Archive for Sex+ Society

May 16th, 2020

The Erotic Literary Salon 12th Anniversary Party (Online)!

Longtime readers of this blog may remember several previous appearances I have made at the remarkable Philadelphia Erotic Literary Salon founded and curated by Susana Mayer. It is indeed a venue I have truly appreciated, both on my own behalf as a place Susana has graciously offered me to promote my own work, and also as a space to offer attendees to write, read, and/or take in erotic words spoken out loud. Susana had a beautiful—and obviously accurate—notion that such a space seemed to be largely missing in our culture, as well as desired, whether overtly or on an underlying level.

And here we are twelve years later…with the Erotic Literary Salon still meeting the third Tuesday of each month and going stronger than ever! Under the current circumstances, the Salon has moved online and, as it was in April, will be held via Zoom this month. Tuesday, May 19, will mark—as well as celebrate—the twelfth anniversary of the Salon’s existence!

In addition to this celebration, I am honored that Susana has offered me the opportunity to read from my brand new short story collection, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness. I don’t know which story I will read from yet, but I am so appreciative, as usual, to have the opportunity to do so for her audience. While the reasons for the move online are obviously sobering, the Zoom setting also offers the opportunity for attendance from those for whom travel to Philadelphia has been untenable.

Given this new online setting, Susana is only charging $5 (half the usual price of admission) to attend the Salon while the event and its audience adjust to its new virtual environment. Ticket sales will stop Monday, May 18, so this weekend is the time to procure yours!

For more information about the Salon or how to sign up to read at it, as well as a link to a basic Zoom tutorial, please visit the Salon website. Thank you, and we would love for you to virtually join us on Tuesday!

Love,
Emerald

“We light it up, we won’t come down, and the walls can’t stop us now…”The Greatest Showman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Greatest Show”

June 12th, 2019

Autonomy, Ignorance, and Porn

Some readers may have heard about the recent kerfuffle over a high school newspaper that carried an article based on an interview with a senior (eighteen years old) at the school who was working in porn. When the school administration heard the article was in the works, they asked to be able to see it before the paper went to press. The paper’s faculty advisor, a journalism and composition teacher at the school, refused. She was subsequently threatened with disciplinary action up to potential firing, which made national news. (Note: For anyone who doesn’t understand why it would be such a big deal for her to have allowed the administration to read the article before it was published, it would be the equivalent of the United States government’s requiring that media outlets run things by them before printing them. I hope that illuminates the debilitating chilling effect such would have on the press. Indeed, it represents the antithesis of the purported purpose of the press in the US.)

I first appreciate the teacher’s steadfastness in refusing the administration’s demand even in the face of potentially losing her job. (The appalling behavior as such of the administration is an entire subject in and of itself that I am not covering here.) I also find the uproar about writing an article about a student legally and consensually working in porn both maddening and disheartening. It’s as though we sadistically cannot handle a sex work narrative that doesn’t fit with the collective view we seem to have of the suffering, exploited, defeated sex worker. I feel saddened by this because wouldn’t people rather discover that someone is not suffering the way they assumed than be right? Even if we have to let go of our preconceptions and misguided notions based on (sometimes innocent) ignorance, is it so much to ask to listen to sex workers and allow them to have credibility on the subject of their own lives and experience?

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September 26th, 2018

Patriarchy, Unconsciousness, and the United States Government

Like many people, I have recently felt somewhere along the spectrum of affected to triggered by both the accusations of sexual misconduct directed at Brett Kavanaugh and the response to them from politicians and the culture at large. Interestingly, I have perhaps felt most triggered so far by the insights in Lili Loofbourow’s article entitled “Brett Kavanaugh and the Cruelty of Male Bonding,” which resonates strongly with me.

Why? Because this is the kind of man that has, for as long as I can remember, been the one that has seethed me to my core. The kind I have historically most dreaded, most despised; by whom I have felt most enraged and toward whom I have felt violent urges that surprised me. I have yet to come close to carrying any such violent impulses out, and at this point carrying them out no longer feels forthcoming or like the point. The point is that this is the kind of man I was always considering, always including, when I felt compelled to discount men as a whole, when I thought men and women were at intrinsic odds with each other. It was because I knew this kind of man existed.

The first error in that perspective was that I was identifying the men in question rather than the behavior. I am relieved to say it is now obvious to me that the behavior (more precisely, the manifestation of unconsciousness) is what I despise rather than the human beings themselves.

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August 11th, 2018

Pernicious Perspectives and the Abomination of #FOSTA / #SESTA

I’ve written about sex work numerous times on this blog (click on the category “Sex+ Work” to the left to see how many). I advocate decriminalization of all forms of consensual sex work and dream of the day the social stigma around it has dissolved.

And I feel a bit like I perceive a new conundrum around it. I used to think that the majority of people just didn’t understand. That there was so much ignorance around sex work because the perspective that sex workers are sub-human and undeserving of basic rights and respect and autonomy was questioned so infrequently, assumed to be acceptable so automatically, perceived so often without even conscious choice or recognition, that people failed to realize how arbitrary, unfounded, and inhumane that perspective is. I truly thought that if people stopped to consider the existence of consensual sex work as an industry like most others, they would quickly recognize how nonsensical and tragically misguided the mainstream perspective around it was.

Now, I find myself wondering if that was naïve of me. It has seemed more and more evident of late that some people simply don’t like sex work or that it exists. Yes, I have understood this to some degree, but as I mentioned, I truly trusted that in large part, it was ignorance rather than malevolence that drove the perpetration of dismissiveness, degradation, and dehumanization of sex workers.

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November 16th, 2016

On Politics and Feminism

Pantsuit Nation selfie, Election Day 2016

As the title of this post may suggest, if you find yourself not interested in politics or feminism or expressions of my perspectives on them, you may want to skip this post.

A few days ago, I read an article from Glamour magazine that came out months ago and had been on my “to read” list ever since: “President Barack Obama Says, ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.'”

By the time I finished reading it, I was openly crying. The juxtaposition of my reasons for such was breathtaking.

For context, I want to back up a moment and share a post I made to my personal Facebook profile on November 10:

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