Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: They Have the Best Rides

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  • Emma Hart,

    It has to be believable, you have to be able to relate to the subject. With that in mind, I find any violence in the material to have a negative affect. I guess I must be the "caring sharing" type.

    Sure. For some people, their sexuality responds well to role-play, which I guess is, at essence, faking. Violence can be a part of that.

    There was a fabulous comment I ran across a while back from a woman saying that when she looked at sexually-explicit material, her reaction in terms of 'okayness' was based on whether or not she either found it arousing, or could imagine finding it arousing.

    Then she got to Pie Porn.

    At that point you sort of have to realise that the breadth of human sexual experience is so vast, you just have to shrug and say, look okay your kink is not my kink, but whatever.

    I don't think power in a sexual context does have to be zero-sum, any more than any client/provider interaction has to be (one is providing something the other one wants),

    This was pretty much the conclusion (ie place where I got tired of thinking) I came to last night, that if two people can come out of a situation having both got what they want, if they both get a win and no-one loses, that's an overall power gain.

    are we buying into a stereotype of men being led by their dicks? (The way I phrased that is definitely buying into heteronormativity.)

    I really hate this stereotype. It ignores the decency and ability to control themselves that most men have, and gives men who behaves like pricks an excuse for it. Then it implies that women have lower sex drives than men, which is laughable.

    I've dated both men and women. It's not a huge sample, but I'm dead sure that's what's formed my perception that, when it comes to wanting pursuing and getting sex, there's more variation within each gender than there is between them.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    **Then it implies that women have lower sex drives than men, which is laughable.**

    I think this stereotype is particularly damaging for young men and women who are just starting to figure out the whole sex thang. I remember freaking and being sure there was something desperately wrong with me the first time I tangled with a bloke with a lower libido (or even just more inclination to wait a bit) than myself.

    I also suspect that the idea that guys are meant to want it more and girls need persuading feeds into some of those situations where consent gets a bit ambiguous. After all how can "no" really mean "no" if the woman doesn't feel that it's OK to say "yes" if she wants to?

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Hey Is, how glad do you think I am right now that my mum doesn't read here?

    Sorry, it just struck me.

    I remember freaking and being sure there was something desperately wrong with me the first time I tangled with a bloke with a lower libido (or even just more inclination to wait a bit) than myself.

    Oh yeah, me too. I really did think I was some kind of sick deviant, or physically repulsive, because I was much keener than he was. Combine it with the slut-shaming from other women and you have some very confused guilty teenage girls, more worried about what other people will think of them than what they actually want.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Hey Is, how glad do you think I am right now that my mum doesn't read here?

    I'm fairly sure I've suggested my parents have a look here sometime - hoping I don't live to regret that.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    That reminds me of the time my mum and her mates, showed up at my favorite grunge bar, as tourists.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Hey Is, how glad do you think I am right now that my mum doesn't read here?

    I'm fairly sure I've suggested my parents have a look here sometime - hoping I don't live to regret that.

    Nah, I think this place is a healthy environment for anyone to pop in. It's like a comfortable lounge, all warm and....wait, thats here!
    As you were:-)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Nah, I think this place is a healthy environment for anyone to pop in. It's like a comfortable lounge, all warm and....wait, thats here!
    As you were:-)

    You mean the "adult thing",

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    You mean the "adult thing",

    no

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    How would people here respond were their daughter, mother, sister or wife to announce they were going to pursue a career in the sex industry?

    Since you asked, Grant (and assuming you're really interested in the answer) I'm not the designated patriarch in my family, so let's assume my mother and step-sisters don't solicit or pay much attention to my opinions on anything they do. And I repay the courtesy.

    As for any hypothetical daughter of mine -- well, I'd like to think I'd be a decent enough father that she had a lot more options and opportunities when it came to making a living. If she was under eighteen, I'd have the full weight of the law on her (and her employers) without a moment's hesitation. And in all other circumstances, I'd sure be using my considerable (if I say so myself) powers of persuasion -- and those of several acquaintances of mine who've been prostitutes and could write her a blunt reality check -- to try and convince her otherwise.

    But if all else fails, I damn hope this would sink in: "You're my child, and I love you ESPECIALLY when I vehemently disapprove of your choises. And if things turn to shit, you know where I am and, no matter how pissed off you make me, my door's always open."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Obliged for the response, Craig.

    I disagree (naturally :). I would do everything in my power to make sure she did not go through with her plan and I would cut her off if she did.

    Anybody else?

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I would cut her off if she did.

    God god.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    can I make that good god, but then, thinking about it, either way works as Grant seems estranged from his.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I disagree (naturally :). I would do everything in my power to make sure she did not go through with her plan and I would cut her off if she did.

    But surely in your case that's a reason for your daughter to become a prostitute?

    C'mon Grant, you're really not thinking this through.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And I'm not keen on having the oddities of Grant's bronze-age philosophy become the theme of yet another thread, so yes, I'll keep an eye on it.

    Also, I now realise that Emma and Hadyn didn't get moderator privileges, which is a bit of an oversight. I'll have that fixed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    but let's not let this thread be hijacked by Grant's bullshit, okay? Let him troll anywhere on PA but here, it would be a real shame. So not taking the bait, please.

    Mr Ranapia, you'll notice that many of us had agreed informally to Giovanni's suggestion, so please don't come back and prod the troll. Still trying to find some time to get my own thoughts together but don't want to have to wade through shit to do so.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I can think of more repugnant jobs than the "adult sex industry".What about all the investment vehicles eg.Blue Chip?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    What about all the investment vehicles eg.Blue Chip?

    You can certainly screw a much greater number of people that way, it would appear, yes.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    "You're my child, and I love you ESPECIALLY when I vehemently disapprove of your choises. And if things turn to shit, you know where I am and, no matter how pissed off you make me, my door's always open."

    This is a wonderful response and I'd like to think I'd say something very similar were it my child.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Still distracted by work, but found this offering from Wendyl Nissen that touches on both my immediate plight and the discussion here:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/466/story.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10528653

    "Think of England," she replied helpfully.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    This is a wonderful response and I'd like to think I'd say something very similar were it my child.

    Yes, imagine a world without unconditional love as the alternative. Shudder.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Yes, imagine a world without unconditional love as the alternative. Shudder.

    And hmmm... isn't that the world in which the vast majority of sex workers (male, female, adult, child) find themselves? I mean, if we define unconditional love as "I will feed and house you if you find yourself short of cash or out of luck"? Because it's a fair bet that most people in the industry -- barring the occasional self-actualizing Ren type person (see also Tristan Taormino, Annie Sprinkle, Candida Royalle, Buck Angel, and many more) -- are doing it to pay the rent and groceries, not to top up an already adequate living obtained somehow else, or to, y'know, express themselves (cue Madonna, "C'mon girls...").

    [Which is pretty much the conclusion Wendyl Nissen comes to in that excellent column - she can't pay the bills by only doing it with/for/to nice guys. Only the luckiest of us can, whatever the work.]

    It's not news that for the overwhelming majority, sex work is a "choice" like working at WalMart with no health insurance and no union protections is a "choice" -- except with vastly crappier working conditions.

    So, but, and, maybe there's a connection between writing about it and feeling a little bit sovereign over it? Y'know - like, if you can retool and recount your experiences for the Village Voice and eager grad students and a world wide readership, and thereby earn some cash and some respect, you're doing a different kind of sex work, one that does provide you with a more reliable sense of agency? (Cf. the occasional book about finding oneself while working in Starbucks, or on a building site, or wiping bums in a hospital, or some other gritty, underpaid, under-respected job -- the unlikeliness factor is crucial to the genre, as is the exceptionalism).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Here's the other thing I can't figure out. If there's so many eager beavers (as it were) willing to pay good money for even half-assed (as it were) encounters... why on earth are any of us doing it for free -- and with the same old same old partners, no less -- instead of giving up our day jobs and hitting the streets? What are we, crazy? </rhetorical question>

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    So, but, and, maybe there's a connection between writing about it and feeling a little bit sovereign over it? Y'know - like, if you can retool and recount your experiences for the Village Voice and eager grad students and a world wide readership, and thereby earn some cash and some respect, you're doing a different kind of sex work, one that does provide you with a more reliable sense of agency?

    I'd say so, yeah. And add to that a palpable sense of taking your voice back - that not only have you been voiceless, but other people have felt fine talking about you without talking to you.

    And some other sex workers react to it like this:

    I’m also a sex worker involved in the sex worker’s rights movement in motherfucking AUSTRALIA. And at least once every couple of months, a random Australian sex worker from a random part of Australia will post a link on the SW mailing lists to one of Ren’s posts with a “fuck yeah!” or a “look what Renegade Evolution is saying on this one!”

    That'd make me feel valuable...

    Ren also talks about how, given she's in sex work by choice, she feels she has a responsibility to other sex workers who have less choice and less power than she does. Hence the work she does with SWOP.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    But if all else fails, I damn hope this would sink in: "You're my child, and I love you ESPECIALLY when I vehemently disapprove of your choices. And if things turn to shit, you know where I am and, no matter how pissed off you make me, my door's always open."

    Great words - I've just had a situation this weekend where I've had to support a child in a situation I disapprove of - your words remind me to bear with it without being judgemental! (It wasn't prostitution, but...)

    Do any of you watch Coro St? It has been looking at the issue of sex working in its soapy way. Our Leanne has been working as a call girl to make money to get herself ahead.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    why on earth are any of us doing it for free -

    Perhaps it's because we have a different set of values and for some,"doing it" can be paid for in other than money ways,ie.. not free. An escort I knew would enjoy the ego boost, free meal, good wages and that was before he even negotiated after midnight fees. So for him, money was initially the driving factor. A wonderful woman I know has spent her entire life seeking pleasure with the ability to deliver also, and firmly accepts that she gets holidays, accommodation , and meals.and gifts and this is a job she has continued for many,many years. This person wants for nothing. She has consequently seen the world. I guess that could be her fee.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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