the desire collective

a vain dilettante's collection of time-for-print photos and random sex-related musings. hey, it's not quite a collectivised artpr0n site yet, but we can dream. THIS BLOG IS INTENDED FOR ADULT READERS. IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 PLEASE GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND READ A BOOK. lemme know if i'm missing any cool links, or just write to me out of boredom! desirecollective[at]gmail[dot]com.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ps

if you're interested in joining the sex-positive book club's google group, shoot me an email!

Friday, February 6, 2009

ho hum. i guess i just don't write anymore.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

story of o

for sapiosexual readers, our next book is story of o by anne desclos, published under the pseudonym pauline reage. written for her lover, noted french publisher and sade fan jean paulhan, story of o journeys through a young woman's complete sexual objectification. i first read it three years ago after finding it on the street in upper manhattan. it was a total destiny find, since at the tender age of 19 i was also a fan of sade, although i found the works of sacher-masoch to be more compelling. but this, in my opinion, surpasses both. should be part of the sex-pos canon. enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

do not tell me if...

...you did not vote. turnout is predicted to have surpassed 80% in virginia. if you didn't vote you better have a damn good reason.

...you voted for mccain. no offence, i still love you and all, i just really don't want to know because if mccain wins i will kick your ass.

okay, off to go get unsober and watch election returns. later!

Friday, October 24, 2008

sex-pos book club meeting THIS SUNDAY

for those reading along, the sex-positive book club will be convening THIS SUNDAY at 3 to discuss the spiral dance by starhawk and to pick a new book! so pop by the teaism near the archives/navy memorial metro stop (400 8th street NW) at 3 this sunday for sapiosexual intellectual stimulation!

(i'll be the one with a copy of the spiral dance prominently displayed on my table.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

friendly reminder

don't go log cabin on me. if you at all value gay rights, women's rights or the 4th amendment, you'll vote obama. period. and if you don't, don't EVER tell me about it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

changes

it's been awhile since i've posted on here huh. sometimes i let my public blogs die a little before resuming. because i'm a bitch like that.

so what have i been doing all month? SO much.

first off, there was camp. camp was so awesome this year. and my cabin won best new cabin, again!

panny fuxXx was outta control. in addition to a giant stuffed fish that served as our mascot (and that avah ended up taking home), we also had instruments, costumes and liquor. so, so much liquor. and, as is requisite to earn best new cabin, we partied like rockstars and subsequently trashed our cabin AND got noise complaints. PANNY FUXXX 4EVA!!!! we are cooler than you.

i also met my goal in coming to camp. i didn't have sex with anyone! yeah i gave a couple of blowjobs, but come on. i don't care what anyone says, oral sex, while risky, is not the same thing as penetrative sex.

what did i do instead? i hung out with all my friends. i lazed by the pool (and got a giant peeling sunburn on my tatas). i explored the campgrounds with my cabinmate match and we ended up out by the susquehanna river. and oh yeah, i got dragged around by a hole in my face at the petting zoo. DEFINITELY doing mermaid play as much as possible.

so yeah, camp was successful for me. i got to see my friends and make many delectable new ones. and the comedown wasn't as bad this year, due in part to the fact that i am now gainfully employed monday - friday. w00t.

i'm really glad i was able to pull off having a (mostly) celibate good time at camp. i see myself heading in a different direction with the scene, and i'm happy that i feel comfortable developing stronger platonic friendships within the alternative lifestyles community.

i've also been rereading the spiral dance, which has been interesting. i see the first half of the book as being much more relevant to my book club than the last half, but i've enjoyed seeing how starhawk uses a sex-positive approach to un-demonise natural sexual tendencies and form a healing and accepting new religion. i don't know that i'm interested in bringing wicca back into my life at this juncture but i've started taking an atheist approach to paganism that has been satisfying. still trying to figure out when the next book club meeting will be - i'll announce it here for anyone who wants to participate!

it's strange how much i'm changing right now. i mean i'm only 22 but i thought i had things largely figured out at 20.

i don't know that i've mentioned going off the pill. i initially decided to go off the pill so that i wouldn't have any more excuses to have unprotected sex. it's been SUCH a head-trip. for one thing, i've noticed that my libido's gone down significantly. it makes me wonder how much of my participation in an alternative lifestyle, and how many of my more risky choices within that lifestyle, was fueled by an inflated libido and a decreased sense of personal responsibility caused by my going on the pill. i'm not trying to demonise either taking the pill or engaging in an alternative lifestyle, but i do know that had i known more about how the pill would affect my behaviour i may not have started taking it.

where does that leave me with the scene exactly? i still do consider myself polyamorous, but i may be taking a step back from the casual-sex aspects of the scene. maybe i'll pull a kinkster and get really good at one particular kind of kink, and stick with that. who knows. one thing i am trying to do is have more open discussions with fellow kinksters about ethics within the non-monogamous community.

so, september's been a productive month, at least mentally. i may be a slacker but i've got some good ideas. now it's just a matter of updating this blog more than once a month!

Monday, September 1, 2008

for those reading along...

the book we're reading this month is the spiral dance by starhawk. one of the first and most powerful neo-pagan texts published, starhawk's classic calls for a renewed connection with the goddess and the feminine in nature. i haven't read it in awhile, and it will be interesting to reread it through the lens of sex-positivism. when and whereabouts of the next book club meeting tba!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

word of the week: STIs

reintroducing this feature after a laziness-induced hiatus, i'd like to tackle a weighty subject in the non-monogamous community. this week's word, or acronym, is STIs.

just in case you've been living in a nuclear fallout shelter for the past fifty years, an STI is a sexually transmitted infection. STI came to replace the acronym STD, or sexually transmitted disease, because labelling something as an STD tends to carry the assumption that the condition being so labelled is permanent. hence, STI became the umbrella term for any condition, permanent or not, transmitted by sex or sexual activity.

what's the number one risk factor for contracting an STI? i'll tell you: it's having multiple partners. that's why it's been consistently disappointing to me that STIs are still a somewhat taboo topic within the non-monogamous community. considering how willingly we'll discuss the entire A to Z of sex, study every fetish in the playbook and harp on people both within our community and without for propagating prejudiced viewpoints about being non-monogamous, it bugs me that we're not only unwilling to fully tackle the subject of STIs but also unable to find ways of including those with acknowledged STIs in our community.

so i'd like to clear the air around this subject. if we really want to practice ethical non-monogamy we have to do more than offer a perfunctory overview of possible STIs. we have to acknowledge that all sexual activity, and especially non-monogamous sexual activity, carries a certain risk. this isn't high school anymore, and we can't afford to delude ourselves that our lifestyle is completely free of potential obstacles.

case in point: i came away from camp last year with two STIs. the first was trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral STI - even more common than chlamydia. why is it so common? let's break it down:
1) men are asymptomatic.
2) symptoms in women tend to be mild, if they're present at all. (i first treated myself for a yeast infection before deciding to consult my gynecologist.)
3) you can get it by sharing a towel with an infected person. let me repeat that: YOU CAN GET IT FROM A TOWEL.
i'm lucky i'd done some reading up on trich before i came to camp, so i at least knew what the hell it was. most people who get trich have never even heard of it before!

i also found out that i have HPV shortly after my first camp. to be fair, i probably didn't get that one at camp - had i not compromised my lower immune system with the trich infection, i probably would not have symptoms to this day. in fact, i'm willing to bet that whoever gave it to me didn't even know they had it. how's that? well, let's clear the air: 80% of all sexually active adults - not just non-monogamous adults, but ALL adults - have HPV. i think that bears repeating:

80% OF ALL SEXUALLY ACTIVE ADULTS HAVE HPV.

to put that in perspective: 20% of all sexually active adults have herpes. that's 1 in 5 people who have herpes, and 1 in 5 people who DON'T have HPV. to be fair, the CDC pins the statistic at 50%, but my gynecologist says that's a conservative estimate: many people who have HPV will never display any symptoms.

now, nobody sat me down and told me this when i entered the scene. i only found out after i was diagnosed that, if condoms are used, most people will not disclose their HPV. which is all very well and good - except for the fact that condoms don't always protect against HPV, particularly when symptoms such as warts are present in an area that condoms don't cover. i myself have not always disclosed my status to casual partners when condoms were involved, and it disappoints me that i didn't always acknowledge what many regard as a considerable risk factor before breaking out the latex. i'm definitely not the worst offender in this regard, but it is an area of my behaviour that i regret.

frankly, i think that non-disclosure is a paradigm that needs to change - for the good of both those with STIs and those without them. we need to break out of this stigma in having and acknowledging an STI so that the people who live and play with them feel comfortable disclosing their status to partners who may not yet have an STI - or may not yet be aware of the full consequences of being sexually active.

so what can we as a community do differently? first of all, we need to stop shaming people with STIs into not disclosing. we can do this by being more welcoming of people with STIs - not just the small, curable stuff, but also the bigger things like HIV. we need to encourage people to be open and honest about what they have in addition to getting tested on a regular basis. we also need to acknowledge that sex, and sexual activity, is not and can never be completely risk-free - even if condoms are involved.

and how can we include people with STIs in the non-monogamous community? well, we can start by encouraging people to play together without having intercourse. there are so many things two people can do together besides sex - there's jerking, fisting, toy play, BDSM...the list goes on. and people with STIs need to be up front about what they can and cannot do. for example, oral sex, while still somewhat risky, is a viable alternative for people with certain permanent STIs. hell, i've heard of gay partners where one guy has HIV and the other one doesn't, and the negative guy feels comfortable going down on the positive guy. non-monogamy doesn't have to involve sleeping with everyone you meet.

finally, what can completely clean people do about STIs in the community? well, you can ask questions. a lot of them. you can disclose your status up front and demand that your partners do the same. you can place boundaries on what you do with new people - and you can come up with alternative sexual activities in the event that a partner has an STI. but most of all, you can educate yourself on the many different STIs that are out there, and you can sit down with yourself and figure out how many risks you are willing to take in order to lead a happy and sexually fulfilled life. because STIs are risks that you have to deal with as a sexually active adult, non-monogamous or not, and you shouldn't let the prospect of getting one scare you away from fully exploring yourself and your sexuality. we can't keep STIs a secret in this community, but just because we're open about the risks doesn't mean we have to live in fear.

Monday, August 25, 2008

camp!

a while back i signed up for my 2nd year of summer camp. actually, i was the 30th person to sign up. overeager much?

i'm super psyched about going, especially since all my friends are signing up too! i know it's gonna be a kickass time, and that i'll probably get into more trouble than i will all year. i already have a few evil scenes planned out in my head.

but this year, my goals in going to camp are different. last year was my first camp and, let's face it, my aim was to lay as many hot people as possible. and wow did i meet my goal, with some of the raunchiest and most fun sex i've ever had.

this year, though, i'm in a different place. i'm in a place where i want to see stronger ties within the community. i'm in a place where i want to see more personal responsibility, more ethics and more thought put into sex itself. i'm in a place where i want to see deeper platonic connections between people, and sexual connections that don't necessarily end in sex. i'm in a place where i want to explore all that it means to be sex-positive, welcoming of new connections and respectful of old, and throughout fully responsible and honest about what i can and cannot do.

to that end, i'm going to sex camp with the intention of abstaining from actual sex. i'll definitely be playing with people, both sexually and in a bdsm context, but i want to be able to forge strong platonic connections that don't rely on actual penetrative sex. this is an area i've always had trouble in, and i think going to camp with these boundaries clearly in place will enrich the experience this time around.

my first time at camp, i wanted to be free to have as much sex with as many people as i wanted. this time, i want to be free to form connections in the sex-positive community that aren't predicated on sex. we'll see how THAT goes...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

sex-positive book club TONIGHT

are you a sapiosexual perv in the dc area? if so, you should totally come to our sex-positive book club tonight at 7! bring a book you want read and discussed. this is our inaugural meeting and your chance to get in on the ground floor of sexyfuntime book-reading! email me at desirecollective[at]gmail[dot]com for the address. see you there!

Friday, August 15, 2008

floating world

check it! avah and i are teaching a class at floating world this weekend! it's called "the naughty drawer," and it's all about marital aids. with demos! come check it out! OR I WILL CUT YOU

Thursday, August 7, 2008

the sex-positive book club?

so yeah, i haven't been good about my WotW feature. boo.

but i have an idea, for all you east coast sex-possies. anyone wanna start a book club/discussion group? it would be based in dc but be friendly towards membership for sex-possies in other cities.

we'd read one book a month, or every other month, and meet to discuss. besides the reading, we would also host discussions on sex-positive ethics - both regarding sexual behavior and relationships. it would be like sex ed for adults, geared towards younger people but inclusive of everyone.

if you'd be interested in something like this, leave a comment or drop me a line!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

mermaid

this is still a picture blog, dammit!

Friday, July 18, 2008

word of the week: jealousy

welcome to word of the week, wherein i take a word and explain how it relates to the safe, sane and consensual non-monogamous community. and today's a good one! this week's word is jealousy.

having been involved in, and privy to, more than my fair share of polydrama, i know a little something about jealousy. a lot of people in the non-monogamous community think jealousy in a polyamorous relationship is a myth, much like het people view bisexuality. well, my answer to both is the same: it does exist, deal with it. (in the case of het people sometimes i throw in a "fuck you" too, just for posterity. it's annoying to be told that your orientation doesn't exist.)

during my first forays into non-monogamous dating, i hit some stumbling blocks with jealousy. either my partner could not accept that i was sharing my body with someone else, or i felt displaced by a newer rival. the former, for me, had an easy solution. i've always disclosed myself as poly at the start of a relationship, but one particularly bad relationship with a monogamously-oriented guy led me to my my-way-or-the-highway rule: if one of my partners can't handle the fact that i will be sleeping with other people, i break it off. immediately. i've learned that it's best to end an incompatible relationship immediately after its fatal flaw manifests instead of waiting until you have to threaten to file a police report to get your shit back.

but what about when i'm the jealous one, i hear you ask? (humour me, the two people who read this blog.) let me tell you a story. about 1 or 2 months before i went to my first dark odyssey event, my primary relationship at the time imploded due to a perfect storm of jealousy, emotional insecurity, and a wicked STI scare coming from the source of my jealousy and insecurity. (we'll get to the scare in a later post.) yeah, it was mostly the guy's fault - had the amount of time he spent with me stayed the same or increased while he was initiating his new relationship, i may not have responded the way that i did when we found out that our sexual health was under threat. however, it was also partially my fault - had i taken the time to discuss my concerns with him, instead of bottling up my emotions and then lashing out at him when i felt vulnerable, he may have been more sensitive to my needs within the relationship.

jealousy can be difficult to work around, but it can also be a great way to open a discussion about your relationship. as anita wagner taught me at spring fire 2007, jealousy typically masks deeper problems in a relationship, such as lack of couple time, emotional distance or feelings of inadequacy. so now, when i find myself jealous of a partner's other partners, i ask myself why the other relationship is getting to me and whether or not i can make immediate changes in my behaviour to improve our relationship.

it's also important to ask questions if your partner appears to be jealous of another partner. the relationship may be working well for you, but perhaps your partner wants something more - more time to be together, greater intimacy or just a small reassurance that they occupy a special place in your life.

ultimately, i find that reassurance in general is the best way to combat jealousy. polyamory and nonmonogamy in general can be fraught with obstacles and drama, but the knowledge that this is the right lifestyle for you, and the reassurance that your partners love and trust you no matter who else they're seeing, goes a long way towards fighting the green-eyed monster trying to have a threesome with you and your partner.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wot2W: procrastination

but seriously folks, i = lazy suxx0r.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

word of the week: friendship

welcome to another edition of WotW, wherein i take one word each week (even though this took 2 weeks - Wot2W?) and explain how it relates to the safe, sane and consensual non-monogamous community. this week's word is friendship.

now this is a tricky one, in part because there are so many different kind of friendships in our community. the main difference that i've found between friendships within the non-monogamous community and friendships in society at large is that our friendships are much more likely to feature a sexual component. beyond the glib "friends with benefits" label that is used to describe casual sexual relationships without any deep emotional attachment in general society, our friendships may in fact feature a very strong platonic connection coupled with occasional to habitual playing, which may lie in both the sexual and the kink realms. even with platonic friendships, i find that there is relatively less discomfort in seeing our friends in a sexual manner than i have witnessed among my heterosexual monogamous friends, particularly among straight men.

i've also noticed that i consider my platonic friends as important to me as my lovers and have just as strong a need to see them happy. i make as much time to see my friends as i do my partners, whether or not there are sexual elements to our friendship. if i see that a friend is not fully engaged at a play party, i try to talk to them and bring them into the action even if we don't habitually play. if a friend is having trouble with their partner i try to lend them an ear - even if their partner is a mutual friend. it's important to me to make sure that my friends are happy.

perhaps the most enlightening thing about making friends within the non-monogamous community has been to observe these friendships' effects on my play and on my relationships. when i first encountered a larger scene, my focus was firmly on sexual validation - for the first time ever, i was surrounded by a large number of people who approached sexuality in the same manner that i did, and it was important to me to take full advantage of that fact. i wanted to feel cared for, sure, but most of all i wanted to feel sexy and desired by everyone.

as my friendships grew, the drive to be sexy for everyone diminished. in fact, i began to place more priority on not being sexy for everyone - i learned how to set firm limits for myself as far as what i would and would not do with a casual partner, something i've always had some trouble doing. i found myself surrounded by beautiful, supportive people who enabled me to explore myself and my needs within the community without feeling the pressure to be sexual with them. in short, i found myself being cared for, and in turn i started looking out for my friends' needs as well.

friendships in the non-monogamous community may appear many ways and serve many purposes, but i feel that their most important function is that of affirmation. our friends enable us to navigate the difficult and often disheartening path of living an alternative lifestyle with the knowledge that we do not have to do it alone.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

word of the week: ethics

okay, i obviously don't have enough sex to keep this puppy updated on a regular basis ( ;-) ). and i have a few photos i wanna get up but am too lazy to edit. so i've decided to start a new feature. i'll pick a word every week and describe how it relates to the safe, sane and consensual non-monogamous community. this week's word is ethics.

now this is obviously a broad topic. a discussion of ethics in the non-monogamous community could take all night. there are even different kinds of ethics: there are sexual ethics covering basic rules regarding sexual behaviour including whether or not to sleep with someone on the first date, how to best negotiate asking for what you want and when to disclose an sti; there are kink ethics revolving around the negotiation of a scene, disclosing and respecting of hard limits and how intimate you have to be with someone before you trust them in a scene; and there are relationship ethics entailing how to communicate your relationship needs, how to set boundaries and how to be involved with multiple people at the same time without hurting one of them.

as someone who has attempted to practice polyamory for her entire adult life, i find the last type of ethics particularly interesting. to be honest, despite coming out as non-monogamous when i was 15, it's taken me awhile to really be able to make a polyamorous relationship work. as with sexual and kink ethics, my relationship ethics have evolved with time. i've experienced my share of errors, either perpetrated or received, within polyamorous relationships, and i have evolved ways of avoiding or minimizing those errors.

before discovering groups like dark odyssey and becoming involved with a larger east-coast polyamorous community, i had to negotiate my relationship needs and boundaries largely on my own. it's hard being polyamorous in a mainly monogamous culture; i felt like a broken record explaining myself and defending my sexuality to my early partners (which is frankly the reason why i don't date straight men under 30 anymore - they never quite seem to get it). more than one of my partners couldn't handle in practice what they accepted in theory. the freedom to see whomever they chose was quickly eclipsed by the realization that i may be spending the majority of my time with other people, and because they failed to articulate their needs at the beginning of the relationship it usually ended in a fireball of fail.

i have also been that person on the other end, watching in frustration as my only partner devoted their time and attention to other people. i've felt the shame of not having my sexual needs met by a primary partner, as well as the jealousy towards a new rival which masked the growing alienation in my own relationship. i've been both places within a non-monogamous relationship: both the heartbreaker and the heartbroken.

yeah, it's been a journey, one that has often had others, and sometimes even me, questioning my lifestyle choices. but i've settled on polyamory as my orientation because i decided, early on, that i wanted relationships based on mutual respect instead of mutual restraint.

right now i have several rewarding relationships, both platonic and non. i have strong platonic relationships with both men and women, which since puberty i have had trouble developing (something about polysexuality and hormones?). i'm at a place i've wanted to get to for a long time - comfortable and happy with myself and those in my life. and i attribute that to the development of a personal relationship code of ethics.

for one thing, if it becomes clear to me that someone is exhibiting feelings towards me that i do not reciprocate, i back off. i'm not saying i'm always good at doing this - i've been known to leave people in limbo, and that's kind of a bitchy thing to do. but i don't allow people to form a serious attachment to me under the mistaken assumption that i reciprocate their feelings. (unrequited lust is another thing entirely...i'll always be a heartbreaker.)

i also try, early on, to communicate my needs, desires and boundaries in the relationship. sometimes it can be hard for me to talk about my feelings, as i was raised to be non-demonstrative and don't always enjoy being the first to take a relationship risk. but if i like someone's company and want to take the relationship further i try to clear up more time to be with them and hope they will do the same. i listen to them and learn what they like and don't like, and if conflicts come up i try to sit down with them for an open discussion of what we can both do differently so that problems don't arise again.

i'm rapidly discovering that open communication, whether or not it's face to face, is the key to a successful open relationship, and while it seems like such a no-brainer i see relationships suffering for lack of it all the time. i see people who bottle up their emotions and "cope" with relationships that hurt them, and i see people who refuse to listen to those they love or find solutions to recurring relationship problems. it's interesting, and frustrating, to see people repeating behaviour that i myself experienced and exhibited earlier in my adult life.

but then again, i'm also discovering that everyone develops their own ethics within the non-monogamous community. sometimes it takes awhile to discover how someone else operates, and it can be disheartening to discover what you would consider a fatal flaw in their ethical practice (i'll cop to not always being the most high-minded polyamorist). but it can also be great to learn something new from your partners: a new way of talking about what you want and working through difficulties, a more creative way of negotiating a scene, a better standard by which you decide what you do with whom. because the biggest thing i've learned so far is that non-monogamous ethics are constantly changing, evolving, getting better - and bringing new people into our community.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

holy shit.

rest in peace, deborah jeane palfrey.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

$0.02

in general, i don't keep up with the ongoing and increasingly rancorous debates between the radical and raunch schools of feminism. as someone with a desire, however impossible to achieve at this juncture, to start a paradigm-shifting pornsite that in the course of my sitting on it will probably be started by someone else and done better (wehh...), and as someone who has openly led a non-heteronormative sex life since i hit puberty, i pretty much just tune the dworkin-quoting radicals out. for the simple reason that they frustrate the everloving hell out of me.

an illustrative anecdote for your benefit: my last semester as an undergrad, i took a graduate course i talked my way into on the sex industry stocked predominantly with women's studies masters' candidates. this class met once a week in the afternoons, so i would typically rush into class a few minutes late after having spent too long in the experienced and highly capable arms of marcus, braless and flustered in a low-scooped wifebeater and asshugging jeans, to face a room full of people in buttoned-up oxford shirts and below-the-knee skirts writing their thesis on the cutting-edge topic of stripping and/or street-level prostitution with the central assertion being that these two professions (gasp!) exploit women! and here i was having just fucked a male escort who LOVES his job writing my research paper on an analysis of popular and award-winning adult films to find out whether acclaimed titles that people actually want to watch can be said to be violent and exploitative towards women. most fun research paper ever. got an A in that class.

point being...i had/have a different perspective than most of the people who get into studying sex work and pornography, and while the people in my class were all lovely people we had to sit there and read a lot of bullshit from radical feminists who, when talking about street-level prostitution initiated primarily by dirt-poor drug addicts or abuse victims in parking lots or hourly hotels, extrapolate this very specific research to cover all forms of prostitution: brothels, legal or not, where prostitutes are given a safe space to work; escort agencies where clients are vetted and bodyguards and chauffers may be employed; even completely independent escorts who operate at an in-call location they themselves pay for, who vet their own clients and have the complete power to deny access to their bodies as well as earning all profits from the transaction.

what's even sillier is that the radical feminists studying survival sex on the streets then go on to say that watching sex on a screen in the privacy of your own home is just as exploitative as sex for hire. i agree, to some extent, that pornography can be exploitative, but this i put down to a faulty labour model, a set of protocols that many directors feel must be satisfied in order to deliver a "complete" product (ie the cumshot) and a business model formulated by men which assumes that the final consumer of the product will also be a heterosexual man. however, in addition to ignoring the alt-porn phenomenon we have seen in recent years, radical feminists talk suspiciously sparingly about gay porn made for a homosexual or bisexual male audience, bisexual porn made for both men and women, female entrepreneurs and directors in the adult entertainment industry (hello, audacia ray) and even lesbian porn made for women by women! because any adult film with female performers, even one whose final consumers will be female, inherently exploits women. riiiiight.

so yeah, i tune out the radical feminist argument. because frankly, i think it's completely wrong. i think they make the mistake of conflating a specific set of issues surrounding certain types of survival sex work, issues like labour standards, illegal trafficking and target audience, with symptoms of a central "problem." then they ignore all evidence that contradicts their preciously-held viewpoint, even when their moral crusade infantilizes female sex workers by not only assuming that they had absolutely no agency in getting into sex work, but also by refusing to talk to them!

case in point: the recent panel discussion on pornography at william and mary, which i didn't tune into until about a week before it was scheduled to happen because, let's face it, we've heard the abolitionist argument a million times before and sex-positive activists usually aren't let within a hundred feet of a podium, such is the way the world works i'm used to it. what caught my attention was this post from renegade evolution, who had been scheduled to be on the panel but, at the time of this post, was uninvited from presenting at the behest of one sam berg, a radical feminist who reacted to "threats" made by ren on her blog by leaning on the organisers to get her off the panel. a move thinly veiling the frequently-encountered radical feminist desire and impulse to silence the perspectives of sex workers and sex-positive activists.

reading back, one comment on that post was particularly prescient. "You realize that if she can't get you off the pannel [sic] she'll use that as an excuse not to show up, right?" i had pushed this conference to the back of my mind out of this-is-the-way-the-world-works frustration, but thanks to viviane (who also linked to ren's post) i stumbled on this response to a guest post that sam made on a cohort's blog. funny story - as it turns out, both sam and one of her colleagues bailed on the panel, leaving one person to defend the abolitionist viewpoint in a forum that sam herself had deemed dangerous! how amusing. so when the radical feminists don't get their way, they boycott any meaningful debate in service to continuing their moral crusade with minds uncorrupted by differing viewpoints.

a very interesting note which illustrates my point perfectly is the fact that laurelin disabled comments on sam's guest post with the following lovely vignette:

Edited by Laurelin, She of the Short Fuse: to the sex pos-ly inclined who suddenly love my blog sooooo much, you’ve had your say elsewhere. Now here’s 50p my dears- go phone someone who gives a damn. No-one who is stupid enough to think they can patronise me gets space on my blog. Now run along!


now isn't it just so nice to be able to stunt free and open debate when people start saying things that contradict what you think. and telling us "sex pos-ly inclined" peeps not to patronise her in the most patronising way possible. what a great way to engender free speech and mutual respect in the feminist community!

it's also worth noting that as of this writing both posts written by raunch feminists that i've linked to still have their comments open, even as the debate descends into the predictable and previously-mentioned rancour that accompanies the 2nd- vs. 3rd-wave feminist debates. makes me happy knowing which side i'm on. even if i've stopped reading the comments.