As a sex blogger, I interact with a lot of people online who are interested in discussing sexuality and what I do in the field but I keep hearing some of the same things from folks who don’t seen to realize that they’re actually being quite rude or dismissive. Here’s a list of the top five things I wish people would stop saying to sex bloggers.
1. “You blog about sex? That’s hot!”
I’m going to kick this list off with the most annoying aspect of sex blogging: everyone sexualizing your job and framing it in a way that devalues your work.
When I tell someone I’m a sex blogger and they respond by saying, “Oh, that’s hot!” I assume they don’t care about anything about my work other than the assumption that I’m sexually open. This isn’t a problem I just face with dating, but with random strangers on the internet, too. Very rarely do men in particular take my job seriously and many of them use the topic of conversation to segue into sexual questions I’m usually very uncomfortable with. I love talking about my work with friends and partners, but when I’m just trying to converse with a stranger, I wish they would treat me like the professional I am.
While there are definitely some nice perks of being a sex blogger (such as days I can work from home testing toys I really enjoy or brainstorming collaborative article ideas with my partner as a date activity), that is not the entirety of my job. In fact, oftentimes I find that reviewing sex toys can take the fun out of masturbation.
Instead of sexualizing sex bloggers and educators, try a polite approach by asking them what they’re comfortable talking about first. Ask them questions in a general sense, phrased like you would to a doctor or teacher. Also, don’t be shy about expressing your gratitude for their labor, especially by compensating them for in-depth consulting.
2. “What’s the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done?”
I hate this question with a passion for a number of reasons. For starters, this question is extremely uncomfortable to answer when a stranger asks it because you’re asking about very intimate and potentially embarrassing details of someone’s sex life. It honestly just makes me feel like a sideshow act, which makes me very defensive when someone asks this. This question is specifically posed to elicit a reaction and to “entertain” or “astonish” you with my sex life. Because of this alone, I refuse to answer this question.
However, even when I’m feeling confident, open, and owning my grossest kinks, this question makes me uncomfortable because it doesn’t make any sense. There is no “kinkiest” kink because everything is relative to the individual. One person may think nothing of DD/LG dynamics while others would find them highly taboo. Someone with claustrophobia may find sensory deprivation way more intense than rape play. The intensity of a kink varies person to person based on their experiences, triggers, turn ons, and perceptions of BDSM in general. There simply is no way to calculate which of my kinks is the “most shocking” (because that’s what they’re really looking for) to a stranger. Please stop asking.
3. “Do you have a real job, though?”
This question is just obviously rude. Tons of people get this question when they pursue a career that is highly undervalued or stigmatized in society. This is especially true for those working in the sex industry or in the arts. Freelance work of any kind is seen as “not real work,” and it’s entirely ignorant to assume that someone doesn’t consider the field they’re passionate about their “real job.”
Sure, I have a “vanilla” job, but I don’t consider that my “real” profession. For me, blogging is a means to grow my skills and earn an income in a way that makes me happy. Because of this, I consider my vanilla job to be my “side hustle” while my main focus is on sex education. Plus, the income I make from the blog sometimes exceeds what I make at my day job and plenty of bloggers make enough to support themselves off blogging alone. Don’t make assumptions and don’t ask nosy questions about someone’s income.
4. “I bet you know everything about sex.”
I get this one a lot from men who are trying to hit on me in a really unsubtle way and it always irks me. It’s another weird way of devaluing the field sex educators work in. You wouldn’t assume an English teacher knows every piece of literature ever written or that an optometrist is well-versed in neurology. Sex educators may have specialties like LGBTQ studies, BDSM, sex toys, or reproductive health, but very few of us are truly experts on everything. The field of sexuality is so huge and always evolving. General statements like this belittle sex bloggers and educators who work so hard to stay educated on medical journals, the latest sex toys, and the ever-changing sociological context of sex.
Assuming we must know everything about sex puts a lot of pressure on us, which is extremely difficult with the subject of sexuality because it varies so much based on the individual. I may know almost everything about my own body and have a good idea of my partners’ needs, but there’s no sex educator in the world who can tell a stranger the best way to please themselves because bodies are all different.
Also–let’s face it–people who say this are usually implying that you’d probably know how to please them and that’s simply untrue and downright creepy in most contexts.
5. “So, do you have a lot of sex?”
This, again, crosses a boundary for a lot of sex bloggers. Our readers are not entitled to know specific information about our sex lives. What we’re comfortable posting about, we will, but asking for details just isn’t appropriate. The question of “how much sex” or “how good” we are at sex is also really difficult for a lot of us to talk about because we may be suffering from imposter syndrome and these types of questions can make it a lot worse.
A lot of people assume that because we write about sex we must be sex-obsessed, sex-addicted, or “nymphomaniac,” and all of these assumptions are rude and uncalled for. Most sex bloggers have very typical sex lives–we just discuss it more often due to the nature of our job. Sure, we might have a much bigger sex toy collection than the average person, but the amount of sex we’re having isn’t based on our job and really isn’t relevant to anyone else.
Sex bloggers, like everyone, have ups and downs in our sex lives. Sometimes sex bloggers are single for a long time and aren’t having regular sex. Sometimes sex bloggers have issues in our relationships that cause us not to engage in sex for a period of time. Some sex bloggers are asexual and don’t want to justify the sex we’re having/not having to a stranger. Regardless of the amount of sex we’re having, we should not feel like we have to explain it to strangers because it isn’t anyone else’s business.
These are just some of the things that I’m personally sick of hearing as a sex blogger, but we all have our own pet peeves when it comes to occupational annoyances. If you’re a sex blogger, let me know if I missed anything that you hear too much. If you’re not a sex blogger, tell me what you do and what kind of assumptions you face in the workplace.