Writing honestly about the subject while exploring readers’ limits can be challenging …

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I guess if you clicked on this article, you just may be as fascinated by the topic as am I.

So welcome to the club.

Where oh where do we go from here?

Let’s start with a troika of articles I’ve written for this platform that deal with issues related to sex, and we’ll proceed gingerly:

Today, I’m a healthy married guy with a normal sex drive. Nothing unusual there. I have nothing against creative portrayals of sex or even porn — unless a participant is hurt in any way.

Contrary to mainstream opinion, aside from a public stigma that some choose to ingore, not every porn star is “hurt” by being in the business. Entering that career may not have been my choice nor yours — and if it is/was yours, more power to you — but staying in touch with some sex workers from a documentary I produced years ago on the subject for Holland and Portugal (“Scopophilia”), inclusive of porn stars and prostitutes, long ago shredded my assumptions.

Frequently when one has chosen sex work as a vocation, you will hear many sad or sometimes even tragic reasons as to their choice. But moralities differ, and for some they consider themselves simply “sex positive” and enjoy what they do for a living.

Are they lying or in denial? I couldn’t tell you.

Regardless, “live and let live” is my philosophy, again so long as no one is hurt. For the record, I absolutely do believe prostitution should be legalized, taxed and regulated. Taking the “world’s oldest profession” from the underground, where drugs are rampant, to above where the women (and men) have to be regularly tested is by far the lesser of two evils in my opinion.

And the safer option. Surely tests can be circumvented and results can be cheated, but nonetheless I stand by my thoughts on the matter.

As to those who solicit sex workers, I won’t judge you.

I am not admitting anything by stating that we all have skeletons in our closet, but … we all have skeletons in our closet.

I’ve never understood why sex is considered “dirty” by so many. Of course, many consider it a private matter. I get that. I also appreciate that those with strong religious convictions have differing views.

But, as a writer, I believe nothing is off-limits. Nothing at all. I maintain a near-dogmatic view of my profession, where I consider it a writer’s duty to tell the truth. Whether one writes novels, screenplays or articles is of no matter; the best and most resonant writing emanates from the heart and the mind.

I have a sensitivity for sex workers as I do for drug addicts, underdogs, and members of any community who are routinely abused by others or by life itself: Everybody has a story and it is not my business to judge. If, however, someone needs help, then it is my business to call attention to their plea.

Onward.

Let me share an anecdote:

I was working at a local PBS station in the 1990s as a telemarketing supervisor, overseeing a staff of 80 in my department. I was told one of those whom I supervised had a crush on me. I liked her too; we were both Anne Rice fans, and fans of horror.

But I was her boss.

She once asked me if I had read Anne’s “Sleeping Beauty” trilogy (now a quartet), which Anne wrote under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure. Anne considered these books her “porn.” I was more a fan of her vampire novels.

At the end of one of our shifts, K approached me with a gift.

“I’m leaving,” she said.

“You’re leaving? You got another job?”

“I’m going back to Ohio. I want to be closer to my family.”

Her parents were getting older. She was going home. She handed me a wrapped gift box, with a red bow.

“Read these after we say goodbye,” she said. “I appreciate you.”

The shift ended. I wished her well. She left; I returned home.

I opened the box. Rice’s “Sleeping Beauty” books. The first was signed by my company’s now-former employee:

I could never tell you before. Read these and fantasize about what could have been.

K

I read the three books in 48 hours, taking off work the next day. I could not put them down.

They were dirty and graphic as all get-out; I lamented my lost opportunity as soon as I turned the last page of the last book.

My sex life was absolutely nowhere near where every fiber of my physicality needed it to be at the time, and ... Oh, fuck it. I had no sex life. I was in a damn desert during that period.

I hoped she would change her mind. I’d quit my job, find something else, and we’d live happily ever after.

Never happened. I am of course thankful today, as I’ve been happily married to a beautiful lady now for nearly 20 years. But, back then …

I was ready to burst into wailing tears.

I could have FINALLY had a Penthouse Forum experience, I thought. Damn!

As a male who occasionally writes about sex, I believe it is incumbent upon me to bring this article to a conclusion by re-posting four prior articles I had written on the topic of sexual harassment:

There is a world of difference between being a “sex positive” male or female, and committing acts of sexual misconduct.

For an article such as this, including these four pieces herein is responsible judgement.

I will always challenge my writers with various topics. I hope to engage and keep the conversation going.

If I have offended anyone here, well, resonating with my writing — either positively or negatively — is part of my job.

I appreciate your indulgence, and I thank you for reading.

If you have found this article of value, feel free to recommend, share and follow me here on Medium (and I will follow you back), where I publish new stories daily on a variety of topics.

If you would like new stories sent directly to your inbox, please email me at joel_ecmedia@yahoo.com.

Written by

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

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