For adults, sexual liberation can come in many forms and at any age. Sex work, like any other job, has highs and lows, and everyone’s motivation to survive and thrive differs. Also, like in other industries, especially when stereotypes and stigma against marginalized communities perpetuate, reinforce, and become monetized, representation matters. The appropriation of any culture or ethnicity is generally frowned upon – except when it comes to groups society deems unworthy of protection. Marginalized groups like people of color and sex workers have repeatedly experienced it throughout history. Racism, prejudice, and unconscious bias have been building systemically, over generations, and they will take generations to dismantle. It is everybody’s duty to work towards their dismantlement, even when no one is looking, or if no recognition is given.
According to organizations like the SW Survival Guide, no one should have to navigate the sex industry alone and life-saving information should not be gatekept. That is why, whether you have been doing sex work for decades, a year, a minute, are considering it, or merely see yourself as an ally, the SW Survival Guide aims to provide free access to essential and integral information to the sex work community.
Master Fetish Trainer, activist, and community leader, Jet Setting Jasmine is also a licensed psychotherapist and owner of Blue Pearl Therapy, an online mental health practice specializing in intimacy post-injury, trauma, illness, and sex-positive parenting. Jasmine is the co-owner, along with partner King Noire, of Royal Fetish Films, where the love of arts, film, and sex education are combined to produce content that stimulates and engages the audience to explore sexual boundaries.
You are active in the adult industry. What do you call your job, and what does it look like?
I am an adult film director, producer, and performer. My adult work therefore includes creating, editing, and marketing NSFW content. As the owners of Royal Fetish Films, my partner King Noir and I also take care of the administrative work that goes along with managing an LLC. I give online and in-person Fetish Training sessions too.
On top of that, being a licensed clinical psychotherapist, my day-to-day work is to provide online mental health therapy to clients. With managing a private practice as well comes administrative tasks.
What made you pursue a career in the adult industry?
While my entrance into the adult industry began as a safe way to explore the different ways I could express my sexuality, there also was another dimension to it: I wanted to change how Black and Brown people are being represented in adult media. I wanted to add the expression of Kink and Culture to an industry that negatively type-castes people of color and/or excludes people of color altogether from the full range of sexual expressions.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
I love having control of every aspect of my livelihood, from the art I create and the use of my skill-set, to being able to shape the narrative of my legacy in all of its forms – physical, sexual, and intellectual! I love being able to use both my different professions and lived experiences to inform my work. I also love being in a fem-dominated industry, since it gives me the flexibility to be present for my family and my other interests.
What I dislike, on the other hand, is that our society still does not value nor perceive us sex workers as whole human beings – despite the use of our labor having been normalised. I also oppose the continued use and creation of exploitative practices, stereotyped content, and the industry’s ownership not being as diversified as its consumership.
What do empowerment and sex-positivity mean to you, and how is it related to sexual liberation?
In short, sex positivity to me means consent and pleasure-focused sexual activities and expressions. Being able to engage in the sexual activities and expressions that I want, and not take part in those that I do not, that is sexual empowerment.
Both of those movements imply that everybody should have access to appropriate and inclusive sex education, entertainment, and experiences. This is closely linked to sexual liberation, especially for Black and Brown people, considering that our sexuality has been colonized, stripped, and denied from us. To be able to explore my sexuality and to center my own pleasure, free from sexual heteronomy is, for me, where sex-positivity and sexual liberation meet.
What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages you experience as a POC in the sex industry?
POC are in high demand in all art forms. The beauty, depth, and talent we bring to our work is of great value, so there is an enormous economic potential once you learn how to negotiate. On the flip side, we are often at risk of being exploited precisely because of that value.
What changes would help end racism and fetishization in the sex industry?
To end racism in the sex industry, there needs to be appropriate representation at all levels: on screen, behind the camera, but in sex work organization leadership and company leadership as well. Performers need increased ownership over their content and increased autonomy in how they are labeled and represented in scenes.
This can only take place through the removal and denouncing of racist and fetishizing content, that only a BIPOC leadership would be able to facilitate competently. Adult entertainment companies also must stop investing in exploitative practices and start investing in the BIPOC sex workers they have benefited from.
What tips would you give other POC who are starting in the industry?
My number one advice would to anyone starting in the industry would be to create a sustainability plan for themselves. Most people in the sex industry often wonder if this line of work is sustainable. Unlike in other professions, there is no real succession planning in the adult industry. One of the things that I find myself speaking about, personally or in talks, is: how does one sustain their career in this industry? This goes back to my background in gerontology. I will ask, What does this job look like to you? or How will this industry look like to you in 10 years? What are you producing now that you can see yourself participating in for the longevity of your career?
Performers wonder what would happen were they to start a family or were their body to change. What they should ask themselves, however, is what other skills are they learning to remain relevant in the industry, and how they can benefit from a skill set unique to adult content creators.
There is more than just the production of content: we build relationships with and coach our clients. We sometimes even provide lifesaving help on adult streaming websites. Customers will share personal experiences with us, and we take the time to be there for them to the best of our ability. Whether it is just through being a supportive listener or giving them a space to actually engage with other human beings, it is invaluable.
It is important to me that when performers share the challenges they face within the industry, I can help them change perspective by asking ‘what else is there to get from this industry?’ – because they already give so much to it.
You do a lot of work on decolonizing sex. Could you tell us a bit more about what you want to achieve with it, what your vision is?
Since King and I have started our film company, we have created an opportunity for people to see how they can create something of their own. We are fortunate to see our fans, mentees, and colleagues actualize their goal of creating content they can feel proud of, that represents who they are, AND that they own.
Decolonizing sex also means the removal of shame and stigma, and the shifting from a white puritanical perspective on sex to one that is individually defined! Only then will we achieve safer sex, authentic self-representation, and less discrimination for those that present beyond the very small scope of what society currently deems as acceptable – very white, religious, and straight.
What clichés, towards your work, do you often come across?
That sex work is all fun and games, irresponsible and/or easy.
What should society and the government do to improve the situation of sex workers?
They should treat sex workers like the rest of the working-class people. We are not asking for preferential treatment, only equal and fair treatment.