My World View Shapes My Sexual Politics
I see the issue not just from a personal perspective, and I will discuss affairs, first, but by no means do I directly connect sex work with affairs. I will take time in this post to delineate the difference, but hear me out. I have seen over my 44 years how women handle their husbands’ affairs and can acknowledge that while infidelity often creates problems, not all women respond in the same way. Even women in literature have infamously embraced their husbands’ affairs by proclaiming that they, too have lovers or they understand that love is fleeting and their marriage has become more about business and not passion. Most of us have at least entertained the idea of finding someone else attractive, and even though some simply watch pornography together as husband and wife or partners to spice up their sex lives, being surrounded by other people means we spend time with them and often inadvertently share intimate moments with them, whether we are talking politics or how to prepare a nice meal. To deny our feelings for others amounts to an exercise in futility. To label every interaction we have with others that turns into something more than a friendship and may involve sex is pejorative. That we consider an affair or even a simple conversation that turns sexual as a kind of overindulgence or addiction has more to do with control and dominant religious forces. Many of us make the choice not to be religious, because we have found the notion of constraining ourselves by maintaining sobriety or being celibate unnecessary and a denial of our individuality. I feel that in order to think independently, I must constantly intellectualize or filter through my educated brain as to how morally upright I must be. The reason I have chosen to be a Sex Worker is because I am uncomfortable with organized religion, marital prisons, and conformity. I value my own mind and choose not to rely on prescribed ideas about what I should do. A rigid set of rules does not jibe with my world view, my opinions as a Social Worker on how to help women in crisis, and I was also fortunate enough to have been educated by a mother who received an Ivy League education, so she always communicated to me that I could be anything I wanted to be and that my career choice was mine, only, not hers or anyone else’s. She taught me that being a Feminist was an option. I always knew, though, most importantly that I had choices. She made me feel as if my life was my own, not anyone else’s. So, when I finally went back to school, I took the lessons I learned, moved to the Bay Area of California, and set out to find my niche here.
I have spoken about affairs, though, first, because my assumption is that many women, in particular assume that either porn leads to affairs or the inverse. There is no proof of this at all. Most of the studies we read are incomplete, at best. Often studies use either anecdotal “proof” or the variables are not well enough defined. The real truth is that we know very little about the brain. To prove that porn causes affairs or the inverse is impossible. To make statements like, “morally upright people never watch porn or never have affairs” is equally impossible to prove. There are also different definitions of affairs. What if we are talking about an emotional affair? How do you distinguish that from one that is either purely physical or both emotional and physical? Again, I see that variables are difficult to define. How does one define love, also? Are we supposed to love one person? By whose standards? Why? Am I a better person if I have never thought of another woman’s man in a sexual way? What if I like someone, because I align myself with his politics? What if he has more in common with me than other men? Should I, because he is married have sex with any other man? Why? If I am a Cam Model, and he looks at my naked body, is he having an affair with me? What should his wife’s response be? Should she leave him? Should she hate him? So, I have given these things a lot of consideration, and my decision is that we each have our own mind. Remember, that is what I learned from my mother, and my mother was very bright. It is not that she taught me to have lots of affairs or become a sex worker, but she taught me not only to do my homework but to think for myself. In addition, at my age, and I have been an adult for quite a while, this is my body, and no one else but me is to decide what I do with it. So, if you are not close to me or in agreement with my politics, your opinion is irrelevant.
There is something else, though. Pornography and Sex Work are not just about a married couple’s life together. There are macro issues, as well. Much like guns and marijuana, when you make them illegal, they do not simply disappear. People do not stop doing drugs. People continue to use guns. You cannot make anything obsolete. It is the same with sex work. Therefore, it behooves a mature, enlightened society to deal with them in a more responsible way. But there is more. When we try to stifle expression, and this includes who and how we fuck through censorship, we open the door to other kinds of censorship, as well, and the huge problem with any amount of censorship is that it influences expressions of art through films and political groups, which means it affects the quality and truth of any kind of creation. Have you ever seen a film about sexual abuse? Those films try to show the truth about what happens to women who are raped. Some of those women were sex workers, too. If you favor censorship, then you send the message that it is shameful to talk about abuse. Whether you find nudity offensive or not, the burden is on all of us to reject censorship, because we now know that talking about abuse is a good way to heal from it. While, I cannot prove for certain that it is the best way, we should have the choice to do so. That goes back to my earlier statement about choice. I feel more empowered as a woman, when I can use my own mind and my own voice.
The upshot of all of this is that we should all feel free to choose how we indulge ourselves in sex. Having the choice to fuck who we want, though, is preferable to having someone else choose for us. The reason for this is that it accommodates diversity and multiple perspectives, because we are freer when we allow for a varied selection of identities. Again, I may not be able to restate that with the accuracy of a math equation, but as someone who was raised in a democracy who has met a lot of different people, I see how valuable it is to decide for myself which films I view, which political affiliation I feel most comfortable allying myself with, and that I am entitled to write these words, makes my life feel full. I love that in the U.S. I can do this. As a matter of fact, before the Internet, I found it difficult to state my opinions, because I happen to have a severe mental illness that has made me isolate more than I would prefer, so it is hard for me to explain how grateful I am to be able to talk about the things I think and have more than a couple of people read about them. So, whether you like pornography or not or whether you support the decriminalization of sex work or not, I suggest you tolerate these things in the name of diversity.