I Thought I Was Pro-Sex Work

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S2: This podcast contains graphic, explicit and even sometimes a little bit vulgar discussions of sexuality.

S1: Hi, I’m Rich Juzwiak and I’m a writer,

S2: and I’m Stoya, a writer and pornographer.

S1: And we’re the authors of How to Do It Slate’s sex advice column. This is our new podcast, where we answer brand new letters about all your sex and relationship issues twice a week. You can ask us anything about sex or trying to have sex or not wanting to have sex. We’re here to help.

S2: Yeah. So sometimes I take questions very personally.

S1: Yes. I thought you might.

S2: Ah, there was the time with the person who’d started dating a smoker and I was like, I can smell the nicotine coming out of her pores. There was one that was really casually anti-porn. It was very do you happen to know whom you have commenced writing to?

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S1: Right, exactly. Not Stoya there. None.

S2: Like, are you? Are you trolling? I don’t know how to take this.

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S1: Are you just doing this to be rude since you know which i’s it’s going to go in front of? I mean, there’s a I always have that paranoia. Like, are people out to get me? Or are you just trying to like, ruin my day? Because it seems sometimes on the internet, like people are just trying to ruin your day?

S2: Anyway, now that our listeners are so incredibly curious about what this question might possibly

S1: be, yeah, your hackles are raised going into this and mine are for you as well. So here’s the question

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S3: dear, how to do it. I always thought I was pro sex work. I told myself it doesn’t matter how people make money, it’s real and valuable work, and it’s one of the world’s oldest professions, et cetera. And I always defended the profession when I heard people denigrate it. Even though I personally would never be a sex worker, I always thought I was an ally. But then some of my friends started doing OnlyFans and Snapchat Premium and even some actual porn. I can’t put my finger on why, but I find it really upsetting. These were women who were in med school, law school, the arts and other professional pursuits. And then they gave it up or postponed to post naked pictures of themselves online. I hate to admit it, but I realize that in my mind, sex workers were less intelligent than, say, doctors or lawyers. And I didn’t mind if random strangers did sex work because they probably didn’t have much going for them. I know that’s a horrible thought, and I hate even thinking it. How do I get over this prejudice and stop judging my friends signed judge and jury?

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S2: All right, so there’s internalized homophobia all over this message. You know, even though I personally would never be a sex worker, right?

S1: Like needless information, but

S2: also like the phrasing of it. Sure. Right. Like, I don’t have the body confidence to be a sex worker. Right. I don’t have the interest in sex required to do it all day professionally. There are so many ways that one could say it’s not for me, right? In a way that isn’t weird.

S1: Yeah. And just like inherently judgmental and like Vera over there and I’m over here in a fundamental kind of way.

S2: Well, it’s internalized homophobia. Yeah. And they realize it. They’re here. They’ve come to us. Yes, they’ve come to a homosexual man who’s very open about the amount of hookups right engages in. Yes. And an actual sex worker. Yes. To say, Hey, I’ve got this problem in my brain. What do I do? So like, great

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S1: first step done.

S2: Awesome. Also well done for bringing it to us where it’s actually our job. Instead of asking your sex worker friends to do the labor, right? That’s like to one level. Yeah, I regularly try to talk people out of sex work. Partially, that’s because what Cinnamon Love recently described as occupational discrimination is a real thing. Once you have done sex work, if there’s any public record of it, there’s a risk that your future employers will find out about it then and your employment right. And sex workers are not a protected class, so we don’t have the same recourse that an LGBT person or a person of color or an elderly person has.

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S1: There’s also a ton of stuff that goes into it that you don’t really understand until you’re there, like how you regard your clients where it’s like the whole. You’re paying me to do this, but I’m pretending like you’re not. And I can’t mention that those mental gymnastics that go into and I’m talking specifically about sex work like escorting or the actual spending of time with people. Yeah, that whole thing is such a minefield, and it’s so difficult psychologically, and I really don’t think that you can understand what that is until you’ve experienced it. Yeah.

S2: You know, it’s much less immediate and complex, and you can always just turn your computer off. But the chat interactions that I have fan sites and the occasional one to one cam show, people share things that they don’t feel comfortable sharing with a therapist. Right? I’ve actually taken professional development stuff meant for sex counselors and therapists to help me figure out what to do when someone drops something really heavy into my lap, like kind of out of nowhere. So actually, for a sex worker who’s interacting with people as part of their work? Med school is probably a great background. Yeah, I’m thinking of jet setting Jasmine, who has a background in psychology, and she seems to have a much easier time handling the heavy stuff that people share about their sexuality because she has the training.

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S1: And also just besides that interaction person, a person. If you’re going to be good at that job, you have to have some degree of emotional intelligence which is not taught in schools. There is no test for it. It’s totally underrated in terms of how it informs someone’s intellect. So for you to say, Oh, you’re a sex worker, you’re dumber than a doctor. On what scale? You’re not even taking into consideration the manifestations of human intelligence and what that actually means.

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S2: And so, you know, only vans and Snapchat Premium, you have to be so organized, right? I have a spreadsheet with multiple tabs that tracks all of the content that’s been shot. It’s color coded and has fields that track when it gets posted that I have a tab that tracks custom requests. Yes, and I have to have. Her missions from the photographer, right, have to have paperwork that allows me to use the photos, a book locations, a book make up, you know, coordinate everything, and that’s that’s a

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S1: task, of course. But and also, I just find it a little bit strange, especially coming into this column to be speaking directly to the person who’s taken this certain type of career path where it’s like, I do sex work. But I also flex my intellect on the regular. And there are plenty of people who do this like race Robert Way and Time Mitchell and Dale Cooper. You know, Connor

S2: Connor Habeeb, Sovereign Sire, Lorelei Lee,

S1: Annie Sprinkle,

S2: Hartley A. Sprinkle brick house in coal.

S1: It’s like kind of willfully ignorant to say, Oh well, sex workers aren’t intellectuals or intelligent. Like, I mean, sex workers come in all stripes. Clearly take a look around.

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S2: The thing is, though, like these women who are writer is judging for giving up or postponing these respectable careers, they actually might have harmed their professional prospects. Yeah. So that’s something that our writer can acknowledge as a valid concern. Yes. Then they can deal with all of their feelings, like how much is fear for their futures? How much is judgment, how much is jealousy? Because they’d like to have Lou butas fall out of the sky? That’s not actually what happens at all. But people like build up this idea that it’s like, Really, here’s the boobs internet, right? It’s all of a sudden have like a yacht, right?

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S1: If only it were that easy.

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S2: Oh gosh. Again, link, because they probably didn’t have much going for them. So the the probably there is sort of offensive. But another reality that’s kind of complicated is some people don’t have much going for them. Yeah. And what they do have going for them is that they are very attractive to a lot of people. Yes. And they maximize that and that’s valid. I am specifically thinking of people who have autoimmune disorders and never know how much they’re going to be able to do on a given day, but they’re really hot. And so the ability to set their own hours and work when they can and take time off when they need to enables them to survive without governmental or familial support.

S1: It seems like our writer just needs to read a little bit more to expand their idea of what all this is. Start there. I mean, I hope that this conversation, all of the things that Stoya has shed light on that show. It’s not this black and white sort of issue are useful follows some sex workers on Twitter. Read their writing.

S2: Start with the list of people that we named in this episode.

S1: Yeah, and just expand your mind. That’s what we’re put on this Earth to do. Literally plain and simple.

S2: Yeah, that was way less emotionally difficult for me than I worried it was going to be.

S1: I’m glad. I’m glad I wondered what it would be like when I read it, but I was prepared for anything, is it?

S2: Last week, I have notoriously bad medical grade PMS. I’m not implying that all women are nuts. No, no. I personally am really sensitive. Anyway, let’s move on to the next question, which is not about periods at all whatsoever.

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S3: Great, dear. How to do it. One of the first few times I had sex with my current partner, he called out the wrong name. He quickly apologized and assured me sex was way better with me than it ever was with her. I cut him some slack because it was the name of a recent ex, and these things happen. The thing is, we’ve been together for over a year now and having regular sex, and he has yet to call out my name. For the record, he is one of the more vocal lovers I’ve been with. God gets a lot of shout outs, but not me. Is that weird? Signed? Not her.

S1: It’s definitely fishy.

S2: I think I know exactly what happened, and it’s completely innocent.

S1: Oh, OK.

S2: I think this partner called out the wrong name early on and felt mortified. Yes, and has ever since adding no names policy.

S1: I once called someone the wrong name in college, and now I’m terrified of saying people’s names unless I know it for absolute certainty. Say they’re those people that are in the gray area of like, I met you a few times and I’m like, Am I positive? That’s really your name. It was so mortifying. That’s a great call.

S2: I will look up someone’s name or like, Ask someone. Exactly, totally. Or like, if it’s during sex. Yeah, it’s only with people that I’ve known for a long time, and I’m sure I know their name and that I rehearse it like three times before I say it.

S1: Yes.

S2: Just before I do, we have the pronunciation, right? Totally. It’s really nerve wracking.

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S1: Yes, I have experienced this before, and it’s only like, probably like once or twice. And it was not even casual thing, like a one or two time thing. I did find it offensive, and I also did find it to be in line with this person’s general self-absorption that I discerned in the very brief time that we spent together. He was like a bit younger than me, too old to be acting like that, but he expected me to pay for everything, and I was just like, why like? And he called me the wrong name. Get out of here.

S2: Yeah. And like, when you make a mistake, that’s that potentially upsetting or dismissive. Then you definitely pay for dinner that night.

S1: Totally. He was never going to do that and was very eager to hang out after, and I felt like it was only because I had paid for dinner once. Anyway, that’s the kind of person you’re cut out. This is somebody who they’ve been with for a year. I don’t know. I think you nailed it.

S2: And I’m always like a little skeptical when I’m like this. Yeah, but in this case, I really think that’s what happened. I don’t think there’s anything nefarious going on here. Yeah. And I think this can easily be solved with like it could be anything from I wrote into how to do it. And Stoya is like 100 percent certain that this is what’s going on. Is she right? Right through to like? So you never call my name when we’re having sex, and I’m wondering if that’s just not a thing you do

S1: because it does seem a little bit strange if you tease out the logic to say, OK, well, he called out her name because that sex was so good and he has this scale of like names. I don’t call out to names I do. Depending on the quality of the sex, and I just don’t think he’s that organized. I don’t think so. That seems impossible. So you’re probably fine.

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S2: Not weird at all.

S1: OK, that’s it for now, but we’re not done this week on this week’s second episode exclusively for Slate Plus members, a letter writer wonders if broaching is really so bad. So if broaching is a thing, then socially sexually active gay men in New York are a fucking nest of roaches, which is not the worst metaphor at times, but still is overall pretty offensive to me.

S2: We’re legion and we love to snuggle.

S1: We’ll sort that out and explain what it is in tomorrow’s episode to hear it. Sign up for Slate Plus for just one dollar at Slate.com slash HDI plus that Slate.com slash HDI plus U.S.

S2: If you’re in need of sex advice from Rich in me, you can write to how to do it at Slate.com. How to do it. Or you can leave us a voicemail at three four seven six four zero four zero two five and we may use it on the show. That’s three four seven six four zero four zero two five and Slate.com. How to do it? Remember, this is anonymous and nothing is too small or embarrassing.

S1: Our show is produced by child to how to do its editor is Jeffrey Bloomer. Are letter readers are Joshua Leonard and Benjamin Frisch. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.