My empowering fantasy
Welcome to Sex and the State, a newsletter about power. I’m a writer working on decriminalizing and destigmatizing all things sex. I synthesize empirical evidence, stories, and personal experience to interrogate existing power structures to propose new, hopefully better, ways of relating. To support my work, buy a subscription, follow me on OnlyFans, or just share this post!
According to my mother, and confirmed on Wikipedia, the number seven forms a widespread typological pattern within Hebrew scripture.
In my last Domme class Colette talked about a central theme of the class, which is moving your fantasies from being disempowering for you to being empowering. A disempowering fantasy is one in which you literally don’t have the power to make it come true. Being scouted to be a runway model when you’re 5’3” is a disempowering fantasy. Setting up your own fashion photo shoots is an empowering fantasy. Having your ex come crawling back is a disempowering fantasy. Working to be the kind of person who they would want, or better yet not caring what they think anymore, is an empowering fantasy.
Her story is that… well it’s her story. I’ll let her tell it in the forums she chooses. But one detail is that after she shifted the focus to an empowering fantasy, it took seven years for it to come true for her. The main thrust is that she wanted her family to be proud of her. In particular, she wanted them to be proud of her sex work.
People often ask me how my conservative, Christian, southern family deals with my being very open about sex work. I tell them I’m very lucky that they love me anyway.
2021 marked seven years since I started doing sex work. I was closeted most of the time. My family didn’t know, until they did. No one was thrilled when they found out.
It’s a lot more difficult for anyone to accept you or be proud of you if you don’t accept and you are not proud of yourself. And the truth is that it took me many years to fully believe that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I have enough humility to know that I still can’t say for certain that sex work isn’t wrong. I just know that there’s no ethical system I can currently buy into that prohibits adult, consensual sex work. But it took me a long time to get there. I grew up believing that any sex outside of a heterosexual, monogamous marriage was wrong. I had enough confidence that might not be true to try sex work. But it’s taken me years of doing sex work and listening to sex workers and reading the research on sex and sex work to be as confident as I am right now that there’s nothing measurably inherently immoral or unethical about it.
Which means for me that I can go home and not need my family to approve of my choices. Which is good, because they mostly do not. And that’s okay. That they love me even when I make choices they don’t approve of is way more than enough. I’m extremely grateful to have that. Most people don’t, as it turns out. Which I think is really, really sad. If family means anything it should, I think, mean people who love each other through differences of opinion.
If there’s any spark of life in me, anything that makes me want to continue existing, (besides my love for other people), it’s my curiosity. Existence is more interesting than non-existence. Following my curiosity when it comes to ethical questions has gifted me an evolving moral intuition. Something in me was curious about the morality of sex, and then sex work. Long before OnlyFans existed or more than half of voters approved of decriminalizing sex work I had an intuition that maybe it was okay. I followed that curiosity, evaluated the evidence, and came to what I believe right now to be the most helpful viewpoint on sex and sex work. I believe that they are inherently morally neutral. At the same time, I’m more than happy to update that belief in light of new evidence.
Wanting any one person to wake up one day and decide that they approve of your choices is a disempowering fantasy. Being curious about what you believe and why, following that curiosity to learn what the evidence says about what you believe, updating your opinions in light of that evidence, and ultimately deciding that you approve of your own choices is an empowering fantasy.
Cognitive dissonance is a difficult thing to live with. Having thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes that are inconsistent with your behavior and/or attitudes is difficult for everyone. It’s extremely difficult for me. I’m extreme in the way that I am constantly comparing my beliefs and behaviors to themselves. I’m constantly asking myself whether what I think and do lines up with what I think I believe. But I think that’s my superpower, as well. Because in so doing, and writing about it, I’m theorizing frameworks that might be useful to others as well. But ultimately the thing I most want to pass along isn’t any one conclusion I may have come to about how to live, but my process for thinking through the question.
Be curious. Follow the questions. Evaluate the evidence. Update the beliefs. Rinse and repeat until you die.
Every step is difficult. Being curious requires facing my own existing cognitive dissonance. Following my questions and evaluating the evidence requires facing my fear of giving up the beliefs I currently hold. It involves the fear of learning that I’ve been wrong, and done harm. Updating my beliefs requires letting go of who I was when I believed differently and embracing the unknown of who I will be with my new beliefs.
But that potential for change, that charging into the unknown, is the essence of what makes existence worthwhile. At least for me.
So that’s my empowering fantasy right now. To charge more fearlessly into more questions. To update everything in light of new evidence, even and especially my system for evaluating it. To delight in and nurture my curiosity. To fuel the spark of my continued existence. And to hold dear and appreciate the people who love me no matter what conclusions I come to.