What is Sex Work?

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Bad Advice From “Ask A Dude”

by smcgee on flickr

At The Hairpin they have this thing where they “Ask a Dude” to give advice on matters of all sorts. Most fall along the lines of “Should I leave this relationship?” or “What does it mean when a guy does this?” type of questions. Last week, though, the featured Dude told a girl that turning a friend into a client by sleeping with him for money was a good idea—forward-thinking, even—and it was horrible advice.

There’s a reason most of us use pseudonyms, screen, and even blur our faces: We don’t want to have relationships with our clients beyond the actual transactional one we will already have. Clients can’t be friends, and friends can’t really be clients in the long run. When you actually know someone and they know you, they anticipate feelings (or you do), but somebody is doing a lot more thinking on the experience than “This is amazing, it feels so good!” In this girl’s case, that would be what her Mom might think and how he can use this as leverage to get more attention from her.

DuBarry Was a Lady (1943)

Du Barry Was A Lady (1943)

This film! Gene Kelly, Red Skelton, and Lucille Ball (who is a most epic redhead in color, I have to say) star in this musical where a hat check boy busts his head and dreams he is Louis XV, and Lucy is his Madame Du Barry. Sex work is, obviously, never mentioned. I mean, this film was made in 1943 y’all, I’d be expecting quite a lot if I needed them to say she was what she was. But. BUT. Anyone who knows their Ho-story knows that Madame Du Barry was a Courtesan. Courtesans fucked for cash . . . among other things, obviously.

Hump! Amateur Porn in Portland

Three strippers and a well-adjusted boyfriend attend the 7th annual Seattle and Portland amateur porn film festival, Hump!. This was Kat and her friend’s first time attending and the second for my man friend and myself. We learned that we never want to see sex to piano music again, that stop-motion animation can be more obscene than real life, and that Kat’s former coworker wasn’t afraid to be penetrated with a knife.

Standing in the long line outside of Portland’s Cinema 21, I was immediately struck by how chipper the crowd was. An equal proportion of mid-twenties to late-thirties men and women chattered excitedly in the rain. I actually stood on my tiptoes to peer down the block, looking for solo older men lurking in the shadows, but didn’t see any. All six Portland showings had completely sold out and the line of hip young people wrapped around the block. Kat overheard a guy tell his girlfriend that they were at the new Harry Potter movie, which didn’t seem unreasonable given the mob of excited people.

A Conversation With My Mom

I do these interviews because I want to talk with other sex workers about our work, and because I think we all have interesting stories. But, after interviewing Matthew and his telling me he was coming out, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to worry about that. I acknowledge that I am very privileged to have a mom who isn’t freaked out by my work, but we’d had very few conversations about how she felt about my work. Actually, we hadn’t had any. I tell her about sessions, and I told her when I started working, but beyond a few mentions here and there that was it. I wanted to know what she thought about my work, and since she’s a preacher, if she thought it clashed with our religion at all. I didn’t know what she was going to say, I swear, but I committed myself to reproducing whatever she said no matter what.

(Obviously this isn't my mom and I.)

Sugarbabies Unite! (sort of.)

For some, the jury is out on whether being a sugarbaby counts as sex work, for others it’s pretty clear that it is. The ladies of Tits and Sass think it is, even if we don’t all have the same opinion on it. So, we decided to have a little Sugarbaby Roundtable on the topic. What could be better than the opportunity to share experiences, especially when the subject at hand is generally treated like a secret?