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Monthly Archives: April 2013

My disturbed childhood, or, did slutshaming lead me to sex work?

 

I had what anyone else would see as a very disturbed childhood. Luckily, my family was always there for me. There were lies against me and my family from when I was a young child to when I was a teenager. I loved it. The thrill of the battle was something I learned from a very, very young age. I can’t write any more because of anonymity and libel laws, but even if it wasn’t for that I still couldn’t write everything. You’d never believe me and besides it’d take up an entire book. I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. Nithing physical or sexual, but probably even more unbelievable because there isn’t the simple motive behind the behaviour. But there was another thing, and this thing I think damaged me; I’d punish myself for accidentally annoying people or for saying something wrong. You see, as a kid I hardly ever did anything wrong – I had the rules worked out when I was about five. But I said things wrong.

So, growing up in this situation I saw the world as dangerous and life as a game. I was much more confident than my peers and very afraid of criticism; I saw the aim of life as being to challenge bad people. (And I still do.) I was distrustful and revengeful, and interested in the way I could influence people and events. I learned how to lie from those who bullied me and lied about me. I studied their tactics with admiration and a fierce desire to become as skilled as them. Meanwhile I was constantly being emotionally abused, so I would be either very happy and confident or suddenly plunged into feeling empty and worthless. I’d hate myself at times.

I wished to be loved unconditionally, though now I’m afraid of love.

I believed that this unhappy part of me was not real and I only became ‘integrated’ through talking about this with Kane, a polyamorous Dom I met on a fetish site. He wanted me to go to America to be with him, then dumped me because I wasn’t looking for stability shortly after the creation of this blog. (I blogged about it at the time.) Him dumping me did not upset me at all because I was not emotionally invested in him, and at the time I never had more than lust for anyone. Talk of an emotional side to sex or of sex being somehow ‘meaningful’ always baffled me. I could understand sex as an art form or a means to an end or even an experiment, but I couldn’t understand it in those terms. I was not to have a serious crush on anyone until Lynne several months later.

Anyway, I realised that I no longer have the either really happy or really sad thing. I’m much more balanced now and I haven’t felt anxious (by which I mean a non-specific anxiety or paranoia over anonymity) for months now. I’m not the happiest that I’ve been in months, but I’m definitely the most emotionally healthy that I’ve been ever. And it’s great.

Oh, and here’s something you might enjoy: The lies against me were mostly about me having learning disabilities, no social skills and autism but included lies that I had an “immoral lifestyle” and inappropriate sexual boundaries/sexualised behaviour. Well, I’m showing them how Kalika does an immoral lifestyle! I don’t know what exactly they meant by all that, but one thing I do know is that they could never have imagined I would sell my virginity.

The truth is often stranger than fiction.

Kali xx

 

 

Merseyside Model Petition – Sign & Make a Difference

 

Merseyside model petition & interview with Jayne Rogers

The Merseyside model petition is up! The petition aims to extend the Merseyside Police’s strategy (declaring all crimes against sex workers hate crimes and working in partnership with sex workers’ organisations to catch violent criminals) to all UK police forces. You can sign it here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49040

The petition isn’t in my name because for Government petitions, a legal name and current address are required. The name is visible on the petition and being a sex worker you risk being fired if you out yourself. Although I’m currently still studying, I’m worried that future employers might discriminate against me when I graduate and enter the job market. I’m not trying to say that most employers are bigots – I’m sure most of them are perfectly nice, decent human beings – but you never know. So this requirement is yet another obstacle to sex workers campaigning for basic rights and equality with those in other careers. I could have done a Change.org petition, but a Government petition would have more chance of success because if we get 100,000 signatures by 22 October 2013, the petition will have to be discussed in Parliament.

So, mental health professional Jayne Rogers created the petition out of a text that I drafted (the text is written to appeal to antis and feminists as well, which is why the term “prostitution” appears alongside “sex work”.) Jayne Rogers is neither a sex worker nor an anti. I interviewed her so you can all see where she’s coming from:

Interview with Jayne Rogers


Although the Merseyside model can be supported by everyone, it would be interessting to know your personal opinion of sex work?

I hold no hard & fast views on the rights of an individual to sell what is theirs to sell. I don’t come from a moralistic viewpoint. I believe people should be given information to make decisions for themselves & assistance to get out of situations that are damaging to them. I don’t believe people should be abused for the financial benefit of others. I have concerns about sex workers becoming hidden from sight & beyond the reach of  assistance if abolition became law.

What is your opinion of the Nordic/Swedish Model?

I’m not sure that the UK is culturally fit to receive this model, there is too much social deprivation which is set to get worse in the presence of increased unemployment which we know hits women & men from deprived social backgrounds hardest.
It would be great if no one had to sell sex against their will to survive but we’re not in that place yet.

Now that your name’s on this petition, What do you hope it achieves?

Merseyside model & Ugly Mugs scheme have shown an increase in prosecutions & reporting for attacks against sex workers. Training a select group of police who are empathic & targeted to understand the issues at stake to engender the trust & goodwill of sex workers is essential. Attitudinal change in public perception should follow if the police are engaged positively though there is a long way to go. The bottom line is that any sex worker should be able to report a crime against them without prejudice and as an equal citizen. It’s just not ok that anyone should be abused in any way, shape or form without recourse to justice.
Merseyside model is needed anyway to start a focus on the attitudinal change needed in the police force for sex workers to feel able to report crime, to know that it will be treated seriously & be treated with respect. It does not exclude the Nordic model but people need to feel & be safe now.
Sex workers need to have helpful no strings attached services available to let them work safely if that is what they wish to do or to have opportunity & support to exit with skills training, education, counselling, protection & housing.

Any other thoughts on these issues?

I really hope that people support this. I know there are differences in opinion about what model is the best way,  I am no expert but have been learning a lot from the opinions & blogs of exited & non exited women, one of whom has become a very close friend, I’ve learned a lot from her. It’s about time we made sex work & workers visible, listened to & treated as any other citizen deserves to be in pursuing their lives without prejudice.

Peek behind the scenes: I was curious about Jayne’s background in mental health and if anything she’d experienced or seen had made her care about sex workers’ issues. This is what she said:

I’ve worked with people who have severe & enduring mental health difficulties for many years starting off  like most health care workers of my generation working in the big bins. I started to get interested in the histories of very disturbed women clients who from early records of their illness had clearly come from a background of sexual abuse. The culture of the big bins allowed further abuse to women patients who would sell sexual favours to male patients, usually for one or two cigarettes. Nobody thought this was wrong or damaging, it was the way it was. There were some women who were more entrepreneurial who set up business as the hospital ‘slag’ usually raking in a better rate of cigarettes per sexual favour.  I came across a woman I knew well who was blown & past her prime at the bottom of the stairs one day in floods of tears. I asked her why she was upset, she said she’d had sex for cigarettes. I said ‘What’s new?’. She said ‘I fucked him for 10 fags, he took 5 away because I wasn’t good enough.’ The reality is that 50% of her income was at stake in a situation of dreadful social deprivation, she was robbed, she was abused. That exchange has stayed with me.


In more recent times working in community care in deprived inner city areas has made me acutely aware of vulnerable women having even less protection than there was in hospitals.  I regularly saw trafficked women on the street, sometimes being slapped & beaten in full public view with no-one giving a damn or picking up their mobile to call the police. In my job I saw women in regular danger of trafficking.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Sex work

 

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What if radfems spanked sex workers, why I fancy Thatcher’s grandson and how I almost deleted this blog

I have so much to tell you. I’m negotiating with 1 guy and have been contacted by 1 couple to sell virginity, and The One’s just texted me. I also have to tell you why my name won’t be on the Merseyside petition and the next campaign that’s on the horizon. And on the 17th I decided to do a blog called “All My (blonde) Loves: how blonde Americans are all out to screw me (but sadly not literally” which will cover the years from 2001 to the present. I wanted to offer something un-Thatcher-related that’s a sort of pisstake of me from pre-puberty to now and how, though I have a thing for black-haired boys, I never learn that blondes are all jinxed for me. I’m not going to reveal my age, but I’m probably younger than some of you might think.

I’ve had emails from a couple of people, including a girl around my age whose experience of trying to sell virginity I totally get. (No – I am not the only VirginWhore around). People think I’m everything from brave to disgusting to talented but really I’m just me.

I seriously considered deleting this blog and my Twitter. It just seemed like I’d failed – I hadn’t yet found a new buyer (I’ve got 2 possibles now) and the controversy over Ruth’s tweets was at its height. And then there was the other thing which I may or may not blog about. I mean I’ve touched on it in this post but not very explicitly. Though if I’m honest it was mainly this third thing that was bugging me. Anyway 2 of my friends told me not to delete it because the blog is interesting and deleting it or even just deleting Twitter would not solve anything for me. I think I might have deleted Twitter at least if it wasn’t for the Merseyside campaign. I thought I’d wait till the petition went up and had enough support and then delete Twitter, but of course that timespan is far longer than the time it took me to calm down and realise the pointlessness of such action. I’d thought to return to an offline life of normality and forget any of this blogging/Twitter/sex work stuff ever happened. I figured I’d had a good run and now it was time to go back to the real world. But as time went by I felt like I shouldn’t destroy or abandon all my work just because of this thing.

I keep meaning to blog stuff but selling virginity stuff sometimes takes up time and yesterday just as I was about to blog “All My (blonde) Loves”, my friend Renata was on the phone to me and going on about morals, how it’s better to be honest and charge for time instead of dating because you’ll get a great dinner or a fab holiday, or marrying for money. Anyway as she was describing having sex for a meal, I got totally turned on and I was giggling and being like “this is totally turning me on, wait, I have to hold something cold”. My airgun is usually on my desk so I reached across and grasped it as Renata continued with her story and we were both giggling. It was utterly surreal, me sitting at a desk with a phone clamped to my ear, wearing a brown and gold hoodie and leaning across to clutch an airgun.

Then I told her that on the 17th I realised I fancy Michael Thatcher, the good-looking blonde 24 year old grandson of Margaret. She laughed and said she couldn’t believe it. But the truth is, I do want him. I’d love to have sex with him just to piss off Margaret. If she’s watching from beyond the grave she would be so pissed. My superficial lust-based attraction to Michael has totally lifted the first serious crush I ever had, which was a MASSIVE relief. I hate being under the influence of another person and I don’t know how anyone can stand it. It is the ultimate insult to free will. I was always cynical about love and having that crush has only made me terrified of it. I hope to never again be subjected to feelings outwith my control. You know how in ‘The Portrait of Dorian Gray’ Basil describes being dominated by Dorian’s personality? I think even in the fascination there is still domination. The only way to respect yourself is to have casual sex where you don’t fancy them or only fancy them superficially. I might do a blog on this, actually. And change all the names of course.

We were talking for over an hour and later we somehow got to talking about a sex worker on Twitter and Renata said she’s really nice. Then I told Renata a really funny thing I said to her about someone else, which is hilarious: “I hope the radfems find her house and eat all of her ice cream and then spank her until she cries”. (By the way, I did add at the time that if they did it would be rape and I’d be “absolutely mad”. I also added that she could just buy more ice ceam and being spanked can’t really hurt you.)

Then I got interested in what it would look like. This is absolutely normal for me – I love to imagine the nuance of every scene and how everyone would react. So I said “I wonder what that would look like?” and Renata says “Now you’ve put it in my head! I can’t get that image out of my head now”. I begged her to describe it to me and she would only describe it a tiny bit, saying stuff like “spanking session” and “rather large radical feminists” and I was giggling and writing it down for wanking material. Renata said she wouldn’t describe it and I was like “PLEASE! I’ll do anything, I’ll do stuff I didn’t do with Roland” and we’re both in hysterics and she says she has some old erotic books she can give me.

I’m like, “Is she crying? In your head?”

Renata: “No, she was into it.”

Me: “Oh. I thought she’d be crying and it would be really painful.”

Her: “That was in YOUR head, not my head.”

You see why I get distracted from blogging.

 

I was 7 years old. It was the Nineties. The place was a shop in Oban. The thing that was to change my life was a small, flip-pad style notebook with a Highland cow on the front cover. My mum bought it for me without me asking her for it. I filled it up in a few weeks and asked for another one. As the years passed I went through many, many notebooks. I made my own little books. At age 9 I created my first illustrated BDSM stories and comics. At 12 I was filling multiple notebooks with stories and had one for erotic stories. I typed lots of stuff on a word processor from age 11 and at age 14 we got a desktop. All those years ago I started writing in that Highland Cow notebook and I haven’t stopped writing since.

 

 

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Rape victims get 50% of compensation cut for doing sex work

At the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) event in Glasgow, the ECP revealed that after police failed to deal with a serial rapist, they funded a successful private prosecution. But the two women had their Criminal Injuries Compensation cut by 50% – because they sex workers.

Para 25 p11 of the Ministry of Justice’s Guidelines state that compensation can be cut for “conduct”:

An award may be withheld or reduced where the conduct of the applicant before,during or after the incident giving rise to the criminal injury makes it inappropriate to make an award or a full award.

Sex work was considered “conduct” which provoked the rape. No other job could be so willfully and openly punished, and no other rape victim would have been victim-blamed so much. If anyone was in doubt that sex workers are stigmatised, this is the final proof.

Happily, the problem is easy to remedy. Para 25 goes on to say “For this purpose, conduct does not include intoxication through alcohol or drugs to the extent that such intoxication made the applicant morevulnerable to becoming a victim of a crime of violence.” So all that is needed is for the words “choice of career”, “work”, “sex work” or similar before or after the line about intoxication.

As Irish Law student  @belowcontempt noted, the Irish Criminal Compensation laws are even more far-reaching, though they also do not specify rape or sex work.

Compensation was witheld – for both rape and murder – in Australia in 2006. The judge reportedly made shocking comments like “this wasn’t a woman waiting at home for her husband.”

Women are being reduced to their job – sex work. They aren’t human beings, they’re commodities. This is also insulying to men because it imples that rape is simply a risk of the job, that all clients are potential rapists.

The targetting of sex workers raises a number of philosophical conundrums: would compensation be cut if a sex worker is raped while not doing sex work, for example if she is raped by her husband? What if a man is raped one hour before exiting the sex industry? Or if, an hour after being raped, a woman joins becomes a sex worker (and how would the start time be calculated, anyway? Her first phone call to the escort agency, or when she sees her first client?) Gaye Dalton (@mechanima) raised an interesting question: where would I fit? How would they see my conduct? Are all sex workers equally culpable in their own rapes, or are VirginWhores less fallen so maybe should only have their compensation cut by a third instead of by half? Or is selling virginity even more reprehensible to men who literally reward (with compensation) sexual inexperience in women and punish experience?

This is disgusting. A century ago, rape wasn’t recognised as rape if the victim was not a virgin. And it looks like nowadays, rape isn’t really rape if the victim is not a non-sex worker. The Criminal Compensation Scheme is literally ascribing more value to ‘good women’ than to sex workers.

And even in its misogyny, it fails. Because non-sexworkers can be “sluts” and they won’t even require payment for doing it. At least sex workers only do it for work. And as I pointed out above, it seems to be a lottery of when you get raped – if you haven’t stopped or started sex work yet, you get double the compensation.

Government incentives to keep the women of Britain pure and under control.

Ministry of Justice Criminal Injuries Compensation Guidelines: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/victims-and-witnesses/cic-a/am-i-eligible/criminal-injuries-comp-scheme-2012.pdf

The Irish Department of Justice’s guidelines: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Criminal_Injuries_Compensation_Scheme

 
11 Comments

Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Selling virginity: it’s sex work with a difference

In this post, I’m going to explore how and why I and other virginity sellers are different – and the same – as other sexworkers.

Why I’m Different

In this blog, I’ve been calling myself a sexworker so it might surprise you that I’m suddenly claiming to be different. And I am. But I don’t think I’m different because I’m ‘only’ selling to one person, so I’m ‘less bad’ than ‘real prostitutes’. -Not that such a line of thinking makes any logical sense outside of the conservative-patriarchal framework, anyway!

But I’m different because I’ll be judged less. Plenty of people DO subscribe to the ‘selling once is less bad’ idea. And Rhoda Grant’s Bill is only going to affect me up until I sell it. I also won’t have the same experiences as someone whose career is sex work; for me, it’s a game. I’ve admitted that over and over again, and I’ll admit it once more: it’s a thrill, it’s a game I am playing with life itself. For other sex workers, it’s work while for me it’s play. Ironically, the glamour and fun that so many attribute to sex work is probably more true of virginity sellers or newbie sex workers. For us, it’s all novel and we’re less likely to know other sexworkers. For ordinary sexworkers, it’s just work.

This is what differentiates me from other sex workers. You cannot compare someone who has built up their skills, business and reputation for years – perhaps decades- and whose earnings depend on their work, with someone who’s having a bit of fun for a few months. I’m never going to feel the same way about the Nordic model or potential violence from clients or social stigma as other sex workers. This is why I won’t do any media work unless it’s in the context of selling virginity or unusual approaches to sex work. I’m not entitled to speak for other sex workers except on issues which affect me too, such as safety.

Why I’m Not

Catarina Migliorini, who is selling her virginity as part of a documentary,  said “I do not consider myself to be a prostitute.” She used the analogy that taking one great photo in your life doesn’t make you a photographer. However, as one internet comment pointed out, committiing one murder makes you a murderer. And anyway, paid-for sex is prostitution. So you are a prostitute for the duration of selling sex, however short that may be and however you wish to calculate the start and end times of that duration. I suspect that Migliorini, as well as some students who have sugar daddies, do not wish to call themselves prostitutes because of social stigma. They have good self-esteem, so refuse to call themselves by a name which indicates worthlessness. I wonder if Migliorini knew the term ‘sex worker’, would she be willing to call herself that?

So, though we face different challenges to “regular” sexworkers, there is no getting round the fact that us virginity sellers are sexworkers.

Why It Should Suck But Doesn’t

As I’ve said above, we virginity sellers (all six or so of us who’ve been documented) have it easy regarding social stigma (and possibly hate by antis and radfems). But we also have to negotiate an industry we know nothing about, usually isolated from other sex workers and ignorant of websites and organisations that could help us. Because, like most sexworkers, we work/play/whatever in secrecy, it could be hard to find someone to talk to about it.

I was lucky. My friends Lochlan and Leanne were open-minded about it. Then after blogging for a couple of months, I joined Twitter and found other sexworkers on there. I was really irritated by Roland’s contract-breaking and although I knew I should be ringing escort agencies or starting an auction or joining sugar daddy sites, I just couldn’t seem to get motivated. I’ve always had a fear of failure, criticism and rejection, and this was public. I’d never seriously imagined Roland would break the contract, and since I wanted to retain my anonymity (as well as not having the money) there was no way I could legally enforce the contract. (Which is impossible anyway, as it would be rape to compel Roland to fulfil it. I would only get damages for breach of contract.)

Luckily, there were 2 or 3 people on Twitter who I could offload all these sadfeelz onto, and they gave me great advice as well about how to proceed with finding a new buyer. I think that if someone is a sex worker or has done sex work at some point, they get it. I was quite ashamed about my personal failure, but they helped me see that I could so easily bounce back and continue with what I was doing, and that it wasn’t anything to be embarassed about.

So, from what I’ve experienced and what I know others have experienced, the sex worker community is a great source of support and I learned basically everything I know about staying anonymous online and negotiating with clients from other sex workers (both directly, through them tweeting links at me or DM’ing me, and indirectly through reading their blogs and tweets.)

As for the (online) sex worker community itself, it seems much more inclusive than other groups or movements such as feminism. Nobody’s ever said I’m not a real sex worker since I’m just selling virginity, or that I don’t ‘get’ stuff like they do because of my difference. Or that the Nordic Model won’t affect me because I won’t be selling sex by the time it’s implemented (not that it will be).

Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be the fragmentation in the sex worker community as there is in other groups such as anarchists or feminists. All sex workers seem to agree on most things, as do I. This whole selling virginity journey has been like coming home.

It’s just diluted sex work, and also much more than sex work

There’s also a certain novelty about exploring this corner of sexwork. This is probably the world’s first selling virginity blog (given the relative youth of blogging as a mainstream activity) just as the documentary Migliorini has yet to participate in and the American live streaming of a cam girl losing virginity are world firsts. This means that some of the posts I make about selling virginity are the first (documented, online) thoughts on the issue.

Selling virginity can be made into an art form (e.g. the live streaming) an experiment, documentary, or political statement. Sex work has largely lost that power through its ever-present existence in societies for thousands of years. Though sex work can still be explored in the same ways as selling virginity through new technologies (eg documentaries, fiction, blogs) these mediums have, at this stage, been exhausted to the point where little novelty remains and every angle has been looked at (with certain perceptions of sex work getting much more attention than others.)

The juxtaposition of the virgin and whore has been entrenched in social morality, media portrayals and art for centuries, and doubtless it will continue to fascinate.

 

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