Sex Workers Outreach Project New York City (SWOP-NYC) and Sex Workers Action New yorK (SWANK) are both volunteer-based, grassroots organizations and part of a national network dedicated to improving the lives of current and former sex workers/those with experience in the sex trade in the New York metro area, on and off of the job.
Welcome to SWOP-NYC & SWANK
May 15th, 2013 — Uncategorized
Today will kick off a wave of force, loss of autonomy, public exposure, and emotional, psychological, and possibly physical abuse for individuals in the sex trade in Phoenix, Arizona, all in the name of help. From May 15 to May 17, the Phoenix Police Department will conduct targeted stings of street-based workers in order to force them into diversion programs. The Phoenix program, Project ROSE, offers the option between a formal arrest/prostitution charge (and subsequent penalties) and an up to six month program premised on the idea that everyone involved in the sex trade has a history of trauma and abuse.
There are a myriad of problems with this process, and with the upswing of diversion programs which are increasing in numbers across the country. Project ROSE takes its basis from the work of Dr. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz at Arizona State University, who insists that all sex workers, despite their background, are victims of trauma. Sex workers who engage in street-based economies, in addition, are necessarily coerced. Premising a program guised as “support” within these assumptions is a stigmatizing and unethical process. Beginning from a place where the challenges of someone’s life and forcing them to engage in a program to address issues they have not identified runs directly counter to concepts of autonomy, harm reduction, and basic respect upon which programs must be based. Programs such as Project Rose do little more than increase and promote stigmatization and criminalization of individuals involved in the sex trade.
Diversion programs, and the process which supports them, additionally promote the criminalization of prostitution. We have discussed the harms of criminalization and the impact of having an arrest record previously, not to mention the trauma suffered during arrest. No matter what one believes about prostitution, we should all be able to come together and agree that criminalization of a population only increases vulnerability and dire harms. Targeting that population so openly only increases those harms and exacerbates already too-real vulnerabilities, including cutting people off from necessary resources and support which could be used to support the exit from the industry for those who seek it.
But Dr. Roe, for all her comments about the inherent victimhood of those in the sex trade, does not agree. Dr. Roe promotes that the coercion of arrest must be utilized, as people in the sex trade have a “depraved living style,” and acknowledges that stings such as the one used to fill her program, do discourage people from seeking out services.
But for all the of harms caused by programs and projects like this one, it stands as, thus far, a failure as a program in and of itself. If the program was successfully moving people out of the sex industry (or at least from avoiding re-arrest), we would see the impact in recidivism rates. For those who are arrested for prostitution through more traditional mechanisms, the recidivism rate ranges between 24% and 32%. For the work and funds with Project Rose has touted as a success, the recidivism rate stands at 30% – meaning that by their own definition, the program does not mean its goals or objectives. Not only does it fail to support its participants, it sends them back out with the stigma and trauma of arrest and coercion into a criminal justice program.
Not only do these programs misunderstand the background of people in the sex trade, they seem wholly disinterested. Project Rose begins by assuming that it knows everything it needs to about its participants, and bases support on its own assumptions – not on the needs of its participants. It is no surprise that they fail to genuinely support those who come through their doors and resulting in dis-empowerment.
The promotion of these stings, and ASU’s participation in them, is a shameful sign of how far we have to go before access to respectful, thoughtful, and empowering resources are available.
Luckily, the community is fighting back. For those in the Phoenix area, please join SWOP-Phoenix on Thursday May 16th, 4:30 pm, held at Bethany Bible Church 6060 N. 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ. SWOP-PHX will be handing out information about prostitution laws and Know Your Rights information to those in the area, and letting people know the harms of projects like this. For more information, please click here.
Community Organizer, SWOP-NYC & SWANK
May 15th, 2013 — Uncategorized
When: Thursday May 16th, 4:30 pm
Where: Bethany Bible Church 6060 N. 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ
Who: Phoenix Sex Worker Organizing Project
PHOENIX- Sex workers, advocates and allies protest outside the site of the Project ROSE Prostitution Diversion Initiative Thursday. This week, Project ROSE- a collaboration between the Phoenix Police Department, ASU School of Social Work and a number of local service organizations- is conducting a three day raid targeting workers within the sex industry for arrest. Eligible sex workers are then urged to enter the 6-month prostitution diversion program as an alternative to a criminal charge. In order to access the diversion program the arrestee must have no prior arrests for sex work, no outstanding warrants, and cannot be found in possession of any drugs at the time of arrest.
“Project ROSE is not a solution to violence and harm against sex workers. Project ROSE criminalizes sex workers and masquerades as a social service project,” explains Jenelle Lovelie of the Phoenix chapter of Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP). “We need real solutions such as comprehensive rights-based support programs for sex workers in need, and an end to arrests,” she continues. “Coercing workers by holding criminal charges over their heads completely lacks a nuanced analysis of the worker’s individual lives. Many sex workers are consenting adults and do not wish nor need to be rescued. They want rights, an end to police harassment and arrest and to be heard.”
Jaclyn Moskal-Dairman of SWOP also commented, “These restrictive eligibility criteria for accepting ‘diversion’ from criminal charges mean that many who will be arrested this week will not be offered services at all. Instead they will be incarcerated. Sex workers face a mandatory minimum sentence on their first charge and face felony charges after the third arrest.”
Approximately 30% of those who participate in Project Rose are rearrested, which is the same as if if they had been placed in front of a judge. This is a telling statistic as it underscores the fact that Project ROSE is ineffective, and primarily leads to more convictions and incarcerations of sex workers.
May 3rd, 2013 — Uncategorized
This is a long response to the article you recently wrote here. I wanted to shorten it, but I see no way to address all the discrepancies in your article otherwise.
Your open letter to Michelle Obama was offensive and degrading to multi-faceted female role models everywhere. It also displayed a flagrant ignorance of sex workers and sex-positive feminists who refuse to be sexual victims, and are clear on their own sexuality. I am honestly quite tired of reading the writing of women like you who believe they are doing the world good by spreading their propaganda against sex, aimed at women who do not live up to their utopia; women like you who really are victims of this patriarchal and sex-negative culture and cannot recognize it. You create a dichotomy between virgins and sluts that is shameful, as it pits women against each other – instead of recognizing that each one of us are unique individuals worthy of love and respect.
It’s one thing to attack Beyonce, but to discredit her many achievements in the entertainment industry by bringing down an entire group of [other] women is another. You see, the thing is that I am a sex worker, and a proud one at that. I openly discuss, organize and fight for the rights of myself and the men, women, trans persons, queer, lesbian and gay and bi-sexual people involved in this industry. And like Michelle and her daughters, myself and my comrades are sometimes mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and role models. To add to that I am a strong minded, self reliant, creative creature who has bred two well rounded children. My children read way above grade level, studied a second language, were on the honor roll, been working since they were 14; volunteered in their community and now they are on college tours. They did all this with their bad-ass Whore mother at their side. You dare bring up Beyonce’s costumes as something degrading only to be seen in brothels and strip clubs? It was strip clubs that helped me pay my rent support my children for the majority of their younger years.
The music industry is no more misogynist than your degrading, ignorant comments. I am happy to see Beyonce become so comfortable in her sexuality that she can now step on stage wearing a sheer bodysuit with nipples showing [sic]. Personally I would have loved for the bodysuit to actually have been sheer. That particular costume is the worst use of sparkle I’ve ever seen. The design is tacky, it makes Beyonce’s breasts look like burnt pancakes. And what appears to be glitter on her nipples is a disgrace to the women in the burlesque community who would have put that glitter to better use. But I am not here to say Beyonce should fire her stylist (though it is highly recommended.) Nor am I here to defend her as being one of the best live entertainers this generation will have.
I am however questioning your connection to your own sexuality and your inability to grasp the concept that sex not only sells, it’s a powerful tool. A tool that should not be condemned or vilified but instead embraced and understood. Your piece was incredibly difficult for me to read. It comes off as the rant of a bitter sexually displaced woman who has the gall to split the sisterhood by telling one group of women why they should look down on another group of women.
Yes, variations of Beyonce’s costume can be found in sex trade establishments world wide. But what is wrong with that exactly? For the record, and I am going to go out on a limb here, most women involved in these sex trades are there by choice. They are making their own rules and following their own feelings and dreams, regardless of whether a manager is present. Women like myself who are involved in the sex-for-sale business are not victims of this industry, we run this shit.
Another thing in your article that just boils my blood is the sex-trafficking statistic you threw out. Not merely because the number you presented is actually a myth fabricated by right-wing, sex deprived, patriarchal martyrs and angry prohibition first wave feminists. These erroneous statistics have been disproved by actual thorough research many times. By repeating these statistics you carelessly, and dangerously, give women the impression that somehow expressing their sexuality freely puts them at risk of being disrespected and abused. Your statements suggest to me that you: a) Watch too many movies that do not accurately represent sex workers, adult entertainers and women, and b) Watch too many news programs who follow the Fox news format. If you don’t know what I mean by that, please ask someone. I also want to enlighten you, women are sexual beings that men respond to inappropriately. They need to appreciate our goddess sexuality without treating us like mere objects for their trivial uses. And it matters not what we wear or what our profession is. We get cat-called, targeted, sexually harassed, sexually abused, raped and experience so many acts of violence against us. The common denominator? No, not that we all dress provocatively, but that we all have vaginas. Quite frankly I’m concerned that you have unconsciously adopted a rapist mentality.
Just a thought: you’d be better off writing articles about women who are in seemingly socially acceptable relationships with men who are abusing them. Women are more likely to face abuse from their lovers, husbands, boyfriends, other male family members and friends, than from a man they met through the sex industry.
I also have to go a little further and ask you to never write another article that simplistically connects drug addiction to those involved in sex trade. Many musicians (think Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse), actors, (think Charlie Sheen, John Belushi and Dorothy Dandridge). and athletes (Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Chris Benoit), have all suffered from problems with drug addiction. Drug abuse can affect anyone, at anytime, in any business trade. By associating drug addiction with sex workers you further stigmatize those suffering from the disease of addiction as well as sex workers who do not abuse drugs.
And a little more enlightenment: the women in this trade are quite educated. I personally hold two degrees, one in computer science and the other in the field of sexuality/sociology. I know many Phd’s and master degree holders who are or once were, escorts, strippers, dommes, erotic masseuses and so forth. Did you know there was a sex worker in Brazil, by the name of Gabriela Leite, who even ran for office? Or one of my favorite former sex workers, Dr. Brooke Magnanti – a scientist who worked as a high end prostitute while working on her Phd. Watch her flawless interview here —>https://www.youtube.com/
I would respect you if you were writing an article about women who allow themselves to be used for sex, instead of owning their sexuality. By ‘owning’, I mean using it as the powerful force it is and keeping themselves independent through the wise use of it. Instead you chime in on the rhetoric that a sexually liberated female is a deviant, that this attitude would only be embraced by a less intelligent minded woman, who would be better off aspiring to the bourgeois ideals of a sexually repressed culture. A culture that is anti-femininity and disconnected from the feminine embrace. A culture that is rape-ridden and pulls women away from their innate wild nature. One that does not allow each woman to be an individual with an independent mind. Your voice reminds me of the reason why Slut Walks take place globally. Your voice is a constant reminder that we live in a world where sexual liberation is perceived as some worthless, uncontrollable act, instead of being embraced as a powerful act of femininity, an indicator of independence. An indicator of a woman who will not be victimized by sex.
You are no role model either. Your well-intentioned article reveals your sex-negative and moralistic views. Sex-negative because you don’t accept that a woman could bare breasts or sell sex and be a strong and positive female ideal. You are not a role model either because you’re blind to the ways in which you are a victim of patriarchy. To me, it is women like you who are the reason none of us can truly be whomever we want. You have a narrow view on what it is to be a woman. Women like you are blinded to the fact that sex worker rights are also a fight for your independent rights as a female human being. You believe that a woman with brains needs to be clothed head to toe and suffocate her sexuality in order to be taken seriously. You think deliberately displaying one’s sexuality is a demoralizing mindless act. And when I hear or read these pompous beliefs that come from another woman it just makes me shake my head in sadness. How can you be so naive as to believe that there is only one type of woman who makes this world positive, who sets trends and inspires? How can you be so ignorant as to disrespect and disregard the many women like me who fight for women like you? How dare you act as if the whole range of female role models can be wrapped in the little ball of your narrow beliefs. I dare you to open your mind.
- The Incredible, Edible Akynos
May 1st, 2013 — Uncategorized
This week, workers of the world united to celebrate May Day or International Workers Day, an annual celebration of the struggles that workers and laborers have faced in the fight for better conditions. And the demands are just as timely as ever. Last week, a nine-story factory collapse killed over 1,000 people in Bangladesh, just on the heels of a fire earlier this year which killed over 100 in a Dhaka-based factory. Greece recently announced an imminent lay off of 180,000 civil servants, leading to a major strike in Athens which shut down the city’s transit system. Tens of thousands rallied across several European countries in protest of austerity measures and climbing unemployment.
In the United States, protests and rallies ranged in multiple cities, but the tone was noticeably quieter than in years past, and have always paled in comparison to the international outpouring for worker’s support. There are plenty of reasons, including a declining organized workforce, a diversity of interlocking issues (notably this year, it was immigration reform), and a decades-long decline in public demonstrations and non-abstract activism, but the impact is clear: A deteriorating labor movement has meant what are consider basic rights (maternity leave for example) internationally are spotty at best domestically, wage increases which are vastly outpaced by the increasing cost of living, and there is ever-increasing gaps in wages between upper and lower echelons of income.
If we want to see the public distaste for workers’ rights in the US, though, we need look no further than the US-rejection of May Day. Ironically, the day began to commemorate a non-violent 1886 Chicago protest for an eight-hour work day which ended with the killing of between two and six (there are conflicting accounts) demonstrators by an aggressive police force. Despite the origins, 1961 codified the day as officially Law Day in the US to commemorate the rule of law.
As if the rule of law wasn’t underscored when a non-violent protest was ended by the deaths of workers demanding the ability to have an eight-hour work day.
It is this conflicting nexus, between the rights of workers and the rule of law, where many of the current struggles live. Laws barring closed-shop agreements make collective bargaining and unionization ineffective, if not outright impossible and are rampant in the South. Temporary visa programs which make a worker’s stay in the US dependent on a single employer are known to increase the chances of exploitation and trafficking or workers. Racketeering laws are now being used against organized labor to prevent collective action based on the principles of solidarity which have underpinned labor rights for eons.
Also living in the crux between labor standards and criminalization are those in the sex trade, where the impact of criminalization has a very real and detrimental impact on the experiences of many workers. It is not uncommon for sex workers to be arrested for prostitution when they approach law enforcement to report crimes against them. A lack of oversight and fear of retaliation makes reporting harassment from law enforcement a rarity, though service organizations report that law enforcement are one of the most frequent perpetrators of violence. Arrest records and convictions can make transitioning out of the sex trade seem impossible for some. Pimping and prostitution laws make providing information for basic safety and security a legal risk, and possession of things like condoms reason enough for arrest.
Ironically, most of the laws are predicated on the idea of “protection” of those impacted by the trade – those who are most harmed by the same laws.
Because prostitution is seen as a criminal justice issue and not a form of work in the eyes of the law, improvement of standards is almost impossible. As a criminalized and policed population, demands for improvement are written off as unenforceable. While other workers can seek out redress through different labor departments, those in the sex trade lack basic protections. Even in legal structures like strip clubs, dungeons (depending on the state), and brothels (in a small handful of remote towns in Nevada) are often raided, making workers vulnerable to losing their income and improvement in standards feel not worth the effort.
By talking about the rights of those engaged in the sex trade, including by force, fraud or coercion, as a form of labor, and not as simply a crime, there are opportunities for real improvement. Across the globe, basic labor rights strategies like collective bargaining (for street-based workers in South Africa), unionization (such as the Lusty Lady in San Francisco), and official recognition of sex work as a profession (an incredible accomplishment from Davida in Brazil) have all produced real results. Strategies such as information sharing between sex worker organizations in Australia and Hong Kong have seem migrant sex workers who are more apt to identify trafficking situations, as well as be aware of the opportunities to exit that situation.
International Workers Day is a moment to celebrate struggles and hope for gains, and sex workers are no different. India and Mexico saw huge demonstrations of those in the sex trade, demanding recognition and an end to criminalization. On the Day which celebrates and commemorates the long time struggles of labor, it is essential to see the struggles of sex workers as intertwined within this long and brilliant history, and essential to a strong and flourishing future.
- Kate D’Adamo
Community Organizer, SWOP-NYC & SWANK
April 10th, 2013 — Uncategorized
Highlights of activism and advocacy from around the globe…
Bangkok: Empower, a Thai, community-based organization in support of sex workers and those impacted by the sex trade, recently organized an art exhibit in Bangkok to highlight the lives and contributions of sex workers in the region. The exhibit brings together art in various mediums from 50 sex workers from eight Asian/Pacific countries and Timor Leste as part of a week of activities highlighting the issue. The week is part of the SW-ASEAN (Sex Workers – Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Project, which is run by Empower. To hear more about the work, listen to this interview with Radio Australia.
Scotland: Today concluded the last day of the Sex Worker Open University, a multi-day conference held in Glasgow, Scotland which brings together sex workers from every industry to share information, engage in discussion and debate, and build community. A large part of the conference has also been spent advocating against the passage of new Swedish-style laws in Scotland, which seek to raise criminalization for clients. As one organizer for the event noted, “Despite the important amount of research and evidence pointing towards decriminalisation, misinformed politicians still draft law proposals that only further endanger sex workers. We challenge the popular stereotype of sex workers as vicitims or criminals. We believe those who choose to work in the sex industry, for whatever reasons, deserve the same legal and human rights as all other workers and criminalisation only increases our vulnerability and oppression at work.” Read through their blog about the events taking place here.
India: In a major victory for sex worker rights activists in India, a new anti-rape law has been passed which recognizes the distinction between consensual sex work and non-consensual sexual engagement. All previous iterations of the law did not include the distinction and included prostitution among the offenses punishable and defined it as “exploitation.”
Community Organizer, SWOP-NYC & SWANK
April 8th, 2013 — Uncategorized
What happens when sex workers seize the day by running for political office and storm the halls of government? Join the Sex Workers Outreach Project-NYC (SWOP-NYC) and Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK) as we celebrate the New York City premiere of A KISS FOR GABRIELA (a film documenting a sex worker’s run for federal office in Brazil) and highlight recent advances in the fight for rights in NY and around the globe. This evening of exciting films will leave the audience with the knowledge that supporting sex worker rights is pleasurable, fundamental and as simple as blowing a kiss.
Saturday, April 20 at 7 pm: a session of short films including A Kiss for Gabriela, Whore Logic and Advocating in Albany followed by panel discussion with filmmaker Laura Murray, Davida co-founder Flavio Lenz and the Incredible, Edible, Akynos
9 pm: Scarlet Road (feature)
Suggested donation $9 for either shorts or feature, $15 for entire evening – We recommend you get your tickets ahead of time here: https://www.artful.ly/store/events/1112
Uniondocs: 322 Union Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
April 3rd, 2013 — Uncategorized
This year as been a landmark for the New York State No Condoms as Evidence campaign, a New York State law which would prevent law enforcement from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution and prostitution-related offenses. The Bill, New York State Bill S1379/A2736, has been re-introduced into the New York State House and Senate, and it’s everyone’s hope that this is the Congress which will recognize the dire impact of this practice.
In the last year huge strides have been made in the advocacy around this issue, and the work has not slowed in the last few months. Last year, three reports were released on the practice; Sex Workers Project and PROS Network released Public Health Crisis on the practice in New York City, Human Rights Watch released Sex Workers at Risk on the practice in four different US cities, and the Open Society Foundation released Criminalizing Condoms, which detailed the use of condoms as evidence across the globe. Each of these studies reported what advocates have been saying for years; that the use of condoms as evidence leads to harassment from law enforcement and creates a disincentive for sex workers and those profiled as sex workers to carry condoms – compromising their ability to protect themselves. The impact of this, and the widespread public attention these reports received, led to two major victories last year when Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and the San Francisco police department (on a six month trial basis) agreed to suspect the practice. Additionally, the Washington, D.C. police are now distributing Know Your Rights cards which dispell the “three condom rule” myth and let individuals know that they support the distribution of condoms. We can only hope this pattern continues!
Currently SWOP and SWANK are part of a larger coalition of organizations fighting to keep up the awareness and keep the momentum going. Below are some of the updates of incredible work being organized by the Coalition and some incredible organizations.
- The Red Umbrella Project has organized a postcard campaign to let State representatives know that this issue is important to their constituents. If you are a New York State resident (sadly no out-of-staters) just visit here, fill out your address, and two illustrated postcards will be sent to your representative. Each postcard has a story from someone who has experienced condom confiscation and police harassment.
- On April 23, the No Condoms as Evidence Coalition is organizing a lobbying trip up to Albany to tell legislators directly why this is such an important issue, and why they should support the Bill. If you’d like to attend, you can register here. You can also sign up for one of RedUP’s advocacy trainings here – there are still three left to go on April 6, 10 and 13!
- This is the second week of the Floyd, et al. v. New York case, a class action law suit against the NYPD which highlights the high incidents of racial profiling and unconstitutional stop and frisks which occur on a constantly basis under the policy. For updates on the case check out the Center for Constitutional Rights and Communities united for Police Reform (CPR), who are posting regular updates on the case.
Various media outlets have also been keeping the story in the news, including Vice, Gothamist, and BuzzFeed, which have all been highlighting the overwhelming number of NYC-provided condoms which are commonly confiscated or destroyed.
And for everyone who thinks this is a small and local issue, just last month a student trying to cross the border with lingerie and condoms in her possession was stopped and interrogated at the border for hours and was accused of being a sex worker, and later flagged out she had been “flagged” as such. Read more about her story here.
March 10th, 2013 — Uncategorized
“I wonder if this is how people always get close: They heal each other’s wounds; they repair the broken skin.”
― Lauren Oliver, Pandemonium
My work is intimate.
We often keep private our deepest fears and pains – storing memories in our bodies, seemingly hiding our secrets from the world. Yet, our bodies broadcast these truths. As an intuitive, I see and feel what is going on, and usually it only takes a few words or gestures to sense the underlying reason for a clients’ visit.
Each session proceeds differently; I just go with my intuitive flow. Some sessions are playful or even silly; some are sexy or rough -sometimes I dance with my clients.
Although ostensibly coming to me, “GJ,” for a simple “bodyrub,” many of my clients have deep emotional and spiritual issues that manifest in painful physical symptoms.
When “G” arrived this evening, his body was all caved in and at sharp angles. His shoulders hunched up around his ears, neck thrust forward severely pinched in a “V” shape, the apex pressing on one vertebra – chest concave, heart protected.
I sensed the depth of “G’s” pain and realized that in order to make a shift he needed to take a risk by both intellectually and emotionally committing to participating in his own healing.
“G’s” body evidenced a deep holding on to responsibility, preventing him from experiencing joy – he desperately needed let it go. We discussed the importance of the breath, and I let him know that I could actually both see and feel his pain.
Instead of blocking the path from the gut to the brain by holding on to “responsibility,” we need to have the ability to respond, “response-ability” – this can only happen when the body is open to it’s own innate intelligence.
The doorway to that openness, to that intelligence, is the breath.
Science has confirmed that the gut has it’s own separate “brain.” I have found that proper full-body-breathing along with vocalization allows the intelligence of the gut to be connected to our brain’s intelligence.
Following my direction, “G” took long belly, ribcage and high-lung breaths – holding at the top, and then releasing fully. He emitted as much sound as he could muster – then paused again at the bottom before taking another full deep breath.
I breathe and make sound along with my clients, making progressively louder sounds. This way, they are not venturing into scary territory alone. And, all the while, I alternately knead, pound, rock or gently sooth the body.
As I worked, I sensed “G’s” internal war.
He confessed his fear of letting go through the breath, of rage that might never stop – of the tears that hadn’t come for over 20 years.
He confided that his mother had beat him, spit on him, and degraded him since early childhood. He’d never felt safe with her, with anyone really – ever. He believed even the most trusted person would eventually attack.
“G” told me he was unable to release his rage for fear it might never end. He feared he would snap at a loved one. He felt guilty about feeling so angry – after all, other people had it worse than he. And most tragically, he revealed to me that he felt the very purpose of his body was to be a vessel for anger.
I saw that “G” was holding on to the responsibility for his own abuse, but realized that he was not ready to re-experience and release the depth of his anger during this, our first session.
Though we cannot change our parents, I’ve discovered through my own personal work with abuse, that as adults we do have the capacity to create a loving internal environment that can profoundly affect the quality of our lives.
Now turning “G” upwards on my table, I gently placed my lips next to his ear and whispered: “you are a child of G-d, your body’s purpose is not to be a vessel for anger, but to hold love.”
I massaged his face: “Breathe, release the jaw, allow the eyes to fall down into the sockets.” I repeated this mantra over and over again while I massaged his body.
As he lay nude and vulnerable on my table, I held his head gently in my hands and whispered in his ear: “Imagine holding a tiny baby boy in your arms … look down on that baby, just born – hold him gently, lovingly … tell him how wonderful he is.”
I led “G” tenderly on this intimate journey as he cuddling the child in loving appreciation and complete safety.
I moved my hand to his belly, as we breathed deeply and sighed in unison, my voice resonating into his ear, our faces cheek to cheek, supporting each new level of release.
As the two-hour session progressed, “G’s” shoulders relaxed down on the table, his chest opened wide. We discovered and released some of the fear held in the pinched vortex of his neck, and as we did, his neck elongated like a turtle’s coming out of its shell, and his breaths became deep and slow and calm.
I witnessed “G” became more open, rounder, softer, taller – more beautiful – and more powerful.
Tonight’s’ was a long and rigorous session – and the rewards were equally great. At the sessions’ end, “G” told me that he felt much more awareness and more self-acceptance – and that he really felt and was open to my loving tenderness.
My client “G” departed quite a different man.
Tonight I felt a beautiful mothering love come alive inside of me in response to “G’s” pain – and I feel a glowing sense of peace knowing that the actions of my hands and the words of my mouth had a profoundly positive affect on another human being
GJ, Intuitive Healing Artist
March 9th, 2013 — Uncategorized
In the ten-plus years that I have been providing sensual service, I see clients who have a wide variety of abledness – from extremely healthy athletes, to your “average” American with a variety of physical and emotional aches and pains, to wheelchair or home bound and chronic pain suffering individuals. Everyone that I have met has the same basic physical, emotional, and interpersonal needs. We want to be fully seen and accepted, to be appreciated, to connect with others, to open to those parts of ourselves which are suppressed out of fear, past hurt, or social judgement.
It is easy for many to take for granted the bodies that we carry with us, as well as the acceptance and intimacy that we find in our personal relationships. Many people have never lived a life where the only touch they experience on a regular basis is clinical – poking, prodding, measuring, trying to “fix.” While there is absolute benefit to clinical touch, it can also be very dehumanizing, and even painful or traumatic. Many people cannot comprehend living a life where the body becomes a prison, seemingly a betrayal of the selfs’ desires for life. Even for those who are disabled, yet functional with minimal or mechanical assistance, one can often find themselves judged or patronized by others, rarely the first asked to dance at social functions, and unable to partake in activities they might otherwise enjoy with friends – navigating a night out on the town, skiing, hiking… Any and all of these factors can contribute to disassociation, difficulty being present, inability to connect.
There is a young gentleman that I’ve met who is bedridden with advanced muscular dystrophy and severe physical impairment. At first sight he greeted me with the question, “Are you freaked out yet?” He has a lively curious poets mind, a gentle disposition, a good sense of humor, and unfulfilled desires. I recently received an email from this fellow, in which he wrote, “Not many people treat me as a human being and I wanted you to know how unique you are. You accepted me without a second thought and made me feel wanted. Even if it was an illusion, it was a lovely illusion and I will always be grateful.”
I’ve been asked what it is that I “get” out of my work, and my answer is usually – I get deep satisfaction from touching lives, and I receive everything which I give. My work is an expression of my own love for life, and a constant reminder to be curious, to care, to appreciate, to enjoy!
Sex Worker and Sensual Masseuse
March 9th, 2013 — Uncategorized
Tonight! ReelAbilities Film Festival is showing Scarlet Road, a film about the extraordinary work of Australian sex worker, Rachel Wotton. Impassioned about freedom of sexual expression and the rights of sex workers, she specializes in a long overlooked clientele – people with disabilities. The film will be followed by a panel including Kate D’Adamo, Community Organizer for SWOP-NYC & SWANK! Watch the trailer here.
Saturday, March 9, 9:30
The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St