Love and Sex

Dispatch from the California Stripper Strike

Dispatch from the California Stripper Strike

The rumblings of revolutions begin small

In all radical labor movements, history is made when ordinary workers disrupt the system that seeks to exploit and silence them. Because of social stigma, wage theft, and sexual assault, the strip club has always been a difficult and dangerous work environment. Today, the stakes have reached a desperate tipping point, even though, technically, thanks to a recent court ruling, we have more legal rights than ever: we have the right to discuss the job while on the job, the right to organize and gather, and the right to unionize, which will give us a voice in the workplace—instead of only a body to be gazed at.

A Family Affair

A Family Affair

Sometimes we don’t know our limits until they have been breached

Sex work has helped me define and enforce so many new boundaries I have set up for myself: physical, sexual, emotional, and mental. I did not have these facilities when I was younger, but as I began working as a Domme, I saw that such boundaries were vital to this industry. Even in the realm of fantasy, so much of what we do feels real to our clients. Oftentimes, it feels real to us too, even when we know that it is happening in a small compartment of fantasy—even if that small compartment is on display to a consenting audience witnessing a full-on shit storm inside of adult diapers.

How to Build a Hookers Army

How to Build a Hookers Army

Developing a self-defense system for sex workers requires more than compiling a list of techniques that can be performed in close proximity, in heels, with nails, or in a car. It requires a philosophy of self-love for sex working populations that asserts our right to bodily autonomy and self-protection in a culture that treats many of us in media and in law as disposable people.

The Remainder

The Remainder

He knew the sympathy he felt was a kind of trick

As Guy walked back to the compound now, his flashlight stabbed into visibility tunnels of the night woods, tangents along his curving path. Somehow at every step it was surprising that there wasn’t anyone but him in any of the tunnels. Like everyone else, he had fantasies of his own of living for himself in the years that were remaining — of giving up law, in his case. The trouble was, the remainder might stretch for as long as a century; no one knew. And Guy had reached the age past which it is no longer in one to become a different person, not even one’s true self. 

The Freezer Door

The Freezer Door

Every gay bar is an accidental comedy routine

Nobody is innocent, says the ice cube. You’re not as experienced as you think you are, says the ice cube tray. Experience isn’t everything, says the ice cube. What else is there, says the ice cube tray. Feeling, says the ice cube. I don’t understand, says the ice cube tray.

The Dead Live Longer

The Dead Live Longer

My dead ex-friend had a beautiful, long neck

Her mother’s prophecy struck me as a terrible, sinister curse: You, daughter, will die before me. The curse of a miserable woman who should never have had a child. A daughter. A Greek curse, though I don’t know of a Greek tragedy with that in its story. Here is a daughter cursed by her mother, who becomes a curse to her friends. I wasn’t alone.

On Tinder

On Tinder

The strength of my desire, previously unknown to me, feels overpowering. It also feels necessary, which means that it is dangerous.

As soon as I hang up, every movement feels curiously weighty. Things somehow mean more than they used to. I sit for a while, feeling the rug under my legs, then slowly wash my face and feel the water bead on my skin. I stare at the bones of my face in the mirror, and I look shadowed and unrecognizable. A liquid warmth spreads through my body. I complete the assignment.

What Good Is Love?

What Good Is Love?

Something wants out

He eats, cuts more. A thick coin of marbled purple slithers across the counter and over the lip to the floor. He scoops it up, gobbles. Five-second rule, he says. She stares at the tiles that haven’t been mopped since they moved in: Are you looking for food poisoning? Don’t believe in it, he replies, setting his bottle back on the squid stain. I don’t endorse your obsessive fixations, he says, turning back to his spitting pan, tossing in a ring and tentacle to test the oil’s heat. Charlotte arrives at last, via Uber, straight off the flight, fashionable, strangely neat, with a hard little mouth.