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March 06, 2018

Pittsburgh Podcast ‘Peepshow’ Takes On Porn and Sex Circa 2018

CYBERSPACE—A new podcast highlighting issues in porn and other areas of sex work originates not in Los Angeles but about 2,500 miles east of the adult industry epicenter, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On Monday, the local weekly newspaper, the Pittsburgh City Paper, profiled the podcast’s creators and hosts, PJ and Jessie Sage, a married couple who met after discovering that the dating site OK Cupid rated them a 99 percent match. As it turned out, the pair “shared academic pursuits in philosophy and sexuality,” the paper reported. Jessie has a master’s degree in philosophy. PJ is near completion of his Ph.D. Jessie Sage also has a day job in the sex work industry, working as a phone sex operator, according to the paper, which described their podcast, titled Peepshow, as “the sex podcast for life in 2018.” “There is a shortage of nuanced discourse around sex and sex work,” Jessie Sage told the paper. “The people we knew who worked in the industry were smart, thoughtful, complex people with a lot to say. We really wanted to create a platform for them to share their stories and insights. I think that it is very easy to ‘other’ sex workers. The podcast works to undo that othering, to humanize people.” The couple have posted 11 episodes so far, starting on September 30 of 2017 with their debut episode in which they discussed “adjunct professors turning to sex work, feminist porn site Bellesa and piracy.” The 45-minute episode also contained a discussions of “bisexual identity and bi-erasure” as well as “blackface and racism on sex cam sites,” proving immediately that the Sages were unafraid of attacking controversial and even even theoretical concepts in the porn and sexuality fields. Two of the latest three Peepshow podcasts originated with the couple’s first trip to the AVN Expo in Las Vegas, which took place this January. In the latest episode, posted on February 16, they caught up with IWantEmpire cam performer Violet Doll, who discussed her specialities in femdom and “Financial Domination” work—as well as her creative process using the popular video editing software Adobe Premiere. Though the impact of advanced technology on sexuality and porn forms a major focus of the Peepshow podcast—the latest episode also features a discussion of “deepfakes” celebrity porn videos created using artificial intelligence—Jessie’s continued, successful work as the voice on the other end of a phone sex line demonstrates that even seemingly outdated technology, like the telephone, remains important to sex work. “We're busy all the time,” Jessie told the City Paper, referring to her phone sex operation. “What I think what’s going on there is a move away from the super high-tech and all immersive intense visual stimulation, going back to something that's more one-on-one, more intimate.” “The core of what people want remains the same,” PJ added. “It’s still ultimately about human interaction and human intimacy and sexuality.”

 
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