Recently we had a four guest panel to have some Real Talk on Sex Work with our special guests Jasmine, Auntie Vice (Rebecca Blanton), Cathy Reisenwitz, and Kathryn.
Jasmine is a Psychotherapist, the owner and lead therapist of Blue Pearl Therapy. Jasmine co-owns, with partner King Noire, award-winning Royal Fetish Films and together have over 20 years of experience as adult entertainers, directors and producers.Their work on the Decolonization of Sex & Porn and Politics has been featured in Huffington Post, Rolling Stones, Paper Magazine, VICE, Playboy, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, BBC, Psychology Today and more. Auntie Vice is a kink educator and writer. They run the award-winning blog Love Letters to a Unicorn and have published 3 non-fiction works about BDSM. Their work uses an academic approach to understanding identity, intrapersonal power dynamics, gender, and sexuality. They also run the podcast Fat Chicks on Top. Cathy Reisenwitz is a writer with bylines in TechCrunch, The Week, VICE, Daily Beast, and other publications. Her newsletter is Sex and the State. Kathryn is a burlesque performer, sex educator, and a former pro-domme and sex worker of over 20 years.
The episode began with a breakdown of what exactly sex work is. Cathy describes it as “an umbrella term…including phone sex, stripping, porn…” While certain forms of sex work are legal, there are a lot of regulations and policies in place that limit what is legally allowed. For example, strip clubs are usually only able to be in certain cities, many adult content sites have strict terms and conditions due to obscenity laws that limit what content people can create or talk about. While Full Service Sex Work (FSSW) is illegal, escorting (paying someone for their time) is legal, but again, there are many limitations in place.
Auntie Vice mentions that “a lot of politicians are making laws that they think are best surrounding sex work, without actually talking to sex workers, so the policies don’t really have their best interest in mind”. Cathy also adds that sex workers are often shut down when they try to speak to Congress. Nika brings up the “savior complex” which only further stigmatizes and criminalizes sex work. As a result, sex work often gets conflated with trafficking, which is not the same as consensual adult sex work.
As a therapist, Jasmine notices that a lot of mental health professionals have internalized patriarchal, white supremacist beliefs about sex work, which results in them having a bias towards their clients who may be sex workers. Often this results in therapists blaming their client’s mental health issues completely on the fact that they do sex work, without actually helping them find solutions for their unrelated issues. This also extends to other realms of life and sex worker’s abilities to receive professional financial help, physical healthcare, or apply for housing.
Kathryn reminds our audience that despite the uptick in Onlyfans and certain platforms glamorizing sex work, it is important to remember that it is not always a choice, especially for certain demographics. In the trans community, sex work is considered “a rite of passage due to the way that black trans women are treated in society”. In addition to the regulations surrounding sex work, we need to have intersectionality in our conversations about discrimination in the trans community, and not forget about survival sex workers. “Some of the most brilliant women I know are sex workers, they don’t need to be saved. Rather we need to focus on helping those who need the help!”
Jasmine pitches in with insights on how sex work is evolving, for example how some sex workers provide resources, coaching, and training to others, how some are no longer doing forward facing work but instead assisting others with their fansites, along with the transferable skills that sex work offers such as consulting, advocacy, and memoirs.
The conversation doesn’t end there! You can find bonus content from this episode on our patreon, where you will also get exclusive access to group support, discounts to events, and so much more!
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You can keep up with our guests and follow them:
jetsettingjasmine.com / royalfetishxxx.com / @jetsetjasmine
Cathy’s Newsletter: Sex and the State: http://cathyreisenwitz.substack.com; Twitter: @cathyreisenwitz.
AuntieVice.com; LoveLettersToAUnicorn.com; Fat Chicks on Top Podcast on all streaming services; @AuntieVice on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, Facebook, and FetLIfe
Kathryn can be found at juicydlight on all platforms. She emcees burlesque shows for Hubba Hubba Revue at the DNA Lounge in SF.
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