Thoughts & Stories of Mike Straight #70

It was about seven in the morning... the faint morning light stemmed through the black sheet curtains. The Montreal sun was to her back and she was sitting on top of me. I though at that moment how beautiful she was as she smiled at me, clad in nothing except a bulletbelt...

    Early that evening we were having a conversation about how much I hate strip clubs and the sex industry in general. Not that I feel that it should be prohibited, but how I feel that, for the most part the whole industry to be sad, and how I want no part of it - as a producer or consumer. I know that in this society, the sex industry is where a young women can actually make a descent standard of living .. but ... I hate what it does to sex. How it makes sexuality, something that can be so amazing and beautiful, a simple commodity. A product. How it forces sexuality into narrow boundaries, where only certain body-types and actions should be desired. I don't want what I consider sexy, to be established by an industry known and built around exploitation. How I don't want sexyness to be a purchasable service. I don't want to see people expose their bodies because it is their job, instead I feel it should be an act that they want to do. I was wondering if, once again, I was sounding like a "PC" American, but I didn't care because this is what I feel. She smiled and said that she was glad to know someone else who felt that way.
    I told her more. I told her about the strip bar my uncle owns in Baltimore. How it is the family business - my aunt works there and my father does the books. I have been critically watching it for years. I have watch how the women are treated and what becomes of them. How when women hit a certain age, they were "put out to pasture", because they were no longer "sexy". They were no longer a marketable commodity. The capital they hold, their bodies, can no longer financially produce. It is a business, like any other business, and family gatherings are filled with talk of the bar. It helped my family, as it did many of the women workers, rise above poverty, but I wonder by what means and consequences.
    Another aspect of strip bars is that they departmentalize our sexuality - putting it in to a certain time period, a specialized place with people of a certain body type and age. This is a representation of the tenets of our society and the economic system which controls it. The nature of strip clubs is to limit desire, by separating sexuality from everyday life. Bars are established as places of lust - where paid professionals act out predesigned motions for the viewers (consumers) believed pleasure. This makes it easier to view people as simply objects, things to be consumed. Humans are turned into submissive decorations where they are reduced to inconsequential entertainment. The industry reinforces and builds this notion of what desire is - and society excepts and promotes this because it is good for the whole capitalist structure. The underlying goal of our economic system is to create motivation to pacify and create a docile work force. Materialism is the mechanism, and the mainstream sex industry is one component of this equation. Men are taught that after a hard days work, the income from their labor entitles them to the servitude of young, naked women. They feel that they worked for this, it is a reward they get for being loyal workers. The argument that strip clubs provide a needed sexual release, fail to see the true consequences of the industry. What they do is the exact opposite - they create discontent. They create a fantasy, which is not wrong in itself, but this is a fantasy which is built upon the servitude of others. For the consumer it isn't what they create, but what they have bought.
    Later that night, as we kissed and touched, I knew what I said is what I really felt. Because this was sexy, this was beautiful and it felt real. This was ours. This was our moment, where it was mutual and real. Where we came together because our fascination, desire and lust we have as humans, was there. I never want my sexuality to be something that I consume, but instead something I share. That night I realized that mainstream prepackaged porn will never turn me on, but how amazing, beautiful people will.
—Mike Straight
1127 s. 51st, street West Philadelphia, Pa. 19143
(address valid 2011)