Archive for December, 2013

December 25th, 2013

Recommended Reading #181: Youth, Pt. VI



      “Lion staffer attends Barnard sex talk, feels awkward about it” by Stephen Snowder (Sex Education, Sex and Culture, Psychology, Self-Awareness) Undated

I just adore this. I found it delightfully amusing in parts (literally laughed out loud) and so appreciate what I perceive as the maturity of the author in being able to be with his discomfort and see beyond it as well to a more expansive truth about the use and purpose of Megan’s talk. Beautiful.

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      “No, It’s Not OK to ‘Steal Kisses’ — Here’s Why” by Soraya Chemaly (Sex and Culture, Parenting, Consent) 12/16/13

Indeed.

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      “The Bully Too Close to Home” by Rachel Macy Stafford (Non-Sex-Related, Parenting, Self-Awareness, Relationship) 12/10/13

This made me cry a lot, and I feel it holds an extremely powerful message, certainly for parents, but also for anyone/everyone.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

December 18th, 2013

Recommended Reading #180: Writing, Pt. VI



      “Confessions of Lana Fox, Part 1” by Angela at Go Deeper Press (Sex and Culture, Self-Awareness, Erotica) 3/19/13

This struck me as a lovely interview on writing, sex, activism and publishing with my much-loved colleague Lana Fox.

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      “Eight Ways to Love Your Work” by Sue Williams (Non-Sex-Related, Inspiration) 11/15/13

I found this a charming, simple list of things I’d like to remember and/or enact more often.

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      “Slaves of the Internet, Unite!” by Tim Kreider (Non-Sex-Related, Labor, Economics) 10/26/13

So nicely put.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

December 17th, 2013

Wishing and Acknowledgement

redflowersToday is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. I acknowledge I have not yet planned or composed a blog post for the day—but I don’t feel I ever want the day (or International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3) to go by unacknowledged on my blog, even if it is just a placeholder post to announce that that is indeed what day it is.

At the least, I traditionally light my red candle today. I just searched for it and don’t seem to know where I put it after last year’s lighting. So I just called Rick Write to ask him to pick me up a new one on his way home, and I will light it as soon as he gets here. Though it won’t be lit very long today, as we have plans away from home for most of the evening, it is done with full reverence for all sex workers who have experienced violence in the context of their work. The flame itself may be relatively brief, but the ongoing fire of love and support for my fellow former and current sex workers is always in me.

And, of course, I hold in love all who have ever experienced or perpetrated violence and hold a deepest wish for our awakening out of the unconscious constraints and limitations that drive it.

Love to all, everywhere, always,
Emerald

P.S. As I finish and post this, my red candle has arrived and is now lit.

“What will I tell my daughter, what will you tell your son…that we were nothing but a shadow, a faceless generation void of love?…”
-LIVE “What Are We Fighting For?”

December 11th, 2013

Recommended Reading #179: Attunement



      “Treating the whole person” by Dr. Elizabeth Wood (Self-Awareness, Health and Body, BDSM) 11/2/13

Recognition of sexual health, freedom, rights, and pleasure in the medical field seems profoundly important to me, and I feel Elizabeth’s exposition beautifully illuminates some reasons why.

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      “Sadie Says: She’s Ready” by Sadie Smythe (Youth, Sex Education, Self-Awareness, Sex and Culture) 11/22/13

This almost brought me to tears. Reading about a parent who perceives sexuality and our relationship with our bodies as things that are innate and inseparable from our full consciousness not only feels like a breath of fresh air but also something for which I feel profoundly grateful. Reading of a daughter that is being guided this way and appears to be absorbing it shrewdly leaves me almost speechless with gratitude. Attunement to self, nature, and offspring (as well as to the toxic messages behind abstinence-only insistence and the awareness to eschew them). Beautiful.

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      “Rape Triggers & The Best Dentist In The World” by Alyssa Royse (Self-Awareness, Trauma, Sexual Violence, Beauty) 12/4/13

[Sexual violence trigger warning, but if you can stand to read it—] This is one of the most extraordinarily beautiful things I have read in some time. So much so I don’t even know what else to say about it.

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Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

December 7th, 2013

On Porn and Professionalism: The Staggering Hypocrisy of a Rarely-Questioned Perspective

Upon someone’s recommendation (I am sorry that I don’t remember whose right now), I took a look at an article several days ago by which I found myself feeling quite annoyed. Not that I wasn’t already aware this happened, but Salon.com was reporting about former porn performers being fired from jobs because they’re former porn performers. A judge quoted in the article justified upholding this behavior by stating the following:

“[…] the ongoing availability of her pornographic materials on the Internet will continue to impede [Halas] from being an effective [middle school] teacher and respected colleague.”

Not for the first time, I am faced with the inevitable question: why the flying fuck (no pun intended) would seeing someone have sex preclude that person from “being an effective teacher [or whatever] and respected colleague”? What, seriously, is the matter with people? As maddening as I find this, I also feel truly bewildered, because I simply do not understand this phenomenon.

First of all, according to our people-under-18-don’t-think-about-and-shouldn’t-have-any-exposure-to-sex culture, the students shouldn’t be seeing her work in its “ongoing availability” anyway, so I’m not sure why it would affect her capacity to teach them even if I did find her past profession relevant. But mainly, if you don’t want to see other people having sex, I recommend not watching porn. If you do, then why the hell would it seem to be a problem that the people you watch having sex also do other things in their lives, including making a living in another industry? What, truly, is the problem here?

As an aside, for anyone not recognizing a potential gender double standard here, please consider what might happen if a straight, cisgender male was found to have performed in porn in the past. Do you suspect he would be fired? I don’t know, and the answer probably varies, but it certainly seems to me relevant to consider. (Similar threads could be continued by considering the response to a gay cis male performer, a female cis lesbian performer, performers with body shapes that don’t look like the mainstream industry standard, trans* performers, etc., etc.)

In any case, I find this unacceptable. If we are going to partake in porn, and we apparently do (especially, ironically, if someone is recognizing a former porn star!), why would we not correlatively recognize that people indeed perform in it in order for us to be able to partake in it? That is a service they offer as such, and they appropriately get paid for it within the strictures of the capitalistic system in which we live. How can we possibly not recognize the inappropriateness of rendering their labor—in which, again, we seem to culturally partake heavily—somehow “less than” or invalid to a degree that makes their very offering it a fireable offense in other industries?

What we could really use, as I see it, is more of what Megan Andelloux shares here. What this woman who doesn’t appreciate slut-shaming and recognizes it as the nonsensical and potentially harmful phenomenon it is has to say. What this father sees about being a parent. What Veronica Monet perceives about violence and sexual repression (a topic on which I myself have written as well).

I could offer much further reading material, but the point is that perhaps if we didn’t act so collectively pubescent and puritanical about sex and opened to the appreciation that 1) sex is not some strange foreign phenomenon that we should all fear and feel embarrassed that we have anything to do with, and 2) each person chooses how to express her/his/their experience of the sexual instinct (which encompasses everything from actually having sex to painting a masterpiece to intensely wanting that piece of fresh apple pie) and how to earn a living in a capitalist system uniquely and individually, we could get to the point where we don’t act like 12-year-olds in our cultural interaction with it. We could, perhaps, further recognize that as long as unambiguous consent is involved, judgment, punishment, and intervention around the chosen combination of sexuality and labor don’t really seem life-affirming or helpful.

If we did, I suspect a number of double standards would drop off, our profound shame around our bodies, relationships, and sexuality would decrease, and people who have offered their service as porn performers would not be fired or not hired in the first place in other professions because of it. Such is an aspiration I hold dearly for all of us and to which I continue to personally commit myself.

Love,
Emerald

“Well this is just a little hatin’ place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites…”
-Jeanne C. Riley “Harper Valley PTA”