For the latest installment of my Sugar Babies column for VICE, I spoke with a French sugar baby who recently arrived in New York, and who’s using a sugar daddy website to fulfill her hedonistic fantasies. Think caviar, ticking fetishists, penthouse threesomes, bruises and hidden cocktail parlors. Read it HERE :)
1. “If you think pubic hair on a woman is unnatural or weird, you aren’t mature enough to be touching vaginas.” – Stoya
2. “I don’t define myself as straight, because if I meet a guy and I’m attracted to him, I’m going to have sex with him. I just have yet to meet the guy. I don’t like labels, I like freedom.” – James Deen (from his interview on the Brett Easton Ellis podcast–so good!)
3. “I think some people recognize my butthole before they recognize my face.” – Bobbi Starr
4. “People don’t understand that the main ingredient to everything is consent. I don’t believe that there is any fantasy too extreme or too out there to enact between two consenting adults in a safe environment. I actually think that it helps people grow and become comfortable with who they are. And that little step to admit what you like in the bedroom will bleed over to the rest of your life and allow you to be more open with yourself and with others about what you need and who you are.” – Princess Donna
5. “What one person sees as degrading and disgusting and bad for women might make some women feel empowered and beautiful and strong.” – Sasha Grey
6. “Something I find really amazing about porn is that the girls aren’t rail thin, they’re real women. Porn stars don’t starve themselves. Porn stars think, ‘Maybe if I eat this piece of cheesecake it will go straight to my ass, and then I’ll get hired for more butt movies.’ And actually, the girls who are super skinny don’t sell well, because people want to see bodies bounce. They want to see flesh–something to grab onto and suck on. Like, I don’t want to stick my face in somebody’s bony ass, because it will hurt my face, you know?” – Bobbi Starr (from my interview with her)
7. “I think every woman should get double penetrated at least once. It’s an intense experience, even if you just do it with a large toy and a person, or two toys and yourself. I just think every girl should try it.” – Joanna Angel
8. “When I went to the AVN [Adult Video News] awards, I’d just found out that I was pregnant. I was sitting there signing autographs, listening to my fans say, “Oh my God Tori! I love the way you sucked this dick,” or, “Oh my God, you take cock in the ass so great,” and all the while I was saying to myself, “These Spanx are really tight; I really just want to let my belly out.” – Tori Black (from my interview!)
9. “I have found that when I know my own boundaries, when I have confidence in myself, other people do as well, and I’m also far better at blowing off any random a-hole that wants to pass judgment on me. Not in my life? Not one of my chosen people? I don’t care what you have to say about my choices.”- Dylan Ryan
10. “Why is there porn explicitly “for women”? By saying there needs to be porn for women, you’re basically isolating women as a gender, and saying, “This is how women should think. This is how their sexuality should be.” It’s counterproductive (from what I understand) to the equality movement. Who says that one woman’s take on sexuality is the right way to think? One woman might like to watch a film with high production value and beautiful sex. Another might like some BDSM things with beating, degradation — and it doesn’t mean either is right or wrong. Pornography is made for individuals to find what they enjoy, and what turns them on. There’s no market research on this because sexuality is always developing, growing, and evolving. You could talk to a million people about what they like in porn, and you’re going to get a million answers of what a million people like in porn at that moment.” – James Deen
11. “My goal is to be myself, and to challenge stereotypes, and to follow the rules, and break them, and make new rules. It’s not about doing something that’s already been done. That would be silly.” – Sasha Grey
12. “People always say, ‘You could be doing the most intense, extreme dirty thing and you make it look so pure.’ Whenever someone smacks my ass or hits my in the face, I’m smiling.” – Belladonna (from her cover interview in Richardson mag)
13. “I really enjoy the performance aspect of porn. Some of the best sex scenes to me can be poetry, and I think sexuality can be an art form. Sasha Grey always used to say that she was a performer, and I feel that way too.” – Kimberly Kane
14. “When I was 12 and 13 I had a lot of BDSM fantasies, and it was very difficult to deal with. I grew up Catholic, and I thought my fantasies and desires were wrong and immoral, and I didn’t have anybody to talk to about them, and the few friends I felt comfortable speaking to thought I was crazy. I wish I’d read 120 Days of Sodom when I was that age–I think it would have healed me as a person a lot.” Sasha Grey (from my interview)
15. Our relationships to porn remain complicated and incredibly simple. Porn has proliferated and taken so many hits. It prevails and continues to be one of the many pop culture meters that is both affected by what people want and determines what people want. It is the ultimate representation of human sexuality and the biggest way in which we incorrectly interpret human sexuality. Porn is us.” – Dylan Ryan
Are you one of those shape-shifters who steals the personality of the person you’re dating? And what are the signs that your identity is getting caught up in your relationship? (And is that a bad thing?) Read my new Breathless for Vogue, featuring wisdom from Jenna Sauers!
Is it weird to fantasize about fucking ugly people? I’ve noticed that often, when I see a guy who I don’t find physically attractive, I immediately have thoughts about us fucking doggy-style. I’m semi concerned that subconsciously it’s because I want to be the more attractive person in a sexual scenario, making it a self-esteem issue. . . but I don’t know, maybe I’m just legitimately into ugly dudes? Help, Sarah
Honestly, I’m at the point where I don’t think it’s “weird” to fantasize about anything. The human mind is incredibly perverted, and I think most of us wouldn’t admit–sometimes not even to ourselves–where our deepest, darkest fantasies could lead us if we let them. Having said that, I don’t think “fantasizing about fucking ugly people” is even particularly that dark. And not to be overly PC, but I wouldn’t use the world ugly, because it just feels kind of cruel, ya know? But I do understand what you mean about desire to fuck someone who you–or who general society–wouldn’t deem a standard beauty.
It’s no secret that, since the dawn of sex, people have been attracted to things that are “dirty,” and have felt the impulse to have have types of sex that polite society says we shouldn’t be having–e.g. anal sex, piss sex, fucking your friend’s spouse, or your teacher, or your student, sleeping with prostitutes, eating your girlfriend out on her period, being treated like a dog and kept in a cage… whatever, there’s a million examples. And I think your impulse probably falls into a similar category.
My personal fantasies evolve and change over time, but there was a period that lasted for about two years where every time I masturbated I would think about being gangbanged by a group of really gross, hairy, fat, brutish guys, which is literally the exact opposite of the the type of person I’m actually attracted to in a relationship way. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I think I liked the idea/the perversity of being used and abused by guys who “didn’t deserve me.” My friend, the sex blogger Tea Hacic, used to have similar fantasies–we’d talk about it all the time. We even nicknamed it (quite narcissistically) the “Beauty and the Beast complex.” And I guess maybe you could link that to a self esteem issue, but I don’t think it has to be. Like, I enjoy getting smacked during sex sometimes, and that doesn’t mean that I devalue myself or think that I deserve abuse in my regular life–I just like it, OK? Sometimes we’re just turned-on by stuff, and we don’t have to over-think it, but that can ruin the fun and impulsiveness of it.
It does seem like what you’re talking about is specific to sex, and not “romance,” because you mentioned that your immediate impulse is to get fucked doggy-style by these guys, rather than to kiss and hug them. And actually, there is such a thing as “teratophilia,” which is defined as “the sexual paraphilia characterised by sexual attraction to deformed or monstrous people / Attraction to monsters.” Maybe that’s you! Yay, you have a paraphilia–now you’re officially special.
But basically, no, I don’t think it’s weird or harmful to have these fantasies, and I of course don’t think it would be bad to act on them either, so long as your less-attractive partner doesn’t feel objectified, or like a novelty (unless that’s what he/she is into, I guess… ugh, sex is confusing).
That, of course, is not the definition of “slut” we often hear. However, it’s my personal definition, and I think if it caught on, a lot more people would be open to the idea of “slutty” and “role model” existing in the same breath.
I’m not here to talk at length about the sexual double-standard. We all already know the deal: for men, promiscuity is encouraged and praised, while women are punished and shamed for the same behaviour. Duh, old news. However, that is slowly beginning to change, and–at least in my experience of liberal, educated circles–the playing fields of dating and casual sex are leveling. However, sluttiness–hedonistic sexual adventure and promiscuity, for the sake of one’s own pleasure and thrill–is still a taboo, especially for women. And in my opinion, a big reason for the lingering stigma is that we don’t have enough slutty female role models–intelligent, sex-positive, responsibly promiscuous women, acting as living proof that having a high sexual appetite, and satisfying it, does not mean you’re an awful person, or doomed.
Of course, we are all influenced by the people and stories that make up the culture around us; everything from film and TV, to fashion ads, to images of the celebrities we idolize help to shape the way we think about ourselves, and what we can become in thr world. It’s difficult to cite an example, either real or fictional, of a happy, healthy, promiscuous person–let alone, a woman. There’s yet to be a character in a movie that says, “I have sex with five different guys a month and feels great about it,” because that makes people uneasy. Usually, instead, the story goes that the slut gets punished—whether she dies in the end, or ends up miserable and alone—because that’s the narrative our society is comfortable with. The promiscuous woman is painted as evil, inconsequential, or disposable. The “slut” doesn’t get to become a lawyer and live happily ever after.
There are countless examples of this. Lars Von Trier’s sex-epic Nymphomaniac was a powerful film, but we can’t ignore that by the end, the protagonist Joe was physically and emotionally destroyed by her high sex drive. There are classic examples from literature like Bell Du Jour, Anna Karenina and the Scarlet Letter, all which feature a woman whose sexual curiosity and subsequent infidelity leads to her entire life falling apart. Then, there’s the fact that in basically every horror movie ever made, as soon as a girl has sex, she dies. In the real world, there’s the recent scandal of the Duke Pornstar, who, after being exposed for performing in porn to help pay her high tuition, was the target of such intense slut-shaming, and so many violent threats, that she couldn’t go back on campus. Growing up up, I was obsessed with the famous Sweet Valley High book series, about a pair of beautiful blond twin sisters–not surprisingly, Jessica was the “bad” twin because she was boy-crazy and Elizabeth was the “good” twin because she wasn’t. And then, perhaps the most clear-cut example of the lot, is the 1977 film Looking for Mr. Goodbar, in which Diane Keaton plays a woman with an increasing appetite for extreme sexual experimentation–in the end, she’s beaten, raped and killed. These are just a few examples of many, but the lesson in all of these stories is resoundingly clear: your promiscuous behaviour will not go unpunished. Writer Tina Fey really hit the nail on the head in Mean Girls, when the high school sex-ed teacher tells his young female students: “Do not have sex. If you have sex, you will get pregnant… and die.” Funny, yet eerily poignant.
So why are the images we see of promiscuous women in the media always so grim? Yes, it’s certainly possible to have sex in an unhealthy or obsessive way that’s harmful to one’s life and relationships–for both men and women. But there’s also plenty of women out there having plenty of sexy, who are plenty happy about it. Through my job writing about sexuality, I have lots of friends who engage in open or poly relationships, who do sexy work, or who are just proud, self-appointed sluts (like me, yay!), which means I see first-hand what a progressive, happy sexual lifestyle can be like. However, these stories are rarely told–they’re brushed under the rug in favor of another slut-shaming tragedy.
The sad fact is, we live in a sex-negative society that conflates having a lot of sex with being a bad person. Not only that, but it can even be considered an illness–as seen in Hollywood’s recent obsession with sex addiction–which means that people who have a lot of sex automatically experience issues of shame, doubt and guilt, and often their friends and partners inflate those feelings by worrying about them, or treating them as though they have a problem. But it’s important to remember that it’s conduct, not quantity, that makes sex unhealthy. It’s possible to have a small amount of sex in an unhealthy way, just like it’s possible to have lot of sex in a healthy, fun way. Having a lot of sex, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, no matter what your gender.
But it can be hard to embrace that, especially when everything around you seems to be saying otherwise–and it gets even harder as we get older. We associate promiscuity with youth and bad decisions, and are expected to calm down with age. Some begin to regret their promiscuous pasts. I can already feel it myself–at 28, between friends, there’s certainly less talk around the dinner table about our sexual exploits than there was just a few years ago. People are becoming more “polite,” and it’s kind of a bummer. People often ask me how I “deal” with the thought of getting older, and my potential future kids being able to see the trail of my sexual history online–everything from nude photos to my old blog posts about the drug-fueled orgies of my early 20s. But I’m kind of insulted by the idea that just because I get older, I should automatically reject the less inhibited behavior of my past, and things that were once important to me, like creating an open dialogue around sexuality. Surely, the past incarnations of ourselves are valid parts of who we are.
Thankfully, there are a few beacons of light in the otherwise puritanical media: Samantha on Sex and the City, with her unapologetic, self-aware sluttiness, is still one of the most empowering figures around for women with a high appetite for sex and adventure. Then there’s pornstars like Sasha Grey and Stoya–intelligent, sex-positive women who promote extreme sexual exploration, while also speaking out about sexual health. In the 40s there was Anaïs Nin–one of the first women to write erotica, she wrote about her sexual exploits with Henry Miller and other lovers, and was a pioneer rebel of slut pride. Madonna held down the fort in the 80s, and today, I personally love Chelsea Handler’s brazen, more-is-better attitude about sex. These women are great, but we need more like them, especially in the mainstream.
Which is why I think if you happen to be a happy, healthy, slutty woman, it’s important to not be ashamed, in order to set an example. You should “come out,” so to speak. I realize that sometimes, writing or talking about sex and one’s sexual behavior can get very cringy very fast–it can feel egotistical, preachy, or like you’re showing off. But I think it’s important to find a way to talk about female sexuality in an open, honest way, that communicates that just like some men, some women like to have a lot of sex, too, and that doesn’t make us evil monsters worthy of death. We cannot be what we cannot see, and until we see more happy, intelligent, responsible, empowered sluts in positions of influence, it will be a difficult to aspire toward such an image.