Black, Queer and Reclaiming Erotic Labor
I come from a lineage of sex workers. They would have used different language than I do today (use your imagination) and they definitely didn’t have access to the internet. For them, sex work was not a choice but the only option. A few generations later they have a young, Black queer person.
When I first started online sex work, I had no clue where to begin. I struggled to decide on a name that wasn’t too corny, what kind of content I wanted to produce, what persona my alter ego would be and if I even wanted one. I fell into the trap that I had to please my fans over pleasing myself. I thought I had to follow the money and create the visuals my almost entirely cis male audience would want. I thought I should only post photos using nice backdrops and middle-priced lingerie looking dazed but not confused, rather than the videos of me slipping and pulling down the entire shower curtain while dancing to Rihanna’s “Woo”. (Woo!) It turns out those vulnerable, goofy videos are content people love to see. Yes, me in a face mask for way too long, stiff-faced and twerking to Big Freedia in the comfort of my own home is popular content. Most people only want a performance for so long; they want to see the type of sexy in you that they can find in themselves.
'Yes, me in a face mask for way too long, stiff-faced and twerking to Big Freedia in the comfort of my own home is popular content.'
As a Black queer sex worker who seeks clientele with similar identities, I have found that marginalized people tend to feel less comfortable in these spaces. So many of us want to support this work and benefit from it as clients, but don’t know where to start. We’re hesitant to be seen. We’re hesitant to be heard. If someone asks us what we want, will we know how to answer? Most people think you already have to know what you like. What we don’t yet understand is that it is the most beautiful place to discover that! To me, the advantage of having relationships in these spaces is the chance to try new things in a trusted, safe environment. I have tried many new acts thanks to the requests of my fans, who, combined, have an expansive imagination beyond mine.
One of my favourite encounters with a fan was with a Black queer woman who had recently come out; she reached out to me about finding comfort in her sexuality. She shared her belief that I truly cared about queer clients and appreciated my holistic approach to sex work. She asked for a custom video of just my face while having solo sex, something I had not been asked for up until that point. Her intention was to break out of the idea that she needed to be aggressive or in charge during sex; she wanted to be a part of something soft, sensual and personal. This is not the typical interaction I have with most clientele, but moments like that reinforce why I do the work that I do. Sex work shows me the healing power that consensual, mutually empowering sensual experiences can hold. It proves to me that marginalized folks want and deserve spaces to reclaim their sexuality.
'Sex work shows me the healing power that consensual, mutually empowering sensual experiences can hold. It proves to me that marginalized folks want and deserve spaces to reclaim their sexuality.'“I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams” is something I embody on the daily through my erotic work. I cannot say for sure when my grandma held me for the first time that she thought, “I hope this child grows up to make money off of pictures of her pussy.” Who knows what she blessed over me! But I’m sure she prayed for me to have an easier life than hers, one filled with bravery, strength, communal love and pleasure (that woman enjoyed her pleasure, let me tell you). I thank and honour those that have come before me. I get to shape my image and the types of relationships that my people dreamed of. Knowing I have a different journey than those that laid this path for me is a privilege. I get to put myself first. This is not every sex worker’s story, but it’s about time we hear empowering ones as well, all the while working to make sure each one of us is safe and has the resources we need. Sex work allows me to connect to parts of myself that every day world tells me I am supposed to hide. This work grants me a platform to intimately connect to the queer community and tell them, they too, can take back their pleasure. And every day I tell myself I have the permission to take back my story.