Since the very beginning of this blog, I’ve endeavored to be brutally honest on the subject of sex work; I have neither exaggerated the good aspects of the work nor hidden the bad ones. This is not only because of my sincere belief that honesty is the best policy, but also because ugly truths that are hidden become weapons for enemies when discovered; sex worker activists must hide nothing, so the public will understand that we’re being just as honest about the things we deny as those we confess. This month’s guest column is about one of those unpleasant aspects of sex work; sex workers’ ad copy often presents us as insatiable sex goddesses getting paid for having a ball, but in truth we really aren’t all that different from other women and work sex is generally much more about work than sex to us. The essay is also quite unusual in that it asks for advice, much like a Q & A column; however, since the question came from a celebrity I thought it needed a different treatment. Furthermore, though I was able to give the lady some advice from my own experience, in my opinion she needs very specialized input pertaining to an area of sex work I have no personal experience with: commercial porn. Because the nature of the question would tend to undermine her public persona, she asked to be published anonymously and of course I have agreed; I used the name “Anonyma” both in reference to Catherine Walters, and because the title “Guest Columnist: Anonymous” has already been used. Please respect her wish for anonymity by not speculating on her identity in the comments. I hope that readers with porn industry experience (I have at least two of you in mind) will weigh in, and if you feel your advice is better given privately please email me with “Anonyma” in the subject line and I’ll forward it to her.
I am an award winning porn performer. My image is that of a hypersexual young woman who is insatiable—a sex symbol for my fans. But off camera, that image could be farther from reality. At first, my porn life didn’t interfere too much with my real life; I was still able to have sexual relationships on camera, and my libido was as high as ever. But after I was in the industry for a while, my sex drive dropped to non-existent and the thought of a man’s penis penetrating me now makes me cringe. Why? A lot of reasons.
On set, I’m expected to have sex for hours. After a while, the sex isn’t pleasurable; it’s actually quite painful. Long days on set paired with exhaustion cause tears and cuts in my vagina- oftentimes it happens on set and I am told to power through to complete the scene. Having sex with a tear is excruciatingly painful. My many sexual partners and exploits have also led to another painful problem: pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection that causes inflammation of the uterus and ovaries. In other words, every time a penis gets deep inside me the pain is unreal. Normally, pelvic inflammatory disease is treated with antibiotics and abstinence from sex, but being that my job is to have sex, it comes and goes for me.
Sexual trauma from my past has also given me a mental block that arises whenever I have a sexual encounter. I, like many other survivors, suffer from PTSD because of the assaults I have experienced. Also, the thought of having sex and not being paid for it now bothers me; it’s as though I only view men as dollar signs, as games to be won. Before, I always loved men AND women! But now I’m encumbered by this aversion to men, and the thought of having sex with a man does not appeal to me in the slightest. I still find men attractive, but I don’t have the urge to jump on him and fuck him like I used to.
Obviously, this is causing issues in my relationship with my boyfriend. He is amazing and understanding, but I feel guilty for not being able to please him; we have only had sex 2 times this summer (I know, it’s horrible). I have seen a therapist and he advised me to quit sex work, and maybe he’s right; maybe it is causing permanent damage to my psyche. But it’s my livelihood and I still love it in most ways. Does anyone have any advice? What do I do to get over this mental blockage? How do I begin to have a normal sex life again? Help!