My recent trip back to New York City coincided with The NYC Sex Blogger Calendar Party and An Intimate Evening with Carol Queen — two great events put on by Tied Up Events. Ms. Queen led a discussion with about twenty sex bloggers and podcasters on the topic, Exhibitionism in the Age of the Internet. Aside from having total podcasting pride to be in the same room with Graydancer, Unspeakable Axe, and Raven Lightholme, I enjoyed hearing from other sex positive folks about their stance on identity.
Much of the discussion centered on the pros and cons of creating work under pseudonyms. It seemed the general consensus was that people would like to not have two identities, but the reality of getting fired from one’s “real job” was far to great to risk. Pamela Madsen shared her story about getting fired from her job once her blog was revealed. She has since merged her identities, produced a book under her real name about her journey, sexual and otherwise, and gave it to her new employer essentially saying, “Read this and fire me if you want. I don’t want this coming out later.” She has remained employed.
It is stories like Ms. Madsen’s that can inspire more to come out. Much can be gained by sex bloggers creating work under their real name. Then the fill in the blank phrase about marginalization could be, “I have a friend who is a: sex blogger, sex worker, in an open marriage, into kink, etc.” With any movement, visibility breeds change. I applaud those who are able to come out from the pseudonym and merge identities and those who never even took up an alias in the first place. As for me, I like having two identities.
Listeners of my podcast might be surprised to know that I am actually a private person. Often I am asked why I would write and record about my sex life. Starting I Want Your Sex just seemed like a natural progression for me. Like most sex positive people, I was the friend that people turned to for relationship and sex advice. I accompanied many to sex shops to buy their first toy. Being open and honest is who I am. And I have strict separation about mixing the personal and professional.
In a work environment, I am not the one talking about all the sordid details of my weekend. For a long time many people I worked with did not even know I was in a relationship. I just don’t bring my personal life to work. If I got drunk, had a fight, or great sex with my partner, you are not going to hear me talking about it at the water cooler. Because I like the separation, it made sense that I would create a podcast under another name. Call me crazy, but it is preferable to me that those I work with do not know how I like to get fucked. Obvious concerns about safety were an issue too. But also having a nomdeplume is cool.
As a kid, I thought it was the coolest thing ever that the author of Silas Marner was a woman and George Elliot was a pseudonym. Granted the fact that George Elliot and, more recently, J.K. Rowling write under masculine or disguised feminine names is more of a comment on how our culture sees gender, but still I like the use of a pen name.
I didn’t remember my middle school desire to have an alias until a year into producing content as Mia. “Well, there you have it,” I said to my thirteen-year-old self with a big grin. “You got your wish.”
In honor of National Coming Out Day, I acknowledge that I do not feel closeted by my pen name. All those close to me know of my smut writing and I even told my previous employer about the ‘cast. I am open with my family about all aspects of my life including my non-monogamous relationship. They celebrate my struggles and victories and they are proud that I call myself a writer because they are writers as well. One day I hope to share some of my work with them. But for now I like to keep the separation with the knowledge that they can’t Google my alias and discover the dirty secrets that I make public.
For now, I will keep two names because I like it. Whether under a pseudonym or not, I will always speak honestly and openly about sex. I started the podcast because I wanted to give people a window into the sex party world and I hoped to inspire others to be sexually open and exploratory, whatever that means for them. I aim to continue doing just that.