When I foolishly decided to play a game of “Let’s try and be friends with my ex who I know is bad news,” last week, I never could have anticipated the outcome. We had been rehashing painful memories, getting caught up in the usual back-and-forth cycle of blame that comes when hearts have been broken beyond repair and all rational thinking has gone out the window. 

He brought up our abortion and how he wished we had kept the baby and how he felt there hadn’t been space for him to voice his opinion at the time. That was all good and valid. But things quickly took a turn for the worse. You see a big reason why our relationship hadn’t worked out was because of my sex work past. He tried to be accepting but in the end, all I ever felt was judged and misunderstood. 

So when our conversation started becoming increasingly tense, I was fully prepared to be hit with a barrage of slut-shamey epithets. Of course, that didn’t make the, “Who else would’ve wanted to love and accept and have kids with a sex worker?” or the “I should have just paid for it,” comments hit any less hard. 

But the worst was yet to come. He had been sitting on something; something he decided to whip out as ammunition the minute the chance arose: “I saw you on a porn site. I recognized your tattoos. I have never gone back to look again. It was def one of your sugar people and another person in the room off camera making comments. Seeing that fucked me up.” 

It’s crazy the effect fifty little words can have on a person. Reading that text was a punch to the gut on so many levels. First and foremost, this news was being delivered in a mic-drop fashion after rapid-fire character assassination. I had my doubts. How could I know for sure? Why tell me now? But as much of an asshole my ex is known to be, he’s never been a liar.

So while I was taking his intel with a grain of salt, my instincts were telling me that this was real. A wave of nausea came over my body – so much so that I went and sat beside the toilet for a good five minutes just in case. “How do I disengage from this abuse while still obtaining every piece of data I can about this alleged video and its whereabouts?” I thought to myself. 

So I closed my eyes and slept on it. The next morning, I sent back an equally snarky (and far better written) condemnation of my ex. We reached a bit of a truce, agreeing to cut off contact without going nuclear. That’s when I broached the subject again, messaging him to, “Send me the link.” He said he didn’t have it. That it had crushed his spirit and that he had stopped watching porn from that day forward. 

But he did provide the name of the website, some context clues about the video, and the time he had accessed it (March of 2022). He also volunteered to do a deep and find it again but was unsuccessful. According to him, it had been a super short video – something like 20 seconds. It had just randomly popped up on his screen after a video he had watched, so there weren’t any keywords or titles he could remember. The side of my face with the short blonde pixie haircut I had rocked throughout my sugar tenure was visible, and there were three discernable tattoos on my arm, under my boob, and on my rib.  

I racked my brain trying to think of who this video could have been taken with and who had uploaded it. I had done a couple of three ways with daddies but not with anyone I thought would ever upload a video to some sketchy porn website. My ex inquired if he knew who it could have been but I didn’t answer. 

Either way, I would lose. If I threw out a name, I’d get a lecture about how much of an idiot I was for trusting this guy. “You let HIM take a video of you?” I imagined him scoffing. But being honest about the fact that I literally had no idea who I was with or what I was doing would be worse. 

Because it wasn’t a matter of doubting whether or not it was indeed me in the video. Rather, it was me closing my eyes and seeing this blur of men I had had casual sex with. Some were daddies; some were just normal guys. Sometimes it was filmed; sometimes it wasn’t. There were so many people it could have been – to the point where I started feeling dirty just thinking about it.

I had always known in the back of my head that the artsy nudes I so freely share with the world as a public service could end up on some random dude’s phone. Or that my sugar daddy profile could be leaked if I ever became famous. Or that some sex tape might end up on a revenge porn website one day. 

But that’s a risk I’ve always been ready and willing to take. The internet is inundated with billions of pornographic images. How bad could my life really become if this ended up happening? It’s not like I have plans to run for public office anytime soon. 

Over the course of my twenties, I’ve become increasingly selective about the people I have sex with and the imagery I allow out into the world. I wouldn’t be nearly as chill about having some one-night stand filming me as I would have been back in the day. Have my wild oats simply been sowed or is there a deeper, feminist meaning behind that choice? 

While it’s hard to say, I can speak to how shocked I was by the visceral reaction I had upon discovering that there is indeed some clip of me floating around on the internet. I’m less concerned with some guy friend coming across it accidentally and more disturbed by the fact I can’t find it. I don’t know the details of who and how it was distributed. 

I did not consent to this video being released, which begs the question, “How many women on porn sites are actually consenting to have their image used?” A porn actor who shows up and does a job is one thing. A woman who shared an intimate moment with someone only to have it posted for the world to see is another. 

It also brings up feelings of discomfort around my past and the lack of self-respect I had for myself. I don’t believe in having regrets because everything happened that landed me in the place I am today so what’s the point in wondering, “What if?” 

But if there’s one thing I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, I would say, “Be kinder to yourself.” So much of my sexual awakening was centered around a false sense of empowerment, where I went along with things I wasn’t really comfortable with to fulfill a man’s fantasy under the guise of sexual exploration and pussy power. 

Now that I’ve had a few days to let the whole situation soak in, I figured it was worth sharing my story. I can only imagine how common of an occurrence this is. I feel violated but mostly I feel frustrated by the fact that there’s no way of tracing and/or reporting this video. There is no justice. Not for me or the countless other victims of cybersecurity crimes like these. 

The ex apologized for telling me about it in the first place but all I could think was, “I wish you would have told me when you first saw it in March. Had you been coming from an ‘I care about this person, this is out there and they deserve to know’ approach versus an ‘I’m deliberately trying to make this person hurt’ one, I would be in far less pain than I am now.” 

The thing about sex work is that even when you stop doing it, it stays with you – in good ways and bad. You can’t unsee into the pandora’s box that is the human psyche. Your body can’t forget all the times it went through the motions to get some stranger’s rocks off. And you can’t change people’s opinions because people will always judge. While I’ve come to peace with my past, I still have my triggers. 

Learning of the existence of this video was certainly one such trigger. There are a lot of emotions running through me now and while I’m not totally full of shame and self-loathing, I can’t help but feeling a little grossed out by the whole thing. And that’s okay because I know this feeling is temporary. 

There’s no linear path to healing. Sometimes we regress but as long as we’re (for the most part) moving forward and constantly doing the work on ourselves, inner peace is within our reach. 

Advice
Feminism
porn
sex worker
Sugar Baby
Sugar daddy
Jules

Jules

Author

Based in Brooklyn, Jules has dedicated her twenties towards harnessing her pussy power, exploring the muse, whore, and wild woman archetypes along the way. When not blogging, you can find her sweating the toxins out in a hot yoga class or sipping a matcha latte at a pretentious coffee shop, whilst she scribbles away in her journal.


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