Home > Life, etcetera > Sex Workers’ Lit Ruined My Sex Life

Sex Workers’ Lit Ruined My Sex Life

Saturday, 16 December 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

I occasionally will peruse a variety of news sources, and I have found something interesting over at Alternet. org. I work in the Anti-Violence community in Chicago, Illinois, and I have heard a variety of stories concerning folks leaving sex work/sex trade or commonly called “survival sex.” Alternet has provided an interesting article surrounding the result or response to Sex workers’ publishing. Below is a bit of what Alternet has provided its readers.

She won’t kiss them.She’ll spread her legs for them. She’ll call them “honey” and “baby” and “darling” and even “snookums,” and lube them up, though only with gloves on, and rub until they buck and moan. She’ll tell them they’re huge. But like most sex workers, Sarah Katherine Lewis won’t kiss customers.

Her memoir “Indecent: How I Make It and Fake It as a Girl for Hire” (Seal, 2006) joins a string of new books about adult entertainers, along with Diablo Cody’s self-consciously comic “Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper” (Gotham, 2006) and gender studies professor Bernadette Barton’s polemical “Stripped: Inside the Lives of Exotic Dancers” (NYU, 2006). The publishing industry is funny that way. Some honcho sniffs a trend in the air, word leaks out like blood at the beach, then boom: one year it’s all queer cowboys all the time. Or diets that let you eat lard. Right now it’s lap dancers.

Above is a sampling of titles that Sex workers’ have published recently. This article and research into recent doctoral dissertations has focused on the “why” of publishing sex, specifically concerning the publication of sex workers’/survival sex narratives. The author writes:

These authors depict strip clubs as rank, jism-spackled. Barton calls them “the gut of patriarchy.” But although she feels that adult entertainers “embody a nexus of oppression,” they boast a strong sisterhood, making special meals for each other and sharing “an organic understanding of social inequality, including analyses of class, gender, and racial discrimination.” Lewis concurs, dedicating her book “to the working ladies of Seattle … the smartest, funniest, kindest, wisest, and most beautiful women in the entire world.” Solidarity is super. What’s icky is the sex.

Sex sales, right? What is it about the narratives of sex workers that are interesting or disgusting? For many, according to this article, they are turned off now by the sexualized narratives! By sexualized I think we must read how literal and disturbing. However, is that the issue and the thrust of the article? The author of the Alternet article seems to capitalize on th hurt and pain and frustration upon which sex workers expound. Examples of how sex workers would punish or inflict pain upon their “tricks” or “Johns” rises up in this article.

I think the narratives of sex workers is an important contribution to the literature scene. Texts that help socialize knowledge are important; these texts might very well fit in this category of socializing knowledge. How has the subjugation of women and patriarchy forced violent and strict expressions of sexuality? Survival sex is prevalent. I don’t think this is the issue. Why survival sex or sex work is present is more the question. The Alternet article has provided us with resources of the narratives–the stories–of sex workers that might very well help us in eradicating the possession of women’s bodies for sex and pleasure by and for men. I don’t think this article or the stories that are addressed in this article will result in me not ever wanting to have intercourse with anyone ever again. These stories will force me to do my best at resisting the culture that glamorizes sex and women’s bodies for the pleasure of an overly masculine and male world.

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