Trigger warning: This article discusses self-harm. Please read with caution.
Life is neither black nor white when it comes to sex.
We play around with roles and identities while we are working out issues that are long buried in our subconscious. I’m an ambitious young woman.I’m a student at Duke. I’m a slut who needs to be punished.
Can you guess which one of those is a role?
Ever since I was a child, I’ve had some masochistic tendencies. When I was a young girl and my friend and I would play house, I would ask her to lock me in her dog cage. I was not fully aware of it, but it physically and mentally aroused me. I didn’t know why, but I liked it. Suddenly, I found myself in an entirely different role. I felt for the first time what it was like to be helpless and trapped. It was exciting. It was different.
I can’t explain why rough sex and pain arouses me; it just does.
Before I had a legitimate porn agent, I heard about a website that paid well but was psychologically extreme. (I don’t want to give them any more publicity by using their name.)
I could handle it, I thought.
Honestly, when I arrived at the small studio in New York where I filmed my scene for a few hours — and after I signed away all my rights to claim any subsequent trauma that might arise from filming the scene — I thought that my decision to do a scene with this notoriously rough sex web site was daring, bad-ass, even subversive.
For me, it was an experiment of going to yet another scary sexual place — except I was in control, I was calling the shots and the safe words, and I was the one choosing to do something so psychologically and physically extreme, rather than someone taking advantage of me.
I love rough sex — and I can do this. That’s what I saw the choice as being.
Now, I view it as the one choice I would take back if I could as a porn actress. The more I have read criticism of the site, the more I realize that if I do another rough sex scene, I will more thoroughly research the company and how they treat their performers. But I also don’t think having participated in this single experience should define me, the same way I don’t believe sex should define women in general.
We as performers have rights to express ourselves and as long as everything is consensual and legal, then more power to everyone involved.
The overwhelming criticism I have received for my participation in this rough blowjob scene is incredibly revealing to me about the condemnation-happy state of “gotcha feminism.”
I’ve been called a hypocrite and mocked for daring to talk about empowerment if I have also not kept adequately hidden away my enjoyment of rough and dirty, nasty and filthy, saliva-dripping and name-calling-filled sex.
"So getting spit on and degraded is feminism now?" wrote one poster on Collegiate ACB.
Sure. Whatever choice a woman is making and she is the one deciding to do — reclaiming the agency behind the decision to do, even if it is a degrading sexual act — is absolutely feminism. To me, feminism is about women not being shamed but rather being empowered.
You can dress up your critical essays of me saying that I deserve to be disowned by my parents and kicked out of school however you like, but all of these hit pieces are about one spectacularly anti-feminist notion: SHAME.
But you know what? Shame is your issue — not mine.
You can write thousands of words about how sexual acts I have done MUST define me because I am a woman and I have a vagina, but to me, feminism means that I do not need to hold down my head because you tell me that’s exactly what I should be doing.
Yes, a Google search reveals pictures of me in hard-core sexual experiences. No, that Google search is not me.
I am me. Feminism tells me that I can be me, not my Google search.
Except feminists can’t possibly enjoy rough sex, right?