“I’m not a prostitute — I may be a sex worker, but I’m not someone going in and having sex for money, or just some horny dude trying to bang it out as much as I can. I love sex, and embracing human sexuality. I love exploring it.”
I like James Deen but I’m going to go ahead and get my “oh, hell no” head on for a second. I enjoy reading interviews he’s given, like this one from Refinery29 because I find his viewpoint and attitude totally refreshing and fun. However, I’m not crazy about the odd sound bite he gives and the above quote rattled me enough to put finger to keyboard this morning and talk about the ways in which this is bullshit to me.
I am a former sex worker; I worked as an independent escort from the ages of 19-21. While I can’t speak for everybody who decides to do it, my motivation was absolutely and completely financial. I was at university getting used to a very intense course and wanted as much of an income as I could get by working as few hours as possible.
“It’s not just a job – I really do love sex” is almost a cliché when it comes to escort profiles but it was as true for me as it will be for most – we are human, after all. Couple desire with opportunity for financial gain and it’s obvious why sex workers, including pornographic actors, indulge (and why many stay in the business for years).
If the exchange of money for having sex on camera helps James to embrace sexuality, why does the lack of camera, direction and production team invalidate my experiences and reduce their legitimacy?
The intimate encounters I had are the primary reason I am the person I am right now; I am confident, sexually liberated and not afraid to go full steam ahead in getting what I want (in sex; in romance; in my career).
To say my exploration and sexual awakening was minimised as soon as I walk away to deposit some money into my bank is incorrect. I worked to please men and women – to find the right spots to touch, find the right works to make somebody ache, to help them experience what they had always wanted to. But I think they probably did more for me than I ever did for them. They opened my eyes to a whole new world. A world where sex appeal and enjoyment isn’t limited to a certain figure or position and that the actual act of fucking is such a small part of human sexuality.
Stop dehumanising sex work.
Stop shaming my history.
Porn v Prostitution isn’t a fight; one path isn’t more righteous than the other.