cathy reed, sex work, stripper

Her Barenaked Soul: Sex/Sensual Work & The Patriarchy

Sensual Dance & A Walk Down the Red Light District

“What’s your price for flight You’ve got him in your sight” ~

I was drawn to sensual performance for a lot of reasons, one, it was in my genes…literally. But another reason was that I finally felt in control of my own money and sexuality. It was the one place, that I had control.

Like saying, “Ok, listen up buds. You’re in my house now. And we are gonna play by my rules. And btw, I’m gonna make em up as I go and whenever I feel like. You good with that? Yea? Super. Now, sit down and be good boy. It’s show time.”

stripper, cathy reed,

In a way, it was like dealing with children. You gotta give them very clear directions. As far as their understanding of the feminine, most were very simple indeed…and starving to be near the energy and softness of women. You wonder why this is? I’ll give you a one word answer. Patriarchy. Plain and simple. Men also suffer from the same system that polices women’s bodies. But how you ask? Well, look around. Women are stigmatized if they express their sexuality. Or if their “body count” is too high. That’s slutty. The end result of all this is that policing and stigmatizing female sexuality simply leads to a booming sex industry…in order to cater to the male problem of scarcity. And you know what scarcity I’m talking about.

Anyway, Back to my strip club story, for those hours at work the tables turned. At least that was the way I experienced it. And I think because of the way I grew up feeling collared by the system, I actually reveled in this turnabout. Work was also was probably a place I got to release some stuffed down rage and anger at men, my family, church, and the way women were treated by the entire social system in general. During work hours it was game on time, and it was my turn to be in charge.

Now on the outside of my job, because of the stigma, I thought had to assimilate back into “normal” life. Part of this was avoiding any talk of what I do for a living. I told my mom I was a waitress. I assume she preferred to not dig too deep and she asked no more questions.

Eventually I aged out of the job. I was nearing 25 and felt my time was limited. Already I could look around and see younger ones still enamored with the life coming up beneath me. They were less tired.

Soon I’d “marry out” for my retirement plan. Now that may seem like the yummy frosting on the top of a devil food cake but not really. Once I cut into it and took a bite, I found out the whole idea was rancid and moldy. But that… well that story is another book about how I thought I’d exited the industry but yeh, I was wrong. I now just had one customer and I was married to him. Oh lord.

Anyway, that’s my little foray down the red light district of my memory for today. Oh, last thing; you know I used the word “work” a lot. That’s because I was driving a point home. It was a job. Not a hobby, accident, or moral failing, it was real tax paying work. And if I must say so myself, well…I was good at it. Today I’m finally able to say I’m proud of myself and especially my art. It really was something else.


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