Steps to striptease stardom

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Dear Sasha,

I'm a super-big girl who shares your views on pole dancing schools and students who hate on sex work/er rights. But what's an ethical, extra-chunky girl to do? I aspire to striptease stardom, too. Help! I'm losing sleep over this. My G-string is getting lonely and I am dying to get my sexy on!

Classes run by current or former workers would be ideal. Some place that does fundraising for sex work/er rights even better.

Fatty Desperately Seeking Sex Worker/Pole Dancing Solidarity

Yep, this is something that drives me apeshit no matter who's getting the raw deal: people profiting off a subculture with little or no regard for the subculture itself, going to the added effort to distance themselves from the subculture to make it more palatable to their timorous clients.

But let's leave the politics aside for the moment and try to hook you up with some helpful information. Because, bottom line, the world needs more hot, fat bitches riding the pole.

When I asked at Flirty Girl Fitness if any actual strippers taught pole dancing classes, the response was no. When I asked if any classes were tailored to larger women, the response was that they only teach "regular classes."

This reminded me of the time I visited a porn shop on Yonge and asked if they had any queer content. The clerk said, "No, just regular," and held up a DVD of a couple of women in neon bikinis with massive breast implants. Regular, got it.

Shannon at Aradia was a little more forthcoming. Though no working girls currently teach any classes, she made a pretty good point as to why: none have applied. According to her, they're too busy making buckets of money being real strippers. Touché, Shannon. Cudgel against Aradia reluctantly laid down. She says that women of all shapes and sizes take their classes, and that a beginners' or private class might be most appropriate for you.

If you're looking for a situation that matches all your wishes, here it is: my partner, Kitty Neptune, is currently a stripper, a crackerjack pole dancer and, in her own way, fundraises for a sex worker action group. Without revealing too many details, Kitty invests quite a bit into the Scandelles' pro-sex-work productions. As I've told her in the past, "That pussy of yours is going to get us to Broadway."

Kitty is an excellent, enthusiastic teacher who will work with your body type to put together a sick routine. Email her at . If you have a couple friends who are interested, feel free to ask them to join. And if there are any strippers teaching pole dancing out there, drop me a line and I'll send your info on to Fatty.

A certain somebody

Dear Sasha,

I have met an amazing lady -- classy, intelligent and beautiful, inside and out.

We've been seeing each other for a little over four months. We enjoy each other's company and have lots of fun together.

Two points:

There is a considerable age difference between us -- more than 20 years. (She's younger.) We joke about it in a good way. We do many things together and have lots in common, in large part because her vision of life has such breadth. We've become good friends. She's a very special person and has walked her way right into my heart. Unless I'm blinded, I don't see age as an issue, but I'm open to the suggestion that it may play into the second point, which is an issue: intimacy.

With increasing frequency, we've been in circumstances where the prospect of sex was so close I could feel it. But it didn't happen. The explanations vary, but there are two themes.

First, she was sexually assaulted by her father and stepfather. She's been very guarded about the details, although she recently told me more, and the assaults were ugly. She tells me she is "just not available to anyone."

Second, she tells me that while she treasures our relationship, she doesn't see herself with me "in that way." She can't identify reasons, which I suppose is often the case -- matters of the heart are difficult to explain. The conversation always loops around to the assaults and then ends. Friends, yes, but I am falling in love with this wonderful lady. We make each other very happy. What do I do?

Sleepless In My Heart

Good question. What do you do? More precisely, will you put your life, your expectations and your goals on hold for hope? As this question pertains to intimate relationships, it's truly less about how you're going to proceed with this woman and more about how you're going to proceed with yourself. Let me be less esoteric: when it comes to intimate relationships where desires are patently incongruent, you need to take responsibility for the emotions you've cultivated. Sucks balls, but that's the truth.

Within this, you do have some agency. This woman has stated in no uncertain terms that she is unwilling to proceed to the next level with you. She's not saying maybe, she's certain. And while certainty, as we all know, often becomes uncertainty, in many cases it's less about conviction and more about control.

Make no mistake, this woman needs a lot of control over how she expresses her sexuality because she has not been given that option in the past. This is her work to do, Sleepless, and if you decide you're going to hang in there with her, you can't have any expectation that you will reap the rewards you want, not swiftly anyway. They may even be bestowed upon someone else. You have to offer your affection with no reciprocation in mind, or at least a different kind of reciprocation.

If you're ready for that, well, then that's what you need to do. You've been handed the manual. Read it, but remember you are free to pull out or take a break any time it feels beyond your skills.

Ask Sasha:

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