My new book was inspired by Billie Eilish’s courageous public statement about the harmful effects of porn on her mental, physical, and sexual health. I was so inspired that I stayed up all night, gathering a collection of songs and poems I had written on topic, over the course of four years. I am thrilled to now share them with the world. Below is the introduction, my free gift to you. 

If you find value in my words, you can purchase the book here and additionally receive weekly original and unpublished poetry, spoken word, and music  by becoming a Patreon member. Also be sure to check out the KHAZZOOM online store, where you’ll find my other books, along with my albums and swag like t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags!

Introduction

Many years ago, I asked my fifth grade class to pose for a group photo. In the instant before the shutter clicked, the boys flashed hearty smiles radiating a joyful, youthful innocence, while the girls morphed into distorted caricatures – their faces and bodies replicating, as best as ten year old children could, porn-inspired images of the Hot Girl.

I gasped.

These little girls – who just seconds before had filled up space and emanated light – instantaneously, and uniformly, contracted, with their bodies and facial expressions suddenly contorted. It wasn’t just that they were too young to strike the “sexy” pose, so that it looked all wrong on them. It’s that, against the backdrop of their little-girl wholesomeness, the pose itself came into full relief.

And looked utterly grotesque.

When I was in college, I enjoyed “dressing slutty” – putting on bright, colorful tights, “hooker heels,” and a mini skirt, along with whatever top I felt like wearing. The ensemble was an expression of my artistry, playfulness, sensuality, and freedom. By my senior year, however, I started questioning why, as a woman, I always felt I had to do something, so as to feel or be considered sexy. Men could run around in baggy sweat pants and sneakers and be considered hot. Why not me?

In the years that followed, I got comfortable in my body and my clothes. I went au natural – no longer shaving, wearing makeup, or wearing heels, as meanwhile, I typically ran around in athletic gear. “You always look like at any minute, you’re going to drop down and knock out a set of pushups,” a friend of mine commented on my style during that time.

No longer donning the female uniform, I initially felt self-conscious and insecure, especially when wearing shorts or a tank top, my body hair in full view. But I powered through, determined to transform my perceptions. And I did. When I drove by a billboard in Los Angeles, displaying a woman who was supposed to be all that, and only saw a captive, a caged animal, a disfigured mess, I knew my transformation was complete.

And I was free.

Years later, I took this evolution to an even deeper level, after realizing that porn-inspired media had hijacked my erotic imagination and sexual desire. “I don’t know how to fantasize for myself,” I thought. There was always some kind of a mental script involving female performance in service to a man, I realized, and I had no idea what my authentic desire was.

What would sex look like, with no external pressures or expectations whatsoever? What if sex emanated – from my core, authentic, whole, alive, most radiant Being? What if I was totally, 100% in my body, in my power, in my desire, and in the moment?

Over the next seven years, with a few brief exceptions, I stopped dating. During this period, I did a whole-body, whole-Being reboot. When I re-entered the dating world, I was different – grounded in myself, my body, my power, in a way I had not been before. The years-long relationships I have been in since then have been profoundly healing, and with the loving support of my partners, I have discovered my own unique sexuality – a far cry from the manufactured desire imposed on me from the time I, myself, was a little girl.

Public discourse around pornography is intense and highly charged. Caught up in mud-slinging and slogan-chanting, I feel people are overlooking some core questions about what sexual freedom, authenticity, and intimacy mean, never mind the politics. Here are some of the questions that I find most important:

In theory, I have no problem with people filming sex, sharing films of sex, getting paid to film sex, or sharing films of people who are paid to have sex. My concerns are as follows:

Today it is trendy to speak about pornography as being “pro-sex.”

While I recognize and applaud that there are sex workers who are creating positive, healthy, empowering, and even artistic spaces for filming and photographing sex, I find that the overwehlming majority of pornography is decidedly unhealthy – for the creators, the consumers, the people in relationship with the consumers, and society as a whole. Just take the fact that pornography earns 66% of the global profits from human trafficking.

Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry that, with rare exception, is motivated exclusively by financial profit. It generates that profit through creating and feeding addiction, which in turn disconnects us – from ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us. Pornography is not motivated by sexual healing and awkening, by personal empowerment and intimacy, or by erotic inspiration and imagination. It uses highly-stimulating, formulaic images that draw from familiar, and often destructive, social and sexual tropes that reinforce themselves – ultimately contributing to alienation from ourselves, each other, and our humanity.

About a week ago, celebrity musician Billie Eilish courageously shared the destructive impact that porn had on her life. She began watching it, she said, because she wanted to feel like “one of the guys.” But pornography distorted her view of sex, and also caused her to suffer from sleep paralysis and night terrors.

In her words:

As a woman, I think porn is a disgrace. I used to watch a lot of porn, to be honest. I started watching porn when I was, like, 11…The first few times I, you know, had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good. It was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to…I think it really destroyed my brain, and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn…I’m so angry that porn is so loved, and I’m so angry at myself for thinking that it was OK.

Over the course of four years, I wrote original songs and poems about sexual healing and wholeness, against the backdrop of a porn-obsessed world, and I thought about publishing them in a collection of sorts. A couple nights ago, when I read media reports about Billie’s statements on pornography, I felt shocked, thrilled, and inspired – leading me to stay up all night, gathering my songs and poems, and creating this book.

Thank you, Billie.

Loolwa Khazzoom
December 22, 2021

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If you find value in my work, check out the KHAZZOOM online store, where you’ll find my albums, books and swag like my band’s  t-shirts, masks, and tote bags. You also can support the evolution of my work, by becoming a Patreon member. You’ll receive an abundance of original and unpublished poetry, spoken word, and music that’s exclusive to my Patreon members, along with exclusive early access to all my releases, and 20% discounts on all my digital products.