Lustery couple Sif & Clint met on Tumblr in the early 2010s, when sexy photos of Toronto-based Sif made their way to Clint in the American South. They married just months after meeting in person for the first time, beginning a bumpy journey from surviving to thriving.
Aria Vega [00:00:00] This podcast contains explicit content. Listener's discretion is advised. POV by Lustery explores culture, politics and creativity in the sex industry, one point of view at a time. I'm your host, Aria Vega.
Aria Vega [00:00:17] Lustery couple Sif and Clint met online in the early 2010s. Now, based in Vancouver, they've been co-content creators for most of their relationship. Tumblr was their original platform of choice before its infamous porn ban in 2018.
Clint [00:00:34] Tumblr was a very lucrative platform for us in the early days of our sex work journeys and sex work careers, where we met a lot of our early connections. It's where we had a lot of freedom to experiment with the kinds of content that we were making, and generally always find a pretty reliable audience there. And then there were so much of our community that we had kind of amassed over the years... I mean, like, shit, I've been on Tumblr, since like 2007, 2008. So like the vast majority of the connections that I had made was before my time, before our time in sex work. So it was this kind of interesting dynamic between your personal blog formula and method of engagement, and then also trying to make it a marketable sex work platform. And while it was lucrative and while I do think that the purge and just the overall way that it kind of went down was absolute garbage (as everyone else does) we found a way to utilize that as an opportunity to start from the ground up with that kind of isolated branded sex work identity on another platform. I think it started for both of us not necessarily as a means of like financial gain or anything like that, but mostly as a means of expression. And I think that in the Tumblr era of sexuality, I don't think that that's necessarily uncommon for a lot of folks that are now in sex work as more of a, you know, a career or a semi-career to have started as like a means of like, hey, embracing sexuality a little bit more publicly and showcasing the beauty that is sexuality. Especially if you are in a situation in which you're making content with partners and stuff like that, that becomes an element of your kind of partnership identity, and your personal identity and sexual identity... That's largely where I think that we both started, because I know we didn't monetize it out of the gate.
Sif [00:02:26] No, and also earlier when I was 18, I was a Suicide Girl Hopeful, so I been naked on the Internet since I turned 18. When I first started out with Suicide Girls, I didn't really think of doing porn, I just kind of look at it as really liberating to be naked on the Internet, and see it as almost like an art form. In between them, I'd occasionally do artistic nude shoot with photographers, still never really dabbled in sex work. Not until like around like Tumblr time where I start posting like nudes on it and then people like more openly talking about like sex work and sex-positivity, that's when I start thinking like, Hey, maybe I should start doing sex work. But my partner at that time was pretty against it, so I didn't really dabble into it until I start having relationship with Clint, which we both just have the same interests of doing sex work. And from then we just decided to start doing it.
Clint [00:03:38] Yeah, I think that it started with just acknowledging that like, hey, like I'm a very sexual person. That's an intrinsic part of my identity, and [I] never really had the platform or the confidence or the support to kind of engage with that in a public kind of setting, or in a space that really allowed for it. But there is something that was really, really nice about having those early platforms prior to making it work that just like, hey, I feel really sexy with my partners. I really like creating stuff that just makes me feel connected to and makes me feel hot and just makes me feel like this is just a really cool part of human experience, and I want to kind of capture that and share it. And having that ability to do so in the environment that we did early on, I think was intrinsic to allowing us to create almost like a healthy relationship with sex work moving forward from that.
Aria Vega [00:04:36] Tumblr is also where Sif and Clint first met, back when Clint was a bored single guy in a rural town. He was surfing through keyword tags one night when he happened upon a photo of Sif. He was immediately enchanted and became a regular presence in their replies.
Sif [00:04:52] I think after he follow me, he liked most of like my personal posts... There's a thing called Titty Tuesday where everybody just posts their topless photos. So I guess sometimes he would like my stuff, and he would also make silly comments under posts of me. There's one of just me, I was complaining of like how hot summer is, and he comments and is like, "Oh fingers crossed, hope for an early fall!" Those kind of like little wholesome, silly...
Clint [00:05:29] Listen, I was trying to be romantic! I was trying to be, I was trying to be cute. Now it's become like, what? Almost seven years into marriage? It's still the moment of Tumblr engagement that we always reference back to.
Aria Vega [00:05:43] Wow, so you've been married for seven years. How long was your relationship long distance?
Sif [00:05:48] It's kind of interesting, because we'd talk to each other for three or four months, and then both of us were in like a relationship at that time with other people, and both of us, just kind of going through something. So we kind of broke it off after three months, and we hadn't talked to each other for I think almost a year now.
Clint [00:06:15] About a year or so in between.
Sif [00:06:16] Yeah. Then one day I just go on his Tumblr to check to see how he's doing, and then noticed that he moved to Orlando, Florida, and kind of started out the next journey of his life. So I decide to reach out to him and say, "Hey, are you still interested in me? Do you want to start talking again?" Because both of us are just ended our relationship with other people shortly after we disconnect from each other. So yeah, I'm kind of thankful that he decided to still interested in me and still willing to reconnected with me. Then we just talk through texting for another like half a year or so, and then around May in 2015, I decided to take the chance and fly down to Florida from Toronto (that's where I used to live) just to visit him.
Clint [00:07:15] Yeah, you were pretty much just like, Hey, guess what? I'm coming to see you! And I was just like, Oh, okay, cool! So it was definitely a moment of spontaneity, but obviously a very beneficial one because here we are.
Aria Vega [00:07:30] Had either of you ever taken such a big risk in love like that before? It feels really risky to decide that you are going to let yourself fall for someone who is far, who's really far.
Clint [00:07:42] I grew up in rural Arkansas in which most of my engagement, socially romantically, family-wise, like it all existed within maybe ten miles, ten or 15 miles of where I was, because I didn't have access to anything that required distance to kind of pursue. The Internet opened a lot of the doors, hence, you know, social media and the ability to make these and build these connections with folks that were further away than what my bubble would have normally been. But it wasn't until I got out of Dodge and left the Arkansas-Missouri area and just kind of started being a little bit more risky with my personal decisions and how I was living for myself aka moving across the country to Florida as a soft reset for my own kind of journey, that it became a lot more easy to take these other risks. And as you put it, and really kind of like open myself up to things that normally would have been unfathomable for me prior. What about you?
Sif [00:08:43] I never took a risk that far before. I think I started using social media like MySpace since I was ten or 11. There's this website called Vampire Freaks, where all the goths and emo kids and punks, almost like the MySpace Forum.
Clint [00:09:00] Classic.
Sif [00:09:01] I start using it when I was like ten or 11 and posting pictures of me and talking to strangers online since I was really young, because I growing up my interest and stuff never really aligned to my traditional conservative like bring-up. But yeah, Clint is the first person that I'm willing to like travel across the country to see him in person. When I told that to my friend, all my friends were freaking out! They were like, You have to take a picture of where you landed. Where's his place? Tell me everything!
Clint [00:09:36] Which, those are good friends! Let's lay it out there contextually: Hi, I'm flying to a different country to meet this person that I've never met, and have only known for mere months. Yeah!
Aria Vega [00:09:48] Right, like they make documentaries about stories that start like that.
Clint [00:09:51] Exactly! Exactly. There are manypodcasts right now talking about the bad things that happened during those engagements. I just ended up being friendly, and it's okay.
Aria Vega [00:10:01] Tell me about the hardest part of the time that you spent separated once your relationship had become official.
Clint [00:10:07] So we were quick, and pretty much everything that we did in the early days, I think we played visit juggling, in which they'd come see me and then I'd fly up to see them, they'd come back down... And it was every few months, only for maybe six months or so. So from essentially when they first flew down to visit, which was like May/June or so, we were married in October. It was quick, like the turnaround on that was wild! Now where we were a little bit strategic with our marriage is that I flew up to get married in Toronto, because I wanted to move up to Canada rather than them move down because Florida is...
Aria Vega [00:10:50] It's Florida?
Clint [00:10:51] ...not a dope place to live! Especially Orlando, I don't like the heat, my travel hungry self was like, I want to come up to Toronto because that's an actual city and not a Disney-owned city like Orlando. So what we did is were like, Hey, if I come up to get married in Toronto, we can file for a sponsorship permanent residency. So I moved up, we got married. The plan was, I went back down to Florida after getting married for another few months, and then moved up permanently in January to wait for my permanent residency to come through. The reason why we did that is because if you file for a certain kind of permanent residency at the time, you could then receive a universal work permit. That allowed me to start working and earning income while we were waiting for that residency to come through. So that was financially the better decision. I don't think that that was offered coming back down to the States anyway, but that led to a period of time in which we were married but still living in different countries for almost three months. Which, grand scheme of things, wasn't a long time, but when you were in the moment and your emotions are pretty much as high as they're going to get, three months was years and years and years of emotional time, right? I mean, we were both just kind of trudging through work. I was working at a grocery store and a clothing store, and it was just everything was bleeding together and we were just kind of counting the minutes until I could come up and we could kind of start that new chapter together. Until I was up there, it was just kind of like an idea and it wasn't tangible. So that was a difficult waiting period for sure.
Aria Vega [00:12:25] And when you got up there, did you two move in together right away?
Sif [00:12:29] Yeah, we did. I was living with... It was crazy, I was living with like five other people in a house.
Clint [00:12:38] Downtown Toronto roommate situation.
Aria Vega [00:12:40] I lived in New York City, I am familiar!
Sif [00:12:43] Yeah. So she immediately moved in with me. And then our house was super rundown and always have plumbing issues and stuff like that. The plumbing was so bad. that it was two days we couldn't shower, and we had to baby wipe each other on the bed.
Clint [00:12:58] I'm not above admitting that. We were clean, that's all that matters! We made it intimate, it was lovely. But I think that was kind of an interesting period, because we were essentially sharing a bedroom as a married couple in a house with, like, five other people. And I mean, like your living situation is your living situation. You've got to do what you got to do to keep a roof over your head. But we were also kind of like, But we want to start a new phase of life. So really we kind of really put our nose to the grindstone and were like, Well, how do we kind of like carve out a space that is a little bit more our own? And I mean, that was probably the initial 2 to 3 months of living. There was like figuring out what our first step as a couple would be.
Aria Vega [00:13:38] And there was a lot of adjusting to do. I mean, an international move is no joke even without the, you know, relationship adjustment stuff. There's a lot of logistics happening. When did things finally start to feel cozy and calm?
Sif [00:13:56] Throughout the past, like two, four years of him moving up to Toronto, unfortunately, we needed to live with roommates because the housing market is just pretty messed up. We didn't really have our own space and cozy vibe until we moved to Vancouver in 2018, where things get super serious and say, Hey, we need to actually take care of ourselves or start a new chapter of our life as more like a married couple. And we chose Vancouver because we see the potential of us thriving and being able to take care of our mental health. So it was like another big step in our life. We basically had to sell as much all our belongings as possible, try to make as much as money as possible in like three months between both of us. We shared six suitcases and then just flew all the way to the West Coast and just started a new beginning. And I think that's the moment that we're like, okay, this is our life now. We have no roommates. It is both of us now. We can actually thrive together.
Clint [00:15:14] I think that's a really good way of putting it. Toronto was really kind of defined by our just need to survive. Toronto, lots of wonderful things going on in that city. There's a lot of culture, there's a lot of just constant stimulation there. But just where we were while we were there was just a time spent, you know, as I mentioned before, keeping a roof over our head, staying fed, making sure that we were getting by. But we never really had what we felt like was a foundation, because we were moving every maximum a year and a half minimum, like every six months. And it just we never had the ability to kind of settle ourselves and really have that space to build from the ground up as our own, and make a home anywhere. That was something that was really important to us early on, was finding a place and an opportunity to kind of like build a partner space and make sure that where we were was indicative and representative of each of us and was a place that we could grow and thrive and work and be comfortable and all of those things that go into life. And we just couldn't really carve that out in Toronto at the time. Which did inspire that move out west. And as mentioned, we packed essentially what we could fit on a plane flew out here. We got really, really fortunate with the first apartment that we viewed and we've been here ever since. But in doing so, the speed at which life has moved and slowed down a little bit and allowed for a little bit more comfort allowed for us to kind of pursue different elements of ourselves or our relationships of our personal lives as well. And I agree. I think that that's really where we kind of caught our stride as a couple. But also like individually, that's where we've both been able to kind of individually grow kind of with each other the most and kind of support each other along that as well.
Aria Vega [00:16:59] The more I hear you tell this story, the more inspired I feel by how you were able to build the bonds of your relationship amidst a lot of upheaval, whether it being physically uprooted, you know, the emotional turmoil of exiting other relationships and living across a border from each other. And a lot of people wouldn't have ridden it out to the point where you could hit that stride. And I wonder, what would you attribute your ability to stay focused on each other and stay focused on your connection despite all of that, again, that tumult?
Clint [00:17:37] I just like this dork a lo!. Like there's obviously a lot of factors that go into just my desire to kind of stick through it. I mean, we can break down all the different ways that we complement each other, that we are willing to support each other, that. We naturally work well with each other. But ultimately, I just, I love and adore this person. It's really helped me grow because I've learned to just understand that, hey, you know, when you love and when you're willing to kind of just put the work in, you can generally make things work. For the most part, you know, with the willingness to put the labor into it. I mean, like with anything, with any I mean, labor of love is a phrase because for nothing, I mean, that's what this was literally. But it was worth it because we knew enough about each other to know that this was something that was achievable, that this was something that was attainable. It was a means of, hey, like, these are goals that we have set for ourselves. And once we get to this point, this is the kind of life that we're going to have to build with each other. So that was something that helped me trudge through any of the like bummer tumultuous periods.
Sif [00:18:43] For me, I think when I first start talking to him and then to have a relationship with him really changes my view of what a relationship is, what love is. When when you're young, you think love is like, Oh, as long as like we love each other, we can do anything. But like, Clint is the first person that make me view that I want to put effort into it. This is kind of like very realist to say, but you can see, you can put yourself as an investment. I can see the relationship, I can see where it grows and even how we can thrive as an individual. I can picture it vividly in my head, and that kind of motivates me to be patient and to be able to open the communication to just make things work. Because I not only just love him as a person, but also I want to see him to grow as a person while me being right beside him.
Aria Vega [00:19:55] Early on in the couple's first video for Lustery, Sif's little black wand vibrator makes a cameo appearance.
Sif [00:20:02] I'm a big fan of using toys.
Aria Vega [00:20:04] Yes!
Sif [00:20:05] Yeah, because throughout me understanding about sex, like when you're young, toys isn't really like a subject that people talk about. People mostly talk about penetrative sex, and you're supposed to feel great about it. Throughout my relationships with other people, I just, I have a hard time getting orgasm from just penetrative sex. There's a period of time in my head [where] I'm just like, Something is wrong with me. Because the way that we talk about sex is like, toys, that's your personal time. But when you're with someone actually having sex, they supposed to give you orgasm, and it just not working. Eventually I just experimented with toys with it and like I understand, realizing it's like, Oh, I need other elements to bring into the bedroom in order for me to actually orgasm. So I have a lot of toys and I'm really happy that Clint don't mind me just, you know, sometimes having sex and just bust out the wand like, Hey, I need this too!
Clint [00:21:19] To me toys are they're fun tools. There are tools that are there to make experiences more enjoyable. I think we're finally getting to the point to where like sex toys aren't that novelty thing that you have to go into the dark store behind the curtain to kind of quietly peruse and keep in a nondescript box on your bed. It's now something that is just part of the bedroom experience for a lot more people. I mean, hell, the clothing and retail fashion website, Essence,where a lot of people shop for designers? They've got sex toys on there now, designer luxury artisanal sex toys. So it's it's come a long way in terms of the the general view of sex toys. One thing that's really big for me is, growing up in a very conservative Southern area as a cis man, it wasn't even necessarily the intimidation of the replacement concept that a lot of men kind of view in the intimidation. To me, it was just it was more like letting myself enjoy using sex toys myself, because that was something early on that was like... The attention was really never like on like, hey, masc bodies and men can also find enjoyment with using these toys with partners, too. Itt was always like, hey, your wife, your girlfriend, your femme-bodied partner, this is at their benefit and their benefit exclusively, which is not the case. Like as a couple experimenting with what toys work for one of us, what toy works for both of us. How we can both mutually have fun with those things? One, it gives us the opportunities to have more sex, and then two, it really kind of lets us find, hey, like this is something that we both mutually enjoy, that we can enhance both of our situations.
Aria Vega [00:23:05] That's Lustery couple Sif and Clint. If you're 18 or older and you like porn with lots of eye contact and head-to-toe body art, don't miss their video on lustery.com. If you're into the show, please leave us a five-star rating and a review. POV is brought to you by Lustery, and this episode was hosted by me, Aria Vega. It was edited and produced by Kathryn Fischer and Adrienne Teicher, and our showrunner is Paulita Pappel. Lustery is the home of real-life partners filming their sex lives behind closed doors. Again, if you're 18 or older, you can find us at lustery.com And we're on Twitter and Instagram @lusterypov. Speak soon, lovers!