Self-Determined Sex Work

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 14:32
Submitted by Carlin Ross

I had an amazing rope bondage session with Marlen during the Berlin Porn Film Festival.  Recently, she was interviewed by Tagesspiegel magazine about the status of sex work in Germany.  There are 400,000 sex workers in the country and a movement to create "self-determined sex work free of physical and emotional risk"  Love this woman:

You’re a member of the new “Trade Association for Erotic and Sexual Services”, demanding the empowerment of sex workers. How is that supposed to happen?

We want to create the conditions for self-determined sex work free of physical or emotional risk. This is also the goal of our “Appeal for Prostitution”, which we are currently collecting signatures for. Prohibitions and stigmatization will make the situation worse instead of better. Nobody knows that better than sex workers, that’s why those actually working at this job need to be given much more of a voice in the debate on prostitution.

Like yourself. How did you arrive at this profession?

I started about five years ago. At the time I was offering bodywork as a freelance physical therapist that triggered emotional processes and strengthened body awareness. Often sexual energy also came into the space. Clients started asking me to give more room to this aspect. When I decided to do that, I was completely surprised at first that I didn’t feel demeaned. I could have never imagined that!

Why not?

Because I come from a very feminist family. My mother was active in the women’s movement, I grew up with her subscription to “Emma”. When I was 13, I had a “PorNo!” pin on my jacket and was totally convinced that every kind of pornography and prostitution was demeaning to women. Suddenly I realized that wasn’t true.

Since you didn’t feel demeaned, what did you feel instead?

I had the feeling that something good had happened. Someone was very happy, and I felt good as well. When it happened again, I started realizing more and more how beautiful it is to create a space that is explicitly dedicated to sexual energy.

It must have been shocking for your mother.

My mother takes herself very seriously when she says: I want you to be happy. That was also her reaction the first time I changed professions: I had originally studied law and social sciences. But then I realized that I need something physical. I would have died at a desk.

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson