Stop reading this right now if words like Feminism and Sexual Assault bother you. Stop reading this right now if you’re going to get bent out of shape reading about the business dynamics of sex work.
Actually don’t. You’re probably the person that needs this the most.
You ever think about what an unsolicited dick pic is?
I don’t just mean “in real life” either, because spoiler alert doing any kind of fetish work is sex work, and while sex work plays with fantasies it is still very much real life.
So what I mean is, think about it, really think about it, what it would be like to check your email and discover a dick pic.
I have a dick, chances are if you’re reading this you have a dick too, and we can all probably agree that dicks are kind of weird looking and sort of gross right?
Why would anyone want one just popping up unannounced?
I mean, if you have a dick and you’re reading this, you’ve been through puberty so you know literal random dick pop ups suck too.
But enough jokes.
Sex work, and remember that this includes fetish work, is a consumer service, and as a customer you are buying the time, attention, and/or product of a person who you desire either for their creativity, their talent, their appearance, or any and all of the above.
For the sake of argument, this desire is one-way, and just because you want to see her naked, it doesn’t mean she wants to see you naked.
Trust me on this, I’ve heard it from the mouths of sex workers, they don’t want to see your dick unless they tell you they want to, and even then they may be having you perform a task as part of your patronage, meaning it has nothing to do with the actualities of your specific dick.
Sending a woman, even a woman who deals with dicks all day for $, an unasked for picture of your genitalia is a form of sexual harassment and/or assault. It is something that women I know have gotten used to, and that in and of itself is terrible.
Think about it, why should you have to get used to people sending you unasked for pictures of their boners?
Because that person is making their living a certain way?
Well, by that logic, that pic should come with a gift card too, because work is work, and I’m sure you’d agree that if you’re doing work you should be getting paid for it.
After all, it’s sex work not sex leisure activity for public consumption.
No one has ever sent me a dick pick.
I’m a guy who works in a support role for a female dominated industry, and I also sell dirty stories to like-minded guys on the side. The only thing about my work that has a negative impact on me is:
1. It’s hard to put on my resume.
2. I have bullshit answers about what I do for a living for when I talk to my grandparents, meet new people, etc.
Now, my ex-girlfriend isn’t so lucky…
Oh god, now he’s going to brag about his past relationship again blah blah blah…
No, not quite, but I get that. I’m annoyed I just wrote those words again too.
Believe me, it’s a dead horse for me as well.
I’m bringing her up so some you understand the intimate degree of familiarity I have with the issues that sex workers face.
She’s gotten dick picks.
She’s been called a litany of horrible names far worse than anything I was called in my near decade of retail customer service.
She has had attempted stalkers, guys that form a one-sided and too serious emotional relationship to her/at her, and hate mail for not making content exclusively that is what that one type of customer wants.
All of that has happened, and happens, with a real degree of regularity too.
She’s also gotten hate mail and threats from spouses of clients, fraudulent charge backs that happen once the shame of a purchase sets in for some clients, and has had her worked pirated constantly.
If you did, or made anything, if you spent your time, your energy, and your creative resources making something, only to see it passed around, taking money out of your pocket, how would you feel?
If you went to work, did your eight hours, then someone else got paid instead of you, how would you feel?
These are some of the constant emotional attacks and stigmas that go along with this line of work, and if you know me at all you know I’m a realist so I know that this comes with the territory, but just because it does, it doesn’t make it right.
Just because people’s shitty behavior is predictable, it doesn’t make it excusable.
Further, in our corner of the sex/fetish/adult world, you have guys that are constantly trying to befriend you for their own gain. They pretend to be helpful, or think they are, offering to do things for you, trying to leverage their enthusiasm or abilities for favor, for the gratification of that personal attention, and for free stuff.
You know, instead of just being nice, decent human beings.
You have people trying to pay for your labor in faux friendship, people offering their services as power plays to take advantage of you, and/or to pursue relationships out of the scope of the scene’s social and business contracts.
In other words, putting their dicks and their emotional needs in front of someone else’s boundries.
Why? Because you’re making a product that people have shown there is a clear market for.
Again, I’ve seen this all first hand.
It’s ugly, it’s hurtful, and it’s uncalled for.
And, AND, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve pirated stuff in the past. I’ve watched pay content that’s shown up on pornhub etc.
I’m no saint, and whenever I’ve done that I’ve never thought about the stuff I’m asking you to think about, because I was too busy thinking about me.
What I’ve never done is lash out, attacked, sent a dick pick, or share someone else’s content.
I’ve never been nice as a power play, or as a move. That was true about me before this was my job, and it’s doubly true now.
I’m a hypocrite, or at least I’ve been one., and I own that shitty behavior, I don’t excuse or justify it.
But my past shittiness isn’t the point, my past witnessing of these more aggressive and reprehensible behaviors is.
Why? Because I have a public platform, and a semi-unique point of view and experiences that inform this piece.
What I’m saying is, I’ve seen it, I’ve heard the stories from my clients privately, and I’ve seen it called out publicly.
Of course, none of this is to say anything about what people that have sex for money face day in and day out (be they porn performers, escorts, etc.) that’s a whole other level of shit like being physically assaulted and raped; and again “it comes with the territory” is the reality and the reality does not justify the behavior.
I get it, this article is kind of a preachy bummer, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably shocked and disappointed that these things need to be said at all, but they do.
These are the realities, and they can be summed up rather simply:
The women that make the content we love are often seen as nothing more than a commodity (as is the case in society as a whole… see, I warned you about Feminism showing up), and are not treated as people but as a means to an end, an orgasm, a relationship that fulfills a fantasy, etc.
When these women do no respond to this commodification, or to the fantasies that their clients paint over them with, they are attacked, and for some people this includes piracy, because how dare these women abide by supply and demand economics.
Further, and remember that I have seen ALL OF THIS UP CLOSE and am not exaggerating or fabricating any of it, there is the sometimes harmless, always difficult reality of clients misconstruing their relationships with their content providers.
Now, what’s the other reason I’m writing this?
See, I know you know I had something else instead of just a general “don’t suck you guys” reasons for the last 1100 or so words, and it is this.
Sex work is really fucking hard.
My job isn’t easy, and all I do is write for clients.
The people that I write for bust their asses, and not just in recording, because they have to do all the other parts of their job, plus deal with everything detailed above.
Think about that.
Think about how emotionally taxing it is to deal with people’s misplaced emotions, their deepest sexual fantasies, AND everything else that goes into running a business, plus the realities of basic customer service.
On Twitter recently I saw a retired sex worker talking about someone congratulating them on getting a “real” job, and as I said above, this is as real as it gets.
Being taboo doesn’t cheapen the effort and labor (emotional, physical, intellectual, or creative) that goes into doing a job, if anything, it only amplifies and complicates it.
The women making this content are real people doing real work, and on top of the social stigma, the dick picks, and the sea of incoming love letters, there are the malicious and mischievous people that come to them wearing the face of common human decency, only to reveal themselves as greedy, shitty monsters.
Saying things like, “they know what they’re getting into” excuses the actions and blames the victims, and that is never the right mindset.
Respect boundaries, be decent, and if you find yourself having more casual and everyday interactions with people, be doubly mindful of all of those things. I mean, I do, I watch my ass constantly because even though I’m also a worker in this scene, I’m still a dude, so I don’t catch even a fart’s worth of the shit the women in this world do.
And one last time, all the tributes, gift list purchases, and sales profits added up do not in any way justify what we’ve all seen “comes with the territory”.
You know what comes with the territory of any job, doing the work and getting paid.