"That you may ruminate"

…On Sex Workers.

Posted by Steve on October 16, 2008

I don’t know any sex workers. No dancers, no escorts, no porn stars. None of my friends have ever been paid to sex, to appear naked before an audience, to appear naked on film. Actually, those latter two, I don’t think any of my friends but one or two have done either without remuneration simply out of exhibitionist desire.

But the point is, as far as I’m aware, I don’t know any sex workers. I’m not friends with anyone who’s done sex work of any sort. I don’t have a relationship with any such person.

Which means I can’t talk to them about it. I can’t ask them questions. After all, when you have friends, sometimes you talk about your friends’ jobs. About what they do, and what goes on at work, and how their boss is a jerk or they might get a raise or how the sales people kept putting their sticks in the wrong basket and the printer was down so there was a 30 minute backlog on the tests. Yeah, I don’t know what any of that last bit means either – and I was paraphrasing to boot – but I have a friend who works as a photo lab supervisor, and that’s the sort of thing that happens to her when she’s at work, and it means something to her, so when I talk to her, sometimes she talks about that.

But, like I said, I don’t know anyone who’s involved in sex work, and truth is, I wish I did. Because here’s the thing: I’m naive, and I’m ignorant, and put together that means I’m curious. Sex work, for me, is very exotic. As in, very foreign. As in, so completely outside my realm of experience and the world that I’m familiar with that I can’t begin to imagine it. Not at all.

I know full well some portion of sex work was and remains involuntary, dangerous, violent, involuntary (that bears repeating), and wrong. Child sex tourism is real, my gut is Linda Boreman wasn’t lying, and I don’t think anyone doubts that this sort of organization does a mitzvah for streetwalkers.

On the other hand, Nina Hartley, Annie Sprinkle, and Tila Nguyen serve proof that there are other experiences to be had.

Those, of course, are the experiences and outlook I’m more curious about. Those who have a choice, whose work as dancer or escort or porn star is voluntary, something they enjoy – or at least don’t hate … I know they exist (how numerous, in absolute or percentage terms, I don’t know). I know I’m curious about them.

Like I said, it’s exotic for me – far beyond my experience or ability to imagine. It doesn’t seem real, to strip on a stage or before a camera, to be paid for having sex with someone, whether in private or before an audience or in front of a camera. And so I wonder what it’s like. What it feels like.

See, here’s the thing. Supply and demand, it seems to me, must surely apply to commercialized sex as much as to anything else. In order for a dancer to have an audience, that dancer must be desirable to watch. In order for a star to be cast, that star must likewise be desirable to watch. For a prostitute, they must be desirable to have sex with. This, at least, is what strikes me as obvious.

And that brings us to the crux of my curiosity. See, Johnny Tremain could count on one hand the women I know who don’t regard themselves as being far closer in appearance to Mr. Tremain’s hand than to Alexa Wilding. I empathize with that feeling (wholly inaccurate as it is in their cases) given the combination of gluttony, sloth, and poor hair genetics that have led to me looking as I do. Which is, needless to say, nothing that’s going to get me asked to entertain at any bachelorette parties ever. And so I wonder about those who make their living as objects of desire. Do they feel it? Do they know it, that people gaze upon them with longing? Does it feel good?

Am I right to envy them that?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: