I think in the heart of a woman we want to be seen as truly beautiful, someone to be treasured and lifted up and we are hoping… constantly hoping that someone will not exploit, not degrade, that treasure of who we really are… and that’s at the heart of all of us. There needs to be a resurgence in our culture… that values humanity, that values a man, that values a woman for their entirety of mind, body and soul. That process starts with me; and it starts with you
Sexuality is a huge part of being human and being alive. For me, sexuality is not just something that is a part of the most intimate aspects of my life… it’s a part of my business, it is something that I capitalize on, it is something that I make a living from. I avidly protect the notion of being free to be sexual, because I do believe that this form of expression lays bare some of the most beautiful aspects of being a very temporary living being. I have never been successfully challenged on this; after all, I have a strong sense of self, a strong ability to know what I want and not want, and I have learnt to not conform to societal pressures because I am used to these pressures; I am constantly swimming against the waves of society’s expectations within my role as an escort.
I said I had never been challenged on this… until now.
“Liberated: A New Sexual Revolution” is a documentary on Netflix that follows men and women throughout their spring break and how our society’s portrayal of sexuality has conditioned us to detach from the personal nature of sexuality and treat it as ‘no-big-deal’. In the past, sex was considered to be a huge step in your relationship with a significant other. Even in the 60’s when sexual revolution and freedom of sexual expression was at the forefront, sex was revered and treated with the utmost of respect. Fast forward to current day and for many people, sleeping with someone is the same equivalent as deciding if you would like a cappuccino or a latte in the morning. This blase attitude wouldn’t matter so much if it was harmless… but as seen in this documentary, we are walking a pretty darn dangerous tightrope towards a society with rape culture.
I won’t break down the entirety of the documentary because to be honest, it is much more interesting to watch… but I had a moment while watching this documentary where I realized that I am feeding into this attitude towards sex… and to be honest, it made me feel a little sick.
It isn’t my fault per say… after all, we all grow up in this world where women are told that they need to look a particular way in order to be perceived as empowered. We are taught that in life, being “wanted” by another person is crucial to our happiness.
In my world, I do feel a need to present myself in a certain way in order to receive and maintain bookings. Society has taught me that this “look” is what men want and my job intimately revolves around and relies upon men wanting me in a sexual way. Other workers can sit there and deny it til they’re blue in the face, but when a quiet month comes we all quietly wonder on some level what it is about us that is making us less desirable sexually. Yes, we are intelligent enough to understand that there are many facets to why we are booked including time of the year, economic stability and more… but it’s impossible to not turn to yourself occasionally and wonder if you would be booked more if you changed x, y or z to match society’s specifications more. And it’s true, men are looking for something specific… but sorry fellas, it often ain’t a pretty way that you look at women.
Men have been conditioned by society for the most part to value body over brain. Boobs, ass, eyes, how much skin a girl shows… you can look anywhere within mainstream media and find this inbuilt focus upon looks and sexual appearance within men. All you have to do is scroll through the advertisements on an escort booking site to see how society views sexiness… after all, we as workers have to advertise to meet that expectation.
Men are also told by society that they can have anything they want… if they go out and get it. They are told that they are a man if they take what they want. They are told that they are not really a man unless they are able to sleep with multiple women, and that if they get lucky with a girl then their buddies will worship them. In this documentary you see the ugly truth surrounding these not-so-rosy glasses that young and impressionable men build their bro code upon.
This case could not be more in point than last week, when I was with a young couple for an extended booking. We were sitting on the balcony chatting when the guy turned to me and said, “we have been with hotter people than you”. To him, my physical appearance was the only thing that mattered for the next 4 hours. It didn’t matter if he was too rough with his fingers, or if I asked him to be a little more gentle… his girlfriend had to be the one to tell him to stop or slow. When they wanted me to stay for longer and I requested an additional fee, it didn’t matter that his girlfriend wanted me to stay or that she thought it was reasonable. His word to her were, “Nah babe, she’s hustling you”.
It didn’t occur to him that I had been paid for 3 hours and had stayed for 4 already out of generosity… he was used to having women sleep with him for free and he was used to getting what he wanted. When I didn’t give that to him, he was no longer interested and I was considered to be the problem rather than him.
When I replied with, “Me? Hustling you?! I don’t think so. I’ve been paid for 3 hours and have stayed for 4 so if anyone is being hustled here, it’s me”, I saw a flicker of self-reflection that he beat down quickly, likely through some kind of self-justification that he was entitled to me because he had already paid a certain amount. When I bit back with my reply I sounded strong, but the reality was that I seriously considered offering a significant discount just to make them happy… just to be what he was looking for. Fuck am I glad I didn’t play into that peer pressure.
Surrounded by their peers, especially while under the influence of alcohol, men often feel a need to add notches to their belts through explicit sexual acts and ultimately this documentary ends with the gang rape of an unconscious girl on a beach, in broad daylight, surrounded by people who did nothing.
You can sit there and wonder how the fuck people could have let that happen… or you can watch the documentary and see for yourself how we as a society have managed to end up here.
Take these same men away from the pressures of their peers and you see a much more vulnerable side to masculinity where men admit that they don’t like this pack attitude that they feel obliged to participate in. Many wish that this pressure was no longer present within their lives, many wish that they didn’t have to look to their sexual conquests for some sense of worth from the people around them. This is promising, as it shows that we as individuals can recognise the innate dangers associated with this attitude. It shows that men and women alike don’t like it. So the question thereafter is… how are we going to integrate this into culture?
There was a quote towards the end of the documentary that really resonated with me.
“I think in the heart of a woman we want to be seen as truly beautiful, someone to be treasured and lifted up and we are hoping… constantly hoping that someone will not exploit, not degrade, that treasure of who we really are… and that’s at the heart of all of us. There needs to be a resurgence in our culture… that values humanity, that values a man, that values a woman for their entirety of mind, body and soul. That process starts with me; and it starts with you…
As an adult I realise how conditioned I’ve become, how scripted my life feels. In the struggle of growing up, we seem to lose our unique way of being in the world. Our sense of wonder and imagination is often drowned by cultural expectations and the pressure to conform. Maybe it’s time to reclaim who we are”.
I adore my sensuality and sexuality; but there is much more to being a sexual person than the way I look or the fact that I sleep with a lot of people. Intelligence, kindness, softness… there are so many other facets that go into making a person attractive, and we need to make sure that we don’t lose sight of that as a society. We also need to make sure that we keep CONSENT at the forefront of our sexual experiences, and teach our younger generations that you CANNOT take what you want and that they must respect people that say no. We cannot forget that sex is actually a pretty big deal, and that it is a powerful weapon that should be treated with respect. It’s all well and good to be liberated…. But liberation shouldn’t come at a cost.