DE: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where you’re from, education, etc.
JR: I’m from Atlanta, Georgia and got my education there. I come from a pretty typical family- I have three siblings and I’m sort of the black sheep. I was the first one to venture off from Atlanta on my own. I’m the more adventurous one. Before porn, I worked in video games, and before that, comic book publishing. If you put together a Venn diagram of the sort of things the demographic of people who like video games and comic books like, I’m pretty positive porn is in there, right?
Where do you currently work and how long have you worked there?
I’ve been at Kink.com as their Communications Manager for two years.
What’d you do before you worked there?
I was IGN’s Community Manager before my current position. You know, video games and porn have a lot in common. BDSM is basically sexy LARPing.
What exactly do you do at your current job?
I do social media on our various channels, copy-write, make friends with reporters who come & write stories on my company etc.
What are some common misunderstandings about where you work?
Most people have this idea that I’m around production all day long, which isn’t true. My job is a boring office job. I’m behind my computer most of the day.
Some second-wave feminists claim that the adult industry is not feminist. As someone who identifies as a feminist, what’s your response?
I think it’s absolutely ridiculous, and so did some other second-wave feminists (Ellen Willis, Samois etc). My friends’ bodies are theirs to do what they want with, and if going into sex work fulfills them, who’s to say that’s wrong?
How would you respond to someone who claimed that porn is catered to male audiences?
Look around – there are so many feminist, queer production houses. Not only that, but I am fortunate to work for a company that is completely aware of the male gaze, and turns it on its head.
What is sex positivity?
Sex positivity’s definition is its the movement in which all consensual sexual activities are fundamentally healthy and encourages sexual pleasure/experimentation but really the way you can look at it is your body is yours to do what you like with it in a consensual way.
What is Kink shaming and how should one respond to someone yucking their yum?
Kink shaming is exactly that – yucking someone else’s yum. As a sex educator, I know that everyone has different kinks and fetishes which makes being a human so amazing! For instance, I don’t really like persimmons, but I’m not going to go out of my way to make fun of someone who does, or try to like them after several attempts of them being hidden in my salads and gagging on them.
What’s one of your favourite stories about your work?
This would be my very first day working at Kink. I was hired within hours of my interview, and was thrown into the deep end so to say: it was the Friday of Folsom Street Fair. I had done my very first interview with [link], for the site I was managing editor of and had to stay after-hours for an awards ceremony we were putting on. Kink’s fourth floor is known for its BDSM play parties, and the whole thing is very baroque. There was a whole roasted pig while women were getting tied by the world’s expert in Shibari for the guest’s entertainment. Needless to say, it was an extraordinarily decadent way to start my career in smut peddling. My boss forced me to go home because I had worked ten hours!
What is important for people interested in Kink to know?
Knowledge is power – attend classes, read books! Figure out what you like and don’t. Share that with your partners. Don’t feel ashamed; everyone has their own thing they’re into. Also, kink and BDSM should always be looked at in a fun light. For instance, verbal humiliation is humiliating for both people – the one saying the humiliating things is going to feel silly doing so until they’re comfortable with it. This kind of practice can be really fun.
What do you do in your free time?
I play pinball, listen to Britpop and highfive.
What’s your favourite animal?
My favourite animal is every animal? Is that an okay answer? I cannot choose.
Last meme you saved on your phone?
Pro-tip for anyone who meets someone who is in the porn industry: unless they specifically want to talk about it, don’t ask a bunch of questions. Especially on a date. I find that my career choice is a pretty good way to figure out if someone is a creep or not.
Jessi Reid is Bay Area badass. When she’s not working at Kink.com managing their social media, she runs the Mission Pinball Club. To check out her twitter and be stunned by her wit click here.