A Response to an Article Addressing a Musing on an Event

A recent article on TitsAndSass.com by Lane Champagne prompted me to consider my thoughts around the effectiveness of the Sex Workers Rights Movement, and the various levels of judgement we encounter within our own sex worker community. Champagne’s article was written in response to a Facebook post (embedded at the end of this blog entry made by Annie Sprinkle, who was writing about her observations at the Fantasies That Matter Conference. I did not attend this conference, but what I’ve gleamed from the #fantasiesthatmatter Twitter feed is that there were sex workers who felt alienated, discounted, or spoken for by others claiming to also be sex workers, or “whores” in this instance. These are my thoughts around the controversies of titles and identity within a movement such as ours:

DISCLAIMER: What I’m writing sounds a bit indignant, but I’m coming from a place of passion. I respect Lane Champagne’s opinions, and am grateful for all contributions to thoughtful discussions around the Sex Workers Rights Movement. Thank you Lane, for opening this dialog.

When I started giving erotic massages ten years ago, I was a sex worker, though I didn’t know it at the time, because I had never heard of the phrase. What I did know was that I had crossed a hard social line from civilian into whoredom, as was evident by the heavy feeling of social shame that manifested tangibly in my gut right up until my first client walked in the door, at which point, the feeling started to dissipate. I’ve learned that this horrible sensation is unseen judgement for my actions, social guilt that fosters self-doubt for my behaviors. This alarming feeling has roiled within me each and every time I’ve transitioned into a new mode of sex work…the first time I took to the stage, the first time I bared it all for a camera, or performed a live lesbian show, or accepted a classic escorting gig, pissed one someone for money, set up someone else’s appointments, or strolled into a brothel…each first was accompanied by learned moral guilt, and you know what the funny thing was? The feeling ALWAYS EVAPORATED when I took the plunge and make my own decisions about what’s right and wrong, as opposed to letting those negative social pressures sway me.

After a decade of diverse whoredom, that awful feeling persists only in one arena of my life, and that is each and every time I choose to speak up about my investment in the Sex Workers Rights Movement. To loudly demand the right to shake my booty for money feels like a deeper social taboo that actually even doing it, probably because it’s so public. I do not often speak to my specific experiences of particular sex acts, but rather to the experience of sex work as a whole, and the harmful stigma associated with whoredom and sexuality in general. When I went on Savage Lovecast to blab about sex workers rights with Mistress Matisse and Delia TS, I got dubious reactions from some other sex workers about my/our ability to speak to the rights of all sex workers, because as far as many people know, we’re just two Pro-Dommes and a Porn Star. They didn’t know that I have plenty of experience working the more heavily stigmatized or arrestable rungs of the sex work ladder, but that misunderstanding wasn’t what bothered me. What bothered me was that members of my community were apprehensive to support our efforts to speak out on sex worker issues. Frankly, if I heard a social worker, doctor, artist, or any other non-sex worker on NPR talking responsibly, comprehensively, and with conviction about sex workers rights, I would be psyched, because I feel that we need the coverage, we need the support. I’m not one to say who is a sex worker or an ally or a supporter, I let people define themselves. Reminds me of how my status as a pot smoker does not prevent me from advocating for clean needle exchanges or the destigmatization of drug users as a whole, because my vocal support on a misunderstood/taboo subject contributes to a bigger wave that will ultimately shift cultural opinion. When we can get the world to wake up to the fact that all sex work is work, and that consenting adults have the right to conduct their transactional affairs in safety, then we can start making differentiations and demands about the specific labor needs required for various types of sex work. Until that time, I’m all for anyone with the guts and desire to join this movement to do so, regardless of their proximity to the cock.

~ Savannah Sly

Original Facebook Post by Annie Sprinkle:

Notes at 4:50 am from the conference Fantasies that Matter—Images of Sex Work in Media and Art, Hamburg. Ransom thoughts. 1. Prostitutes are still on the front lines of feminist movement and loosing ground due to the “trafficking discourse”. 2. We have to more clearly define the words “sex worker” and “whore,” and I feel that we have to include the more specific, defining word “prostitute” in the mix. This weekend there was a lot of confusion as to who could define themselves as “sex workers” and as “whores.” Seems to me, these are broad general terms that need to be really inclusive in order to build the size of the prostitutes rights movement. Working prostitutes, as a marginalized group, need allies, artists, writers about sex, nude models, sex toy people, media people, images makers, actors, academics working on stuff related to sexuality, bloggers about sex work, sex educators, etc to be in solidarity. I would propose absolutely anyone working sex in its broadest definition (using an expanded concept of sex), which is so many many people, and anyone who doesn’t fit into the most conservative definition of “whore” (Ie: not being a virgin on your wedding night, having more than one lover in your life, dressing sexy clothes on the street, selling one’s brain labor for an academic job, etc) be able to define themselves as “sex workers” and “whores” because probably at least 1/4 of all women for example would fall into those categories. These people have a stake in taking a position on these sex worker issues, as they also take risks and are stigmatized. That said, people who “sell hands on, mouth on, body to body on sex or even spankings” or do “acts of prostitution” by definition of the law, are indeed risking more stigma in society, are maligned and misunderstood in the media, risk jail time, have their children taken away, and are even raped, robbed, killed because they are prostitutes. “Prostitutes” could be a group within the expanded inclusive groups of “whores” and “Sex workers.” If prostitutes don’t allow other people who stand with them to be self identified as “whores” and “sex workers” then prostitutes alienate their allies and people in power and privilege that can help them in their movement towards freedom, safety and justice. Yes the word “prostitute” is not so a great word because it has such horrible, negative connotations, that’s why Carol Leigh invented the better term “sex worker” in the 80s. 
Ok, back to sleep. More later. Lots of thoughts, feelings and emotions coming up for me from the conference. 
There was anger, fear, judgement and stuff stirred up for many people when the working prostitutes “occupied” the conference as they felt underrepresented in the discussion. But really it was a conference meant simply to explore images and art of “sex work,” not be a conference on prostitution per se. Everyone was well intentioned. But I fear that the prostitutes can tend to act up and separate themselves out from others and loose opportunities for their own empowerment, access, loose resources and allies, and not grow their movement in the future. As adorable, fierce, passionate, and well intentioned as they are. Its not the first time that working prostitutes took over a conference about them. It has happened before. And those spaces have not felt inclined to do more conferences for prostitutes. ITs all very messy and complicated. And actually all quite perfect and as it should be in a cosmic way. Its just a bit hard to watch a biting the hand that feeds them kind of thing unfold, as I perceived it. But sure as hell made for a great finale to the conference. So glad I came. Big applause to the curators, Margarita Tsomou and Eike Wittrock. Who took personal risks and gave so much to pull this off at the wonderful highly professional and abundant arts center, Kampnagel.
A Memoir of a First Time

This was written by a lovely yogi friend of mine who has recently started to fully accept and express their gender identity and orientation as a kinkster. Because this person is a fellow yogi, I feel a karmic duty to offer opportunities for them to explore kink with me in a safe environment, and am seeing them on a barter basis. I am in deep gratitude for those I have in service to me presently, and am not currently seeking new lifestyle submissives for my stable. 

— Ms. Savannah

All the way home I was glowing. The glow is still there. The marks on my back are too…

I like to write. So why not write a little about my finally coming into a place in my life where I have actually always been but have never been actually able to go? That ‘dark’ side lived for so long in fantasy, finally allowed into the light of reality… The funny thing is, that the reality is so much better than the fantasy and at the same time so different from the fantasy. It’s so nice to finally come out of the dark of shame and into the light of acceptance. To finally taste rich chocolate instead of 40 years of vanilla…

I’m a bit of a novice. Some may just laugh at this story, perhaps it’s really the story of a virgin kinkster who has lived out 40 years of kink in their mind, in their time alone, and in contrived situations with many past relationships.

Yet still it’s not really the first time in reality. There was my rammy college girlfriend who experimented on me, there are the months at a time when my wife and I established a period of domestic discipline and I spent my days and nights cleaning and serving. Those were some memorable moments. But as powerful as they were, they felt almost contrived.

Yesterday was something conscious. The first time that I spent with a woman, who really enjoyed having me at her feet… Yet again, not the first time… But maybe the first time since being single, in which I was finally able to let down… To open up. To surrender.

I began doing ‘trade’ with a local dominatrix, Savannah Sly last summer. I couldn’t afford to pay her so offered some of my services instead. I never expected she would accept at the time. I feel lucky. Or maybe blessed is the word. Since then we have met a handful of times, all wonderful.

The very first time I saw her, I made the mistake of coming early. I’m almost always early. A mistake I didn’t make again with Savannah as I found out she plans down to the minute (and doesn’t tolerate anything but absolute punctuality). So in my usual way of showing up early, I would instead and still do, wait at the local Starbucks. I guess I can’t help myself. Its interesting, the feeling of waiting in the Starbucks nearby, watching the clock, waiting to show up right at the exact moment we have agreed upon, not knowing for sure what is going to happen but knowing somewhere in the equation I am likely to be receiving some degree of pain within the hour.

There is always a bit of apprehension when walking in for me, even though I know Savannah is very sweet and kind, a human being that actually cares and is conscious. Yet she also carries an inborn air of dominance that demands respect and her apartment holds the accumulated energy of most likely many hundreds of scenes. Still, there is a charm, it isn’t a dungeon that you would see in porn, wet and cold. It is warm and carries the elegant complexity of the woman that it shelters.

There is usually a nice smile upon entry, lovely really. Today is no different. Savannah is a real down to earth human being, and cares. I don’t mind, in fact I love it, that she has just woken up, that I’m not seeing a leather-clad, made up woman from the idea in my mind of a dominatrix (although that picture would be exciting too, I’m sure!). Instead, she is groggy from sleep, in her bathrobe. Lovely. I tell her, “Oh I wish I would have known you were just getting up, I would have brought you some coffee.” She smiles that charming smile of hers and says that will be my first task of the day, to make her a cup with the press pot. Simple things… But I find such joy in serving. Great! I get to make her a cup of coffee! I know, I’m kind of a dork…

While we wait for the coffee she sits and tells me to sit down. I almost sit on the couch next to her, part of me tells me that would be nice, but then I remember my place is on the floor and another part inside of me smiles. I kneel down in front of her. Savannah is great, she seems to always check in with me. Of course I haven’t seen her in awhile, she travels so much… She asks how I’m doing, and I feel that she genuinely cares. Lately I haven’t been so good, having been through a hard year, a divorce, separation from my children. I feel her concern, her care for my own issues as she listens. As I kneel on the floor in front of her on her couch.

The water for the coffee is done boiling on the stove and we both get up. Savannah shows me how to make her coffee just right. And then she smirks at me and tells me its time to get undressed (me).  I blush nervously a little bit as I had left the house later than usual that morning in a rush to get ready. I normally would have thought about which underwear to wear more carefully (as she’s seen me in my underwear before…). As it turns out, she finds my dark red satin panties cute. Whew. She pulls them up a little. I know they aren’t exactly modern style. I have strange tastes in panties I suppose having been a teenager growing up in the 80’s. I still love the feel of the old school satin panties, the kind that they really don’t make anymore, the kind which I could buy freely in the 80s and 90s. The feelings that go through a romantic submissive’s mind… Although she’s seen me in my underwear before, I haven’t really just been just in my underwear in front of her before. This causes me a mix of excitement and worry. “Does she think I look ok?” I want to look good for her. I know she likes men mostly in her personal relationships and I’m not exactly a man. Not exactly a woman either. Being genderqueer isn’t easy.

She takes me back to ‘finish my outfit’. I kneel in front of her as she collars me, actually apologizing to me that she doesn’t have anything more girly (she sees mostly male submissives, which makes me smile, not sure whether to take that as a compliment or humiliation, I decide I like both…). She makes me stand up and employs intricate rope work to link the collar through my crotch (forming a circle around my cock and balls, still buried in my panties) and up through my crack and back side, around my breasts. The feeling in my crotch and across my breasts is a nice one, containing and stimulating me. I’ve never felt this before. All the while, there is a playful feel to the air. And yes, we are just still getting to know one another, even though we’ve seen each other before. But I like the playfulness about it.

I used to think of all sorts of fantasies in my mind, about what I wanted to experience with a domme. A total cruel bitch, a complete crushing of my self, utter humiliation, a kink list a mile long waiting to be checked off… All of that goes out the window in real life with a woman such as her. I only want her to lead. To guide… To explore… I have no needs other than hers. I’m happy letting her take the lead completely. I feel like such a novice, even though I’ve been kinky since I can remember at age 3.

I’m kneeling again while she drinks her coffee. I rub her feet (which I enjoy immensely) as we talk. Nothing kinky, just talking about our lives… And I love the conversation (which I won’t relay here…). I feel the tension in her feet (I’m good at sensing such things) and do my best to relieve it. I feel a strong desire grow in me to take the stress out of her feet. And yet my mind does wander… Her toenails are painted so cute… More than once my thoughts wander to those toes and how much I want to put them into my mouth. I restrain myself and let myself enjoy the pleasure of just touching her. Listening to her talk about her life. I ask questions. I listen more. Taking the stress out of her feet, I keep rubbing. The rope through my crotch and around my genitals, pulling on the soft fabric of my underwear continuously excites me and reminds me of her and it makes me happy. I do each foot once and then start on the second time around. I get a little ahead of myself and rub her calves (which causes my thoughts to wander to some naughty places, exciting me further…), she finally says, “I’m feeling a bit of an adrenaline rush now, its time to whip you.”

I’m almost sad I wasn’t able to do her second foot twice too…

The restraints for my arms are almost not necessary. But in some ways I’m grateful as when I get into a daze later, they help me to stand. Really, I’m not one of those subs who enjoys breaking the rules purposely or tries to be “bad” in order to get punished. I’m one of those subs who wants to get it right the first time. I’m one of those subs who takes the greatest pleasure out of the serving itself. If she had told me to keep my hands in one place I would have, even without the restraints. But I will say, the restraints are nice. More than nice… Lovely. I do love the feeling. It’s secure. It contains something. I’ve always felt this strange need for containment… I’m blindfolded now too, which helps me to surrender to the sensation.

She flogged me once before. It was almost shamanic. It’s no different this time. To me it’s like a beautiful foreplay. And Savannah knows it. The rhythm. The building of the intensity. It begins to send me into a different space. And then she gets more intense. And it’s going into places it hasn’t gone before. My neck, my legs, my crotch (ouch, holy fuck…)… The rhythmic motion is droning. Lulling me in. Lulling me into her dark world. Like the beginning of a storm…

Then the strikes come hard, like a club to the back, causing me to shake. Savannah has already given me a ‘safe-word’. Actually, I don’t exactly get the sense it is so much of a safe-word but a gage for her to measure the intensity. The ‘safe word that doesn’t exactly seem like a safe word but yet is comforting’ is “thank you Miss”. I trust her. I’m happy to let her administer to me and trust she will know what is right and appropriate. This becomes more relevant as she pulls out the single tail whip, which as she informs me later of its origin, came from a famous whip maker. Interesting story there…

The single tail whip is like a snake. Like a crackling bug in a dark night in the woods. The sound of it stuns me almost more than its bite. The foreplay with it is like current on my back. Then she tells me to ask her “please” for the 3 hard strikes. I feel the nervousness mixed with excitement and then go for it, “please”.

Oh. My. God. The lightning. The current. Pain? What is that? I only feel electricity… lightning… kundalini?  That electric feeling that makes me want to melt and pull my legs together like I’ve just been fucked intensely… Crossing my legs like a girl and quivering, she tells me to separate them again. I have to thank her each time. (The marks later, when I look into the mirror, are intense. Of course I’ve never quite seen or felt anything quite like it.)  

A strange thought enters my head. I realize I’m not hard. It’s not unusual for me as I’m also a bit nervous and this experience is new. I always had a hard time getting hard on first encounters with vanilla women. I know it’s strange, but hardness for me comes only when I really truly know someone. It’s so intimate. But something is different this time. I am hard. On the inside. I suddenly want to express that to her, to somehow tell her how hard I really am on the inside, hard for her, so I push my ass back, trying to open myself up to her, my mind going places it probably shouldn’t. Like a woman, I want to be taken. Being genderqueer, how I experience sex and excitement doesn’t always come through my cock anyway… I feel suddenly I want her to take me like a woman. She laughs and tells me to get my legs back into position…

My story is a little blurred now. I was in a trance… But I remember the spankings. Oh I love to be spanked. I want more. Her pulling my panties up high into my ass, lifting me and spanking me hard with her hands fast… Words don’t describe the excitement I feel here. Where I want it to go… I think here I actually did start to get hard on the outside too, feeling the panties pull tight across my cock as her hand slapped me hard on my cheeks. I pushed back into her again, going crazy now. Does this mean I’m getting to know her more now? So many emotions. Such vulnerability. Such excitement. The intensity on all levels simultaneously…

It’s done.

I hang there and she goes quiet, silence filling the room. I wonder if she’s watching me. Exposed. Being so vulnerable to another. So wonderful. The silence is magical.

I hang.

Then she releases me. Slowly.

Savannah tells me to look at the marks. She says I look good with stripes… I look at the marks in the mirror. Impressive… Like some strange badge of honor?

Savannah teaches me a little about her household and what she expects with the laundry when I’m there. I do some folding and simple washing. I fantasize about doing it regularly. I like that she tells me something to the effect that she is not the kind of Domme that micromanages, that she just expects that things will get done and be done right. I like that. The sub is responsible. Oh the places my mind goes in what I could do at her house… Daily. I find strange excitement in doing her laundry.

Oh I could say more here. But writing this article is making me weak, thinking about it all over again. Although I write about these things, sometimes I feel that some parts are harder to convey than others. Since leaving her yesterday, I’ve felt more complete. Like I’ve found something inside of myself again, something missing. I actually feel more empowered strange as that is. How submission could lead to such power inside… Anyway there is a little bit more to the story so I may as well finish…

I’m sad when the time is over, I regret not asking her if I could do her dishes before I leave… They did need to be done. Maybe I should have…

As I prepare to exit, she instructs me on the protocol (of which she doesn’t have much). I’m to get on all fours and kiss each of her feet on the tops of her shoes once.

I disobey slightly.

I kiss her left shoe once but then kiss her right foot twice, once on the shoe, and once finally on her lovely skin. The skin of the top of her foot…

How divine…

Vintage Ms. Savannah!

A fan of mine in Boston just found this gem, which is a video I did for Cruel & Unusual FemDom in Providence back in…oh, 2005?…While I was obviously a natural ball-buster in my early 20’s, I can see how I have refined my skills for sensual sadism. In any event, it warms my heart to see this video, and to know that I was exactly on the right path, which brought me where I am today. 

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Can you tell me anything about your first experience dominating someone? I'm new to BDSM, and I'm curious about first-time scenarios.

Ha, the earliest Domme experience I can remember is from my days of doing FBST out of a Day’s Inn Hotel in Massachusetts. One of my regulars wanted me to take him with a strap-on, and I readily dished out what must have been an extremely clumsy, careless, and ENTHUSIASTIC reaming. I was 20 years old, had no experience with anal play, and had purchased the cheapest rubber cock and harness my nearly-broke art school self could afford. Needless to say, I never saw that client again, which I took to be a sign that I needed to learn a thing or two before revisiting that type of play. I’ve come a long ways in 10 years, to say the least…

There is something very positive about you…

Dear Ms. Savannah,

Thank you for the wonderful session last week. As I tried to say on the way out, there is something very positive about you. With you, role play really feels like playing. There was an interesting contrast between the seriousness of the medical scene and the playful spirit with which you carried it off. There’s also a contrast between your positive attitude and the negative emotions that humiliation brings out, which I suppose is the mirror image of what I’m doing when I take pleasure in humiliation. Above all, the contrast between your embodiment of health and strength and my powerlessness.
Respectfully,
Patient Zero
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Thank You

Thank you, Ms. Savannah, for taking me to that place where impulse overcomes inhibition and self control. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together and submitting to your doctorly ways. And I look forward to further conditioning under your skillful treatment! 

— Newbie Bondage Slut, 5/2014

Today’s lesson: Snail Sex

Kicking Ass in the UK - April 20-28th

It is my extreme pleasure to announce that I will be accepting sessions in London April 20-28th. This is my first trip to the UK, and I’m keen to make it a memorable debauch visit. I will be seeing hapless victims for sessions at a centrally located, exquisitely appointed, upscale BDSM facility. I am accepting advance appointments via my website, MsSavannah.com. Inquiring parties should review my website and fill out my session inquiry form in order to gain my audience. 

Double Sessions with Mistress Darcy
For the truly hedonistic kinkster with a death wish, it may be possible this month to arrange a Double-Domme session with myself and Femme-Fatale Mistress Darcy. This opportunity is unique, promisingly perverted, and simply not to be missed!!!

I was interviewed recently by a reporter from CNET, who was interested in learning how Pro-Dommes use Amazon wish lists to play with financial domination and gifting. So, I gave her the scoop…

I am thrilled and honored to have recently participated in a panel discussion on sex worker issues on the Savage Love Podcast. Mistress Matisse, Delia DeLions, and I fielded a slew of different kinds of questions from listeners. Topics of discussion included the etiquette of purchasing erotic labor, how to date a sex worker, the arguments for decriminalization of prostitution, the anti-sex trafficking movement, and soooo much more. We recorded with Dan for 2.5 hours and his crew somehow boiled it down to 45 minutes. Phew! It’s a potent podcast, give it a listen….