Sexy Dirty Talk

Sex

Sexy dirty talk is Not always welcomed.  Recently, I’ve had several conversations with people I know who are related to the world of sex: maybe they’re sex educators, maybe they’re former or current sex workers, maybe they write about sexuality & relationships or they could be burlesque performers.  The common thread of the conversation is that they encounter people who take liberty about what kinds of things they can say to them.  This is especially the case when it comes to sexual topics.  Just as sexual attraction is complex so is how an individual in the realm of sexuality chooses to engage with other people.  After a conversation over dinner last week about this very topic, I went into my blog drafts and I found this list:

1)      Just because the sexplorer (this is what I’ll use as an all-encompassing term for writers, performers, educators or anyone working in the sexy realm) is comfortable talking about sex does not mean that they’re interested in hearing, in detail, what you would do to them sexually.  Their comfort with sex does not automatically make them available to YOU sexually.  Yes, this includes sending them pictures of your “personal private particulars”.  YES, even if you once had intimate relations with said sexplorer.  Shocking, I know, because who the heck would not want to be sexual with you?  I’m willing to guess quite a few people, so check if it’s OK  first. M’kay?

2)     You may find your friendly neighborhood sexplorer amazing for your spank bank, for example.  However, they do not need to hear about it ad nausea.  Perhaps, a mellow sexplorer can bear to hear it as a passing comment once.  However, if this becomes the sum total of your correspondence to said person.  Stop.  It steps off of awkward compliment land into plain creeps-ville at an alarming speed!  No seriously, approximately right after said first mention in passing.  It’s creepy.


Photo credit: mzacha from morguefile.com

3)     It is probably safe to assume that your sexplorer acquaintance is not too interested in being met by your insults or explicit language in their e-mail or social media inbox.  If you don’t appreciate what they are up to, you have the option of not looking.  No one is forcing you to peruse their social media pages or personal websites.  It’s a great big world wide web out there and only twenty-four hours in each day.  Try only focusing on sites and social media that you are interested in or curious about.  It spares everyone involved a great deal of agita.

4)     Is your sexplorer a personal friend or just an acquaintance?  Here are some questions to think about.  Can you call/text this person on their personal phone line?  Are you in contact with this person about more than just business?  Do you see this person for brunch, tea or french fries?  Do you check in on this person to see of they are ok during life’s bumps?  If the answer is no then they may not be your personal bud in real life.  It doesn’t mean they don’t like or respect you.  There’s just a different type of decorum that goes with knowing someone in real life vs. only on the interwebs.

In general, think about any sexplorer as a person first.  Their work is work.  Would you ramble on to your doctor in inappropriate ways?   Probably not.   No matter what field involving the wonderful world of sex they are involved in, they are human beings.  They have full lives, hobbies, other passions/careers, families and concerns.  Yes, that escort you think is so cool online is indeed someone’s daughter/son.  The really great blogger you think is so amazing could be someone’s big sister/brother.  Your favorite strip tease artist may have a 9-5 career as well.  They are people who have both good and bad days.  The possibilities of who they are in the world are endless.  As fun, freeing and important creating the space for open dialogue around sexual explorations may be, it does not negate the sexplorer of choice.  They still get to decide what is acceptable for them (including use of their images and body) individually.

So, the moral of the story is:

Don’t assume anything just on the basis of someone being involved in any realm of sex and sexuality work.

ESSENCE REVEALED – Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.

No Morals

promiscuity versus masturbation

Who decides what it means to have no morals?  How do we decide how to be in the world?  This is just the way I am.  That is what my parents taught me growing up.  No one is “just the way they are”.   Change & growth are always possible.  It always makes me giggle a little inside when I hear people say: this is just the way I am.  Mostly because I recently became aware of a habit I have only because my mother told me to do it as a youngster.  It is about that time when I need to start using deodorant.  My mother hands me a roller deodorant.  She gives me the directive, “Put deodorant on every time after you bathe”.  Sometime recently, it dawned on me that I took this literally.  I am still putting deodorant on even if my shower is at night & I am about to go straight to bed.

 

Desodorante

 

It gets me to wondering what else I’m doing on autopilot just because it is something that I’m taught as a child.  In terms of sexuality, I am taught that sex is something we just don’t talk about.  Sex is something that is done by bad, bad women.  The sum total of my sex talk is:  having my period means I should “stay away from boys” (somehow, Mom never said I had to stay away from girls ;-P).  Thankfully, I checked out how I feel about sex & sexuality for myself.  I feel about sexuality very differently than what I’m taught as a child.  I feel great about it.  I REFUSE to be shamed by other people’s opinions around how I should navigate sexually in the world as a woman.

 

Hoverflies (Simosyrphus grandicornis) mating i...

 

Let’s think about the terms moral & promiscuous, for example.  Who defines what is moral?  Am I crazy for thinking that this is yet another area for individual definition?  The church I grew up in certainly has other things to say about these terms than what I have come to decide for myself.  How many people are following behaviors that they were taught growing up without ever doing a candid self exploration around the topic?  I once was told on a date (who I met on an online dating site that shall remain nameless) that since I don’t believe in the Bible, there would be no agreed upon foundation from which the relationship should be governed.  Hmm, I’ve dated plenty of people who believe in the Bible & somehow, SOMEHOW, we are able to have a relationship & relations (*ba-dum bum, PSHHH!*) & governed just fine.

 

Perhaps the issue is the desire to fit our individual (or organized collectives’) definition neatly onto others as if this is a ‘one size fits all’ existence we are all having?

 

An 1888 advertisement for Webster’s Unabridged...

 

Merriam-Webster.com defines promiscuous as not restricted to one sexual partner.  That sounds neutral enough.  However, most of the definitions of promiscuous slant towards the negative.  Is it negative to have more than one sexual partner if all involved are consenting adults?  What about having sex with more than one partner when one is single & honest about it?  Does this person not have morals? The first definition of moral on Merriam-Webster.com is:  of or relating to principles of right & wrong in behavior.  Interestingly enough, the 2nd definition is: probable though not proved : virtual <a moral certainty>.   A probable but not proved certainty.  How bout that?

 

I have had people candidly tell me that they secretly have wanted to dance sexy or be a stripper or try burlesque.  However, they talk themselves out of it because of things they learned growing up.  They feel wrong about trying on anything related to sexy as independent, strong women.  I’ve had SO MANY WOMEN tell me they are scared to come to my sensual dance class.  WHAT.  Do. They. Think. Is. Going. On in there???  I’ve had burlesque dancers whisper to me that they too have been strippers as if it should be a secret.  I can’t help but think that they’ve probably been taught a thing or two about themselves as sexual beings when growing up that have them hemmed up around sexuality.

 

Dancer icon

 

So, from the simple putting on of deodorant after every shower to the much more intricate way in which I navigate as a sexual being, I am always checking in with myself.  What is authentically what I have come to believe for myself as a grown woman?  What has been taught to me that I accepted blindly as a child?  Am I still in agreement with the lesson?  Sometimes I am, often I’m not.

 

Am I the only one still putting on the proverbial deodorant after every bathing session or do you have hard to die lessons from family of origin/childhood too?  Is it just me?

 

Sex Work

Statue to honor the sex workers of the world. ...

Statue to honor the sex workers of the world. Installed March 2007 in Amsterdam, Oudekerksplein, in front of the Oude Kerk, in Amsterdam's red-light district De Wallen. Title is Belle, inscription says "Respect sex workers all over the world." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sex worker is a term that sparks off many a debate.  Do I consider myself a sex worker?  I’ve never sold the actual sex act.  However, I consider strip tease to be in the realm of sex work as I do it, anyway.  I’m not serving up sandwiches on stage.  I believe this term is as much about self-definition as anything else.  There are strippers, burlesque dancers & dommes who would not consider what they do to be sex work.  I think that is totally valid since, in many cases, there is not the exchange of the sex act for income in these realms.  In these cases there may not even be much in the way of any physical contact.  A slap, a graze of the lap, a drape of a boa, perhaps, is what happens.  I’ve also read in David Henry Sterry’s Anthology Ho’s Hookers, Call Girls, And Rent Boys about a  prostitutes that says, “I’m not a sex worker, I’m a ho.”  So, ask 20 people and you will get 20 answers.

I choose to embrace the term because I believe work in all areas of the sex industry to be as valid as any other form of work WHEN CHOSEN.  It is not for everyone.  Let me be clear because there are always people who want to try to blur these lines.  Sex trafficking & sex work are TWO DIFFERENT REALMS!  I am in no way shape or form in support of the trafficking of women & children.  This is e specially the case since there are an overwhelming number of young brown girls & women who fall prey to this.  It seems people only conjure images of young Russian ladies under the control of Russian mob when they think of sex trafficking.

I also choose to embrace the term sex work because no matter what level of physical contact I am involved in, society at large will throw me right on in the “ho bag” for choosing to use my body as a commodity in any way, shape or form.  Once thrown in the ho bag, I am judged as being wrong for it.  My life is not valued.  If I get killed all the talk in the papers will be about well, she WAS a stripper.   But the people who know me & have met me will be able to speak to many facets of  my humanity.  I am a first child, a big sister, an aunt, a lover, a great friend, a confidant, a teacher, an entertainer & much more but I will be reduced to this one stigmatized label after my demise if not for those who truly know me.  Yet, a man sacrificing his body to the NFL or NBA, for example, is lauded, praised, financially compensated to a high degree & dern near worshiped.  OH, they aren’t using their bodies in ‘sexual’ ways for profit so that makes it valid.  Also, they aren’t the sole benefactors of that profit.  Silly me, I forgot.

Sex Worker Rights

There are several women who talk about marrying rich as a life plan.  These same women will turn up their noses at the idea of a woman choosing to sell sex or the tease of it outright.  I find this laughable.  So, as long as you don’t collect a set fee for the sex you exchange for goods (in this case a high standard of living, it’s alright).  Tyra Banks endlessly had sex workers on her show for the sake of preaching to them about how low their self esteem is (McDonald’s is always hiring.)  Yet, she made a good chunk of change selling sex in the form of being a Victoria’s Secret model.  Many men ‘read’ that catalog & I’m guessing it’s not for current fashion tips.  There are rumors that one of her boyfriends ditched her for a stripper & she’s had it in for sex workers ever since.  Who Knows for sure.  What I do know for sure is that sex work is one of the most honest jobs in the world.  When a patron walks into a strip club he/she is clear that time costs money.  For that exchange they will get conversation, attention & a bit of titillation (pun intended).  When someone hires an escort, they are clear that they will pay xyz for sex.  They do not have to worry about if the woman is with him/her only for their money.  The answer is a resoundingly clear yes.  I’ve worked in corporate environments where I’ve had to hide the real me away until after 7pm on weekdays or the weekend.  No thanks.

However, I have had the experience of being treated like a potential gold digger when dating wealthy men.  It’s because they have been burned one too many times by women who only want to be with them for their money.  I find sex work nobler than back-handed gold digging, sorry.  I have been able to be dependent financially & NEVER have had to depend on being in a relationship for my financial well-being.  Imagine that, I’ve been in relationships for the love of the person I am with, not for what they could do for me financially.  I don’t find fault with women who believe in “traditional” roles of being the homemaker to their partner’s bread winner.  That is an honest agreement.  “Gold Diggery” is a phenomenon which I think stems from people not truly believing in their own abilities to achieve great success in many cases.

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement. – Golda Meir

And for you ladies who are quick to scoff at the idea of being a sex worker, be clear you too could be thrown in the ho bag.  In New York a woman having more than three condoms in her possession could have them be used as evidence of prostitution.  Yes, so if you are a woman who has her own supply of condoms on hand, you too could have to take on the sex worker title or prove that you are not in ye old ho bag.

When I am on stage, I choose to stand proudly in my sexuality.  If  I am telling a particular story in a burlesque act then sexuality may take a backseat.  However, I am intentional in choosing to frolic in my own self determined sexy when I am doing burlesque.  I’ve heard some performers say they don’t want to give men the satisfaction of seeing them in sexual way while they are performing burlesque.  With all due respect, eff em!  It’s not about them.  It is about what I choose to express as an artist & an entertainer.  I hope that someone in the audience will find value & entertainment in what I present.  However, I choose not to stifle myself for fear of the ho judgment from others.  That’s their issue to deal with.  I’m clear on what my choice is & how good I feel about it.  The rest is for other people to sort out for themselves.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxely

People always have the choice of not looking, not buying, not watching, not partaking in the sex industry.  So, it will ever be a mystery to me why people want to shove their moral compasses down other people’s throats.  But morality & how it is defined is a blog for another day.  I simply encourage us all, especially women, to be intentional about the choices we make about expressing our sexuality.  Choose what feels good to you.  Do not be forced or made to feel guilty about your sexual expression or even the choice not to express oneself in that way.  Everyone else can do their own work around how that makes them feel for themselves.  There are not enough hours in the day as it is.  I choose not to do their work & mine too.  So, yeah, I’m a sex worker & what of it?

Own YOUR Sexy

My wonderful tiara again!

 

What does your sexy look like?

Is it something you authentically feel or is it taught to you?

Sexy, like everything else in life, has many different meanings for different people.

Recently, I was at the University of Colorado teaching a lap dance class as part of a residency with Gesel Mason’s Women, Sex & Desire.  The week culminated with a showing of Women, Sex & Desire.

I unknowingly ended up partnered in a pre show exercise with a student who was worried about my chair dance class being offered on campus.  We were able to exchange ideas and come to an understanding of each other’s point of view.  Is there any power in a lap dance?  She was not able to experience the fun had in class but we were able to have a one to one conversation after the showing.

One of the questions we discussed was where does our idea of sexy, sexual desires and fantasies stem from?  Are they taught to us by what we are bombarded with in popular media?  Let’s say possibly this is one origin.  Does this erase the option of choosing to check in with ourselves and see if, in fact, it does resonate inside us?

We are all so perfectly different.  I’m open to the idea that we each get to choose what our sexy looks like.  Some days my sexy is no make-up, sweatpants and a baseball cap.  Other days my sexy is girly with all the trimmings and sprinkles.  Mainly, because my sexy has very little to do with what’s going on on the outside and everything to do with what’s going on inside.

Branch_Tiara.jpg

What does your sexy look like?  You decide.  Talk to me.