Thursday 16 May 2013

The Lion's Den

It's the night before the event of the year people! Tomorrow, at a secret venue in London, the Erotic Oscars are announced, and the country's perverts, pleasure seekers and pace setters gather and celebrate their diversity and their right to free sexual expression (consenting + adult as per...)

The hard work and organisational skills which go into getting this event set up need no explanation, save to say that many of us are eternally grateful for the devotion and discipline shown in managing such an event. 

I've been nominated this year in the category 'Campaigner of the Year' and I'm both honoured and exited. I'm in great company in so many of the categories, an overwhelming array of talent indeed. You can see the finalists listed here 

Personally, this is my path in life, to bring healing and intimacy into the world to the best of my ability. To restore health, passion and pleasure into the lives of those who feel disconnected or at a loss and in this capacity, I am fiercely committed to the right to self determine and express our own sexuality. I always seem to feel the need here to insert the proviso that I'm talking about ADULT CONSENTING sexual freedoms here as so many seem to feel threatened by sexuality and it's very nature. It's like the great big theatre where all of our shadows, demons, fears, insecurities and histories are most certain to come and join us! But fret not, the good news is that when we begin to befriend them, there'a a jewelled path to pleasure awaits us if we're willing to risk exploring. It's significant to me that I still have to add that proviso to rebut the claims of those who conflate sexual freedom with harm, trafficking, oppression etc etc, as if one did not have the intellect to distinguish those states from the right to choose what we do with our bodies and with whom. 

For sex workers, it would seem that we remain the scorned woman, the one who represents the great fall from grace, the absence of the sacred, the harlot, the temptress and the whore. Why is that? A recent letter from the feminist Rahki Kumar to Michelle Obama could not have laid out on the alter this sacrificial lamb any clearer. The letter you can read here. What do YOU think? I'd be interested to hear?

Now, I have real issues with this letter. I've been working for over 30 years in sexual freedom activism and sex work rights campaigning, and I am sick and tired of people equating all that's bad and negative around sex work with poor and disempowered versions of womanhood. What if a woman WANTS to celebrate her independent sexuality, and chooses to sell sex? Not all sex workers are trafficked, drug addicted, pimped victims, and the stats quoted in the letter are unfounded and untrue.

Now then, if a person (man, woman, trans, child) is trafficked into any kind of indentured labour, and  not just sex, but sweat shops or dreadful demeaning jobs, or hang on even corporate immoral bondage!, well then yes, we should offer the support that is needed, as defined by those people experiencing that issue (otherwise it remains patronising and moralistic) to help them change their lives. It is possible to have a sacred soul that includes sexual freedom and the celebration of sexual FUN. So what if my nipples show whilst I'm celebrating, that doesn't invite anyones judgement (women get raped for wearing the wrong clothes - tell the attackers to stop raping!). If I want to wear a sheer bodysuit, let me. 

I agree that there are huge aspects of Beyonce's and many other pop icons (and other role models) imagery and lyrics etc that are problematic, largely as they/we are so manipulated by the media, but let's stop bloody equating this women's emancipation with a purity that for me, is actually quite alarming and certainly does NOT speak to me in any way at all. I have sacred sex, AND I enjoy it, and sometimes I wear outrageously sexy clothes when I'm having it! letter would read VERY differently, Let's stop marrying poor role models with unproven stats about sex work, it's not a pretty liaison and it's erroneous, harmful and does women no favours whatsoever.  

Celebrate your sexuality as you choose, respect others, have fun or get the support you need. Not too much to ask is it?

And in the meantime, good luck to all of the finalists tomorrow! Have a great one. 

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