Sex, socialism and sanity without safewords
Just when you think the forces of swerfdom have reached peak batshittery something comes along that is so jawdroppingly bad that your ideas about just how much you are hated for selling sexual services have to be reevaluated. For this to happen twice in a week is the reason many activists, and simply sex workers like me who have an opinion, avoid anything in the mainstream about sex work. You quickly run out of spoons when the constant refrain is rape, rape and a sprinkling of racist neo colonial hetronomative patriarchy.
The first moment of peakness this week was one most people who follow this blog will be aware of, a radical feminist calling for the rape of sex workers in order to punish them for advocating for decrim. Of course she claims that is not what she meant, she was actually calling for the rape of the “pimp lobby” to punish them for advocating the decriminlization of sex work. Yes, she thought that distinction made it OK.
The second peak moment was in the Guardian yesterday where a restaurant critic wrote a piece so badly researched that she is unaware that sex work is legal in the UK. This lack of basic knowledge didn’t bother her, or the editors of the Guardian. After all she knew something none of the rest of us did, that legal sex work means state sponsored gang bangs on every high street!
At first sight these two things may not seem related, except by the thought of how do people so stupid manage to breathe and walk at the same time. They are of course linked by the underlying assumptions of the writers, about sex workers, women, and that most powerful three-letter word S.E.X
The pimp lobby is a term that swerfs love. By it they mean anyone who advocates anything but the full criminlization of sex work, it includes the UN, WHO, Human Rights Watch, the Quakers, the NHS, the UK police, and of course every individual sex worker who doesn’t like the idea of their job being further criminalized and advocates for the removal of sex work regulation from the criminal to the civil sphere. We are all, and especially the sex workers, pimps.
The idea that a woman, and for the purposes of this I am writing about sex workers as being cis women, as that is who radical feminists are talking about, (trans men and women,non binary people, gender queer people and male sex workers simply don’t exist) is incapable of advocating for her own rights may seem sexist in the extreme. However it is what swerfs are saying when they use the term pimp lobby to silence and discredit us. The reason they are not able to imagine a woman advocating for sex work is that troublesome three-letter word again, sex.
It goes to the heart of this that the Gold article sees a gang bang as the very worst thing that can happen to a woman. Now I have to put a disclaimer here, I love group sex, and I think I know slightly more about it than Gold. The thing about gang bangs, or group sex in general is that the men are an irrelevance. Oh as a group, people with cocks are important to a heterosexual or bisexual gang bang, although events which are only open to people who Id as women exist, and are great fun. Lets talk about the kind of event Tanya Gold finds so offensive though.
At a conventional gang bang the role of the men is to please the woman, nothing more, they need to be able to perform in from of other men, harder than you might think, and be able to stay hard whilst wearing a condom. They are reduced to their genitals, that’s the point. If I attend a greedy girls night I don’t want to chat and get to know people, I want to be fucked in every hole until I reach a point of satiation and satisfaction. The men serve my needs and my desires, that’s how gang bangs work. They of course get to orgasm, hopefully, and may have their own fantasies fulfilled. For many men a woman revelling in sex, breaking patriarchal norms of “Good” behaviour and acting in a way that says I want sex, I love sex, and I will have sex, is incredibly hot. Patriarchy tells us all that women dont really want sex, that they engage in sexual transactions for love, or babies, but not for the pure joy of fucking.
Both Angela Love and Tanya Gold have absorbed the patriarchal view of sex, of it being something so alien to a womans enjoyment that any women claiming to do so must be either fake, lying or a victim of false consciousness. We cannot actually be telling the truth and must therefore be the pimp lobby, that shadowy cabal that controls every sex worker who does not scream victim hood. They like the victims because they fit the accepted view of female sexuality, a woman can be forced to do such things, but not choose them, she can be raped but not an individual with agency and autonomy.
Of course not every sex worker enjoys the sex, it is irrelevant to labour rights. However the antis are not interested in the many nuanced conversations we have around sex, sex work, consent and the importance of bodily autonomy.( A feature for some sex workers is they feel orgasms whilst working crosses a line of autonomy, I see it as a benefit, neither view is right or wrong.) Nuanced conversations about sex challenge patriarchies hold however. Women must be put into a neat little box of whore or Madonna, and there are no other options available. For the fallen woman, the only acceptable form of sexual woman to patriarchy and its cheer leaders like Gold and Love, acceptance comes if their has been sufficient suffering. It is noticeable that the swerf puppets like Moran have nothing but unrelenting violence and abuse to say about their time selling sex. They must show sufficient suffering to be allowed a voice, to receive patriarchies forgiveness for breaking the rules.
These fallen women are no more representative than someone like me who loves being paid to orgasm, but that is not why they are paraded before us in a stalinesque show trial. Their job is to remind all women that if they step outside the rules they will be punished, and that acceptance only comes when you repent publicly of ever daring to act in a way the handmaidens of patriarchy disapprove of. When Angela Love called for the rape of sex workers she was simply following Burchill who called for our execution for collaboration. After all if women went around being in charge of their sexual transactions what would happen to the world?