my dream profession, sex work, carework, eutopias, sci-fi
The 3rd book of the Wayfares series, ‘Record of a Spaceborn Few’, describes a socialist spaceship community, fully moneyless, not bountiful but sustainable. It’s good sci-fi, has a lot of blind spots (like ‘adolescence’ is portrayed pretty much the way it is rn, as if it would exist without coercive power given to parents). But it’s rewarding as eutopian writing: discusses what a different society could be, without romanticising it, tries to investigate what problems, what conflicts it would have, how they could be addressed.
But ever since reading it, I can’t stop thinking of the tryst clubs.
> They provided a service, not goods, and their hosts fell into the same broad vocational category she did: ‘Health and Wellness’. The clubs were an old tradition, a part of the Fleet practically since launch, one of many ways to keep everybody sane during a lifelong voyage. Hosts took that tradition seriously, as seriously as Eyas did her own. Plus, they were often some of the loveliest folks she’d ever met. It went without saying that to work in a club, you had to *really* like people.
I see people talking online about this book and mentioning how nice it is that sex work is just another job, no stigma. But what’s being portrayed here goes so beyond pure sex.
> ‘All right. Are you looking to take a chance, or for a sure thing?’ This was the option always given at the entrance. Were you interested in meeting a fellow visiting stranger and seeing where the night took you, or …
> ‘The latter,’ Eyas said. Not that it was a _sure thing_. The host could decline service, for any reason, and she could leave at any time. Neither party was pressured to do anything, and mutual comfort was paramount. But being matched with another walk-in would’ve defeated the entire purpose of her being there.
> A polite nod, a bit of gesturing. > ‘Are you interested in a single partner, or multiples?’
> ‘Any changes to your usual preferences?’
> ‘And how long of a visit would you like? Overnight, a few hours . . . ?’
In a socialist society, each person is given according to their needs. Needs for intimacy, sex, companionship, emotional support, touch, conversation, a drink and laughs and playing a game, weird kinky cravings – these are as important to human realisation as the need for meaningful work, for feeling safe and accepted. It’s very nice when you can meet those needs by interacting with your peers directly, by being sociable, helping them fulfil their own in happy exchange.
Some people aren’t sociable, can’t relate to others well. The hosts are there for everybody. No matter what kind of body or personality or sensitivities you have, you don’t have to be alone, any needs on that direction can be filled as easy as going to the food stores to get food. Some ppl visit the clubs occasion for a fun night, others make it a regular part of their lives.
Eyas is a ‘caretaker’: she handles the ceremonies that returns dead bodies to the closed ecosystem, comforts people in death, helps them find meaning in it. She enjoys intimate, loving sex; but, because of the unbalanced dynamics of her priest-like role, she much prefers to have it from the clubs, regularly, no strings attached (‘people get weird around caretakers’).
> She saw so many similarities between this kind of work and her own, polar opposites of the life experiences spectrum though they were. She, too, had strangers’ bodies placed in her care. They couldn’t speak, but they’d been assured their whole lives that when the time came, they’d be treated with gentleness and respect. Nobody would find them odd or ugly. Nobody would do anything unkind. They’d be handled by someone who understood what a body was, how important, how singular. Eyas undressed those bodies. She washed them. She saw their flaws, their folds, the spots they kept hidden. For the short time they had together, she gave them the whole of her training, the whole of her self. It was an intimate thing, preparing a body. An intimacy matched only by one other. So when she placed her own body in someone else’s hands, she wanted to know that her respect would be matched. You couldn’t make guarantees like that with a stranger at a bar. You couldn’t know from a bit of conversation and a drink or two whether they understood in their heart of hearts that bodies should always be left in a better way than when you found them. With a professional, you could.
You don’t have wealth, a prestige job, you’re middle-age, doesn’t matter, this place is here _for_ you—
> The tenday hadn’t been bad, but it had been long, and she’d grown weary of decisions. ‘Surprise me,’ she said. She paused in thought. ‘Whoever you think the nicest of them is.’
‘Ha! You’re going to get me in trouble.’ […] She gave Eyas an amused smile. ‘Do *not* tell him how I picked him, or I will never hear the end of it.’
carework, sex work, pol-adj, silly
feels weird to realise that your dream profession is kinda basically 'communist tradwife' 🤔
re: carework, kink silly, sex work, pol-adj,
except avowed tradwives are usually submissives – I mean it, the way they speak of the satisfaction and glory of serving a person’s will, it sounds literally exactly the same way subs talk about you, only these rightwing couples don’t know how to flow between frames, negotiate, control the dynamic consciously – while I am exceedingly the other type of wifey
Elilla’s personal server.