It’s My First Time, I Swear is a ½ fold black and white zine about sex work collab between Anonymous and Marin Boyle.
As Anonymous writes on the inside front cover, this zine is not a sex work 101 zine: this is a sex work positive zine with stories about the work. Following this is an intro to why Anonymous wrote this zine and the influences on their perspective (privileges that come with being white, etc.). It’s strong, clear, and if you had any doubts about what this zine entails, you won’t after reading the intro.
After that, Anonymous opens by taking on one commonly held belief: that ‘no little girl dreams of growing up to be a whore’. They write about being fascinated by sex work and sex workers from a young age – especially after seeing them on daytime talk shows. Anonymous went on to do huge amounts of research.
From there, we read about a series of firsts – from their first day stripping to their first day as an escort. (It took me a few moments before I realised how that tied into the title.) I was completely fascinated by all of it. I don’t know why, but somewhere in my mind, I thought sex workers tended to stick to just one area. All the different things Anonymous has done reminded me that sex work is like other jobs – people switch, get bored, transfer, etc all the time.
Anonymous’ writing voice is a pleasure to read. It’s strong and direct with no fluff while still sharing plenty. That makes this zine all the more interesting in my mind because it’s a clear, concise, real-life view of sex work that challenges stereotypes in sex work. One quote that really stuck out to me is:
“Throughout my other jobs, sex was always the least of my concerns. It was always about making the client feel seen and heard. It was about making them feel special. It was about making them – if only for a short while – feel important and significant. I was equally therapist and whore.”
Marin’s illustrations and layout choices are fantastic. The font is a good size and easy to read. The illustrations add visual interest to the zine would taking away from the impact of the writing.
I think this is an excellent zine, my bias being that, like Anonymous, I have been fascinated with sex work and workers for a long time. This zine is exactly what I was hoping it would be.