Friday, May 8, 2009

personal and professional

Recently, one of my favorite porn performers made a decision to leave porn. At least as a performer. Penny Flame has come to a place where she is able to aknowledge that she has been using sex, alcohol and drugs to avoid intimacy. She says that although she has gained a lot from the porn industry, it isn't a healthy place for her to be anymore. She has started a blog called becoming jennie (her real name). Jennie's blog is sensitive and brutally honest. I'm so glad that she has found the courage to take these steps and I'm sending her all kinds of good energy.

It's got me thinking.

Any job that we have spills into a personal life. My partner works in film and television. When we watch a movie, she looks at it differently than I do. And she's always running the risk of someone deciding that she needs to read that screen play that they wrote (which she does graciously - but she's not a producer...). Some doctors I know hesitate to reveal their jobs when they are at parties because often the response is "Oh really? Could you take a look at this rash I have on my feet?". But, when the job is about sex, somehow it feels even closer.

Before I opened Sugar, I worked in reproductive health care and, for less than two years, at Babeland in NYC. I wasn't anticipating the big change the store has made in my life. Most of it good of course.

But even before the store opened, things changed. In my experience, once you've worked in the sex industry, people start to make all kinds of assumptions that may or may not be true. That you have a lot of sex toys. That anything goes for you in the bedroom. That you have a lot of sexual partners. That you're amazing in the sack. On any given day, any or none of those may be true. And, as far as the "good in bed" thing goes? Well, I've had lousy sex. I expect I may again. Sex is about so much more than technique. No matter how versed a person is in anatomy and tips and tricks, if the chemistry isn't there, if there are mitigating circumstances, if the dog is barking and your mother in law is in the next room and the baby is crying and - well, sometimes sex isn't good.

I know I'm better at teaching techniques and theory when it's something that is a part of my life (or has been). I'm better at selling the toys that I personally love. Sex is an integral part of being human. My work is sex. And there is sex in my life. There's no reason that the two should be completely separate. In fact, I have no idea how they could be. There is a constant discourse back and forth.

But I recognize that it's odd. For most folks, sex is a very private matter. For me, it's a strange and evolving blend of public, private and everything in between. But, it will never be completely private again. And that's ok, but every once in a while I have a hard time wrapping my brain around it.

Of course, the concept of private is a moving target in our culture. We blog, we tweet, we watch "reality" shows. We know where Lindsay Lohan spent the night (or you do if you're shallow like me and read Perez). So, I guess I'll just move with that target. And keep bringing my work home, and home to work.

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