Sex writing, or more specifically, the “discourse” around sex writing, kind of sucks right now. And, I mean all of it. Both the concept of ‘discourse’ and the monumental confidence and matching ineptitude of so many people who feel the need to drive discourse. I can’t be the only one who is absolutely exhausted by the internet and it’s impossibly far reaching, yet totally vapid, cesspool of inarticulate arguing. I know, I know, ‘don’t read the comments’ is the golden rule, and limiting social media is a necessary self-care strategy, but when you’re already in the thick of it, sometimes you just can’t stop reading and watching. Sometimes social media feels like a drug, other times a poison. I feel both repelled and addicted.
“Your belief and your work will speak for you.” ~ Maya Angelou
A Hard Time for Sex Writing
Being a sex writer, it’s the nature of the beast to be at least adjacent to some hot button topic or another. Everything is political, everything seems to be on fire, everyone is angry and everyone is tired. And everyone is super brave from behind their keyboards! That mix makes for a lot of frustration, for all of us. Add internet trolls to that, and the thin ice of civil liberties, and it’s easy to see why we struggle sometimes.
And yet … I feel like such a hack when I’m off my game. The impostor syndrome of sex writing is forever rubbing about my ankles like a cat that wants cream, just waiting for an in, any crack in the armour where it can wriggle through and spaff its seeds of doubt all over my brain. And I let it. All aboard the guilt train! How can I talk about sex with panache and authority when I’m not having any, and I’m really not even missing it much? How can I advise on D/s relationships when my kink partner is thousands of miles away? How can I keep up with the constant barrage of semantics and linguistics and politics when I’m hip-deep in ennui and angry at the world for being so angry around me? How can I do any of it?
Short answer: keep going.
I’m learning late in life to rest when I’m tired, not quit. Perfectionism and a mental health diagnoses sheet as long as my arm make it hard not to crumble when the chips are down, but I’m getting there. Believe it or not my resilience is slowly improving and when I get too tangled and trip, I’m getting better at getting back up.
So what is my point?
Damned if I know. Just hug a sex blogger today. Or send them some cash, buy them a coffee. Because this work is thankless and we dig deep within ourselves and our own issues, pain, and private lives to try to make the world just a bit better informed, just a tiny bit more sex positive. I was told this weekend that I’m too personal online and it’s unprofessional, manipulative even, to show readers the pain behind the glossy VF mask. To that person, (long since blocked), I can only say this: I’m human. I’m not perfect, never claimed to be. Hell, I don’t even claim to be any good at any of this, most of the time.
But sex writing and sex education is valuable work, needed work. I believe that. The world won’t simply wake up one day to how fucked our sex education systems are, how purity culture is destroying lives, how unjust the world is for the 98%. So we keep talking, we keep contributing to that ever-frustrating discourse machine. We’re tired. I’m tired. But we can’t stop. And when I can set aside my privilege, my guilt and shame, when I can get out from under the weight of the world, I can see how much the world needs our voices. All of us.
Even yours. Even mine.