Strange TalesPortland-based stripper and Tits and Sass contributor Elle Stanger has compiled an anthology of personal stories from strippers from across the U.S. Strange Times: Tales from American Strippers includes pieces by Tits and Sass co-founder Kat, contributors Lily Fury and Red, and other notable dancer literati like Lux ATL. Stanger has this to say about her compilation: “There are so many stripper tell-alls, and each important in their own right, but I really wanted a collection of voices that focused more on the ability to witness humanity from varied perspectives, that wasn’t solely about the protagonist herself… When I began speaking with current and former strippers around the country, each woman was unique, and yet there was a commonality among them. A shared kind of insight.” We’ve posted a selection by Clementine below. 

“Darlin'”

Clementine

Most hours I’m just passing—waiting for that one opportune moment—the mythical lapse in which something finally gives and I find my mind, my body, my heart—all in agreement with the preponderance that now is the moment when the most viable option is simply to let go. In most narratives, this might be when the writer would let the audience in on their little secret—saying Oh, but it wasn’t always this way. Let me tell you how it happened… But the truth is it has always been this way. [READ MORE]

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("Lost Balloon" by Ann Marshall, via Flickr and the Creative Commons)

via Flickr user Ann Marshall Art

Content warning—the following contains descriptions of underage sex work and an adult fantasizing about sexual activity with a pre-teenage child.

I don’t know how I started seeing Jeff. I can’t remember meeting him, or what the first session was like, or what he looked like in clothes. I just remember when it turned.

Jeff was a big money client for me at the time. It was my first year as a pro-domme and I worked in the sketchiest dungeon in town. Jeff would book me out for the entire night, freeing me from having to charm individual clients during meet and greets and guaranteeing me enough cash to cover my rent. He was easy too: the session was almost entirely verbal and consisted of my languishing on a velvet padded throne and rattling staccato words at him while hoovering lines of cocaine off the mirror in my Chanel compact. He would sit at my feet, cross-legged and hunched over, slavishly masturbating and smoking poorly rolled joints. He requested that I wear street clothes during one of our early sessions. I returned to the room, minus the latex, in what I had arrived at work in: platform boots, skintight ripped up jeans, and a tube top. I could tell he was hoping for something different, and he came to our next appointment with a small plastic shopping bag.

After I took Jeff’s money and dutifully handed it over to the biker who ran the place, I went into the dressing room to inspect the contents of the bag: a very small pair of shorts and a very small camisole, both in the lightest shade of pink, made of waffle knit cotton. There was a second where I wanted to sit down and cry. I was never molested as a child, but for some reason introducing the specter of childhood into an S&M session disturbed me more than anything else I did at work. From my first day on the job, I had a preternatural ability to perform acts of severe subjugation without being affected by them. I could fist a guy’s ass, piss in his mouth, beat him until he bled, and it didn’t touch me. It didn’t disgust me or traumatize me or make me feel much of anything aside from the intoxication of desire and the masturbatory pleasure of receiving the cash. But the kid stuff fucked with me. Calling it “age play,” the euphemism of choice in BDSM circles creeped me out even more. I didn’t ever want to be called Mommy and I didn’t ever want to play a little girl. Even though I was just seventeen, technically under the age of legality for sex work in New York, I felt like an adult at work, and I wanted to keep it like that.

[READ MORE]

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Trick or treat, smell my feet! Then pay me for the privilege.

Trick or treat, smell my feet! Then pay me for the privilege.

Darren Vann, the man accused of targeting sex workers and killing seven women in Indiana, says he messed up by killing his last victim, Afrikka Hardy in Hammond instead of Gary. (True remorse.) S.E. Smith asks how a convicted sex offender was able to murder at least seven women over the past few decades. Gary Ridgeway could answer that for her. And our own Tits and Sass contributor, Peechington Marie, explains how Vann’s sex worker victims are stigmatized and erased by the media because they don’t fit the good victim profile on the Ebony Magazine site.

Olga Galkina, a St. Petersburg lawmaker, has drafted a bill that would give clients a choice between fines or arrest if they’re caught seeing sex workers, with the fines and jail time increasing if they know the person was forced into sex work, and best of all, an option that would forgive and forget the infraction if the client marries the sex worker.  Galkina says that she favors legalization of prostitution and is using this bill to start a public conversation on the issue.

File this one under Civilians Being Obnoxious Idiots About Sex Work: two former New School students have started the world’s first “poetry brothel,” where:

….writers could present their work in a more vibrant, visceral setting. They would dress up, invent alter egos, and sell not their bodies but their poems.

A 19-yearr-old Chinese backpacker is looking for generous “temporary boyfriends” to fund her travels: they pay for her trips to their cities and her expenses while there and in return “they get a whole night with me, my undivided attention, and a chance to show themselves off in the company of a truly beautiful girl.”  Haters say if she was getting cash rather than a trip we would all know what to call her, but I think we already do: thrifty.

A former police officer who abused his power in order to force sex workers to have sex with him has been sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Strippers at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club is Las Vegas won  legal recognition of their employee status on Thursday, and the case is now back in the District Court to decide how much the approximately 6,500 dancers who work there are owed.

Siouxsie Q. talks about Facebook’s short lived legal name policy and the reality that pseudonyms keep us safe.

CNN goes inside the world of a feminist stripper and hears that “it’s hot and empowering.” Sex workers the world over who’ve been trying to break free of that word cringe in unison.

In the wake of her rebirth and the creation of her new anti-trafficking organization Somaly Mam breaks her silence to defend herself. Some things are too good to last. [READ MORE]

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The author as Trinette in a burlesque tribute to Archer (Photo by Meneldor Photography of "Danger Zone," produced by Smooches and Science and Sailor St. Claire Presents.)

The author as Trinette in a burlesque tribute to Archer. (Photo by Meneldor Photography of “Danger Zone,” produced by Smooches and Science and Sailor St. Claire Presents)

In 2010, FX premiered Archer, an animated show that balances adventures in espionage with workplace comedy. The titular character is Sterling Archer, “world’s greatest secret agent” and colossal douchebag. While the rest of the cast eventually joins Archer in the land of functionally good but typically awful people, Sterling is usually the worst of the bunch. As the whole show plays with spy genre tropes, Archer is presented as being a more realistic version of characters like James Bond. He’s great at his job but he’s also self-centered, vain, reckless, and constantly trying to get drunk and/or laid. Getting laid is a challenge, though, because he’s a jerk. Enter sex workers.

While Archer is shown to have sex with women who aren’t sex workers, he isn’t typically shown having sex with them more than once. He regularly calls an agency for last minute date needs and one of his continuing relationships is with one specific worker named Trinette Magoon.

Trinette is, to put it plainly, fucking amazing. I recently portrayed her in a burlesque tribute to Archer and ended up rewatching every episode she appears in. Seeing all of Trinette’s supporting appearances at once rather than spread out over four seasons made it clear the creators really took care with her character.

Trinette first appears in the second episode of the first season. Archer is training a new agent and hires her to help out while he orchestrates a party simulation. The new agent, Cyril, is nervous as he has “never been this close to a–.”  Cyril is unable to figure out how to refer to Trinette,  so Archer remarks that he can call her a call girl as “Trinette takes pride in her work” and Trinette agrees. It’s going well until Cyril uses her as a human shield during the exercise and she tries to leave, accidentally pricking herself on a poison-tipped pen Cyril was given earlier. She passes out, the men roll her up in a rug, and throw her in a trunk.

If Trinette’s storyline had ended here I would not have been surprised. That is how our stories usually end on television. But there is a twist; Trinette bangs on the trunk and demands to be let out, and once she’s free she berates Archer for his treatment of her, demands his watch, threatens to have his kneecaps broken by her employer, and drives off with the car.

[READ MORE]

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via flickr user STML

(via Flickr user STML)

Have you ever wondered what’s taught in university social work classes about sex trafficking? Several sex worker activists recently decided to go forth and find out by taking the online Human Trafficking course offered by Ohio State University’s Social Work program through Coursera, an education platform that partners with universities to offer online classes.

Course grades were based entirely on starting and responding to discussion forum topics and the students’ creation of human trafficking public service announcements. Although Coursera claimed that the class had 30,000 participants, in the end only 97 completed the class and received a certificate. Those who completed the class have not received the certificates yet. As activist Bella Robinson, put it, “God knows what it will say.”

The forum discussion, according to one sex worker student who posted on Facebook, was “about 99.99% about forcing women to stop doing sex work.” There was little or no moderation, with students up or down voting each other’s posts similarly to the way Reddit users do. The instructor, Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, an associate professor at Ohio State’s College of Social Work, rarely interacted with students and never corrected misinformation or addressed abusive comments. [READ MORE]

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