I don’t think it’s entirely one or the other — more like a mix and in many cases dependent upon the particular woman or the particular day. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in what is generally referred to as a “swinger’s club” and it actually brought me a lot of healing around embodying my own sexuality. Sure, I enjoyed the appreciative glances or comments I got by walking around half naked in a place where it was safe to do that (and by safe I mean physically safe but also no-one would act entitled to your time, attention or believe that you were “asking” for anything) really helped me to take back my sexuality from being a “consumer good” and return it to being an aspect of my identity that is by and for me, and that I get to choose whom to share it with. I think the power dynamics of a given situation makes a huge difference.

I’m close to someone who is an escort and she posts beautiful, artfully done half naked pictures of herself on Twitter. Yes, it’s to help drum up business, but it’s also a part of her self expression and I know that she finds it empowering because she’s told me so. She finds being an escort empowering also because she gets to inhabit her sexual self in the way that she wants to. And I’ve also seen pictures that other women post that really come across as just playing the “hey boys, look at me” card. I really think that both exist.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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