Thursday, January 3, 2008

things I should have thought more about before I said them # 2,456

This is a tough one. The last girlfriend I had was, among other things, performing sex acts for money with men. Because I have the background that I have with prostitution and with sex work in general, I really thought I'd be okay with it.

So I volunteered to run the cameras and to provide supervision as the domme. I still have the CDs, in fact.

It turns out I either have a hidden puritanical streak or there was something in the relationship I still haven't processed well enough, because it bothered me. We went, on a road trip, to LA to film porn (and being on the set of even a small porn production is an interesting experience) and it bothered me less than watching her perform sex acts in a small setting, even though I liked the guy. (He was the single most respectful john I've ever met.) There was something about watching her scream (even though I knew she was more performing than enjoying, though she did make him adjust to engender a better time for her. I knew that the arched back and the noise, the moaning and the way she smiled were all services, and the extent that she enjoyed them was deeply mitigated by the fact that, while they had known each other for five years, they had a financial relationship that could not, no matter how friendly, help but commodify to some degree, even though the the conditions were as good as they could have gotten and I understood them, there was some part of me that was troubled by what I was seeing.

I have issues, in a general sense, with my own queerness, which did not help. As much as I love relationships with women (and apparently over half my best friends growing up did too; damn it, I could have been getting laid for a long time back with women who I cared deeply for), the fact that it is an intensely dangerous experience troubles me. We do not live in a culture that allows lesbianity without some cost; it attracts attention to love the woman you love, and that attention can be lethal when it is not belittling, exploitative or abusive.

Add being a professional domme, going to men's hotel rooms with a giant duffel of sex toys dressed to the sinister nines, and you have a recipe for my paranoia going off like a demolition derby with police cars.

I began to wonder if she always remembered to put our personal toys elsewhere, to wonder if she ever thought of me while she was doing what she was doing, or of them when we slept together. The body remembers, as I know very, very well. The separation between what is a transaction and what is an exchange is a fine line. And I'm enough of a putz to wonder if she was faking it for me.

Yes, I'm a putz. I know I'm a putz.

I don't think I was ready to see her do that. I don't think I was ready to have our relationship be the subject of porn (which it was. We did some photo shoots that would have curled your hair, dear reader.) But mostly, I could not shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen. Our profession, while the least physically invasive example of sex work I can think of (at least for me, but I am a sadist and prefer to beat and not to be beaten, and there was never enough money to make me fuck for it), is still a profession that receives less support and more degradation and punishment than any other profession I can think of. I have had a life which has rewarded my paranoia and viciousness with my continued survival. Every night we went out to a bar, or walked hand in hand, or entered a hotel lobby dressed like the sinister equivalent of a gangster and moll (I wore the suit), the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I was genuinely afraid for us.

Chalk it up to my damage, if you like.

But I should definitely have thought longer before volunteering to be the camera girl/domme for my own girlfriend. I have some serious trust issues, but I wanted her to be safe. She would find this condescending, I think, but you never know what the fuck is out there.

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