First, let me say that I don’t want this post to subtract from any efforts anyone might be putting into my post from yesterday. I still would love to see some entries for that contest. However, today I realized that I need to ask more of my readership. I need to know what myths people are aware of or have heard about the Sex Industry. I’m well aware of many of them, of course, given my own experience in the industry. Unfortunately, though, one’s own experience is rarely representative of a whole. Thus, I must ask that people provide me with as much information about generalizations and myths that they have heard regarding the sex industry. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that you think is a myth, if you have heard people imply something about the sex industry and you’re simply uncertain of if it is true or not, that is also helpful.

Your input will play two roles in helping me out. Firstly, it gives me input on what I need to address in future posts on the sex industry. Sex and Science was created, in part, to debunk myths about sexuality and included in that effort is the debunking of myths about the industry that I work in. Secondly, I hope to eventually create a survey to pass around communities of sex workers so that we can get a better understanding of each other and a better grasp of what information is true and what is not. This will help us debunk myths that are harmful to us and it will help us work on possible issues that we have not had the tools to work on previously.

All I want you to do to help me out is answer this post with your claim/myth/generalization. Just use the comment box below. It will ask that you verify with a CAPTCHA.

Don’t forget about the contest!

Sex and Science is just about finished and will be all prettified and off the ground and running smoothly in a matter of days. Yes, DAYS! Thus, I have a contest inspired by my friend John H. VanOphem on Facebook. After linking the twitterverse and FBGalaxy to the adorable video on New Scientist of worms gettin’ jiggy with it, John responded to me with this: “Will the nematode position ever catch on though?” Well, I think we need to make it catch on. Before we can do that, though, we have to adapt the nematode sex to people sex. Given that people have more body parts and sex can be less cute and more chaotic with humans, this could be quite the challenge for many of us.

So, here is the task: I need you to create some artwork that conveys what you think a sex position known as the “Nematode Position” would look like. Use the New Scientist video and article as your inspiration. You can use any medium you like as long as you can digitize it and send it to me without killing my hard drive. It is because of time limitations and computer limitations that I ask that you keep your files down to a minimum. If you do a video, post it on youtube and make it no more than five minutes. If you send pictures, be sure that the total file doesn’t exceed 7 MB and I don’t want anymore than 20 pictures per entry. This presentation has to go up on a webpage and we want to be able to convey the idea to as many people as possible, accounting for the low attention spans of many internet users and not killing their computer memory. I also suggest that you not make your pictures any more than 450 pixels wide so that they can easily load on most computers, even with smaller screens. Also, your entry can be a verbal description. I’m willing to work with that and will even offer to draw the images to accompany the description myself if it is an easily understood, well put together description. I will even redraw images if you’re uncomfortable with your own art, but think you have an amazing idea that is so amazing that it will trump any other entry in how awesome it is. Thus, don’t feel intimidated by the task of making something creative, I want your creativity to show through in how you convey the sex position itself. The art is the added bonus.

As for rewards, There is very little I can offer other than posting your awesome work, crediting you and telling everyone how awesome you are here on sexandscience.org, on my blog.

Send all entries to me at Sophiehirschfeld at sexandscience dot org (if you make a video, just send a link to it). Please include¬† the name you want used to credit you, your email (so I can contact you) and a brief paragraph telling me why you think your idea is awesome. If we’re all just cool enough, I may be able to time the contest winners with the official Grand Opening of Sex and Science (do websites have Grand Openings?) I don’t have much of a fanbase here, so anyone’s entry is encouraged and please tell your friends!

Staring at the ceiling, leaning back in my chair on two legs just the way my teachers scolded me for when I was 10, I hooked one of my bright orange, ouchless ponytail holders under my black acrylic nails, stretched it back, and took aim at a duck-shaped water stain on the ceiling all the while trying to cradle the phone between my shoulder and ear. The voice on the phone sounded shaky. I could only assume that either this was his first time calling the line or he was already masturbating. Given his question, I assumed the latter. “So what do y-y-y-you look like, baby?” I tightened my throat as I let go of the back of the band I had hooked onto my finger and just as it crashed into the ceiling with thump, four inches from the duck, I spoke in the best hot, high-pitched, little, eighteen year old voice I could muster. “I’m 5-foot-5-inches, sweetie, I have long, curly blonde hair and big blue eyes. I have a lean body because I like to work out. My tits are nice, soft, b cups but I have nice, big nipples that love to be touched. My round hips fit nicely into my little shorts and I have a tight, shaved pink pussy.” My aim is really horrible and this was my least favorite call type. Barely legal? Fuck, I just turned 27. Looking back down at my desk, I marked the appropriate square on my datasheets. I still didn’t know if this was the type of data acquisition that I wanted, it seemed inadequate – like it was put together by a retarded monkey from the domain of Dr. Duncecap’s Lab of Horrible Things Gone Wrong, right next to John Mack’s* old office at Harvard University. I needed a way to collect as much data from each individual as possible, quickly and quietly in a manner that would show me some form of measureable, observable (or in this case, audible) data. Voice inflections, trembles and grunts don’t carry over well to paper, nor are they easily measured and recorded. “Baby, I know a-a-a-about girls like you,” the man hissed. His tone changed dramatically since his question about my appearance, but he was panting more now as well. I was caught off-guard and momentarily lost my normally smooth articulation, “Oh?” I squeaked. “Yeah,” he said, “does it bother you that I know that you and all your slutty friends are crack addicts?” Regaining my composure, I was able to take the reins again and I thought I understood what he wanted now. “Yes, sir, are you going to punish my friends and I?”

I may be a fat chick, but becoming a decent liar over the phone has helped me survive. In reality, I’m 5’7″. The average height for most women is barely over 5’3 1/2″. I’m taller than approximately 85% of women my age. That isn’t the only lie. I have long reddish-brown hair (red only shows up in the right lighting), green eyes, and I’m fat. I do work out around an hour to an hour and a half a day but it doesn’t keep me skinny and I’ve never handled crack in person unless you count what residual crack there may have been around my dad’s house from my sister’s many adventures in the substance abuse arena. I told my client on the phone many more lies in that conversation because he wanted to hear them. I told him I did things that I’ve never done, that I’d never try, and things that I’ve never done that I would really love to try and they were all about sex. So I confess to being a liar, but I also confess to being an entertainer and here I’m going to lay out some reasons why deception is the foundation of some forms entertainment and how this deception is what I might call benevolent lying.

From the time I was a very young child, I was taught that lying was wrong. There were few exceptions and the exceptions that existed were considered extreme and rare. One such example was a story from the Book of Nephi in The Book of Mormon. Nephi, who you may have guessed was the main character, was sent back to Jerusalem with his brothers to steal some important documents that had been stolen by a guy named Laban. Laban was portrayed as a bad man with lots of power and the Plates of Brass (those important documents) were considered more important by God than Laban and his people. Thus, Nephi kills Laban’s guard and then steals his clothes and dresses up as him in order to steal back the Brass Plates and be on his merry way. For a child that is taught never to lie or steal, this story is rather confusing. At some point I began to reason that killing people over just a possession was probably a bad idea, but was lying bad? I didn’t think so. Unfortunately, the conditioning I had from my childhood didn’t give me much room to find out. I disliked the idea of lying so much that I pretty much sucked at it. When I became a phone sex actress at 27, I had to learn how to do it very fast and for some damned good reasons. I needed the money and I wanted to study sexual behavior from within the sex industry. What does sexual entertainment do for the consumers and what is it really like for the performers?

Another thing I learned as a child was about the Holocaust. An estimated eleven million people died during the Holocaust because of Nazi Germany. The Jewish people, especially, had to hide from the thousands of Nazi soldiers who hunted them down, harassed them mercilessly and then brought them to their imprisonment, tortures and death. This kind of unfortunate situation is prime for asking certain questions on the ethics of lying. Indeed, this kind of question presented in this context is frequently asked (to the point of nobody seemingly knowing where it originated): If you were hiding a jew in your house and the Nazis came and asked if there were Jews in your house, would it be more ethical to lie or tell the truth? Most people would consider it more ethical to lie. In fact, one of our greatest heroes from that time and situation became a hero because he lied. Schindler’s deception saved thousands and he is still honored for the effort that kind of deception took. So why is it assumed that lying is unethical in the first place? Shouldn’t a lie be determined ethical or unethical based on the consequences of said lie?

This is, of course, the train of thought that leads us to the concept of the benevolent lie – a lie of goodwill, charity and/or benefit. My job as an entertainer is to make people happy. Me lying to someone over the phone about having a tight, round ass is no more evil than Jim Parsons pretending that he has a Physics degree on the TV series ‘Big Bang Theory.’

Another element to my work, though, is that the men I entertain also lie. They often lie about their personal traits in order to impress me or to their significant others in order to keep from facing potential consequences of their partner finding out that they sought sexual entertainment through me. While the former lie can be absurd and has been the fodder of many, many jokes between my peers and partners and I, it is also not a lie that does harm. The latter, however, only does harm if the significant other finds out and the man’s pursuance of erotic entertainment was not in the percieved agreement they had in their partnership. It is the latter kind of lie that also seems to get the most attention from other women. Unfortunately, the negative attention seems to get directed at me. The assumption seems to be that it is my moral duty to turn down the clients who I know are married or, at least, not there with the permission or blessings of their significant others. I view this dilemma as being akin to the sweat shop dilemma, only not nearly on the same calibur. In some sweat shops, conditions are so bad that the workers have to go to extreme measures in order to make ends meet. Sometimes this means stealing some of their product and selling it to people they know. This action brings them more money as their job doesn’t meet their needs. Stealing is assumed to be wrong, but in this case, it isn’t the buyer’s duty to tell the owner of the sweat shop that his worker has stolen from him. In fact, one would hope that the buyer would be understanding enough to keep the secret of the worker not only so that they can gain from the purchase but also because they understand the worker’s needs. The situation between the worker and the buyer, in this case, is one of meeting the needs of each other. Sexual drives are a very natural thing to have. There is nothing wrong with them and we are each the owners of our own bodies and are responsible for seeking out the things that our bodies need. If another person assumes that they own the sexual aspects of their partner, this need becomes theirs to meet and if they can’t meet it, it is entirely reasonable for their partner to get their needs met somehow. This doesn’t mean to do something irresponsible. It doesn’t mean spending money they don’t have or making bad sexual choices that could lead to disease. However, if they come to a club and pay $5 for some tits in their face so that they can masturbate sometime later that night, it is a necessary trade for both the worke … um … stripper and the client. My last dinner cost me less than $5 and if my young self and my friends are imagined to have been punished for being crack addicted whores** for that $5, it sounds like a good trade to me.

*John Mack is a UFOlogist who seems to have helped create memories of alien abductions in people who previously had no memory of them. He worked at Harvard.
**Crack addicted whores, as it turns out in the above fantasy, are punished by being told to eat each other’s pussies.

PeaceTara and hotmovies4her on Twitter directed me to this video on youtube this morning that I think is deserving of some critical attention. While watching this video, be on the lookout for emotional appeals in the song and in the images themselves:

The biggest and most obvious emotional appeal is, of course, in the song title. “Somebody’s Daughter,” according to this song, apparently leads one to a realm where we deserve special treatment and are seen as someone unable to make our own rational decisions. Though this isn’t directly stated, it is certainly implied. And in this line of thinking, where are all the videos about sewage processing women being someone’s daughter? The clerk at the store? Female bartenders, garbage truck operators, nursing home care providers (who clean the shit off our grandparents) – those are ALL someone’s daughter too, and their jobs suck. Sex work jobs only suck when people are assholes. Most of the time the job is all about pleasure.

Further, there are other lines in this song in need of serious attention. One line of the song states, “Why do I only see flesh and look right past her heart?” Firstly, it isn’t dehumanizing to think of people as being made of flesh. It would more disturbing if you saw her as a peanut butter parfait. We are people and we are made of meat. It is part of our natural instincts and one of our innate drives to respond to each other as most advanced meat-based animals do, sexually.¬† Speaking of which, a hard dick produced by a glimpse at pornography is not much different than that which is produced by looking at a loved one, like a wife, who you also might lust after. Let’s not forget that she is also somebody’s daughter (if that’s important to you).

Oh, I should also mention here that the way the next few lines go with the one just mentioned is somewhat creepy:

Why do I see only flesh and look right past her heart?
I try to tell myself I can’t help what I feel – And then I remember
She’s somebody’s daughter.

When you’re aroused and viewing a girl sexually, you’re thinking about how she is someone’s daughter? I’d say that’s a hell of a lot less normal than most people’s sexual fantasies and it is less likely to be hers than if you just generically view her as sexy. Don’t get me wrong, here, incest amongst consenting adults is their business and not something I think people should punish others over. This part of the song just seems to imply something that, well, wasn’t the emotional appeal that the writer was looking for. It gets disturbing with the next line, though, “she’s somebody’s child.” I don’t care if you dislike that I or one of my peers turns you on with our work, but I do care if you’re thinking of me as a child while you are turned on (not my thing at all).

The next verse highlights a few things that I think are easily addressed. Firstly, it implies that having a child (who eventually became a sex worker) was somehow cherishing creation. No matter if you do believe in a creation story or if you believe in evolutionary theory, if the body is to be cherished, there is no better way to cherish it than to show it OFF and SHARE it! My body is the only body I will ever have. I see it as something granted to me via the happenstance that is evolution, but even if it was some divine gift, I see no better way to be proud and happy that I have it than to use it for the pleasure of others. Getting paid for it just means that I can do it rather than having someone objectify me as a biological burger flipping device at Burger King. The verse further states that the parents of this hypothetical sex worker made her body as a temple for her soul. Quick, name one temple that isn’t dressed up pretty and uncovered – oops, time’s up.

Another big complaint I have with this song is that it implies that a man masturbating to sexual entertainment is a man who is somehow defiling the performers. You know what? We’re only defiled if you cheapen us by pretending that we haven’t made our own decisions, that we haven’t consented and that we are worth less to you when we are doing something to help you. Also, while what an individual does to continue a healthy sex life, including regular masturbation, is not evil – teaching men that they are somehow evil by doing something that is completely natural and healthy (like masturbation) IS EVIL. Whoever wrote this song, seemingly designed to promote guilt for sexual activity, has done something evil just as much as a person who makes starving people feel guilty for eating a salad with a fork is evil. That’s right, pornography is the fork in your salad, Bitches.

My sex work is a part of my identity just as much as who I was born to is part of my identity. Being someone’s daughter is only a fraction of who I am and diminishes the rest of my life to the point that it devalues me as a person. So, it isn’t for the person who is masturbating to me to be shamed. Instead, shame on those of you who would rob me of my identity by pretending some other aspect of my life defines me more.

P. S. I was going to comment on the youtube video in the comments section, but it appears that anyone commenting against it is getting marked as spam and, thus, passively censored since youtube hides marked down comments unless you actively click to unhide them.

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