In September of 1999, I was a freshmen in high school. That year, my school allowed students to go off-campus for lunch. Me and my friend, Ashlee, would hop in her white Honda Civic and drive to her house as we blasted music from her car’s cheap speakers. Avril Lavigne. Foo Fighters. We were borderline obsessed with the jam, “All The Small Things” by Blink-182. We’d screamed the song’s lyrics at the top of our lungs- “Work sucks, I know!” Oh baby, Andrea… Did you really know?

I’ve been working since my late teens. I enjoyed many of these roles but I also hated a large number of them. I’ve had terrific bosses and some terrible ones. I love what I do now, getting to write and be creative for a living (I get to write about sex!). I’m fortunate. I do know that not everyone has the luxuries that I was blessed with- I had parents that pushed the value of education on me. I have a college degree. I’ve done multiple internships and freelance opportunities. Fuck, even having a job. Every morning, I listen to the headlines of the day; lately, there is always another story about another industry giant laying off a percentage of its workforce. On Twitter, I follow several hashtags that link to various unions and working-class watch groups complaining about job loss and poor working conditions. I read about ongoing worker strikes domestically and abroad (note our French counterparts). At least once a week, I have a conversation with someone about how our national minimum wage hasn’t increased in 13 years.

Over the last couple of years, workers in various industries have come to understand their value in the workplace and began to fight for better rights. The pandemic exposed deep inequalities: low wages, a lack of paid sick leave, requirements to be in customer-facing environments with inadequate workplace safety measures and more. Workers are burnt out and are facing mental health issues with the lack of respect and benefits they’re receiving. People are quitting their jobs by the masses in various industries after asking for better pay and benefits, better hours and working conditions (the media has dubbed this as the Great Resignation). Others are rejecting the hustle and are only fulfilling their basic work responsibilities (“quiet quitting“). The anti-work movement rapidly growing as people are finding ways to make just enough money to get by so they will have more leisure time, rather than working long hours to earn more. People of the movement understand that a good percentage of jobs are structured under the guise capitalism and the state, and may not be a necessity to the success of our society. We have finally realized that we deserve better.

Just let it out… Just let it out.

Growing up, we millennials heard that if you work hard, you will get everything you could ever dream of- the large salary (to buy the dream car and house), the cushy office, the status and everything that goes with it, including respect from your peers and superiors. While there is some truth to that, there are systematic biases and prejudices that hinder work opportunities for people of color, women, the poor and the disabled. There is a steadily rising class consciousness that has been spurred on by severe wealth inequality between the rich (owners, CEOS, managers and the like) and workers. Take Amazon CEO, for example, Andy Jassy, and his comments about unions. As a child of the 80s, I grew up hearing that unions were not beneficial and a waste of an employee’s money. I now believe otherwise, and note Jassy’s many privileges (being a white, educated, wealthy, able-bodied male) that most definitely helped him rise to his position. Identifying the source of such bias in your workplace is key to creating lasting change.

We’re experiencing an unprecedented shake-up in terms of how workers do their jobs and the kind of conditions they’re expecting from employers in return. It’s clear many workers are at their breaking points. We’re tired of being exploited and being treated essentially as cattle, working until our legs give out before we’re brought to slaughter. But now what? There are changes that need to be made but how do we start? What can we do to make our voices feel heard?

As employees, unions do help- some employees are fixing the inequities by organizing, striking or standing up. The public is boycotting products by large conglomerates- 57% of buyers are willing to spend more on products or services from a company that’s known to be socially responsible (inflation is hindering this percentage but please continue to support businesses that support their workers!). Each one of our jobs is affected by our government officials so vote and support candidates that align with your career goals. Use your voice to encourage/discourage future laws and initiatives (I think about the Pregnant Workers Fairness law that will go in effect this summer- I want to see paid maternity and paternity leave!).

If you’re looking for a new role- remember that you hold the power. Ask for that salary, about those benefits and that PTO. Pay attention to the job postings that don’t lay out all the job responsibilities and the salary amount (there are emerging pay transparency laws, requiring employers to state salary ranges in job descriptions in states like California and Colorado). When you’re interviewing for a new role, ask the difficult questions- remember that you’re interviewing the company in the same manner they’re interviewing you. If you’re stuck in the weeds at your current position, ask yourself if you’re receiving the right treatment.

As businesses owners and those leaders in management, you must do more than listening to your employees to make them feel valued and heard. Take action by fixing actual complaints. Believe employees when they get sexually or racially harassed. The bare minimum is not working anymore. We don’t feel safe at work. Employees don’t only want to make a paycheck (and healthcare, work/life balance…); they also want to grow and expand their skill set. Offering the opportunity to employees to develop new skills is a solution for employers hoping to remain competitive in the market and increase the efficiency of their current team. Another thing to consider is improving your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practices, especially when trying to attract and retain workers of color (DEI and mental health initiatives and departments are often the first to go in organizational layoffs and restructurings). With such DEI initiatives, look at nontraditional candidates when hiring. Many of the most valuable skills in today’s economy can be applied to a number of different roles.

The modern workplace is constantly evolving, constantly under siege by economic changes, tech developments, talent scarcity, an exhausted workforce, globalization and the remnants of the pandemic. As we venture further into 2023, it’s imperative for organizations to focus on progress and its employees’ professional and personal well-being, mental health and becoming more creative with compensation. For those in the throw of of the daily grind, keep flighting the (good) fight. Keep demanding for the respect and compensation that you deserve. Being anti-work doesn’t mean that you have to be lazy or unproductive. It simply means that you want to have more control over your time and your life at the place where we spend most of our week.


Last month, I went to my first kink conference, South Land Plains Leatherfest (SLPL) in Dallas, TX. I spent four days talking about Master/slave and Dominant/submissive dynamics and the role of race play in BDSM, meeting wonderful people and letting my sadistic side play with some consenting adults. That Saturday night, I dressed in blue lingerie and matching knee socks and went to town on two individuals, bitting, scratching and hitting them with various impact toys and my bare hands. 

I posted some photos of the weekend on my Instagram, excited to share this side of my life that I don’t often share with the public. I received a lot of comments about the things I was learning and doing at SLPL, including some DMs that mentioned how my bravery. Some of my friends wished that they were able to sexually express themselves in the ways that I do, with an emphasis on sado-masochism. Although I do appreciate my friends’ comments, I don’t consider myself brave. I’m just at a place in my life where I not longer feel oppressed by it. But it has been a journey to get to that place.

I started thinking a lot about sexual repression and how so many people hide their most inner desires not only from the outside world but from themselves. Sexual repression is one’s inability to express their sexual likes and dislikes. The act of being sexual carries a lot of weight, triggering feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment. There is the heaviness to figuring out one’s gender, orientation, desires and hard limits that many don’t discuss. Some have been shamed about sex since their youth- before they have an understanding of what sex is, they already feel that the sexual part of themselves is dirty or wrong. Sometimes, sex is painful. Sexual trauma also comes to light, as well as society’s influence, negativity steering mindsets. As a result, those who are sexually repressed have learned to squash perfectly natural desires in order to protect themselves.

I’ve always had a healthy curiosity about pleasure and the human body. I always saw sex as something to explore and expand on. If we are expected to grow as people, shouldn’t we expand our sexual preferences, as well? These days, I don’t feel much shame about my sex life. I’ve done the things and the people that I have done and it is what it is. I like what I like. I know that I like some weird stuff but it is what makes up me and I like me. 

I, like many American women, have felt the sexual repression our society as put on us. It often starts with remarks from the people that we’re closest to- I think about my mother being the first person to body shame me. I had D-cup sized breasts since I was ten and I hated wearing a bra (still do). 11-year-old-me was outside one afternoon, playing with my sisters when my mom drove up. I ran to her car with what my mother called, bouncing boulders looking like they’d smack me in the face. I started wearing bras at every day since then, a habit that I only broke when I was in my 30s. 

Appearance aside, women traditionally have the expectation of needing to be demure and submissive, which can be pretty limiting when you’re not that, especially if you want to let your more dominate side shine. Gender roles and the patriarchy have told women that sex is for procreation and that our pleasure doesn’t matter (look at the majority of online porn- the majority of it caters to hetero men). Our sexual power is diminished or reduced to a little box of expectations when it should be celebrated and coveted. 

I wish that I had the answers on how to be less sexually repressed. I’m not a therapist but I know what has worked for me. Masturbation is a great way to get to learn your body and what you want. I have done a lot of shadow work during self-pleasuring, connecting with my body during times when I really hated my appearance and battled with thoughts of being undesirable. At those times, I focus on making myself feel good in the safety of my bedroom. Fuck a partner (both literally and figuratively) but I am first. I cum first. My heart is taken care of. My pleasure comes first.

Talking therapy is also a great tool. Being open and talking with your partner about your history with sex and how your mind and body feel during all the moments of intimacy is important. I learned that it is vital to have that space to explore and be vulnerable, from long-term relationships to one night stands. I enjoy the kink stuff that I enjoy because of the grace that I’ve been given with past partners. 

I ask you today, dear reader, if you feel any sexual repression, why do you feel that way? What brings you shame, confusion and feelings of powerlessness and inferiority? What is holding you back from being your true self? Sexual repression is driven by negative emotions and sex is already taboo to talk about. However, everyone has a right to pleasure, and that there is nothing wrong with enjoying your sexuality. Ending repression is a journey but it’s a journey worth taking. 

American public school sex education… Sexual repression at its finest.

#Versions (Or I Hate Both the Concept of Time and the Fragility of Being a Human)

I spent this morning feeling like dog shit. I usually do right before my birthday.

As I brushed my teeth and got ready for my work day, I listened to podcast episodes about next weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony. One of the reasons I moved to Austin almost five years ago was to get more involved with filmmaking. At the time, Austin was being rebranded as a growing mecca for emerging filmmakers and other talent. I did some acting and screenwriting in Nevada but I was ready to venture to bigger goals like editing and directing. I arrived in Texas, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, thinking about the great cinema I was destined to make. But as it often does, life happened. My priorities shifted to work, my health and relationships.

Around this time every year, it hits me like a freight train- the dreaded feelings of what I could have been verses the woman that I am now.  Each year’s existential crisis looks the same but focuses on the theme- I spend a good chunk of the week before my birthday in bed, sobbing about the lives I’ve never lived. I lay snuggled up under covers and wonder what would my life be like if I followed my college dream and became a war correspondent, reporting from the frontlines in Iraq. Or if I stuck with lobbying at the Nevada State Legislature- would I still be in politics? What if I married my ex? Would I be a mom by now? Am I living my life to the fullest? Can I do more with my life? Am I the best version of myself?

And then, I start crying because I don’t feel enough. I don’t feel like I’m doing enough.

I am happy, all things considering, although I know I could be doing more. I’m in a place in my life when I feel like I can do absolutely anything and everything. I want to work and make a ton of money doing so. I want to write a book this year. Blog more. Craft. Volunteer weekly. Travel with friends. Sing and make music. Both bike and run everyday. Practice kink. Make movies. Dance. Etc, etc. I feel like I can do it all but there is not enough time in the day and I am but only one person with limited abilities, connections and resources.

I also still have the nasty mental habit of comparing myself to others. I look at the people who have lives that I admire- they have done much with their careers. And then they created a small business. Have incredible hobbies and loving relationships (maybe with children). And on top of it all, seem well rested. I know that everyone doesn’t have it all- that is an impossible feat. But I can’t help painstaking wonder about all the people with fuller (maybe better) lives than me.

In previous years, I would let this existential dread wash over me- I spent my 30th birthday sobbing all day on the couch in the fetal position as I felt my feelings. This year, I’m practicing better self-care. Doing lots of self-talk, reminding myself that I’m not too old and that I still accomplish everything that I want to do if I plan and keep focus. I tell myself that I am more than enough and that last year’s version of me would be incredibly proud of today’s me (honestly, high school Andrea would think almost-37 year old me is the coolest woman in the world). I rather not let the other versions of me out in there in the multiverse have more adventure and achievements than I’m having in this life (we can argue if the multiverse is real or not in another time. But for now, just consider string theory). But my life is good and I have another birthday to look forward to celebrating. Just keep moving forward. 

Do you have existential crises before your birthday or any other significant life dates, dear reader?