There is an underbelly for everything. For every foodie blog, there is a documentary about obesity and killer preservatives. For every church that gives to the needy, there is a pastor behind bars for grand larceny and embezzlement. And for every sensual and sexual artist, there are sexually-repressed authority figures, molesters, rapists, sex traffickers and misogynistic – and misanthropic – pornographers who are hell bent on destroying sex’s good name.
Last week, a friend of mine sent me a YouTube video of Dr. Shelley Lubben speaking at a Christian high school about her past life as a porn actress. Though the video wouldn’t play for me, I had just enough curiousity in the subject – and setting – of Lubben’s speech that I eventually fast-fowarded past YouTube and cut to Wikipedia.
“[Shelley] entered the adult film industry, while working as a prostitute, when she was 24 years old. During her time in the sex industry, she contracted herpes and HPV, which led to cervical cancer, and resulted in the removal of half her cervix. During and after her life in the sex industry, she battled alcohol and drug addictions. During her pornographic career, which lasted from 1993–1994, Lubben appeared in about 15 hardcore movies, including The Cumm Brothers 3: Go to Traffic School, Used and Abused 2, and Bra Busters 2; a third of her appearances were girl/girl scenes. Lubben has stated that the sex acts that women perform on film sets are physically harmful (including anal and uterus hemorrhaging), and psychologically traumatizing.”
Upon scanning Lubben’s entire Wikipedia page, my first reaction was “Yikes!”
Why has my friend introduced me to Lubben’s traumatizing pornographic past? I thought. Is this a sign that I should forgo my foray into sexual artistry? Should I, instead, support Lubben’s present crusade to exorcise the porn industry and its consumers of their sexual demons?
Yeah, no. (I happen to like my demons.)
While I can see the merit in Lubben’s anti-porn proselytizing, I can also see that that pulpit was made especially for her. A girl who encountered sexual abuse at a young age and felt its sting through young womanhood as a prostitute and porn actress, Lubben is carving her present platform from her past pain. I honor that and I respect Lubben for her Phoenix-like ascension.
I also respect Nancy Friday, another woman who, interestingly enough, was also introduced to me last week. I stumbled across her name while reading an AARP Magazine article about sexual fantasies. (What?)
“Friday has explained how ‘in the late 1960s I chose to write about women’s sexual fantasies because the subject was unbroken ground, a missing piece of the puzzle . . . at a time in history when the world was suddenly curious about sex and women’s sexuality.’The backdrop was a widespread belief that ‘women do not have sexual fantasies . . . are by and large destitute of sexual fantasy.’
“Friday considered that ‘more than any other emotion, guilt determined the story lines of the fantasies in My Secret Garden . . . women inventing ploys to get past their fear that wanting to reach orgasm made them Bad Girls.’ Her later book, My Mother/My Self, grew immediately out of My Secret Garden ‘s questioning of the source of women’s terrible guilt about sex.”
Wow! All this time, I’ve been channeling Nancy Friday and I didn’t even know it…or her, for that matter. This was my first thought upon reading Friday’s Wikipedia page.
Like Friday, and the women she interviewed for her books, much of my sex life has consisted of lots of fantasies and lots – and lots – of guilt. And, again, like Friday, my book, Good Erotica for Good Girls, was birthed out of both.
For me, it’s interesting to observe how Lubben and Friday have chosen to liberate themselves, and others, from sexual torment–the former, advocating a book that promises fervent spiritual cleansing; the latter, authoring books that promote fantastic sexual healing. And though, at first glance, Lubben’s and Friday’s preaching styles appear more perpendicular than parallel, I can see the point at which their messages meet: Heal your hurts by speaking your truth, and where there is darkness in your life, let that truth so shine.
God bless you, Shelley Lubben and Nancy Friday! And God bless us, every one…of our demons.
Copyright © 2014-2015 Stephanie Rochelle Redd. All rights reserved.