Bad Luck Week

I think this may have been the worst week ever.

I mean, it hasn't been so bad all at once. You know, my mom didn't die; I wasn't hit by a bus or anything. I haven't lost all my money or found out I have cancer. It's just that when you add up what's happened, it's been pretty ridiculous.

First off, my hard drive broke, just in time for finals and a 20 page paper. This has many implications, which I'll mention in a bit.

I caught the flu starting about Sunday and have been pretty deathly ill all week. This includes two days of a fever that wouldn't respond at all to medicine, on one of which I had to take a final. This was *ahem* rather challenging. The other day, Thursday I think, I sat curled up in a ball on my bed half-hallucinating all day and trying to work on the 20-page paper due that day. I thankfully had my sister's computer because she was visiting before break, but it still was oodles of fun.

My fever was down on Friday, so I pulled an all-nighter that night to try and finish the afore-mentioned 20 page paper. (Good idea!) It didn't help that everything I'd written while feverish was pretty much utter crap. I managed to be productive until about 8am, when the fever decided to spike again. I had to abandon ship, which actually just means that I had to pack and get ready for my cab to show up.

Through all of this, it's been snowing fucking buckets. All the flights on Friday and today have been canceled.

So of course my flight yesterday, which would have gotten out right between the storms, was canceled due to a maintenance problem with the plane. I had to spend 5 hours at the airport trying to book another one after a night with no sleep. This meant I didn't have any cough medicine (liquids and gels, they don't make a bottle small enough) so I was hacking up a lung the whole time. FINALLY, I trudged back to my dorm room and took a Tylenol PM to knock myself out around 5:30pm. I did sleep (with breaks) for most of last night and feel slightly better this morning. I'm still awfully sick, though.

What all this means is that I'm stuck at school until Monday with no computer of my own. Everybody I know has left, so not only am I all alone, I can't borrow a computer. During the school year, they will rent out laptops to needy students, but apparently now that finals are over they've stopped doing that. I can't lie in bed and watch movies or TV to recuperate. I can't relax and work on my paper at a leisurely pace, maybe even get it done before I leave.

I'm at our IT center now, on a public computer. I'm going to try to finish my paper, but it's going to be hard to sit up on this hard chair for the period of time that I'll need.

Basically, I just want to go home where my nice, warm, big bed and a brand new hard drive are waiting for me.

I'm moping now, I know, but there is an absurd quality to all of this. Hopefully I'll find it funny in hindsight.

Why I Am Sick: The Liz Game

The Liz Game is played with cards and at least four players, although you can add as many as you want depending on the desired outcome of the game. In a round, you go around the circle with the deck and each draw a card in turn until the deck is finished.

There are 6 rules:

1. If you draw a face card (Jack, Queen, King, 0r Ace), you must take off one article of clothing. Socks count as one article together, as do shoes. Jewelry doesn't count as clothing.

2. If you draw a black card that isn't a face card, you must drink.

3. If you draw a red card that isn't a face card, you have to make out with someone of your choice in the circle.

4. After you make out with someone for the first time, if you choose them again you must "escalate" your making out. If you pecked on the lips the first time, the second time you use tongue, and the third time you grope each other a bit, etc. This means that if you don't want to get too hot and heavy, you're going to have to pick different people in the circle for each red card turn. If there aren't that many people playing, well, you have a pre-packaged orgy!

5. No spectators allowed. Either play or leave the room. (This is negotiable depending on the desires of those playing. If you like being watched, hey go ahead.)

6. After every round (if you aren't already all having sex and decide to play another one), each player is allowed to put on one article of clothing. Your "make out escalation levels" with each person stay the same in new rounds. You can keep playing for as long as you want.

As I'm sure you can imagine, the fewer players you have, the faster it becomes an orgy. With 4-8 people, you don't have that many make out partners to choose from, so you'll be escalating fairly quickly. You'll also lose more clothing, as there are fewer of you to draw the face cards.

On Saturday night, I played this game with about 12 near strangers at a house party. There was a lovely gender balance: 4 women and 8 or so men. I got to see lots of man make outs! It didn't turn into an orgy (there were too many of us), but it was great fun. However, this meant that I ended up kissing 12 near strangers, with various levels of saliva swapping.

That, my friends, is why I am sick. Oh, well.

Don't Watch This if You're a Hypochondriac and Have the Flu

You know, I have the flu. I guess it's better than a brain worm. But at least then I'd have a new friend! Do you think you can keep creepy parasite worms in jars as pets?

Via The Trouble with Spikol, where Liz Spikol and her trusty intern Becca Trabin always have interesting things to say about the brain, mental illness, and cute animals.

The Two Fs of DOOM: Finals and the Flu

So I'm nearing the end of finals, but I've caught the flu. I guess that's what I get for going to a party and playing a drinking game with 12 near strangers that involved getting naked and making out. Stupid germs, why would you want to go and corrupt something as nice as lots and lots of kissing?

I'm working on the first semester rough draft of my thesis, and I've got about a million and one things to say about porn and stripping and my sex life and everything else. I'm so freaking tired, though, from this blasted illness and too much studying that all I can bring myself to do is loll in bed.

Of course, normally this would mean that my internet presence would increase exponentially. However, my hard drive is broken.

Yep, in addition to happy finals and happy illness, I dropped my happy computer and the hard drive happily broke. I've been able to get some of my files, but until the replacement hard drive comes, I'm sans computer. I'm typing this now on my friend's briefly borrowed laptop.

Sooooo, I know I've been shit at the posting for the last little while, but I promise I'll get caught up. I've got something like four half-finished entries and I definitely have some new things to bring up about porn and stripping in general. I'll be interested to see what you think.

More coming, I promise!


Want, want, want.

Procrastination is Like Masturbation... the end you're just fucking yourself.

To Do List in the Next Week and a Half
5 Physics of Music Labs

8.5 Physics of Music Lab Reports

2 Lab final projects with presentations

1 Final exam

1 Non-cumulative last test

3 Response papers

20 pages of rough draft for my honors thesis
I'm not going crazy, I swear! NOT. GOING. CRAZY.

Argh! School and Finals

Hey, just so you all know, I'm in the throes of final projects and papers and tests and general school awfullness so I'm not going to be posting much if at all for the next week or two.

Things should calm down somewhat a week from today (when I have two projects due and one of the classes I'm behind in ends), but until then it'll be my personal brand of everyday hell. I seem to do this every semester, but hey, I guess I'm a procrastinator.

I promise I'll have more (hopefully interesting) things to say when this is all over with. I've got a great story from my Thanksgiving break and some new thoughts about stripping to share. First thing's first: pass Physics!

Public Identity: To Come Out or Not?

I'm at a big crossroads right now.

Given how much I've been talking about it, you probably know that I'm writing an honors thesis on porn for my Women's Studies bachelor degree. It's going to be fifty pages and the culmination of a year's worth of research, as well as many years of thinking about sex, porn, and feminism.

There are so many ideas floating around out there about porn and so much conflict, especially within feminism, over what kinds of visual or cultural representations of sex are okay. I'm making a real effort to absorb and integrate all this information and if I can do it right, I'm hoping my paper will present a moderated view of all the venom on the issue. I really want to make a contribution to this debate.

I face a very serious dilemma, though. I don't think it would be ethical of me not to include the fact that I'm a sex worker, specifically a stripper, in my paper. It colors my opinions on the whole topic and gives the reader some (however inaccurate) idea of where I'm coming from. I don't believe in objectivity or removing oneself from one's academic work. There is always bias and I think the only way to counter it is to admit it and try to be as transparent about it as possible.

However, if I admit to the academic community at large that I'm a stripper, I face the very serious probability of stigma and rejection. Although attitudes towards sex workers are better than they used to be, I know that I'll face some discrimination because of my work. If I try to get a job outside the realm of sexuality and it's public knowledge that I've been a sex worker, it could severely hurt my chances. It also makes it less likely that my academic work will be taken seriously.

There is the possibility that I could use a pseudonym, at least for now. I'm getting to a point where I need a public persona (beyond a blog name of papercutsandplastic) to do my work. I could make up a name, protect my given name for a while in case I change my mind about what I want to do and who I want to know about it.

The good thing about being in the closet is that I can come out at any time. I can always change my mind. I don't have that option if I out myself now.

On the other hand, it really is me doing this writing and doing this work. I don't want to encourage the idea that it's a fake person or an assumed personality. Whatever name I use, it's backed up by a real person. I have a history, I've had education, I have feelings.

I think one huge drawback of the common porn and sex work practice of using pseudonyms is that it makes it easier to pretend or assume that we're not real people. It's making our objectification that much simpler. Nena Cherry (one real and stereotypical porn name) is obviously not a real name, so she's obviously not a real person. It's bullshit, but I think the attitude is there in porn consumers.

I could really use some advice about this, actually, from someone who's had to make the decision her/himself. I don't think people who haven't experienced the Pink Ghetto of sex-related work are equipped to help me decide. It's a special kind of stigma, and one that I could use support to navigate.

*Edit* I just looked and realized this was my 100th post. Woo! I don't think that means anything, but it makes me feel accomplished. :-D

My Music and Attitude at Work

I had a really good shift at work the other night. It's funny, because I'd had a migraine the night before and was pretty tired when I got there. I wasn't expecting to do well at all; stripping is very much a job where you get out of it what you put in. If I'm tired, my profits are tired.

On Friday and Saturday nights we always go onstage with a partner, and the woman I was paired with this week likes to dance to heavy metal. In the past, I've been able to dance to the hardcore stuff but not that well. I did better with slow, sensual songs. It was easier for me to get people to stage by seducing them gently than by having a lot of energy and and getting their attention whether they wanted to give it or not. The latter is what the more successful dancers do.

Well, I've realized that now I have a lot more fun when I dance to hardcore music. It's really high energy and last night I felt like I could just go up to the tippers and be ridiculous.

I'm usually a little too reserved, a little too nice, but last night I felt perfectly comfortable being insolent and grabbing their heads or licking their beer bottles (which got a really fun reaction). And I could do all of this without feeling like I was being serious, being actually sexual or bitchy. It felt like I was being ridiculous and it felt like I was having and making fun.

I wonder what this says about my attitude towards stripping. Like I said, the more veteran dancers tend to do better to higher energy, more aggressive music. They're more aggressive with the customers. I just experienced that for the first time. I suppose I'm getting better at the job (I did better monetarily than I have in a while) but also that I've got more of a "stripper," or performative, mentality.

I've thought a lot about this in the last week, and I'll write more on it soon. I think it's time for a reevaluation of how I feel about my work and why I'm doing it. Time to just check in with myself and see how I'm doing.

Dan Savage on The Colbert Report

Alright, I have mixed feelings about Dan Savage. In case you don't know, he's an openly gay and partnered sex columnist for Seattle paper The Stranger.

On the one hand, he is hilarious as fuck. I've read his column frequently and he's really funny. He's great on some issues, like gay marriage and being understanding of people's kinks. He even gives some good advice sometimes.

On the other hand, I think he often strong arms issues that need a more sensitive treatment. I don't want to be a mushy female feminist (sigh, stupid stereotypes), but in his quest to always be funny, he sometimes becomes a bit misogynistic. He makes no secret of his distaste for women. I mean, "he's gay so whatever," but I think it does affect the quality of his advice.

That said, I absolutely LOVE his recent appearance on The Colbert Report. He is delightfully funny and I think he even made Colbert a little speechless. If you've been paying attention, you'll notice that he says something similar to what I did about the old folks who voted for Prop 8. (He's not as nice.) Makes me feel kind of vindicated.

Go you, Dan Savage.

The Shit Feminists Say About Porn

I'm writing an honors thesis on porn.

I've mentioned this before, and I've said a few things about it. You probably have some idea where I'm coming from, especially since I'm a stripper. That gives you some prepackaged ideas about who I am and what I think.

I don't know, though, how to engage with all the shit (yes, shit) that feminists say about pornography.

Everybody is so concerned with taking a side. We must all be Pro-Pornography! or Anti-Pornography! and there is so little room allowed for having an opinion that's in between. It's yet another fun incarnation of the good ol' virgin/whore dichotomy.

There's so much vitriol on both sides:

"Those who oppose pornography are anti-sex! They continue the oppression of women by oppressing our sexual expression! They take away the agency of sex workers, taking away the agency and independence of women! Pornography should be encouraged as a sexual expression and an education tool!"


"Those who support pornography are anti-woman! They continue the oppression of women by encouraging representations of violence against women, perpetuating the myth that all women want to be dominated and abused! They ignore the economic and social coercion of women into sex and sex work! Pornography should be illegal and stigmatized!"

For heaven's sake, you're both right.

I think, actually, that Ariel Levy has a good idea of what's going on. Her book Female Chauvinist Pigs is immensely popular, especially with the anti-porn set, but if you read carefully, she's in the middle of the debate. She doesn't actually think that all porn is terrible (as the anti-porn activists want us to think), but she's not unequivocally accepting of porn and what she calls "raunch culture" either.

Here's an excerpt from an email conversation she had with Susie Bright about her book and what it means for "sex-positive" or "sex radical" feminists:
OF COURSE I don't think you & co. are responsible for this...the whole point of sex radicals is to explore new and different and more creative ways to represent— and to have— sex. I'm all for creativity. I'm all for exploration. I'm just not for the incessant reiteration of this one incredibly dull shorthand for sexiness... Wet t-shirt contests! Implants! Brazilian bikini waxes!

It's pathetically limiting. I'm tired of hearing about how liberating and empowering "raunch culture" is. I think it's the easy way out... as if when we buy a thong or a t-shirt with the Playboy bunny on it, then we don't have to question or face our own complicated desires. (But then you miss out on all the fun!)

You have always been about encouraging women to investigate what they really and truly want from sex. Raunch culture, on the other hand, is about performance, not pleasure. That's my objection.
Let's try and find a middle road here, people. We all want the same thing, ultimately. We want women and men to be equal to each other. We don't want these gender stereotypes and privileges to rule our lives. We want to preserve sexual freedom for both sexes. We want to make sure that no one ever has to give in to a sexuality that's harmful to them. It's a noble goal. We should work towards it together.

Hipsters Suddenly So Hip?

I've noticed this trend lately. I'm not sure if I'm just making shit up, but I think more and more people are starting to present themselves in "queer" or "alternative" ways.

Maybe it's just an instance of the mainstream starting to adopt an underground culture as it always does and this is the first time it's a culture I've identified with. I'm at an age where what I think is cool is going to be what trendy culture thinks is cool. Also, the trend that's coming into popularity is the hipster thing. It's perfectly bred to work in the mainstream. It's consumerist, focused on music, slightly pretentious.

It's not just the hipsters, though. I've been seeing a lot of girls who I'm pretty sure are straight presenting themselves in blatantly gender-variant ways. You know: lesbian pant syndrome where they're a little baggier because you just don't care or a prevalence of baggy, plaid, button-down shirts or a short shaggy haircut. It's everywhere now, I swear.

And it's confusing as hell! My gaydar is all messed up. I mean, it's probably a good thing. If mainstream culture is adopting queer ways of expressing itself, that could mean queer identity is becoming more acceptable. I think it's already a lot less stigmatized among people my own age. (The over 65 vote was definitely a huge factor in the passage of Prop 8. Is it bad for me to want the bigots to die of old age already? No violent deaths, I don't want pain for them or anything, just passing on peacefully in their sleep to the heaven they're so avidly awaiting. Is that mean?)

It is really strange, though, to be a part of something that's mainstreaming and to feel my identity as less my own. It's so external and silly to base how I feel about myself on superficial things. It's a little foolish to identify strongly with one subset of people, one way of dressing, one box in the identity column. I'm young, though; I think it comes naturally until you're ready to live simply in your own skin.

Has anyone else noticed this trend? Am I blowing smoke rings?


I don't know why these days happen.

I woke up and I don't feel like myself. I'd never really been this version of low before this school year, where I feel like nothing is real, but it's been happening more and more in the last month or two. I'm so dissociated.

There's so much for me to do, endless tasks and things I want to accomplish. I love it most of the time, but it gets so fucking heavy. I've been feeling overwhelmed lately, more than usual, and I'm reaching a point where I can't cope.

And it's either that, the pressure and the to do list, or this crushing sense of dissatisfaction. And I can distract myself and even sometimes soothe myself with video games or long hours in coffee shops talking about nothing or drinking to excess late at night. I just can't take a breather or it's all right there.

So I'm sorry I haven't been posting a lot. I either see this blog as work (which I love and sometimes don't have the energy for) or as something that should be more personal than it is and I just don't have access to that part of myself right now.

And of course my damn therapist couldn't meet the last two weeks, and the rescheduled meeting last Thursday had to be a "brief check-in" because she was sick. I needed more than that, but I'm too new with her to be like "No, it's not okay, I need a real session," when she asks. And being pissed at your therapist is about the least helpful thing on the planet.

I will hate this post later, but I also want it to be here. If I'm going to be honest about being depressed (and oh, how I hate labeling that when I'm actually feeling it) then why not let the reality show? Why not call it what it is? I'm having a depressed episode, and I'll come out of it eventually, but yes it sucks right now. It might be time to just feel that.


I got all my porn in the last three days!

As I've mentioned before, I'm writing an honors thesis on feminist porn. All my DVDs have arrived finally, and I'm really excited to watch them all. As I do, I'll review them here.

The funny thing at this point is that I just want to sit and watch them and masturbate. I mean, this is the kind of thing I get off to. That's part of why I chose it to write about. I freely admit it.

On the other hand, my goal here is to write about these films from an intellectual, feminist standpoint. I know I can do that if I've already jilled off to them, but part of me wants to wait to watch them. I've got a schedule for when I'll be responding to them and maybe I should stick to it.

I'm the kind of person who doesn't even like to look at a page in a book that's ahead of where I'm reading. I'll inevitably read something on the page and then I'll have skipped ahead. Heaven forbid!

But fuck it. I want to masturbate, and I've got 12 (12!) awesome porn flicks at my disposal.

Now the real dilemma: which one first?


I just don't know what to say or feel about the election.

I'm so so so so so so so so so so so excited that Barack Obama won. I'm just speechless about it. He's the first black president and the first Democratic president I can remember taking office. I was alive when Clinton made it, but I was small and I don't remember it that well. I'm a young person; the only elections I remember well were ones where George W. Bush won. This has been such an experience for me, and I'm so happy he's our new president.

I just can't even express it. It's huge.

And then there's Proposition 8.

As of right now, it looks like it's going to pass in California, adding discrimination against gay people to our state constitution.

Which is just devastating. Devastating.

I can't even convey how awful it is. It feels like the state which I count on to take care of me, to be a home when so many other places will reject me for my sexual orientation and my "lifestyle," is rejecting me, too. I really did think that we'd be better, that we'd be more accepting, more fair than the rest of the country. It's so sad that it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

I have no idea what's next, where we go in fighting for the rights of queer people. It's so important. We are PEOPLE, we do not choose our orientation, it is a part of who we are and doesn't affect other people AT ALL. It is simple hatred and homophobia that lead to this kind of legislation.

I have so much more to say about this, about how sexism ties into homophobia and how ballot initiatives in California are problematic. Right now, though, I'm going to celebrate for Obama and cry for California and go to bed.

There's time for our next move in the morning.

P. S. Proposition K probably won't pass either, and I'm sad but not surprised. I saw the way the rhetoric was going, and it wasn't in favor of sex workers' rights. Also more on this soon.

Visible Panty Lines

I wonder why we don't eroticize visible pantylines?

Thongs, pantyhose, girdles, and all those other "shapewear" items are meant to give a woman the appearance of complete smoothness under her clothes. I mean, girdles and shapewear also literally force women's bodies into more socially acceptable shapes. Covering up panties or making them so tiny you can't see them anyway is part of that. None of these things are comfortable.

Panties are sexy, though. AND comfortable. I mean, god forbid we don't make women contort themselves to look beautiful. Then they'd have time to think about, I dunno, equality and shit.

Why shouldn't the visible bit of the edge of a pair of panties under a tight pair of pants or skirt be sexy, though? Maybe its lack implies that she's wearing no underwear. Mmmm, implied sexual availability, sexual objectification, I guess men love that.

I find that even men tend to like lingerie better than no lingerie, though. A lot of them have made jokes to me about unwrapping "the present." I've noticed that when I wear a very low-cut shirt or dress, it's sexier if I have a pretty bra showing underneath it. Maybe changing what we eroticize is a little compromise, a step towards letting women do whatever they want regardless of what men think.

And frankly, what they think doesn't matter that much. Let's forget it for a second and have a little agency in our own lives and clothing choices. I feel sexy when I'm wearing a nice pair of panties. Especially if they're pretty AND comfortable. It makes me feel good.

So why not? This can be sexy:

And it's a whole helluva lot more comfortable. I'll take my cute cotton underpants over a stiff, lacy thong any day.

No on Proposition 8!

If you live in California (especially if you read this blog), you probably already know that Proposition 8 on the ballot next week is a measure which will add a clause to the state constitution stipulating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Because the May court ruling decided that a law banning gay marriage was unconstitutional, they're trying to change the constitution. Woo, putting discrimination in the document that defines us as a state. That's just great.

Shine Louise Houston of Pink and White Productions, a great lesbian porn company, is donating all of the proceeds from her popular Crash Pad Series to the No on Prop 8 campaign for one day, TODAY, October 30th.

Basically, if you're a fan of lesbian porn for any reason or you want equality as a general rule, get your butt over there and spend some money! It's really good porn, and it's for a good cause. Maybe you usually get your porn for free, but think of this as donating with a tasty bonus. Mm, porn for charity!

I also want to reiterate my support for Proposition K to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco and make known my vehement opposition to Proposition 4, which would dangerously require minors to report abortions to their parents.

Below are a few good videos and links for more information on all of these ballot measures. A lot of bloggers have written very eloquently about these measures, so I will direct you to them instead of trying to reiterate what's already been said.

This post on sex worker blog Bound Not Gagged is a very thorough explanation of the arguments in favor of Proposition K. It's really long, but even just the beginning is helpful.

Here's a great post on Feministe explaining why Proposition 4 would put teens in danger if they don't feel they can report an abortion to their parents. I also explains why the so-called "bypass procedure" written into the law is completely unhelpful and would actually serve to put teens through more stress than "just" their unwanted pregnancy.

Here are a couple of fun videos about the anti-marriage-equality proposition, via Sugarbutch Chronicles.

Lastly, this video gives me goosebumps all over. I don't know how anyone could say this is wrong.

Vote! Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday Review: Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality

Okay, I know the Tuesday Reviews are kind of sporadic, but I'm a busy woman. I do my best.

This week's review isn't exactly a recommendation, more of an exercise in stretching my brain and my opinions on porn. That's important to do, and books like Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality by Gail Dines, Robert Jensen, and Ann Russo are the background for dialogues about porn and sex work today.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit I read this book for a research project I'm doing for my Women's Studies honors thesis. I'll be examining "feminist" porn and the tactics it uses to address critiques like the ones brought up in Pornography. I'm starting by reading a whole slew of books written by anti-porn feminists so that I can be fluent in their criticisms of porn.

One of the things that was striking to me in reading this book was the way the authors framed their arguments in relation to sex-positive feminists who they called "sexual liberals." The first couple of chapters were devoted to naming and disputing "sexually liberal" criticisms of anti-pornography feminism. As the book went on it got a little more nuanced, but the first two chapters set the tone for the narratives about porn.

I'm probably not going to make myself popular with people on either side by saying this, but I have a huge problem with the divisiveness we see surrounding the issue of porn in feminism. It's a problem on both sides, and I think it's really unproductive.

I agree with the anti-porn feminists that a lot of porn does represent and reinforce the patriarchal gender roles of our society. Including a tendency towards violence against women.

I agree with the sex positive feminists that porn can be a very powerful tool for exploring and expressing female sexuality. I think that any consciously navigated choice to be sexual as a woman is an act of rebellion against the stupid virgin/whore complex.

Which, by the way, is hugely at play in the conflict between these groups. The anti-porners basically call the sex pos-ers whores for advocating for what they see as the always patriarchal representations of sex in porn. The sex pos-ers call the anti-porners prudes for criticizing sex and porn and fucked up power dynamics between men and women.

It's a bad show.

I'm having a real "Ack! I've been identifying solely with one side of this argument, but I think the other has solid points too!" kind of moment.

I still think that the sex positive movement has a more productive approach to porn: actually making porn and REconstructing gender roles in it by altering the circumstances of its production and consumption. However, I don't think they'd be much of anywhere without the efforts of the anti-porn movement to highlight the sexual inequalities that are prevalent everywhere.

I think that where the anti-porn movement reacts to a negative sexual situation in our country, the pro-sex movement acts to change it. That's why I'm writing about feminist porn; I want to see how they're doing.

After that long word vomit, back to the book. I did really like the last few chapters where the authors talked more about their personal interactions with porn and how it affected them emotionally. These three closing essays showed, finally, a much more complex view of how to deal with porn.

I think that in the end these three are somewhat open to dealing with sex positive types (or "sexual liberals" as they're called in the book). I hope that we can all find a common ground. We're all working towards the same thing anyway: equality between men and women.

Cross posted at Fourth Wave Feminism

Juicy Campus: A Cultural Gross-fest of Slut-Bashing

One of my friends just sent me a link to a new "social networking" site called Juicy Campus. According to the home page, "this is the place to spill the juice about all the crazy stuff going on at your campus. It's totally anonymous - no registration, login, or email verification required."

What this means is that students have free reign to post whatever, anything at all, about anyone or anything. So of course it's a huge racist, sexist, classist, sizeist, ableist, just-prejudiced-in-general party.

If I had any extra time this semester, I'd want to write a research paper about this site. It takes all the bigoted tensions under the surface of our culture and brings them right out into the light. I mean, it's pretty awful stuff on there and it kind of sucks to read it, but it's fascinating nonetheless.

I've never seen more obvious examples of slut-bashing than on the site. I'd say a majority of the posts on the site (or at least on the pages for my college) are about specific girls and their sluttiness. (They cut off search results at 150 posts so I couldn't compare the number of "slut" posts to anything.) It's just a reminder of how hurtful that stuff can be.

There were a couple of girls from my school who were specifically targeted over and over again. One of them bravely stood up for herself on the site and said that she knew the posts were mostly made by a guy she rejected. Shocking, right, a girl labeled "slut" because she wouldn't have sex?

If you read Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation by Leora Tanenbaum, which I highly recommend, you'll find out that the slut label is often completely disconnected from sex. Not always, of course, but a lot of the time it's just a way to punish girls who aren't "normal," who dare to be "deviant" in some way. It's a punishing word, a weapon.

It is also, of course, a word that reinforces sexual stereotypes and the female gender role. By forcing girls and women to toe a line between being called a slut and being called a prude, patriarchal culture keeps our sexuality strictly controlled. We have to fight hard in order to have a respectful, healthy relationship with our own sexual desires. It's yet another way the patriarchy strips our personal power, leaving us so caught up in living up to its standards that we don't notice how ridiculous they are and throw them over.

In the last year or so, I've been on a personal crusade to stop slut-bashing when I find it. It doesn't always work, of course, because some people are stubbornly mean. There are lots of people, though, who don't think about what they're saying when they call a girl a slut. "Do you mean she has a lot of sex? Sex is fun. Why is that bad?" actually gets a pretty thoughtful response, especially if someone's using the word in a way unconnected to sex. "Do you mean you think she's mean and you don't like her?"

So I encourage all of you to combat "slut" when you hear it. It's such a "small" thing, but it makes a big difference in individual people's lives, and it's the combination of a million small things that leads to big patriarchy.

Cross posted at Fourth Wave Feminism.

Porn in the Library

I'm watching Nina Hartley's Guide to Oral Sex in the library.

We have a theater with a projector and a large screen that any student can use by hooking up their computer. It's attached to a big, well-lit room that's open and used fo studying 24 hours a day.

Now, I love Nina Hartley. I got to meet her this summer and it was all I could do not to go totally squee and fan girl over her. I might have, just a little. She's been in the adult business for 23 years, and she rocks it. She's made I don't know how many films, many of them education pornos meant for (heterosexual) couples. She herself identifies as a "heterosexual butch dyke," which is super fun. She's also written a book, Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex.

To be watching her in a neon green transparent body suit demonstrating the joys of cunnilingus on a huge screen in the middle of the library is just making my week.

Here's a great video of her on Julie Goldman's (of the Big Gay Sketch Show) Celesbian Interview Special:

Too Much to Do

Hey everyone. I've been working on a blog post about the history of feminine body hair and its removal, but I'm trying to do it right so it's taking a while. There's a lot of crap on the internet with no cited source, and I'd like to have a legitimate article up with traceable facts and everything. I guess academia does get to me sometimes.

If you read here, you've probably noticed that I've been a little remiss in my goal of daily posting. I'm starting a new student group for sex awareness right now, as well as all my other silly responsibilities. You know, like class. Psht.

I've come to the conclusion that trying to post every day is just masochistic, and I'm going to cut back a little. I'll still probably try for every other day or three posts a week, but I'm not going to overstretch myself. That probably makes for shittier posts anyway, and who wants to read that?

Here are a couple little tidbits from artist Sylvia Ji that I found, for your viewing pleasure:

And yes, I know that if you're reading this on my actual blog page, the pictures are too big for the frame of my main text box. I'm working on a complete revamp of the layout as time permits. Please bear with me in the meantime.

San Francisco Prop K: Decrim for Prostitution

I know I've written about this before, but the election is getting closer and I want to bring it up again.

San Francisco Proposition K is on ballots this year to decriminalize prostitution in the city of San Francisco. The initiative will stop police from prosecuting prostitutes or their johns, making it much easier for sex workers to report crimes against them without fearing incarceration.

This is a huge step in respecting the rights and protecting the safety of these workers. Sex work happens everywhere and it is simply within the rights of consenting adults to exchange sex acts for money.

Prostitution is not always coerced nor does it always (as anti-prostitution activists keep trying to tell us) involve trafficking. Decriminalization, even just in progressive San Francisco, will hopefully be a step in changing the shockingly negative dialogue about the women, men, and people in between who sell sex. Maybe if we can respect them as human beings and laborers, we can help the sex workers who need it and start to break down the stigma against those who don't.

To learn more about the proposition, check out the official ballot write-up of it on page 153, the Yes on Prop K site, the other Yes on Prop K site, and the article on the proposition from the San Francisco Chronicle. Here's a video of Sadie Lune performing at the SF Museum of Modern Art in support of the proposition.

Living Alone

I very much miss living in a house with other people.

I'm in a dorm again this year, in my own room. My RA is a friend who I've known for years and years, but she's not a night owl. We talk often, but don't have that many shared interests so we don't necessarily do things together.

Last year, as I actually mentioned in my last post, I lived in a house with about 30 other progressive, misanthropic, hippie types. We had a kitchen and a big living room with a TV. I had a roommate at the beginning of the year, who I adore and am still close with, and then a room to myself for most of the second semester. While I wasn't best friends with anyone in the house, I got along with all of them pretty swimmingly.

I don't think that I realized how much I got out of living in a house with so many cool people, being around them all the time, while I was actually there. I didn't think I was that close with them, or that it would be too big a deal to live elsewhere this year. I've only really digested it, actually, in the last day or two.

I used to come home from work at 2am, absolutely exhausted and talked-out and done being social and charming. Someone would usually be up smoking on the porch or playing video games in the living room. I often sat with C, a nice boy from the house, while he played Guitar Hero, just watching him until I felt calm and tired enough to go to bed. It was really nice, actually, because they were fine with me just sitting there and I think being comfortably around people after work and at night made it easier for me to cope with a high stress job.

I just got home from my first weekend night shift since I've been back at school. I started back at the club on Tuesday, after taking about a month off from dancing to get settled into school. I'm physically beat, but I don't want to go to bed. I miss having someone to just sit with. Makes me want to go visit my old house a lot more. Silly me for taking it for granted.

P. S. I know I've been bad and took a few days off from blogging. As mentioned, I went back to work this week, and I've just been feeling less-than-verbose. Here I am, though, doing better.

Body Hair and Shaving

The other night I had a long discussion with a big group of people about the trials and tribulations of body hair.

I was at a party in the house where I used to live, a place full of activists, hippies, and misanthropes. I really loved living there, but I moved out to have my own room for my last year in college.

In the room with me were two men who both have beards and two other girls. We all hated shaving.

One of the guys, T, has a very full beard and he admitted that the biggest reason it's so impressive is that he just doesn't like to shave. It's not so much of a fashion statement as a rebellion against taking a blade to his face every day. A, too, didn't like shaving but happily trims his beard.

The other girls weren't big fans of the razor or its accompanying burns, nicks, and bumps, either. R has blond hair on her legs and so it's not a big deal when she doesn't shave them. She doesn't have to feel too self-conscious, despite the social pressure to have smooth legs.

I hate shaving, too, but I have to do it every time I work, which these days is twice a week. Because my club serves alcohol, it's actually illegal for me to show any pubic hair on stage. If I don't get rid of it all, it'll peek out from under the tiny g-strings we have to wear.

Whenever I shave my bush, I get ingrown hairs. There's just no getting around it. I've tried everything, various razors and shaving products, and it's just a fact of my life. It's not as bad if I can let it grow out for a couple of weeks in between shaves, but I don't have that option with work. If I shave twice within five days, I also get lots of little nicks and it's very uncomfortable. This is just an occupational hazard that I've had to get used to.

My body hair in general is dark and coarse and thick. I have been trying, recently, to be more comfortable with my unshaven legs, but it's still hard. I still think of my body hair as manly, and while I don't mind being a little androgynous, I do like to be feminine and pretty. I feel like people will think less of me for my hairy legs.

But I hate shaving, and I will do as I please when it comes to grooming and presenting myself. It's really silly and awful and arbitrary that women are expected to have no noticeable body hair. I mean, we're humans, it's part of our anatomy. It's just as natural on us as it is on men.

Where did that expectation even come from? Even as a gender studies major and a raging feminist, I have no idea when it started or why. Hmm, that is definitely something to look into. I'll let you know when I find out.

My Secret Identity

My secret identity is becoming less secret every day. More and more people know about Diana Prince.

I've told most of my friends about this blog. I've got a link up to it on my social networking profiles. It is connected to my real name. Sure, it's in ways that are only accessible to those I allow to see it, but the connection is there.

Since I've told people in my real life about this blog, I feel weird writing about my current relationships. Part of me wants to say "fuck it" and be completely honest. Who cares if people read about themselves in my blog? I'm all about openness. Why not just deal with people in a completely free way? Force things out into conversation.

The other part of me wants to avoid the subject of my personal life altogether. Telling stories about people or sharing opinions about their actions is a quick way to alienate them. I don't always think good things about my friends, and while I can be critical in a kind way, it's harder to do that for a general audience. Tact serves a purpose in my interactions; I can't abandon it entirely. But I don't want to soft-pedal things on my blog.

I can't just stop talking about my life, though. That would kind of defeat the purpose of having a blog, wouldn't it? I love this medium because it's such a revolutionary way of sharing narratives and making connections. I can see that I have something in common with a person who lives across the globe, or learn about our differences. That's freaking awesome. I wouldn't want to cut that off for myself.

It's certainly a conundrum. I could always start a new, more anonymous blog, but I don't really want to do that. I like putting my energy here, and I like the impetus to be honest. It's just a fine line to walk, and a (fascinating) challenge every day.

Friendship and Sex, Again

I've had a very strange last 48 hours.

I just had pretty casual sex with a person I admire very much and have been friends with for about three years. I'm not sure how to react to this other than to be pleasantly surprised, especially since the sex was good. I also had oddly sexually charged interactions with a couple of people I've known for some time and see quite often. I'm friends with them, if not close, and very socially interconnected with them through my friends and activities. They've all been romantically or sexually involved with (or the crush objects of) some of my best friends.

I've talked here about how the line between friend and lover is blurred for me, but I think it's more complicated than that. I need a few people around who I don't sleep with, to keep that intensity and drama out of at least a few of my relationships. I do have a line between friendship and sex, it's just an artificial one.

Because I can be attracted to pretty much anyone if I like them at all, I do carefully maintain a physical and sexual distance from some of my friends. If I didn't, I'd probably just jump in bed with them, and then where would I be when I need to dish with someone about my love life? When there's sex involved, jealousy and awkwardness happen, no matter how well one communicates or how open one's mind is. I need a few relationships that skip the sex drama.

Because of all that, casual friends showing sudden sexual or romantic interest in me gives me pause. Part of it is the fact that these friends are so socially intertwined with me. If we have sex, all my buddies will know about it and a lot of my friends will have big reactions. Some of them will be upset, and it'll be a huge pain in my ass. Drama certainly spices things up, but I'm not sure I want to deal with it.

Even though I'm kind of reticent, I should probably be open to whatever happens. These people are all attractive, and I like them. In theory, I love the idea of casual friendships that include sex. I like to deepen interactions with people, to learn more about them. Running away from that would be silly. I think I'm going to let everything play out as it may. It just makes me a little nervous.

Blow Jobs, Annihilation, and Growth

When I was younger, I was a blow job queen.

My first real boyfriend told me that I sucked his cock on our second date. I don't remember this, but I believe him. I can't actually remember when I started seeing or playing with his dick. I've played with it and other cocks so many times since then that the first time has blended in with the other memories.

He was uncircumcised. I remember that; I could tell. Often he wasn't completely hard by the time I started playing with him, so there would be some extra skin when I first put my mouth on him. I didn't know what I was doing at first, but I'd looked up on the internet what to do. I knew to avoid teeth, to use my lips, hands, and tongue. I learned to respond to his movements. I made him come in my mouth.

After we broke up, I didn't stay celibate for long. I had a good girlfriend who I lusted after but didn't think I could be with. She was too Christian and I was too timid.

So I blew her ex-boyfriend. It didn't occur to me then, but I know now that the only reason I had any chemistry with T was that I'd hung out with him and my friend together. We'd all cuddled on my bed, and my sexual tension with her had leaked into my interactions with him.

T kissed like a dead fish, all lips and no tongue. By the time we fooled around, I didn't especially like him, but I was bored and considered him a challenge. He was selfish in bed, wouldn't do anything at all for me except fumble in the general area of my clit with thick fingers. He said he'd go down on me if I got him off, which I found out a few weeks ago has still never happened for him with another person. He was also even more Christian than my friend, hated his own and others' sexuality, and was very politically conservative.

Every time he'd leave my house or drive me home, I'd feel like a whore. I might as well have been paid for what I did. There was very little physical gratification for me, just the vague eroticism of serving someone, the humiliation of feeling hated because I was giving away physical pleasure. It was masochistic.

I had a few similar flings during the next few years, between more serious relationships. Boys who'd call me when they wanted to get off, or who I'd call when I was alone at night. I'd feel this intense need to be touching someone, to be giving something, and I didn't know any other way to satisfy it than by finding a boy to blow. Some of my motivation was simple loneliness.

Mostly, though, it came from a need to feel annihilated. When I was feeling empty or in pain, I could hurt myself by finding someone who'd think less of me for having sex with him. I could stop feeling anything by being with a person who did not see or understand that I was a human with emotions. I was reduced to body parts, objectified, fucked. It was everything those old feminists talked about.

One day, after a few months of therapy and a decision that I didn't want to do it to myself anymore, I finally said no. A boy I'd blown was leading me back drunk from a fraternity party, and as we started to pass my dorm I said "Wait, I don't think I should do this. My shrink says I shouldn't have sex for a while."

He gave me a funny look and said goodnight, which is what I'd wanted. I wanted him to think I was crazy so it wouldn't hurt his feelings. It had worked. I ran off, almost giggling, to my room. Awkward though it was, I'd finally drawn the line and walked away when I wasn't actually into the guy or the sex.

I haven't had that kind of sex since then, the kind where I give up my humanity to have a physical connection with someone. I have casual sex, yes, but I do everything I can to make sure it's with someone who will see and value my humanity even while we're fucking. I can't always tell ahead of time whether this will be the case, but I can get a pretty good idea.

I'm glad I had the experience of objectified sex. It gave me something to contrast with what I wanted, to grow from. It allowed me to understand what it is that I don't want. I'm just as glad, though, to have moved past it into fulfilling sex with people I like. It's just so much more fun.

On Being a Bottom

I'm a huge bottom in the bedroom. My best friend calls me "Little Nelly Bottom."

Depending on what sexual subculture you spend your time in, this could mean any of a million things. I spend most of my time in the lesbian community, and a little in the BDSM world, so that colors my understanding of the term. I use it to mean I like someone else to be in the driver's seat for sex, and I like to be on the tied-down end of bondage, a little spanking, and some power play.

Now, being in the passenger's seat doesn't mean I don't communicate my needs or that I'm not contributing to the action. I just like to get fucked. I like it when my lover takes control; I like to be pushed around a little, and I like being told what to do. As I've said before, I love to tease, but then I want to be thrown down and made to stop. (With appropriate consent, of course.)

I try to be comfortable with my naughty subservience, but as a feminist and a fiercely independent person, it's an awkward thing to feel and admit. I get this niggling sense that I should be large and in charge all the time, like my personal politics should be carrying over into my sexual preferences. I'm trying to overthrow gender roles, here. Being submissive in bed is a stereotypically feminine thing. Bad feminist!

I don't consciously subscribe to that way of thinking, but it sneaks up on me a lot. One unfortunate consequence of feminism's emphasis on the personal as political is that it becomes too easy to discriminate against people for not being "feminist enough." I think that feminism is largely about personal choice regardless of gender, and when we try to name some behaviors as always feminist and others as always anti-woman, we're losing sight of that.

It's absolutely true that the patriarchy is created and perpetuated in our personal lives and our culture. There are millions of little ways we all contribute to it every day, without even noticing. It's so programmed into us that it's nearly impossible to get rid of completely. It's good to try not to perpetuate male privilege.

I think there are as many ways to fight patriarchy, though, as there are feminists. I think I can be a sexual bottom in a feminist way. If what I want is to be handcuffed and fucked and I name that, claim it, and go out into the world trying to make it happen, that's a feminist action. Being a woman and respecting my own sexuality and honoring it is a powerful thing.

Controlling female sexuality has been a big way the patriarchy has controlled women. By resisting that and writing my own narrative of sexuality, whatever that may entail, I'm coming into my feminist own. So long as I'm conscious and deliberate, I feel good about being a bottom.

Tuesday Review: Wristcutters - A Love Story

I saw Wristcutters a couple of weeks ago, and I've been meaning to write about it. I figured what better time than on Tuesday, for my weekly review!

Wristcutters is a movie about people who have committed suicide. The premise is that when you kill yourself, you go to a world that's just like the real one but a just a little worse. Nobody can smile, there's not much to do, and everybody bears the scars of their suicides. When I heard the premise, I was excited for the film, and it definitely lives up to its concept.

They tell you in the title of the film that it's a love story, and I'd even go a step further to call it a romantic comedy. But it's a black comedy: the story wryly plays with the misfortune of suicidal people. Okay, maybe that sounds bad, but I think it brings a much-needed sense of humor to "offing," as they call it in the film. It seems like everyone I know is confessing to suicidal thoughts lately, so it was nice to see something that made light of a serious thing.

It was a classic film in a lot of ways: the main character, a wrist cutter named Zia, kills himself over a girl and then goes on a road trip to find her when he discovers that she's killed herself, too. He finds friends, romance, and adventure while he's looking for the girl. Classic bildungsroman travel film.

It's well done, though, with good acting and a great script. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who likes a little heart warming with a dose of biting humor. I'll be adding it to my DVD collection soon.

Here's a trailer:

Blogging, Lack of Sleep, Six Feet Under

I've had trouble blogging the past few days. I think the biggest reason is that instead of sleeping I've been watching Six Feet Under, which I love, but I need my beauty rest to be able to string together any words that make sense.

I finally finished the series, which might mean I'll get some sleep tonight. Once I start watching a show I like, I just have to get all the way through it. Start to finish. I really recommend Six Feet Under to anyone; it's got some great commentary on the family and contemporary culture. I mean, it's made by HBO, I guess you have to expect quality.

The last few episodes of the show, though, were just horribly depressing. It's generally about death, but it's darkly hilarious and I usually enjoy it immensely. I think in finishing the series they felt like they had to bring it to a more serious place. It's put me in a down mood, along with my usual susceptibility to hormones and grumpiness. It's so funny how the lives of these imaginary characters can affect me in real life.

With my lowness, I've been at a little loss for what to write about here. Blogging is such a funny animal. There are actually plenty of things going on in my life right now that I could talk about, but I hesitate to put them here. Enough people read my ramblings now that I am too aware of my audience. I want to take risks with my writing, but I don't want to lay myself completely bare for all to see or step on. It's a fine line to walk, between honesty and needless vulnerability.

I've got a couple of big posts under construction, and after I get a real night or two of sleep I'll put them up. Right now, though, I need to lie down and have a good wank. Nothing better for a little cheer than good old-fashioned masturbation.

Stripping for Friends

This weekend I drank too much and ended up stripping in my room for my friends.

I have a pole set up in my room, which I spent too much money on but which I love. It keeps some of the stripping addiction at bay if I can spin around the pole to languorous music whenever I want. I also stay in better shape when I'm not working so I don't injure myself when I go back.

It's funny, though, what happens when my friends and I start playing good dance music and the pole is right there. My first instinct is to throw off all my clothes and writhe around. I want to spin upside down and grind my hips and touch myself, right in the middle of my dorm room. When I've had enough tequila, that's exactly what I do.

This creates an odd dynamic.

I'm very open about my job, especially with people my own age in a casual setting. All my friends know what I do, and most of them are kind of delighted to hear and talk about it. It's titillating.

When they come to visit me at the club, though, or when I drink and start acting like a stripper in real life, it gets a little funny.

I like to be good at what I do, and I'm vain enough to want to show off my skills. I take pride in my pole tricks and my lap dancing. But it's not so easy to show one of my friends a really good lap dance trick. If it's really such a good trick, they'll get turned on when I demonstrate.

Now, I like to blur the lines between friend and lover, but it does help to have a few friends around that I don't fuck. Wanting to show off my work to these friends becomes tricky.

That's one of the unfortunate things about working in the sex industry. While it is usually just a job to me, the thought and sight of what I do is so sexually charged to everyone else. Whereas I'm thinking about how my muscles are moving and my balance and where exactly I'm positioned when I put my leg over my head and grind in someone's lap, they're just thinking "Whoa, this is hot." If it's a friend, they're thinking "Whoa, this is hot. But this is my friend! Ack! I don't know what to do!"

I guess that's just one of those things that goes along with the job description. It's also a nice thing about hanging out with other strippers. I can talk shop with them and they get that really it is just a job.

Julia Nunes and Things I Didn't Say

I've been watching Julia Nunes on Youtube, and I really like her videos and her music. Check them out, get addicted.

And I saw this video:

It's funny of me to post this one, since she's usually pretty upbeat, but it really resonated with me in a way I didn't expect. I've said a lot of goodbyes in the last year, and I don't think I've let them really sit with me. I'm always on to the next thing, and I haven't been allowing the goodbyes to hit me. I haven't been able to let people know that I was missing them.

So the video above is for everyone I've had to let go. I miss you and love you. I'm sorry to see things pass away.

Romance? Not Just Fucking? What?

I just realized that in the past four years, I've only had to deal with new romantic partners in terms of putting limits on our intimacy. I am always coming into everything with a caveat.

When I was in the relationship with M, I had to make sure that my lovers understood that he came first. It automatically put a damper on new loves, having a committed primary relationship, and I learned to communicate that early on. I got good at finding people to play with who wouldn't ask too much of me, who would be accommodating of my emotional unavailability.

Even after I broke up with M, officially sometime this spring, I wasn't thinking in terms of actually meeting and opening up to someone. I started dating Z completely casually. One of the first things I told him was that I liked being single and didn't want a real relationship.

His moving into my room and our closeness came about mostly by accident, a matter of convenience and compatibility. I wasn't looking, though, to have a primary partner or start a relationship. It just kind of happened.

I think I haven't really wanted to be serious or close with someone for a long time. In the brief periods when I've been single, I've enjoyed the freedom. When I inevitably found myself in a new relationship, I was usually a little sad that I was giving up my self reliance and self concern. Not to mention total sexual freedom. I exchanged those things for a lot of other wonderful stuff, but it was an uncomfortable change to be responsible to someone else.

Now, though, I've reached a point where I actually do want to be in a relationship. I'm even a little disinterested in casual sex. I want to make looooooove. (My inner proud slut is rolling her eyes so hard, but what can I do?)

Now this doesn't mean I want monogamy. I'd like to get wrapped up in someone for a while, but that doesn't mean I'd close off my polyamorous possibilities. I'm okay with accidental monogamy, the kind where a new relationship is so consuming neither of you happens to sleep with anyone else. I wouldn't mind a little of that. However, I still don't want to have a relationship where my sexual energy with other people gets cut off.

I don't know how to approach my new Relationship goal. I'm so in the habit of making sure that I maintain distance from new lovers. I'm used to dragging my feet into relationships. Even when I started with M four years ago, it took me six months and some infidelity to reluctantly take the relationship seriously.

I'm at a loss over how to say "Hey, yeah, I'd like to get to know you. I want more than just a fuck buddy." It's something new I'll have to figure out.

Porn vs. Erotica

I refuse to make a distinction between "erotica" and "porn."

If I see material that depicts something that could be sexy, I call it porn. I don't care whether or not its intent is to get people off. It could be "purely for artistic purposes." If it shows anything that's sexually explicit, I consider it porn.

I don't think we need to differentiate between what's sexy art and what's sexy but doesn't count as art. This creates a system where we value the art more and the non-art less. It's another way of saying that eroticism for its own sake is negative, and I think that's a big pile of hooey. I think something that's purely intended to cause orgasms can be beautiful, and something intended just for aesthetic beauty can be erotically titillating. I jill off to "erotic art" all the time.

The difference between the two terms is also heavily tied in with censorship. Material can be deemed obscene and banned if the government decides that it has no artistic merit. Creating a linguistic distinction between porn and erotica opens us up to this kind of censorship. If we've already labeled some things as "less than artistic," it's a small step for the government to label them obscene.

Now, I know that the word "pornography" comes from inauspicious roots. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word as the following:
The explicit description or exhibition of sexual subjects or activity in literature, painting, films, etc., in a manner intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic feelings; printed or visual material containing this.
So it's true that the very definition of the word creates a distinction between aesthetically arousing and erotically arousing material.

You could argue that we should apply the term "erotica" to all sexually explicit material. This new word doesn't have the connotation of artlessness and baseness. Why not apply it without discrimination? That's a valid point. I just like the word "porn" better.

Porn came first. Before we started calling things "erotica" instead of "pornography," we didn't have a word for sexually explicit art that (supposedly) wasn't erotically thrilling. It's the creation of the new word that's given us a hierarchy. Now we're trying to decide which sex acts we can depict: which ones are "artistic," and which ones aren't. It's just another form of sexual elitism.

So let's just cut the bullshit and call it all porn. Just like there shouldn't be a scale of kink, we don't need a scale for the "artiness" of our sexual materials.

Tina Fey again, and This Weekend

Hey everyone. I know I've been terribly remiss this weekend with my posting. My best friend is in town from New York City, and I am just taking a personal weekend. It's been absolutely lovely, a whirlwind of too many substances and catching up and cuddling. I promise I'll do better again once she leaves on Wednesday.

In the meantime, here's another delicious tidbit from Tina Fey:


Well, I am just so plumb tired that I can barely move. I'm writing from my bed, with no clothes on. They just hit the floor when I came in my bedroom door and I don't plan to move for the next...well, seven hours. I'm taking the GRE early tomorrow morning and that's when I'll have to get up. But for now, I can indulge my tiredness.

It has been an utterly exhausting two weeks. I was thinking about it, going through a tally of what I've been doing, and I have been all over the map emotionally and physically. I think my body might just go on strike. "No more stress, bitch!" Actually, it did give out. I got a migraine last night, a bad one.

Two weeks ago, I spent almost the entire weekend intoxicated in one way or another and hung out with a posse of new friends and had a great time. I tried a hallucinogenic for the first time, and had a wonderful trip outdoors with the grass, clouds, trees, and home made music. It was lovely.

Then that Sunday I had a brief but terrifying moment in which I believed one of my best friends might be killing herself. This took a toll on me, and I went into the week feeling rather down. Once you confront the idea that a loved one might be dead or dying RIGHT THEN, it's kind of hard to take back. (If she's reading this, I reiterate that I'd rather take on a little emotional toll and have her still be alive than not be available to talk to her. Really. I promise.)

I love being a confidante to my friends; it's really important to me that I'm available to be supportive. I consider it a huge part of my identity and value it above most other parts of myself. Last week it didn't just rain, though, it poured. Many of my friends came to me at one point or another with issues they wanted to talk through.

Normally, too, I can sustain this kind of thing because I try to set up my own emotional support systems so that I'm safe and sane and in a good place to help people. Now, though, my best friend has graduated, and my boyfriend dropped out, and I'm too far from my (very supportive) parents, so I just don't have the emotional shoring-up that I need. I was emotionally drained.

Then I went to the memorial service for my friend, which I already wrote about. As you can probably tell from my post about it, it was extremely hard. I didn't bounce back from it as quickly as I'd expected. I am probably still not dealing with the whole situation as much as I should be. In any case, I was very low by the end of last week.

So I went away for the weekend. I stayed with a friend who knew Scott, went to her music show, and generally took it easy for two days. I was hoping it would help to be away from my school and friends for a few days and to support and maybe even be supported by my friend. It did help some, I think, but being gone for the weekend definitely threw me off. I had school and work things to do over the weekend that I just didn't do because I was spending time on myself emotionally.

So then this week I was a bit reclusive for a couple days, but started to feel better on Tuesday and got to hang out with my new friends for a while. Of course, while I was hanging out with them, I had a worrisome encounter with a homophobic, verbally-abusive asshole. This wasn't exactly restful, but was also interesting and gave me food for thought to kick me out of lethargy. Assholes=anger=motivation.

And then last night I got the migraine. While I was supposed to be finishing a lab report, which I have now not turned in. And which prevented me from sleeping last night. Which also made me so tired that I am flaking on two things I was supposed to do tonight, but which I just don't think my body will let me do.

Not to mention the GRE tomorrow.

On the plus side, I had a meeting today which was very successful and has brought into fruition a project I've been working on for months. I had to be all charming and convincing during the meeting, and I think I pulled it off using the last reserves of my energy. I also started an amazing new sex advice gig, which has been taking up a lot of my brain but which I'm really excited about.

All this is on top of my usual responsibilities.

So I guess I'm stressed. I'm pretty sure this post is excessively long and rambles too much, but I'm too tired to deal with editing it down. Maybe I will later. I hope you, dear readers, will forgive me for one rambling, personal post when I'm barely awake enough to type.

Note: One thing I got done this week was to make an appointment for therapy, which will ostensibly help with some of this. We shall see.

That's so Hardcore, Man!

There's this weird idea that we have as a culture, that there is a scale of sex acts from "normal" to "waaaaaay kinky and degraded and weird." Like drugs, as though sex comes in different doses depending on the act, and that you can develop a tolerance and need More Extreme Sex to maintain your erotic high. You'll keep upping the dosage to stay interested in sex.

I think, though, that basically all sex is created equal. If you've got consent, it's all good. And sure, everyone's turned on more by some things than others. It's just that across the board that all tends to level out and we've got a giant pool of sex acts that are all just sex acts.

Each person is sexually unique, and we all change sexually over time. As we get more comfortable with sex, sure we might want to explore things that we were afraid of before we realized that the social norms are bullshit. But it's not like appreciating one sex act (which may or may not be "extreme") has to affect your appreciation for another.

Like I said, we do all have changing preferences over time, and I think it's all pretty flowy. There are times when I just wanna have sex while spooning because I want closeness and comfort. I want to stare into my partner's eyes and make love like bunnies. There are also times when I want to be tied up in a public bathroom, spanked, and fucked. These desires are not mutually exclusive.

This bleeds into a lot of discourse on sex. You'll hear people saying all the time that they're afraid of exploring their sexuality because "where do you draw the line?" If you watch gay porn, or anal porn, or any fetish porn, or god-forbid-engage-in-any-non-missionary-heterosexual-vanilla-sex-acts, you're starting down a path that will inevitably lead to Bestiality! and Child Molestation! Sex is a slippery slope! (Ahem, so to speak.)

In talks of sex addiction (which I think is mostly bunko), there's the concept that you can be drawn in deeper and deeper to sexuality, as though there is a rote "normal" level of sex and everything else is like heroine: impossible to resist once you've had a taste. I don't want to disrespect anybody who has issues of sexual compulsion, I just think that sex addiction is based way too much on ideas of a norm.

Let's have an attitude adjustment here. Just do what turns you on; it doesn't matter whether it's supposedly kinky or not. We have the ability to choose what we want to do. Our feelings about sex are going to vary hugely from person to person. Do YOU score a 10 on the Richter scale of kink? Who cares? Live your life.

Male Sexuality and Threesomes

Okay, I know I already blogged today, but I found an AMAZING post at Marx in Drag, and I just had to share it. The rest of the blog is awesome, too, so check it out.

An excerpt:
Catherine Waldby* points out that the hetero-masculine body is defined by its ability to fuck another and its refusal to be fucked. The fuck-er is always the man, and the fuck-ee is, well, anything but a man. This is why we can believe that, when two women get it on, it’s not really fucking (no hetero-masculilne fuck-er) and when a straight guy thinks about being sexual with another guy (a fuck-er), he fears becoming the fuck-ee. When there’s another cock in the room, someone besides the girl might get fucked.

Put another boy in the action, especially if there is only one girl, and suddenly the gendering of fuck-ers and fuck-ees gets, well, fucked up. This is why, when there is group sex involving two men and one woman, straight men have to tell themselves that they’re “taking turns on the girl”. In other words, hands off, bro’. We’re just a coupla straight guys taking turns.

And this is why, with only a few notable (and much appreciated) exceptions, I don’t know any straight guys who would ever consider, let alone have, really hopped in bed with their girlfriends and another guy or with a straight couple (and by ‘really’, I mean not-just-taking-turns-on-the-girl ‘really’). Rather than resonating with normative heterosexuality, especially hetero-masculilnity, it throws a rather large wrench in the hetero-normative gears. In other words, it’s really quite queer and no longer mimics and reproduces that old myth of masculine sexual power and feminine sexual vulnerability.

Which is precisely why Catherine Waldby calls for feminists to develop and proliferate new cultural narratives and sexual experiences that eroticize a receptive masculinity. Images and experiences where no longer are boys automatically fuck-ers (in power, the destroyer) and girls fuck-ees (the destroyed). Not only would this open up possibilities for feminine sexual power as fuck-ers, but it would also open up the wonderful world of being fucked to straight men. As Waldby points out, straight men are missing out by not allowing themselves to be the fuck-ee once in awhile. It’s deeply pleasurable to be “destroyed” (in a good way) by erotic pleasure, something most straight guys don’t get to experience. And this isn’t just about straight men becoming more receptive. It’s also about straight women being open to eroticizing a receptive masculinity in their own desire.

My favorite line from Waldby’s essay is the following: “Maybe what…feminism needs now is a strap-on.” (p. 275)

Yeah, feminism and every straight woman I know.
Hell fuckin' yeah!

This is just completely spot-on when it comes to male sexuality and its supposed rigidity. It's all tied in with gender roles and male privilege, and it's all utterly ridiculous.

As a happy feminist, very little turns me on more than a guy who's willing to play with "fuck-er" and "fuck-ee" roles. I want a guy who can do a little gender fuck. It's damn hot, and hard to find. Especially in straight men, who are unfortunately usually the ones attracted to me. You know, by definition.

I've had a threesome with two men that was just ridiculously sexy because they were both queer and into each other and we all got to play equally. I loved watching them make out, watching them go down on each other. I got to engage sexually with them both and nobody was left out. It was just a hot pile of limbs and energy.

More people should do it, I highly recommend it.

Note: I linked to this post from the Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy, hosted this month at Susie Bright's blog.

Tuesday Review: Bitch Magazine

This is more of a rave than a review, but I figured it counts.

If you spend any time in the feminist blog-o-sphere, you already know that Bitch Magazine has been in trouble. They've been holding a donation drive to raise enough money to put out their next issue (which they did, thank god) but there is a big question about how they will create sustainable strategies to keep going as an independent magazine.

If you're convinced already, donate here to help them keep things going. Subscriptions give them money and get you the magazine, and like they said even small amounts help. I'm not exactly rolling in cash on my work break, and I gave my $20.

Bitch is a wonderful magazine. I've been reading it since I was a freshman three years ago, and it's one of the things that made me feel comfortable to start calling myself a feminist.

Yep, that's right. For about six months at the end of high school, I was one of those "I'm not a feminist, but..." types. You know, finish the sentence with any variety of "I believe in equal rights for men and women." If you read my blog, you already know that I'm still not 100% satisfied with the word "feminist," but I do proudly and loudly identify as one. I am definitely an activist and strongly believe in sex equality. I am a feminist.

Bitch also introduced me to sex-positive feminism. They ran an article about the different kinds of feminism, followed by an interview with sex-positive heroine Susie Bright. It was the first time I had encountered anyone who had an ethical, activist, intellectual interest in sex, who thought it was a legitimate thing to be interested in.

I pretty much cried with relief. I got on the phone with my then-boyfriend and told him all about it. I'd been enduring the slut label for years and it hadn't occurred to me that there were other people around like me. There were people I could look up to, people I could learn from.

Bitch prints all kinds of feminist pop culture goodness: essays analyzing movies, books, and music, interviews of pertinent people, discussion of various feminist movements (because there are many), etc. They are probably the most important feminist voice in the last decade.

So Bitch is a winner, check them out and help them stick around!

Time Off From Stripping

Stripping is really addictive.

I haven't worked in about a month. I came back to school and I wanted to give myself a little time to settle in, get my shit here in order, before I start working again. The work is really tiring and it inevitably eats some of my weekend social life. I wanted a little time for college life before I get back to the job.

I miss it in so many ways. I hear a hard-rocking song and I just want to be on the pole, naked, under the black lights. I'm not getting laid right now, and I want the energy, the dangerous electricity of playing the tease and getting paid for it. I want my costumes, my girly absurdity and seven inch heels.

There are reasons, though, that I haven't called in to get back on the schedule at the job I know is waiting for me.

Whenever I work, I have a recuperation period. After dancing, talking, and being excessively charming for five hours I tend to lose my ability to be social or hold a proper conversation. I'm just drained; I've used all my emotional energy on the job. That's why stripping (and probably all sex work) is most appropriately categorized as emotional labor. We're working to make others (men) feel good. It can take a lot out of a person.

So when I go back to work, there will be large chunks of time in which yes, I'll be making money, but I also won't be productive in other ways. I won't be able to blog or do homework or work on my honors thesis. It'll just mean I have less time to do all the things I want to do.

I need to go back, though. It'd be nice to have the extra cash, and I really just want the challenge and excitement of it back in my life. Dancing, here I come!

I Love Tina Fey

So, this has been up for a few days and a lot of you have probably seen it already. If you hadn't, though, here's Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. I don't need to say much else because you can see for yourself how funny and amazing she is.

And one more (not so timely) reason I adore her:

Because yeah, bitch is the new black. I like being a bitch and I should do it more often. I shall take a page from Tina Fey and let my bitchiness fly. :-D


One of my friends from my freshman year was killed in a car accident at the end of the summer. He was sitting in the backseat of a car that was hit from behind by a drunk driver going over 100 miles an hour on the freeway. He was crushed.

I heard the day it happened. I was with my summer lover on the last night we'd see each other before I left for school. I had to sit for a while and text back and forth with the good friend who told me, but then I went back with him and ate sushi, then had sex in his room.

I went to Scott's funeral this week. The friend who told me he'd died was my roommate from last year and one of my best friends since she was on my freshman hall. She had been really upset and we went together. I'd been expecting to have to support her through it and had this in my head. I knew it was going to be hard, but I was able to wryly joke about what the funeral would be like up until an hour before I went.

I didn't realize until I was sitting in that memorial, looking at the pictures and videos and listening to the songs he used to play, how broken up I was about what happened. I'd known I was upset, in some distant way, but I'd thought I was removed enough from him that I was okay.

Turns out that was just denial.

Yes, we hadn't been close since freshman year, but back then it was him, his best friend, my friend who told me he'd died, and me up all night playing music, smoking pot, and just hanging out. They were my late night buddies.

He was a good person. Laid back, giving. At funerals they say a lot of things about the dead person that are platitudes, glossing over anything bad. The funny thing here was that everything they said was true. He was an optimist, almost childishly so. He made everyone around him happy. They talked about how he used to do crazy shit; we got to share stories about his antics.

And even though it had been years since we'd really hung out, I miss him. I miss his existence. I can't fathom that he's gone; it just makes no sense.

And I don't know how to react or what to feel. His girlfriend, who he'd been with for three years, was at the funeral and I can't imagine what she's going through. What am I feeling, then, compared to that?

I know, though, that it's horrible and that I'm sad. I just need to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do about it.
On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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