Afro Sexual Wisdom,Love & Relationships

Sex work in the Lesbian Community

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On Mar 20, 2014

By Ngochani

I know what you are thinking, getting paid to sex some hot women…uh Yeah!!! No, this is not that kind of post.

Although to be clear, I really wouldn’t mind that kind of sex work myself *looks deep into the eyes of reader * really.

Like Anais Nin says, ‘every woman has at least once in their lifetime fantasized about working in a whorehouse.’

Her words not mine, but yes, I’m every woman.

Except I don’t quite like the idea of some grizzly hideous thing breathing on me, if there was a way to make sure that I’d be attracted to every woman that walks through my door looking to be serviced, man, I would have been sex-worker-extraordinaire for a while now. Alas *Sighs deep and long*

This post however, is not about that kind of sex work, it’s about the traditional hetero-normative kind and yes, in the lesbian community. I had a talk with one of my exes once and she opened my eyes to this world.

A world wherein, I’d say, socio-economic pursuits/ambitions have led some of us into this industry. Some of us being (I’m trying to write this whilst suppressing my inner hetero-normative prejudices, but I really can’t) masculine identified women who perhaps, feel they have run out of options. And I say perhaps because of the fact that most of the money acquired from this trade is spent on their femme lesbian partners (who are none the wiser). I’m just going to assume that they are not doing it for the thrill here.

Apparently there is a whole industry of it blooming in most of Durban’s dingy clubs.

Heterosexual men who have a thing for masculine women frequent these and well if you land up in a place like this (as a masculine off centre woman) and some grizzly looking man starts breathing down your neck and making sexual advances, please do not be surprised/ offended. They are just going by the assumption that you are ‘down like that’. When I first heard about this it really got me emotional on so many levels. How does one even begin to unpack all the layers encasing such a phenomenon? I feel as though it is a sad day indeed, when women, any woman (forget their sexuality), is forced to turn to sex work in order to survive.

In my little perfectly oblivious bubble I’ve always wanted to believe that sex work is something you do out of choice, wherein so much pleasure and satisfaction is to derived on a physical level and economic level. But reality is not like that, reality says 90% of the world consists of the have-nots and should a have-not get into sex work, it’s probably not because the universe in being generously abundant with choice. I’d have to be honest; it makes me even sadder to think about someone who is at the very core of her a woman lover, being forced into the trade because existence refuses to yield.  And now can you imagine how sad I got after discovering that for some of these women it truly is out of choice and the kind of desperation that has one desperately trying to maintain their ‘balling stud’ lifestyle in the face of the rest of the lesbian community? Class is no doubt one of the biggest most scariest of boogeymen to ever come knocking under the LGBTIAQ collective bed.

In the lesbian community, it is the one thing that separates us, although to be honest there is a thin line between it and race.

If we are not having class tensions that everybody tries to throw under the race carpet, we are trying to fit into certain class paradigms. You have these young studs spending so much and running themselves deep into these impossible quagmires of debt all because they want to live it up ‘ball so hard’ so we may all recognise. If they are not spending on clothes they are spending on booze, trying to out party each other. *Shakes My Damn Head!* And so it is no wonder then that some of us are feeling the pressure and resorting to sex work in order to maintain these images we have carefully constructed for ourselves.

The problem comes in when you start thinking about how in most instances, unregulated sex work is fraught with so many ugly monsters.

Sexual violence, physical violence and the risk of being exposed to HIV and STIs when the customer believes you have no right negotiating condom use. And because our partners are not aware that we are risking our health in order to get a little extra cash for them expensive heels they be wearing, we come home to them and continue having unprotected sex as we have always done. This part breaks my heart. It’s not fair, it’s not fair.

But like all problems, at some point we have to sit down and draft up ways of implementing our solutions.

What are the solutions to this problem? I don’t believe that anyone who is part of the LGBTIAQ family can look at this story and just shrug on some “Well, they are not the first people to be driven into sex work out of sheer desperation.”

No, you might say that I’m naïve but I believe that we are family and we should be able to find alternatives for our sisters (yes, even though class ambitions are leading them to it) we have to do something.

Doing something does not only have to be opening up financial opportunities (relax) it could even just be a simple mentoring program, counselling. These children are so young and in need of some form of guidance, I’d like to believe that we still stand up for each other. This is also one opportunity we can grab that’ll help us mend the class rift that’s separated the South African lesbian community. I believe we could do something; we could change someone and possibly a whole network of other people who are connected to them sexually. I’d like us to do something and this is where I get so frustrated wishing that this post had a bigger platform.

Oh well, I’m hoping that by just saying what I’ve said to the few people that will read this, I’ve opened up your eyes and one of you will remember this until the day you decide to do something/anything to make the difference. …To community…


Reblogged from ShonaFemmeQueer