Features Mar 1, 2017 at 4:00 am

A Sex Workers' Rights Activist Gives the Side-Eye to Local Lawmakers

Steve Korn


I'd like to see more discussions about people who "work" in sex and refer to them as "jobs" in "sex work" vs people in those weird massage parlors who probably don't love massages nor sex
I call it a profession or a career choice. It's more than just a job to me. The haters are going to hate but I stand with sex workers. I am one. If I could change one thing about my profession? I would decriminalize it. I would make it safe for the women who chose this profession to come out of the closet and stand loud and proud. There are more of us than you think. If we can all stand together safely and proudly, we could better help those who wish to exit the profession and those who are forced and coerced.
Thank you for portraying Ms. Sly in a positive light, her courage is immense. As an activist Savannah is up against a well funded marketing machine that includes in Seattle alone as a sample (not meant to be an exhaustive list):

Shared Hope, Seattle Against Slavery, Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Best Alliance, WARN, WA Engage, Skagit County Coalition Against Trafficking, Piece County Coalition Against Trafficking, South and North King County Coalitions Against Trafficking, Thurston County Coalition Against Trafficking, CEASE Network, Genesis Project Seattle, Children of the Night, King County Prosecutor's Office, etc.

Many of whom are paid and purposefully conflate trafficking and prostitution. Savannah is often, if not always, relegated to the comments section because her participation on the issues that impact her is never allowed. The Stranger is the exception and not the rule. Here is the past story, http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/view?…

Savannah is thoughtful and brilliant, thank you for giving her voice a space.
I should clarify that above I used a legal term. I'm not certain what Savannah specializes in, sex work includes many services. But, the common element is emotional service (the prohibitionists never include this in their narratives).

I found this posted elsewhere but it is very true. Thank you Savannah for everything you do....

"My situation and perspective, which I think is fairly common, is being in a highly valued long-term marriage with a lot of love, but where there is a significant disparity of sexual interest (probably true more with partners who are older). So my choices are accept the disparity (or work on it, which we have), have an affair, which by its nature can easily overflow its boundaries and therefore threaten the marriage, or patronize sex workers. The latter wasn't an alternative that I would have remotely considered preinternet. I've long been involved in social justice, and yes, feminist causes, and the images I had of women soliciting on the street definitely fit the stereotypes of exploitation and desperation. But after stumbling onto one of the local review boards, it seemed to offer a glimpse of much more egalitarian relationships, with women who were doing this out of genuine choice, even if economic factors were also present, as they are in any job. Six years ago, I ended up connecting with a very smart woman about my age (I'm in my early 60s), who does this along with another longtime wholly nonsexual business that she runs, and have seen her regularly ever since. Our sex is fun, very fun. Playful and energetic in ways that I think give pleasure to both of us. We also talk about our lives and situations like aging parents. Occasionally we've gone out to see a movie or other cultural event together. We're friends, within boundaries that we both accept, and that I've tried to ensure don't threaten my marriage. In part because of her other vocation, she sees modest numbers of men in this work, and 90% of them are married, in somewhat comparable situations. And she weeds out those she doesn't want to see again, so that most of the time, she says she looks forward to the visits.
What I get out of it is a revival of my sexual joy and possibility of exploration. And another friend with whom I believe I connect with in a genuinely human to human way. In some ways it's made me more likely to initiate sex in my marriage, and to be more mindful of the value of sensual touch in general, and not just what's conventionally viewed as sex. From her perspective, it's work, to be sure, but work that she's adamantly said is not exploitation. I've seen several other women over the years, including one woman involved in SWOP, and they've similarly been strong, thoughtful participants, hardly victims. From extended conversations I believe they genuinely enjoy sex, including the times when we're together. It's not true love, but it is a genuine human to human connection, which also includes genuine affection."

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