I was listening to a survivor yesterday talk about her experiences, and near the end of our conversation she mentioned that something that was not covered by the survey I had her fill out was the fact that she felt abused by her ex-husband’s sex addiction. She mentioned that she never spent money on herself because so much of their money was spent on lingerie models and 1-900 numbers and possibly “illegal things” (aka prostitutes?). She said it was one of their long-standing battles, and that it was abusive not just because of the financial impact but because it also made her feel “not good enough.”
This was a complex issue for me to listen to and digest.
1. You always believe a survivor. That’s trauma-informed and survivor-informed. If she felt abused by her ex’s sexual proclivities, then I believe her.
2. I don’t believe “sex addiction” is a thing. However, if someone told me they felt “addicted” to sex, then I would believe them. I do think people are the experts on their own lives. Again, though, I don’t think it’s quite the right word to describe a behavior pattern related to seeking out sex/sexual experiences.
3. I wonder about many of the men I have met and danced for at my club. How many of them have wives at home who hate the fact that they patronize strip clubs and spend money on strippers? How many of them have a different persona at the club versus when they are home with their families? How many abusers have I danced for?
4. She asked me how and why I got into domestic violence work, and I answered the best I could. I mentioned that the spectrum of sexuality was my passion, from education to intervention. Listening to her, though, I was reminded of how bummed out I can feel when I realize so many people see sexuality as something to be tightly controlled, and how constricted people can get from being inundated with messages related to monogamy and purity. I would love to do more prevention work.
5. This woman was a Christian and made several comments that led me to believe that even though she knew her ex was “bad news” from the beginning, it took her 25 years to divorce him because she didn’t think divorce was okay. She also talked with me a bunch about how her goal was to break the cycle of poverty with her kids, and that it didn’t look like it was going to happen. I was reminded of my mom and how my mom did manage to break that cycle for herself and her kids- and it made me think of research on why certain people are able to do certain things that others from their peer group struggle to do (Malcom-Gladwell-like research).
I have been processing that 2 1/2 hour long meeting since yesterday, and I’m still chewing on it. I’m still a little hung up on the sex addiction/sex worker piece of it. It also reminded of this piece (“Sex Criminals 2013“) on “Tits and Sass” from the other day, and this particular passage:
“And you put her with a guy like Jon, who spent his adolescence taking in all the free porn he could get, and of course you have this near-couple who wind up using porn as a way to segue into sex. These are the exact couples I see every Saturday at my club—where the woman looks uncomfortable and the guy doesn’t want to seem too interested in any of the dancers because he doesn’t want to make her jealous, so they hang back, refusing to engage with you, and refusing to pay. Because to them, sex workers aren’t real people. If they admitted we were real people working to give them a fantasy, then they would have to admit they are using other people to spice up their sex lives without, you know, paying us or acknowledging the fact that we are working, as opposed to acting sexual purely for the fun of it. It’s a selfish thing that’s incredibly easy to do, especially to porn actors, who are extra removed from reality by way of always interacting with the viewer through a screen or a photo. And that is exactly why Suzi can’t listen to Jazmine defend herself. Because, in a way, Suzi needs Jazmine to be sexualized just as much as Jon does. If the sex worker becomes real, then you’re going to have to admit that there’s a person that you’re harming with your negative opinions of them, and why would you want to do that?”
Thanks for reading my convoluted post :)
To wrap it up, I just need to celebrate the fact that I got laid last night!!!! (This whole job/home buying/moving process has really taken the wind out of our sails the past two weeks) So- I slept really well last night and feel really good this morning. Let’s hear it for SEX!! :D