The Prostitution Thing

Prostitute is not a word I like. When used about those who provide professional sexual services it is heavy with stigma, used either to convey contempt or to imply that the person is a helpless victim in need of rescue. It is often used too by lazy journalists. Take the case of the professional dominatrix who was for six months in a relationship with the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale. and who was described as a whore, a Miss Whiplash and so on.

Now most people who are reading this don’t need to be told that the job of a professional dominatrix is in many ways much more complex than that of a full service sex worker. She needs clothing, equipment, and specialised premises. She also needs skill and experience to engage in the various activities safely, Above all she needs empathy and psychological insight.

In saying this I do not want to be seen as driving a wedge between pro dommes and other providers. . although one pro domme (a lady for whom incidentally I have enormous respect) once upbraided me in an online exchange for comparing pro dommes to escorts when I referred to them as hex workers. I felt this comment was unfair. I had never suggested that she, or anybody else for that matter, had sex with clients.

There are reasons for thinking too that the rigid demarcation on some people still see between domes and escorts is anyway quite recent. The distinction is I think quite recent. A couple of years ago I found a fascinating article about the world of professional domination written in the early 1990s, just before the internet emerged as a real game changer for those who provide professional domination services. The piece was illustrated by ladies’ cards from which it is clear that, at that time, many dommes also doubled up as escorts.

But I think the key point is this. All of us who engage in BDSM are expressing an aspect of our sexuality. This very much includes the clients of pro dommes.  A pro domme I spoke to once put it like this..

“I do consider myself a sex worker. OK I don’t actually have sex with clients but it’s all about making people come isn’t it?”

The term sex worker embraces a large number of service providers many of whom do not have genital sex with clients and indeed some, such as webcam girls, may never even physically meet their clients. Melisa Gira Grant in her book Playing the Whore had no hesitation in making the connection. And this is surely right. The attacks on sex workers, the demands for the criminalisation of clients for example, need to be seen in the wider context of attacks on sexual freedom, for example the attacks on mainly BDSM porn and the creeping demands for ever more draconian internet censorship. These are attacks on all of us with alternative sexualities. So the next time someone proposes a law to criminalise the purchase of sex remember…..you and I could be in the firing line next. Get out there and make your voice heard.

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Bathroom Balls

This week the Foreign Office took the unusual step of issuing a leaflet aimed at travellers to certain states in the USA. Unusual because this sort of thing is usually only done for countries  with repressive political systems and/or cultural norms very different from our own, essentially to help people not get into difficulties with the authorities. This leaflet is intended for transgender people and is necessary because the legislators of some southern states find our genitals really fascinating.

Now in all the years I have been using communal toilets I have yet to have sight of anyone’s genitalia. And, like most people, I am not interested in what people have between their legs unless they happen to be sexual partners which, I can assure you, is a small minority of the people I interact with. Yet, there are those who take a very great interest in what people have between their legs, particularly if they are trans. Some US states have enacted laws obliging people to use only the toilets corresponding to their birth sex which, if it were to be enforced, would mean that everyone would need to submit to a genital examination before being admitted.

This is not, of course, about bigotry…..really . We are told it is to prevent embarrassment and to protect women from sexual assault since, apparently all trans women are rapists. On the first point it is hard to see what embarrassment could result since all trans people of any gender use cubicles, And as for the second point, it is beneath my dignity to engage with it.

So ladies this could mean you have a man in a suit and a hipster beard walking in or a petite feminine lady in a dress using the gents, which in some cases, would expose her to risk off assault. But if trans people are to be denied rights, hey let’s do it properly.

And this is not just about the law. Most trans people who use the toilets corresponding to the gender they identify with have felt uncomfortable at some time. Some of them may try to avoid using the toilet at all when out, which is not a good thing when you’re having a meal washed down with a few drinks. It is no coincidence that trans people of all genders suffer an above average incidence of urinary tract infections.

This whole episode says most, however, about the people behind it. Do they feel threatened by us? Why? If they could look beyond the ends of their noses, or whatever other appendage they have, they might see that the open acceptance of trans people can be liberating for everyone both inside and outside the bathroom.

Not Losing My Religion

Philip Larkin once wrote that, if called on to construct a religion, he would make use of water. When I construct a religion I will make use of kink. For the two have much in common and not just because the word itself comes from the Latin for tying or binding. I mean, if we are talking domination and submission it doesn’t really get more domly than being an omnipotent being does it?

Religions do things like imposing chastity on their adherents, setting tasks, prescribing bodily positions, respectful language, and if, like me, you were brought up a Catholic, there are few things that evoke BDSM rituals more vividly than the humiliating ordeal of confession. Add in the attractive aesthetic elements of Catholicism and you have something that just cries out to be twisted into a kinky parody in the way that much BDSM practice consists of high ritual parodying power relations, reproducing them for pleasure.

Reproducing religious ritual in a BDSM context is something that I find a massive turn on. And here is a fantasy I want to share with you. .

In the dungeon I become a Goddess. I walk among submissives of all genders, who at My approach, bow their heads and genuflect. I take My seat on the throne and they kneel, take out their rosaries and pray to Me

“Hail Mistress” they intone in a rhythmic monotone as clouds of incense rise up, partially obscuring Me from their adoring gaze. Then, one by one, I summon My worshippers to the darkness of the confessional where they bare their souls and tearfully lost their faults and the myriad ways they have failed to please Me.

Crushed and fearful they listen as I impose the penance of lashes with the whip. The others, yet to confess are forced to kneel and watch as I secure the sinners to the cross and write absolution in a criss cross pattern of agonising stripes on their back. I experience a deep joy that explodes into ecstasy as they beg for mercy (there can be none) and scream with pain.

By the time I have punished and forgiven each one the dungeon is silent except for occasional muffled sobs of pain and shame. My arm aches from the effort of cracking the whip time and time again. I am spent. But one ritual remains.

I call out one of the faithful, make him kneel before the altar, hand clasped in prayer. I lie on the altar throbbing with lust and desire. When ordered he will climb up, will pleasure Me, swallow My juices in the sweetest kinky Eucharist and then come down and take Me, his Goddess, all his for the next few minutes of Paradise.