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October 13th, 2020


I don't think Onlyfans is introducing more promiscuity - I think it (and stuff like WAP) are symptoms of changing cultural tides in regards to *seduction*, not actual sex. The difference may be hard to spot but I think it's extremely important.

I suspect seduction rites and sex rites are two extremely different classes and should be treated separately. Seduction rites include culturally visible sexual power - from bared ankles to miniskirts - and messaging around that power. Right now we're seeing a huge rise in 1/

female sexual signalling - the scope of what is acceptable female seduction display is widening a lot - look at Onlyfans and WAP. It's very explicit, borderline pornographic, female-empowerment messaging. But I think this is *not* transferring to sex as much as people think! 2/

Our cultural messaging isn't emphasizing sexual messaging, it's emphasizing sexual *power*, and culturally, women's sexual power is held *without* having sex with men.

Case study: Bella Thorne.

Bella is the most recent famous Onlyfans girl and a great example of what people (or more importantly, young women) think of as sexual power and *how* to be acceptable on Onlyfans.

Bella posts very tantalizing photos, obscured art nudes, high-flash short-skirt shots, but *not* actual pornography. Her message is "Come close, but don't touch."

And this is the same with WAP - the singers of the song are both in long term relationships, one of them married. Iirc Cardi B has joked about not actually having sex with many people, despite the song. The lyrics are explicit but the women themselves *are not*.

The fascinating thing about Onlyfans isn't that girls are sluttier (young women are having *less* sex!), it's that the line between seduction and sex is getting much more visible in the narrowing space. To me, the lack of bleed over is the important and worrying thing here.

Women's sexual power is being flaunted - the thing you want but cannot get is being blown up, socially embraced, put into your face.

And I think this is good - but what's worrying to me is the asymmetry between gendered power here. I think if we don't figure out a way to give men - especially less powerful ones - a distinct way of being able to actually access sex, we might be in for more trouble. In this regard, I think in-person escorting is way more socially healthy than online stuff like Onlyfans is.

this points at a v interesting nuance

I’ve only done OnlyFans-style mostly-not-quite-porn sex work & I by most standards haven’t done much but it’s something I’m sort of known for but I’ve slept with less than 10 people. I feel much safer seducing than saying yes to actual sex.

it makes me curious about what happens if we reframe desire as something with a sort of safety prerequisite

people feel safer around being fuckable than they do around actually fucking…

there’s probably been a lot of varied experience around the shifting cultural permissions and expectations around sexual power but when I think through our history I struggle to think of any movement that has actually empowered people to enthusiastically consent to actual sex

speaking from my own exp, I feel safer expressing my desire to be generally desirable or even my desire to be desired by someone in particular than I feel around either generally desiring pleasure/sex or especially desiring sex with someone in particular

I seek to indiscriminately inspire desire, I have always wanted to be wanted

but on the odd occasions where I reciprocate the desire of someone in particular the vulnerability of expressing that hits me like a wall

I look fast in photos on the internet but irl I move v v slow

men have perhaps always had a lot of cultural permission to want to be desirable (tropes about how men can interpret anything as a sign women want them come to mind )but in the chaos of half-baked consent discourse I imagine they feel less safe now around wanting sex too

male sexuality in general has come to be seen as predatory so I can imagine the new acceptance of explicit female seduction creates a sense of safety where men can enjoy getting off on women like me who make it very explicit that it’s our sexuality on display on our terms

so then we end up in a situation where women feel safe making porn or porn-adjacent content and men feel safe consuming porn or porn-adjacent and we are all terrified to have a conversation in person much less talk about our genuine sexual desires much less actually fuck


honestly, in my sexual relationship with myself, with my partner when we are monogamous, or with other partners when polyamorous, the ceilings I hit around consenting and requesting and exploring and enjoying all revolve around simply feeling safe with my own experience of desire

I have suffered sexual violence and I have also been resistant to treatment for those and other kinds of traumas so I may struggle with unsafety in some distinct and dramatic ways but I don’t think the safety ceiling is unique to abuse survivors at all

sex is play and play requires safety and our culture has forgotten sooooo much of the wisdom of play and the safety and peace that is always available as a part of our human nature

our capacity to explore ourselves is boundless when we accept ourselves but we are taught not to

what would change if we all agreed to experience self-exploration as deeply romantic?

who would we be if we simply weren’t ashamed of wanting sex (or not wanting it for that matter)?

what if our notion of well-being naturally extended to sexual well-being?

what would it take to create social norms that LINKED (sexual) play and productivity rather than pitting them against each other?

what would we unlock as a species if we understood that we can learn a sort of sexual power literacy revolving around safety and consent, not purity?

“Wiggling” is a humble personal concept of mine that refers to the heroism of trying to rev yourself into power when you are so low, so depressed, you can’t even move. When all you can do is wiggle, & you wiggle, somehow, you develop momentum & strength, & you may dance again

[[Impro: A Retrospective with Person/Keith Johnstone]]

how would you describe impro?

more of an "attitude of mind" than a system

Stress is attached to pleasure

light entertainment teaches nothing

Impro is a Wheel and spoke

everything should continue to circle back to touching impro

“status is what you do to somebody else.. not who you are.”

"theater of the absurd"

Good plays are deminstations of status transactions

drama is one person who changes another

"they're frighted so they go on the stage to be strong and they somehow think that means not to be altered"

nothing ever happens in improv because improv is drama

"something in us is counting the blink rate"

status is what the body expresses you can be dominant with a submissive body, status is not one separate thing it's the whole animal

Imagine a silver ball in your chest radiating light

"friends play status shifts for fun"

I have a problem I haven't solved...

You often assume you're playing a status that you are not

if you're afraid of people you're actually high status

Where is a person's status determined? You spoke about internally incorrectly labeling your own status

so is perception an integral part and if so

The mismatch of status perception

how can spontaneity and narrative skill be repurposed outside of improv?

be playful

you need to listen and engage to be playful and those skills are so important to have a discourse

How can you seduce someone into play?

Be persistent, start where they are

Think how much they’ve suffered not to want to play

We had an imaginary hole in front of the doorway of my first class and everyone would should to make sure the person entering the room didn't fall into it

someone who can't drop their status can't play

for the Applied Improv Network ref.

if you're playing a game you have to be willing to lose, that's part of the game

If it's fear that makes people serious, perhaps we need to find entry points where the targets feel confident

don't decide first try first

tickle a stranger

the most important thing is to match the other person's status

if you learn to do that you can disarm them

difficult to do with a high status person

"dolphin games"

we're all taught that what's inside us isn't good enough; find the obvious

if you think of something clever to say say something else

if youthink outside the box no one can work iwhth you