The Value of the Anonymous Blogger

In the last few weeks I personally have been feeling like many readers (and “out” bloggers, and even some other not-out-yet-pompous bloggers) potentially feel like anonymous sex bloggers lack merit, or value, or validity. That without using our real name and/or showing our face, we are to be regarded with suspicion and perhaps disregard. We are characters, we are actors, and we are probably not real. That early 20s girl with the perky tits and enviable sex life? Since she won’t show her face or reveal personal details well then….she must be lying about her sex life! This isn’t to say that the vast rainbow of sex blogger types doesn’t have it’s own false prophets. I’m sure there ARE bloggers pretending to be a whole other identity, just for the fun of it. That doesn’t mean we all are.

A number of members of TBK’s fanclub have voiced that “out” bloggers such as herself are the only type of worthwhile bloggers. The rest of us are merely hiding being our various veils of anonymity, using our internet space to deceive and play tricks. In light of the Alexa scandal, I imagine that this school of thought will be reinforced. And I’m not referring to the entire scandal, involving the deceit of other sex workers, I’m referring to simply her status as a “sex blogger” in the eyes of her fans. I’ve read statements from others this weekend brushing off her lies, saying that all bloggers who use a pseudonym are guilty of using smoke and mirrors to one degree or another, or that we all lie about some things in our blogging, or who was she harming? (read that particular answer here). So please let me clarify some things about myself to you, to the puritans and hunters, to the skeptics and accusers and radical extremists.

~My fiction writing should not ever degrade the value of my other types of blog posts – educational, editorial, personal, or reviews.

~My pseudonym is not meant to deceive you, it is meant for my privacy so that I can speak about sexual things openly and honestly without unwanted people (namely, co-workers and family) reading about my sex life. I have that right to privacy, do I not??

~Just because I do not divulge every facet of myself on this blog, this does not mean I am play-acting. If you’d like more of the “real me” than I care to share on this blog, then all you have to do is follow my Twitter feed (which I keep locked because I lower one of the veils of anonymity).

~I do not personally feel that a blogger is only genuine  if they show their names/faces. I do not feel that the advice & reviews of bloggers such as AAG, Epiphora or Arabella are less accurate or trustworthy just because all I know are their pseudonyms. I did not take EssinEm or Curvaceous Dee or Coy Pink or Britni any more seriously once I saw their full face in photos on their site – and by that I mean they were who they were, I valued them and their words….face shots or not.

I am not at all suggesting that we trust every blogger. But I am also saying that not every anonymous blogger is a liar, or acting, or somewhere in between those two.  Please, stop discrediting every anonymous blogger just based on anonymity itself.  And on that note….if you feel I am untrustworthy because of my anon status…..don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

23 Responses

  1. Shellie says:

    I think it is as simple as the “intent” Trust in yourself!

  2. If people don’t like me because I’m ‘anonymous’ they don’t have to read it I think. My privacy and keeping my blog from being connected to my real-life persona is important to me because of the profession I’d like once I’m finally done with school.

  3. Greta Switch says:

    I think it’s important to remember that TBK was anonymous until just this month. A person might choose to “come out” once she feels as though it is a benefit to her life/blog/work and not a detriment.

    ~ they might. more power to them if they want to, but that’s not really my point here….

  4. Ashly Star says:

    Not every person who shows their face is portraying themselves the way they really are, anyway. It’s not like posting pictures and revealing more details about ones daily life makes them any more real than anyone else. I’m not saying anything about anyone else in particular, just making a general statement that providing a picture doesn’t make what you’re saying you are any more real and true versus someone who chooses to keep anonymous in that sense. I think a lot of people get caught up in that, “oh well, they’re real because I see them and know what they look like and know their “real name” so they’re more valid than the person who is only their pseudonym and their words.” Which isn’t true. They can lie and fabricate just as easily as anyone else can. It’s silly and potentially dangerous to assume you can believe someone is being honest just because there’s a real name and a picture present.

    Great post, Lilly. :)

    ~ That is a very good point but sadly “mob mentality” can get fanatical and try to say otherwise ;)

  5. Topaz says:

    I think it’s sad that this much doubt exists.
    I would ask readers to put themselves into the blogger’s shoes and ask themselves if they would publish such soul-bearing detail under their real identity, potentially destroying their real lives. I doubt many would.

    This is an important topic and a great post.

  6. Jake Holden says:

    I’m actually a 40 year old man who hasn’t got laid since I got into an argument with my rohypnol dealer. It’s amazing what photoshop can do for my HNTs!

    I like Anon bloggers, you can project a bit of what you would like them to look like onto them and it makes reading their work even hotter. I like the mystery and I think anyone who complains about it is taking the whole sex blogging thing far too seriously.

  7. emme0704 says:

    Here here!

  8. ugh says:

    Funny how a sex blogger would find this an issue as most have stopped writing *about* having sex, instead opting to write about sex, as a topic of interest, or excuse to get free sex toys to review.

    You show plenty of your face. Why would anyon care? They should just enjoy what you want to put out.

    ~ They write as an excuse to get free sex toys?? Is that really what you think about sex bloggers in general?? I also know quite a number of “sex bloggers” who still write about having sex; if I were having more of it, I’d be writing about it more often as well.

  9. Nadia West says:

    I think Ashly Star’s comment is dead on.

    And as for sex bloggers blogging for sex toys, I had a blog ’04-’05 before any of this reviewing came about, as did many others. When I started up again in ’07 I was surprised to learn that companies would send sex toys for review. I didn’t review til 9/08. Since I don’t get paid for what I do, why not get a few free toys and then give honest reviews? (Some toys have ended up in the trash.) I was shocked and dismayed to learn that some bloggers review toys they’ve never used, but I concern myself more with my own sense of ethics than someone else’s. Sex toy reviews have never been the bulk of what I produce anyway, and I’ve cut down in recent months due to over-saturation of sex toys in my life.

    A few may only do review for the free sex toys, but I don’t think that’s most of us.

  10. You know what’s so great about the internet versus “real life?” In “real life” when someone says something stupid to me I have to chose not to slap him/her silly and instead walk away. This requires some amount of effort on my part.
    On the internet when someone says something I think is stupid, all I have to do it click a button and like MAGIC he/she disappears.

    I like this post a lot Lilly. What I don’t like is that you even had to write it. What the hell is wrong with people?

    And to “Ugh”:
    Write your own blog. Make your own internet friends. Do something besides criticize. Do you really think your comments here will be met with anyone agreeing with you?

  11. A-freakin’men Lily! Just because you choose not to reveal your name or your whole face or other details does not make you fake.

    To quote my favorite children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit,

    “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

    “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

    We are all real people and as long as you don’t use your anonymity to cause harm, who gives a fuck

    ~ Sadly I think that Alexa has proven that we won’t know until it’s too late if some unscrupulous bloggers are using their anonymity for harm….

  12. SB says:

    i just want to second the motion hahaha or second everything you just said. i dont want my family finding my site and knowin its me. it also adds some excitement being under a different name!! some people just get their panties in a wad! haha

    ~ hmmm I wouldn’t personally say the pseudonym adds “excitement” for me. Nothing wrong with “getting your panties in a wad” from time to time if it’s over a good reason. I do it. Are you saying that’s bad?

  13. Serena Dante says:

    I think I said this on another sex blogger’s site, but it’s worth repeating… I’ve gotten so disillusioned by people being “real” on the internet that I just assume no one is being totally honest. Everyone hides behind some sort of persona on the internet. I make it a point not to take anyone at their word, and I don’t expect anyone to take me at mine.

    ~ You know that’s a really sad, depressing point of view that you have and I certainly hope it’s not shared by many.

  14. Surreal227 says:

    I just feel like I need to say that many people I know are not the same person in real life as they are on-line. Their Facebook may be heavy on religion content, but in real life they could care less.

    What about gamers? Being one myself I’m used to using a different name when I’m on-line or at a convention. Hell, my house gets so confused that sometimes we call each other our gamer tags. Doesn’t make us any “less real”.

    I say ignore them to the best of your ability (although I shouldn’t speak as I have a short temper and find myself on a tirade easily). What you do here is amazing. I love the fiction you write, and the stories you share connect us to you. Sure, I don’t know your real name… but it doesn’t mean you aren’t real.

    If they think that sex blogger’s that they can’t Google a phone number and address for are fake than they certainly haven’t thought about posting their journal or diary for the world to read.

    “Human beings are not meant to lose their anonymity and privacy.” – Sarah Chalke

    ~ You’re right, everybody shows a different facet of themselves to different groups of people. That doesn’t make them any more or less real or trustworthy or valued. I act a little differently and reveal different things to family, coworkers, vanilla friends and sexpositive friends.

  15. I really love this post, Lilly. I do think that the choice to be “out” or not is a big one but that it should not affect the quality of the blog or content as they are two completely different things.

    I definitely don’t feel like I’m somehow magically better than any other sex blogger because I do show my face, in fact some times I regret the lack of anonymity I have and envy those that have it simply because it’s often more difficult for me to publish some posts knowing that real life friends will probably read it.

    Ultimately, however, if someone is going to choose to use that as a basis for whether or not a blog is good or bad that’s their choice, albeit a stupid one.

    As for ugh’s comment about using it as an excuse to get free toys, I can guarantee that there are bloggers out there doing that, but, just like with the Alexa situation, that doesn’t mean all of us are doing it. Honestly, I don’t need any more sex toys, but I love the feedback and questions in emails and comments I get from people about my sex toy reviews. It’s still selfish, but it’s part of why I write in the first place: hoping the reader gets something out of it.

    ~ That is one downfall I guess, if you could call it that, of being in a genre of bloggers that has a name. So many people assume that ALL sex bloggers do this/that/theotherthing or NO sex blogger is real or whatever.
    And you know, you raise a good point. *I* don’t really need any more damn sex toys, either, but I continue to review because I want people to know the truth about toys, and I want them to be able to find varied reviews.

  16. Uh, apparently I need to proofread my comments before submitting them right before going to bed. Apologies for the grammatical errors.

    ~ Oh dear, if there’s grammatical errors then I need to hire you as a proofreader before I ever think about submitting an erotica piece to a book because…. I didn’t even notice. But I haven’t had my coffee yet. Uh, yeah. That’s it. =/

  17. Riff Dog says:

    I think most sex bloggers blog anonymously so they *can* be honest about what’s going on with them. I certainly can’t share my story (adultery) publicly, and neither can so many bloggers who write about their secret BDSM or cuckolding or crossdressing or whatever lifestyle or fantasies they’re into. Heck, even if it’s vanilla sex – do most people want to share their stories publicly???

    I believe the vast majority of anonymous bloggers I read are truthful because it makes perfect sense. These are often themes we can’t talk about publicly, so what better avenue? Besides, why make it up? What would be the point?

    If anything, I’m more skeptical of stories written by bloggers who *do* give their names and faces. Consider this: In my own blog, I’ve written a few times where the sex was bad. I’ve even written about a time where I faked an orgasm. Because I *can* be totally honest about that stuff. If a girl was a dog, I can say so.

    A public blogger can’t be honest in the same way. Their lover (or client) might recognize themselves in the story. If any guy found out his call girl or lover or even one time date had a blog, you can sure as hell bet he’s going to find that blog and see if he’s in there.

    Not to slam public bloggers, but to be honest, I do sometimes question the motivations. If one is willing to talk about sex with their names and faces right out in the open, then there’s a higher chance that a secondary agenda is involved. Perhaps the blogger is wanting to be considered an expert in the field so they can get called as a guest expert on Oprah or NPR or something. Or sell a book. Or sell therapy (several of these bloggers call themselves “therapists.”)

    Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying that I don’t trust bloggers who are public with their identities. In fact, of the bloggers who I read who are public with their identities, I *do* believe they’re honest.

    But if I’m reading a story about some encounter and how great the sex was, I gotta have a little more faith in the anonymous one.

  18. Lilith Pane says:

    From one Lily to another, I’d like to say “hi!” (new reader)

    I also agree with you and I really don’t see what the fuss over anonymity is for. Rarely do we ever see the whole side/life of a blogger. I read blogs for my own entertainment, and the most important part of any connection I feel is my own end of it.

    If it resonates with me, why does it matter if the person isn’t who they say they are? Something within them made them write what they did, even if it is a smaller part of them than it appears to be.

    In the end, the doors of perception are on the threshold of our own world-view. Though we cannot control from where it comes, we do control in which state it enters.


  19. Janie says:

    This is an issue that I have to learn about on my course every day. What is real in writing? Is factuality and being able to prove what you say with empirical evidence the truth? Or is it possible to gain some deeper truth despite the use of fiction? I truly believe that it is. I know which sex bloggers I believe in, that I would trust with my real name, that I have trusted with seeing my real face and meeting me in real life. And some of those are ones who hide their identity all the more.

    This is a great post, and so so true. Anonymous sex bloggers are not anonymous because they are not who they say they are, they do so because posting what we post can have repercussions in the their everyday lives. Everyone knows that.


  20. LivingFire says:

    The thing is that the media as a whole is a distorted portrayal of reality, and sex blogs being one variant of new media, a sub area of the media as a whole, will also always be at best one persons portrayal of their truth.

    With that in mind, I tend to read with an aware eye. Not so much a cautious eye, as I don’t feel I have a great deal to be ‘cautious’ about per se… but just aware that things may be totally accurate, embellished, or something totally different. Who knows.

    As for the anonymity of bloggers, I’m all for it. I believe very strongly in anonymity online anyway, long story, but the fact that todays lectures were on Anonymous/4chan/Operation:Payback, hackers and hacktivism should tell you something about my interests and curiosities outside of sex blogging. To that end, I don’t think any other person is ‘entitled’ to a piece of ourselves – and they can choose to believe what I, as an anonymous being, say… or not. And that’s fine.

    I blogged more extensively yesterday about the things about true, full-on falsification of identity that bother me, which I suspect I can’t do justice to here – but in essence, out and out deception is what it probably comes down to.

    I’m anonymous (relatively so) in my blogging. For a number of reasons, and I don’t see those changing any time soon. I have my reasons, and while I don’t agree that anyone should value an anonymous blogger less, I don’t care too much if they *do* value me less. Their choice, their loss.

    LF x

  21. ugh says:

    “~ They write as an excuse to get free sex toys?? Is that really what you think about sex bloggers in general?? I also know quite a number of “sex bloggers” who still write about having sex; if I were having more of it, I’d be writing about it more often as well.”

    It seems the most active bloggers are mostly preoccupied with toy reviews, or some form of promotion, or reposting lists like the one you ran. There also appears to be a shift in blogs turning more towards sexuality theory/education, etc. . Few are just posting about sex, the way many of them started out posting. It’s not a judgement, but my RSS feed of sex blogs is mainly blogs that fit that description, or defunct/neglected blogs. That’s fine, and nobody owes me anything as a reader. I’d much rather there were more anonymous blogs if it meant sharing more personal smutty details.

  22. I read blogs I enjoy and write mine because I enjoy it. Real…unreal…who the hell cares? I’m looking for titillation, not building a freakin’ court case!

    I don’t have the luxury of being totally “honest” in my postings as I have a personal identity and reputation to protect; as well as real-world people mentioned in my blog whose names and reputations I do not want to besmirch through too much disclosure. Therefore, I blur identities by changing personal details (names, locations, dates, professions at times etc.) that do not detract from the sex (or non-sex) involved – which is what I’m really writing about (unless a post is purely fictional…in that case I keyword it as such).

  23. Well spoken, Lilly!

    I envy and admire people who feel they are comfortable enough with their lives to write publicly about their sexual escapades. Speaking personally, I am far too concerned about the impact on my career and relationships with family and friends to ever “out” myself. I will continue to use a pseudonym and have no plans to change.

    But, like you, I fail to see how “anonymous” journals are any less valid than those written by people with their real names and faces out there. Nearly everyone who is “anonymous” has a damned good reason for staying behind the curtain. Some of them are famous in other circles. Some of them don’t WANT to be famous. Some of them fear interference with work or other aspects of their lives. Whatever the reasons, it makes no difference. The stories are no less hot, the advice is no less good, the reflections and ruminations are no less thought-provoking just because the entries are signed by a “Dangerous Lilly” or a “AAG” or a “Library Vixen” instead of a “Lisa” or “Tina” or “Jennifer”.

    I can’t see why blurring of identities has anything at all to do with the quality of someone’s writing. If it’s good stuff, I’ll read it, anonymous or not.

    — PB