Tuesday, 15 November 2011

How anti-trafficking feminism harms sex workers.

I could not put it better than this so I will simply direct you to this important piece on why anti-trafficking feminists are doing more harm to sex workers rights, safety and civil liberties than they are effecting good. It's a real shame to me that this debate remains so polarised and that as long as it does, sex workers are being seriously challenged in their basic right to self determine, and to access services which help empower us and protect us rather than threaten and place us at risk. Read why here (please click on the active link)

Meantime you should watch this important video made by a seventy year old transgender sex worker in Phnom Penh. It's all connected. Love and peace...xx

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Power of Woman

Gorgeous readers, I don't know who you are or where you are or how you may stumble across my page, however, welcome....pull up a chair, pour yourself a wee whiskey and let your mind meander through my words, my world, for a moment or two.

Today sees your divine hostess Claudia pondering the incredible power of WOMAN and women's sexuality when it is free to express itself as it can and should. But what does this freedom involve and is it any different from the freedom of women to express ourselves in general, as we see fit? I remember reading a while back several passages in my Virginie Despente's book King Kong Theory about how she struggled to reconcile the false teachings of what is was/is to be a woman with her own real experience of it. For Virginie, fitting in with any ideal of femininity was early on dispensed with as a pointless exercise likely to lead only to bitterness and disappointment. She knew that she did not conform, did not look like any average girl and was neither classicly beautiful nor moderate and demure in demeanor and this caused problems for her.

For many women, those of us who do not conform to societies 'normal' values for 'ladies' or other people's idea of what it is to be feminine, we become typecast very quickly; we are 'ballbreakers' 'bitches' and 'sluts' and 'whores' (god forbid that we actually choose to be those last two things and enjoy it!!). We find that as women comfortable expressing the more yang side of our natures, it is as threatening as it is for men who desire to express their more yin side too. For years I have known the currency of the feminine ideal. I've known what it is like to sell myself, to give myself away 'freely' (the cost has often been higher than when I've traded honestly in what men have wanted from me), and to have that taken from me in one way or another without my conscious consent. Now I find that the only freedom lies in being true to oneself, in being "impeccable with ones word"*, yet it would seem that this all too often monumental task is tantamount to the holy grail of most relationships and we're generally not very good at getting there

Since the earliest days possible, women's sexual power has been known to be vast, extensive and when left to itself, unbounded....and then came religion where women began to be subjugated beyond belief, culminating in one of the biggest violations to womanhood known in our time, the burning of witches. Women who were sexual, who were midwives and healers, women who had esoteric knowledge, women who painted, danced and sang, who loved their nakedness and their wildness, were accused; a single look could turn a man's penis to dust. Women, it seems, fornicated with devils. Women were not God/Man-fearing enough and so we paid.

Interestingly, Lilith, who was seen as Adam's first wife, was reputed to have refused to have subjugated herself to Adam, instead choosing to fly off and fornicate with demons (aka have fun). In many biblical images, the serpent is represented as Lilith, which I actually quite like as at least it portrays one sister speaking to another in offering up the hand of 'temptation' (freedom?). In order to heal from the fundamental gender imbalance, and in every wrong done to woman a wrong is automatically done to man, we must refuse to compromise our true wild woman nature. We must become the witch, the healer, the crone, the whore, the virgin, the slut, the Goddess and more. We must embrace our vast and animal natures and be honest about who we are. We must relinquish the grip that shame, guilt and false idols hold over us and be true to our instinctive selves. Whether our lovers are men, women or both, we must find our integrity and stand with it. It may be a bumpy ride but jailers can only hold the keys as long as we believe in the bars.

*The Four Agreements ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

Monday, 17 October 2011

Why Consent Is Key

The video above, made by the incredible Serpent Libertine of Red Light Chicago, highlights a really important piece of activism. The fact that most sex workers with any political savvy at all not only want to distinguish between trafficked sex workers and those who elect to work by their own choice and will, but recognise the fundamental importance of this distinction, are only all the more frustrated by the fact that current bad laws make it almost impossible for sex workers to assist lawmakers in tackling the most serious areas of concern.

Of the women and men who choose to work in this industry, most of us still find ourselves at the mercy of antiquated laws which do absolutely nothing to help forward engaging adult intelligent debate, truly useful service provision, effective policing and to hold any modicum of faith in the upholding of fair and just civil liberties. Many countries make prostitution illegal, in others it is legal all but in name as the surrounding laws and loopholes still render it impossible to work safely (UK is a prime example). It seems that we are still stuck in Victorian values when it comes to thinking about sex, the trading of it, and the free giving of it where it does not fit in with societies 'normal' value definitions.

As a woman who has explored many aspects of my own sexual expression over the years via fetish clubs and websites, BDSM practice, research, service provision, several areas of sex work (escort, phone sex operator, street worker), open relationships, tantra other expressions of my sexuality (which I see as inherently connected to my creativity), I am still staggered that the fundamental concept of FREE CONSENT seems so hard to grasp.

When it comes to the trafficking debate, this has been used for years to discredit sex workers who work by free will, who choose to sell sex, and who are conscious about how they work and within what boundaries. The trafficking issue has perhaps been the single most loud voice in the polarisation of the debate around sex work and feminist discussion, capitalist discussion, and the concept of how race, gender and social class impact upon the sphere of work and sexuality.

Work of any kind cannot be separated from capitalism it's true, however it seems that sex workers advocating for their right to decide what to do with their own bodies and incomes are the thorn in the side of the moral and ethical 'police'. It is dis-empowering and arrogant to sex workers to tell us that we do not recognise our own oppression; that we are complicit in it, whilst suggesting that you who work for large corporate companies or publishing houses etc, are not! Why are we so damn twitchy about the sale of our bodies? Would we abolish work because some aspects of capitalism leave a nasty taste in the mouth? No..so why try to abolish prostitution because some aspects of that do the same? Why not invest in and lobby for workers rights, better policing, fair laws; the things that will help sex workers on a global level tackle the real issues; violence, exploitation and abuse.

Please share this video on your sexual freedom websites, social networking sites, sex worker rights pages, spread the word...without changes in the law, we, the vast resource with access to the greatest information cannot help.

This is 2011 ~ Time For Change!!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sex Worker Open University 12-16 Oct 2011

This week sees the return of the incredibly inspired Sexworker Open University. This year will be the third SWOU program which it seems just gets better and better; more speakers, more subjects, more activism and more information sharing. A healthy balance of serious conversation and grassroots sharing is intermingled with a whole lot of pleasure and fun. The program is out and you can find it here

Were I not working and if I lived closer to the capital, I'd be there and I'm damn sure I'll be there next year as forewarned is ready and prepared and I think this collective is doing some amazing work raising awareness of sex worker rights and key issues faced by those of us who work, and those who support us.

There are no stereotypes in this line of work. The number of reasons people enter the profession are as diverse as the kind of people and the ethnic, social and political origins of those who choose to engage in sex work. A friend recently showed me his photography portfolio; he'd done some really poignant photographs (without faces) of people in attendance at AA (alcoholics anonymous) meetings. He'd done it to highlight the fact that people with alcohol problems or dependency don't all look like "dirty drunks" and the images were incredibly sensitive. My point is that stereotypes of any kind are all too often born of ignorance and it's time for us to rise up and be heard. SEXWORK IS WORK just like any other kind of work, and it's workers deserve all of the same rights as one may expect in any other profession or industry.

If you're able to get to the London SWOU, I highly recommend it. Some workshops are for sex workers only but there are as many open sessions for advocates running alongside the sex worker only sessions. Speakers include the inspired Audacia Ray of the Red Umbrella Project , sex positive pioneer London Faerie, The English Collective Of Prostitutes , the incredible Laura Agustin, William Takahashi, and many more! There's also a march this coming Thursday to highlight the campaign to decriminalise sex work. If you're on facebook and you can find out more here

There's also a whole host of really informative international sex worker rights activist presentations on the Friday night. More here.

Seriously folks...you NEED to be there! Don't miss out!!

Sunday, 2 October 2011


"Ecstasy n. A feeling of elation. From the Latin ex-stasis, standing outside oneself."

Many people search for it; through substances, work, fitness, meditation, and of course sex. What is it to be able to 'stand outside oneself'? Is it the thought of being able to view ourselves more objectively (too 'heady'), or is it simple a hedonistic pursuit of an ultimate feeling of bliss/pleasure? Are we so locked into our sense of self via the Ego that the moments where the ego disappears, or rather quiets down, give us that sense of ecstasy? Busy lives, busy world, busy minds. For many of us a moment of true calm is a rare thing.

Sex can certainly provide us with many opportunities to reach heightened states of bliss, but that said, the shadow side of sexual expression seems to me to be far more prevalent in our modern cultures. In countries where Tantra and Tao first originated, women are as repressed as they are in any other, so it's not simply the roots of a philosophical or spiritual practice that honor it's original meaning, it's the understanding of and practice of it thereafter surely that give it it's potency and true potential.

What's happened to us when it comes to sex? Violent one moment, guilt ridden the next, we seem to have forgotten the easy and natural pleasures of being a fully em-bodied sexual being. New age sexuality cuts the balls off sex, and the media gives us ten overblown botox-injected pairs on the other end of the spectrum, but it's all screwed! Sex education, for what it's worth focuses almost entirely on warning, prevention, protection from disease and pregnancy, or if you're luckier than that, how it should be saved until after you're in a deep and committed relationship (judgment).  You see where I'm going? Where are the teachings that our bodies and our sexuality are to be celebrated and enjoyed despite all of the finger pointing moralising? We don't talk about sex in celebratory ways, but far more often in taboo ways, if we even get to talking about it at all. It's like the big global secret that ever remains behind locked bedroom doors. Bad girls enjoy sex and need punishing and boys are 'just being boys' and we should turn a blind eye right?

As children we are rarely taught about what happens to our blossoming bodies and emerging sexuality and resort to awkward shame-laden fumblings beneath dark covers in the deep silence of nightfall. I've often been chastised by lovers for being "too noisy" when I cum! "What will the neighbors think?" Um...that I'm enjoying my sexuality maybe?

Sex is NATURAL! It's FUN! It can be immensely healing. And when it is suppressed, repressed, judged or flung into the arena of a moral high ground, it can be dangerous, destructive and scary. There are so many myths spread about sex, so many deceptions, so many lies (Cosmo hold your publishing hands up please!) We are made to feel that we are generally "getting it wrong" or if we're not, that our lovers therefore must be, as lofty ideals that paint pictures of perfect sex being hot and sweaty with orgasm as the ultimate goal are held ever before us as the Holy Grail of sexual fulfillment. Yet for many men and women, sex is something that causes great anxiety either before, during, after or all of the above! It is rarely seen as an opportunity for a spiritual experience yet to the Tantrics and the Taoists that's exactly what it was. The conscious channeling of sexual energy is seen as an opportunity for the dynamic integration of mind, body and spirit and for prolonging and improving drastically our health, vitality and longevity. So what could be better? So why do we think there is so much resistance o this natural state of bliss? It costs nothing, it improves much and we could become powerful, strong human beings by re-connecting with this very primal energy....and who could possibly be threatened by that right?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Fuck Me Harder....

...a.k.a, the porn sex myth.

So, your divine Hostess Claudia finds the cogs and machinery of her inner mind kicking into action once more. It's been a long break, much to ponder and many changes. I've given up tantra working as I fell in love and for me personally, I find it too hard to manage both love and sexuality work at the same time. God knows that relationships can be challenging enough without throwing client relationships into the mix and add into that full time day job and 3 kids...well you get the picture; even Superwoman would falter!

My default setting is to overDO rather than overBE, and when I'm in full swing acting this out, I admit to a tendency to burnout. Sound familiar? well, my medicine for burnout can be sex. I love sex and to be frank, I find that it relaxes me in ways that little else can, so imagine my delight upon completion of a recent tantra for women course, discovering that there are exercises I can consciously use to raise and channel sexual energy whilst meditating!! Now that's my kinda meditation, something that has never come easily to me before, so I've been exploring this a while now (more posts on tantra to follow) and I find it is leading me to consider some interesting reflections upon the nature of sex, fucking, love, intimacy and the like.

Until now, as a self confessed orgasm junkie, sexual pleasure has most definitely been achieved with the golden carrot of the thought of the deliciously divine orgasmic end result dangling omnipresent. Sex without orgasm felt like a major disappointment and often, in order to get that if I'm being completely honest,  fantasy would be activated to greater and greater degree. Fucking harder, talking dirtier, experimenting by going out on ever daring limbs, and with many of those I sure had no map 'home'. Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to the odd bit of porn, the odd bit of fantasy, or the odd bit of sexual adventure at all, however, I do think that a great deal of mainstream porn is de-sensitising us to real intimacy and that intimacy has almost become a dirty word! 

The problem lies, as far as I can see it, in that' same ole same ole' split that sees the (often religiously based) chastity advocates owning the INTIMACY word whilst the rest of us speak in carnal tongues about the pleasures of fucking, however some of my most pleasurable sexual experiences of recent months have come from moving away from porno style fucking into sensual sexual intimacy. This I have managed to do without sacrificing my filthy whore nature to the lamb of love, and I'm wondering if this is in fact part of the same tendency to separate 'good' and 'clean' sex from 'bad' and 'dirty' sex.....yup...just like we do with women.

There are good girls and bad girls right? Those who are marriage material and those who are playthings. Those you want to fuck and those you want to treasure. Virgins and wives versus whores? But for those of us who court both real passionate intimacy and real dirty unashamed sexual pleasure, what offers you/us the best sex ever? What makes your sex great and your intimacy profoundly touching? Do you enjoy porn? Do you use porn to get you off? Do you see intimacy as a 'dirty' word and is it in fact the last taboo in these days of increasingly available sexual imagery?

Just askin'........do come in and chat....x

Monday, 23 May 2011

Every Ho I Know Says Says So

This video made by Scarlet Alliance, is a really important piece of work on sex workers views. Specifically targeting those who love, or are in relationship with sex workers, it documents the views and perspectives of those in the industry around their thoughts and feelings for partners, family and loved ones, tackling the more common issues that may arise within our primary relationships. Many of us are given negative messages about this work, about how it is 'destructive', 'unhealthy', 'damaging' etc, yet rarely are we asked how we feel about it. If I were asked, I'd say it's sometimes great, occasionally it's a pain or a challenge, sometimes I feel uncomfortable or less safe, impatient or irritable, sometimes I have fun, meet great people, laugh, learn and get great sex. Just like any job, it varies tremendously according to circumstance; personal, societal and/or practical.

Sex work is WORK, and just like any other job ~ sometimes it's fantastic, sometimes it's not. Sometimes there are great days, sometimes really tiring days that stretch ones patience to the limits. Sound familiar? Yup....well welcome to the world of work! If you love a sex worker, do them the best honor you can and listen to their views and feelings and please try really hard to ignore the messages you're fed, not to project your own preconceptions onto them, and to trust what they tell you about their working lives. The proof is in what and whom you see before you; most often a fantastic, lovable, sassy, cheeky and very ordinary person.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sacred Whoring

What does the word 'whore' conjure up for you? Have you experienced it as a derogatory label being hurled at you as some justification for another person's anger? Have you been judged for your sexual expression, or your dress sense? I'm asking as it's a word I quite like these days, like 'cunt' and 'bitch', words I once feared, perhaps as I too was locked in what it felt to be on the receiving end of their judgment rather than their potential for liberation.

These days, I am less and less apologetic about who I am in the world and how I choose to express myself, and my activism has taken on new perspectives as a result. When I was younger, it was fair to say that I hated much of my experience of sex and my personal circumstances were very different back then. Now however, I have much more in common with many of the tantra clients I see (the age gap has narrowed!) and my awareness of just how much healing is needed around sexuality has grown enormously and it is my conclusion that "Houston...we have a problem"!!

The first thing I notice is how nervous many men are around women. Granted I'm there in a certain capacity and some nerves are to be expected, however, it's more than that and I'm suspecting that many men aren't at all sure of us women. Secondly, when new clients first arrive it's fair to say the majority seriously do not know how to touch, be touched or communicate with a woman. I don't say this to judge, more to raise awareness of how much work there is that can be done by conscious sexuality educators - healing work that can ripple out into the world which can only improve the relationship between the sexes as far as I'm concerned. How ironic then that so many anti-sexwork lobbyists assert the opposite and hold us accountable for buying into the damage that's done in the name of gender differentials; simplistic reductionist arguments that fall at the first hurdle.

One of my all time heroines, Annie Sprinkle, pictured below, has consistently worked from this premise.

Annie knows that we need more love and more sex in the world and uses her unique point of view and skill to bring this out in her own inimitable style. Her sexuality knows more variety in its expression than almost anyone I can think of and I adore her! As sex workers, Annie and another of my heroines Scarlet Harlot, inspire me to bring the same gifts through my own work, so when I meet a man who is clearly awkward and inexperienced around women, I see it as my challenge and a labor of love to reduce his anxiety and with kindness and compassion teach him about how to communicate sexually. Not all men ask or need to know but many benefit for sure.

Some clients approach making love as if fixing the broken mechanics of an industrial drill - with as much sensitivity as an ox at work and as much awareness as a bull in the proverbial china shop. It takes guts and discretion to gently coax a man into a softer way of being without at the same time making him feel emasculated; that's not the point after all. My clients get my respect from the outset and I expect the same, and that includes every part of the contact whether verbal or physical. I'm a lady in my communication and a slut in the bedroom, and whichever persona I'm in, I expect respect. I can call a client a 'dirty bastard' whilst in the bedroom but that's as far as it goes in terms of how I perceive him as a human being unless he gives me cause to say different, and I'm more than happy to be called a whore unless someone is using the term with underlying violence of one sort or another.

Hookers can teach men a great deal if we're awake enough and enjoying our work enough not to get lazy. We can earn a good living, get some kicks along the way and besides all of that, let's not forget.... 


Monday, 2 May 2011

The problem with sex

What's the problem with sex? Your divine Hostess Claudia came to ponder this question after several recent happenings led her fertile imagination and sharp intelligence to become alarmed by what is going on when we think sex, talk sex and have sex.

First off, I noticed that many men simply do not know how to pleasure a woman and have not the faintest idea what foreplay or arousal are designed for. Gentlemen...banging away like an industrial road drill against a woman's pussy or clit will not, and I mean NOT, garner you any favours. Most men don't even seem to think the clitoris is important. Male readers I invite you ~ share your thoughts. Do you know where it is? Do you know how to tease and arouse it? If not, here's a picture to assist your navigations!

...Or perhaps this may be a better way to find out?

Right then, now that we've got the biology out of the way, what's happened to our sex lives? There seems to be so much guilt, shame and fear associated with sex that we've become either paralysed or over invested in fantasy at the expense of true passion or sensuality, and let's not forget that sex is meant to be fun! I have a theory that somewhere in all of this lies a deeper problem, our issues with 'gender' and the way we allow gender to define us in a most limited fashion.

Thinking about this got me considering how so many men have not learned how to express their femininity, and conversely so many women have not learned how to express our masculinity. Men who feel drives other than 'macho' sometimes desperately crave the touch and feel of women's clothes and underwear or the expression of a more 'submissive' role in the bedroom. They may find the only way to let this out is by secretly dressing up in private, occasionally finding a someone or some others with whom they may share this 'secret'; defining themselves at it's most extreme as 'sissy' and risking ridicule and more shame for doing so.

Paradoxically when a woman expresses her masculinity, she is often labeled a 'ball breaker' or a Bitch and may be labeled by men and other women for rejecting the more easily accepted 'softer' feminine qualities like family, marriage and nurturing.

Artists such as Eric Stanton and Robert Crumb (and many more) have been illustrating the allure of such women for aeons yet these qualities are often highly desired and reviled at the same time; I want a Dominant whore as a lover but not as my wife....

This separation of masculine from feminine, and this limited labelling creates both desire and fear at the same time, yet often a desire associated with taboo. Meanwhile women and men are not getting the sex we want or need as self and other imposed restrictions limit our sexual freedoms. It is a rare pleasure to meet a man in touch with his feminity without being emasculated and a woman in touch with her masculinity without becoming 'hard'. In the bedroom the pleasure of discovering this flowing in and out of attributes can lead to an immensely pleasurable and horny experience. The extremes (woman as 'victim' or 'bitch', man as 'sissy' or 'macho') then ease up a little and the willingness to play and to adventure and explore become a whole lot more fun. I for one don't wish to be swinging between extreme polarities, nor do I wish to find yet another man struggling for....oooh let me see.....minutes (!) to find out how to pleasure me.

Three words: G-Spot, clitoris and liberation spring to mind. We are far too afraid of talking sex it would seem and even more afraid of admitting to feelings and desires that we have learnt to 'disown' and yet I believe these disowned feelings are at the root of all sexual violence and many relationship problems.

What are your views? Do you expect a woman (or a man) to look and behave within very restricted parameters? Do you allow for and celebrate diversity? Do you experiment with boundaries? And how much guilt, shame and fear do you live with as a result?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

What happened to our Balls?

I've been watching one of my fave programmes on TV at the moment on catch up today, The Crimson Petal and The White, a drama series set in Victorian London based on the 2002 book by Michael Faber. The programme caught my eye as its main character 'Sugar' is a prostitute working out of a well known East End brothel and is quite frankly, totally hypnotic to watch.

For those who don't know or have access to this programme, the series outline is as follows (quote verbatim from BBC website):

"Sugar is a sexually adept prostitute whose reputation for sensuality precedes her; alluring and highly sought after she ‘never disappoints’. Her intelligence and wit sets her apart - self-educated and ambitious, she’s able to engage in heated discussion whilst satisfying her clients.

Having spent years at the mercy of men, Sugar yearns for a better life and craves the freedom to make a living using her brain rather than her body. When not at work Sugar pens a dark, gothic novel in which a prostitute enacts revenge on all the men who have wronged her - a theme that has threatened to seep into reality.
Mourning the recent death of her friend Elizabeth, beaten by two punters, Sugar is determined to flee the hell that is St. Giles. With the arrival of William Rackham, this escape becomes a tangible prospect - and one that Sugar is keen to exploit."

The programme also features actors of the calibre of Richard E Grant, Gillian Anderson and many more and is incredibly well cast in my view. Mrs Emmeline Fox, played by Shirley Henderson has a mission in life to 'rescue fallen women' - and my word don't sexworkers know that there are many still keen to do this even today. In doing so, and in ignoring the reasons perhaps more evident in Victorian times (poverty and lack of opportunity for the working classes etc), they then choose to ignore the personal advocacy of sexworkers, when most of us it's fair to say are more than able to speak for ourselves.

Now what intrigues me about this programme is its timeless topical focus on what makes a woman lose her mind, her virtues, or most sadly for me, her very essence, intelligence and strength. The woman playing Rackham's (the man who takes Sugar from the brothel by paying for exclusive 'rights' to her) wife is portrayed as slowly losing her mind in a way that is utterly comprehensible I'm certain to most women watching. Exploited and patronised by both her husband and her (extremely repellent) doctor who is systematically abusing her in private, separated from her child as being an 'unsuitable' influence, denied her feelings and her 'uncooperative' points of view (i.e one step up from a placid doormat) she begins an extremely well acted  descent into a living hell.  Sugar, originally cast as a spirited, alluring and intelligent prostitute is seen slowly losing her 'fire' as she becomes further and further enmeshed into the 'normal' lifestyle of her patron. It's almost agonising to watch; a bird of prey tethered and controlled until the role of the wife and the prostitute begin to become indistinguishable.

As stated above though, it's not only men who separate us into the Freudian categories of virgin/whore, oh no...as women we have become most adept ourselves. We make women responsible over and over again for the destructive consequences of the male gaze, in fact, so good have we become at labelling ourselves I fear, that the cost is undoubtedly very high in the loss of our fire, our chutzpah, our very balls

Virginie Despentes writes a whole book on the subject in her title King Kong Theory, lamenting the loss of female 'masculinity' and the corresponding loss of the male expression of femininity, both so apparently threatening even in today's society that people are beaten so severely they are left traumatised for daring to express those parts of themselves in public: see Maryland attack of this week in Macdonalds store where staff and public not only ignored this vicious beating but saw fit to film it instead!! (WARNING: This video is very ugly and could trigger - please be aware and accept no less than a public outcry - already the 'victim' is being reported a 'prostitute with previous criminal damage convictions' and what a disgusting and thinly disguised attempt at justification that is....).

I can almost not bear to watch the inevitable decline of Sugar in the Crimson Petal, it leaves me feeling so sad to bear witness to this all too familiar 'taming of the shrew', ironically the woman playing Ms Fox in this series, the 'saviour' of the 'fallen women' is also playing the role of Kate in the current theatrical version of the Taming of The Shrew!

My call - Ladies of Ill Repute, guard against the loss of your 'ill reputations' for fear that you become some hideous version of the Stepford Wife, our ambitions are surely far loftier than that!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Sex: What makes it great?

Having spent the last few evenings firmly entrenched in Anna Span DVDs, I've come to thinking about what makes sex great for women. I felt strangely empowered (or was it aroused?!) after watching Anna's productions, and given that I'm generally not at all shy about exploring sex and sexuality, empowerment on top of existing confidence can only be a good thing (though men may wish to run very fast in the opposite direction as my pussy demands more action!)

Having been fortunate enough to have had relationships that have allowed me to fully explore the 'darker' sides of my sexual expression,  has given me the opportunity to be much clearer about what I like and dislike in bed and find the voice to say so. It was most certainly the communication without shame that made these explorations possible from a starting point of fun, openness and courage; the courage to talk out our deepest, darkest fantasies free from shame. Initially of course there's always the fear of embarrassment or discomfort - what if I reveal too much? what if that confession is one step too far? what if judgment enters the playground and leaves me feeling the bittersweet aftertaste of the confessional? So many people are told that what they desire and feel isn't 'normal' but who gets to decide upon this? I know that when I first discovered a partner who could talk dirty and match my own levels of filth, my sigh of relief was probably audible in the next street!

Communication is key for sure but is that enough? As with any aspect of a relationship, getting to know one another's intimate secrets and thoughts takes trust and time, though obviously if the sex you are looking for is a one-off hit, then lust and instinctive attraction take over. Starting from the premise of a general question, e.g., 'what makes sex great for women', I wondered what the answers would be, so I asked about 30 of my girlfriends and their responses were as varied as the number of body types there are in the world. Here are the abridged versions of some of their/our replies, many of which were duplicated:

"women love oral - simple"
"being able to get really pervy and feel utterly loved no matter what"
"raw sex appeal and the feeling of control/lack of control depending on the person"
"ribbed condoms and a man who will stay down for as long as it takes...oh and a nice cock"
"the right drugs and a good imagination"
"double penetration!....and to be able to feel totally at ease so that I can go wild and lose all inhibitions with an unselfish lover"
"love, security and lots of squirting (female ejaculation)"
"talking about what they are going to do whilst doing it"
"start with a massage, free the mind and the body follows"

I have two teenage girls - what do we teach our young girls about sex, sexuality and their bodies? How do we counter mainstream values if those values are limiting at best or repressive at worst? My daughter has already experienced labeling as a slut just because she enjoys sex and is not afraid to get the sex she wants. To me, that sucks BIG time and makes me both sad and angry. Has nothing changed? False images of what it is to be a woman surround us daily, most often in the media and those magazines supposedly aimed at women and young girls, and this can so easily perpetuate a sense of lack, so how do we change their thinking and bring confident, sexually comfortable young women into the world? We keep talking.

Some of my most inspiring mentors have been sexually open, confident women; writers, porn stars, sex workers, dancers, strippers, campaigners and the like. Women I met at the International Conference on Prostitution in LA many years back now, women who first provided a platform for me to express the full range of my sexual experiences. Women like Annie Sprinkle, Carol Queen, Nina Hartley, Scarlot Harlot, Tracy Quan, Cheryl Overs; all inspirational fabulous women who have shaped who I am in some way or another, and here's to the many more I've yet to meet!

For me, what makes sex great changes depending on where I am and what I need in my life at any given time, however it remains true that many of us are afraid to talk about sex in the same way we may talk about any other aspect of our lives and relationships. Why is that?

On that note; what makes sex great for you? please come in and get some good juicy chat going ~ you know it makes sense!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Fetish or Fantasy?

This is an old post, however having recently revived my blog page after a long haitus during which I destroyed most of my internet presence and writing/photos (folly I know but broken hearts do strange things to rationale), I'm so glad to have found a few bits and bobs that I'd like you to indulge me in re-writing and posting some of those lost pieces.

When does a fantasy become a fetish? Do men fetishise sex more than women? Are the sexes really programmed that differently or is this just another common myth? We have most certainly struggled to express our masculinity which in turn has a massive impact on men's true ability to comfortably express their femininity.

We hear told that women want hearts, flowers and romance and are often happier with a cuddle than a really good fuck, whilst at the same time we’re told that men are simple creatures, easily pleased and able to separate sex from love, but is this the truth? Are the genders really so different in the expression of our deepest desires and urges? I know that there is a huge part of me able to separate the two but it is rarely given free rein; subconscious fear of judgement?

When in bed with a lover a while back, I began to complain that I didn’t want to talk dirty but wanted to just “make love” for a change....you know…just you and me, simple, without all of the fantasy. I was pouting and complaining in a lighthearted kind of a way, but underlying this comment was a bit of a weekend ‘whinge’;

“Our sex life has become too pornified! Can we just make love please, never mind all of this fantasy?!”
His reply: “so are you suggesting you don’t enjoy our ‘play’ as much as I do?”

My first response was to state that yes, I thought perhaps he was more into it than I, at which point he called me on it. “But you have all kinds of fetishes in relation to sex, just as many as I do”. “No I don’t!” I responded a little too quickly. Simple. I denied it! And he called me again, this time giving examples of some of his ‘fetishes’ and offering me examples of what he considered to be some of mine. I began to contemplate whether this felt true, were these examples he was offering me really fetishes?

I asked for his thoughts on why men (most of the men I’ve known at least) seemingly enjoy a different kind of sex to women (as in fucking over love making). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not painting everything with a generalised brush here and I know there are cross-overs, however there also seem to be certain patterns I’ve noticed. Are men really so much more straightforward about it and able to separate sex and love? Why do they seem to shy away from what women refer to more as ‘love making’? Why do so many women seem uncomfortable getting the sex they may want and simply demanding a good fuck without being labelled a 'slut' or a 'whore' (both of which are labels I'm happy to embrace unless they're being delivered with physical threat).

His theory was that men are generally very task and object driven in life, and that this makes them feel very grounded. In sex they are no different. There is a ‘task’ at hand, an objective and a goal as outcome; to orgasm and ejaculate. He suggested that the more ‘touchy-feely’ approach often favored by women makes men feel uncomfortable as it’s too intangible, too much weighted in feelings and the subjective as opposed to actions and the objective. I found this fascinating.

We continued to talk - when does a fantasy become a fetish? He mentioned several of what he thought of as my ‘fetishes’. No, I disagreed; I fantasise about that but it’s not a fetish. There’s no obsession there (in the first example or two he offered at least). Then he mentioned two more, one not even sexually motivated, and it was here that he finally found an admission. Yes, I admit to having a fetish…about shoes, and one for the smell of my own panties after a long day at work, which I find totally erotic. There may well be more.

We discovered that for both of us, a fetish usually creates a physical trigger and is inherently related to the body, whereas a fantasy often remains happily placed within the realms of the imagination, or the mind. So for example (using shoes as it’s more convenient to illustrate my point), when I’m shopping and see gorgeous shoes I have to seriously battle not to stop, touch them, sniff them, try them on and admire them, and then fight even harder not to buy them when I cannot afford them or don’t actually need them. I become physically stimulated and this stimulus is directly connected to my sensory awareness and the erotic drive in me. I lust after them and feel driven to fulfill this fetished urge. When I’m wearing certain shoes, I become the fetish object and I feel powerful in good heels. By contrast I have a big doctor fantasy yet I can happily enter a GP’s surgery and not get triggered into physical response (inappropriate to begin touching the doctor!), therefore I consider this a fantasy rather than a fetish. Were I to get a Pavlovian response to the examination table for example, or to the stirrups, then I would call it a fetish.

Men, it would seem, have many more fetishes than women, or at least my man has many more than I do! He offered examples of all of his male friends and the things he/they fetishise about; panties, hosiery, air hostesses, cheerleaders, white knee-high, socks, cunnilingus, spanking, and so much more, yet for me, though I may enjoy playing with some of these things, for the most part they remain ‘fantasy’ and do not invoke a physical response or any kind of mildly obsessive behaviour.

Does this difference (if you agree there is one) between the sexes hold true for others? Is it bound to cause problems? Can it be understood and accepted thus creating a more peaceful way of being in relationship? What would it take for couples for whom there is a vast chasm between their mutual understanding and desires to feel comfortable with each others sexuality? So far I have found about 4 things I’d consider having a fetish for whereas my lover hadn’t stopped formulating his list before it was time to get up!

Do you have a fetish? Are you able to express it/indulge it? Do you have to keep your fetishes secret? What do you consider to be the main difference between fantasy and fetish and do you believe there is a gender distinction in evidence with this?

I've re-considered some of this since separating from the lover in question, and talking recently with a male friend, we discovered we were both equally desiring of balance in our sex life; a bit of 'sensuality. coupled with a bit of lustful hard fucking seems to be the perfect balance, regardless of gender. I'm also more inclined to think that the line between fantasy and fetish is far less clear than that given in my examples above. I could quite happily feel a physical trigger to my doctor fantasy and were social norms different, indulge in it following the response of my clearly wet pussy!

Now that's undeniably physical.....so perhaps ultimately it's all just a matter of self control?