Sex work has appeared consistently throughout human history. Though it has been described as one of the oldest professions in the world, it still has something of a taboo nature. With that being said, it also seems to be accepted more as a valid subculture instead of something that should be kept in the dark. Media itself is a powerful tool for conveying all manner of ideas, and Netflix’s Bonding and E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey has shown that the public is eager to explore the less vanilla side of their lust and desires – even if the latter did so in the wrong way.
Yet these are pieces of fiction. Finding honest accounts from people who are a part of that community can be harder to find, which is why Miss Marilyn’s mini memoir, Shagger, is such a refreshing take on this subject matter.
The author herself is a Scottish professional dominatrix who gives an honest retelling of events from her work and her personal life in this book. Though people would be quick to dismiss it as pure smut, the contents of the book feel healing for Miss Marilyn and inspiring to some extent – along with a healthy helping of debauchery – the first page literally jokes that “by purchasing this book, you have exposed yourself as a pervert.” (However, Miss Marilyn also proudly notes that 40% of the profits will be going to SWARM Collective, a sex work charity, and OneKind, an animal campaign charity in Scotland, so you can feel good about your degeneracy.)
Now, obviously, a dominatrix’s memoir is going to contain stories of a sexual nature, but it also does touch upon themes of violence and abuse, so please keep that in mind when reading this book. Matter of fact, one of the betterways Miss Marilyn navigates the delicate subject of triggering topics is by pointing the reader to a hilariously drawn comic should they wish to avoid a rather sensitive story of abuse she went through. But that’s the beauty of Miss Marilyn’s writing style. As she says herself, she finds “it easier to tackle and engage with this uncomfortable topic with light-hearted jest.”
Throughout her stories, poetry and photos, Miss Marilyn comes to grips with the twists and turns her life and career has taken her. Whether it’s her telling the reader about a personally traumatic event in her life, a particularly graphic – albeit funny – account of a client who enjoyed the services Miss Marilyn provided a little too much, or even a surprising encounter when a customer comes to terms with his own grief during a session, each of the stories are open and honest. Though the language and the imagery is seriously NSFW, there’s also a consistent tone of underlying hope, both for herself, and hopefully, for the reader as well:
“If my honesty about what a deplorable **** I’ve been in the past allows someone to be honest about something they’re struggling with right now, I’m never going to stop speaking. You need to confess your sins before you’re absolved of them, right?”
And that’s exactly what her project is – though it can vary from extremely dark traumas, her more interesting work experiences, or even just how hard it was get started in the industry – be interesting to see Dominatrix apprenticeships become more of a thing in the future – at the end of the day, Shagger is a personal reflection about how her relationship with the BDSM lifestyle and sex in general has affected her life, whether it’s the good, the bad, the ugly – or just the outright obscene. It’s a truly unique read, and well worth trying to get a hold of.
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