For the introverts and homebodies, being stuck indoors may sound like a pretty relieving idea, at least for a short while. The world outside has descended into the makings of an apocalypse: food-shoppers waking up at dawn to storm the rice and pasta aisle, businesses and mass social events are closing down or postponing and, wonder of wonders, hand-sanitiser has become the modern age’s scramble for gold. But when your livelihood is dependent on getting very up close and personal with someone, the last thing you need is a global pandemic to turn you right off.
Sex work is hard enough as it is
Thousands of sex workers and strippers across the globe have been severely affected by the current climate, with many having to incorporate different ways to still make a living from their labour whilst reducing the risk of illness. Aside from the debilitating effect of Brexit, in which sex workers have already faced a decrease in demands, the uncertainty of this situation means that people aren’t exactly rushing in to spend money.
Elsewhere, brothels are also suffering financially. Whether it’s mandatory temperature testing in Sydney or simply having hand-sanitiser at the door, people in the sex industry can barely afford to take sick days, let alone an indefinite period of compulsory celibacy. And it’s not just sex workers who are struggling. Dogging communities have announced temporary cancellations in the name of public safety. Social dating networks, too, have cautioned users to wash their hands with an in-app advert and some have decided to postpone real-life meeting events altogether. The situation is tough all over.
So what is to be done?
The lack of support and helpful advice from the government has meant that people are turning to each other. Food support networks have been set up, with WhatsApp groups being used for people to join and offer goods they can send over. Others have created webcam chats with friends and strangers, a way to keep connected during what can be a very lonely and turbulent time. What this has shown is that, now more than ever, we need each other. We need social support, in whatever form and through whatever capacity that may be.
Here are Guts, we believe your stories need to be shared, the taboo surrounding sex needs to broken. For the past month, our submissions have been open to all and we have been collecting stories to publish in our upcoming anthology, Cyber Smut. We wanted the raunchy, the rude, the downright debauchery, because we believe your story has a right to be heard. And we got it. It’s a sticky situation we’re in, but ironically, the best way to get through it is by sticking together.
Corinne Jean-Jacques is currently an intern for Guts Publishing. They are an undergraduate student at Goldsmiths, University of London, studying English with Creative Writing. Corinne is also an Afrofuturist sci-fi writer, poet, and artist and when they’re not avoiding their university assignments by writing their manuscript, they’re avoiding their manuscript by doing university assignments. You can find them on Instagram: @cocco_x and Twitter: @CoraDessalines. Their pronouns are they/them.