Nairobi Nights: The Entertainment Industry.

I told another group that the sex trade is up there with production houses, publishers and Hollywood, because we are all in the entertainment industry. The girl on the Street is now shoulder to shoulder with Avril, Muthoni the author and Tanya. We are all entertainers. Or is it?

Gone are the days when a man would come to the Street just for a quick sex fix because he couldn’t get some elsewhere. Now the man comes as if he is going to a concert, you know you can listen to music on the radio, but crave the party and entertaining mood of a show. Gone too, are the days when a blow job was an extra, to be given only to those who paid more. Nowadays its default. Even downtown, where sex was so business-like, I hear a bj is increasingly becoming the norm. During my days at the SJ I dared not allow a man to touch my boobs during a short time. However, I hear things have changed there too.

In music and publishing they talk of voices, beat, content and style when listing things that differentiate artists. Successful artists are those who choose the right mix of those. What about us? Here on the Street we have started to define ourselves in genres. Although in the Street there is not much room to market yourself according to your specialty, in the City’s brothels it’s the norm. Like I said we know girls who specialize in anal, threesomes and also increasingly in vogue BDSM. Yet, men coming here won’t state openly what they want and the girls won’t say what they specialize in. So when the girl gets in the car the man will say “Do you do anal? I want anal”

“No, I don’t” a girl may answer. “But I know someone who does. I can get her to you at a small fee”, and so it happens.

In publishing, a book may become timeless. See Shakespeare and Albert Camus. In music it’s a bit tough; a musician has to keep reinventing himself or herself lest they fade away. It’s the same with us. When one joins the Street one packages herself as young and fresh. But after a year the young and fresh can’t sell anymore, so one talks of being mature and fresh. Never mind that the freshness may no longer be there. By the third year when the strain of the Street is visible on the face and thighs, freshness and maturity don’t sell. Experience does.

Our sexuality is evolving. I guess triggered by the push by human beings towards comfort and happiness in every sphere of their lives. Of course the evolution is also triggered by our response to the many and easily available sexual information, stories, videos, photos, toys and whatever else. Certainly the body and the brain respond to these. And the barriers to entry being less in the sex industry than in music or publishing, there will be many who join to satisfy the demands of the evolving sexuality.

So the sex industry is becoming bigger and competition stiffer. The mayor estimates that there are 21000 sexual acts in this city every night. If each is worth Ksh.1000 then we are talking of Ksh.21000000 a night or Ksh.0.6 billion in a month. Quite some dough. Yet many in the country want us to remain underground, just like the drug industry. I don’t want to digress to that argument now, but in a recent comment someone said the undoing of the sex industry is that it’s associated with bad elements; the drug barons, robbers and others who get a kick from having girls as part of their networks or hovering around them a la Hugh Heffner or Al Capone. So he argues legalizing prostitution will not make it easy for the government to fight these evil citizens. You know a prostitute with her rights protected will not just be searched by a male policeman and drugs found in her handbag or better still in her panties or between her buttocks.  She will demand a search warrant, and meanwhile hide the drugs, gun or whatever. I have problem with this line of reasoning but won’t go into it at the moment.

Back to the sex entertainment business. There are girls and men who are now choosing sex work as a career. The old argument that one gets into the work because of poverty is becoming increasingly outdated. Of course there are many who are in the work because of their poor circumstances but there are others who are educated with other options and opt to make a career out of sex, literally. Didn’t you hear Daughtie talk of our bodies, our choice?

As a country we are starting to acknowledge the entertainment value of sex more. Nevertheless we are still behind as compared to the western countries. Just look at our online porn offerings which are just obvious depictions of what we do in private. Nothing really creative or imaginative. But we keep watching them hoping for something to excite us in a different way. Where are the local erotica books? I have heard of none since David Maillu and ‘Love For Sale’. Where are live cam girls and men who you can give orders? Where are the dancing shows? Where are the sex games? I have heard of a few of these, and hopefully we will get there. The fact is that the demand is amazing and someone will come in to fill it.

The publishing, movies and music industry are facing the problem of piracy. At least you can’t pirate sex per se, but the competition and pressure to remain on top is enormous. Only the very creative and innovative will survive and only those who make themselves known, or brand themselves in one way or another will go beyond the average one hour gig.

I don’t feel too good quitting when things are starting to get interesting. Maybe I should just reinvent myself and remain in this segment of the entertainment industry which is said to tear the moral fabric of the society.

Writer: Sue            Photography:  Michael Henein

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