photo: Maria Krugovaya

“Flattered,” she said. She “would be flattered” were I to write about her, were I to paraphrase her sentiment, and to quote her words. This is the kind of enthusiastic yes that feels like real consent. With her blessing, she is the representative figure of a series of women who’ve sent me similar messages over the years.

She started with hello, wondered how I was, stated how I don’t know her. She knew my body, though, and that’s what she was writing about. She’s 32, and has been following my work since 2013. She’s from Brazil.

“I was never a very confident woman with my body. I was always very thin, with small boobs and a small ass, and it was because of you that I started to feel sexy. You were very important to me, so I could discover myself and love myself exactly as I am. This isn’t something recent, in fact it’s been a few years. I never thought of writing to you, but today I felt like it. It’s strange for a woman to say that a porn star made her love herself, but that’s exactly what you did for me. 

I just wanted to say thank you.”

I’ve been receiving these messages since before I entered mainstream pornography. I’ve been receiving these messages since I first started working as an alternative pin-up, for the now defunct websites GodsGirls and RazorDolls. My peers have been receiving these messages for most of their careers, as well. Whether it’s what Jiz Lee represents to queer and trans humans—explored in their collaboration ‘Dear Jiz’ with Ms. Naughty—what GoAskAlex represents to people with visible disabilities, or what I represent to women with slight figures, we hear, over and over, from people who look like us, and feel more confident about the way they look, because they’ve seen us successfully present ourselves as sex symbols.

photo: Maria Krugovaya
photo: Maria Krugovaya

For me, it was Melissa Bang-Bang, go-go dancing at Psydde Delicious’s party Fast, Cheap, & Out Of Control. I saw her body, and it looked like mine—lean, lithe, and muscled. She was wrapped in a classical dancer’s warm-ups. They were pastel, I think lavender, and fit both the 80s theme of the weekly event and her clearly ballet-informed movements. I thought she was the sexiest human I’d ever seen. And the crowd did too—dollars were proffered, the appropriate show of appreciation when applause cannot be heard. I was honoured to be one of the people proffering, to be allowed to be so close she could take the money from my hand.

Later, we’d develop the kind of acquaintanceship that sometimes occurs between an established artist and a quirky still half-kid who just crash landed in a city. I’d find out that she’d had training and education. I’d cheered her on as she continued to help revive the medium of burlesque in Philadelphia, and been too shy to audition for her company myself. I’d been inspired by her as she landed gigs on TV, and kept practicing her craft. I’d learned from her as she showed me how she organised the masses of costumes, props, and materials she’d collected in her tiny apartment, and explained how to make pieces for next to nothing other than time and care. She encouraged me to keep working, keep creating, and keep doing something with myself—as she did a kindness that the best of us will do for anyone who is new to our scene but shows the love for it. I’d been shown the importance of being in the world, being myself in the world, being as I wanted to be in the world. And it all started from seeing her confidence.

Every time I receive a message about how my body gave someone else confidence, I think of Melissa. I think of how she gave that to me, in so many regards. And I think of how, despite the dearth of thin, sharp women with intense presence and burning souls in the media at the time, the archetype continued to circulate. Bone creatures on runways, sure, but as whole people there was a paucity. And yet, there she was. I never sent her an email articulating my gratitude, but I did gush it at her over thumping nightclub music more than once.

photo: Maria Krugovaya
photo: Maria Krugovaya

Maria Krugovaya is friends with Masha, who I e-knew from sexuality events which took place online during lockdown. Maria had just moved to Belgrade. I’d immediately loved her work. There was depiction of innocence, yes, and an apparent ethos of inherent good of the body, and also a raw quality that wasn’t afraid of the rough spots—no, that glorified the rough spots. I was drawn to her. 

We met for coffee. She was nervous when she arrived, partially because the GPS had gone haywire and taken her in circles, making her late, which she thought would sound like an excuse. I knew from my own phones over the years, and from friends who’d visited, that this was a phenomenon. We started getting to know each other. Some of her work involves helping women to find their own sexualized presentations, to tap into the vast array of archetypes in the world—looking for the less well-circulated and less well-worn—to find what speaks to who they are, and to manifest that in visual choices and projection of energy. To break out of the girl next door, manic pixie dream girl, MILF, and dominatrix grid.

I asked if she knew The Showgirl. 

photo: Maria Krugovaya

She seemed to know, but we both value communication. If art is about humanity, to make art together we must communicate ourselves and our thoughts and our… humanities. I’ve come to understand that the purpose of these tentative meetings is to see whether we see each other—what do they see of myself, and do I see their vision?

I said, “Well, the first thing is a lot of glue and tape—glue on lashes, tape on pasties, glue or tape the nails or have them semi-permanently installed.” We’re like Voltron-esque machines of glamour, but our reassembled parts come out of a tool kit called a makeup box. I continued, “We’re often found taking the subway home between 3 and 7 am, makeup cracked in all the creases, and maybe with a greasy “breakfast” (which is really our third meal of the previous day) in our hands.” Like an utterly normal work commute, but in reverse, with a breadcrumb trail of glitter and dropped rhinestones tracing our paths.

I retold a memory for Maria, of one of the dearest Showgirls in my life being herself.

photo: Maria Krugovaya
photo: Maria Krugovaya

The winter between 2021 and 2022, I was with Olive (TuPartie), drinking frosé in one of those post lockdown plastic boxes on the street. Since we were practically outside, I was smoking. Despite smoking in outdoor sidewalk seating being banned in New York City for years before the pandemic, I am spoiled by Serbia—from which I had recently arrived and to which I was about to move. The waiter agreed with me that smoking was perfectly reasonable. When he returned with our next round, he even brought a makeshift ashtray. Having handled our important business—Olive was passing three pearl gusset thongs and a rhinestoned lab coat off to me—we began trading stories. 

The topic of talking was talons. I press mine on, so I can pry them off at a moment’s notice. Olive prefers the salon, but she had a favorite polish of her own, and something unfortunate had just occurred to make her possession of that polish past tense. She’d picked up the bottle to paint her nails before going out one night, dropped it, and gravity… well… smash. Her beloved, perfectly sparkly, gold nail lacquer began to ooze over the floor. She—and oh how I love her for it—used the brush to paint her nails one last time from the puddle. She then couldn’t clean up the congealing polish without smudging her very last manicure, so she left the mess to fate. If I recall correctly, her boyfriend handled it in the end.

Queen’s The Show Must Go On plays in my head. My make-up may be flaking/But my nail polish went on/Whatever happens/I’ll leave it all to chance. People who do live performance do tend to obsessively prepare, but there’s an element of chaos inherent to the real-time, in-person audience, and embracement of that chaos often permeates the rest of our lives.

photo: Maria Krugovaya

Maria not only got the concept, she saw exactly how it fit with thoughts she’d been thinking. She asked “Where did you come from?” and I said “The United States,” proud of us, for our contributions to this template of sparkling humanhood—larger than life, but fueled entirely by it. We agreed on our concept; layers of makeup, layers of wardrobe, and many many bits of glamour glued and taped on. I showed her a couple of options off the top of my head and she was thrilled. I stopped on my way home at the drug store for foundation to replace my tube that dried out, bronzer, stage blush, and an obligatory egg sponge. I went to the China shop and found lace hosiery and tights with rainbow rhinestones which can be cut into stockings. Of course they had both. And of course the cost was about $7.50 total. That’s what these shops are for—and this is one of the first showgirl tricks I learned; a pair of cheap tights can become so many garments. 

(Nasty Canasta would be the burlesque scene’s leading example of dollar store decadence.)

photo: Maria Krugovaya

A former colleague from the porn business said I should read The Women who Run with the Wolves, and 2022 Eurovision contestant Konstrakta’s new release Evo, obećavam! reminds me of the psychological suffering Estés lays out in her introduction as emblematic of separation from full access to our archetypal facets. My co-writer on a large text project reminded me of Sexual Personae. I’m a few percent into reading both. In the meantime, though, I went to the source that neither Estés or Paglia could have called at the times their books were written—the performers who began and perpetuated the neoburlesque form of stage work, which Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque dates as beginning in the mid-1990s—for some definitions.

Miss Frankie Eleanor, Miss Coney Island 2022, says the definition of showgirl is “A mirror of what is and what could be,” qualifying that this depends on the beholder. To Sydni Devereaux, “a showgirl is power—a performer that pours their unique sexual power into the framework of a stage, a song, a costume and movement. A showgirl conjures up their unique flavor of power for the audience to drink from, like a fine liquor.” Fancy Feast thinks “of a showgirl as being a living archetype, the embodiment of our culture’s most performed, exaggerated, and ornate aspects of femininity.”

Veronica Viper considers herself a showgirl “because I’m literally a girl who makes her bag by doing shows”—including sexual performances—but fancies herself “more of the vaudevillian 42nd Street kinda gal” as opposed to the “Vegas, Ziegfeld, feathers and head pieces a mile high, legs longer than Harlem” type. I can say that I’ve seen Viper’s custom content and it very much is a whole show. Headmistress Jo’s definition is “a person whose visual embodiment is a work of art.” Miss Rose Wood nodded to the feminine implications of the word the way it “would bias one’s expectations f this artist as having a feminine slant on these skills—more dancer than martial artist, more glamorous than rugged, and probably a sexualized attire [and] presentation rather than utilitarian. Her best attributes are her wit and charm, and a constant awareness of her body and talents as a commodity.”

Speaking of commodities, Diety Delgado sent me a perfect peak carny chic press release for her body cream: “Once upon a time, there was a showgirl named Deity Delgado. She knew that what makes a showgirl, a showgirl is not just her beauty and grace, but also her strength and endurance. After long nights of performing on stage, Deity Delgado used I, Delgado Skincare’s magnesium chloride body cream to soothe her tired muscles. Magnesium chloride is known to help with muscle recovery and relaxation. It can also help reduce inflammation and pain in the muscles. With Delgado Skincare’s magnesium chloride body cream, Deity Delgado was able to keep performing with energy and grace night after night.” According to the NIH, magnesium chloride is used to reduce symptoms of multiple conditions. Here, Diety showed—as opposed to told—the art of the hustle, while referencing the ways in which showgirls must keep their bodies in top condition. 

photo: Maria Krugovaya

To me, the Showgirl is the Manic Pixie Dream Girl in maturity—as an adult.

In the end, a little bit of glamour can be true self-care, and can bring joy to others. The Showgirl is a door to the kind of magic that makes the world just a smidge less insufferable, a bit more bearable, and, in the hands of the best inhabiters of this archetype, allows us to glimpse reality in the rare light reflecting off the facets of a plate of rhinestones. None of us can live in this cocoon full time, but we all carry to capacity to create a little wonder and surprise in our lives. To use our power to shape the stories we tell about our bodies—whether we’re talking to the world or to ourselves. To alleviate our own emotional distress, to the extent of our abilities. To be in our own bodies, to be as we want to be in the world, when and where we can. Sometimes it takes a spark from outside ourselves to get there. Sometimes we’re what sets someone else alight. Whether that spark comes from a person who looks like us, or thinks like us, or simply thrills us is a matter of fate. But when it comes to owning our sexual expression, seeing people who look like us seems to go a long way.

photo: Maria Krugovaya

GIRD: Sex Work and Spirituality

First Blackbook asked me to interview Nadya Tolokonnikova for their A Woman’s Right to Pleasure podcast. Then she interviewed me for the University of the Underground. At the end of the interview, previous cohort members asked questions—brilliant questions that showed depth of thought. As Nelly Ben Hayoun, head of the organization, was wrapping up the livestream, she mentioned that they’d be studying belief next. 

I followed an impulse and applied for the program. An OnlyFans subscriber helped me academize my cover letter and portfolio. I was accepted. I proceeded.

The lectures and workshops were largely fascinating, even as I disagreed at points or found myself dwelling on opposing first principles. In the spirit of UU’s pluralism, I did my best to remain open. At the same time, my interest for my individual project was how sex workers interact with belief. I knew my own relationship to faith. I knew spell-wielding burlesque performers, and porn stars who’d purposefully left the church. And I knew that of all the things I’d been asked in my decade plus giving interviews as an adult entertainer, I couldn’t recall faith or belief being a subject.

I did several web searches and turned up one academic paper on a handful of direct providers in Thailand by someone whose focus is that nation. I put up a survey and asked the Free Speech Coalition to help me circulate it. The results inherently skewed Anglophone and internet-connected. I conducted nine video interviews, with sex workers of various backgrounds and various connections to spirituality.

Part of the University of the Underground requirements was to work with at least one organization we weren’t already involved with. I contacted several church-organized outreach programs, but only one responded to my email and that was to decline. Judson Memorial Church sent over material about Pleasure Activist Sunday and Rev. Moody’s outreach work among street-based sex workers in the 70s. The Old Pros network gave me several projects about spirituality by sex workers. Lazara Marinković connected me with Skopje’s STAR, the first sex worker led collective in the Balkans.

At this point the University of the Underground pointed out that I was doing stellar journalism, and they were after art. Several panic attacks, one tarot reading, and a conversation with an art professor later, I had my idea. I did one last round of interviews—two women and one man from STAR’s pool of activist sex workers—and selected screen captures from the videos. I printed the images on Instax film using a Fuji LiPlay, distressed the prints, and began sewing them to a wool dress.

As a nod to the history of North Macedonia, the garment is rectangular when laid flat—like the regional rugs called ćilim. The images are arranged in a traditional burdock pattern, which confers wishes of abundance. As a nod to the fact that sex workers come in many dimensions, the garment is draped to accommodate a range of widths. 

You can view the entire I Want to Believe program final show here.

You can watch excerpts from the Anglophone interviews here. Featuring Aaron SmallHands, Violet Way, Tate, and Althea Adair.

The mixed media work is cool and all, and I’m particularly fond of the corner tassel detail, but I’m also interested in the data. To that end, I accepted an invitation to Red Rules’s Red Edition conference in Vienna. I enjoyed presenting my work, and also listening to and meeting activists in sex work outside of pornography. I learned that only 6% of articles about sex work are written by people who have done the work, and wondered what that percentage is like in other fields. I heard a great rendition of “Is sex work feminist?” that I barely needed a translator for because the discussion is the same everywhere that feminists and sex workers meet. I saw City of Whores, which explains the whole whorearchy through monologues and movement, twice. I’d see it a thousand more times if I could. Jamal Phoenix, who performed in City of Whores and presented at the conference, is a star.

The moderator gave amazing hugs. And when I expressed joy at receiving applause—god, I missed applause—I was showered with more. I’m still glowing.

Red Edition was a very special event. It’s rare to bring porn performers and direct providers together, though that divide has lessened greatly due to COVID. It’s rare for sex workers to have a chance to present our thoughts to an audience that is open to the fact that our work is real work, though that’s changing, too. I believe Red Edition is part of that change.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to collaborate with someone who understands how to phrase questions in a way that is quantifiable. Once I have a standard study, I’d like to conduct it with several different populations. I want to know what sex workers’ relationships to spirituality are, what each worker believes their community believes about them, and what their community actually believes.

I think there’s something interesting there. 

If you do, too, and you have the skills to help, my contact form is open.


Jessica Stoya

Anna Monoxide by Steve Prue, New York City, 30 August 2021

Margo Mayhem by Steve Prue, New York City, 30 August 2021

Samson Night by Steve Prue, New York City, 30 August 2021

Sasha Inferna by Steve Prue, New York City, 30 August 2021

Veronica Viper by Steve Prue, New York City, 30 August 2021

Miss Frankie Eleanor by Steve Prue, New York City, 30 August 2021

Stoya’s Book Club

Stoya’s Book Club was for people who enjoy reading, and talking, about sexuality. We covered classic and modern sexual fiction (think Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye through Saskia Vogel’s Permission,) the suggestive to the erotic, and educational material like Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are. When possible, authors were invited to speak about their work.

We received a number of requests over the years for a full list of books we’ve covered at Stoya’s Book Club. Some were great, some were awful, and many were somewhere in between. Here’s the list:

9.17.2017 Story of The Eye by George Bataille

10.15.2017 The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A. N. Roquelaure/Anne Rice

11.19.2017 The Story of O by Pauline Reage/Anne Desclos

2.18.2018 Night Shift: A Choose Your Own Adventure Fantasy by Joanna Angel

5.20.2018 House of Holes: A Book of Raunch by Nicholson Baker

6.17.2018 The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou

8.19.2018 Philosophy, Pussycats & Porn by Stoya

10.21.2018 A Spy in the House of Love by Anais Nin

1.20.2019 Island on the Edge of Normal by Guy New York

2.17.2019 The Sex Sphere by Rudy Rucker

4.28.2019 Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

5.19.2019 The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley

6.16.2019 The Slave by Laura Antoniou

7.21.2019 Permission by Saskia Vogel

8.18.2019 Friday by Robert Heinlein

9.15.2019 Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

10.20.2019 The Vagabond by Colette

11.17.2019 Beauty’s Kingdom by Anne Rice

12.15.2019 “Song of Songs” from The Bible

01.19.2020 Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol 5 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

02.16.2020 SFSX by Tina Horn

03.22.2020 Sunstone Book 1 by Stjepan Sejic

04.19.2020 Disgusting Beautiful Immoral by Guy New York

05.17.2020 Confessions of a Sheba Queen by Autumn Bardot

06.21.2020 The Trainer by Laura Antoniou

07.19.2020 Docile by K.M. Szpara

08.16.20 Gordon by Edith Templeton

09.20.20 Vox by Nicholson Baker

10.18.20 Quiver by Tobsha Learner

11.15.20 Time Square Red Time Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany

12.20.20 Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

01.17.21 Sex Criminals Volume 1

02.21.21 Fucking Law by Victoria Brooks

03.21.21 Club 42 by Joanna Angel

04.18.21 Edge Play by Jane Boon

05.16.21 Yes, Roya by C. Spike Troutman

06.20.21 The Academy by Laura Antoniou

07.18.21 Wait For the Corn by Vic Cipolla

08.15.21 Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski (bonus, read Rich Juzwiak and I’s chat about why we recommend it so often on Slate.)

09.19.21 Crash by J. G. Ballard

10.17.21 Hurts So Good by Leigh Cowart

11.21.21 The Ortolan Hunters by Guy New York

12.19.21 Porn Work by Heather Berg

01.16.22 Whore of New York by Liara Roux

02.28.22 Burn My Shadow by Tyler Knight

03.20.22 Byzantine Intersectionality by Roland Betancourt

04.17.22 Chill Run by Russell Parkway

05.15.22 Quickie by Lady Lily

06.26.22 The Reunion by Laura Antoniou

07.24.22 Mistress Ethics by Victoria Brooks

08.28.22 Sex with Shakespeare by Jillian Keenan

09.25.22 Pretty Baby by Chris Belcher

An Update

I know distractions are helpful for me. I hear they’re helpful for other people, too.

Life With Althaar — A radio play style science fiction podcast about a man who has to move off of Earth in the wake of a teleportation accident, is free on iTunes, PodBean, and probably some other places. Dean Haspiel made the logo artwork. If you want to support the project, merch is available here.

Speaking of Dean, the War of Woo (which has been postponed indefinitely but will be performed one day) has a prequel. The play itself is a prequel to The Red Hook. Both prequel and web comic are free.

ZeroSpaces remains online, with all three of our current issues available for purchase. We’re still working on getting new content together safely and releasing at least one new issue in the near future.

House of Scorpio and I are continuing our monthly Sex Lit meetings in the digisphere. Our next meeting will be Sunday 19 April 2020, at 3pm NYC time. Tomorrow, Saturday 27 March 2020, we’ll be experimenting with an online version of Sex Bingo. For more details on both events, see HoS’s website.

I’m still able to write my regular column at Slate (How To Do It, with Rich Juzwiak.) Now might be a great time to read through the archives.

I’m doing mid-day chats on ManyVids, and the occasional Civ stream on Twitch*, and have just opened an OnlyFans account where I do respond to messages. ManyVids and Twitch are free. OnlyFans has a paywall.

(*I’ve also committed to a weekly guest spot on my friend Bij’s twitch account for the duration of his very first Civ VI game. Civ games tend to take a long time. Mondays at 9-ish NYC time.)

Stay as safe and calm as possible. Remember to breathe. Seek out coping mechanisms. And hang in there.



New Year, New Blog Post

I took a break between Gregorian Christmas and Gregorian New Years. I stayed at home. I read Jacqueline Carey’s Imriel Trilogy from her Kushiel’s Legacy series, borrowed from a very lovely couple who attend Sex Lit regularly. I didn’t write a New Year’s post. Or a 2019 recap. I don’t think we did a top 9 on the Stoya Inc Instagram either. I’m not sure. I was on staycation.

Now it’s Julian Christmas. Serbian Christmas. Which means Julian New Years is a week away, and I have a second chance to participate in the meme.

2019 was a lot of setting up infrastructure. As CEO of the company that owns, I learned a lot about the limits of my capabilities. I have clinically diagnosed ADHD. This is a disorder—for lack of a better word—of executive function. It’s more of a neurodivergence, but that’s a subject for an expert. The point is, being chief executive officer of a company, without the support of a chief operations officer or chief financial officer, is less than ideal. Even with medication in the mix. I’ve taken steps to improve this situation and we’ll be making announcements about those steps in the next couple of months.

We did manage to put out two issues this year.

2019 was a lot of writing for Slate. I’m half of their How To Do It sex advice column, with Jezebel writer Rich Juzwiak. We do our individual columns weekly, with a bonus column from each of us every other week, and a chat together weekly, too. I love this job. I’m appreciative of everyone who has sent us their issues to pull apart and attempt to help with. Thank you. We literally couldn’t do the column without you. I’m looking forward to another great year with Slate in 2020, and thrilled to continue partnering with Rich.

All Elite Wrestling launched this year. My friend Justin and I started watching together every Wednesday that I’m home for. I drink Prosecco (a little bit of bubbly!) and we eat something—usually nachos. We flip over to NXT during the commercial breaks, hoping to see Baszler. Occasionally I tweet lukewarm takes. Justin maintains that Jericho is the most fuckable man in wrestling and I beg to differ.

I went out to Southern California and got to direct on a high production set with Mickey Mod and Alexis Tae as the performers. It was a great experience. I’m proud of the final result.

My book, Philosophy, Pussycats, & Porn, was translated into Spanish and Russian. I squealed with glee when I got my copies of Filosophia, Porno, y Gatitos. I squealed with glee again when I saw pictures of my book in Russian bookstores, with the title in Cyrillic. 

I’m excited for 2020. We have some great new changes coming up with ZeroSpaces, including a move to a monthly subscription model, which means monthly releases. I’m scheduled to participate in a variety of shoots in different capacities in the next couple of months, and they’re all exciting. I’ve got some stuff already shot that I can barely wait to post.

Wishing you all the happiest of New Years, and a wonderful rest of your winter.



Sex Workers Town Hall

Someone in what looks like one of Francois Sagat’s fractal head shirts with the sleeves cut off weaves through the crowd, their purposeful movement marking them as part of the event’s organizational team. I’m at the first town hall for sex workers, held in Queens, NY with Suraj Patel, a candidate running in the Democratic primary for Congress.

I got my period last night, which means my upper body is curled over in an attempt to protect my abdomen from jostling. No amount of PMS is going to prevent me from missing this moment, from being in this room. I’m hoping my over the counter pain medication kicks in soon, though, because I’d like to be able to follow the conversation.

Partway through the opening panel—comprised of sex workers rights activists, advocates, and community service providers—Ceyenne Doroshow reminds us to watch each other’s backs, to check in with and keep track of each other. Applause breaks out, possibly the loudest so far. In a way, we’re voting with our hands.

Suraj dives into the subject of harm reduction. Lorelei Lee, the beautiful blonde seated on the same couch as I am, leans forward. I suspect we all want to hear what the politician has to say. The PMS fog obscures memory and I haven’t started taking notes in earnest yet, but the clapping indicates that we like what we hear.

Someone asks how Suraj wants to end the stigma around sex work and the people who do it—something he’d mentioned earlier. He says he intends to continue listening to and amplifying the voices of the community. He moves into some of the intersections at play: mass incarceration, economic hardship. Ending these problems would also lessen the potential for exploitation in sex work. He points at events like this Town Hall being a display of our power to push back, be heard — and actually listened to.

Another person asks about sex work and disability. Suraj shows humility in acknowledging how he himself neglects to include that in the conversation, and moves into a call for every citizen’s basic healthcare needs to be met.

A community organizer reminds Suraj that he is the face of anti-FOSTA, whether he likes it or not. Laughter rings around the room. They ask what he’s going to do for our community if he loses the election, what he’s going to keep doing to fill the responsibility he’s taken on—championing our rights. He jokes he’ll keep fighting but will take a month off first.

He answers seriously that he’ll figure out what he did wrong, engage in self care, and points out that he’s in his early thirties and isn’t going anywhere. He says “I’ll be right here with you guys, the whole way through. That’s a promise.”

Lorelei stands up to tell Suraj she hopes he does continue to listen and to learn. She thoroughly describes how great the things he’s doing are, and then explains that it isn’t enough. Reducing the penalty for prostitution to a ticket isn’t decriminalization. It isn’t enough.

Lorelei says that protecting the rights of those of us who love our jobs is too flat, too headline-y. She points out that many of us who’ve been in sex work for a long time have worked under many different conditions, that we’ve loved and utterly hated our jobs at various times. She says she needs to hear that he’s here for those of us who don’t particularly love our jobs, or don’t love them right now, even if that’s complicated.

The furthest Suraj goes is to say that the argument for decriminalization is “very compelling,” but also promises he will continue listening to the community as he forms an opinion. Then the event is over.

On my way out Suraj thanks me for coming. I tell him I’m quite happy with what I heard.

An activist behind me says “Only quite happy?” I respond “I want a bolder response on decrim. I understand the likely political reasons he can’t give one, but I don’t have the patience for this slow and steady.”  She tells me to tell him that. I smile and say “He knows.”

I’m far from all in, but if I lived in NY’s 12th congressional district I’d be voting for Suraj on June 26th.



I don’t know anything about Brazil.

Ok, I know they mainly speak Portuguese, and evolved from a Portuguese colony. I know that in Civ 5 the Brazilian player gets extra culture from jungle tiles. I know they just had a religious holiday of some kind, and that they were recently protesting something regarding gasoline.

But that’s it.


I’m so far out of my element here. I don’t know the history of this place. It’s lovely. I can simply absorb the beauty without seeing it through six different lenses of politics. Like a vacation. And, fuck, is it ever beautiful.

Photographers refer to magic hour. That period as the sun sets where the light is gorgeous and the photos go from good to stunning. You may have heard people talk about the light in Los Angeles or Greece. 

The sky in Porto Alegre is exquisite when it’s cloudy. I haven’t seen the sunshine yet.


Lazar and I are here because the Fantaspoa festival is screening Ederlezi Rising. The organizers are very family style… I was picked up at the airport by a representative of the show instead of a hired driver, there are group lunches and activities, and the organizers are always willing to walk us from point A to point B.

My main contact, Joao, is tattooed all over with artwork from the festival’s history. He took us to a bar where the walls are covered in genre film posters and at least one table sports a layer of tasteful Playboy nudes.

It’s a joy to be around people who love what they’re doing so much. Who celebrate the creative work they love so thoroughly.


Depending on the geographical area, you might greet a person by hugging, kissing cheeks one to three times, or some combination of the above. Even a stranger. They aren’t forceful about it, but isn’t it nicer their way? Warmer than a handshake.

There’s something grounding about being embraced multiple times throughout the day. And these aren’t shoulders-first air hugs, either. The physical warmth and ease with contact reminds me of Serbia.

I don’t know anything about Brazil. But I know the people here are human and welcoming.


May 24th

On Monday I was informed that our applications to Visa and MasterCard had just been submitted. I thought that was weird, since I’d paid the associated fees a couple of weeks prior. I felt frustrated, because our planned launch date (May 24th—today) was approaching quickly and Visa approval can take up to 21 business days.

When I still hadn’t heard back from my main contact at the payment processing company the next day, I called asking to speak to their boss about having a new contact assigned. By the end of the day our existing contact was calling with the news that Visa had approved us. 

I considered texting Mitcz, attempting to frame lucky coincidence and the processing company’s speed at resolving our issue as evidence that the 24th was, in fact, an auspicious day—which I promise to explain at some point.


Hi. Mitcz and I are launching a thing called It’s a website. It contains videos that depict explicit, hardcore sex. It also contains galleries, and something a bit unusual: articles. We’re incorporating the roots of pornography—a word with roots in an ancient Greek one meaning depiction of harlots or prostitutes, depending on who’s doing the translating—and revisiting what it means to depict human sexuality and sexual workers professionally.


On Wednesday I forwarded Mitcz an email from the company’s lawyer, asking for confirmation that the Mitcz-devised language in our privacy policy about how it’s fine to make up a display name like JoeBobMcChickenHead is, in fact, original to the… um… originator. It was.

I finished uploading trailers for the library of archive videos, and scrambled to get creator profiles as complete as possible before the launch. Attribution of credit is important, and we’re working to make finding the online presences of the artists and workers involved as easy as possible so you can learn more about them and where more of their work is available, including places outside our walled garden.

Most of my work on ZeroSpaces in the last month has been dry bureaucratic stuff—organization of w9s and 2257s, work-for-hire and payment processing agreements. I’m looking forward to beginning work on the second issue, getting back to the creative end of things.


ZeroSpaces is using an issue-based format. We’re releasing batches of all sorts of content—yes, videos, but also erotic fiction, profiles on luminaries of the sex work community, and both documentary-style and editorial visuals—all tied to a single theme. We have videos and galleries available for individual purchase, but encourage you to choose the full experience.


I’m heading to the airport today, the suitcase already out and packed. It’s nerve-wracking to be launching a new project just before getting on a long flight—what if something goes wrong? But I’m not the programmer or the social media manager, so maybe it’s not so bad for me to be out of the metaphorical kitchen for a big chunk of the day.

Back to the 24th of May. On this day in 1844, the first telegraph message was sent from the United States Capitol. It’s also Saints Cyril and Methodius day, venerating the pair who inspired the Cyrillic alphabet and widely celebrated throughout the slavic-speaking parts of the world.

You can see why I feel today is so appropriate for launching a project that has to do with language, communication, and the transmission of media, right?



Free Time

Belgrade to NYC to Paris to NYC to Malibu to NYC to Belgrade.

There was a feature film, a short film, a Sex Lit event guest starring Joanna Angel, and at least one photoshoot in there. No video pornography yet this year, but… stay tuned.

I’m in Belgrade for the premier of Ederlezi Rising. No details yet on when it’ll be released for general viewing, but… well, everything is stay tuned and jet lag right now.

With eight hours between checking into the hotel and needing to be dressed, I went down to the spa. They told me to come back in a swimsuit. So I came back in a long sleeved crop top and a pair of panties with a cartoon cat on the butt. Nobody said anything to me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean my outfit was acceptable.

Less than five minutes after entering the steam room I met someone who knows First. Randomly meeting people who know First is a regular occurrence for me in Belgrade. If there are more than ten people in a room, one of them probably knows him. I’d have stayed for a lengthy chat but the heat started to get too intense for me.

I managed to while away another hour reading a paper on Emma Goldman and the perversion of the Russian Revolution, sent to me by a follower on It feels a bit pompous to charge people a monthly fee to message me, but it’s cut down drastically on the amount of garbage I encounter daily and greatly increased the quality of the messages I actually see.

How the fuck did capitalism put the fun back in the Internet?

Meanwhile, Steve Prue approved my dress for the premier (courtesy of Yang Li, no less) and my press day outfit, so at least I’m not stressed about what to wear. Maybe that’s where all this free time is coming from.



Sex Lit: Joanna Angel’s Night Shift

Last year we did three editions of Sex Lit—a book club, meeting in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We started with Story of the Eye, continued with The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, and closed with Story of O.

Some books on the list for future events:

Laura Antoniou’s The Marketplace

Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes

J G Ballard’s Crash

Colette’s The Pure and the Impure

Guy New York’s The Island on the Edge of Normal

Henry Miller’s Under the Roofs of Paris

Anais Nin’s Spy in the House of Love

Charlotte Roche’s Wetlands

The next Sex Lit will feature adult performer and porn company owner Joanna Angel’s Night Shift—a choose your own adventure erotic novel. The author will appear for a q&a during the event.

House of Scorpio
Sex Lit: Stoya’s Book Club
with special guest Joanna Angel
Sunday, Feb 18*, 6-9pm, $20 (limited tickets), 21+ (25+ suggested)
Gemini & Scorpio Loft in Gowanus, BK – see site for address
No PAL or dress code requirement, but HoS Code of Conduct always applies
The body’s largest sex organ is the brain. Come stimulate yours with a rousing discussion of an explicitly erotic book led by pornographer Stoya. Drinking encouraged throughout, and mingling will follow the talk.
Your book for this edition of Sex Lit is Night Shift: A Choose-Your-Own Erotic Fantasy penned by Joanna Angel, founder of adult company BurningAngel and award-winning adult actress and director. Joanna herself is also our special guest for the event! She will participate in the discussion, with Stoya as moderator, and stay after for photos and signing.
Book summary: After graduating college, Taryn finds herself lost and uncertain of what to do next. With a self-imposed friendless and sexless life, Taryn unexpectedly winds up working the graveyard shift at Dreamz, a seedy sex shop. Your mission: in a sketchy world filled with tissues, gallons of lube, sex toys, tiger print, and swinger parties, help Taryn choose her way as she learns what happens in this small, unexpectedly kinky town. From butt plugs to cross-dressing truckers to being held-up at gunpoint over dildos, experience this fun and sexy journey along with Taryn, as she goes from shy and sweet to skilled and empowered— but how she gets there is up to you.
This should be obvious, but: read the book before joining the book club! In this case, the book only gets released on Feb 13, so you may want to pre-order for fastest delivery.