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2014 March 7 - Emotions and Sexwork

In this blog I will mention a positive approach to understanding sexwork in terms of “emotional labour” and “emotional intelligence”, and how some of these theories can be useful as self-understanding for sexworkers.
This blog can also be read as background for understanding some of the content in my following blogs To Create Feelings 1-3.

As I wrote in the previous blog, somehow it seems like most existing sexworker handbooks and escorts guides kind of think that the sexual and emotional aspects in the line of work are something private for each girl to figure out on her own. Or like that this would be a non-issue.

But I dare to say that it actually is necessary to consciously work with one’s own emotions and sexuality in order to get competent with sexwork. One needs to develop on the personal level, both emotionally and sexually, to handle the work well.
This is both necessary to:
1) Protect yourself from stress and trauma.
2) Be able to do a good job regarding your clients’ emotional and sexual needs.

And I don’t think this “inner work for sexwork” must be something uniquely individual and private, that necessarily has to be up to everyone to figure out completely on their own. Humans are unique individuals, but in many ways we actually function very much the same.

Within social psychology there is a research field of “emotional labour”, which studies how emotions are used to perform certain work tasks.
Most of this research is rather depressing though, focusing on how personnel within the service sector get estranged from themselves, suffers burn-out and disassociation, get depersonalized and exploited. But some the theoretic models for how people manage, organize and create their emotions are interesting.

Then I found to an article about how people with leadership jobs also practice emotional labour, but don’t get negatively affected in the same way more subordinate service providers get.
And then a lot more of the theory about emotional labour made sense to me as applicable for the kind of sexwork that I know and recognize.

So, for sexworkers out there, who might be interested in an intellectual understanding about how one can use emotions to perform professional work tasks, I can really recommend this article:
“Leading with Emotional Labour” by Ronald H. Humprey, Jeffrey M. Pollack and Thomas Hawver.
It was originally published in Journal of Mangerial Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2008. But you can also access it here online as a free pdf http://www.researchgate.net/publication/233733851_Leading_with_emotional_labor . (And you don’t need to sign up to access it, just close the pop-up window with that suggestion and click on the full-text icon further down to the right on the page.)

It is a well-written article of merely 18 pages, but it briefly covers the basic concepts (from Arlie Hochschild) within the field of emotional labour. And it explains why people, like leaders, that are empowered with “autonomy” and “position power” tend to do emotionally well with performing emotional labour. (Even experiencing “an increased sense of wellbeing and fulfillment”.)
The article concludes that leaders’ emotional labour “differ in significant ways” from the emotional labour performed by subordinates.

I think this also is valid for the kind of sexworkers that work on a level there they have autonomy and positional power over the clients, by being able to set their own terms and to afford to decline clients that they don’t like.
Plus, importantly, don’t need to work over their capacity (not too much work) or over their competence (not work tasks one cannot identify with).
Because just like that article concludes that also leaders can suffer from stress and frustration if the labour demands are more than their capacity or competence can meet, this is valid for sexworkers too. (And for all humans with all kinds of work.)

I’ve even been thinking that some of the implications from that article, or similar research, might help bridge the gap of understanding in the controversy between people that are positive to sexwork and those that are negative to it.
By better explaining why sexworkers in marginalized positions tend to suffer psychological stress and trauma, while sexworkers with betters social resources tend to be happy about their work.

I also think that some of the conclusions in the article, regarding the protective factors of having autonomy and position power, can show why it is important that sexworkers themselves take their job seriously, and strive to develop their competence.
Because being good with what one does (both with the emotional service and with the bodily handicraft with sex) is how one gets popular as a sexworker. Which in turn is what enables one to achieve the autonomy and positional power to select the nice clients (and afford to decline the not so nice ones).

Although it all goes a bit circular; because it is like you have to have autonomy, positional power and competence in order to be able to work during beneficial circumstances – but you kind of also need to already have those beneficial circumstances to be able to be autonomic, have a positional power and develop competence.
I guess that is why the “lucky ones”, the girls that already have good social resources, also tend to do relatively well as sexworkers – while the girls starting up from bad social circumstances also tend to suffer a lot of problems as sexworkers.

But what if there are ways to work upwards?
Ways to get empowered by getting more aware, by learning emotional intelligence in order to learn smart ways to emotionally work with oneself and better methods for emotional communication with clients?
To thus develop the competence that would lead to the autonomy and positional power of being able to choose and decline clients?

It is not like it is “ all good or all bad” for most sexworkers out there. There is a lot of grey zones, better times and worse times that come and go.
Also for girls that do relatively good, there are ways to improve their work to do even better (as I myself have discovered during my career). Similarly, there must be ways for girls that do relatively bad, to empower them to get to a point of doing relatively good.

This leads me on to the subject of emotional intelligence. It is a field of research that aims more for a more psychological understanding of how people within themselves learn to develop emotionally in order to function better in their lives.
This perspective shows that emotions are nothing fixed or automatic, and that emotions also not solely are determined by social factors outside of the individual. But that emotions are something plastic that we consciously can learn to manage and regulate, plus to relearn and create within ourselves. And that we learn emotions from copying other persons, as well through interaction with other people.

I can recommend Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman. (You can buy it here http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Intelligence-Matter-More-Than/dp/055338371X ).
The theory kind of drowns a bit in all the examples, so spotting the actual models for what the author wants to convey can be a bit annoying, but the book is very well written and entertaining to read.

I think that a lot of theory from emotional intelligence is highly relevant for sexwork. Both in regard of managing own emotions, learning how to mature and develop competence in the professional role, and for how to by emphatic interaction create good client relations.

Maybe it is presumptuous of me, but I also think that the theories from emotional labour and emotional intelligence can be used as meta-theory to better understand some of what I write about in my following blogs To Create Feelings 1-3. Particularly regarding what some of the pseudo-scientific NLP (neurolinguistic programming) really is about when it is practically applied.

I will however not refer back to anything about emotional labour and emotional intelligence in those blogs, because I don’t think these theories really are practically useful in a “how to do it” perspective. In those blogs I try to only refer to reading material that I think that other sexworkers actually can put to practical use.

Anyway, my aim with the To Create Feelings blogs, is mainly to show how I think and what I do, to work with myself emotionally and sexually in order to be good at my sexwork. In the last of the blogs I also write about what I know that some other sexworkers do to prepare themselves emotionally to manage emotional labour.
I hope that maybe some of this can be useful for other sexworkers that also want to work with themselves and develop their competence.

 

2014 March 6 - Intro to the Guide

In this blog I will give and introduction to the following blogs that make up my guide for escorts and sexorkers, and explain its purpose as a practical guide for how one can work both in “head and bed”. I also give some tips to web links to other guides and some book tips.

It has been long in the making, this project of mine with writing a guide about sexwork. But I really think there is a huge need for more practically applicable advice about the very handicraft of sexwork – namely what one actually does in “head and bed”.

There are already several handbooks about escorting and other kinds of sexwork, but they mostly focus on sexual health, safety, marketing, negotiating with clients and such issues. They seldom get down to the detailed bodily level of “what one really does together in bed with the client” regarding sex techniques.

And if they venture into the aspects of emotions and sexuality, it is mostly about “keeping boundaries”, separating the professional and the private, and similar. They don’t really give any useful advice about how one actually can work with oneself to develop emotional competence to function sexually well in the professional role with sexwork.

There is really a strange silence about how one emotionally can work with oneself to develop one’s own sexuality in the very professional practice – what one actually can do in “head”.

And there is an even stranger silence about the details with the very bodily practice, regarding clients with sexual problems and professional circumstances that differ from private sex – what one actually can do in “bed”.

My disposition for writing these blogs will be to start with the internal emotional aspects regarding working with one’s own sexuality and emotional life, and from there I will move on to the external bodily aspects of practically working with sexual service and sex techniques.

My purpose with this guide is not political as such, but simply to convey useful knowledge to other sexworkers. But I think this guide might receive criticism for presenting sexwork in a too positive light.

But as I see it, the main problem for sexworkers is that many internalize a destructive notion about prostitution, and then it kind of works as a self-fulfilling prophecy and a road to misery, for some of them. And the suffering caused by shame and social stigmatization cannot be ignored either.

- In order to counter these things, I think it is important to show a different perspective, that it is possible to achieve personal agency, influence one’s environmental conditions, and work one’s way up, also within sexwork.

Although, I am well aware that this might be very difficult for many sexworkers, if they are very low on personal and social resources to start with. But one can get very far in this world on just on some positive thinking and hope alone!

I am also well aware that many sexworkers probably don’t have capacity to read and understand my texts. I keep on getting emails with “calls for help” from other sexworkers from various countries, and some of these emails are written in a very bad language, giving sings of that the senders don’t have much education or even much practice in reading and writing (at least not in English or Swedish).

That is why I also hope that some social service and public health professionals out there also might find to this guide. And that they too hopefully can pick out at least some useful knowledge from it, in perspective of working with harm reduction. Since plenty of the less fortunate sexworkers that they might come into contact with probably not are able to read this guide themselves.

So I really hope that this guide will not give so much of an impression of idealizing sexwork, that it will be completely discredited. My main purpose is to practically help other sexworkers, not to actively participate in the political controversy about sexwork.

If I get the time for it, I might also write a little about practical issues regarding how one can take good escort pictures, what to think about for handling money wisely, how to market oneself, and so on.
But it can be that it will take a while, and first come in a “second round” with blogs, in a year or so. Or it might never come to be realized, if I now shall be a bit realistic about how much time and energy I have to spend on this.

In the end of this “first round” of blogs I will also squeeze in a blog about basic safety issues (on purpose placed last in this series of blogs, since blogs are read in that order) simply because this probably still is the most important thing, regarding girls that are new to the business.
But as said, there are already other good guides out there that cover these subjects.

For those interested, I can really recommend http://saafe.info as a good source of practical information, regarding safety, marketing, client screening and so on. It is mostly written by London based escorts, so some of that information is also easier transferred to Denmark and Sweden, than many guides and books that are originating from USA escorts. (In Britain, the sexwork as such is not illegal.)

For Sweden http://workinggirlsdictionary.weebly.com/ is also a very useful website, particularly regarding how to manage paying taxes and handling discretion and personal relations. If you are completely new to sexwork, the Swedish http://sakerhetsguide.blogspot.se should also not be ignored.

Another good site is http://tradesecretsguide.blogspot.se/ . Although it is by and for American sexworkers (despite the website having .se domain). But it still has a lot of useful “tips and tricks” that are pretty universal for all sexworkers.

I can also recommend http://theinternetescortshandbook.com , and the books that Amanda Brooks has written (which you will find on that website). Amanda Brooks give many good and useful tips about marketing.
Although I think that her approach to working with emotions is too superficial and only considers the issue with putting up limits, but ignores the things about working with the very content in the emotions in the profession. And she does not give any tips on sex techniques at all.

A book I also could recommend is In Good Company: The Escort’s Guide by Kay Good (you can buy it here http://www.amazon.co.uk/In-Good-Company-Escorts-Guide/dp/1904132715 ). It is also something of a more “real escort guide”, even if it too, according to my opinion, gives too little information about sex techniques and not at all deals with the theme of one’s own sexuality in the professional practice.

I’m otherwise a bit skeptical to some other fancy books out there, that goes as escort guides. I think some of them are more written just to sell an entertaining read to civilian readers, than really being aimed at being helpful to real sexworkers, to be honest.

Anyway, I have already finished more or less ready drafts for a number of blogs, so in it’s present shape my guide has the following table of content:

Intro to the Guide
Emotions and Sexwork
To Create Feelings 1
To Create Feelings 2
To Create Feelings 3
To Create a Sexual Theme
Sexual Service
The Booking
Beginning of the Session
Professional Foreplay
Timing with Sex
End of he Session
Social Intercourse
Common Sexual Problems
Techniques with Condoms
Techniques with Oral Sex
Techniques with Intercourse
Techniques with Anal Sex
Interaction during Sex
Ways of Working
Safety and Sexwork

It might be that I will remake and change this content, if my writing keeps on going and I get more ideas plus time to write them down.

 

2014 March 6 - Blog year 2014

I’ve finally come about to start blogging again. Although what I am about to post in the nearest future is probably something that better would be called articles rather than blogs.

I’ve already over a period of time compiled drafts for a guide for escorts and sexworkers, and now finally I’m about to launch it all here on my blog.
I still get a lot of emails from other girls in the business, who keep on asking me for advice about how to work. And all too seldom I have time to write back to them. Instead I hope that this guide can be useful.

I plan to post all these blogs before I next time put up my email on my website in the middle of April. Because I’m a bit worried about otherwise getting too much response. I get such a bad conscience if I ignore to answer emails but take time aside to sit and write yet more blogs. It feels so arrogant an impolite towards the people writing to me.

The problem is also that I’m pretty at writing anything short and simple. As soon as I start writing something I get a horrible focus on details and get overly inspired. So both regarding blogs and emails it tends to be a bit like “all or nothing”.

That is partly the reason behind this long silence here on the blog. I have dreaded the huge monstrosity of a job it probably might develop into, if I just once got started on it.
Plus, there are always emails to answer before that I can take time to blog, and as soon as I have answered those emails they always renew themselves with replies, in turn calling for new answers from me. And so the seasons come and go, and my blog remains silent.

To avoid to get temped to get involved in eccentric long email conversations I will try to puplish my blogs in such a rapid success as possible, so they already are done and ready once people start to notice them. My “hit and run” style of blogging.
And I want to apologize in advance for that I probably will ignore many emails with feedback.

It is anyway not the case that I really write as fast as I post my blog. No, I already have the drafts more or less finished here in my computer already, after some frenetic writing weeks here in the February that has been.
But of course, every time I read one of them through before posting it, I anyway end up sitting and changing details back and forth. So it might be that there will be a break of 1-2 weeks in the middle of it, if I after a week get second thoughts about things, and start to rewrite the latter half of the blogs.

Anyway, what will be new for my blogs here in year 2014, is that I will not bother to also translate them into Danish, but just write them in English and Swedish. I have figured that most Danes anyway can read in Swedish or English. Particularly seen to that I don’t write that easy texts as it is, so most Danes with capacity to read my lengthy texts are probably also educated enough to manage to read them in English.
And since some years now have passed since I lived in Copenhagen, my Danish feels a bit murky.

I have also thought about maybe placing this guide for escorts and sexworkers on some external blog, which is not connected to my website or my own escorting. So that people can link to what I write without risk of breaking the Swedish prostitution laws.
And maybe bigger text on a white background also would make for more comfortable reading, than what the blog here on my website provides.
But I will make certain to first get all blogs up in their final edition, so I know what I have to work with, so to speak.

I don’t know how my blogging otherwise will look like for the future to come, after this escort guide. I have had to cut down radically on my sports training here in February, due to a herniated disk in my back. That is why I got unusually much time in the evenings here at home, and I used that time to finally realize this writing project.

But as soon as my back is healed up, I count on being back at my normal routine, and I fear that my blog probably will go rather silent again.
Until I get really old and crumpled, maybe. I still don’t look my age, but I can feel that I’m getting older. I can quite literally “feel it in my bones” (or rather in my spine).

But otherwise my life is spinning on fine. I plan to keep on escorting for yet some years to come. But it will probably follow the pattern of the last years, with me only having active times for new clients during the summers and then a few weeks close to the holidays during the rest of the years.

 

2011 December 31 - Male sexuality

One thing Ms H. pointed out that I should write about, is my notion about male sexuality as located in the female body, according to the destructive discourse. (Which I reoccurringly write about in the right column of the schematic compilation on page Sexology, in particular in chapter 2.)

I should maybe have written about it earlier, but I had almost gone so home-blind about it that I forgot that it might seem odd, and maybe difficult to understand, for readers. It’s a conclusion I made some while ago.
It’s the only logic way I found for explaining a number of notions in society, which I found odd.

Most obviously, one comes by this perception of bodily reality in the traditional notion that women have responsibility for male sexual arousal. Which has been part of our western cultural heritage, and it is still something very prominent in Middle Eastern culture.

A reoccurring notion is that female behavior and body, merely gestures or body parts shown, somehow cause and animate male sexual behavior. That if a man gets aroused by a female body, some kind of strange symbiosis occurs, where his sexuality and her body somehow is one and the same thing.
As if he experiences his sexuality externally from his own body. It sounds psychotic, but I mean it is valid.

That is also the phenomena behind the emergence of that twitter flow “#prata om det” (talk about it), which became so big in Sweden in the spring last year.
It was about grey zones for sexual abuse. Sex gone wrong, girls feeling raped, abused or taken advantage of, by not managing to have good communication about wanting to have sex or not. It was about guys mistaking a no for a yes. And about girls having trouble knowing if they actually were saying yes or no.

How can people get that confused about sex?
I think the explanation is something of a culturally caused delusion, in sense of how spatial bodily reality is experienced.

And if you think this sounds far fetched, I would like to point out that spatial disorientation happens to us humans by rather easy means:
Like if you sit in a train, see another train move, and get a bodily sensation of your train being pulled into motion, until you realize that it merely was a visually induced illusion affecting your spatial body sensations.
As our spatial sense is not so much a sense in itself, but a neurological cooperation between several other senses, the spatial sense can rather easily get delusional. (Much easier than that we hallucinate directly with task specific senses like sight and hearing.)

By our cultural heritage for how we understand sexuality, men have to such an extent projected their sexual desire upon the female body, that they experience their sexual arousal as externally located there, in the female body.
Thereby they perceive their sexuality and the female body as one and the same, undistinguished, and thereby assumingly also wanting and feeling the same.

And women have also internalized this notion, of that their bodies are responsible for male sexuality, belong to the male sexuality, even carry the male sexuality, to such an extent that they have difficulties to distinguish between what they actually want themselves, and culturally forced identification with male sexual desire of them.

This might in turn be possible to understand out from that sexuality in olden days officially only was about procreation. Which takes place in the womb.
A man’s sexuality was then constituted by his access of a womb to impregnate. The male sexuality took place in the female womb. Having sexuality was for a man to have a physical symbiosis with a woman’s womb.
And for a woman, sexuality was about having a body that symbiotically got sexualized and used by a man. Officially, she had no sexuality of her own, as she and her body belonged to the male sexuality.

Nowadays that is kind of outdated though, as we use condoms and contraception, and seldom have sex for procreation. Now we have sex for pleasure.
And then it becomes apparent that men have a sexuality of their own, independent of female bodies. And that women likewise have an independent sexuality of their own, and not male sexuality misplaced in their bodies.

But the old notions still seem to live on deep down in people’s minds, to some extent at least. Feminists speak about that we sexworkers sell our bodies, and even ourselves, along with our sexual actions.
And clients from the destructive discourse behave as if they are forced to hire our services in order to feel complete as men with sexuality and manhood.
And as that twitter flow “#prata om det” showed; normal people in society are obviously having big time communication problems then it comes to sex.

I don’t think this spatial disorientation, concerning male sexuality and female bodies, has to do with the sex-industry making women into objects though. Contrary, I think it lives on in society by the romantic notion that sexual arousal is supposed to produce “magic in the air”.
As I write in my blog input “Sex as religion” sex seems to have gotten something of a religious status in our culture nowadays.
And just like people often get strange “sensations” then they think they feel the presence of a divinity (probably also a spatial delusion, that thing of feeling some Holy Ghost inside one’s chest), people kind of seem to loose sober perception of reality then they are in sexual situations.

But for us working in the positive discourse of prostitution, it is really obvious how superstitious and ridiculous this notion is, about sex implying some metaphysical male claiming of sexuality in the female body.
Maybe because we never have sex for procreation. Maybe because we have so much non-sentimental sex with so many different partners, that we kind of get a very sober meta-perspective on things.
Maybe because we can communicate very direct about sex, in a way that normal people in society don’t seem to be able to.

If one has good personal chemistry with a client, one can sometimes experience a kind of somatic transference. (Which also happens to normal non-sexual massage therapists, I’ve heard.)
It is like an altered state of consciousness, probably induced by the hormone oxytocin. It is very pleasurable, and it can also give you a sense of loosing your own bodily perception. I do myself often experience it when I touch another person’s skin for a while with certain mindfulness; a feeling of relaxed ecstasy and an illusion of almost merging with my partner.
It is probably an evolutionary developed high of hormones, which helps making us social animals. So I guess there is a natural explanation to why humans seem to be particularly susceptible to spatial disorientation then it comes to sex.

But enjoying this kind of somatic transference with a client, is not the same as believing that there actually is some kind of real physical “spirit-possession” occurring between one person’s mind and another person’s body.
Somatic transference is an internal experience of the individual mind, which cannot be externally animated by others. As it is an experience of the mind, it is either a single person’s experience, or a coinciding and simultaneous experience by two (or more) separate persons, like the phenomena of group suggestion.

One can say that an experience exists as a common mutual social reality, if this experience coincidingly occurs for both parties at the same time. But it does not abide by natural laws, it does not follow cause-and-effect laws of the material reality.
It belongs to the reality of suggestion, witchcraft, religion and metaphysics. Which only exists in so far one chooses to believe it exists.
(As I also write about in chapter 1 in the schematic compilation: Caused and experienced sexuality by the sexworker is a coinciding phenomena, not something that can be bought, forced, extracted or exploited.)

Anyway, the nice and normal clients (from the positive discourse) come to us to get sexual entertainment. They come to us with their own sexuality, not to access or gain it metaphysically from our bodies.

Often enough both our clients and we get sexually aroused, and share sexual pleasure, sometimes we also experience the phenomena of somatic transference mentioned above. Other times one is not always that sexually involved as a sexworker, but it is more like some gymnastics in bed.
But no matter what, it is kind of obvious that both parties have their own individual sexuality. That every person has an own sexuality. Also virgins, which I have met several of. So far they have masturbated, they are already having a personal sexual bodily language, with individual ways of responding to stimulation.

But if one every once in a while run into a client from the destructive discourse, it becomes apparent that some men still have this kind of strange traditional notion, of that they have to get their sexuality and manhood extracted from a woman’s body.
This kind of poor men often seem to feel humiliated and angered by paying for sex. Like they indeed think that they somehow have a lost part of themselves. A part of them that is kidnapped and kept hostage, there in our female bodies.

For an enlightened sexworker, this is indeed kind of ridiculous in its superstitious perception of spatial bodily reality. For us it is obvious that a man has ability for sexuality and manhood in his own right. It is nothing he buys or gains from our bodies.
Sensible persons (and they are the majority) pay for our services because it is more fun to experience sexuality with a partner, than experiencing it by masturbation. Or just because they want to have some variation from their everyday partner.
Kind of like it is more fun to eat together, or play video games together, than doing it all alone, or with someone one already knows boringly well. It is not stranger than that.

Anyway, that women have been victimized by being regarded as objects for male sexuality is no news. But I dare to say that this traditional old notion, of male sexuality as spatially located in the female body, is not a very fun thing for men either.
It makes them feel alienated from their own sexuality. It makes them feel like their sexuality has been stolen from them. Men are not so much oppressors, as victims of traditional cultural structures in their own way.

And the problem with the radical feminists and the Danish social democrats, which want to criminalize our clients in order to protect us sexworkers from sexual exploitation, is that they thereby maintain and reproduce the “superstitious social reality of traditional sexuality”, which I have explained above.

It is about as brain-dead as the Middle Eastern idea that women have to cover their faces in order to be protected from men. As long as they have to protect themselves in that fashion, they also maintain and reproduce a social reality, where the sight of their faces makes them vulnerable. It is a protection that by itself creates victimization.

And it is in that very same manner just as brain-dead that the feminists “witch hunt” us erotic artisans, by protection that force victimization upon us, as we actually are the most enlightened and sexually emancipated women of our time.

2011 December 30 - About integrity

For this English version of this blog post, I have to tell readers that the Swedish denotation of the word “integrity” has a broader meaning, which in English often would translate to “privacy” or “dignity”. I will here below use the word integrity in it’s broader Swedish sense.

It is often claimed that we ladies of the oldest profession lack integrity. I do however mean that we just have a different value system of what is relevant for integrity in the professional setting (as briefly mentioned on page Sexology in square 5A, 5B and 3D).
Kind of like gynecologists in their professional practice can treat peoples’ intimate parts in a way they could not do outside of work.

Sexworkers though, are not acknowledged status of professionals in society. And just as promiscuous women are deemed as lacking integrity, so are we.

I would say that the issue of integrity is not much of a problem for us at work, but that it indeed can be a problem for us in regard to society and own identity.
Either if one is outed as a sexworker, and thereby has to deal with other people treating you as a person of no integrity. Or if one internalizes society’s view of oneself as being a person of no integrity.

To deal with this, I think it is good to start with defining what integrity is about. I’ve made notes about it for a while, and this is what I have come up with:
Integrity is a negating function used to define and experience identity.
- Identity seem to be about affirmative things; “what people are”.
- Integrity seem to be about negating things; “what people aren’t”.
Or like: Integrity = freedom from being bad things.

And note here, that I don’t mean that identity by being affirmative only is about positive values. It can also be affirmative about negative values. But while identity states that you “are something” (something specific), integrity more excluding seems to state that “you are not bad” (unspecific).

You can harm your own integrity if you do something that defines you as being someone you don’t want to be. And others can violate your integrity, if someone forcibly can get to you internalize a conception of being something you don’t want to be (then you loose integrity – freedom from being that bad conception).
Violated integrity seems to equal humiliation.

Hence all the secrecy and privacy concerning having integrity. In practical everyday sense it is based on negations, about being able to keep things non-existing and denied. Both regarding your identity in the eyes of others, and regarding your identity in your own eyes.

To me, it also seems, as if people’s idea about what matters for integrity, in the everyday sense, is a rather strange and arbitrary collection of customs, actions and symbols. But plenty of integrity significant things seem to be related to the body, and various seemingly trivial “private” things that everyone has, is or does.

Like that people for example can experience their integrity violated if someone sees them go about their physical needs in a toilet. Obviously they then feel bad about themselves, for having to recognize that they have these bodily functions.
But if no one sees them go about their business in the toilet, they are obviously fine about having these bodily functions (as they then can be in denial of having them in regard to their social identity).

I first thought that integrity maybe could be to describe as a kind of “innocence” in a childish meaning.
But it is rather like integrity is a deceitfully given carte blanche, “declaration of innocence”, or a kind of hold on us. A given denial of sins never actually committed. But by unwittingly accepting to receive this form our social surroundings, and integrate it in us, we also tacitly agree on that we would be inherently bad and guilty without it.
And then it functions like a safety switch for other people to pull, if they want to shut us down. It is an induced vulnerability in us, which society keeps us in control by.

That is why humiliation and mortification processes (as the ones Goffman described) are so useful for brainwashing people. Or at least for breaking them down as persons, so they cannot function or recognize themselves.
People are by socialization made susceptible for such treatment, by their internalized concept of integrity, and it’s function for making them socially vulnerable.
It is even so efficient, that we (as Foucault gave tell of) to some extent perform deprival of integrity on ourselves, by relating to ourselves as bad and lacking integrity, if we know that we have done something society condemns.

Integrity does furthermore not only seem to be “freedom to deny being something bad”. But it also seems a bit like having “freedom to deny that out identity is constructed”.
Loss of integrity is kind of like having to face a shadow-self in Jungian sense (potentially mortifying for the whole persona, but kept at bay with repression mechanisms).

Loss or violation of integrity performed as a socially forced loss of “denial of shadow”, means that our own psychological repression mechanisms cannot fight the shadow, or assimilate it with care, as it is externally forced upon us big time.
When people experience this kind of loss of integrity, they don’t just have to incorporate a small unwanted detail of being something bad in their identity. But it also seems to kind of threaten everything they are, or the whole structure of their person.

But on an individual level it is kind of silly, because even if our identity only really is a collection of habits and memories, that reality of the mind is very real too. Basically, the Descartian device of “I think, therefore I am”, is all we are. We are because we think, and what we are, is what we think we are.

(It is actually funny here, how the Buddhist notion about “there is no self, just I-am-ness consciousness”, modern behavioristic notion “self is habitual disposition for external or internal behavior”, and Descarte, kind of all end up with same conclusion.)

Anyway, the only way other people really can affect our own self-conception of integrity and identity, is if we (consciously or unconsciously) make their opinion of us our own opinion of ourselves.

And there is a different kind of independent integrity, which we can determine and create by ourselves. Like I wrote above that violated integrity seem to equal humiliation; it takes an act of internalization for it to work. You cannot humiliate anyone, unless that person self experience humiliation.

There is always a number of people, “the hard nuts to crack”, that are able to uphold their own integrity. Either secretly or in confrontation with others, but in either case they have upheld their integrity in regard to themselves. (They have through history often been known as crazy martyrs, though).

To be able to create an independent integrity by one self is not an easy task though. I totally agree on GH Mead’s theory of that we build our identity, and self-conception, through interaction with others, and what others reflect back about us.
As we grow up though, we can get more and more selective about what people we deem as relevant to define our identity by, and what people we can dismiss.

(And ultimately, I think we can go completely independent. Although that does of course require a first base of earlier social interaction, as something like a minimal platform of self to operate from. And one might grow appealingly insane to others by the process, so caution is advised.)

For people working with sex, the important thing here is to be able to be conscious and selective about what persons you choose to define as your in-group, and allow to determine and affect your identity and integrity. And to dismiss the opinions of society at large, make them your out-group.

And even more important: Realize that “everybody else”, the “generalized other” or “society as a whole”, just are chimeras for the mind!
As a real individual person, the only thing what matters to you are other real, physical and individual persons, which you interact with on a person-to-person basis. Not the abstract concept of “everybody else”, because that is a non-person.
It’s a ghost that only can get to you, by getting you to turn your own mind against yourself!

As I have come across the notion of integrity, is has mostly been defined as a person’s disposition for acting virtuously. This is consistent with my social interactionistic reasoning above in a deterministic sense, if you read it like:
People that have social identity that makes them believe that they are good (have integrity = free from being bad), also act good. But if people themselves think they are bad (have no integrity = are bad), they usually also act bad.
Just like little kids by self-realized expectation go bad if you tell them they are bad, and good if you tell them they are good.

That is why you as a sexworker can risk that people will believe that you are inclined to all kinds of lewd and evil acts, if they know that you deviate from the sexual norms by having sex for money, and thereby are socially defined as lacking integrity.
Which is kind of silly, since what you do for harmless money-making sexual fun with other consenting adults, by no logic give that you in any would like to do something harmful in an utilitarian or consequential ethical sense.

Anyway, for practical reasons it can be very wise for most ladies of the oldest profession to live strict double lives, and make sure not to get outed.
If you have children, they can get bullied, your parents might get socially shunned, and you sure might find your career options limited (but there are always niches, of more tolerant and free-thinking people).

But what I have found tormenting plenty of girls in this business, is not so much realistic fear about somehow getting outed. But an unrealistic fear, which really only is about parts of their own minds trying to self-impose social shame on them.
I have also met young colleagues that seem to have problems with a split perspective of reality: One day they are happy and rebellious outsiders, next day they feel ashamed and scared about what they are.
Although they by their sexwork really have done nothing unethical, nothing that in any sense has hurt anybody.

I hope that the kind of reasoning I have presented here above, maybe could be helpful for some of you, for better knowing how to deal with such issues, by being able to create social resistance. A personal social resistance by means of strengthening your own independent sense of integrity, through intellectual consciousness.

2011 December 29 - Apart from sex and money

A great benefit with my escorting is that I get to meet people I otherwise never would have gotten into contact with. And in an intimate setting where I get personally much closer to people, than one otherwise ever get with strangers.

I get to hear stories, confidences and insights from people’s lives, which they in no other situation ever would have told a recently met stranger. And perhaps not people dear and close to them either. In some cases in particularly not persons close to them.
The very setting is also unique in that there is no clearly given context for what to talk about. And physical intimacy has a way to make people relax and get in closer contact with themselves, it easily opens up for introspection and deeper questions about life and the meaning of it all.

The anonymity is a big thing too. There is no need to show pretense, keep facades and play social games. There are no common social circles to worry about.
And unlike a psychologist or priest, I’m also not in a socially acknowledged therapeutic position, so there is not much need to fear judgment from me either, or have to work around such a thing.
The trust and a good flow of personal connection is usually there in a very immediate fashion.

I meet people from different countries, different professional and educational backgrounds, different ages and so on. And I get a very wild mix of snap-shots from very different associative processes in ways of thinking and feeling. Not only do I meet people with different experiences and knowledge, but also people with different ways to associate within the knowledge they carry.

And the more money they make in the world out there, the more well-trained and well-stuffed organs they usually have between their ears too. So there is really a big time double-catch with making them paying a bit for seeing me, and have a two hours minimum for dates.

It is quite unique, to get to speak in that fashion with so different people. Normally, people entertain themselves with people that are very much alike them. Same age, same areas of interests, same backgrounds, same studies or occupation.
It is usually the similarities that kind of draw them to each other. Even in bigger places, people subgroup after their personal similarities. And then they stick with their so alike peers, and get even more alike.
It’s kind of stagnated in a way, but I guess it is functional. It probably makes people harmonious, smooth and well adapted in the areas where they belong. But to me it seems kind of limitating.

Though if there is a downside with my escort related collection of information, I would say that it is the fragmentation of it. It’s quite postmodern in a way. Like switching between different media channels, where a separate sub universe reigns in each. Of course there is common ground here and there, but I don’t really have any place to integrate it all, or use it for anything, apart from in my own little private world.
Most people have some kind of interconnecting network structure for their social lives. Mine is more like a spread sun fan, with me in the middle of separate and isolated threads.

But then, I have always been something of a loner anyway. If anything, my life as an escort has made me a loner with a much richer world. Now it is not just stuffed with books, but with real life people. Which is a great progress, I would dare to say.

Through my life I have usually found it hard to befriend other girls. As a thinker and seeker I have always had my habit of wanting to make every conversation into meaningful discussion that can lead on to a point of some kind (discuss in a dialectic and deductive process to carve out new insights and ideas).

But most girls don’t discuss at all, they just converse by telling disjointed statements, which they expect other girls to passively listen to, and eventually echo back to them. And then they switch roles back and forth in telling and listening.
But normal girls are seldom interested in getting to any point, learn anything new or reach any actual conclusion. They just seem to prefer to move around in loose circles. And they seem to always prefer to talk about situationally specific things, specific gossip about specific people, they are not interested in finding bigger patterns or structures in life.

And plenty of girls think you mean to criticize them or play too smart, if you by any means would try to actually give them what you think is meaningful feedback. Like if you try to develop what they just said, give some input of your own into it, or try to make a conclusion of some kind.
It took me a while to figure the code and structure of typical female conversation, but nowadays I can play along if I just focus on it. But it is terribly boring and inane most of the time. And it makes me feel more empty and lonely inside, than if I actually am alone just by myself.

As you can conclude from above, my thinking processes are more like that of the average male than the average female. I think this is a thing that really has had a big impact on my life. It’s probably also a big reason to why I can keep on going as an escort year after year and be happy about it.
I think very much like a man, so I understand men, and do not really have all that irrational and sensitive fuss inside that most girls seem to have.

Anyway, I have always had it easy with befriending guys. But of course, most intelligent and intuitive guys with real interesting minds are alienated outsiders. Alienation seems to be the very broth that makes humans think and seek.
But as such, guys usually have it hard to find girls, as they are perceived as socially low-status by being thinking outsiders. (And girls usually direct sexual attraction after social status.)
So where I see a kindred soul, they usually see a soul mate. And since I have never been able to love back in that romantic way, it usually ends with a broken heart for both parts.

Male existential loneliness is also always much worse than female such I believe. I think women instinctually know that it is easy for them to reproduce sexually.
And that is indeed what many alienated young girls do, they get children early in life, and immediately an identity as “mother of x and y”. Even if they are big time losers, educationally or professionally, they can then still carry a social saint-glory as mother to children, and get personal belonging and respect.
All lonely girls do of course not go that way, but they kind of know that they can, so they are never really involuntarily alone in the world.

For young guys though, the world is a much tougher place. Men are more disposable in the eyes of society. They are less protected, rougher treated, and harshly measured in personal value after their achievements. And they have to find someone else to reproduce sexually through.
Alienation and loneliness is therefore much harder to carry for them.
They instinctually know that loneliness is potentially lethal to them, socially as reproductively. So for them, finding a girlfriend often gets the status of finding the big salvation. It gets the dimension of the fix for everything; identity, social belonging, emotional fulfillment, eternal life for their genes.

As a girl, it is kind of impossible to really befriend a lonely guy. It is like a rich and well-fed person trying to befriend a poor and starving. They will never stop hoping for the symbiotic love thing and hunger for it, even if they do all to suppress and hide it.
It is so much in the way, they can never see me clearly apart from my female potential, it will always cloud the vision and pain them.

And it is kind of painful for me too. It always brings on unspoken guilt about not being able to love back. It’s a lose-lose situation. If I try, and fake love-like behavior, I do wrong against myself, and hurt the guy then I fail to keep on indefinitely. If I don’t try, I’m a bad person for not even giving him a chance.

I have no problem with people that only see me for an attractive body though; it is so non-personal that I don’t feel personally affected. Purely physical sexual objectification I can choose to make money off, or ignore.
Or just play with, enjoy for the bodily pleasure I can get from it. Like a fling of illusion and joy, with no guilt or responsibility attached to it. Preferably in combination with making money of it though, as money indeed is a darn good thing to have in this world.

But emotional objectification, that is a much more painful thing. That is to be seen for whom I really am as a person, at least partly, but then be wanted for a role.
A role, which is supposed to live up to certain social needs and functions. A role, which is supposed to make me motivated to think, feel and act in certain ways. A role, which I cannot identify myself with. The girlfriend role is purely disgusting, it makes me feel like so much less than a real person.

My salvation here, has again been the oldest profession. Here I have found other different and non-typical girls like me. Girls that can think, reason and discuss in the way of men, and some of them have become my fellow travelers in my seeking in life.
And the men? Here the fragmentation is actually the salvation. The dates are disconnected and isolated from the normal life. It keeps that love attachment thing at bay. And the fact that they pay too, of course. It is a professional situation, after all.

And then, as the cherry on top of the cake, I often get into small-talk about one thing or another, there in the very start or at the very end of the date. And suddenly, I get a client with something really interesting to say, or something just unexpected and like from a whole different nexus of ideas and associations.
Something to bring home, like a grain of gold found in the river of life, and write down in one of my notebooks.

2011 December 25 - Pay-sex as sexuality?

Can professionally practiced sex be a sexual fetish? Certainly. But can it be defined as a certain kind of sexuality? At first approach, I guess most people spontaneously would say no.

This from how we distinguish between labor and recreation, and between the professional and the private. Professional labor is seen as mean for other ends, while private recreation is seen as an end in itself. And as sexuality is defined as private recreation, it is not deemed as possible to combine with professional labor.

However this distinction between professional and private really holds, one can question though. Particularly if one is into mindfulness and the idea of integrating oneself with everything one does.
What you do professionally, should not just be a mean to an end of making money, but also a way to live, grow and express yourself as an individual, through your professional labor.

But that something is a mean to something else, does not exclude it from possibly being a temporary end in itself. Most “ends” we strive for are anyway just temporary once achieved, given our human mortality and our constant and restless striving onward in our lives.

And then it comes to the private sphere of recreation; well, this private sphere is not so much about recreation, as it is about constant reproduction of domestic goods and values.
Apart from practical domestic labor, there is always need to consciously invest social time and emotional energy to nurture and care for ones relations. As well as to compromise and think in terms of give-and-take.

At least if one is going to have happy and loving relations. It’s not that you just “are in the relation”, but you do actually “make the relation” to what it is. Humans are like plants, they need care-taking if you want to keep them happy and healthy.

What then, is really the difference between a good sexual relation and a good job? Or between the sphere of the private/recreational/reproductive and the sphere of the public/laboring/professional in our lives?
The division about that one is for “being” and one is for “doing”, like in either “living” or “working”, as where they oppositions, is obviously not a given truth about human existence.
(Not how we live happily anyway, although being alienated from one’s labor power, in the existential Marxist sense, probably is the case for many people that don’t like their jobs.)

Sometimes, when in a cynical mode, I would just like to say that the difference, between being a paid date and a girlfriend, is like the difference between wage labor and indentured slavery.
As a paid date, you got regulated working hours, you can openly and honestly negotiate about what you get involved in (more than that, you can even stipulate and define the situation), and you get paid for what you do.
As a girlfriend, you on all the time, you cannot negotiate the tacit expectations for how to be a “good girlfriend”, and you will easily find yourself obligated to give more of your time and energy than you find worth, in regard to what you yourself get out from the relation.

Now, here you might think that this just is issues about some wired girls, like me, not being good at “putting limits for oneself”, or “having trust issues” or maybe “having fear for intimacy”?

But I dare say that I, and several of my colleagues, are not that easily explained. The thing is simply that we don’t fit into the cultural gender roles. Which is so alien to people that do fit into those roles, that we always end up misinterpreted as psychologically deficient.

To I take myself as example, I will here below describe what I end up in, if I try private sexual relations:
1 – Hurting and disappointing my partner by not having enough personal interest, time and reciprocating feelings – and feeling sad, bad and guilty about that.
2 – Being condemned and mistrusted as an unnatural and emotionally cold woman, for not being loving and engaged enough – and feeling misunderstood and alienated.
3 – Being subjected to flirting/courting mind-games and emotional manipulations (aiming to psychologically coerce me to love, or punish me for not loving) – and getting hurt and offended from feeling abused, and not being seen and taken seriously for whom I really am.
4 – Being disregarded for being a free-whore, for being easy with sex without being in love – and getting emotionally hurt from being regarded with contempt and treated with no respect.

None of the 4 scenarios above is pleasant to deal with. (And they are actually often combined, sometimes there is a little bit of all in them in the same situation.) Nowadays in my every day life, I just about shun every situation that possibly could lead to flirtation of any kind.

But even if my capacity for passion and infatuated love is for my hobby projects and ideas, and not for persons in flesh and blood, I’m not interested in having to live as a sexual celibate.
Even if my sex life is priority number 5 (after 1: creative projects, 2: sports training, 3: my pet animals, 4: studies) it is still important.
Kind of like eating and sleeping well, something that makes the rest of my life tick and function. I can get a real nasty temper if I haven’t had sex with anyone for a while to go. I like to have some sex at least once a week.

Masturbation is not enough, I need to touch and feel another body. Physically, I need to touch and kiss another person’s skin, to kind of recharge my hormonal systems. And psychologically, I need the joy of being able to bring pleasure to another person, to have that “connection thing”.

You could think this should be easy for me then, being a young female with my looks, like the happily promiscuous girl every horny boy dream of. But in reality, I can tell you: It doesn’t work out. I always end up in one or several of the 4 scenarios described above.
(And I really don’t like noisy discotheques and similar pick-up places, nor to have sex with drunk people.)

To arrange specific agreements and conditions for a sexual relation might sometimes work in the early beginning, but very soon, tacit expectations and prejudiced judgments will always come sneaking in and messing it up for you. You can to some extent negotiate and create personal interaction out from open dialogue and reason, but not the whole complex of a relation.

And you cannot avoid the relation, because people are subconsciously pre-programmed with culturally learned emotional expectations, about what gender typical “relational choreography”, you are supposed to have with a partner.
As well as what role model you are supposed to identify with and start feeling and thinking like. And what kind of role model the other part automatically is supposed to identify with, and to feel and think in accordance with.

No matter what you outspokenly have agreed on in the start, people will automatically assume that there is a deeper emotional reality going on beneath the surface of what you openly have agreed upon. A deeper emotional reality that is automatically assumed to follow the expected gender roles.
And that there is a flirting/courting game going on, where you don’t say what you mean, nor mean what you say.

Can one ever, as a single individual, try to escape the established gender stereotypes for identity and behavior, for thinking and feeling?
The only way I have found, is to move “the whole darn thing”, the relation, into a professional setting. To cross that realm from the private sphere into the professional sphere. Then finally, you have something comprehensible to substitute the expected normality with.

The scene of pay-sex has by its commercial nature managed to adopt the same semi-personal way of interaction that is the common norm in other service enterprises. So it is just to behave as by the hairdresser, by the dentist, or by your account man in the bank – in that polite, friendly, small-talking way.
Erotic handicraft is to it’s nature indeed a bit more close-up and personal when you are “at it” so to speak, but the relation as such is not more complicated than in the former examples.

Professional sex is freed from all emotional drama, because it has abandoned the private sphere and moved completely into the professional sphere. (And you who have read Levi-Strauss and Rubin, will get that what I also hint at here, is that by abandoning the domestic and private sphere of femininity, one can abandon the female gender role as well.)

For a young woman like me, who doesn’t fit into the traditional female identity, it is about the only way to escape what otherwise would be tacitly expected of me. Here finally, it’s ok that I just am myself as the person I am. Here finally, the communication is all direct and honest.

I don’t get blamed for not loving and caring enough, because as a professional sex worker I’m not expected to love and care on a deeper level (but only within the duration of the date).
I’m finally taken seriously, trusted on that I “say what I mean and mean what I say”. Instead of me automatically being assumed to follow some kind of love-game with double talk, and a deeper emotional reality in accordance with normal female gender role.
And because I demand money for my services, I get much more personal respect from my partners than I would have gotten if I had not charged money, but been freely promiscuous.

Both parts know the purpose, pretty much what to do (or else that is to be openly and directly communicated), and the duration in time. Neat, tidy, utterly relaxing and blessingly uncomplicated.

This is the very thing that kind of makes the oldest profession to what it is – the fact that it is a sexual practice that has abandoned the private sphere for the professional sphere.
The very same fact that would make most people say that prostitution cannot be a kind of sexuality in itself, just because it is professional, even commercial, and not a private and recreational activity.

But just that kind of transgression from private to professional is the very thing that kind of is the “kink” of it! The essence of it that makes it so unique!
It would never be possible to get the same emotional and relational setting in a role-game, or set it up “safe and stable”, outside of it being a business deal. Not for real.

The very fact that it is a professional and commercial service does create a situation with very specific interpersonal relations, that just aren’t replaceable or exchangeable with any kind of made-up situation in any private setting.

To conclude of that, is that as far as one can categorize types of sexuality, apart from the simple division of gender for sexual preference, pay-sex must indeed be deemed as a sexuality of sorts.

2011 December 23 - About limits

One thing I recently have been discussing with an email friend of mine, which I will call Ms H. (as she is likely to reappear in this blog) is that thing about putting up personal limits in relations.
Ms H. is a previous escort, nowadays in a boyfriend relation. And the big family time of Christmas is coming . . .

Our discussions over email, and my attempts to counsel Ms H., brought up a lot of my own old material about that matter. And that is partly what has gotten me to put some specific focus on relational issues here in this post and the next ones to come.

The issue about personal limits is something that often has been mentioned in the discussion about working with sex. Or rather, in yesterday’s discussion about working with sex, I would dare to claim.
Although it is also a difference in discourse, as I mention in the schematic compilation on the page Sexologi, in square 5D in particular.

I still get emails from guys who mainly inquire about my “limits”. Which to me appears a bit like a backward approach. Isn’t what I do the thing of interest, rather than what I don’t want done with me?
This thing about limits is typically asked in not so well written emails with pornographically influenced language and plenty of spelling errors, and I usually don’t bother to reply on them.

Nowadays the profession is more about focusing on profiling a readymade concept of what you want to do. And then simply attract the kind of clientele that like what you like to provide.
The market for clients is more a thing about “take it or leave it”, as a whole experience thing. Or rather – go looking for someone offering exactly what you had in mind, rather than to settle for some random anonymous entrepreneur, and then improvise after a set of given limits.

I think it’s a development that partly has come with internet; it has increased providers’ ability to actually define what they do and who they are. Not only in regard to the clients, but also in regard to themselves.
And more consciously niche in on what kind of clients they want to attract. Rather than just anonymously getting into something more or less undefined, and then put up diverse limits in the situation.

Mentally, it is a rather big thing though. Traditionally, in normal society, it seems like passively putting up limits is the typical female kind of thing to do, then it comes to sex and relations. While male approach is to take all initiatives.

But if you work as an erotic artisan on a somewhat better level, this thing about taking the initiatives, and having power to define the situation, mostly comes very natural.
After all, the provider is the professional one, with an expert identity, firmly belonging in the scene of commercial sex. While the client is a civilian, with an identity that only transiently or occasionally belongs in that scene.
(Which also are important themes through all of section 3, 4, and 5 in the schematic compilation on page Sexology.)

For providers, it is also simply smart to abandon the concept of focusing on “limits”, to instead focus on taking the initiatives and to actively define what the situation is to be about.
You will do much better, both professionally and personally, if you focus on actively creating an experience you enjoy taking part in, than if you just put up some limits, and then all passively leave the situation up to the client.
And clients normally like to be taken cared of, it is kind of part of the very point about going to a professional. This business is part of the amusement industry after all.

But in “real life”, outside of this business, it seems like the unfortunate fate of women often is to defensively put up limits, rather than being able to take the initiatives and actively define situations and relations.
But maybe it is even worse for men, since they, whether they like it or not, are given the main responsibility for everything. And if a situation does not work out well, the man is the one judged as either incompetent or morally bad. And unlike women, men cannot even complain about the gender roles, since they automatically are seen as being in a more advantageous position of power.

There are structural social and cultural expectations about what roles you have to play for being girlfriend and boyfriend. Like some kind of common platform for how to build a relation. And you cannot really create that platform all anew, because it is so deeply imprinted in the subconscious.

It would probably also be really difficult to build it up all from scratch, there would simply be too much information to handle. Not enough compatible code, between two separate individuals, who are to become a functioning unit. Like having to create a whole new code base, rather than taking an already existing platform to create a program from.

Then it comes to my friend Ms H., well, her issue about limits isn’t about the bedroom, as you probably can figure, but about everyday issues outside of the bedroom. How to get private time, and how to handle “normal expectations” from her boyfriend’s relatives. About not being able to be herself if she is to fit in.

My input is that she probably has the wrong approach. That she thinks too much according to traditional femininity, with focusing on drawing limits.
Actually, I think that her previous escort life might help her out, if she just could implement it somehow. I think she must try to take initiatives and lead in the relations, and actively redefine parts of the pre-understood concept of “normality”. Like infiltrate and reprogram, rather than let herself be overwritten into someone she is not.

Like the basic sex working trick of initiatives: To take the lead and keep the client busy with doing what you enjoy, rather than to passively await his initiatives and once in a while say no to some of them. If you don’t like something he seems to be about to do, just steer him into doing something that you yourself like instead.

If this now could be transferred into emotional everyday situations. Which is much more difficult I guess, as everyday being together probably is difficult to break down and analyze as simple actions, that could be altered or substituted.
But if it could be done, the same principle could be applied; just substitute what you don’t like with actively suggesting something you do like. Given that what you have for substitution now is something that the other part also do like.

Which is very easy when it comes to sex, as most things you can suggest is something that also is pleasurable for your partner (and in addition, men just love to please their partner then it comes to sex). But as said, everyday life interaction is probably not as easy and concrete as sexual interaction is.
Also, as a craftswoman of erotic arts, one is automatically placed in a position of power, derived from professional belonging. As an ordinary civilian young girl, one is not.

Anyway, this discussion also gave me another insight in that commonly occurring prejudice that girls working with sex should have damaged sense of integrity, or problems with establishing personal limits.

I really think that the issue rather is that some girls, which are drawn to work with sex, simply are more individuated than most people. This makes them perceive the issue about integrity differently.
It doesn’t imply that they damaged in anyway, just that they are different and perceive the world differently. If anything, I would dare to say that they often are more emancipated than most.

Going to bed with total strangers might not be an integrity issue at all for some girls, but living up to some assumedly normal everyday expectations for how to be a good girlfriend, might very well be. And yet others can manage both, or switch between.

For my own concerns, I have just bought a new mattress to my 90 cm (35,5 in) single bed. With a 5 year guarantee, but hopes for 10 years use. So I’m not going to take chances with becoming anybodies girlfriend, but keep on allowing my individual self to grow just as it pleases.

2011 December 22 - Picking up the pen

Almost exactly half a year have passed since I last blogged. I never got to finish several of the posts I had drafted, and as the time has passed, I have both spun ahead with new ideas, plus do a lot of non-Annika related writing at the moment.

Yet, I still think this blog could be important. Even though my life as Annika often feels like a disconnected sidetrack, or even like a dangerously time consuming escapism.
It has always been something of a compensation for what I don’t dare to be and what I don’t dare to do in my everyday life. Or rather, what there is no place or acceptance for in the regular world. And over time I think I have come to rely on it, on expense of stalling in other areas in life.

But earlier in the spring this year I had something like a spiritual insight, on what maybe could be the deeper meaning of my existence; finding and elaborating new perspectives on various ideas.
I have actually had that insight for some years now, but this spring I had an additional insight on that maybe it also would be a good and meaningful thing to spread my ideas more publicly, instead of just keeping my ideations to myself. That it maybe could be something like a higher calling.

I am basically an atheist, but recognize that we humans seem to have an inborn sense for meaning, religion and some kind of spirituality in us. Just like all humans have an inborn sense for esthetics, humor and love.
If you would call me anything, I think you could call me a solipsistic religious person. Meaning that I don’t believe in any higher power, any gods, any concept of soul or any “meaning with it all”, apart from what exist in our human minds. No external spiritual forces so to speak. But well internal such, just like our sense for esthetics, humor and love.

I came to that conclusion out from the question “who did then create God?” If you need a divinity to explain why anything can be, and why things are as they are; then you must also ask what first enabled that divinity to exist, and why it is what it is. And what in turn enabled that thing, into infinity.
Then it is just as well to accept that the world as it is, the physical reality, is incomprehensible for human minds. Instead of pushing the issue away to some concept of divinity, and in turn call that thing for incomprehensible and beyond human understanding. (Because doing the latter thing is just to push the same problem one step away, not solving it.)
And what is within our human comprehension and understanding, is products from our particular human perspectives on the physical reality, as I see it.

(What now still makes religions, mythology, and spiritual concepts interesting to me, is that I see them as representations for psychological phenomena in our minds. Kind of like Jungian archetypes, myths and symbols. A practical high-way to communicate with oneself and with others, on a deeper emotional level.)

But also as an atheist, especially as an atheist, one has to try to find a meaning with one’s life, and notions about what is good and right in this world. Especially as an atheist I would like to say, as you then cannot just “buy a package” and follow some book or some ready-made ideology or tradition – but you do really have to think for yourself, and take full responsibility for your choices in life.

My first immediate and intuitive assumption for the meaning of life, was to be a good person and do good things. And likewise immediate and intuitive, it seemed to me, that the way to be a good person and do good things, was to take responsibility for how one affects the wellbeing of others. To care about others, simply speaking.

That is kind of hard though, especially when one lives in a modern welfare state. My individual everyday lifestyle choices, also the passive such, contribute to a lot of suffering in this world.
Each heated cup of coffee that I “don’t really need”, is a choice that slightly adds to the global heating, and might contribute to result in collateral genocide of future generations. And every time I choose to buy something, I should rather consider how much better use that money could have done for others better needing it.

Personal moral responsibility for the wellbeing of others is an eternal slippery slope, a difficult grey scale, it is very difficult to find some kind of ethical balance between being too selfishly uncaring or going more self-obliterating than one can deal with.

Especially in close personal relations. Which is why I in the first place choose to think in the grand universal scale mentioned above, I must confess.
So it is actually nothing real grand about it, this thinking in terms of global justice. But it is rather a way to excuse myself from my failure to love and care for particular persons, but still be able to feel like I have some goodness in me, or at least some human belonging in this world.
(And I harbor secret suspicions that this particular kind of personal failure also is the case for most thinkers that go universal, or meta-level, in their ethical, political or religious reasoning.)

In closer personal relations I always fear not to be caring and loving enough, as I usually don’t feel emotionally motivated to give the time and attention expected of me. And then I tend to overdo it, and turn too fake as a mean to compensate for my emotional shortcomings, which usually ruins it all. (Apart from it being undoable from start on.)
It becomes unbearable hard to live that way, and I hurt people in the end when I after a while don’t manage to keep it up anymore.

Hence I put my focus for personal righteousness on a more abstract and universal scale. Which really did not simplify matters.
Despite a lot of clever insights, in the end I also just did more or less like everybody else, seen to everyday lifestyle choices. Although I realized that the “moral way of everybody else” just is an arbitrary and inconsistent collection of habits, spontaneously grown out from a rather unconscious collective.

I also realized that I was ridiculous when I found my conscience relieved by buying ecological and giving some money away to charity, in perspective of then seeing myself as “relatively better” than most people. (Which with earnings from the oldest profession also is easier to do for me, than it is for regular students and employed.)
But that “relatively better” than someone else, or than an abstract mass of undefined others, is just the very base for moral hypocrisy and cowardice for taking genuine conscious responsibility for oneself.

I guess most people trouble their minds with these big issues at some time in their lives, usually when they are in their teens, but for me it went rather deep, and it kept on torturing my mind for many years. Not so strange maybe, as it probably mostly was a projection of guilt from my personal failures about being loving and caring on a more personal level.

Then, one day, a friend told me that guilt was the cheater’s way to moral righteousness. That I just went around beating myself up with these guilt issues as a pathetic mean to feel good about myself, without really having to do anything. It was all just another cowardly kind of moral hypocrisy.
Faced with this, I had to realize that I just was too egoistic and comfortable to turn into a self-sacrificing mother Theresa, seen to moral acting on a universal or global scale of things. As well as simply incapable of brainwashing myself into genuinely love in the romantic fashion (at least not if I know a person too well, on a more abstract and general level I can manage to some extent).

I could actually forgive myself for not being able to love and care enough for particular persons, as it was not really anything I could do about that, since faking love and care out of duty and guilt just makes things worse.
The thing about lifestyle choices, seen in the light of global injustice, was however a bit harder to deal with. Where does one draw the line here, on what one reasonably should abstain in personal indulgence to the benefit of others in much greater need?

Finally, I pragmatically concluded I better settle with continue to mostly follow the cultural habits around me in utilitarian sense, plus always aim to avoid doing any direct and personal harm, and sometimes try to do some direct and personal good here and there. Which kind of is easy and what I automatically did anyway.

And then I decided to try to find a new angle on how to find meaning in life, and how be a good person and live a good life.
I came to think of, that maybe taking responsibility for how one affects the wellbeing of others is not the only way to have meaning, nor for how to be a good person and live a good life?
Maybe that assumption was premature and unreflecting? And maybe I even had the wrong perspective on it?

Because at a closer scrutiny, I realized that what really matters for most people in life is not happiness in terms of physical wellbeing and freedom from suffering. Actually, the hope for happiness, or the path to it, seems to matter much more. Like; “the goal is not really the goal, but rather the way to the goal”.

Once we have what we strived for we are always on our way to other ends. And humans can endure the direst of circumstances with good spirits, even sacrifice their lives, as long as they have a belief in something to strive for.
It can be religious beliefs in a rewarding afterlife, strive for a political ideology, hope of a future of better material standards, achievement of social status, or just hopes for getting something emotionally rewarding.

But people that already are relatively well off, but lack ideas and motivation to something to strive for, seem to be prone to depression and suffering, no matter how good their present situation is in material standards. (In perspective of human evolutionary history even the homeless people in modern western society are very well fed and physically safe.)
This also explains why people can get so obsessed about achieving seemingly empty goals, like artificial beauty, designer items or titles. The goals in themselves are not the issue, they are rather arbitrary and have more of a symbolic and motivating value, than a value in themselves.

This is not the case for animals or small children however. For them actual happiness in terms of wellbeing and freedom from suffering, in a material here and now, matters more than the hope and strive for something. (Which is a good input on why animal welfare really does matter. Especially in the bodily sense, as humans can exchange bodily wellbeing for satisfaction in religion, ideology and similar, but animals just have the reality of the body.)

But – on a bigger scale, if one would look to life in large, and the process of life as an ongoing bigger whole of evolution, it kind of seems like the driving force of “everything alive” cares nothing of happiness or suffering, but just about progress in more efficient information.
Our strains of DNA, common to something like 90-99% by all living organisms, kind of live their own life. Blind and fumbling they go onward through eons of time, racing an eternal unconscious game of trial and error. Information is what they are made of, and what they strive to improve, or just change, to fit with changing circumstances.

And as I now have this inborn human need to find meaning, or belief on a greater level, why then not build my ideas of meaning on this thing about progress in information?

It is arbitrary, it doesn’t really follow any given logic or anything. But really, does anything? Every logic connection can always be boiled down to a circuiting cycle, or some first axiom, that we just state or assume.
I could just as random or arbitrary choose some ready-made package of religion, political ideology or similar, to find a meaning and have belief in something. From an objective view it would be equally as right or good to choose. Equally arbitrary.
But from my sense of personal taste, I kind of like that thing about finding meaning in information. It fits my arbitrary individual preferences.

Or frankly, to be honest, it gives me a good excuse for doing what I anyway like best; daydream and brood on ideas, with aim to find new input on things. I don’t really think I can come up with much really new material in any sense, but here and there I kind of see new patterns in things. Interesting patterns. That gives me a feeling of flow and it makes me happy.

It gives me a sense of connectedness somehow, to this infinite and fascinating reality we live in. It makes me inspired and gives me a feeling of fulfillment. And love. Yes, quite undeniable, a feeling of love. Kind of to the whole existence.

I usually prefer to keep my little theories, broodings and other hobby projects to myself (apart from a few email pen pals), as life experience have taught me that most people with real interesting minds also tend to be emotionally complicated, and in the end want love from me. Or at least get all too personally intrusive, plus demand much more of my time and attention than I can manage to give.

But to reconnect to what I wrote above, about my conclusion about trying to sometimes do a bit direct and personal good here and there, and my first intuitive assumption about that the meaning of life was to be a good person and care about other people; well I have not entirely discarded these notions.

And what could then be better than if I somehow could integrate these notions with my interest for development in information, in the form of finding and elaborating new perspectives on various ideas?
Maybe I even could do good on a greater level than those considerations about lifestyle choices and global justice, seen to the notion about that what people really care most about are things to believe in?

What if I could do that good thing, with taking responsibility for affecting other people’s wellbeing, by doing something that isn’t about duty, guilt or personal sacrifice, but something that actually is fun for me too? Kind of like it is fun to have casual sex with people?
What if I could do the same kind of Annika-thing intellectually too?

This thing about commercial sex is hot stuff, it really affects people. And for the providers and clients involved, very little self-created notions and perspectives are expressed. Most information is what society imagines, from prejudice, which has more to deal with sexual issues outside of the professional setting, than it really tells anything of us in the business. People in this business suffer from bad self-images and social stigmatization. What if I could give them some better ideas and something to believe in?

Really, if I ever want to do anything that really might matter to other people on a bigger scale, this might be the most important thing I will ever do in my life.
Even though my Annika-life (as mentioned in the beginning of this outrageously extensive blog post) often feels like a disconnected side-track, or even as a dangerous distraction. But maybe the Annika-life can be more than escapism and compensation; maybe it really could carry deeper existential meaning, both for me and others.

I have already covered some good ground on the page Sexology here on this website. But it is kind of compact and rather abstract. It needs to be given flesh and blood and a personal angle, if it is to be good for anything.
So I should pick up the pen again, or rather place my fingers on the keybord, and keep on writing here.

2011 July 14 - Reasons to pay

Then I was new in the profession, a more experienced girl told me that there was two reasons for men to pay: Either because they did not want to get burdened with a girl around their neck, or because they could not get a girl around their neck.
And the first category was the good ones, the ones that paid well, were good in bed, and had charms about them. While the latter category only was bad pay and ungrateful work all way through.

As I gained own experience, I did not find this to be really true. It is more the extremes on a grey-scale, where the majority of the men are in the middle.

The average client is mostly just a regular guy wanting some variation and entertainment. They are men that neither fear to get stalked by an eventual normal one-night stand, nor are they incapable of attracting a woman not paid, would they give flirting some time and effort.
But it is easier and faster to just pay for it. A bit like taking the car out to a car-wash, instead of bothering to take care of it self.

And about the extremes on the grey-scale, well the guys that have difficulties getting girls, are rarely ungrateful work. On the contrary, often enough they are just guys that are a bit too sensitive and intelligent, meaning they often doubt themselves all the time.

They have gotten perspectives on things, and realize how small a single human being is in this chaotic and arbitrary world. And they develop too much personal consideration and integrity to be able to play the vainglorious macho role – which despite being political incorrect, actually is what many girls initially get attracted to.

Being too intelligent or too sensitive often causes a certain personal insecurity and humbleness, which for some reason doesn’t “sell” that well on the match making market for love. I guess a good seducer have to be a bit like a good politician; too stupid to see perspectives outside of a very narrow frame, and too dumb to ever doubt oneself.

But while plenty of politicians just can make it by learning rhetoric and fake a superfluous image, it doesn’t work that easy in a more intimate situation. An insecure guy trying to fake it there, more likely appears as a pretender, and get dismissed three seconds after he has said his first words.

Though of course, I guess there is another group as well, with left-over guys, that neither are very intelligent nor sensitive; the uneducated and unemployed losers in society. But those guys an upper-scale escort in Scandinavia doesn’t get as clients, as they simply don’t make money enough to afford the service. Though I guess they are the frustrated time-wasters which trouble escorts on phone and email all the time with their fantasias.

Because frankly, if a guy can keep a job and make money, there will always be some calculating (but maybe not overly attractive) woman that eventually would want him. If for nothing else, so just to get a provider, babysitter and handyman to use, in exchange for a romp in bed once a week.

Nice guys often ends up paying no matter what. If not upfront, so as they go, or as they leave – or maybe even after having left. And I guess the paying upfront alternative then often turns out to be the cheapest alternative, with best value for the money, or at least the safest and most honest way to go about it.

I guess this also bring us to the other extreme on the gray-scale, they guys that pay in order to not get a girl around their neck. Mostly then, it is not the girl’s eventual love they fear, as much as the hidden costs of demands, which could come with it. And it is mostly not the guy’s actual personal attractiveness that is the issue, but rather his social position and wealth, which kind of makes him vulnerable.

If he is married, a romantic affair on the side could bring down disaster in family and career, in case the mistress wants more than just the sex. And if he is not married, but wealthy and of good standing, he is likely to mostly attract climbers and gold diggers anyway. Thereby it might be most comfortable to just pay up front, and be all honest about it.

Actually, paying to avoid hidden costs, expectations and demands is probably a common part of the motivation for most men that hire intimate services. Along with saving time and effort, as mentioned in the analogy with taking the car to a car-wash instead of doing it self.

Most people, men as women, have to pay for relations in one way or another. Usually payment made in what our lives are measured in – time. Time filtered through labor generating money, or time filtered through labor generating other practical, emotional and social values.

And as trade and exchange of time and effort goes, if they are lucky, all parts end up benefiting from it. Either by getting what they cannot make for themselves, or by the mutual time and efforts summing up to something greater than what single efforts could have created.

But it is not always things turn out that beneficial to all parts involved. Through history, it has mostly been the weaker part in an exchange relation that easily ends up getting used. But as I have found, in modern days and in personal relations, this is not always the case.

In close and personal relations, it is instead more often the nicer and more considerate part, that easily ends up giving more than gaining. Or the part that could be called the strongest one, and the one with most advantages in the situation. And that due to that feels more personal obligation and moral duty. And thus gets used by getting his own advantage (and moral responsibility for it) turned against him.

Professional relations then, are in a way the most fair and honest to engage in. Because they are so transparent. All terms and conditions are on open display. It is “take it or leave it”, no diffuse or hidden charges sneaked into the package.