There is a growing body-positive community in Pittsburgh that intertwines fashion, burlesque, and small business. Danielle Thorn, the show’s director, sees the fashion show as an opportunity to bring together diverse people who are all working toward the same ends. She says, “We may not have traditional body types, but we are strong, and even stronger when we work together.”
Our intimacy, which is often intense, is an intimacy that is bound inside of a certain erotic imaginary. We play with each other using words and ideas.
This is the reprint of an article I originally published in Cyborgology, for an issue of SexTech Space focused specifically on the impact of FOSTA/SESTA.
Sex workers told Motherboard about the economics and emotional labor that go into selling panties online.
In addition to contributing to Cyborgology, I write a sex column for the Pittsburgh City Paper. This week, I wrote a piece that’s relevant to conversations here, titled, “A new Kickstarter campaign has a terrible solution to your relationship problems.”
I look at LoveSync, a new technology aimed at helping couples with mismatched libidos, and argue it’s an example of how technological solutions to social or interpersonal problems can do more harm than good.
One doesn’t have to reflect much on the way that virginity is defined to see that much of the emphasis is on the power of the penis. Specifically, the penis’s power to transform cis-women’s bodies.
Perhaps those of us who are supportive parents of trans kids, those of us who have opened up space for our children to express their gender identity, can extend that same compassion and understanding to ourselves and each other. Perhaps we can, among one another, have these conversations about complicated feelings: about gender, history, expectations, and love. Perhaps we can take our own feelings as seriously as we take our kids, and perhaps, if we do this, we will be able to move though these transitions with our kids with a bit more grace, in community.
Selling panties is so much more than taking them off at night and sticking them in an envelope. It involves building a brand and an audience, cultivating relationships, and becoming a safe space where customers can feel comfortable sharing their desires.
In a culture in which both period blood and sex work are taboo, both can seem mystifying. Periods are typically not talked about outside of very intimate friendships or relationships, and period blood is purposefully hidden. Similarly, sex work is spoken about in hushed tones.
In June, I wrote an article about the porn category of BBWs (an acronym meaning Big Beautiful Woman), in an effort to answer the question: What makes someone a BBW? This question was, in part, a personal one. I’m often considered a BBW performer myself. But classification always feels complicated to me (and for everyone I spoke with, too). Categories are constructed, and bodies don’t easily fall into categories.
Sex working mothers are at the front lines of radical sexual politics, as these front lines begin in our own homes.
I write about the nuanced—and often discriminatory—world of BBW porn.
I spoke with porn performers, phone sex operators, erotic dancers, and former escorts to find out what they have learned about men’s mental health from their work.
Real name policies push important voices out of public discourse in a way that further stigmatizes and marginalizes entire groups of people.
I argue that while the rescue industry has argued that sex workers are incapable of exercising consent over their own bodies and choices (and therefore in need of saving), sex workers do in fact exercise consent as part of their job. Their expertise regarding consent is something that we should take seriously in the current public discourse around consent.
Tech scholars and tech-oriented social scientists have real potential to do social good by examining these sites more closely and working to demystify the panic around trafficking. Without data to support this alternative understanding, sex workers of all sorts will be further marginalized and harmed. This is no small thing. Lives are at stake.
We write about the dangers of FOSTA/SESTA for the online sex work community, and the newly formed Sex Worker Outreach Project chapter in Pittsburgh that is working to minigate that harm.
In a milieu where carefully crafted branding on social media is a large part of the work of being a sex worker—but where that very social media presence is often used as a weapon against us, restricting our mobility—we are in a bind.
Bladerunner 2019 pushes us to toil with this ambiguity between reality and fantasy, lived and created memory. It invites us, in other words, into an imaginative playscape in which intimacy of different kinds can open new possibilities.
While rape culture and the conventional porn industry aren’t going to be dismantled overnight, sex workers (who have always been on the front lines of feminist causes) are using the tools of their trade to organize quicker, more collectively, and more effectively than before.