Identity

This post arises from the happy coincidence of two books I have been reading recently, books which, at first sight, don’t seem to have much in common. The first is Maya Angelou’s “See How The Caged Bird Sings.” We discussed it this morning at the monthly Birmingham Feminist Book Club. Part of a wide-ranging discussion revolved around literature as a means of self understanding, this arising from Angelou’s won discussion in her book of what reading the classics of English literature, and especially, Shakespeare, meant to her, and how she was able, by engaging with the texts, to make sense of her own experience.

This was a concept that was made real for me a couple of years ago when I was a volunteer buddy for a Community Interest Company that worked with adults experiencing mental health difficulties, in particular by encouraging them to read literature and sharing their experiences. To get a flavour of what they did I was invited to attend one of the meetings. We were reading Rose Tremain’s novel The Road Home. The group consisted of people of varying ages, many of whom lived in considerable isolation, an isolation made worse by anxiety and phobias. Some of them only left the house for the weekly meeting in a local library. Most of them had little experience of serious reading. From the discussion, however, it became clear that the book was opening doors for them and all of them were able to use the text to make sense of their own lives, at the same times bringing their won experiences to bear in interpreting the text. As they talked they gave me new insights into the book. This experience was both illuminating and humbling.

These experiences and thoughts are particularly relevant to the other book I have been reading. This is an anthology called Identity, whose contributors all attended the recent Eroticon conference. I have to declare an interest. I was one of the contributors. But that is now why I am writing about it. The content is pretty eclectic, some of it personal reminiscence, and painful reminiscence at that, some of it fantasy, some of it opinion, some of it seriously hot, you know, the stuff you read one handed.  And then there was Meg-John Barker’s piece on erotic fiction as means of self understanding which got me reflecting again on my own identity, or in this case my sexual identity and what it means to me. This short essay was in my head as I read the other pieces and enriched my reading experience.  This really is as a wonderful anthology and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Erotic fiction has changed my life. I really don’t know why, one day in 2012, I felt the urge tio write a story about a carer in a elderly person’s home who has a relationship with a gay man whose carer he is. Other stories followed. I went online, I set up a Twitter account, I read voraciously, I discovered Eroticon and became part of a community. And a new Eve emerged, an Eve who is kinky, bisexual, who is proud to know sex workers she can call friends, an Eve committed to the freeest possible expression of human sexuality (subject to consent). In short an Eve I could not have imagined even existed only 6 years ago. It is through erotic literature that I have discovered what was previously latent, and been able to articulate it.

The main protagonist of my first story was Eric, an Oxford graduate who had been jailed for “gross indecency” in the dark days before 1967 and who experienced late sexual joy with a younger man. I killed him off at the end as the younger man had to move on and make his own way as a gay man in a different age, but acutely aware of the debt gay men, indeed all of us who are in some way not heteronormative, owe to those who suffered for daring to be different. I made sure, however, that Eric died happy, at peace with himself. I knew then that I owed him that. I know now that I owe him much more.

Breaking the Mould

It was good to see you again, even a furtive glance across the aisle of the supermarket. I would have come and said hello but you were with your wife. Little does she know how much she has to thank me for. You smiled and I am sure I saw your trousers bulge, and saw you turn away to rub your groin. I imagined that gorgeous cock, imagined the foreskin drawing back, imagined the pre-come staining your boxers. Admit it, you still lust after me. I shop at the same supermarket at the same time every Saturday. Next time you see me come over, I’ll slip a card with my number into your pocket. I’ll leave my hand in, feel your cock again. You won’t refuse me will you? I want to be fucked by you again.

Well I know you think we tricked you but that was never the idea. I had worked my first day the previous Thursday and nobody had picked me when we came into the lounge to smile sweetly and introduce ourselves. A whole day of sitting around and making no money. A day wasted. So we talked about how to get me work. It was Natalie the other Thursday girl who suggested we get plaster casts made of our vaginas. That wasn’t entirely fun I can tell you but we thought it would be a novel idea. Instead of us coming out one by one to introduce ourselves we would put the plaster cunts on a table for the clients to choose. You chose me because I was the biggest. You greedy boy! You have a massive cock and when it’s big and throbbing and the foreskin is pulled back to make it look like a mighty oak, well no girl could say no. You needed a deep cunt to get it all in. And mine is deep and soft and welcoming. It had just been a little underused lately. I had heard all about you from the other girls and I felt my heart leap with, yes, joy, when you chose Cunt Number Four. I was going to get the best fucking ever and, better still, I was going to get paid for it.

I remember vividly the shock on your face when you saw me for the first time. I had on a lycra mini a tight pink top that showed off my magnificent tits in the best possible light and, my patent leather boots were to die for. I am a beautiful woman, men lust after me, I know, one client told me about how he printed off my photographs from the parlour website and wanked over them until they are covered in come which he then rubbed all over his body before kissing the pictures. That’s how it is was once I had become known. I wasn’t then. You didn’t know my little secret when you chose my cunt; that I am in a wheelchair.

As I wheeled myself out into reception you knew but it was too late for you to change your mind – that was the deal.

‘Hi I’m Delilah’ I said and you bent down to give me a peck on the cheek, your eyes drinking in my tits as you did so.

‘We’re in the downstairs room. It was built for disabled clients but it’s mostly my haunt.’

‘But I’ve never………you know………I’m not sure………..’

I smiled. You probably didn’t see. I know how good I can be with the right man. I knew that you too would end up wanking over me, moving your hand surreptitiously to your groin whenever you saw a pretty girl in a wheelchair.

‘Not sure of what?’ I asked, ‘of how to fuck a cripple? Now seems like a good time to learn don’t you think?’

I rolled down to the room and you followed me. You looked at me suspiciously and said

‘Can I fuck you just like I do the other girls?’

‘Of course you can honey, in fact I want you to, I’ve heard about your cock, a thing of beauty, a thing of wonder. I want you to thrust it deep into my pussy. In fact I want to start with a bit of oral without, and you can have that for no extra charge. I want so much to suck that cock. You won’t regret choosing me. I’m good, very good. ‘

You took your clothes off and approached the chair. You were tentative, unsure how to handle a disabled girl. I used my arms to slide forward on the chair and you climbed on, resting a knee either side of my thighs, wedged in tight, and not for the first time. Your cock was already starting to harden as I gently pulled you towards me and I took it into my mouth. You responded,  moving forward until I had all of you inside me. I began by whipping the tip with my tongue then sucking on it before with swift movements of my head working my way backwards and forwards along the shaft. You began to purr and moan. I whipped again with my tongue and felt your cock swell and harden further. I sucked again and you came, and the warm creamy fluid filled my mouth. I swallowed some and said

‘Kiss me big boy.’

Do you remember how you bent down and our mouths came together and our tongues intertwined as I let your delicious juices flow from my mouth into yours. As you pulled away you swallowed and I smiled as I watched the last few drops dribble down your chin.

‘I’m good aren’t I?’ I said and you said nothing but kissed me again running your fingers through my hair, fingers sticky with your come, and I said

‘Naughty boy you’re making me smell of sex.’

You said simply.

‘I want to fuck you.’

I saw the desire on your face, saw the cock hard and proud.

I took out a condom and asked

‘Chair or bed?’

This was where I could see that you were a first timer with a girl like me. I slid forward a little further in the chair, lifted the skirt and showed you my shaven cunt. Suddenly you knelt before me and began to worship my pussy with your tongue. I reached down to part the labia with my fingers and you worked your tongue inside before moving up to lick my clit. Your eyes were closed, you were in a world of your own. What were you imagining? That I was whole? That you could fuck me into a real woman again? I couldn’t tell you that I was unfucked since the accident and that I worked for sex, to be able to feel I was a proper woman again.  I had waited many months for this moment and was determined to enjoy it.

I felt nothing but became excited at my cunt receiving such devoted worship. I saw your cock, hard and swollen, ready for action.

‘It’s nice on the chair.’ I said, ‘something a little different.’

‘Take off my boots.’ I felt a note of command in my voice. I detected the urge to submit in your quick gesture of obedience, saw your cock get harder still.

You did too and as you admired the gleaming patent leather, the towering heels you began to dribble.

‘You have to be patient. I don’t get naturally wet. We need to lubricate you. Put the condom on and pass me the bottle.’

As I massaged the lube onto the condom you stiffened again and began to moan. You were gagging for it. I slid forward a little more before releasing the back rest. I was now as helpless as in a dentist’s hair, my cunt completely open to your probing. You slipped in easily and I was soon enjoying the jolting. That’s the best bit when you have no feeling below the waist, the jolting, the warm breath, yours was sweet and the look of desire on your face. You pumped your way in and out, in and out and I breathed you in, enjoyed the jolts, and prayed that the brake on the chair was secure.

Then you began to talk,

‘A cripple and a whore, a cripple and a whore. And so beautiful,’

Soon you had ejaculated into the condom and pulled away, panting.

‘I want you on the bed now’ you said.

‘Then you’ll have to help me.’

You picked me up, so big and strong, yet so gentle and laid me on the bed. You pulled down my lycra skirt, as I wriggled out of the top and I lay naked and helpless before you.

You stood over me.

‘Broken and beautiful’ you said.

You had prepared the bed with a heap of pillows under the small of my back. You parted my legs and I suddenly felt vulnerable. You knelt up over me and I watched your prick grow one more big and hard. It began to swell, and the angry red tip surged through the parting foreskin. You began to dribble and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had seen since becoming paraplegic. You slipped a condom on and said

‘Most men don’t like doing it with a rubber but I do. I love the feel of the rubber against my skin..’

I didn’t say anything about how vulnerable I felt, my useless legs forced apart, my cunt open to your probing. But I knew one thing as I watched you come down on me, as you drove your huge cock into me, with just a touch of lubricant, I knew that I was desirable, I knew that I was all woman, as if I could ever have doubted and when you began to thrust and move in and out with quick fierce rhythm I felt nothing but the jolting, the fierce jolting and I was sixteen again, losing my virginity on the back seat of a Ford Cortina. I grabbed your hair and pulled your head down roughly, you winced with pain as your face came close to mine as I felt your breath and you felt mine.

‘Kiss me’ I commanded and you did, our mouths locked and our tongues entwined and all the time you thrust in and out in and out.

‘I’m so fucking hard’ you said ‘I could keep this up forever.’

Then it was over. You withdrew holding the condom in place as you did so and removed it, shrivelled and full of come, placing it in a tissue which you placed on the bedside table. Then you lay down next to me panting heavily.

‘I want you to wank all over me’ I said.

You were soon back on your knees astride me working your cock, moving your left hand up and down the shaft then kneading the end like dough with your fingers. You had come twice already and it was clearly going to take time. Then it happened as you leaned back straining and your hand worked faster and faster until suddenly you pulled the foreskin back and your hot creamy fluid squirted out onto my breasts. It was a lovely feeling and the sight of a man wanking over a woman still turns me on. On my first day in the brothel I had watched through a peephole as the other girls went about their business and learned. I saw men wank over girls. That was all some of them wanted and I remember the look of wicked delight on Natalie’s face as come rained down on her. I wanted that to be done to me and it was beautiful when you did. Then you came down on me again and licked and kissed my breasts. I felt the nipples harden, this I could feel and you took the nipples in your mouth and pulled and sucked and I thought

‘Who is the client, who is servicing who?’ and I was wondering what we would do next when the receptionist knocked on the door. I looked at my watch and saw that your time was up.

When you had gone and I counted out the money you had left I felt a real woman I felt a proper whore. I was a cripple, I was a prostitute and I was proud of it.

And that was it. You never saw me as a client again but together we had achieved a first, my first paid sex my first sex as a cripple and your first time with a girl with a broken body.

I heard you starting coming regularly on my days off, but never on my days on. I don’t know why, I had hoped you might become a regular. But I heard you had developed a thing for disabled girls and soon enough you married one. But if you knew how to fuck a girl in a wheel chair and make her feel special, that was down to me. I made you the man you are. You made me a woman again. For that I’ll always be grateful.

I continued working at the parlour for another year. I was soon in demand. I found out how many men fantasise about disabled women. I had a whole load of wheelchair pics done. When clients told me how they sat in front of their computers wanking over me I was sure that I was becoming wet. The doctor told me it could never happen. But it does, I feel a prick going in now. Doctors haven’t healed me. Sex has. Sex will make me whole. And you started my healing.

I saw you again the other day, wheeling your wife through the shopping centre. You looked so happy together. I really wanted to come over and talk but knew it wasn’t right even though I no longer sell sex for a living. It’s surely better that she never finds out about us.

I keep the cast of my cunt on the mantelpiece. I look at it often and think what a wonderful thing it is to be a woman, how beautiful it was to be a disabled whore, I think of all the men whose cocks have been in me, hundreds of them, and I know my cunt is beautiful. I think too of  how, together, we broke the mould.

Police and Thieves

This is a post I originally published on the Everyday Whorephobia blog two years ago. Following  the criminalisation of clients in Northern Ireland it appears that the flawed arguments of the sex work prohibitionists are enjoying a second wind. They remain however deeply flawed. One of the flaws is the naive faith in the police as agents of”rescue”. Melissa Gira Grant, in her book Playing the Whore, discussed how the police are themselves a major source of violence against, and exploitation of sex workers. Here are some more examples.

POLICE AND THIEVES

We can argue theoretical points all day, about women’s right to bodily autonomy, about whether sex work can really be a free choice in a patriarchal society and so on, but some of the most important issues connected to the criminalisation of sex work are essentially practical.   Are the laws enforceable and who will do the enforcing? It is with the second of these that serious questions emerge.

It has been said that a good police force is one that catches more criminals than it employs. The British police certainly aren’t doing too well on that score at the moment. We have heard stories from Sweden about police harassment of supposedly non criminal sex workers. The Swedish police, by the way, are those nice people who gave Joan Smith a free tour of night-time Stockholm in exchange for an advertising spread masquerading as critical journalism.

A three hour ferry crossing from Sweden is yet another country where the police can’t be trusted. That country is Poland. Here are a few examples of how the Polish police treat women, sex workers and otherwise.

A woman accused a policeman, a friend of the family, of raping her. Several months later she has been interviewed several times but her alleged attacker remains on active duty and has yet to be interviewed. The investigation is focussing on blood tests carried out on the woman, aimed at determining whether she had taken substances that could have caused psychological disturbance and so lead her to make false allegations.

On 9th June this year a 27 year old woman was stopped by a traffic policeman in a southern Polish town as she drove her car. She was tied up with masking tape, raped and had her mobile phone destroyed to prevent her calling for help. At least this case is being taken sufficiently seriously for the alleged attacker to have been arrested.

A senior officer of the Gdansk police was caught carrying out a sexual assault on a disabled 14 year old girl. He has been arrested and suspended from duty but a statement from the press office of the Gdansk police expresses ‘disbelief’ that he could have done such a thing.

Outside the city of Bydgoszcz in North West Poland sex workers stand by a busy road leading to the German border to attract clients among the thousands of lorry drivers who pass this way each day. They are offered “protection” by the local police which means, in effect, free sex in exchange for being left alone.  Some of these sex workers are so fed up with all this that they have gone to the press. One told a journalist that she had had sex with and given oral to one particular policeman on several dozen occasions, usually in the back of his patrol car. This man evidently has a uniform fetish as he makes her dress in his uniform for sex. A reporter who had been seen taking photographs of a policeman forcing himself on a sex worker was stopped and held for over an hour to be breathalysed and have his car checked. When he complained to the local police he was told that these enhanced controls were part of a new campaign to stop pimping and trafficking.

All this happens in an EU member state. Poland is probably no worse than many other countries in the way the police treat women and sex workers. Those who favour criminalisation should answer this question. You will be giving men like these even more power to harass and abuse women. Is that what you really want?

Lord Morrow and the Balloon Man

Last year I blogged here about a Midlands sex worker called “Katie”. I was reminded of her this week when I read about the new clause that has been added to the Northern Ireland Human Trafficking Bill. In the course of the interview my friend conducted with her she talked about clients who come to see her for things other than penetrative sex. In particular she talked about a regular client she calls “The Balloon Man.” He sees her once a month for half an hour. He blows up half a dozen balloons with which Katie rubs him down before bursting them with her long finger nails while he lies on the bed and masturbates. No penetration takes place, in fact there is not even any direct physical contact between sex worker and client. Anecdotal evidence suggests that clients like Balloon Man are not unusual.

This is a problem for the prohibitionist zealots. If you are going to enact a law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services you need to have a robust definition of sexual services. Even Lord Morrow who one imagines coming from a background where they do it in pyjamas with the lights out has realised that there was a potential gaping hole in his pet legislation and he has now, late in the day, moved to close it via Amendment Ten to Clause Fifteen which adds the following to the definition of sexual services:

“B touching B in a sexual manner for the sexual gratification of A, B being physically in A’s presence.’

With the unspoken assumption that A will manually stimulate bellend C resulting in emission D which can on occasion have a pungent smell but is, it seems, acceptable to ATVOD. But I digress.

There are obvious difficulties with this. If, as Lord Morrow seems to believe women are trafficked to touch themselves sexually on the presence of clients, can they  not also be trafficked to perform on webcam, which the amendment specifically excludes? And then we come back to the definition of touching in a sexual manner. How is that to be defined? Is it only touching the genitalia? Or anything erotic? Consider how many men must have masturbated over this since 1946.

Will Lord Morrow now be adding a further clause to stipulate how women may remove their gloves in the presence of men? Defining sexual is, it seems to me, like catching a bar of soap in the bath,  ever elusive. Attempts to define legally what eludes clear definition can only lead to bad law, and what generally follows bad law, function creep. Providers of domination services, for example, may be targeted under this clause. It was apt to start this piece with a fetish since it is in the nature of fetishes that some people find various things sexually arousing that most others don’t. Fetishes lay bare the incoherence of attempts to define in legalistic manner “sexual”. They are a manifestation of human sexuality in all its joyous anarchic diversity. If the new moralists start trying to plug every gap in the law as it appears we will soon have left sex work and trafficking behind and we will be looking at what many believe to be the real agenda: an attempt by religious fundamentalists aided and abetted by people who should know better, to bring the police back into our bedrooms. Remember that what is happening in Northern Ireland today may yet happen in England. Not that Lord Morrow had anything to fear. He always has the lights out.

A Sex Worker Set in Stone

Wroc_C5_82awski_Teatr_Lalek___wej_C5_9Bcie_jpg-seoThis is a picture of the Puppet Theatre in the Polish city of Wroclaw. The fine neo-Baroque building was built in the 1890s when the city was called Breslau and belonged to Germany. It was originally built as a sort of Chamber of Commerce building and there is an interesting story behind the two stone figures who hold up the entrance portal. The left hand one is of a topless woman and few of the people who use the building know that she is a sex worker.  ,

The sculptor had a deeply religious wife who was uninterested in sex. He became, therefore, an habitue of the city’s brothels and a regular client of a beautiful young sex worker called Maria. It is, perhaps, not a good idea for a client to fall in love with a sex worker but that is what he did. This besotted man made plans for them to go away together, to marry and to live happily ever after.

Sadly these plans came to nothing as Maria was murdered by another client. This led paradoxically to her being immortalised in stone by the grief stricken artist and for 125 years she has looked down on German businessmen and Polish theatre goers who have no idea of her sad story.

An interesting tale but what is the relevance to today? Firstly it shows that, despite what some campaigners say, not all clients are callous and uncaring people who see sex workers as nothing more than objects with orifices. Secondly it is a reminder that sex workers, then as now, are at risk of violence. Perhaps the gaze of the statue is, too, a look of reproach at the zealots who would make the lives of her twenty first  century sisters so much more dangerous.

A Few Wishes for 2014

2013 was a strange year for me. It was a year in which I met online a whole range of new people and was exposed to a number of debates of which I had only been dimly aware. The whole experience was educational, stimulating, absorbing, at times fun, at times deeply depressing. It might have been even more depressing but for the fact that  haven’t spent a lot of time on Twitter recently and missed out some spectacular fights. What I wish for 2014 is:

For me personally to continue to learn about my sexuality and enjoy my sexual self. I have recently begun to explore this in new ways and may blog about it in due course.

To meet some of the people who have inspired me. I know that at least four of them will be at Eroticon in March so that may be sooner rather than later 🙂

To learn how to make Polish poppy seed cake properly.

For everyone else:

I wish everyone the right to enjoy their sexuality as they please without condemnation from others, subject only to the fundamental condition of consent.

I wish it to be recognised by all women that being sexually submissive does not make a woman a doormat of the patriarchy

That anybody freely choosing to earn money by providing sexual services is allowed to do so, without condemnation, criticism and without others claiming to speak on their behalf.  I wish too that the Europe’s politicians see the propaganda for the ‘Swedish Model’ for the fraud it is.

That trans people are respected and accepted for who they want to be.

That issues can be debated and discussed without the rapid descent into personal abuse that has marked much feminist debate in 2013.

That our Bulgarian and Rumanian friends find a warm welcome and that anyone thinking of voting UKIP sees the benefits of having such hard working and enterprising people in the country and take their vote elsewhere.

That we have an end to moral panics about pornography.

I would have added England winning the World Cup but that’s a bit too much to ask for isn’t it? So I’ll settle for wishing that England’s cricketers avoid the Ashes whitewash that has looked inevitable. Which reminds me – late to bed again tonight!

Friday the 13th

This year has flown by and it is hard to believe that Friday 13th has come round again.  This is, of course, the day on which we are asked to declare our support for sex workers as Maggie McNeill reminds us here. Events in the last couple of weeks have demonstrated yet again the importance. Labour MEP and Swedish Model advocate Mary Honeyball has been particularly vocal, starting with her ill informed article in the Independent on 25th November and followed up with a quite mind boggling performance on BBC Woman’s Hour when she kept telling us about all the research she had done, seemingly blissfully unaware that her opponent in the studio discussion, Belinda Brooks-Gordon is an academic expert in the field who has done, one would expect, more, and more rigorous, research. I’m sorry Mary, but reading pieces by Melissa Farley and PR handouts from the Swedish Embassy wouldn’t constitute research at most academic institutions that I am aware of. Then she was at it again in yesterday’s Guardian. in a piece that included a comment from Kajsa Wahlberg, the Swedish Police’s Whorebasher in Chief that anyone who speaks out against prohibition is part of a pimping propaganda machine. Do you include in that, Kajsa, your professional colleagues in Northern Ireland  who have submitted a detailed and well argued response to the Stormont consultation on the new Trafficking Bill, in which they oppose the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients?

The intellectual argument has been won by those who oppose criminalisation but the prohibitionists are refusing to go away. Like members of a cult they cling ever more fiercely to their beliefs, that sex work is ‘violence against women’ and that ,there are hundreds of thousands of sex slaves in the brothels of Europe, even as those beliefs are exposed as absurd on matters of fact and logic. They are dangerous because they have the ear of politicians of all political colours.  There are major battles ahead. Today I just want to show my colours again and say

‘Sex workers, I support you in your fight,’