Welcome to Charity Sunday for May. This month I’m supporting what some people may view as a controversial cause – an organization that supports the rights, safety and well-being of sex workers around the world. SWARM (Sex Workers Advocacy and Resistance Movement) is a sex worker led collective based in the UK. The project was founded in 2009 to advocate for the rights of everyone who sells sexual services. Their goal is to build a diverse and inclusive community of sex workers who cooperate, educate and legislate to improve working conditions and resist violence.
Why do I care about sex workers? That’s not a cute and cuddly sort of charity. There are some who believe that sex work is immoral, that prostitutes are inherently sinful and wicked, that selling sexual services should be completely outlawed. Yet many research studies have shown that criminalization of sex work does nothing to reduce the number of people involved. It just increases the risk for both workers and their clients. The WHO has called for all countries to make progress toward making sex work legal and recognizing it as a legitimate occupation.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis and resulting lockdown have had a truly dire effect on sex workers, around the world. They have no source of income and no safety net. Most countries won’t provide unemployment benefits or emergency assistance to sex workers. Even in places where sex work is legal (for instance, in Germany), many prostitutes have been evicted from their apartments, provided by their brothels in return for a monthly fee which, now, they cannot pay. In some cases they must choose between likely contagion and starvation.
Their situation is truly desperate. And I want to make at least a token effort to help – and to both acknowledge their humanity and their need.
Of course many people are facing terrible physical and economic hardship at the moment. But they’re respectable. Sex workers aren’t. A lot of people would like to believe sex workers don’t exist – or to blame them for their own plight – but that’s both unfair and unrealistic.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox and just say that I’ll donate $2 to SWARM for every comment I receive on this post. I hope you have the courage to speak your mind.
Meanwhile, I have an excerpt from my erotic thriller Exposure. Stella Xanathakeos, the heroine of that novel, is a stripper, not a prostitute, but she faces a lot of same dangers and the same prejudice.
I strip for the fun of it. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s not the money. I could make nearly as much working at the mill and keep my clothes on, but then I’d have to suck up to the bosses. Here at the Peacock, I’m the one in charge, and I like it that way.
Sometimes I think it’s a sort of revenge, for all the times I heard those nasty calls trailing after me: Honey Jugs, Monster Boobs, Bouncer. Not to mention those sweaty, awkward clinches in back seats, trying to please. Trying to be popular. Now they can’t take their eyes off my breasts, swinging back and forth in time to the music. Their tongues are hanging out. I can see the tents in their laps. They all want me. I know how to make them want me. I’m an expert. But I’m off limits. They can look, they can drool, they can beg me. But my job’s to turn them on and bring them to the bursting point, then send them home unsatisfied.
That’s my view, anyway. Some of the other girls think different. All in all, though, the Peacock Lounge is a pretty classy joint, not like some of the sleaze pits down near the railroad.
I love the moment when the lights come down, and the DJ introduces me. There’s this strange pause, as if I was floating. I can feel them out there, the audience, holding their breath. Then, I hear the first notes of my routine. Energy surges through me. I’m one hundred percent alive. My nipples get hard and my sex tingles when I step out onto the stage and meet their eyes.
That’s my secret weapon: eye contact. Up close and personal. I can bump and grind, shake my tits in their faces, bend over so they get a good look at the G-string settled in my ass-crack. It doesn’t do any good without my stare. I try to see their darkest fantasies. This one pictures me sitting on him, his mouth burrowing in my bush. That one wants me to hold his dick while he pees. That guy in the back, oh, he’s bad news. He aches to tie me up and beat me with his belt. Tough luck, feller. Dream on.
I don’t know whether what I see is real or just my imagination, but it has a real effect. They feel my eyes. They think I know them. They get all flustered and embarrassed, wave to me, stick their tens and twenties into my G-string. Watching me, anxious-like, all the time.
Meanwhile, it turns me on. I dance a lot better when I’m horny. Sometimes I play with myself a bit before my set, to get myself into the mood. Then I hold my fingers under their noses, and watch their reactions.
I feed off their desire. The more they want me, the hotter I get, the better I dance. The more outrageous I become. So, it’s particularly annoying tonight that this one guy in the front row doesn’t react at all.
It’s early, and it’s Monday, slow. He’s the only one sitting close enough for me to use my stare, and it isn’t working. He’s good-looking in a clean-cut, straight-laced sort of way. Blond crew cut, blue-eyed, muscles that show even under his expensive suit. At least it looks expensive to me.
He has not taken his eyes off me since I strutted onto the stage, but his face is without expression. It’s like he has walls behind his eyes.
I can’t see into him at all. Now it’s me that’s getting frustrated and hot under the collar. I’ve already stripped down to my pasties, boots, and thong. I peel one of the tassels off my nipple and dangle it in front of him. He looks only at my eyes. He’s measuring me, sizing me up for something.
I prance around on my stiletto heel boots. I shake my hips, do a slow, sensuous shimmy, cup my tits in my palms and offer them to him. No reaction. I take off the other tassel and attach it behind, where my butt cheeks meet, a lewd little tail. There’s a whistle from a table in the back, but Mr. Clean just continues to study me.
Damn him. I’m sweaty from the effort. My cunt is throbbing in time with the music. I can feel that the shred of nylon running between my legs is sopping. Fixing him with my best stare, I sink onto my knees in front of him, thighs spread wide. Then I slide both my forefingers inside the G-string and start to touch myself. We’re not supposed to do really explicit stuff like that. If Joey, the owner of the club, saw me, he’d give me hell. But this is a desperate case. I will not allow this guy to get the better of me.
I’m actually quite close to coming, when finally I see him give a little smile. So maybe he is enjoying himself after all. My music is ending. Time for the grand finale. Standing up, I unsnap the sides of the thong and pull it back and forth through my crotch a couple of times. Just to make sure it’s totally saturated. Then I drop it in the guy’s lap and strut off the stage, naked except for my boots.
I can hear applause and yells from the table near the back. I’m shaking, pissed off, and horny at the same time. Who does that character think he is?
When I calm down a bit, I put on my kimono and go check out the crowd. A few more tables are occupied now, and there’s a rowdy group at the bar. Meanwhile, Mr. Clean hasn’t budged. When he sees me, he beckons me to come over.
“Good evening,” he says, very polite. “I enjoyed your performance.”
Oh, yeah? I think to myself. “Glad to hear it,” I say out loud.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
“Thanks, but I don’t drink.”
“What’s your name?”
“Stella Xanathakeos,” I say, smiling despite myself at his reaction.
Not your typical stage name. But why should I pretend to be somebody else?
“Well, Miss Xana—Xanathakeos, I have a business proposition for you.”
“Look, I’m no hooker.”
“That’s obvious, Miss Xanathakeos. You have a presence on stage, a special flair that marks you as a true artist.”
Bullshit, I think, but his politeness is softening me up anyway.
“I have an associate who has a particular fondness for voluptuous women of Mediterranean complexion, like yourself. I’d like to engage you to give him a private performance.”
“I don’t know...” I begin.
“I’ll pay you five hundred dollars,” says Mr. Clean. “Two hundred fifty in advance and the rest after you dance for him.”
Well, that stops me for a minute. Like I said, I don’t do this for the money. But five hundred dollars would bring me a lot closer to that trip to Greece I’ve been saving for. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to see the Parthenon, the island of Rhodes, the ancient ruins at Salonika. My dad used to talk about Greece all the time, how the sky was blue as crystal and the air smelled like wine. “All I have to do is dance?”
“That’s right. Your usual routine, or something more creative, if you like.”
“Where and when?”
“Tomorrow night, around eight o’clock, at the Hyatt downtown. I’ll give you the room number.”
“How long will it take?”
“An hour at most. You can be back here at the Peacock by nine thirty.”
I consider the question. Can I trust this guy, with his closed-up face? He’s already holding out two C-notes and a fifty, confident that I’ll accept. What the hell, I decide finally. I’ve got my Mace, and I can deliver a mean kick in the balls. I can take care of myself.
If Exposure sounds interesting, you can pick up a copy at Amazon, or Smashwords, or Excessica. You might also like the audio version.
Please don’t forget to leave a comment! And I hope you'll visit the other bloggers participating in today's event.