Friday, August 8, 2008

Sex-Positive... So What's Sex-Negative, Then?

Yes, I'm back from vacation. Yes, the ferret survived. It's all good, as they say, in the hood. Except the hood to which I am moving, because I am moving there. *DUN DUN DUN!*
So I've been reading some things, and having thoughts on them as per usual. One of my commenters sent me a link to Renegade Evolution, whose writer is certainly eloquent, passionate, and realistic about the sex industry and the women that work in it. I like it, and it's brought up some good points. I'd like to say that I'm still learning about sex-pos stuff, I'm trying not to sound like an ass, and anybody who wants to bring up good points that I can cover in a later post is welcome to do so.

I still think the way our society is set up makes sex work a... shall we say, problem career choice for a woman. I think porn is responsible for a LOT of negative ideas about women and sex that become internalized by the men and women that see it. I think strip joints (dude strippers too) are creepy and superflous. I think prostitution would need a lot of organization and regulation- that it will likely never get- before it is a safe, non-stigmatized, legitimate career choice for men or women. And yes, in an ideal world it would be.

There's nothing wrong with sex, or having it, or wanting to get paid for it. The problem is not the women who want (if they choose and haven't been forced) to use their bodies or sexuality to make a living. If that's wrong, then anyone who works in the service industry is as much a whore as they; models, actors, Army folks too- you've sold the use of your body for someone else's purpose. It's not bad, it's just capitalism, I guess. But it makes slut-shaming kind of irrevlevant, yeah? It's only because sex is still seen as this dirty, taboo thing instead of something natural that's a part of the lives of just about everyone at some point (or most points, hell!).

I'm still not sure how I feel about those who would pay for sex. Maybe it's just that they are lonely men or women (for whatever reason). Maybe they've got some weird (but harmless) fetish that they don't want to share with or reveal to a regular partner. Whatever, those guys aren't the problem. The problem is men who are anonymous now, the industry's abuses of its workers, and the society which allows it to abuse these women. The sick bastards who abuse sex workers now would find it much more difficult if it was like, say, going to a doctor, or a caterer, or something else in the service industry that combines physical intimacy with personal tastes, so to speak. They take your name, they take your blood, they have your credit card information, you sign a contract specifying services, they can take you to court for assault or nonpayment. You can't beat your caterer and then deny it, after all. You can't lie to your doctor about having an STD (well you can, but it's fucked up and counter-productive).

The way it is now, though... women are still seen as receptacles when it comes to sex. Porn especially, seems to be very often something done to women rather than with them as equal partners. I've seen some pretty sick shit when it comes to porn, and there's far more scenarios of women being abused, degraded, and used as a set of holes then there are of men being used that way. And really... I wish this wasn't a big market, that we didn't get off on see anyone treated that way. I'm not talking about legitimate, consensual, planned, safeword-using, SSF-motto BDSMers, who're a whole different kettle of fish. I'm talking about that douche who created Girls Gone Wild getting girls drunk and exploiting them, I'm talking about sex videos on YouTube, I'm talking about the sick fucks who gang-raped a woman in front of her young kids and recorded it on their cameraphones.

However, before you start shouting "prude!": I don't blame porn for everything, and I don't claim that women in sex work all hate it, or are abused by it, or have been so brainwashed by dude-culture that they have no agency to make their own choices, even when they think they are. That's totally unfair, I think, and benevolently disrespectful to them. But I can't watch most porn anymore. Why is it sexy to see a woman spit on, raped, beaten, choked by a penis, and used like she's not even human? Even 'mainstream' porn is becoming more hateful toward women (also it's gotten to be pretty silly). I still firmly believe that anything that degrades a woman that way cannot be good for the fate of women as a group.

If there's feminist porn out there, I'd be willing to give it a look. I love sex, and I love talking about it, thinking about it, and exploring and enjoying every aspect of my sexuality. But I know that my right to have sex (as Cara said once, succinctly) ends at someone else's right to not have sex. These 15 year old boys checking out (hell no, I'm not linking it)- do they know that??