This was originally posted on may 10, 2008.
– March 4, 2010
A few years ago, back when I was stripping, I met this guy who presented himself as basically less redneck than the rest of the people in the community I lived in. He had his sights on me for a while, having asked my sister about me. Now, my sister is someone I raised and who wants, very desperately, for me to find a partner, but also a partner that keeps me close to her. She’s very aware of how much I don’t fit in with people in my home town, the undereducated, working class. So she told this guy that I was into science. She told him about the two things that I talk about the most: The stars and sexology. This man, being himself not even close to the class of people I was looking for, decided to create a very clumsy facade because he had a goal to have sex with a stripper. Any particular stripper probably would have helped him accomplish his goals, but he didn’t really know very many and so he probably thought his options were limited. With this goal in mind, and with the prospect of sex glittering in the distance, like a far-off firefly with a broken wing, flopping painfully around in the sky, he decided to class himself up.
I grew up in a world where things were oddly dichotomized. There were the “haves” and the “have nots” and the people with power and their subordinates and the educated and the uneducated. I come from a family of “have nots” who were under educated and subordinate (with the exception of my mother, who was educated, but with a myopic world view). Needless to say, I didn’t fit in and it was obvious to everybody, throughout my life. It was also obvious to Mr. Wannafuckastripper. So he, being himself in from the anti-education, have-not world, started cleaning himself up a little more, he obtained a very superficial understanding of stars and also learned that there was a meteor shower that I wanted to see that would happen very soon. Thus, he asked me out on a date to see it. Me, thinking it was at least sweet that he had considered it and still having never met someone, in person, even remotely like me, accepted. But I knew beforehand what was really going on, so I accepted while knowing that his real intention was just to have sex
In order to watch the vast sky, we went out to the edge of town, near a tiny river, and laid on the hood of his jacked-up Suburban. After the show of light and me rambling on for an hour about meteors and how they weren’t really falling into us (the Earth, that is) so much as we were passing through the debris left behind from a comet and it was probably more accurate to say that we were falling through it, forcing some to fall into us, it became time that my companion decided to make his move. I, of course, stopped him. This was not enough for me to think he valued me very much. Not that I’m opposed to casual sex or anything, but there’s a difference between casual sex with someone who respects you and casual sex with someone who thinks they gain status points from boinking you. I explained to him that I wasn’t just another notch in his stick and that I didn’t want to be that for him. If he wanted to fuck this particular stripper, he was going to have to show me that he valued me somehow
So, he sent me sweet text messages. He invited me over for movies and we hung out with his niece and his mom and for quite a while, he got to know me and I got to know him. I don’t know how to paint his personality for anyone other than to say, he voiced an interest in what I had to say, but would clearly be happier shooting a brand-new yeild sign with a shotgun. Knowing this, and still frustrated at the world for not sending someone I could identify with in my direction, I continued to date him and finally decided, with the help of my hormones, that he’d shown enough interest in me that I would have sex with him. The first attempt was when we went swimming at a resevoir, we left early so that we could beat the sun (so it wouldn’t damage my sensitive skin) and so we could beat the others that wanted to join us. I spent a long time nearly bathing myself in sunscreen before we went out into the water and being alone, we began kissing heavily. He picked me up and I wrapped my legs around him and we began grinding, gently, until he screamed out in absolute agony
Have you ever heard a cow bellow in agony? I have. When I was ten, I used to go to my grandma’s neighbor’s house to hang out and see their animals. They had a cow that had a calf who somehow stepped on her nipple as she was standing up. The nipple was ripped off and the cow let out the most un-cow-like sound I have ever heard. It was an odd merging of sounds that might come from something that was a mix of a braying donkey, a trumpeting elephant and a roaring cougar. It was a terrifying sound. That moment, in the water, as I was anticipating having sex for the first time in nearly a year, a sound that was somehow related to the sound uttered (punnily enough) by that de-nipple-ated cow, somehow sprung forth from the lungs and throat of my potential mate. I was scared
Without explanation, without telling me what went wrong, he put me down in the water and walked back to the shore. I followed, asking him a hundred questions, trying to find out what hurt or what happened. Did I have an iron pelvis or something? Did I break him? He wouldn’t tell me. All I knew was that his dick was broken. Our friends and my sister arrived right about then and he sat on the beach, with his testicles just resting in the cool water, while my sister and I swam for a short time, until I had to go hide under an umbrella because the Sun was making my skin hurt
A week or two later, I was invited on another date. There was some discussion about sex and our last experience had left me tremendously frustrated but also worried. I still had no idea what had happened and he wouldn’t tell me. He just told me that everything would be ok and that he was fine. So I went to see him. This time, he made some effort, but the effort was not nearly as cool as his past efforts to impress. The plan was dinner and a movie. Cheap TV dinners (the $1 banquet meals) and the movie, “Jackass.” Trying to get laid with a movie date with the movie “Jackass” is kind of like trying to show a university admissions panel that you’re intelligent by offering a synopsis of “See Spot Run.” That being said, my sex drive, for some reason, would betray me and turn off the part of my brain responsible for better judgement. I made him turn off the damned movie after a few minutes and suggested we get right into playing
Things got hot very fast. He played with my breasts and few things turn me on faster than someone playing with my breasts. My breasts are part of my communcations interface provided to anyone that I sex up, free of charge. If one is given access to my breasts, to stimulate them, the odds are pretty high that they will have access to other things. I can’t possibly stress it enough how sensitive my breasts are and how happy I was to have someone touching them. Him touching my breasts, of course, led to grinding. Once again, submerged in a sea of pleasure, kissing, fondling, groping, grinding, I thought I was finally going get a little satisfaction. I didn’t just think this, I assumed it would happen, that is, until he uttered the mutant-cow-screech again and threw me off of him as if I was a pillow he’d been casually humping that just produced some very sharp teeth.
It was somewhere around this point that I began to think that either my date was crazy or I had clitora dentata (he never got to the vagina, so it couldn’t be a problem there). This time, he was hopping around his bedroom and begging for ice as he bellowed. I, being very shocked and wanting to at least stop the pain that I wasn’t sure if I caused, went ahead and got some ice. Again, he stopped saying much. he pressed the ice firmly into his crotch, whined, and sat there. I had no other choice but to walk home; leaving him with a broken dick, again.
A couple days later, I heard from a mutual friend of ours. This friend brought three bits of news to me: 1) My would-be fuck partner was going back to his girlfriend who doesn’t like sex, 2) He no longer wants to fuck anybody, much less a stripper, and 3) his friend kicked him in the crotch about four days before he went on his first date with me, causing a severe hernia that left him unable to maintain an erection for very long, much less put any pressure on it. The injury was not my fault, but he had somehow assumed that he could endure the pain in order to have sex with me. He couldn’t bear the humilation of telling me this himself because what guy wants to admit to a girl that his penis is broken? That doesn’t get anyone laid.
Note to potential partners: I had it checked by a doctor, and I don’t have an iron crotch. You’re safe, but it dashed all hopes I may have had of having the first Vagina of Borg.
Posted in The Divine Cumedy.
– March 4, 2010
I just finished reading a post on skepchick.org about IQ elitism within the skeptic community. I think carr2d2 did a great job of highlighting the problem, so I thought I’d elaborate a little on elitism and how it affects us, because I run into elitism in many ways, including ways in which it relates to my work and my attempts at activism (in all my favorite topics). This is a topic that relates to everything I do, not just in the sex industry and not just in my small involvement with the skeptic community and my advocacy of science. I see this problem everywhere, in all of those categories. Thus, no matter which group you come from, I hope you will read this, because this pertains to you.
Elitism is a specific kind of prejudice that is specific to people who feel their qualities are better than those of others based on traits that are less innate and are considered more acquired characteristics that they feel gives them a better standing to provide information, make decisions or otherwise hold a position of better social standing. The following are some short descriptions of examples:
It is, perhaps, not well known that Madame Curie was in love once before she would meet her dear Pierre Curie. Her first love was a more youthful kind and happened at a time when she was known as Marya Sklodovska. At the age of 19, Marya, known as “Manya” to her family, was working as a governess, aiding in the education of the three younger children of a family in Szczuki who had an older brother named Casimir. Casimir wanted to marry young Marya and told his parents who made it known that Marya’s position as a governess made her completely unsuitable for marriage, despite her extreme intellect and good family. Marya’s shattered dream disallowed her to experience that kind of romance again for years.
The story of Pygmalion, while not being a specific, real example, is a story that revolves around the problem of elitism. The character of Eliza Doolittle was a theme for her time that highlighted the different views that society had of the lower class and under-educated in comparison to the upper class and articulate people like the character Henry Higgins.
As a final example, I’m going to use myself, because I’m narcissistic like that. I have the most pleasant opportunity these days to communicate with people from social groups that I never would have dreamed of just a few years ago. Just by nature of being myself, I’ve been able to make friends (and acquaintances) with people in science and skepticism, some of them are prominent and some are not. Of those, I have found that interesting experiences happen just because of my work. Some of this is due to elitism and some of it is due to them not wanting to get into trouble with their peers. I’m aware enough of context to have the ability to tell which is which so I don’t mind the latter so much as I do the former. My work and my personality are things that people have a tough time not building stereotypes around and people naturally shove me down onto another social rung as a result. To illustrate how just being me does this, let me highlight something that was in another carr2d2 skepchick post that carr2d2 linked to in her post, which quoted another blog:
Just as an example, one woman (I would guess her age at about 20yo) wore a dressy black blouse with extremely tight cut-off denim short-shorts, thigh-high fishnet stockings, and 2-inch patent leather strappy spike heals which were at least 2 sizes too small. No kidding.
I strongly suspect that this woman was describing me. Though I’m 31 and what I was wearing wasn’t fishnet stockings, they were criss-cross designed tights (easily confused with fishnet, a subject which was mentioned in a conversation I had with a friend of Heidi Anderson’s as we waited outside a restaurant for a table to open so we could have a nice, Thai dinner on one of the evenings of TAM), my shorts were not cut-offs (I may dress like a slut, but I admit to being picky about my clothes) and my leather shoes fit just fine (I have to dance in them and were they too small, I couldn’t do that), the description is a pretty good match to some of the clothes I wore at TAM7, even a specific outfit I wore. That’s the style I dress in most of the time. I don’t recall seeing anyone else at TAM dressed similarly and while I could have missed seeing it, I know that if I had seen someone dressed similar to me, I would have noticed and remembered. So while it is possible that there was some fashion clone of mine at TAM, the odds seem pretty fair, to me, that this woman was discriminating against my clothes (although exaggerating or misremembering minor details of them). That being said, what is important to note is the fact that she highlighted the clothes in order to separate me (or my fashion clone) from the types of women she expects to see at a conference.
I run into another form of elitism when I interact with other people in the sex industry who are trying to do activist work. There is a clear division between the under-educated sex workers and those who are well educated and many of them are trying to educate. I’ve seen a few people who do their best to try to bridge this gap and I’ve seen them struggle with it. Tara Birl is the first person who comes to mind (I admire her, I really do, anybody in any part of the sex industry should be casting her a red rose full of gratitude). Even I have been mildly guilty of the aforementioned bigotry, not in the sense that I want to belittle or be cruel to people based on their intellect, but in the sense that I am keenly aware of when someone’s educational background is so different than mine that I have to intentionally steer myself to react to them in the most productive, friendly way that I can so that we can both gain from the experience instead of suffering at the hands of my own biases.
Elitism is prejudice. It is a form of bigotry that stems from in-group/out-group behavior that set our ancestors against each other from the beginnings of our known history and probably even farther back than that. As far as evolutionary history is concerned, this kind of thinking unifies a group, deeming the out-group as less valuable, and so, less worthy of assistance in survival as the members of the in-group. This kind of thinking is one of the key players in most forms of bigotry, making room for classism, racism and most other forms of prejudice. It is this kind of behavior that allows us to shove others out of our own circles and which we use to justify any form of malicious treatment of them.
For those of us who want to change people’s minds for the better, this can be a particularly large problem. If we, either accidentally or on purpose, set ourselves apart from some of our peers by classifying them differently, we risk making them feel like they’re so much of an outsider that they don’t belong. This problem can easily be reinforced by our peers and theirs, people who might reinforce the same stereotypes, shutting down those that we need the most in our efforts to simply make the world a better place.
So how do we solve this problem? Well, to the same tune that I always sing, education. Carr2d2’s post does a good job of highlighting the problem for people, but people really need to make an effort to find signs that this is going on. We have to try to look for the signs that we might be reinforcing this behavior in others or that we might be displaying it ourselves. Instead of noticing, first, our differences with others, we need to search for similarities that we can acknowledge with those differences and then decide if the differences really matter or if we need to build some sort of sensitivity to those differences; we can then build relationships from there. I may be a sex worker and someone reading this may be a scientist, but we both have an interest in educating others and when I step into a conversation about quackery, the facts about my job are irrelevant. Likewise, my job as a phone sex worker should not be seen as important in a discussion with my peers about their work as prostitutes unless it is applicable to the discussion at hand (which happens sometimes, but rarely). Noticing these faults of ours can take a lot of work, we have to actively ask ourselves if we’re reacting to someone appropriately and if we’re expressing ourselves in such a manner that we’re not driving a wedge between ourselves and our peers.
Posted in Uncategorized.
– January 22, 2010
If you are not into posts with TMI (too much information), don’t go any farther. This post is graphic. This post is also a story, not really educational. If you like a good story and you don’t mind the extra information, please read ahead.
Once upon a time, I had a really cheap, but pretty awesome pen. This pen was about four inches long and big and fat and could write in ten different colors. It had a hard, green case and a nice, smooth shape. You could see the colors that it offered you by the color of the sliders on the end that you could push down in order for that particular pen tip to come out of the end. I liked this pen, but I had a friend that liked this pen way too much.
After I got my divorce, times were pretty tough as far as my sex life went. My sex life hadn’t been great before, but I could tell that I clearly didn’t like lacking any sexual stimulation at all. Of course, the cure for this is masturbation. I had never masturbated before. I was educated, I knew more about sex than most of my peers and yet I hadn’t ever progressed that far sexually. I had been taught as a child that masturbation was wrong and that horrible things would happen to me if I did it. So I never did (I was a horribly obedient child). So it was that at the age of 25, I needed to learn to masturbate. At this point, though, I didn’t have any masturbatory toys and I was afraid to buy any because there were too many people that would hang around my house that I didn’t want discovering a random dildo or something.
My sex drive is the true queen of invention. I had to become a MacGuyver of toys. I was the gadget-woman and I was my own super-heroine. I could make temporary toys and use them safely and then dismantle them and/or throw them away without anyone figuring out what I was doing. It was wonderful. My favorite material was clay. The thing about clay, though, is that it is a long process in order to make it toy-worthy. Also, you can either have a soft toy or a hard toy using clay, but if you want a hard one, you have to find something that will safely serve as a base. Typically, I could just use a fat dowel.
Around this time in my life, I also had a very odd friend (someone who was more odd than myself). Like my family and the rest of my immediate peers, she was somewhat under educated and she was very redneck. Unlike my family and the rest of my peers, though, she was quite liberal and open about anything sexual. And so it happened one day that my friend and I had a conversation about my problem and how I had solved it. Wanting an example of how this whole thing works, I mistakenly told my friend that, for example, I could “wrap clay around something like that pen and it would serve to support the toy.” I soon would learn that it is rarely a good idea to tell someone you might do something that you wouldn’t actually do. My friend, apparently not completely understanding the context of what I had said, immediately became fascinated by my pen. Right at that moment, I had a guest come to the door. It was the Schwan’s man. Ice cream! I conveniently had a freezer on my porch, too (it was my dad’s freezer and I didn’t have a choice about it being there, don’t make fun of it), and so I took the time to make my order, leaving my friend inside to do whatever it was she liked. This was my second mistake for the evening.
I couldn’t have been talking to the Schwan’s guy for longer than ten minutes and putting stuff into my freezer wasn’t exactly a difficult task, but all kinds of things can apparently happen in ten minutes. Once finished, I went back in to my living room to talk to my friend more and I discovered her squatting over a mirror, her panties down, with a horrified look on her face and the bottom half of my pen in her hand, the innards of the pen sticking out of it like so many stripped bones.
This situation was unprecedented territory. I know that people walk in on people they know doing unexpected things all the time, but it isn’t like there’s a social etiquette about how you handle those times when it is you doing the walking in. So we sat there for a while, staring at each other, the shocked look on her face frozen in time for several moments, not moving or even adjusting her obviously uncomfortable position, even her breath was shallow and almost still, until she finally broke the silence by saying, “I’ve got to get it out.”
That, of course, was the moment when it all came together and I really knew what had happened. The part of my pen that was missing was lodged in her vagina. Perhaps this was my fault, having told her about my own masturbatory adventures and forgetting, for a moment, that she wasn’t operating at the same level that I was. I wasn’t really sure what to do at that point. There is a huge difference between knowing human anatomy and knowing how to dislodge a pen casing from someone’s vagina. On top of that problem, I wasn’t ‘out’ as a bisexual yet and didn’t really want my first experience sticking my fingers into someone’s vagina to be in search of a non masturbatory device. So, instead of sticking my fingers into her, I instructed her on what to do.
This took an unexpectedly long time and I ended up learning way too much about my friend’s anatomy than I cared to know, without even touching her. Her vaginal canal was crooked and the pen had become lodged just behind her pubic bone on a ridge that was in her crooked vagina. The walls of the barrel of the pen were so thin that there wasn’t really a way to maneuver it in a convenient direction unless she pressed the inside of it against the back of her vagina and then pulled downward. That sounds easier than it was for her to do, as the whole time she was crouched down over my mirror with her body hunched forward as she tried to get it out. Sometimes, out of frustration, she would bounce up and down, apparently expecting the force to bring the object down further. It had the opposite effect. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that we should go to the Emergency Room at least five times during the whole process, but my friend didn’t want to explain the situation to the hospital staff. I didn’t blame her. At some point, complaints in a hospital stop becoming complaints about a health issue and start becoming a confession that whatever got you there was the stupidest thing anyone on the planet was doing in that moment. Right about the time I was calling a cab to take us to the emergency room anyway, my friend finally yelped, “ouch!” and the barrel of the pen tinked down on the mirror, covered in girl goo, with a tiny amount of blood. After giving birth to my pen, my friend scooped up the its parts, pulled up her panties and left, without saying anything more. She left the mirror for me to clean.
I don’t buy multicolored pens anymore.
Posted in The Divine Cumedy.
– January 2, 2010
José had a very smooth voice and a heavy Mexican accent. It was so thick, I frequently had to ask him to speak slower. He was very intelligent and articulate but English was his second language and that was sometimes a barrier in our frequent discussions. He was one of those clients that I would eventually consider a friend.
The first time I talked to José, he had called for the same reason any of my other clients call a phone sex line. He was horny and didn’t have a convenient sexual outlet. The introductory routine for that call went very much like any other. I told him my name was “Jamie” (my very first phone sex character, ever, one who I would both love and hate at the same time). Since José had called the ‘Busty Babes’ extension, my description of myself ended up being like the body of Pamela Anderson at the height of ‘Baywatch’ popularity, but black hair and the face of Drew Barrymore. My description was very detailed and included as many adjectives as I could possibly fit into it without losing the attention of my audience. After also describing my clothes and my interests, it was his turn to tell me about himself. The lead to that part of the conversation was automatic, I asked people the same question at least 32 times a day, “what do you look like?”
“Do you know, my sweet Jamie, what an Aztecan looks like?” His accent was amazing and I was a little startled by his question. Very few people know much about the Aztecs other than what media and pop culture has highlighted, even people who are descendants of the Aztecs who have only a few generations’ separation from the culture have a difficult time defining what it means to be Aztec. “I studied the Aztecs as a part of my minor in Mexican History,” I answered. I assumed that in this case, honesty was the best policy. I was, and still am, an anthropology and archeology geek and even if this guy had some odd fantasy about being Aztec, I felt my knowledge may benefit me in the long term. It did.
José would ultimately be caught off-guard by my knowledge of the Aztecs as much as I was by his. My conversations with him were always saturated with information and we became fast friends. If he ever masturbated to my voice, I will never know. After my description of my character’s body, nothing sexual was ever again mentioned unless it was in regard to Ancient Aztec rituals. We talked about Mexican History, Mexican politics, culture, socio-political issues and his beloved ancestry. Our conversations swung between anecdotes and academics in a comfortable, intelligent pattern that was always very pleasant.
José would come to love me as a friend and even though I worked for a company that had no set extensions and disliked girls accumulating regulars, Josè learned how to wade through the women on the line until they finally connected him to me. Even when other girls tried to pretend to be me, he would catch on to their antics quickly and continue his search. When men were picky about girls and bounced between lines to find the right one, we usually considered it a type of trolling. In this case, I didn’t care. I talked to him every other week for nearly a year.
José was my first client who loved me for my brain and my real personality. I mention him because I recently got an email from someone asking me about how my intelligence or nerdy behavior has affected my work in the industry. He wanted to know how my knowledge, which was clearly different than that of most of my peers, affected the work that I do. Alongside those requests for information, he asked how my work affected how I interacted with my friends in academia. I’m not sure I can give a clear image that would answer all of what he wants to know, but it inspired me to at least highlight things that have come up that could only happen to myself and my intelligent peers (I have several friends in this industry who have similar stories).
When it comes to sexual entertainment, very few men seek out something that is both erotic and intellectual. While I know of many nerds who mourn over the lack of nerdy porn, nerds are still not a dominant part of culture, much less a dominant part of the population of people seeking erotic entertainment. As a result, getting paid to be a sexy nerd is a tough business and there are a lot of performers who are able to fake being a nerd for just long enough to snag what clientele there is out there. While I have spent hours upon hours of my paid time as an erotic performer talking about linux, astrophysics, buckyballs, philosophy and socio-political issues, those conversations remain only a minor part of my work week. This is especially interesting when my networking as a performer leads to people getting a very good idea of what my personality is like and so my online peers constitute a majority of people who enjoy me for being a nerd and a minority who care about me for my work (and some people who appreciate me for all of it). I am the only person I know who has impressed scientists to the point of them probing to learn more about me and then promptly stopped talking to me the instant they found out about my work. I am also the only person I know who has been stopped in the middle of a lapdance because when they asked what I was into, I answered, “supernovas.” I guess that wasn’t what he was hoping for.
In the beginning of my walk into the world of phone sex (during the first week or two), my knowledge about human anatomy served as both a benefit and a curse. I didn’t know how to talk dirty and I had a natural tendency to be skeptical and as honest as possible. This was especially a problem when I encounterd people with SPFs. SPF, in the fetish world, stands for Small Penis Fetish. These are men who are aroused by the idea that their penis is small and (usually) undesireable. The introduction of these calls would often include a man saying that their penis was small and then telling me an approximate size. Wanting to give my clients consolation, and understanding that penis size is an average of 5.1-5.9 inches (rather than the commonly believed 6 inches), I was over-eager in giving them the right information. “Aw, don’t worry, your penis sounds pretty normal to me, and I like it,” was a sentence that got me hung up on several times before I understood the fetish. Alongside my troublesome honesty, I also had a tendency to want to fix people who appeared to have real problems. A cross-dresser afraid of being beaten up was often met with my peer-counseling training instead of with their desired fantasy of forced sex and more than one closet bisexual missed the opportunity to talk about sucking my boyfriend’s cock because I had the wrong impression and thought they just needed encouragement after they expressed that they felt alone. The phone sex world was not really the world that I thought it would be and I had to adjust quickly (which I did).
On the phone, you can often get a feel for when it is good to mention something non sexual or intelligent. Through just conversation with a client, one on one, you can learn very quickly about their interests and what level of communication you can get away with. Sure, mistakes are made, but not very frequently. I eventually would find that the same is not true of a camming job, where the conversations include multiple people in a (sometimes crowded) chat room. My very first camming job was extremely short-lived. I worked for that contract for less than a week, part time. I won’t name the company here, but it was a fairly large camming site and when I investigated how busy each chat room looked, it seemed like a good choice for a contract. I applied and was quickly accepted. I talked to my clients in my chat room using a combination of the skills I had learned from doing phone sex and the way I usually talk to people. I was more comfortable on cam than I was on the phone so I assumed this would never be a problem. Within two days, my clients and visitors caught on to the idea that I wasn’t just a pretty girl looking for a quick buck. I was different. I was so different, they wanted more than what they could get in a chat room. They wanted to read my blogs and my articles. The site I worked on only had two ways of communicating with clients, chat rooms and an on-site messaging system. Linking to anything outside the site was forbidden in the rules and would get you instantly banned. Thus, I had to take the request to the site owner. I explained what my clients wanted and asked him if there was any chance that the performers could have blogs or if I could link my clients to a blog that would also redirect people to my webcam. My requests were turned down, the owner told me, “This is a business and you are not paid to be smart.” I requested my paycheck and began looking for a new contract. The story didn’t end there, that particular website also had a policy of not sending out paychecks to anyone until they had earned at least $100 (many internet-based work contracts do that). I had earned $104 in only about 9 hours of logged-in time (for the starting of a contract, that’s actually very good). The next day, a deduction showed up on my transactions page for a refund of $5, the admins claimed that one of my clients wanted a refund, in exactly the amount it took to prevent me from getting a paycheck. Just like they said, I wasn’t paid to be smart.
My current work attracts far more intelligent and articulate clients than I have ever had before. I think this is because it is easier for guys seeking intelligence in their fantasies to find me and so I continue to simply wear my brain on my sleeve in order to make my job more pleasant (and educational). But how does my work affect how I interact with those I know in academia? Well, it varies. I have lots of very well educated friends with whom I share mutual admiration, but I also have encountered a fair number of intelligent and educated people who run from anything sexual at all. It is not uncommon for a peer to learn about my work and instantly mention (regardless of the context) that they have a wife or girlfriend and I recently had someone I really admire who is of scientific importance right now write to me and ask what I was about and who immediately shied away from me, apparently because of my association with the sex industry. Thus, the way my work affects my peers in academia varies and it is my guess (which I have only a little evidence for, admittedly) that this is more due to social and cultural reasons than anything else (thus, I hold no grudges against those who show bias as long as the bias is harmless).
As a final note: I would like my peers in the sex industry to use the comments section to share their stories that may be similar.
– November 13, 2009
I’ve had two instances of people directing me to debates over porn (and the erotic industry). I will link to the two debates at the end of this article. Because it would take so much effort just to respond to all the issues people have brought up in just those two debates, I have created a new section for Sex and Science just for this topic. I will add more as I go.
Myth A: Porn actresses don’t consent.
Myth B: Amateur porn is better because of less faking, more likely consent and/or fewer chances for abuse.
For paid porn, there are usually things called tax forms, contracts, consent forms and Age Verification forms that performers have to have filled out and available to the producer before they can perform. Without the Age Verification form, it is illegal for the producer to sell the porn. Without the tax forms, the IRS will burn them all in hell before Satan does. The contracts are the basis of whatever is being done with that performer in their role in porn. The value of these contracts varies from company to company. Since performers are able to communicate to each other better now about what companies are less noble, the industry has begun to evolve and form better policies than they’ve ever had before.
Few people who aren’t consenting to being filmed while having sex would go through all that paperwork that says they’re consenting to have sex on film. I understand that many think that since there is a monetary motivator then a person can’t give resonable consent. But that’s like saying that you can’t consent to working as a garbage man because of monetary motivations. If you can’t apply the same argument to every other job, then it doesn’t apply to this one either. If porn actresses can’t consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor then nobody on this planet can consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor. If there is disagreement with the idea that nobody can consent to their own jobs, then perhaps there is a damned good reason to reconsider the claim about porn actors/actresses.
The debate over if one should prefer ‘amateur porn’ over mass production porn is fascinating for many reasons, but the ones that are of particular interest here are that people often claim to prefer amateur porn due to the supposed increased chance that the participants have consented. This idea appears to pretty much have been pulled out from being wedged firmly between someone’s pelvic floor muscles on the rectal side of their business. There does not appear to be evidence that this is true. In fact, evidence seems to suggest that the opposite is true. Amateur performers without contracts seem to be abused more frequently than those with full contracts and paperwork. I suspect that this is due to the amount of protection one gets from having the aforementioned paperwork. while there is a stigma attached to the industry that occasionally prevents people in the industry from seeking help when someone has violated them, when a contract is involved there is a new layer of law to consider that can be used as protection instead. when a performer goes on camera just stating, informally, that they don’t want anal, but then they are forced on camera to have anal, there is little evidence to be presented in court to prove that something went wrong, especially if they are playing along for the camera. However, if there is a contract in which it is specified that a performer will not do anal they have evidence to show a courtroom regardless of what went on for the camera. This evidence is not just evidence for anal rape, it is also evidence that there was a breach of contract, giving the performer, in some states, at least two courses of action. Producers know this. Furthermore, true amateur porn means there is less likely to be age verification, increasing the chances that people may end up watching underaged porn and no IRS forms means that performers who wanted to be paid may more easily be used and chucked out without pay.
It is important, at this point, to mention that there is more than one type of “amateur porn.” There is staged amateur porn and there is real amateur porn. Basically, producers caught on to the popularity of amateur porn and started professionally producing amateur porn. Professionally produced amateur porn usually falls into the same categories as regular porn does. The same contracts and consent forms are signed, the same Age Verification forms are involved and the company still gives each performer a 1099 and notifies the IRS. All that means is that many people are duped into watching ‘amateur porn’ that isn’t really amateur.
The two debates that inspired this section: from the forums of the James Randi Educational Foundation & from Heidi Anderson. These debates have become so extensive that there are many, many things that need addressing, so I do intend to return to the topic again. (I just don’t have enough superhuman skills to address everything in one day.)
– November 5, 2009
Important Notice: I have included pretty images of sexy primates in order to keep your attention on this article, read the whole thing!
Remember back when you were young and when the world talked of physically intimate matters the catchphrase was “The Facts of Life?” I remember that. In fact, I’m still hearing it, over and over. You know what bugs me? Sex IS NOT a fact of life. As much as I love sex and as much as you love sex, it is not a fact of life. It is merely a part of human life; one that we take for granted.
Sex is not a universal trait for life. The majority of life we’re thinking about most of the time does rely on it, but many things we’re aware of do not, like bacteria. So why is this important? Well, mostly because I think we sometimes lack perspective on our sexual behaviors in a manner that leads to a lack of appreciation for it. As organisms, we lack uniquness when we compare our sexuality to the sexual behaviors of other mammals, especially other primates. In fact, the most unique thing we do when compared to other primates is cross dressing. It is possible, though, that this is only because our culture focuses so much on clothes and other primates lack the dexterity it takes to put on elaborate attire. If other ape cultures had a Calvin Klein, you can bet that King Kong would have nothing between him and his Calvins, either. When we expand our view to other creatures, though, what we and other mammals do looks increasingly more unique. We’re not having sex strictly for reproductive utility, we’re having it for pleasure, an intimate social connection; other things that appear to play a role in our survival. And when we step back to view the whole of life? Our sexual behavior IS unique. The reality is, sexual behavior is only a fact of life when you’re talking about certain kingdoms of life.
All that considered, what should we do about it? Well, I was thinking a holiday would be good. I know that’s been done before, but Last Year’s National Sex day didn’t happen again this year and the Global Orgasm people are just trying to sell you a book full of, well, bullshit. So I’m thinking we need a better Holiday. This holiday isn’t just for your orgasm, though and it isn’t just a reason to party. This is a holiday that would be like both the Memorial Day of sex AND the Halloween of sex. I’d like to see the educational value of a holiday and the recreational parts join together (which I KNOW will happen for a sexual holiday) for this one. I want people to have sex, but I also want people to learn about it and appreciate it on this holiday.
Did you see the title of this article? It doesn’t seem to jive with what you’ve read so far, does it? Well, when reading about sexually related holidays, I’ve noticed an important pattern. People don’t like to talk about sex and they don’t like to openly talk about celebrating it. This means that the word about a sexual holiday spread somewhat, but the information fails to catch on when the name of the holiday contains sex. Businessmen don’t want “Sex holiday” showing up on their Facebook profiles for co-workers to see; housewives don’t want their kids asking them uncomfortable questions and some people are just kinksters in hiding who are so used to hiding, they don’t want to broadcast anything even remotely sexual, ever. While I prefer encouraging people to be open about their sexuality, I feel that the spreading of good information through this idea is more important than worrying about if people are comfortable having a crotch. That being said, I am calling this holiday “the Day of the Inconspicuous Dot.” When you talk to friends about it, please be sure to use this name. This is a code name for our holiday so that you can speak freely about it in places that society may deem inappropriate for such a conversation. Also, you can get further into the issue if you can keep the conversation from shutting down at the mention of sex, (AND it also doesn’t look bad on a Facebook page!)
There are two main points to this holiday:
- The Facts of Life are not what they seem, much like Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, and
- Sex is interesting and fun; as is reading about sex and applying your knowledge.
Of course there are important reasons for these points. Monty Python is cool and can be used as holiday filler, like how we tolerate Jingle Bells and bad Claymation movies while we wait for the good part of the holiday, the presents! As for the second point, well, you have been reading the article, haven’t you?
So, what day is the Day of the Inconspicuous Dot? Well, there is unfortunate competition this time of year for holidays. I needed something away from the other holidays, but near enough that it made sense to even make this a topic at all. Thus, I have decided that the Day of the Inconspicuous Dot is on January 16, every year. This is not only a convenient day, but also marks the anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition (January 16, 1919). Why not replace such a historical blunder with something awesome?
- Sex Toys to suit your tastes and/or anything you’d like to try (willing partner is optional).
- Monty Python or Eddize Izzard videos (you can clips on Youtube, blasphemer!)
- Sexually educational book(s) or websites. Wikipedia is your friend, but don’t be afraid to poke around the internet. Just be sure you use credible sources with accurate, true information that cites sources and backs up assertions with scientific research!
- Genitals (yours or those of the aforementioned optional willing partner).
- Condoms if anyone near you during your celebration happens to have a penis. I also encourage the use of dental dams if you plan on eating anything other than food which a condom won’t fit over (I will try to write on the proper use of dental dams sometime between now and then).
- Party food! Seriously, if you’re doing this right, you’re going to get hungry.
In Conclusion: Spread the word! The Day of the Inconspicuous Dot is on January 16!
Posted in Main.
– October 26, 2009
As many already know, I am currently at The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas and enjoying myself tremendously. However, I have decided to still make some time for giving the gift of my rambling to the world while I am here.
Back in June, an article was brought to my attention regarding gigantic sperm in ancient arthropods called ostracodes. As it turns out, size sometimes matters, when it is evolutionarily beneficial for it to.
What evolutionary benefit does gigantic sperm have for a species? Well, that’s something we are likely still developing ideas on. Gigantic sperm is not something that was previously unknown to science. Fruit flies have sperm that are several times their own length. So what is the evolutionary utility of gigantic sperm? Well, that is still something we’re figuring out, we seem to know that larger gives the sperm an competitive advantage.
If we don’t figure more than that out, though, or if we really need a solid answer now, maybe sperm gigantism can be something useful for this lady. Tatiata Kozhevnikova just set the world’s record (again) for the world’s strongest vagina. She is able to lift 14 kg (just over 30 lbs) with her vaginal muscles. This is amazing. She can lift more with her vagina than my doctor says I should even try to lift.
How Tatiana accomplished this goal is very important, though. The strength of a woman’s pelvic floor muscles is very important, not because it is nicer for her sexual partners to experience, but more so for the sake of her reproductive organs. Women with weakened pelvic floor muscles can suffer from a number of issues, including a vaginal prolapse or difficulty recovering from damage, like a fistula (tear in the wall of the vagina/urethra (or sometimes bowel). Strenthening the vaginal muscles/pelvic floor muscles is also important for women who have had or will have a baby because just the action of having a baby will stretch and sometimes weaken these muscles.
The best way to learn to strenthen your PC (vaginal/pelvic) muscles is to make yourself comfortable on a toilet, go pee and then try to stop peeing midstream. Do this a few times to learn what it feels like to contract the muscles that do this. After a few times of exercizing them then, practise clamping your vagina down on other things. A finger, a workout buddy or a penis are all perfectly fine. After you’re used to doing this, I advise that you purchase some Ben-Wa balls. (Note: ignore any claims made about this product that has nothing to do with vaginal, weight-resistance training). Eventually, if you deside that you want much more powerful vaginal muscles, like the kind that can break a tire iron in half, you can purchase balls that have a way for you to attach weights to them. You still use the ben wa balls similarly to what you’re used to while leaving the weight hanging out.
Another note: Men can try using their pelvic floor muscles for things as well, it is just useful in a different manner.
Posted in Uncategorized.
– July 10, 2009
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!
Posted in Uncategorized.
– June 26, 2009
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!
Posted in Uncategorized.
– June 25, 2009