MAY I Present—Links from May?

may links lynsey g

Look, it’s been over two months since I’ve seen a friend in person. I’m allowed to use the word “may” in stupid ways to present these links to you. Moving on.

Here are at the end of May! The flowers have bloomed, the trees are green, and we are mostly still on lockdown. It’s been a really interesting month for sex-positive and adult-industry news, so I’m going to dive right in to my monthly curated list. Please enjoy!

From Around the “Web” (Does Anyone Call It That Anymore?)

Sex Parties Move Online!

Those of us stuck at home for the past sixty-however-many days are at least a little bit bored. But those who are used to going to sex parties are more bored than most. So, how do sex-party enthusiasts get their kicks during lockdown? Virtual sex parties, of course! But not every video-calling platform is okay with jerk-off meetings. So the intrepid EJ Dickson looked at “Virtual Sex Parties Offer Escape from Isolation — If Organizers Can Find a Home” for Rolling Stone. Here’s a taste:

For those who are single and quarantined in isolation, or coupled and simply bored and horny, virtual sex parties on Zoom and other platforms have filled the void of a day marked by fear — of losing your job, of you or a loved one getting sick — or simply boredom…Zoom jerk-off parties “are a way to connect with the community, make sure they’re OK, and make sure they feel good about themselves.” He sees it as a public service, to the degree that unlike other sex parties, he doesn’t even charge admission.

Read more over here!

Women Are the Essential Workers—Pay Them More

So-called “women’s work” like health care, social work, and retail has been historically looked down upon and is still underpaid. But, as it turns out, it’s also most of the “essential” work during an international crisis. The New York Times reported last month (just after I posted my last set of links) on “How Millions of Women Became the Most Essential Workers in America.” A snippet:

There are now four registered nurses for every police officer, and still hospitals raise alarms about nursing shortages. Within this massive, ever-growing and now indispensable part of the economy, nearly four out of five workers are women. This is reflected in another grim statistic: While male doctors and nurses have died on the front lines, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that women account for 73 percent of the U.S. health care workers who have been infected since the outbreak began.

Read the rest here.

A Sex-Working Mom in Lockdown

It’s always good to read first-hand accounts from sex workers, and the Covid-19 era is a particularly interesting time do so. Thousands of newbies are trying their hand at it for the first time, or switching venues. And webcamming, OnlyFans, and other forms of online sex work are thriving. Here’s a nibble from an essay at HuffPost called “I’m A Parent Making Porn To Make Ends Meet During Covid Quarantine“:

People must weigh whether their own families will disown them after learning that they masturbated on a webcam for money, or sold nudes. Parents have to grapple with whether they will be allowed to return to their “regular jobs” if they later get outed for doing porn in order to survive now. Even though adult workers are often encouraged to leave the industry and “find a real job,” folks are routinely fired or outed if their past adult work is discovered.

Read the full essay here.

Can Adult Entertainment Show Us the Way to Covid-19 Testing?

The porn industry has spend decades policing itself by creating, maintaining, and evolving its own large-scale STI testing system. And Usha Lee McFarling of StatNews realizes its success could be “Why the porn industry has a lot to teach us about safety in the Covid-19 era.” Here’s a piece from her article:

In the 20 years it has been in place, PASS [the industry’s testing system] has met, and overcome, many of the same challenges that any large-scale coronavirus testing program might encounter, from issues of keeping databases of private medical information secure, preventing the forging of test results, dealing with false positive results, and educating workers about the need for repeated testing to keep workplaces safe. Those devising strategies to reopen workplaces and the larger economy during the coronavirus pandemic say their plans would involve, at their core, processes of rigorous testing, isolation, and contact tracing similar to those used in the adult film industry.

She’s got a point, right? Read the rest over here.

What’s Funnier than a Mean Sex-Worker Joke? A Sex Worker Making the Joke.

It’s been a slow-growing trend for a few years now—sex workers going into comedy. And it’s starting to attract attention. Not because “porn star comedy night” is such a catchy thing to put on a flier, but because it turns out that sex workers are pretty damn good at stand-up. Sascha Cohen at Bitch Media recently wrote, “Sex Workers Are No Longer the Butt of the Joke. They’re Making Them.” Here’s a bite:

Frances points out that both types of work require a certain adventurous lifestyle. “You have to be a degenerate creature of the night,” she says. The similarities don’t end there; while sex work and stand-up are, for the most part, accessible to everyone without financial overhead or institutional barriers to entry, to do either successfully demands a degree of emotional labor. Kate Kennedy, a porn actor living in Hollywood who also performs comedy, explains, “You have to be able to simultaneously be incredibly vulnerable and extremely un-fuck-withable. You have to be willing to tear yourself open and let people see your guts, emotionally and physically, and then zip yourself back up and keep going.”

Read more here.

A Deep Look at Shame and P()rn Use

I’m over the moon on this piece from North Carolina Public Radio about an upcoming art exhibit called “Shameless Pleasure.” Reporter Anita Rao of the “The State of Things” program explored the intersections of shame and pleasure—arguably the cornerstones of American interaction with sex and pornography—in “Embodied: Porn And Erotica, Pleasure And Shame.” For the piece, she interviewed Durham-based artist Monét Noelle Marshall, UNLV associate professor Lynn Comella, Shine Louise Houston of Pink & White, and Gina Gutierrez of Dipsea. Here’s a tasty morsel:

Both Comella and Houston say consumers of porn hold equal, if not more, responsibility in the production of ethical porn. By paying for content, consumers engage in the economic cycle that allows talent, producers, directors and other crew members to get paid for their labor. That payment helps support systems like the Free Speech Coalition, which is the adult industry’s national trade association. It provides legal support to industry members, as well as run the FCS-PASS system, which regularly tests performers for a cornucopia of sexually transmitted infections.

Please read more here.

How Do BDSM Dynamics Change over Video Calls?

Dommes do most of their work in person during normal times—degrading, humiliating, punishing, and pleasing their clients in the cloistered environs of their dungeons. But now that those meetings are happening online, what changes are taking place in the client-domme relationship? Mistress Jera Brown has the answers in “Pro Dommes Lay Down Their Whips” at Playboy. Here’s a taste:

On many calls, I sense men are showing me a secret part of themselves that few have access to. Likewise, I bring out different aspects of myself. This can cut both ways: When seeing clients in person, I and other BDSM and fetish providers tend to use frameworks such as “risk-aware BDSM” and “safe, sane and consensual,” encouraging limits and verbal consent. But phone and text-based sex work offers little to no room to discuss boundaries. Via calls and messages, I’ve beaten up people’s wives and kidnapped, raped and even killed clients as they’ve jerked off and urged me on. I’m constantly questioning what responsibility I bear for the mental health of my clients.

Read more over here.

Kayden Kross Is a Badass. Here’s A Profile About Her.

There’s a great profile of the amazing Kayden Kross at the Daily Beast right now called “The Christopher Nolan of Porn Is Breaking Down Barriers,” and I’m stoked about it. Kayden Kross is a dynamo—freaking gorgeous, a bold presence, and stunningly brilliant. Take a nibble:

Her adult films are also known for their bold female protagonists—a recalibrating of porn’s traditionally male gaze. “In the past, it was men tricking women or coercing them to get to their end, which was a sex act. But now, the stories are changing,” she explains. “I love when it’s the woman who’s the predator. That is so much more fun for me. And if the woman is the predator, she’s interested in her own pleasure.”

Read it all over here.

Does a Therapist Moonlighting as a P0rn Star Affect Therapy?

Dr. David J. Ley wrote a really interesting piece for Psychology Today about porn stars who are also therapists, and how their side hustles can affect their practice. It’s a great look at how sex work and mental health can coincide—very much for the better. Here’s a snippet from “My Therapist, the Porn Star“:

All three therapist felt that their porn performance, and acceptance of their own sexualities, have helped them learn how to avoid responses that their clients experience as judgment. Ethan said it clearly: “One thing my clients will never get from me is any kind of judgment about their sexual behavior (assuming it’s with consenting adults), or lifestyle choices they make. I know as therapists we’re not supposed to be judgmental, but many are, and there are also many who are but who don’t realize how their clients experience them.”

Read the rest here.

And now for some ME-focused links!

I’ll be back next month with more links, so keep your dial tuned to this website! Or just join my mailing list and never miss a thing!

No, seriously. Join the mailing list. It’ll make your life easier—and sexier.

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