I have a new piece on Adult Magazine on the myriad ways that cash is king of kink. Here’s the opening salvo:
“Do you like to be spoiled?” he sexted, one of the first sexts he’d sent, this bisexual dominant dude. He predicated his seduction in part on his hotness, in part on his intelligence, in part on my desire to crawl in worship to his impressive cock, and in no small part on his disposable income. This particular exchange came to nothing but many texts, a lot of masturbation, and a mother lode of empty promises, but his question is standard in BDSM seduction, at least as far as my experience shows.
The simple answer to this question? I do.
It’s called “The $200 Question,” which is both a far better title than the one I created and an allusion to the three times in the story when I got paid for sex, sort of. I wrote about the first time in a blog post I called “the accidental whore.” The other two times happened within the last four months, and each episode feels like a fluke, but if twice is a coincidence, three times is a chain, and I’d be entirely prevaricating if I didn’t acknowledge that kinky sex, at least when it’s done well, has almost always been tied up with money.
Writing this piece was unexpectedly difficult—not for reasons that you might expect, however. It wasn’t the slow reveal, the sinuous peel of tawdry layers of my intimate skivvies. It wasn’t patting into verbal form the kinds of sex I like to have, nor was it revealing how often this tortuous dance comes to nothing. It was making the hard, linear choices to tell the story to fit the space and the forum.
I wanted to spout Freud and Marx and the obscure French psychotherapist who coined the term “commodity fetish,” Alfred Binet. I wanted to gesture to Madonna’s Sex book, that disappointing luxury item that tried to embody the erotics of the fetish object—and failed. I wanted to talk Rihanna, to describe lush, slick images of skin oiled and dripping in jewels and lace. I wanted to invoke a $270 fringe kitten mask that I want desperately. I wanted to do this all and I wanted to do it while talking about the history of kink, of eighteenth-century novels dripping in the power disparity between young imperiled women and men with money, and the way that no matter how uncomfortable you get, you can’t divest these relationships of their sexual charge.
I wanted to talk more about the joy of having a submissive man give me money as opposed to the joy of having a dominant man buy me things and why these two joys cause separate but equal frissons of pleasure. I wanted to talk about being a feminist, and how this whole heaving economic sexy mess gives me the crawling horrorsloths. I wanted to try to iron out this wrinkle, and I wanted to leave it alone because it gives me pleasure.
I wanted to write about my shame over liking money, my grinding middle-class poverty, and the way that the twinning of my money and my sex fantasies keeps me up at night. Not always with pleasure, but not always not. I wanted to write more about being a Marxist mistress, a title I suspect I like more than I’ve earned, but I’ll keep it.
I wanted to do all this and more, but I couldn’t because that would take a book, and I’m not sure that it’s a book I want to write. Writing well is hard, my editor reminded me when I told her how hard a time I'd had with this think-kink piece. I hope it’s a good piece. Maybe you’ll let me know.