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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Am I A SLUT? Slut slut slut!!!

What is a slut? I spend a lot of time talking about "slut shaming," and advocating for a woman's right to explore her sexuality. I proudly marched in SlutwalkNYC, and wore a shirt that said "SLUT" across the chest in large letters. But...what is a slut? I think everyone has their own version of what that word means, and it's safe to say that we aren't all on the same page. I'd like to take a little time to explore the word "slut." Shall we?

Ok, so let's start with one of my FAVORITE resources, Urban Dictionary! They provide a few definitions of the word slut:

1. Slut: A woman with the morals of a man.

2. Slut: Someone who provides a very needed service for the community and sleeps with everyone, even the guy that has no shot at getting laid and everyone knows it. She will give him a sympathy fuck either because someone asked her to or she just has to fuck everyone she knows. These are great people, and without them sex crimes would definitly increase. Thank you slut, where ever you are.

3. Slut:  A derogatory term. Refers to a sexually promiscuous person, usually female. One who engages in sexual activity with a large number of persons, occasionally simultaneously. Also refers to one who engages in sexual activity outside of a long-term relationship within the duration of said relationship. These sexual activities include but are not limited to: passionate kissing, manual stimulation of genitalia and/or breasts in the case of a female; oral stimulation of these parts; sexual intercourse. In some cases, used to refer to a woman who is wearing "skimpy" or tasteless clothing. Less commonly, used as a derogatory term by one female for another during periods of conflict.
Ok, so definition #1 is pretty vague- a woman with the morals of a man. Well, that still doesn't answer the original question- what is a slut? What qualities would a man need to possess in order to be labeled as a slut? Since slut is usually used in a derogatory manner, does this mean that men have bad morals, or is it only problematic when women act this way? 

Definition #2, holy shit. What a disaster. 

But seriously...okay definition # 2 applauds women for their slutty behavior. By this definition, women are like saints who provide community service by having sex with ugly men. This is pretty disturbing, isn't it? Also, there's the assertion that if more women were sluts, sexual assault would decrease. As in- "well, if more women would put out, then we wouldn't have to rape them." 

So, according to definition #2, sluts are good for society because they satisfy the needs of men/animals who can't control themselves. So, not only does definition #2 insult men, but it also reminds women that if they get raped, it's their fault. Interesting definition...Oh, and the dumbass that wrote the definition can't spell. Just saying.

Ok- so what the hell is a slut?? It's a woman that acts like a man, but also assists men by servicing their rabid sexual appetites. So, a man who services other men- a gay man? Now I'm getting all confused. Maybe definition #3 can shed some more light on this predicament...

Definition #3 is probably the best one of the three. So basically, a slut is a woman who has lots of sex with a large number of individuals and possibly cheats on her partner. Who decides what qualifies as a "large number?" 3? 33? 333? Who decides? 

Also, this definition states that a slut has lots of sex, and sometimes does the same while in a relationship. Ok, so whether or not she has a partner, she's a slut if she's having lots of sex. Hmm...what does society call women who are single and DON'T have sex? Prudes. Frigid. Bitch.

So, should we be sluts, or prudes? If the golden number for "too many partners" is 4, and we have sex with 5 people, are we sluts, or just a little trampy? What if we only have sex with people that we are in relationships with, but have MANY relationships- is that slutty? 

The definition also points out that a woman can be considered a slut based on the clothing that she's wearing. So, if a virgin is wearing a short skirt and/or a low top, is she also a slut? 

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Slut if you do, prude if you don't! 

So- am I a slut? I like to have sex, and I've had sex with more than 1 person in my lifetime. I have had sex with boyfriends, and I have had sex with men that were not boyfriends. I wore a short dress while I was in Florida this past week. Ok, I guess I'm a slut. According to definition #2, I'm saving the rest of the world from being sexually assaulted. Wow, I deserve an award! 

Seriously though...fuck all of these definitions, every single one. Next time somebody calls you a slut, ask them what that word means to them. I'm curious.

ps- No, that is not me in the picture, but it's a cool picture, right? According to definition #3, she's a slut! Also, did you enjoy reading this article? If so, then you should buy me a coffee by contributing to my blog fund. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, but seriously, a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do! Oops, does that make me a slut?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Coffee? Condoms?

Hello friends and advocates,

Seriously, I'm sorry to do this. I know it's cheesy and lame, but I put a paypal donation button on the blog today. Why? Well, I'm a graduate student...'nuff said. If you enjoy my blog and the work that I'm doing, feel free to buy me a coffee, or a 3-pack of condoms! Or, do your part by simply sharing my blog and enjoying it :)

Much love & many thanks to my readers



I Was A Gay Male Sex Worker

I was lucky enough to catch up with an old friend recently, a retired sex worker. He's a 26 year old gay male, and worked as a sex worker 5 years ago. Here is our interview:

So, you were a sex worker. What was your job? 

I was an erotic masseur, outside of the US.

How long did  you do this?

I only did it for a year. Best job of my life!

How much would you normally make? 

I usually worked about 3 days a week and I started at around $2000 a week, often more. I once had a guy tip me 800 for half hour!

Wow! Ok, so why did you stop?

I started dating the owner of the massage parlor. He gave me the financial backing that I needed, and he sexed me out! He was very wealthy and I didn't need the money, so I stopped working. I helped him run the front desk for a while, but I stopped giving massages.
So what did you do with the money that you made?

I traveled a lot and I was a full time student at the time. I used to shop for nice clothing and I felt great about having nicer stuff than my peers. 

What kinds of things did you do at the massage parlor?

Most guys would be naked, and I would give them a massage while I was naked. I would usually give them a hand job at the end. If I was really attracted to them, I would offer them more, but I never bottomed for any guy. I did fuck a couple of REALLY hot guys in the ass, but I never did anything that I didn't enjoy.

Wow! So what was it like? Can you sum up your experience?

I loved it because I got to have sex with such beautiful men, better looking guys than I would ever hook up with and they were paying me! I'll never forget the first week I did it. I had a huge shoebox of money, over $2000 from working 3 days after school, and I was 21 years old. It made me feel very liberated in a way, all these men were giving me money!

What were the downsides of the job?

There weren't any. There weren't any downsides that I can think of. Well, some people would call me a slut and a whore. There were other gay guys at my university that would talk shit about me. Ya know what? It seemed like the straight guys were more open minded about it. Honestly, I didn't care. The gay guys shouldn't have been judging. They were giving it away for free while I was getting paid. Also, I could refuse any guy that I wasn't attracted to and I had plenty hot guys.

What would you say to people who judge sex workers?

Oh fuck them, I wouldn't even care, but you know what, I feel like you can't judge someone until you walk in their shoes. Before I did it, I didn't understand it. But, when I did it, it was so fun. I was very nervous before I started it. I didn't know what to expect. Once I started it I really enjoyed it. The guys were generally very nice and it was great money!

What do you do now?

I work in sales and I make great money. I'm satisfied with my life.

Is there anything that you regret about your past job as a sex worker? 

No, I learned so much from it. It was such an eye opening experience, it was a whole different world.

Do you think your experience would have been different if you were a female sex worker?

I do, because I think most of the guys that I got were closeted. Perhaps if I was female, some of them would be crazy, I don't know. Most of the guys I had were nice. I think that guy on guy is less risky. So many of them were closeted, married, perhaps 80 percent. They just weren't out, so they came to me.

Great, thanks so much!

Thank you to my friend, who wishes to stay anonymous.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Santorum & Porn

According to Rick Santorum, porn is evil, and it will send us all to hell. I already have a mild sunburn from too much time spent on the beach this week, so I’m not thrilled about the idea of burning in hell for eternity. I’m also not thrilled with the idea of giving up porn.

Santorum claims that pornography causes violence in women, brain changes in adults and children, and the destruction of marriages. Hmm…interesting. Where is the empirical evidence to back this up? Has Santorum ever bothered to even read the research on the topic? Probably not. 

I also find it very difficult to believe that ANYONE would believe these ridiculous claims without some evidence to back them up. Do politicians expect that the American people will believe anything that they say, regardless of how outlandish it sounds? Sign me up to be a politician! I’m going to start going around telling people that I’m the daughter of God, and that for a hefty donation to my bank account, I can put in a good word to pops.

Ok, let’s get back on track. Santorum says that pornography CAUSES all of these evil things. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, even if correlational studies find that pornography viewing is correlated with violence, one cannot make any assumptions about “cause.” Just because X is related to Y does not mean that X caused Y. Santorum, it’s time to take a course in research design.
I skimmed through some of the research that’s been done on this topic, and found a few interesting studies on the topic. Here are some of the findings:

Davies, K. A. (1997). Voluntary exposure to pornography and men's attitudes toward feminism and rape. TheJowal ofSexResearch, 34(2). 131-137.

Here’s a study that examined the relationship between men’s use of porn and their attitudes towards feminism and rape. The study was specifically interested in seeing if there is a connection between men who watch porn and attitudes of violence towards women, versus those who do not watch porn. No significant correlations found.

Alexandra, S., Vatroslav, J. & Jan, R.  (2008). Is early exposure to pornography a risk factor for sexual compulsivity? Findings from an online survey among young heterosexual adults. International Journal of Sexual Health, 20, 270-280.

Here’s a study that examined the relationship between early exposure to porn and sexual compulsivity in 1,528 men and women, ages 18-25. No correlations were found between porn viewing and sexual compulsivity, for either gender.

Barak, A., Fisher, W.A., Belfry, S. & Lashambe, D.R. (1999) Sex, guys, and cyberspace. Effects of internet pornography and individual differences on men’s attitudes toward women. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 11, 63-91.

Here’s a study that examined the effects of exposure to porn on attitudes towards women in undergraduate males. There was no relationship between exposure to porn and misogynistic attitudes among the sample.

Ok, so that’s only three studies, and there’s plenty more out there. I’m sure there are also studies that show the opposite, but here’s the thing- NO study can claim that X causes Y.
Also, where the hell is the research that shows that porn “causes” brain changes in children? Did someone actually get approval to show porn to children? I would find that hard to believe, but if it’s out there, someone please send it to me.  xoxo, Page

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Faking it for a living

My Tale of Degradation

It’s not easy being a sex worker rights advocate, although I am growing accustomed to hearing “but it’s so degrading to women!” on a daily basis. Yeah, I get it- you’re outraged that a woman could even suggest that sex workers have a CHOICE in the matter. You tell me that there is no such thing as choice when it comes to sex work, and that porn performers/strippers/prostitutes are all victims. You assume that you know what’s best for every single woman in the world, and if she doesn’t agree with you, then she’s just ill with the fever of patriarchy.

It’s the same song over and over again, I get it.

Are there victims of sex trafficking out there in the world? Of course there are, and sex worker rights advocates aren’t blind to this. We just want everyone else to realize that sex trafficking is NOT THE SAME as sex work. Rather than working against one another, perhaps the sex worker rights advocates & prostitution abolitionists should come together and build on common ground.

Additionally, are there sex workers who feel degraded by their occupation? Women who would choose another line of work if they had the option? OF COURSE. Please stop assuming that all sex workers feel this way.

Now we have Santorum running around talking about the dangers of porn, give me a fucking break. Seriously, is the world ending? Are politicians growing stupider by the hour? #STFUsantorum

Now, let me tell you my own story of degradation. Yup, self-disclosure. Ready? I hope you don’t judge me for the story that I am about to tell you…

I’ll set the stage for you- a typical night at work. I worked there a couple of years ago, when I was in my early twenties and broke as hell. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, but it was the best way that I knew how to make money at the time. Quick, fast cash in my hand at the end of every shift.

I will never forget the way my stomach used to feel as I’d drive to work. Dread, pure fucking dread. Even as I write this, I can feel the bowling ball forming in the pit of my stomach. Fuck that job. Fuck those awful customers.

Anyways, it was good money, and that’s why I did it. Night after night, breasts hanging out, catering to my customers, trying to just focus on the dollar bills that were being flung my way. I can’t emphasize to you enough how much I fucking hated it, but when I’d leave work with $400 worth  of damp dollar bills in my hand, it’d be worth it. Sort of.

Guys would talk to me, and I would feign interest. I didn’t give a fuck about their lives, jobs, wives, worries. I just wanted them to disappear, but I had to act interested to get those dollar bills. I faked it well; that was my job.

There was a lot of petty drama between the other girls, I tried to not get involved. It all seemed so catty and ridiculous. I would go in, make my money, and get the fuck out. When people asked me where I worked, I would lie; I didn’t want them to know that I worked in such a shithole. I felt embarrassed. I felt degraded.

Those were the worst years of my life. I am so happy that I got out of that industry. Now that I look back, I wish I’d been a stripper instead. I would have felt less degraded than being…a bartender.

Yeah, a bartender, not a sex worker. I know…you think only sex workers feel degraded, but I would have felt less degraded as a sex worker.

Open your eyes, open your mind. Stop speaking for sex workers.