Honoring Sacred Sluts – “International End Violence Against Sex Workers”
By Hollis Taylor
For the past 12 years on Dec. 17th has been marked as“International End Violence against Sex Workers”. Many people don’t event know this movement exists much less is needed. After 20 years in the adult industry this activism is strong in my heart but being able to talk about it among my elder feminists leaves me misunderstood, ignored, dismissed, and often disregarded. Being a sex worker is like wearing a red raincoat of shame, regardless of when, where, why, or how you did it! One of my biggest irritations by people outside the sex industry that they want to have compassion for my experience – when they ASSUME that I was coercered, manipulated, or forced into it somehow. Then the next assumption that I get is I must have done it because I was poor or in bad circumstances. Let’s set things straight from the beginning. Understand I am a proud Sacred Slut. I am a proud retired sex worker. I quit a perfectly good fork lift driving job with benefits to do phone sex way back in 1997! Guess what, I even had a child starting Kindergarten at the time! Yup that’s right I had a job with good pay, benefits, and all the bullshit that comes with having a job you dislike. I was bored, frankly it offered me nothing but money and benefits. My day to day life was miserable.
At the time I was married to the man that fathered my child 5 years prior. I was about 23 years old and lived in the middle of nowhere, Maryland. We lived in a small trailer and made just enough money to support the child we had created together. We had opened our relationship, mainly because we were both bisexual. In our couples play sometimes I would do phone sex for our potential lovers, just to get a feel for what they were into or we were into. It was hot and fun play and I fell in love with the power to make a man orgasm. So much so I found myself doing it a lot, controlling when they would orgasm. They started to say things like “Geeze your a professional!” or “Do you do this for a living?” and “You should be a phone sex operator” I found a job in 1997 with a respectable phone sex service online and immediately a weekend job lead me to a full time job. I happily quit my forklift driving job and started offering phone sex full time. Right away our income went from barely getting by to a comfortable living. Not only was I making more money but I was happier. I liked being in control of my life and I loved to share these sensitive secrets with my clients. After about a year I began to realize the kind of healing work I was doing for people. I was being the outlet for the guy who needed a spanking so desperately. I was the outlet for the guy that couldn’t stop thinking about a blowjob. As my experience and popularity increased I began to get weirder and weirder calls. I began to develop several personalities that would fill the innocent little girl role, the Dominant Female Sadist, and the naughty slut. All of them having fans that sometimes even called each one of them, showing the diversity in a person’s sexual fantasies. I worked hard at leaving judgement off the phone and out of these sessions. The analysis of the Virgo inside me emerged to analyze the sexual behavior of men. Then a woman called and I stuttered, I was lost for words and I was confused. Girls made me nervous, super nervous.
Eventually I had video and was approached by a Smoking Fetish videographer whom wanted me to be in his films. The smoking fetish seemed kind of silly at first until after my first shoot. I was placed with a gorgeous girl known as “Cassidy” in a film known as Two Hottt. I had been with women before but this one was different, she invited me to dominate her along with the smoking fetish. I had not only a really hot fun time but I also laughed more then I ever had in a long time. I felt at home on the set and it was easy to get along with the other people involved. The videographer was a man but other than my husband there were no other men around. In fact the business was run by a woman, later to be run by me. As time went on the adult entertainment industry became like my family. They never judged me and they always loved me just the way I was, horny or not horny! I became involved in the BDSM community, I ran my own business, and I was in all the power a person could handle. My husband quit his job and worked for me. After years of business building I was rewarded with a comfortable income, a bigger house, a nice car and well you know the story. Not only had I been featured in films over the years but also I had a members based website. I also prostituted and did Dominatrix scenes and BDSM parties. I was happy in my career as an adult entertainer. I loved it and I was so good at it, no one would argue that fact. In the adult industry I realized I was a lesbian because the men were just toys, but the women I loved. Eventually I left my husband and started doing purely lesbian films with my partner at the time. I built my career and the stories I filed away for me to write in my book someday.
I haven’t written that book yet and after 17 years I probably have more like 3 novels worth! Instead I wrote about another sensitive topic, Gender Variance. Recently, I thought to myself why I never wrote the book, simple, I was ashamed. I was one of the best Smoking Fetish performers. I was on the cover of a magazine. I was afraid people would judge me, based on how they already had. Remember, my son had just started kindergarten when I entered the industry and I didn’t exit until he was an adult. I raised my son as the best mother I could. I was a member of his PTA. I lead his Boy Scout Troop and even achieved adult leadership ranks along side him. I volunteered to make cupcakes to raise funds for little league. I home schooled him for about half of his career in grade/high school. I took him to every religious celebration I could find. I taught him the ways of Wicca so he could understand how energy worked. I later tried to find him a church that could lift him up. I lead the church youth group. I was the best mother I could be, no regrets about being only 17 when he was born. Thank goodness for the adult industry they gave me the money and time to truly raise my son in the best way I could.
In that, I was judged. Over and over. Sometimes by a neighbor who found out by peering into my house window. Sometimes I came out out of the need to be honest. Other times I was judged by friends, family, and even lovers. So in my 17 year career as an adult entertainer I learned shame. I learned to keep my stories to myself because no one wants to know just how kinky people can be. I learned that my stories made other people so uncomfortable they didn’t want to be friends with me. So I stopped and over time I had pretty much completely stopped telling my story. I just stopped. Today I wish I was down speaking at a local sex workers event!
Today as I am reminded of the necessary honoring of our sex workers in the world, I am reminded of the healing. I am reminded that I am a healer and in my sex work I healed many people. I made it okay to wear a dress if you had a penis. I made it okay to pretend to be my baby girl. I made it okay to like rough sex. I made it okay to get tied up. I taught shy nerdy men how to please a woman, so they could have personal experiences, making it easier to date. All them are married today and no longer use services. I touch them. I listened. I comforted them.
Contrary to popular belief, Sex is not shameful and as our world tries to shame it we find our fetishes getting bigger and bigger, dirtier and dirtier. The oppression of sexual expression is the direct cause of rape and child molestation. The best treatment for a “pent up” rapist or child molester? Simple a role play with a safe person that can help them enact their fantasy. Sacred Sluts are doing the work of healing the sexual oppression that the rest of the world chooses to create. Sex workers are ashamed of their job and even worse its illegal in most places. How dare the government tell me that as a consenting adult I cannot accept money for my time as a healing sacred slut in order to provide healing with another consenting adult that wants to receive the healing. Even if we don’t call it healing, we often call it massage….The Sacred Sluts know its healing, its obvious. Of course I know about the assholes that are manipulating foreign girls and trapping them. Regulate sex work for people like me so we can protect them!! Its not hard to get to this understanding. I was in danger when I did Prostitution, it was very scary, mainly because it was illegal. You can’t report those who do violent acts or you yourself might get arrested.
Here’s an even more in depth look at Sex Worker’s Rights
I embraced the way of the Sacred Slut around the year 2000 when I started to explore my spirituality. I was ashamed to talk about it then and there was no such thing as a “Red Tent” in our community. Now there is! I honor Dirty Mother, for allowing me to be DIRTY in her Sacred Red Tent. I thank her for her support as a Sacred Slut, being that safe person I know won’t judge me. I don’t have a bunch of money to give her but I am gonna give her props for her Red Tent being open, accepting and loving. She event accepted this retired sex worker gender bending dominant dyke genderqueer transman, just as I was….bleeding and all. Thank you for the empowerment Dirty Mother! I will find a way to include writing my stories of 17 years in the industry! In honor of all the Sacred Sluts, may my empowerment grant you empowerment. No more shame!
So Dirty Mother has got the tent. I got the red raincoats and umbrellas! Now let’s stop the raining down of shame!