it really IS different in San Francisco

I was just reading this interview about sex work and punters back in San Francisco, where the market is more challenging... Since some of you have asked me about the business in SF, it's like a little snippet of what it's like... enjoy!

I'll say though, so far, my punters here in London and Edinburgh have been politically stimulating, smart, successful, willing and excited about challenging gender roles and stereotypes, have been willing to try lots of new things, and are genuinely interested in me enjoying myself as a Top. I've been pleased and impressed. Good on you guys!


male privilege, desperation, or both...?

I just came home from a night shift at my volunteer gig. My last call was one from a man who wanted to discuss his budding interest in men. Ok, I figured. We talked a bit about how he came to this conclusion- he had watched porn and decided he wanted to be in the "female" (read: bottom) position during these sexual encounters. He then decided he needed to wear makeup in order to fulfill this role. I challenged his belief that he needed to "be the woman" in order to bottom to a man, and we talked for about 35-40 min without incident. Sure, once in a while he'd describe in a little more detail about the scenario he was hoping for, but he seemed genuinely confused about his gender and preference of role, etc.

Then I realized he was WANKING.

I got fairly pissed off. He said "can you just stay on the line and listen" and I wanted to scream "how DARE you!" How dare he put me in that position, how dare he waste my time, how dare he use a charity to get his jollies because he's too cheap to call a phone sex line. And, especially, how dare he, a hetero man wanting to jerk off to his fantasies, take time away from people who have Problems.

And then I thought about it. If you're skint, or unsure about whether it's fantasy or reality for you, it can be hard to figure out who to call. I mean, we have the San Francisco Sex Info line in SF, but in London there's nothing for people over 19 or so looking for sex ed help or questions about fetishes, etc. Phone sex is usually women and men who aren't trained, and may or may not be able to sort your issues.

I feel conflicted. I mean, it's still angering, a bit, because it's not ok, but it's also unfortunate that there's no phone line to help people like this, or the man who called last week about a domestic violence call (his wife was beating him), or any of the other men or women who happen to be straight but are still in non-normative situations, sexuality and relationship-wise.

The more time I spend volunteering, the more I'm desperate to stay. There's a lot of work left to be done here, and I honestly feel like I can help do it. I don't know what the answer is, but I have an idea of the questions...


on the fringes of Ladyfest in Edinburgh

So I went to Edinburgh, with the intention of working for a couple of days and then chilling out doing vacation-y things.

I stayed in a lovely flat that I'm quite pleased with, made some good money, and moved into my couchsurfing host's flat feeling ready to be lazy. My host was running something called "A Dialogue on Sex Work", and I was going to tag along and learn a little on how things around sex work were going within the feminist community in Scotland. They had broken off of the Ladyfest schedule, as the money raised from Ladyfest was going to Zero Tolerance, which seeks to eradicate sex work completely (including pornography) because it's violence against women by nature.

Then, it turned out that the speaker from London hadn't gotten a ticket yet- so they asked me to speak. With 3 hours to prepare, of course I said yes. ::laughs::

So I stood there, in my Lusty Lady t-shirt, speaking out about being a sex worker, a punter, a watcher of porn, and a feminist. Only one women seemed like she wanted to rip me apart- surprise surprise, she was from Zero Tolerance. She asked me if I felt that I, as a white middle class privileged woman, had a right to speak for sex workers. I pointed out that maybe she, as a white middle class privileged woman, didn't have the right to speak for all feminists. I also suggested that perhaps minority women, particularly sex workers, didn't come to these events since a) they never hear about them as the advertising isn't anywhere near where they are and b) they're WORKING GIRLS, and need to work hard to survive!

It was in some ways an excellent experience, in many ways a frustrating one. I see where things are at. I know that I'm just one girl. But I'm going to encourage my punters to be heard, as they're some amazing, decent, intelligent, stereotype-bashing, genderfucking men and they deserve to be the face of punters too. I'm going to blog extensively about these issues, the ones I heard at the event and ones I've been reading about in "Not For Sale", a book by feminsts against pornography and prostitution. I will write or edit my own if I have to, and will encourage men and women to read other aspects of sex work like "Working Sex" or "Sex Work". I will make zines. I will be out, and proud. I will speak up.

So watch this space, ladies and gents. It's on.


punters: please, come out of the closet, for all of us

I was in Edinburgh and did a talk on sex work and feminism.

I discovered that the study "Challenging Men's Demand for Prostitution in Scotland: A Research Report Based on Interviews with 110 Men who Bought Women in Prostitution" was inherently flawed, and that, if you were one of the punters who was interviewed, there is a complaint going to the NHS Ethics Committee about how the research was carried out.

You can read the rebuttal here- http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/reading.html#clients

An example of how the punters words were twisted-

"Another punter was a frequent prostitution tourist in Asia. He detailed the harsh conditions women were subject to in Thai and Cambodian prostitution. Exposing his narcissism and his sadism, he rationalised the commission of sexual violence against women and children.
'I don’t get pleasure from other people’s suffering. I struggle with it but I can’t deny my own pleasures. In Cambodia I knocked back a lot of children; it makes it hard to sleep at night. But I don’t see the point in making a moral stance.'" -http://www.genderberg.com/phpNuke/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=160

Never mind that in Scotland, "knocked back" means "said no to". The researchers didn't bother to clarify, they made assumptions. Assumptions about you guys.

The article I quote above also states, specifically about the men here at punternet-
"These men’s contempt for the women they are paying for (and by extention, all women) could not be clearer. They are deluded, self-important pricks. They are also rapists, but, hey, let’s not be too inflammatory here. No, let’s. They are rapists, and “masturbation man”, who just came right out and said if he’s fed up of masturbating on his own, he’ll go out and buy a woman to masturbate into, admits it, whether he knows it or not."

This is why it's important for you to speak up and speak out, anonymously or not. You need to make yourselves heard, both for your own sakes and the sakes of the women you meet. Currently the climate is moving closer and closer to criminalizing clients, which will mean that WGs like me will be stuck with clients who don't care about the law. This will create a dangerous situation.

I listened to a group of women tell me that I had no agency and no choice, that all penetration was violent, that I was being raped. I listened to them tell me that punters had no respect for me, or for women in general. I listened to things like what the Herald said:

"Extensive interviews with 110 men between the ages of 18 and 77 who had paid for sex found that prostitution adversely affected their behaviour towards other women, and one in 10 said they would go as far as committing rape if they were not caught."

I know this isn't true. Most of you, I should think, know this isn't true. But as long as you stay silent, you will be turned into monsters.


jumbled thoughts

-It's funny to look up a blog called "PostModern Courtesan" and have it pop up with career building sites. There's not really much in the way of skill training for sex work yet, unless you do it undercover... though I will say, ethics and speech gives you an edge for sure.

-Heart of Gold, Firefly- "Every well-bred petty crook knows that the small, concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting." Hah!

-Note to self- lunchtime bookings seem to be a lot of book-then-cancels, so don't take them seriously til they book via the system. Not that I'm bothered- I feel perfectly content as I've already covered my expenses- but it's something to keep an eye on.

-About to watch "Memoirs of a Geisha", and will likely blog about what I thought- I read the book, which was all right, but I hear this is another falling-in-love-with-a-client sort of thing. Meh. We shall see.

-Ok, again, there's this whole "What, you think geishas are free to love?" thing. I forsee a blog about sex work and love.


Roxanne, and the Moulin Rouge

"We have a dance in the brothels of Buenos Aires. It tells the story of the prostitute and a man who falls in love with her. First, there is desire. Then, passion. Then, suspicion. Jealousy. Anger. Betrayal. When love is for the highest bidder, there can be no trust. Without trust, there can be no love. Jealousy, yes, jealousy will drive you mad."

"The show must go on, Satine. We're creatures of the underworld. We can't afford to love."

-Both quotes, from "Moulin Rouge"

The thing that strikes me about this movie, though I love the musical numbers, and the costumes, is that Satine, as a high class courtesan, is somehow ruled by three men- the Duke, the writer, and her manager/pimp.

The Duke and the writer both believe they have claims to her- the Duke, in some ways, I feel is more honest, as he's clear about feeling that he's bought her body, asshole-ish though that is. The writer feels as if he owns her because he loves her, and when that turns out to not be the case, he publicly humiliates and degrades her, causing her to try to win him back (?!?)

As much as I like the prettiness of this movie, that really horrifies me. How does THAT demonstrate Beauty, Truth and Love? Satine spends most of the movie trapped in the chains of male privilege and jealousy, and somehow, because Christian is the "hero" of the tale we're supposed to be pleased that he gets the girl in the end, even if it's just for a moment.

Now, before you say "god, Kitty, it's just a movie!" I just want to point out that this confirms what the media keeps saying to us. This suggests that sex workers cannot afford to love, can't do anything but offer up their bodies for meaningless sex, because we're sex workers and it's part of the job.

Somehow being in this industry people expect you to resent and dislike your work and the clients you have. Clients expect that you won't really enjoy it, that you're lying to them. Everyone expects that you can't have a partner of your own, a lover, because he wouldn't "allow" it, or would "rescue" you from it. Or he'd be violently jealous. That jealousy, usually male jealousy, we're encouraged to watch out for and be scared of. And when a sex worker gets beaten, raped, or killed, society blames the profession, not the attacker. That is in part what makes sex work degrading- I feel sometimes as if, as a sex worker, I'm both expected to be in need of protection and also less than human- a creature of the underworld, as it were.

Granted, I've never had a punter that made me feel like a commodity. I never felt like I couldn't say what I liked or disliked. But I've also violently shaken off the chains of fear surrounding male jealousy, and am confident I can take care of myself. Not all women share that feeling. Hell, not all sex workers share that feeling.

Maybe that's why I'd saddened that when someone thinks of a sex worker in media, they think Satine or Vivian, not Inara from Firefly. Inara had what I admire in a courtesan, what I would like to see in the future of sex work. She had power in her own right, dignity, and had agency and then some. Clients didn't buy her, they petitioned her, and she chose from among them. If there was ever an example of the difference between a fee and a tribute, this is it. Why is that so rare...? ::sigh::


Hi, I'm a feminist. And a whore. Suck on THAT.

"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute." ~Rebecca West, "Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice," The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982


See, I had seen this quote before. had heard it before. But only recently did I know that "or a prostitute" was part of the sentiment expressed. Lovely.

Well, guess what, world. I'm a feminist and a prostitute. Yup, I peddle in sex and sexual expression. I spread it for money. I wear red lipstick and high heels and talk dirty. Sometimes I wrap my body in corsets and leather- like Bitchy says, I come wrapped, like a present. Or, to quote-

"Which is why sex working/burlesquing/wearing lipstick is somehow (mis)construed as *gaining* *power* because that’s where you get if you extrapolate far enough from female-worth = female-beauty. Even though nothing could really be less empowering than that central underlying fact that you are worth what men decide you are worth."


Unlike retail, where I'm worth what the manager of the company (usually male) thinks I'm worth, according to my resume. Or unlike my lover, who decides how much I and our relationship is worth through his or her commitment. Funny, I think in a consumerist society we tend to judge people on what we think they're worth an awful lot, whatever your profession.

But- sex work is older than consumerism. It used to be sacred. And honestly, if I was in an environment where my housing and food needs were taken care of in a quality way, and if I didn't need money to get by the way we do now, I'd be a sacred whore, doing it for the energy and the exchange, not for the money.

But I don't live in that society. I need to put food on the table. If I want to be able to improve my life and quality of living, I need to make moolah. I choose to do sex work, where I set my price myself. I say, "This is what an hour of my time is worth to me," and if a man disagrees, he calls someone else. That's ok. It narrows down who I see into a bunch of men who appreciate me in ways I would never be appreciated in the working world.

And I am sick and tired of having to explain that, yeah, I do all that, AND I support womens rights. Yeah, I do feel empowered. I put on my lipstick, not as an expression of femininity, but as a femme. I put on lipstick, not because I feel less sexy without it or because men insist (I don't see the sort of men who would, though they do exist). I put on lipstick as an accessory, a piece of armor that tempts and marks me as "other". Lipstick is just the beginning of how I mark you as mine, before I strike you or piss on you. It is part of my ritual. It is as much a part of calling down the Goddess for me as my bath or meditation before a session.

During my sessions, we tend to explore queer sexuality. Rarely if ever has it been about penis in vagina sex- men don't come to me for that, because I demand more out of them (and, Bitchy, it's not that I don't like being fucked- I do, but really, I need sex to be more interesting to be hot for me, partner or punter). I expect them to challenge their assumptions of what makes male and female, what is appropriate and what isn't.
We discuss and explore power- who has it, and how, and why. I enjoy demonstrating that penetration is not a male act, or even something only men enjoy. I enjoy discussing sex, and gender, and class.

And yeah, I also like sex, and I like sex with men. How does that make me less of a feminist? As a sex worker, I set terms, I create clear and defined boundaries. Sex work has taught me how to say "no" and stick to it. I don't see how that can possibly not be empowering.

Frankly, it doesn't really matter whether someone else wants to "approve" my feminism. I don't need anyone's approval. But I demand acknowledgment. I am a feminist, and a whore.

And I exist.


sex worker on the move! Edinburgh

"So" I said to myself, "I need a break. Clear needs a break. I'd like to go to Edinburgh. Hey, there's a sex work discussion going on end of May- why don't I go to that? And hey, while there, why don't I do some work?" Oh, self, you're brilliant. One day, 2 awesome Domme sessions with excellent people in this AMAZING flat that cost me only £50 a night for a two bedroom, two bathroom with kitchen and separate living room (dishwasher! dryer! I don't even have these in my flat!) , and my trip has been paid for and then some. I will feel cheated in hotel rooms from now own. This place really rocks my socks off- even though it's furnished in Ikea, it's in a way that really works, nice and minimal. There's SO MUCH SPACE. And I'm dorky enough to have made a video of it to remember it by. There's a TV and dvd player, too, and I can see the city from here. It's right by the water. And did I mention the space? At first, I felt lonely and small in here, but now I'm reveling in it. Only thing that's missing? A working enter key on my laptop. <3


sex work is not equal to immoral

I was on a forum where the poster was discussing how, if his daughter became a WG, he'd want to kill the punters. He said he knew this made him a hypocrite.

My response was as follows.

I became a pro Domme and then a WG because I hated retail. Yes, it was "more decent" by society's standards, but I was never that fussed with their morals anyway.

Instead of slaving away 20 hours a week as a food service worker or a retail worker, to get a barely livable wage, I work maybe 3-6 hours a week and earn at least half again more. This allows me some time to focus on my studies- I can read textbooks on the train as I go from a booking, for example, and I have a lot more off time.

As I enjoy my sexuality and that of others, and I can afford to pick and choose clients, I have a safe experience in the WG world.

Now, I think part of the reason I felt free and comfortable making this choice is because I was brought up to have agency and to make my own informed decisions. My parents know I do sex work, and support me doing what it is I love as long as I'm being healthy and safe as I can be about it. I'm grateful they know, because if something traumatic happened, I could discuss it with them. I don't have to hide, which in turns makes me feel safer.

But then, my father isn't the sort who feels the need to disembowl my male lovers for "violating his little girl". My mother enjoys attempting to embarass them, but that's as sinister as it gets. I would suggest you explore why you feel your daughters should not be in a position to make their own choices, why you feel these men you don't know are responsible for her choices, and reflect some on the fact that it's easier to strike out at the stranger than to calmly discuss things with the one you love. That sort of attitude is common, also, with cheating- it's easier to hate the other woman or man than the partner with whom you have an agreement, but that doesn't make it ethical.

When I look back on having been a sex worker, I will be very proud. I have had quality experiences with excellent men and women. I have helped disabled men and women rediscover sexual pleasure. I have helped men with erectile dysfunction find other sexual activities they can enjoy, and thus helped them relax enough to help with their erections. I have helped trans people understand their new genitalia, or come to terms with their current set. I have helped women find pleasure after traumatic sexual experiences, and reclaim their bodies.

How could I not be proud and honored to have been a part of that? How is that less meaningful to human happiness than being a lawyer?

I feel so strongly about this that I'm getting my PhD in Sexology. I've seen enough data to back up that sex is important and pleasure is good for you. It's healthy. And I want to help people reclaim their eroticism after eons of having it repressed. I'm sure others may not find that a higher purpose, and to them, I say- get a vibrator. ;)


I will add:

Dr Byron did make up for it a bit with the episode "Am I Normal" about religion, where she keeps saying "so, are you religious, do you think, or just crazy?"