Without lauding what this particular lawyer dude from Delaware is up to (because he seems kind of skeevy) I do think that he has a point… Why do we care so much about people seeing our nude and/or sexual selves? This is an idea which is near and dear to my heart because, well, I get freaked out about it a lot. You see, my work is what I’d call porn-adjacent. I’m in the thick (PUN!) of it in terms of my day to day operations, but I am not the subject nor am I sexually available in any meaningful way because of my job. Sometimes I dabble in blogging, reviews or interviews which include a glimpse into my sexual life (these days, it’s absolutely nothing to write home about anyways) but it’s always done in an arm’s length kind of way. I’m lucky that I don’t feel any pressure to go any further than I feel comfortable. Camille and Mike are very respectful of me and would never ask anything beyond my desires…. But I am undeniably curious at times.
I mean, I have a very outgoing personality, I’m a decidedly sexual person and, even though as a bigger girl I’m not everyone’s favourite flavour, I know the niches that would work for me. Every year, along with representing our sites, making valuable contacts and soaking in the inspirational environment, the Feminist Porn Awards always brings at least a few tempting offers to shoot with some of my idols. So far, I’ve shrugged them all off with sheepish statements about just being a behind the scenes type of gal, but it does make me question why I’m so reticent to share my sexuality and my body online.
This reluctance doesn’t just mean that I wouldn’t likely shoot professional porn, but also that I’m almost overly judicious about any way that my body could appear online. The only sexy videos and photos I’ve shot with former partners were mutually deleted in what is almost a half-ceremonial/half-legal exchange — last time over delicious Vietnamese takeout. On the increasingly rare occasion I’ve had any reason to get sexy over webcam with an object of my affection, I’m actually very cautious to only have my face OR my body in the shot, and to have a sufficiently ambiguous backdrop. With the propagation of ex-girlfriend/revenge porn sites devoted to ogling non-consensual sexts and screengrabs, you can never be too careful even though I trust those with whom I’m e-intimate.
I certainly have absolutely zero sexual shame, I’m confident about my body, I’m quite up-front about sex with the people in my life… There shouldn’t be any reason for such concern, but there are still external societal pressures to keep the theoretical sex separate from the physical embodiment (or digital reproduction there-of) in order to feel safe from the more intense ramifications of sex-negative culture. I’m happy and secure with my job and feel an increasing comfort in my path in the sex-positive sector, so I’m not particularly concerned about my image in that respect and I’m relatively confident that I could explain a foray into porn to absolutely any friend or family member… I guess it’s largely that, though I don’t view sex itself as private, I struggle with the vulnerability required to share it. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and you can’t entirely control the way people interpret it, even as a person with a background in porn PR.
Maybe I’m just too uptight. After all, I’m also not the type to get a tattoo for fear of regrets over that which cannot be undone, but I so deeply admire those who can let go and do what they want. I’m a little too in my head to divorce my desires from the potential impact of doing something which is stigmatized in many ways, though less overtly so. Perhaps if it became more normalized, it’d be easier. It’d definitely be healthier for everyone societally to share and bare our sexual and physical selves to reduce shame, promote our differences and find kinship in our baser natural states.
I’m not saying we should make like that University of Iowa TA and accidentally attach a sexy video instead of the solutions to her math homework, as I think that there’s a time and a place for everything and that a delineation between overt public/professional persona and the sexual self is still important, but I think that we should be able to shrug off such situations as a moment of exposed humanity and move on. That takes some doing, which only comes through normalizing such sexual expression. It’s kind of a catch 22. I know that more people need to be willing to be open to cause the shift, and that starts with the individual… In this case, with me. Will I do it? I guess we’ll see.