind. At times, it has been a hard lesson, indeed. But, life isn’t supposed to be easy, let alone the “total agony of being in love” — as little Sam reminds us in Love Actually.

What I’ve now come to accept is that the less I hold onto to something, the more I gain. No matter how much love and adoration and effort you put into a relationship, you can’t expect someone will give it back. In a sense, I’ve learned that the less you actually do, the more is revealed to you in the way of who is worthy of your love and devotion. I’m not saying to just sit back and see who comes falling at your feet — although, this does seem equally appealing to me — but to surrender to the natural process, rather than trying to force it or hold onto something or someone that was never meant to be. Ah yes, the divine paradox of love.

And despite this revelation, I still love. Unconditionally. Unrelentingly. But, what can I say? I’m an emotional whore. So, I’ll just be over here writing tear-soaked lovesick poems until the wee morning hours, contemplating all the feely things.

If only I could get paid for that shit…

B.

Image via: Pussy Musings (IG: @pusssymusings)

Strip Down: A Response to the Film “Hustlers” from Actual Sex Workers

If you’re anything like me, you know when it’s time to shut the fuck up and let others speak. And even though I often have a lot to say about most things, this was not one of those moments. Being that I do not identify as a sex worker, nor do I make money from the adult entertainment industry, I did not feel it my place to offer my opinion on this subject.

Upon the release of the new film, “Hustlers” there seemed to be a very divided response from the stripper and erotic dancer community on the way the film represented stripper culture. While some big names praised the film, others were shocked by its misrepresentation, and some refused to see it altogether.

I reached out to several dancers in North America, the UK, and Europe, to get an idea of what their opinions on the film were. Here are their responses.

Maila Mustang is a stripper and burlesque dancer in Canada. Upon asking her what she thought of the film, she responded with:

So I haven’t been paying much attention to the Hustler movie. Why? Because I know it’s going to negatively portray dancers, and from what I’ve heard I’m not wrong in my assumption. Cardi B is trash, as a human and a performer. She’s transphobic, which is enough for me to cancel her, and I’ve heard her stage performance is garbage. When I heard she drugged guys and stole from them I knew people would look at all exotic entertainers as thieves. We have a hard enough time with stereotypes and all she’s done is reinforce them.

The entertainers I work with are beyond talented. Professional athletes. Strong women who’ve honed their craft for years and this movie is going to do more damage than good. It will also encourage a bunch of wannabes. Everyone thinks they can be a stripper these days. Also, with social media promoting this movie so much but closing down REAL entertainers pages is absolute bullshit.

Maila Mustang, IG: @mailamustang

Rocky Ruz is a burlesque dancer and performer from Slovakia. She had this to say on the film:

I think the movie portrays just a little sneak peek into stripper culture and doesn’t show too many variations of it. For me it was just another Hollywood movie that wants to make profit off a culture which it normally despises. The whole “stripper world” is only a background for the story to be sold. I was hoping it would show more of the life and the true work behind the scenes and to help with the stigma around sex work. In fact, the movie is promoting on social media platforms which don’t allow real strippers and other sex workers to promote their work and personas. It’s totally hypocritical.

I think the film will have no impact at all. Sure, there will be a few guys who will think that every girl wants to rob them or something like that, but I don’t think that people will change their minds about strippers at all. I am from Slovakia, and here and in the Czech Republic, they translated the name of the movie to GOLD DIGGERS which is bad on so many levels, that I don’t know where to even start. So I think most people will see it as a movie where they can see JLo “stripping” and don’t think about the girls behind it at all.

Rocky Ruz, IG: @rocky.ruz

Vannah is a stripper in the US. They responded to some of the negativity surrounding the film by saying:

I think that the film is a place where tons of strippers and ALL sex workers can get promotion where they were previously censored. It’s interesting that it’s given such a space! Saw a few reviews of the film so far where many upper class cis white woman are amazed! ‘Wow,’ one said, ‘I never thought to consider SWers in my feminism! This is going to be something I do from now on and continue these conversations!’

But with any high clout of a marginalized population comes the backlash, too. I think it’s very complex and tends to be based on who is getting more space. Civilians or SWers? I think civilians, so it’s definitely not going to be incredibly realistic or representative.

Vannah, IG: @butterfly__affect / ManyVids: teething__

Following conversations with these and other sex workers, I thought the discussion on representation and the spaces the movie has taken up, especially on social media, to be very telling. One sex worker and activist I chatted with online brought up the aspect of “privileged dancers” having been the ones so far to praise the movie. When you see the high amount of support it has received from big names in the industry, it is no surprise they are the ones to be behind its success, as it further benefits their own.

Whatever your intentions for seeing the movie, I encourage you to view it not only from your own perspective, but through the lens of the dancers and performers that grace the stage, pole, and lap for your pleasure. The ones who know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Sex work is legitimate, honest work. Support your local strip club and pay your dancers.

With all the love to sex workers the world over. Thank you.

B.

Image: STX Entertainment/Ringer illustration (www.theringer.com)