I’m not going to open this by talking about fucking men in the ass. Don’t you do it, I told myself. It sets the tone for the entire blog, and then the blog will basically be All About Buttfucking, and you will be naught but a buttfucker forever. And I’ve given that up, buttfucking men.
I retired from sex work in May after five very long years. For the majority of my adult life, I supported myself as a dominatrix and fetish worker— in practical terms (and I speak here only for myself and not all dominatrixes and fetish workers) I was a professional buttfucker. I am neither nostalgic for this nor ashamed of it. It was a significant period of my life during which I learned many things, including but very much not limited to how to fuck a butt. I spent May to November trying not to talk about this, because if you do, you will be naught but a buttfucker forever.
I tried talking—writing—about other things, and sex work continuously intruded. I mean, it didn’t intrude, it was just there: as a framing device, as a point of comparison, as an aside. I wrote about labor and so of course there it was. I wrote about violence and so there it was, too. I wrote about sex and so duh. I tried to cut it out of my writing afterwards and then I tried to cut it out before. I spent a lot of creative energy excising and censoring, and unsurprisingly found myself with little motivation to write at all.
So here I am, submitting (heh) to fate, or probably winking at it and carefully stepping around it the way only a cis white woman can. If I can hold my neuroses at bay for a minute and be level-headed about my social position, I can acknowledge that calling myself a former professional buttfucker won’t affect the way I move through the world most days, it probably won’t cost me money, and it certainly won’t cost me freedom. It may still cost me personal relationships somewhere along the line, because these things tend to happen to all women who have done sex work but refuse to repent or to hide it away (and even, many times, when we do). But I am a writer, and I need the intellectual freedom and emotional honesty to make connections where connections arise and draw from the accumulated experiences of my life, so I need to write about sex work sometimes.
Well, hang on. There are many former and current sex worker-writers who do manage to keep it out of their writing. Let’s try a little more honesty: my self-revelations have less to do with being a sex worker-writer and more to do with the way my brain works. My thoughts move in obsessive patterns and my motivations in manic-depressive ones; either I follow where my mind repeatedly wanders or I don’t do much at all. This is as relevant to how and what I write as it is to all forms of labor I engage in.
I could get a steady 9-to-5 job for perhaps the first time in my life, but I am equal parts unwilling and unable to do so. I never manage to approximate neurotypical patterns for long, so I know that maintaining a 9-to-5 for more than a few months would destroy my health and quality of life. So I need and choose to continue working part-time as a researcher and freelance as a writer and educator, which brings me to another reason I am not too scared of being pigeonholed as The Buttfucker: because one of the things I’d like to research and write and educate about is sex. Buttfucking is my credentials! Of course, even with five years of sex work and eight years (!!!) of undergraduate women’s studies finally culminating in a degree, there are many things about sex and sexuality I don’t know.
Here is where I meant to start this piece: there are many things about sex and sexuality I still don’t know and would like to learn so that I can research and write and educate about them in turn. After spending eight fucking years in undergrad (this was one of those things being neuroatypical made quite difficult), I’m loath to try graduate school (lbr: grad school would also probably necessitate a return to sex work for financial reasons). Instead, I spent some time looking through undergraduate, graduate, and professional-level sexuality textbooks online, and I purchased several that didn’t look quite so regressive and were also under one hundred bucks.
Even though I picked the not-so-regressive-looking texts (as opposed to buying THIS), I was still horrified at the content of these textbooks. Sex education is a grim-dark well of fear and wild conjecture, even at the graduate and professional levels. So, though my primary objective is still to learn some things about sex, like anatomy, psychosocial sexual development, psychological pathologization, and the standards of treatment for sexual ‘dysfunction’, I will also be learning about learning about sex. I’m not prepared to take that journey into the grim-dark well of fear and wild conjecture alone. I’d like to have some readers with me, especially from the various corners of sex work social media!
I know it’s not fashionable to blog. These days you’re supposed to have a TinyLetter (which I did! it was fun! for a time!) or, if you are trying to be more widely-read and solicitous of feedback (which I am!), a Medium account. I don’t really fancy producing content for other people without being paid, though. Typical sex worker objection, but there we are, and so here we are on a blog.
Since I am practicing honesty, let me lay out what I’ve heretofore hinted I’ve spent the past few months doing besides not-writing and skimming sex-ed textbooks:
- working as a research assistant on a very large qualitative study of the sex trades, reading through raw data
- taking care of a kid
- observing and contemplating the deep knowledge that sex workers have about sex, sexuality, gender, and consent; observing and contemplating how many people—from the very tiny humans we must feed and clothe to our peers and parents— do not have any knowledge at all about sex, sexuality, gender, and consent
- recognizing how lucky I am to finally stop doing sex work and instead take care of a kid and code data, when many people would like to do just that
- reading about worker organizing and worker cooperatives and informal economies and alternative economies
- realizing that existing sex ed. is overly professionalized and therefore exclusive and inaccessible, and/or politically liberal and therefore supportive of an oppressive economic structure.
- learning how few jobs programs there are for people in the sex trades and seeing that those that do exist have the stigmatizing requirement that people fully stop trading sex before using their services
- dreaming about what it would be like to have a radical sex education collective that gives member priority to people with experiences in the sex trades:
- …because people in the sex trades are also disproportionately from minoritized groups, like LGBT people and people of color AND
- we/ they are often economically coerced into the sex trades and trapped in informal economies and economic precarity because of disability, discrimination, and whorephobic criminalization and stigma AND
- this stigma discounts the deep knowledge we/they have about sex, sexuality, gender and consent AND
- this knowledge is particularly valuable because academic knowledge production cannot approximate it AND
- many people could benefit from this knowledge and are capable and even willing to pay for it AND
- crowdfunding has enabled people to pay for just this sort of thing AND
- I need another form of alternative employment myself, and I have some of this knowledge.
- realizing that any such collective would be formed from a collective process; that I cannot learn everything I need to know by myself nor launch a collective by myself; that being neuroatypical and mentally ill leads me to isolate when I should collaborate
- recognizing that I am in a privileged position to be able to spend time learning about sex in this way, because I have flexible part-time employment and low expenses at the moment and could take on a big project without much guarantee of pay; also recognizing that my economic situation is not sustainable and I need a better, alternate source of employment.
So why not learn about learning about sex together with you, various internet denizens? At the least, we’ll know some more things at the end of it, and maybe we can use them to earn money through writing. At the most, we’ll found an anarchist sex ed. collective, reduce our economic precarity, make strides toward an alternative economy in the interstices of late capitalism, and go down as fucking legends.