Erotic provocateur, racially-influenced humanist, relentless champion for the oppressed, and facilitator for social change, Scottie Lowe is the brain child, creative genius and the blood, sweat, and tears behind AfroerotiK. Intended to be part academic, part educational, and part sensual, she, yes SHE gave birth to the website to provide people of African descent a place to escape the narrow-mined, stereotypical, limiting and oft-times degrading beliefs that abound about our sexuality. No, not all Black men are driven by lust by white flesh or to create babies and walk away. No, not all Black women are promiscuous welfare queens. And as hard as it may be to believe, no, not all gay Black men are feminine, down low, or HIV positive. Scottie is putting everything on the table to discuss, debate, and dismantle stereotypes in a healthy exchange of ideas. She hopes to provide a more holistic, informed, and enlightened discussion of Black sexuality and dreams of helping couples be more open, honest, and adventurous in their relationships.

Showing posts with label sex workers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sex workers. Show all posts

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Slut Shaming

There is this very false and detrimental belief among young people that anything and everything that a woman does is empowering and that anyone who critiques, evaluates, or disagrees with women’s collective behaviors is slut shaming and imposing rigid respectability politics rules in order to control and oppress women.  This concept is damaging and unhealthy not only to the women who get offended by any sort of critique of women’s collective behaviors but to the cause of fighting for women’s liberation and for real feminism. 

First, let’s CORRECTLY define what slut-shaming is and isn’t.  Slut shaming IS the act of placing an inferior or stigmatized status on women for the normal, healthy expression of their sexuality.  Slut shaming IS denigrating women for having pre-marital sex, for seeking out and using birth control, for having an abortion, or for having multiple sex partners.    Slut-shaming is telling women that they can’t have certain kinds of sex, that they are immoral or unworthy if they aren’t virginal and chaste, it’s the male-dominated society’s double standard that tries to shame women for being sexual.  Slut-shaming IS criminalizing women for their participation in prostitution and men getting a free pass.

What slut-shaming IS NOT stating that sex work/prostitution is not empowering.  Sex work is, in fact, participating in the objectification of women, it is reinforcement of patriarchal, sexist, misogynist, violent, abusive, degrading, demeaning roles for women.  One can condemn sex work and not sex workers.  Sex workers are women who feel that they have no other viable skills, that they want to sell whatever they have that men will pay for, they are all too often victims of domestic abuse, molestation, and unhealthy home environments that lead them to sell their bodies.  Sex work has been made out to be empowering because women are getting paid and, supposedly, the financial exchange, the fact that women have agency in their own objectification, is supposed to negate the fact that they are still being used by men as cum dumps, as things, as less than human beings.  Slut-shaming is not critiquing the entire hierarchy of the sex work industry that deems that blond, educated, surgically enhanced, articulate white women are sold for more than even her Black counterpart. 

This false notion persists that sex work is glamorous, that it’s getting paid to do what you do for free any way, that it’s taking advantage of men’s weakness, their stupidity, their willingness to part with their money for something as simple as a few minutes of sex.  The reality is, sex work is degrading, it’s dehumanizing, it’s not at all empowering.  Young girls are convinced that being a porn star or a stripper or a prostitute is easy money but it never is.  There is always a man pulling the strings, setting the price, demanding more than was negotiated for, taking out his frustrations, and treating ALL women like things he can use.  COUNTLESS documentaries have been made to chronicle the stories of women who said they got into porn thinking it would be easy money and how they got strung out on drugs and were forced to do 12-16 hours of endless gangbangs, how they suffered physically and ended up in the hospital with STDs and displaced uteruses and other horrific things because some porn producer or director kept pushing them to do more and more and then they didn’t get paid or got paid less than what they contracted for.  There are far too many women who have told horrific tales of being raped and beaten by johns yet the masses still insist that prostitution is empowering.  The trafficking of children is an alarmingly dangerous byproduct of prostitution and young women don’t seem to grasp that it is a very real consequence to the normalization of prostitution.  Critiquing prostitution is NOT slut-shaming.  Critiquing prostitution is making an effort to dismantle the false belief system that tells women that their most valuable asset lies between their legs.  Critiquing prostitution is trying to destroy the sexist mindset that allows men to think women are objects and things to be used and thrown away. 

Rationalizing that sex work is empowering is the equivalent of rationalizing that cutting or bulimia is empowering.  I am not shaming the women who cut themselves or who have bulimia, they are women led to self-destructive behaviors because of low self-esteem in a society that doesn’t value them or their personhood.   The solution is not to insist that cutting or bulimia is perfectly fine as long as the person doing it considers it empowering.  Sex work is the commodification of sex, of women’s bodies, it places a value on them for what they can do for men, how they can please men.  Just because women can get a purse or expensive pair of shoes from it does not mean it’s empowering.  This concept that money is the great equalizer, that if a woman can get paid, then that makes getting used by men just fine, great in fact.  The propagation of this false narrative that sex work is great because you get to sleep with a basketball player or a rapper and get to live this glamorous life and be wined and dined, and maybe even end up the Real Housewife of one of these men drives dozens of young women to doing cam shows, and then dancing, and then selling it outright. 

The false narrative is that sex work is no big deal, that it’s easy money, that women (or male or trans prostitutes) are taking advantage of men, calling the shots, that they are in control.  You are NOT in control of a male-dominated situation where men have decided how much they want to pay to use you.  Even for the less than 1% of young ladies who find their way to the Presidential Suite during All-Star Week, you are not setting yourself up to be in a healthy relationship, not one of your johns is going to see your value as a human being, they are not going to consider you a partner with whom they need to compromise, share, negotiate, or respect, you are an object, a pretty possession that can be replaced when the next pretty object comes along.  It is not empowering to perpetuate the concept that women have price tags on their pussies.  AGAIN, that is not slut-shaming the women who sell their bodies.  I am not saying that the women who sell their bodies are bad, sinful, shameful, wrong, dirty, despicable, or any other negative or pejorative term.  It’s simply stating that the system of misogyny and sexism that manifests in the sale of women’s bodies shouldn’t be validated or normalized because it’s not healthy. 

“Well, I know lots of women who just like sex and they do it because they want to, and they weren’t abused or molested or anything.”   Most women who enter into prostitution were molested however.  They were raped, or victims of domestic violence, they were violated as young women and girls.  Most women (and men) become drug addicts, they are raped, they have horrific tales to tell of sick, twisted, perverted sexual acts they were made to perform.  Normalizing your abuse isn’t empowering either.  “Well, some women don’t have any other options, they don’t have any other skills.”  That, in and of itself, is the problem.  We shouldn’t be teaching young girls that what’s between their legs is a marketable product.  Young women refuse to hear that.  They are convinced beyond the shadow of an intelligent, logical, reasonable doubt that sex work is great. 

I get it.  Young women want to feel validation, they want to feel like they are justified in their choices because they don’t want to be made to feel embarrassed or stigmatized or shamed because that makes them feel insecure and defensive.  They rationalize that because they aren’t selling it on the street corner, because they are college-educated and they are paying off their loans, because they are only doing every once in a while to pay the rent or their car note, or because they have kids and their baby daddy doesn’t pay his child support that there is nothing wrong with it.  They don’t want to be made to feel bad about their choices.  But not all choices are healthy, even if you are a willing participant, and negative consequences result from many a bad choice. 

Because we live in a society where young people have NO concept of what a healthy relationship is, they immediately dismiss any model of a symbiotic, mutually beneficial partnering that I may suggest as an alternative because they know of no other reality other than the dysfunctional one they have been raised with.  Let’s say you hit the jackpot, your first time out you find the basketball player who just signed the $7 million contract, he doesn’t ask you for anything too weird or degrading or hurtful, and he is so mesmerized with your nana and your bedroom skills that he wants to make you his #1.  If you enter into a relationship with this man who has purchased your body, do you sincerely think that he will not cheat on you, or that he will respect your rules and boundaries?  He will not only not value you as a person or a partner, your opinion, your other talents and abilities, but he will not even blink when he is offered an opportunity to bed another woman because you are nothing more than a trophy, a thing he paid for to show off.  That is not empowering! 

Sex work is participating in the objectification of women and that is NOT empowering.  Participating in sex work is reinforcing that women are “less than”, that they shouldn’t seek sexual expression that is based on love, respect, commitment and mutual cooperation, it’s saying, “That stuff about women being respected and loved is fairy-tale bullshit that doesn’t happen in the real world, the best a woman can hope for is that she finds a rich dude who has more money than common sense.”  If fact, if I suggest that sex should be based on love, should be based on respect, should be based on a level of commitment to a relationship, I’m supposedly imposing respectability politics on the free sexual expression of women.  But that’s not what I’m saying at all.  I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be able to have casual sex.  I’m not suggesting for a moment that if a woman has sex purely for pleasure in the restroom of a club with a total stranger whose name she doesn’t know that she’s a bad person.   Our rape/porn culture has convinced young women that the only valid form of sex is degrading/humiliating/objectifying sex and that there is no other alternative other than some 1950s oppressive model of vanilla, conservative boring sex.    That will be the downfall of our society, believing that women were created to be slapped, choked, spit on, gagged, and used as a hole for men’s pleasure and that getting paid for that is empowering. 

The goal of Feminism 2.0 should not be for women to be as sexually indiscriminate as men because men are unhealthy and warped in their views of sex.  That’s not something we should be striving for and equality on those terms is conforming to sickness.  We should be evolving in our views on sex.  We should be seeking to view sex in a healthier, more holistic, more empowering way.  Instead we are reinforcing and normalizing the objectification of women, we should be looking to use sex as a tool of communication, of meditation, of connection, of YES, even of love.  I’m not trying to impose puritanical rules on sex, I’m not saying that sex should be boring and only for procreation, that isn’t healthy at all either.  Sadly, the masses can’t see any other way to view sex other than to simply reinforce the status quo, to participate in the unhealthy practices that have become the norm.   Sex should be something that is earned with trust, with communication, with vulnerability, with intimacy.  Until we grasp that, until women decide that there is no price that a man could pay for her most sacred space, that as a holy sex priestess, she will only allow men who respect, revere, and cherish her to enter her sacred walls.  Then, when a man has earned that right, fuck like animals.  Fuck the sheets off the bed, wake the neighbors, experiment with anything safe, sane, and consensual.  When you find a partner with whom you can share your secrets, your vulnerabilities, your dreams and fears, then is when you can share your nastiest fantasies and make them a reality.  THAT IS EMPOWERING. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

AfroerotiK Universal Laws of Sex

1.       Life should be a sensual experience:  We are sexual beings.  Sex is an inherent, primal, natural drive, just like eating and breathing.  Sex is not bad, sex is not wrong, sex is not a sin, sex is not for procreation only.  Pleasure is our birthright, our bodies were divinely crafted to experience transcendent, erotic ecstasy.  The moment when you are exploding in orgasm is the exact moment when you are closest to your truest God self.  Life should NOT be about the constant pursuit of sex but rather life should be about the pursuit of pleasure with the person who makes you a better person.  The intimate connection we share with someone doesn’t have to last forever, we don’t have to have one lover in our lifetimes, but we dishonor ourselves when we use people for sex, when we jump from bed to bed to bed without concern or respect for the person we are sleeping with. 

Life should be about the sensual in all things; in the food we eat, in the way we dance, in the way we navigate through the world.  Life is NOT meant to be spent working 40 or 50 hours a week, climbing the corporate ladder, paying bills, and being a slave to capitalism.  That is an illusion, a false reality created by a disconnected and unenlightened consciousness that has made us believe that our sensual natures are wrong and that the things we own give us value.  What makes you happy?  What gives you joy?  What makes you feel like you are about to explode with ecstasy?    Capturing that sensation and rejoicing in it is what life is about. 

2.       Intimacy is the fuel of life:  Vulnerability, that feeling of knowing you can be your true self with someone else, the feeling of knowing that you are seen for who you really are and that you are valued and loved just the way you are, with all your flaws and imperfections, is the source of our greatest power as a human being.  Intimacy is the foundation of our greatest potential because it comes from being truthful, with ourselves and with our partners.  Emotional honesty is the basis of our true power.  Shutting ourselves off to others, keeping people at an arm’s distance does not protect us from being hurt, it prevents us from having the connections that are essential to our maturation as spiritual beings; it’s not the safety measure we have convinced ourselves it is.  Taking off our masks, baring our souls, telling our secrets, and truly opening up to another person is real freedom, it’s empowering.  We become stronger for telling our fears and fantasies to the person who supports us, nurtures us, who can love us with all our failures.  Sharing yourself with everyone isn’t optimal because some people have bad intentions, some people will try to use your secrets against you.  The key is honing your emotional I.Q. to determine who is worth your emotional investment and who isn’t.   When you claim your power, when you are comfortable within yourself and you can share your fears with another, when you let another person in your heart, you will learn that you can’t be hurt by your secrets because you own them.

3.       Casual sex does not happen without consequences:  We are disconnected from a healthy sense of sexuality.  We do not understand the beauty and power of sex so we have perverted it to being the equivalent of nude exercise, masturbation with someone else’s genitals, something we do in the dark for fun or release with anyone who is available.  Much of what arouses us comes from an unhealthy place: from being molested, from being made to feel ashamed of our natural desires, or from a need to try to feel attractive and worthy and desired. 

Sex is an exchange of energy.  Every time.  Every time you share your body with someone, you are taking in the other person’s energy.  We should be selective with whom we share our intimate selves.  We should feel connected to the person with whom we share our sexual selves.  We can never really know ourselves if we are constantly taking on the energy of others.  That is NOT saying that we should be celibate and monogamous.  It is saying that we should honor our sexuality as sacred and not give it to anyone and everyone but only to those whom have come into our lives for a reason. 

Having sex with strangers, with whom you have no connection, who you don’t “love” (not romantic Hollywood love but genuine concern, regard, and respect for them as a person whom you value) is a perversion of our true natures and not at all healthy.  An energetic bond is formed with the people you have sex with.  TV and movies have convinced us that casual sex is no big deal, that there are no consequences.  Emotions and feelings ARE formed when you have sex with someone.  If you don’t honor those feelings in yourself and in your partner, if you ignore them, you are sexually immature.   Having a string of lovers who you can’t even remember their names, who you don’t know, who you have no interest in getting to know, who you have lied to just to get a nut, is a perversion of your sexuality.  You become more and more disconnected from your highest potential when you sleep with people you have no relationship with. 

Think of your soul like baking a cake; every person you sleep with in an ingredient.  You only want to put the proper ingredients in the bowl.  Flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder all make a sweet, delicious, fluffy cake.  If you start adding more ingredients: pepper, ketchup, cheese, or vinegar you end up with a mess that is inedible, disgusting; keep adding more and more ingredients to your bowl and soon you have a nasty mixture that resembles nothing like a cake..  Make sure you are only adding ingredients to your cake that will make your recipe taste good.  It takes time to get to know someone, to see what they are made of, to find out what they can add to your life.    Be selective with your partners.  Variety is not the spice of life, it’s the spice that will ruin your cake. 

4.       Celibacy is unhealthy:  Just like casual sex has its negative consequences, so does abstinence.  We are sexual beings, we come to this consciousness, this illusion of life through the act of sex, we were created through pleasure.  Denying our sexual natures is just as unhealthy as randomly having sex with anyone.  The connection and intimacy we share with someone when we have hot, sweaty, passionate sex is healing, it’s soothing, and it’s transformative.  Denying ourselves pleasure keeps us disconnected from our highest potential.  Extended abstinence is detrimental to our psyches, it chokes our creativity, it makes us anti-social, and it makes us hold tight to false beliefs that keep us from realizing our greatest potential.  With extended celibacy, our true natures as sexual beings is denied and it distorts our sense of self because we shut off that part of ourselves that is ESSENTIAL to our being. 

People who go without sex suffer energetically from being cut off from the sweetness of sex, the beauty of it, from the healing powers of being intimate with someone else.  Celibacy cuts us off from the divine.  When we have sex, when we experience that release, life is sweeter, colors are brighter, the birds sing a more beautiful song.  Our spirits are soothed from sex.  We are told that sex is bad and wrong and that we should deny it if we aren’t married but that’s the foundation of our sexual dysfunction.   While it’s not healthy to jump from bed to bed, from relationship to relationship just to have sex, it’s not healthy to deny our sexuality either.  There must be time for introspection and reflection when we lose a lover, we need to take time to heal our wounds and re-evaluate our sexual identities at the end of every relationship, but shutting off our sexuality for prolonged periods is equivalent to anorexia or some other self-inflicted harmful behavior that cuts us off from our true natures and damages us.  We are a society of extremes.  We must find moderation, especially with our sexuality, to find true enlightenment. 

5.       Sex should never be a financial exchange:  I don’t care what your women’s studies professor told you, I don’t care how many sex workers yell and scream that they are empowered by selling themselves, it doesn’t matter if you justify your choices because you rationalize that you had to sell sex for your survival, sex in exchange for money is detrimental.  It’s about power.  It’s about the person with money buying an object to use.  There is this movement to claim that sex work is empowering because the recipients are getting money and that is supposed to make the transaction empowering as long as the sex worker is “choosing” to be used.  Our belief that money makes the buying of a human being okay as long as they consent to it, our belief that having more expensive stuff than the next person, and our belief that giving yourself to someone who has purchased you is the root of the problem.  
If a woman has to sell her body to keep a roof over her head or feed her children, that does not mean it’s empowering just because she gets a few bucks thrown on the nightstand.  It means that we devalue women’s lives and bodies as little more than a thing to be used by men.  If a woman sleeps with basketball players and rappers because she wants to be seen as attractive and buy expensive clothes, it does not mean she is empowered, it means that she doesn’t know that her true value as a woman has nothing to do with the label on her purse or the cost of her shoes.   Human beings are not things to be bought and sold.  Prostitution is NOT the oldest profession in the world, that is the insane rationalization that women are not equal to men in order to justify their objectification.  God consciousness did not create women to be the sexual playthings of men, to be bought or sold, to sell themselves to please men.  The same applies to same-sex transactions.   Until we understand that, we will be tied to dysfunction. 
6.       Cheating is wrong:  It shouldn’t even have to be said.  It shouldn’t but it does. If you are with a partner and you are lying to them, if you are being deceptive and having sex with other people while committed to someone else, you are unhealthy and wrong.  If you sleep with people who are in relationships, even if you aren’t in a committed relationship yourself, you are wrong.  Lying destroys relationships; cheating hurts partners and families.  Sex cannot be what it’s meant to be if you a betraying the trust of someone else.  For many people, the rush of cheating makes sex more exciting to them.  Cheaters do not understand the beauty of sex, they do not grasp the power of sex, cheaters pervert the true meaning of sex.    The person you choose to share your life with should be the person you should be the most honest with: about your desires, about your sexuality, about everything in life.  Any sex that is based on duplicity and infidelity, any sex that is a betrayal of a promise you’ve made to someone else to be faithful, is dysfunctional. 

7.       Sex should be uplifting:  Sex should not be about degradation or humiliation.  We, the human beings who have come together to share consciousness in this time and space, have collective low self-esteem.  We are disconnected from our higher selves.   We think God is an all-seeing man who lives in the clouds who will punish us for having sex.  We have been told that we were born in sin, that we are inherently evil for our desires, that virginity equals virtue.  We have been beaten and humiliated by the people who were supposed to nurture and support us.  We have been shamed for our sexuality, convinced that we are wrong for our inherent sexual drives.  We have been molested, raped, and abused by adults who wanted to pervert our innocence.  We watch hours of porn where women are degraded and abused as if that is the natural order of life, as if women were created by God to be used and slapped and treated like receptacles of men’s rage and frustration and lust. 

Any society that convinces its people that sex is wrong is going to create a people who are filled with shame about the beauty of our true sexual selves.  The shame that we internalize, from whatever source, manifests itself as being aroused by being treated badly because we feel that we are undeserving, that we have no value, because we believe we are unlovable and unworthy.  Conversely, the need to feel better about ourselves, to feel as if we have true power and worth, can come out in a need to humiliate and degrade other people sexually, to make others feel bad about themselves.  That is a perversion of what sex should be.  Sex should be about pleasure, passion, eroticism, and sensuality, PERIOD.  The need to be aroused by being degraded, or by degrading others, comes from a place of dysfunction.  Healthy sexuality is about being equal and raising our vibrational frequency with our partners.  Sex IS empowering.  If humiliation and degradation are what turn you on, if you want to hurt or be hurt during sex, you are missing the real meaning of what sex is about.