Tag Archives: excerpts

They’re Not Here To Help: How Anti-Sex Work Activists Use the Tactics of Homophobes, Racists, and Islamophobes

24 Jun

bwMy latest essay, “If You’re Against Sex Work, You’re A Bigot” is up at The Stranger as part of their queer issue.  It’s the first (and hopefully only) fuck-you piece I’ve ever written.  The essay compares the tactics of anti-sex work activists (I refer to them more accurately as “anti-sex bigots” in the essay)  with the tactics of racists, homophobes, Islamophobes, and misogynists.  It’s a pretty one-to-one comparison, and that they are in fact basically bigots was a sentiment that concretized over the writing of the essay.

I don’t generally like writing from a place of anger, but the overwhelming weight of discrimination and stigma, not to mention misguided legislation and confused conversations, that sex workers face every day inspires a lot of, well, rage in me.  I wanted to give sex workers and allies a toolbox to dismantle the anti-sex activists’ work.  Too often, we find ourselves enmeshed in debate with them, defending ourselves against phony facts, fabricated statistics, shallow ideologies, and more.  Really what we should see is they have nothing to their arguments but hatred.  So rather than respond, the essay urges readers to dismiss, protest, shun, and shutdown.  They don’t deserve debate anymore than the KKK, skinheads, or the Westboro Baptist Church.

Here are some excerpts, and you can read the whole essay by clicking here.

*

I should start an essay like this by telling you about how great sex workers are, how important sex workers’ rights are. I should “create sympathy in the reader” for anyone who takes their clothes off and performs sexuality. I should show you porn stars saving cats stuck in trees, sex workers volunteering at soup kitchens, strippers just trying to make it work for their families.

I should tell you about how it feels to deal with anti-sex-work stigma every day.

But this essay isn’t about us.

It’s about the demand to prove we’re worth sympathy. It’s about how if that sympathy shows up, it’s wrapped up in deliberate misunderstandings. It’s about the people who make the demand. It’s about how “Show us your humanity!” is more belittling and damaging than “Show us your tits!”

It’s about the people we should no longer respond to with anything other than protest or dismissal.

In other words, it’s about bigotry. It’s about bigots.

*

I’ll refer to anti-sex-work and anti-porn campaigners here for clarity and honesty as “anti-sex bigots.” When that word gets tiring, I’ll call them “anti-sex activists.”

Why? Because sex is what makes sex work so special for them. Sex makes this line of work a singular profession, mystically distinguished from other jobs. But their analyses and understandings of sex lack depth. There is no substance to their arguments. Their tactics are strung together not with understanding or data, but with hate. Their bigotry is visceral, and their goals are clear:

1. Distort and destroy consent.

2. Create a framework of good vs. evil.

3. Cherry-pick voices.

4. Play the victim while holding the power.

5. Create apocalyptic urgency.

This list might sound like an exaggeration to outsiders. To sex workers, it’s exhaustingly and overwhelmingly familiar.

*

Wait a second, wait a second, I can hear the fumbling voices of protest. Stop talking about bigotry. I mean, after all, we’re not talking about race, right? We’re not talking about something people can’t change. That’s what makes speech against those groups hate speech. Sex workers, well, they…

What? Were you finally going to say we choose our careers?

*

Does this rant from an anti-sex activist sound familiar?

“The insistence that there’s nothing unusual in ‘work’ that involves male strangers penetrating your body and ejaculating inside of you goes right along with the ‘sex positivity’ popular with young Leftists. Women are likely to sustain injury (vaginal tearing) during heterosexual intercourse if we are not genuinely aroused (rather than performing for an audience); we are more likely to contract infections and diseases than our male partners; we are more likely to be harmed by male sexual partners (who are almost always larger and stronger than we are); and we are 100% more likely than our male partners to face unwanted pregnancy.” —Anti-sex bigot (5)

Compare that to this, from a video called “Medical Dangers of Anal Sex” posted by Christofer L, an antigay Christian You-Tuber:

“Let’s look at some simple biological truths… The rectum… [is designed] strictly for the removal of waste, moving it outward away from the body. This is why the blood vessels in the rectum break when a phallic object goes against the natural flow of movement by its muscles. Believe it or not, this causes rectal/anal damage. Many sexual experts and medical personnel discourage anal sex because of the danger… Safe sex? Mechanical damage to the rectum will happen regardless of the safe-sex measures.”

Same gesture, same hate, same simplifications.

*

What’s more dehumanizing: showing your butt cheeks to an audience or having someone tell you that you don’t blackoutexist?

We need a varied, active, and dynamic picture of sex workers, not a muffled, stunted one. I started porn after going to grad school for writing and biology and being a college English instructor. I know plenty of porn performers with other jobs: meteorology, fashion design, dairy farming, law, freelance writing, directing, nursing, nonprofit organizing. Those are just off the top of my head. Yes, there are porn performers who—like many writers, actors, etc.—have no other job and are struggling. And there are other sex workers working out of various causes of necessity. The point isn’t that doing sex work out of need doesn’t exist. Nor is the point that we have to absolutely love sex work to do it. Not everyone loves their job, and sex workers should not be singled out and forced to simply because of the “sex” in their work. The point is, your picture of who sex workers are must be multifaceted. It’s a picture that’s ineluctably complex, yet anti-sex activists want us to hear one voice and will symbolically kill the rest of us to achieve the effect.

*

“Pornography Is What the End of the World Looks Like,” reads the title of one anti-porn rant.

Whose world is ending?

What world are they talking about?

Like almost everyone who wants to save the world, anti-sex bigots have to fabricate a fake world that’s being destroyed first. KKK members fabricate the idea of a pure white race that’s being destroyed, fundamentalist Christians fabricate pure heterosexuality corrupted by gays, US warmongers fabricate pure democracy threatened by Muslims, and so on.

The end is near! Anti-sex activists create a world in danger from sex work, though our world without sex work never existed. To make sure the end is always near, they shift the goalposts. It’s not the porn, goes one argument, it’s the distribution!

The 1965 anticommunist, antigay, anti-porn video Perversion for Profit states:

“Pornography and sex deviation have always been with mankind. This is true. But now consider another fact… High-speed presses, rapid transportation, mass distribution all have combined to put the vilest obscenities in the reach of every man, woman, and child in the country.”

In 2015, an anti-sex activist proclaimed with the certainty she was saying something new when she said that “porn 15 years ago is basically Playboy andPenthouse, which as sexist as it was… those are the good old days. Today pornography has shifted rapidly, and it’s shifted because of the internet… [the internet has made porn] affordable, accessible, and anonymous…” (9)

We must act urgently! To save our neuropathways from online porn! To save young men’s desires! To save women! To save anyone we want to control!

All—yes, all—of the adverse conditions sex workers face are created or exacerbated by anti-sex bigots who directly harm sex workers or indirectly harm them by silencing them, spreading misinformation, blocking paths to sexual health education, and cultivating stigma.

“We’re here to save you!” sounds promising, until the statement is completed honestly: “We’re here to save you… from the damaging conditions we’ve created and continue to perpetuate.”

*
read the whole essay

Treatment As Metaphor: What Happened When Susan Sontag, My Mom, and I Were Diagnosed with Cancer

22 Jan
FullSizeRender

My mom and I on my 22nd birthday. She died a little over two years later.

My essay“When You’re Sick You’ll Wait for the Answer but None Will Come,” was the cover article of a recent issue of The Stranger.

In 2007, a doctor told me I had lymphoma.  Looming over this diagnosis was my mother’s slow death of bone cancer in 2001.  My literary hero, Susan Sontag wrote about cancer and our attitudes about it so convincingly; but I found that when I was confronted with fear for my health and life, her thoughts on illness weren’t complete.  What about our attitudes about treatment?  I’ve been mulling over this essay for year, and am happy to have written (exorcised?) it and to have it finally out.

Read the entire thing here, read some excerpts below, and feel free to share your experiences in the comments.  Thank you.

***

I was on a hospital gurney in a hallway, and I’d been there, confused, for hours. I was wheeled out there after a CT scan on my abdomen.

Am I okay, I’d asked the CT technician. She looked down at the floor.

“You’re going to die,” she said.

And then, animated, “Just kidding! The doctor will see you in the hall.”

She patted me on the shoulder. That’s the kind of person she was.

I was there after being assaulted by my boyfriend; it was the first and only time he’d hit me, and I promised myself I’d never see him again. I didn’t have a job, I’d just finished grad school, and now my rib was broken and I had internal bleeding and bruised intestines that would scar up. I wasn’t sure what was next for me. The CT scan was for my liver and spleen to make sure they hadn’t split open.

My spleen was fine; my liver was fine.

“Your spleen is fine; your liver is fine,” the doctor said. I was in the kind of pain that’s not just dull or sharp but also frightening.

“The suspicion is that you have lymphoma.”

I’d talked to this doctor hours ago, when I checked in for my injuries. We talked about police reports, and he checked my breathing.

What? I asked.

“Your lymph nodes are irregularly large; you’ll have to get another CT scan. The suspicion is lymphoma,” he said again. Suspicion. Was that a diagnosis?

A smiling nurse appeared next to us. “At least you caught it early!” she said. “Think about it! The assault saved your life!”

***

Death comes, and when it does, it sounds like a creaking door. I know this because when my mom was finished with cancer, a noise uttered its way past her teeth. Like something being crushed slowly, but there was no burst or relief at the end. She died on a bed in our house. She’d spent a lot of time before that moment disappearing. No more fat or muscle on her, no more talking; she was like a piece of paper with bones in it. Each breath was a disjointed heave and hiss, and then it stopped.

I was 24; she was 56.

None of this will tell you enough about her, nothing could, but I’ll try:

My mom would tug at my sister’s hair or pinch me when we misbehaved, because she was a big sister to us. Her mother died giving birth to what would have been my mom’s first younger sibling. My mom corralled and held us against harm. She wouldn’t let us watch violent movies. She wrote a short story about a woman who slit her wrists in a library and everyone walked by quietly, trying not to notice. She read a lot. She gave classes for women at Barnes & Noble. She told me that as a little girl, she had a dream about looking out her open bedroom window as nickels rained in from the sky until the entire room was full. Sometimes she’d make me or my sister or anyone laugh so hard that we couldn’t breathe. She had a John James Audubon bird book that she’d pull off the shelf and page through with me: the colors and the brushstrokes and the scenes of struggle and beauty.

They’d told us she had cancer, bone cancer. First it was breast cancer, and then it was bone cancer. Ten years ago, they amputated her fleshy left breast. She said that on surgery day, she put a sticky note on her breast that read “Good-bye.” Treatment came to a temporary halt in a curved line of black stitches across her ribs. That should be enough, but no! A breast wasn’t enough for them. Not the cells, not the doctors. Ten years later, there was a tumor on her sternum, and then her leg. Then she was in pain. Constant pain. From diagnosis to death, it was a little more than two years.

***

Treatment” is a word made up of different words.

“Treat” is from the French traiter, derived from the Latin tractare. To handle, deal with, conduct oneself toward, tug, drag about.

“Ment” is a magical suffix that turns actions into things. To add “ment” to the end of a word is to draw it into the world.

That means treatment may be “the state of conducting oneself toward something.” That’s as gentle as a quiet, correct step.

It also means that treatment may be “the state of being dragged about, the state of being pulled violently.”

When we’re sick, or when we think we’re sick, we seek treatment. Since we all get sick sooner or later, treatment is a part of being human. It’s not separate from our lives, it’s not a feature of certain people’s experiences, it’s not optional.

EPSON scanner image

Susan Sontag

Writer and intellectual Susan Sontag, in her book Illness as Metaphor, wrote of this obligation to be sick in our lives. And she also wrote that to decorate our illness with metaphors and melodramas was to make matters worse. “Illness is not a metaphor,” she wrote. “The most truthful way of regarding illness—and the healthiest way of being ill—is one most purified of, most resistant to, metaphoric thinking.”

She was diagnosed with cancer on three different occasions. First, breast cancer in 1975. She responded to it with Illness as Metaphor, a radical mastectomy, and chemotherapy, which she opted for over a “modified radical” mastectomy, which was a less invasive treatment. She viewed cancer as a growth, so radical treatment was necessary to getting to its root (radicalis from the Latin radix or “root”). An extremity of uprooting. When a friend came to her with a cancer diagnosis and fears about the pains of treatment, she told him that when he was in such terrible pain that he may have to stop, that’s when he should take another treatment. Then another. She was expressing sympathy by encouraging defiance. I wonder why she didn’t notice that her approach to treatment echoed perfectly her approach to living, and so was alive with metaphor.

Radical in her heart, radical just above it.

***

Looking up treatment was a treatment itself. Perhaps I could calm down if there were cures.

Night sweats, itchy skin, fever, abdominal pain, cough, fatigue, weight loss, rashes, back pain. None of these are disease-specific. I found myself suddenly scratching my legs more and waking up in the middle of the night. I found myself exhausted. Was it lymphoma or just “normal” or had I been hexed?

“You should calm down,” one friend said.

“You should rest before you drive across the country,” said another.

I didn’t go back to the doctor. I wanted to escape everything, and I had to make sure I would never interact with my boyfriend again.

I put my things in my car and drove across the country alone, from Amherst to San Francisco, wondering if my back pain was from sitting or impending death. In one of those states in the middle, the ones that are so beautiful that they blend together and make you forget their names, I stopped my car and watched pronghorn antelope grazing. I’d never seen antelope before. The only sound was the wind, which rushed up fast like the grass was exhaling. Then I remembered: lymphoma. I wondered if the states were being granted to me, one by one, showing up to say good-bye or calm me down. I’d felt my lymph nodes in my neck every day. I still catch myself feeling them. I wonder how my hands got up to my throat, searching for something.

There was a feeling of spinning.

***

A question that is bound up in illness for us: Who’s to blame? If the person who chooses to pray as treatment dies of cancer, is it their fault? If so, isn’t the same true for someone who chooses chemotherapy for cancer and dies of cancer?

People will be quick to tell you that some attitudes toward health are “dangerous.” This is true. They’re all dangerous.

…But what if we eat raw food? What if we drink enough water, if we take vitamins, if we sleep well, if we exercise, if we meditate, if we go on “retreats,” if we take psychedelic plants, if we get massages, if we become vegetarians, if we eat more organ meats, if we force ourselves to laugh, if we take morning walks?

We try to avoid illness and treatment, and in avoiding it create a constant state of illness and treatment.

quickly, all the new stuff

19 Mar

bed

Life is good and busy and happy.  I’m working on a new essay for this blog – a one-year later follow up of the anti-sex/anti-porn/anti-freedom of speech move to block my lecture at Corning Community College in 2013.  A lot of bizarre/fascinating stuff happened after that talk to catch up on.

 

Until then, here’s some stuff you can check into.

WRITING

I’m the newest blogger for Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger!  In my colum, Free Sex with Conner Habib, I’ll be giving sex and relationship tips weekly.  I’ll also offer up some mini-sexual history lessons – it’s all on her site, PattiKnows.com.  My first entry is a foundational one:  “How To NOT Have Sex Like A Movie Star.”  The concept is pretty simple:  Contrary to the widely-held notion that sex should be totally immersed and connected, it’s okay to think during sex.  I’m excited to be working with Patti.  She’s got a much more mainstream take on sexuality than I do, but she’s the real deal.  Smart, no bullshit, and willing to have someone like me on her site to push boundaries and broaden readers’ horizons!

My essay in the “The Banal and the Profane” series from Lambda Literary was released last month.  It details a week in my life, day-by-day.  Rather than be like, “Um, I went to the store and the I watched TV and then I jerked off” or whatever, I decided to write little vignettes about everyday reading. Reading that isn’t considered reading.  There’s one little essay each about a parking ticket, the back of a condom wrapper, bathroom graffiti, twitter, the books under my bed, and a lit reading.  It was a fun assignment, and I’m happy to be involved with Lambda.

***

My essay, “What I Want To Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars” is up on The Stranger.  This is my first long-form essay in awhile, and it covers a lot of ground.  It was very personal: about a boyfriend of mine who struggled with me being in porn, and it’s also cultural: it dissects all the unthinking arguments against pornography.  Specifically, it takes to task a lot of the “radical feminist” arguments against porn that are really just hate in disguise.

Here are a few excerpts:

At a restaurant in New York, there was a small opening for discussion, and Alex and I talked, just a little, about porn.

It just all seems to contradict, he said.

To him, me being in porn seemed out of place in the rest of my life. I’m a spiritual person and I went to grad school. I taught college English courses and studied science. The porn, for him, didn’t match up with all of that. I started to grow quiet. I didn’t like that I was growing quiet; after all, it was my big chance to talk about my job and my choices. But framed this way, in the form of contradictions, it didn’t seem right. “Contradictions” was a word that meant I’d already lost the battle.

It’s just so dark, he said. How do you know it’s not all just coming from a dark place?

I didn’t want to shut down, so I tried to answer in a sideways manner.

In an interview, religious scholar Huston Smith was talking about his teaching job. The interviewer asked Smith how he knew, when he taught his students about all the different religions, that he wasn’t emphasizing one religion’s virtues just a little more than the others, trying to indoctrinate them.

“Because my heart is pure!” Smith said.

Because my heart is pure, I told Alex. I wish you could just look inside and see that I was doing this because I want to, and that it doesn’t make me love you any less.

But I can’t, he said. I can’t see that.

He reached over and rubbed my shoulder. It must be hard for you to date anyone, he said.

I have rarely felt so alone as I did in that moment, sitting there in New York, with my boyfriend touching my shoulder.

*

In high school, when I was a kid, a friend asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

A porn star, I said.

It was a funny, half-formed kid’s dream, but I meant it.

I’d seen porn, like most of the kids in my school at that point, and this was before the internet. Aside from the fact that the cool kids were talking about it, I wanted to do porn because it seemed like a no-brainer. People gave each other and themselves and the audience pleasure as their job? It was an amazing prospect. I wouldn’t have to be a banker or a stockbroker or whatever. I could be a porn star.

Well, have fun getting AIDS, he said. He meant it, too.

*

Patriarchy, you say first. (Don’t worry, I won’t get into all the facts about porn being the one place where women are paid at a consistently higher rate than men.)

Once, a woman online, a “radical” “feminist,” told me I was a rapist because I subjugated women. But I’m in gay porn, I said. No, no, you’re a rapist, she insisted. I looked at her website, which was dedicated to saying trans* women were not real women and that they’d infiltrated feminism by using deception.

When you hate us that much, you might notice: You hate other people, too.

When you hate us that much, you might notice: Even “rape” becomes a meaningless word.

***

PODCASTS

On Tangentially Speaking with Chris Ryan, author of Sex at Dawn – me and Sex At Dawn author Christopher Ryan had a long, fun conversation about the nature of reality, sex, technology, and more.  I’ve been on Chris’s podcast once before and we go all over the place.  He’s the best, and it’s a great listen to get a broader picture of both him and me.  Plus,  I think we make some dumb jokes.

meandEmily

On Sex with Emily with sexologist and Dr. Drew/Loveline cohost, Emily Morse – Emily and I are pals from a couple of yeas back and we talk a lot about blowjobs.  It’s, like, our thing.  We also talk about how I got into porn and whether or not men should powder their balls (sometimes, I say.)  It’s a good, fun conversation with lots of sex tips.

OTHER

My petition to fight censorship from Twitter on their Vine app is still going!  As soon as I get enough signatures (we’re almost there!), I’m going to figure out what the hell to do next.  I’ve never done this petition this before.  So click here to sign and we’ll fight the power together.

I appeared in über-hip/totally good-looking Swedish fashion magazine Bon to talk about the politics of nudity.  The print magazine is in English and Swedish; the website is only in Swedish.  But you can google translate and look around their fashionable landscape.

I recently spoke at University of Florida as part of their Sexxx Week.  If you’d like me to speak at your school or organization, click here for info.

I was featured in an article on Jezebel about Duke University student and porn star Belle Knox.  The article focuses on the archetype of the college girl in porn – how viewers love to watch, but when there’s an actual college student making porn in real life, people lose their shit.

Still working on my book, Remaking Sex, which will be out from Disinformation late 2014/early 2015.  It’s an expose on all our attitudes about sex, and tours through science, philosophy, politics, history, economics, and more.  The book works to overturn all our assumptions and ask questions we need to ask more often (Why do we cover our private parts? Why can’t I eat a sandwich at my office desk, but not jerk off?  Why are we ashamed of masturbation?).  And it’s got a few suggestions on how we can approach sex, as a culture, in a healthier and more peaceful way.

That’s all for now.  Love,

CH

UPDATES (or: I Moved To LA and You’re Going To Come See Me, Yes? Yes.)

7 Nov

standingtallHello!  I moved to Los Angeles, which is about the best thing ever.  Today I sat under a lime tree and had coffee outside.  It’s November, folks!  Anyway, the reason why I moved here was to amplify my career, to spend time with my amazing LA friends, and to wear shorts.  I love wearing shorts.  

I’ll be writing an original essay – about porn – for this site soon, but along with everything else I’m up to, I’m finishing up my first book (a manifesto about sex and culture) tentatively titled The Sex We’ve Never Had: How to Make the World Better for Touchy Subjects which will be published by Disinformation in 2014.  Look for excerpts here in the future.

Below are some upcoming Habib events, some new writing, and more.  If you want me to do an event where you live, you can always hire me to speak at your school/organization.  (You can also hire me as a writing coach/script doctor.)

UPCOMING EVENTS:

NOVEMBER 21

Risk! at the Nerdmelt Theater in La, with Jake Fogelnest, Julie Brister and more!

Risk! is a storytelling founded by Kevin Allison, best known as a cast member of the MTV sketch comedy show, The State.  Basically, I get up on stage and tell a story that’s a little scary for me to tell.  Then the other people do the same.  It’s live entertainment and it’s at the theater that Nerdist.com set up and it’s with a bunch of people way more famous than me, and I’m scared.  And also really really excited.  This is a first for me – even though I’ve given plenty of talks, and had people jizz in my eye on camera, storytelling is a whole different animal.  So come by for a Habib first, hang out, and we can share stories afterward.

November 9

Bentcon – The Queer Comics Con

Yes, I will be totally nerding out and speaking at a comic con – The GAYEST comic con there is.  I’ll be hanging around the whole weekend amidst the spandexed bulges, writing a story about the gays and superheroes for Vice.  But my actual events will be a panels on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday – 4:00PM  “The Importance of Gay Sex in Fiction” – Talking with the other panelists and the audience about, you know, fucking.  But fictional fucking.  How to write about sex, how much to put in (har har) your work, how to not go over the top or make it corny (and how TO make it corny as well, I suppose).   Sunday – 4:00PM “Heroes: Just Like You” – Talking about my heroes and (God forbid) how I might be a role model for LGBT people.  My partner in crime Chris Donaghue (host of Logo TV’s Bad Sex) will also be on this panel!  Hurrah.  Whoever’s wearing the cutest Thor helmet gets a kiss.

***

NEW WRITING

I write a weekly column for Vice Magazine! Hurray!  My column, “Profanity!” appears just about every week (or about three times a month).  This is a huge development for me – Vice is truly cutting edge and reports from the margins of society.  They also have an excellent HBO series.  The column focuses mostly on occult/spiritual stuff and sex stuff, sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes I just go way off topic and write about whatever.  Anyway, happy to be there.

Three essays up as of this post:

Kirk Cameron Wrote the Bible”  In which I attend a screening of Kirk Cameron’s latest crazy Christian fundamentalist movie, Unstoppable.

Unstoppable isn’t a grappling with theological questions, the work of a wistfully faithful person, or a personal journey. As I’m sure you have already guessed, it’s not the work of thoughtful biblical scholarship either. Unstoppable is the full-frontal display of an egomaniac who has somehow found his way into a position of power.”

Fap for Freedom” In which I examine the explosion of media stories focusing on masturbation, and what all this new jerk-off attention means.

““This is your brain on porn” pseudoscience has left behind the old and mostly-discredited arguments of “objectification” and emphasized the problem with masturbation itself.  These neurofundamentalists tell us that science has proven masturbating to internet porn is physiologically addictive and can erode relationships.  Of course, one cursory scientific look into the data of these studies, or a critical eye toward their conclusions and the claims fall apart.”

The Un-Science of Radionics” In which I explore a forgotten occult technology that blends art with science.  And also talk about my younger self, wanking it.

“To get a handle on a controversial, discredited, and generally bizarre medical technology called radionics, here’s a story about me as a horny teenager. As a kid, I’d look up sexual words in the dictionary, creating pathetic versions of pornography for myself. The words turned me on, even the medical/sterile ones like “penis.”  The problem was I wanted more than what was on hand in most dictionaries, which were not cool enough to keep curse words as entries.  So sometimes I’d just repeat sexual words out loud, over and over again. “Dick,” I’d say. “Dick, dick, dick.” Eventually I’d work myself up enough to masturbate, and everything would be okay until my next foray into the reference section.”

***

NEW MEDIA

lick

There’s an interview with me about condoms and testing in porn, what turns me on, and whether or not I think of myself as a slut over

on the Slutist blog.

I got a shout out on superstar dating/relationship maven Patti Stanger’s blog – where sexpert Emily Morse recounts my tips on how to give a good blowjob.On Vice’s technology site, Motherboard, I’m featured in an essay about porn stars who think about and mess with the occult by occult/techno scribe Jason Louv.

On the more explicitly NSFW front, I have two new scenes out – one with Brock Avery for Cocksuremen.com and another with Dario Beck in the Titan movie, Resort.

Help Me Change the World or Whatever

I’m still looking for an intern and web designer.  The last round of applicants were amazing people, but I decided that I need to have someone close to me – so if you’re in the LA area (or close enough that you can meet with me in person occasionally), here’s your chance to be part of the whole Conner Habib mission.  Looking for someone who’s into what I’m up to – that’s the biggest requirement.  I won’t be paying initially, but am happy to provide college credit for independent studies, and to ask you what your goals are and help you along.  I’m also willing to trade writing coaching.  There are lots of details to go over – If you’re interested, send me a quick note via connerhabibsocial at g mail dot com.

New everything.

1 Aug

I’m not sure if I’m manic or whatever, but as I set out to write this update, I realized, wow, I’ve been doing a whole lot of stuff.  That means next time you see me, I welcome butt rubs and loving kisses on the top of my head and also hugs.  Below is a sampling of all the stuff I’ve been doing since my last blog update.  On top of all this, you can always hire me for lectures or writing coaching.  Check back here soon for a complete bibliography and curriculum vitae for my lectures.

screengrab

NEW COURSE

Introduction to Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy

On August 22nd (the day before my birthday!), I’m teaching a one-shot course, introducing people to the ideas and work of the late 19th-early 20th century mystic, scientist, philosopher, and artist, Rudolf Steiner.  Steiner’s worldview, anthroposophy, is connected to the Western esoteric tradition, and deeply informs everything I do.  When you sign up, you’ll get to hang out with me for awhile, do some exercises, learn, and then interact with me – it’s really the next best thing to being in the room.  Click here for more info and to sign up!

I just completed my last online course, “How To Start A Sexual Revolution” and it was a huge success – Along with Samuel Delany, Duncan Trussell, Buck Angel, and Tristan Taromino, we discussed sex, culture, spirituality and art, and answered participant questions.

***

NEW WRITING

“What’s in a (Porn) Name?” on buzzfeed.com

(on my birth name, my porn name, and discrimination against porn performers)

“Because sex is so compartmentalized — it’s often considered separate from the rest of life and hidden away — porn performers, who have sex publicly, are in a unique position to consider and talk about integrating private and public aspects of life. Of course, compartmentalizing different aspects of our lives has become more and more of a problem for everyone, not just porn performers. Potential employers investigate drunken Facebook photos, and there’s a pervading anxiety of making a public and YouTube-able misstep or off-colored comment.”  Read more

“You’ve Got To Make Them Feel It” on buzzfeed.com

(on what’s “real” and what’s “fantasy” in porn, what it’s like to be on the set)

“The lights are always on, above you and below you, held underneath your balls and on your face. You’re supposed to be aware of the cameras, without looking into them. People shout instructions: Slow down. Stop. Start. Speed up. Move your hand, it’s casting a shadow, and keep going, keep going, even if it’s uncomfortable. There are times when you’re bottoming while balancing on a parked motorcycle or standing between two guys on a ladder or giving a blow job while doing a handstand (really!). You fuck, you get fucked, you take a minute while the crew re-rigs the lights, and you eat a banana to keep your blood sugar leveled. Sometimes you’ll go for two hours, sometimes you’ll go for twelve.  So it’s work, and it’s staged. But it’s also fun and sexual.”  Read more

torso

“Facing the Torsos” on TheStranger.com

(on phone hookup apps, the future of pornography)

“With apps, we create living pornography on the spot; they embody exhibitionism and voyeurism par excellence. They’reportable, they’re accessible when we want them to be (in your office! In the Starbucks bathroom!), they’re not one-way like much live cam porn, they’re not expensive, and everyone who signs up is agreeing to the same basic premises.” Read more

***

NEW MEDIA

Podcasts:

I’ve been on a few podcasts and have made some other appearances recently – perhaps most noticeably on Sex at Dawn author Christopher Ryan’s podcast, Tangetially Speaking.  We talked about science, sex, evolution, revolution, and more.  We went really really deep – perhaps deeper than I ever have on a podcast before.

I’ve also appeared on mystic and media and technology analyst Erik Davis’s podcast, Expanding Mind, and thoughtful, poltical-themed podcast The David Seaman Hour.

speedwell

Music:

Did you know that when I was a kid, I started and ran my own record label (sport.records, and Sell-Out records)?  I also set up punk shows for years in my little PA town.  One of the bands I put out music by, Speedwell, is having all their stuff re-released by Coolidge records, and you can download it at bandcamp.  It’s very good late 1990s post-punk stuff, and the singer, Meredith Bragg, went on to become a bit of an emo sensation.  To the left is the cover of the Speedwell single I released.

Publications:

I got two fun shout-outs from New York Magazine‘s website, The Cut – Once when they asked me about the rise of “daddies” as a gay identifier, and another time when they wrote about Anthony Weiner and sexting.

I was also recently interviewed by German-language newspaper, Taz.die Tageszeuitung. It’s in German, but you can also do google translate for a more hilarious version.

Movies:

I’ve had a few porn scenes come out from Titan (NSFW), and I’ve filmed a few scenes as well.  Most notably, I shot for legendary director, Joe Gage (NSFW).  I have two scenes and lots of dialogue in the movie.  Dialogue in most porn films is sort of a throwaway.  But in a Joe Gage film, much of the eroticism lies in the set up, so it’s always good.  While shooting, I took tons of behind-the-scenes photos and mini-videos via the Vine app.  Most of them are  collected here on Queer Me Now (NSFW).

I also just finished filming my section in a documentary called Straight Guys, which is about gay for pay performers.  Perish the thought that I’m gay for pay, but I have worked with a lot of straight-identified men in gay porn, and have written about it here and here.  There’s a quick write up on my appearance here. Below is me and the filmmaker.

daniel-conner-wp-1

Other:

My little vine (which can be found on vine under Conner Habib or here (NSFW)) was just named “The Best of Vine Porn” by Salon.com! Huge honor.  Sometimes I vine porn, sometimes I just goof off.  So if you like alternating pornography with sheer silliness, there you go.

My NewNowNext.com show, Ask the Sexpert, is off for the Summer!  I’ll be back in the Fall to answer your questions.  The last episode on the season – about how to stay hard while you’re topping – is right here for your viewing pleasure.

I’m looking for an intern and a web designer, hopefully both can be the same person – but welcome inquiries in either one as well.  Someone who’s into what I’m up to is the biggest requirement.  Preferably you’d be located in San Francisco or Los Angeles.  I won’t be paying initially, but am happy to provide college credit for independent studies, and to ask you what your goals are and help you along.  I’m also willing to trade writing coaching.  There are lots of details to go over – If you’re interested, send me a quick note via connerhabibsocial at g mail dot com.

New Events, Old Prejudices

5 Apr

A quick update on my goings ons, and some excerpts from a recent essay!

SexAndYourCellphone benefit
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have two appearances this weekend in San Francisco – One on Saturday, April 6th, and the Center for Sex and Culture.  I’m speaking with sexologist and Logo TV Star, Chris Donaghue – who hosts the show Bad Sex.  We’re talking abou how Scruff, Grindr, and social profiles are changing the face of gay sexuality.  The event has a suggested donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.  See the flier, left, for details, and feel free to copy the image and share it! I’m also hanging out at a charity event on Sunday, April 7th – helping out Bevan Dufty who occupied Harvey Milk’s seat as supervisor in San Francisco and now does homeless outreach in the city.  The event is to help raise funds for the new LGBT homeless shelter in SF – the first of its kind in the nation. Bevan is spearheading the operation, and it’s a great cause.  See the flier to the right for details.  Please come out! I’m also appearing at Truck bar in SF on the 11th at the release party for Truck (NSFW!) – a movie filmed at Truck last year.  More events soon – I’ll post details here. Finally, I just appeared on The Disinformation podcast.  I talk with host Matt Staggs about old AOL chatrooms, the problem with the HRC, listener questions, and more.  Of course it’s lots of sex sex sex, but there’s a lot else besides.  It’s a fun listen and you can hear it/download it for free here.

*     *     *

Recently, I was asked to speak at Corning Community College in Corning, New York.  My talk was cancelled by the President, because I’m in porn, a week beforehand – which, of course, turned into a national news story, as these things do, covered by NBC, the Huffngton Post, and a slew of local New York news stations.  I’ll be writing about the aftermath, including the event that I did participate in at the Corning Public Library, soon.  Until then, here’s a link to buzzfeed’s coverage of the cancellation.  And below are excerpts from my piece for buzzfeed, which was in response to the President’s spurious claim that LGBT rights are not connected to pornography.  The essay is short, so I haven’t provided too many excerpts, and you can read the entire essay here.

On the decision to censor the talk:

In an miniature echo of pornography’s place in culture, where millions of people watch and want pornography but are told not to want it, not to watch it, the students and community — particularly the LGBT community, which was singled out in the president’s reasoning — were told not to want or hear a discussion that they’d asked for. The school had undone the work and determination of the LGBT community. What could be left but loneliness? I started to hear from and receive emails about students — in the LGBT community and otherwise — expressing their frustrations, and saying they felt threatened and intimidated by the administration.

On the positive effects of gay porn in the lives of gay men:

1970sAs a porn performer of Arab descent, I’ve received hundreds of emails from men in Middle Eastern countries expressing gratitude and relief for my having portrayed gay sex in a positive light on camera. When a gay man lives somewhere where his identity is threatened, it’s clear how sex – including pornography – and sexuality are intertwined. His sexual imagination, which is criminalized, matches the sexual images of gay pornography (which are also criminalized). Since acting out his imagination through sex would be to risk his life, the access to the images is safer. The images, created by gay men wherever it’s legal to create them, provide empowerment and diminish alienation.

On the difference between tolerance and true understanding:

Porn, a form that has been with us for thousands of years and which deeply intertwines with all cultures, deserves deep and serious thinking, not off-the-cuff dismissal and a silencing of public discussion.  This is especially true when it comes to how porn relates to gay men’s lives. To be an ally to gay men, and by extension the LGBT movement, doesn’t only mean being comfortable with gay men’s sexual orientation, it also means being comfortable with their orientation to sex. This is why, when someone claims to be an ally of gay men, pornography exposes – just as surely as it exposes naked bodies — where they really stand.

Live Gay High Fives! Aka: The latest Syrian-Irish writer/gay porn star/ lecturer/anthroposophist news:

8 Mar

There’s been plenty going on here lately.  So while the next blog entry is in progress, here’s some info on upcoming Conner Habib events, as well as excerpts from a recent essay.

EVENTSConner Poster-Library-01

I was recently asked to NOT speak at Corning Community College – a decision made by the president, against student wishes.  There will be an essay up about this is soon (probably today).  But I rescheduled the talk at the  Southeast Stueben County Public Library in Corning.  If you’re in the Buffalo/Syracuse/Rochester area, please come.  The talk is free – I’ll be addressing the whole fiasco and having an open discussion with the audience about pornography and culture.  For details, see the flier to the left.

Just did  a webinar with legendary futurist and mystical thinker, Daniel Pinchbeck, as well as ex-CIA employee and psychic researcher Russell Targ.  One of the craziest most exciting things I’ve done.

Sexo_BeyondOurBodies On Sunday, March 24, I’ll be speaking at The William Way LGBT Center in Philadelphia from 12:30 – 2:00, about sexual health beyond the bedroom.  Check out the flier to the left or learn more about the Center by going to their website.

In April, I’ll be speaking at The Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco with Chris Donaghue, the host of Logo TV’s Bad Sex.  The talk is called “Sex and Your Cellphone: The Death and Rebirth of Technology, Sex, and Relationships.”  We’ll each be talking for a bit, then interacting with each other and the audience.  I’ll also be speaking at USC in Los Angeles!  I’ll post more on those events here in the future, but keep an eye out!

***

ESSAY

Recently, I read pop philosopher Alain de Botton’s book on sex, How To Think More about Sex.  It wasn’t just a hugely disappointing book from a writer that I’d previously felt some affinity with, it was dangerous and reactionary.  I was surprised at his anti-sex rhetoric, and his flourishes of fundamentalist thought.  So I wrote a review article for Full Stop magazine, an excellent online literary journal.  You can read the full review here, and below are some excerpts. 

“There are a lot of ways to go to war against sex and to champion repression. Because sexual freedoms depend on clear thinking about sex, these attacks always have a strong ideological component. Religious leaders have used The Almighty to shame the body. Psychologists have reduced vast regions in the landscape of desire to mere pathology. Evolutionary biologists and anthropologists have claimed that there is nothing essentially human about sex; that the natural male instinct is toward animalistic violence and rape, the natural female instinct is to be dominated.  Certain feminists have claimed that the act of heterosexual sex is itself an act of aggression against women.

One common feature of these attacks on sexuality, sexual liberation, and clear thinking about sex, is that they present at least one component of their arguments as self-evident. A simple example of this can be found in attacks on pornography, which often angrily and urgently detail the sexual acts in the scene — threesomes, foursomes, the use of fetish objects, rough sex, etc. — but offer little explanation as to why we should be outraged by portrayal of these acts, hoping instead that whoever’s listening will have an automatic sympathy with the critic’s unthinking revulsion.”

“or de Botton, sex is not a giving capacity; it isn’t valuable in and of itself, and it doesn’t add to life through its own merits. Instead, sex is a means to an end. One end is procreation. The other — more thoroughly examined in the book — is the temporary relief from loneliness. The result is — and Alain de Botton doesn’t seem to have noticed this — that How To Think More about Sex is a book that is far more about loneliness and alienation than about sex itself. Because alienation is the book’s main concern, and because de Botton tells us that we all feel alienated by sex, the book is permeated by and never quite shakes the feeling of Original Sin; in other words, he assumes we all start from a fallen place, since we are born into loneliness.”

“To introduce us, in the book’s worst chapter, to the “poison” of pornography, Alain de Botton brings us his thoughts via his favorite Greek, Aristotle. He writes,

‘Nobility, as Arisototle conceived of it in the Nichomachean Ethics – ‘the full flourishing of what is most distinctively

human in accordance with the virtues’ – has surely been left far behind when an anonymous woman so

ADB

mewhere in the former Soviet Union is forced onto a bed, three penises are roughly inserted into her orifices and the ensuing scene is recorded for the entertainment of an international audience of maniacs.’

One wonders if Alain de Botton has read anything about Greek culture. He might have at least tried to indicate Greek sexual attitudes and their graduation into all-pervasive sexual imagery in ancient Rome. He avoids the historical context of sexual imagery all together. For him, pornography is severed from history and starts with the Internet.”