‘The dichotomy between erotica and porn is classist and fake.’
Tina Horn is one of those humans where you find yourself wondering how the hell she does it.
She is an author—she’s written books on sex work (Love Not Given Lightly) and sexting (A Guide To Dirty Digital Ethics And Etiquette Called Sexting), and of course, she pens a brilliant column here on the Establishment (Why Are People Into that?!), a companion piece to her eponymously named podcast.
She teaches, she makes dirty feminist films, and she spreads the good word on sex worker rights and the glorious joys of kink lifestyles, then wraps it all up in an incredible queer punk aesthetic that leaves your head spinning and your heart racing.
She is relentlessly honest, self-probing, and takes aim at complicated social mores—like the the tangled dialogues between persona and privacy on social media:
“Digital communication has always seemed like the opposite of sex to me. In a room, I feed off the sexual energy of another person. Without that nervous system interaction, I grow exhausted and burn out quickly. Twitter makes me feel that way, too. It doesn’t give me anything I want…
Sometimes I get the impression that people feel entitled to what to say because of what I am — which is a whore — and what I do‚ which is making money by working hard at the words and sex I love. I feel as if the world expects me to outsource my imagination, and every ounce of my gut screams at me to stop. After all, my imagination is my livelihood.”
She takes you on journeys into the hot hearts of marginalized communities—like what it’s like to judge a women’s leather contest:
“For different people I spoke with, leather was a church, a hobby, a sport, a ‘second skin,’ a sexual proclivity, a signal of cultural affiliation, or the only social group they had ever felt a part of.
Yes, Leather is about sex, but it’s also about an expansive idea of intimacy. It’s a tradition that refreshingly undermines the nuclear idea of family values.”
. . . and she weighs-in on socio-cultural stand-offs, leading discussions like “Why Do We Care Whether Trump Is Into Pee? A Sex Workers Roundtable,” essentially eviscerating American hypocrisy around morals, sexuality, shame, and whorephobia.
It’s beautiful to bear witness to her mind at work. And sexy as hell.
Here Tina talks Twin Peaks, tart apples, tawdry poetry, and the glory of intersectionality.
You can generally find me writing in a backyard on a picnic table while drinking a damn fine cup of coffee.
The writers that have most influenced my life are Lester Bangs, Samuel R Delany, Tristan Taormino, Ellen Willis, Gayle Rubin, Grant Morrison, Verlyn Klinkenborg, and Eileen Myles.
The TV character I most identify with is…I’m a Mulder/Scully bisexual switch.
If I could share one of my stories by yelling it into a megaphone in the middle of Times Square, it would be probably the one about how the dichotomy between erotica and porn is classist and fake.
I like writing for The Establishment because the editors care about craft and content, and they don’t waste my time with edits that are ignorant about sex work, porn, queer identity, or anything else I write about. They provide a platform for a lot of vital sex work discourse to reach intersectional feminist readers and they don’t ask us to shoehorn it into redemption narratives or Happy Hooker cheerleading.
If I could only have one type of food for the rest of my life it would be tart crispy apples right off the tree.
My most listened to song of all time is “Rock & Roll” by The Velvet Underground.
If I could give the amazing people who sponsor stories anything in the world to express my gratitude, it would be custom sex advice.
The story I want to write next is an examination of the difference between the role of power in ethical BDSM compared to cult abuse.
If I could summarize writing in a series of three GIFs, it would be…I’m cheating and including my favorite meme of all time: