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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Naked Pinays on the Internet

Some sort of a research reveals that women have wide-ranging sexual interests and are savvy enough to figure out how to harness technology to pursue their erotic desires -- and occasionally make some money doing it. This is not surprising, even for Pinays, but you won't hear this general assumption on the evening news. Yes, women are slipping into sex the internet, and while the rare cynical comment and the nifty draw on individual tales expands the speculative pitch, they don't undermine the seriousness of the work.

Most fascinating is how sex workers nowadays are beginning to ascertain themselves as legitimate voices in the changing sphere of female sexuality. The internet itself has changed sex work extensively, but it has also brought more Pinays into the field, many of whom don't think of themselves as "sex workers." If a Pinay models fetishy outfits once or twice a year for cash to spend on a new tattoo, is she a sex worker? If she dances naked on webcam in an adult community but don't get paid for it, is she a sex worker, an erotic artist or both?

While a number of Pinays explore sexuality online for personal reasons and have no intention of making it a side business, much less a career, there is much more to learn from their' stories. Real women, of various ages and backgrounds and moral codes, are finding their sexual power online.

The problem is how the mainstream media treat sex technology. Technology is bad, sex is bad and anything that combines women and sex and technology is some sort of triple-whammy threat. Yet when it comes to specifics, the media are remarkably fuzzy. There’s now a question rooted in crazy technophobia that's all put off on the internet. Meeting people could be dangerous. But what's the characterization of danger? Does it suggest that you are prone to get murdered or raped? Maybe not. But are you going to have a bizarre experience? Acquire an STD? Break your heart? Danger on that scale is realistic -- but not necessarily tied to the internet.

Probably, meeting people online is much safer than meeting in a bar. There's no alcohol involved (well, there can be). But when you meet a stranger in a bar, how much can you really know before you take him/her home? The idea that meeting online is dangerous is sometimes helpful because it gets people to take steps to make things safer. What's funny is that sex workers, before and after the internet, have always had very elaborate check-in systems, with other workers, with friends, maybe an agency or escort service. Someone else knows where they are at all times. They tell someone where they are meeting, as much as they can about who they are meeting, and set a time to call. They also tell the person they're meeting that they have given this information to a friend and that they will check in. The exact same advice is listed on a lot of dating sites -- the same safety tips go for online daters as for escorts!

Now, for our dear Pinays who dare the internet for what it can offer in terms of relationship and acquaintances, sexual connections is an issue that only you can handle with utmost care and candor. Cyber technology is such a convenient medium. The risk is there but also with any other relationship. When the time for you to reveal yourself and open up your character comes – getting naked so to speak – your personal reasons are your own lookout.
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