Oh, I really hate it when this happens. I got an email today from someone who says she’s a sixteen-year-old girl. She says she really loves my blog, it’s taught her a lot about sex work and about her sexuality as a kinky person. She said the two words I really didn't want to hear: role model.
Sweet Jesus Christ. Emails like this greatly disturb me. I’ve written before in The Stranger about how profoundly uncomfortable I am with this, but allow me to expand on those thoughts here, just for the record.
My writing is not suitable for anyone under eighteen, period. I haven’t bothered with a lot of disclaimers and yes-I’m-an-adult-click-through windows on this blog, because I know damn good and well that is not going to stop anyone. Emails like this tempt me to do so, however, because at least I’d be able to point to them and say, “Hey, kiddo, you don’t belong here.”
The reason why under-eighteen people do not belong here is that many discussions of even the most private, vanilla, and monogamous adult sexuality assume a certain level of maturity and sophistication on the part of the participants. No matter how bright and smart and mature-for-their-age a teenager is, they don’t have that.
Now, you can argue that celebrating one’s eighteenth birthday does not automatically confer those qualities upon someone, and you’d be right. However, that is the mark at which our culture deems someone adult, and I think it’s appropriate to make a separation. When it comes to discussions of sexuality, under-eighteen people belong in environments designed for them, like Scarleteen.com.
What I do here is tell amusing stories about some very sophisticated expressions of sexuality. I’m not teaching lessons in a purposeful way - I write to entertain people. I think that perhaps because of my connection with The Stranger, people equate me with Dan Savage. No. Dan is a professional advice-giver. I am a professional dominatrix. Sure, I tell people my take on stuff. But grown-ups proceed through life at their own risk. We don’t let under-eighteen people do that, because they can’t be expected to understand all the ramifications of their behavior. I love my life, but there are risks and downsides that go along with my sexual choices that you simply cannot fully grasp when you’re so young. I’ve made my peace with them, but it’s not right for you to make those kinds of decisions now.
I’m aware that I’m well-known in certain circles, but celebrity does not equal role model. I don’t even think of myself as a role model for other adults, for god’s sake, and I am really, really not an appropriate one for a teenager. Legally, it’s a very bad idea for me to even write back to a minor to tell them I can’t give them advice. I definitely can not have any type of conversation about sex with any minor, ever.
(Parents, I know you can’t watch your kids every second, but hey! Your child is sending emails about her sexuality to strangers. You can't think that's a good idea. Maybe you should talk to them about that, if you haven’t.)
If you’re under eighteen, I wish you would not read me, but I am sure that won't stop you. So let's make a deal - if you like my writing, and you’d like to do something for me, here's what I want. I’d like you to look upon this blog as a description of a foreign land. Some distant place you might visit or even live some day. But not today, so please, don’t write me and ask me for directions.