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?