Sex media and sex work are topics that are frequently discussed in Sexplain's workshops.
DiscoTitts is a feminist, activist sex worker, and an advisor to Sexplain. here are her thoughts on sexuality, porn and the law around sex work.
What would you say are the main differences one should be aware of between the sex they might see in porn, and the sex most people have in real life?
I would say that Porn is built on a fantasy, one which serves a very specific purpose to aid in arousal. That's why most people watch porn. Often what people see in the Porn they watch is a fantasy that doesn't always translate into the sex they want or have in real life.
Is there anything in particular you think people should think about when they consume sex media?
I would say that, there are different types & ways of having sex - sex & people's sexuality is very diverse & you can find that in the porn industry.
The key is to know what you're looking for because there is a vast array of commercial porn on free sites such as pornhub, YouPorn, etc. Most of it is bad because it's the same idea over & over, meaning that there is a lack of diversity. And there is a lack of diversity because the commercial porn industry is saturated by the same bodies dominating the content due to it being dominated by cis-gendered heteronormative men.
But there are others out there making great diverse porn for diverse & marginalised bodies that focuses on promoting sexual health, diversity, consent & desirability.
Also i think it's important for young people to explore their sexuality & porn can be a great way to do that.
How would you explain to young people about the legalities of sex work in the UK?
Well, the legalities around sex work in the UK is a grey area. Really, the laws work against the safety of sex workers & looks to criminalise marginalised people by further making our work more dangerous. The laws in place benefit the state & the police, it allows them to unlawfully attack migrants & vulnerable people, many of whom live below the poverty line & rely on sex work for immediate survival.
Sometimes these laws work to remove the children of sex workers from their care, disallows sex workers to gain other forms of employment, Asbos are given that force sex workers away from their homes, their livelihoods. These laws mean that we can't report violence at work for fear of arrest or violence from the cops.
As it stands, street based sex work is illegal - so selling sex on the streets falls under soliciting & is an arrestable offence. Two or more sex workers working in the same premises automatically counts as a "brothel" and susceptible to raids (often under the guise of "trafficking" as a way to deport migrant workers).
These are just a few examples of how the laws around Sex work are detrimental to keeping sex workers marginalised. Also is key to remember that majority of these are anti-prostitution laws and don't necessarily affect other sex workers.
What are some of the different forms of sex work?
There are various forms of sex work: street based prostitution, brothel & parlour work, independent escorting, stripping, porn, web cam, bdsm & kink work, etc.
If you could pass one piece of advice on to young people, what would it be?
It's ok to explore your sexuality and to ask questions. There are many great resources for young people out there online.
Go get tested regularly, your sexual health is very important not just for yourself, but also for your sexual partners.
If you have questions about your sexuality there are many free groups & counselling services that you can access anonymously.
Any final thoughts/advice?
Just to reiterate that sex is, & can be, a healthy part of life.