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Sex & the Media

Akkers & Aiknas
A sexual creature: Karin 'Loslyf' Eloff
Bladsy drie: Die bladsy wat saak maak
Die aktivis en die media
Die Media: Popmusiek se pimps?
Different shades of black
Doring in die vlees: Manlike verkragting
Dr Eve, seksopvoeding en die jeug: Skokterapie op sy beste
Gaum oor die kerk, media en seksualiteit
Gender en media-mag
Het Khwezi (regtig) daarvoor gesoek?
Hollywood klim uit die kas
Is jy man genoeg?
Men, say no to rape
Oor baba-olie en breakfastbars
Pop/pie Kultuur
Sex. food and the media: In search for the ultimate aphrodisiac
Sexiness in the media: Is it all good?
Sexy, saucy ads. Do they really sell?
Showers and Sarongs: JZ vs The Media
Struggling between self-censorship & sex
Taking tips from the past
The new smut
TV se fopdossiere
Vertel hr storie ook
Vertraag - die wet van verandering
Vrouwen door de ogen van MTV
Zapiro, Zuma and those cartoons

A sexual creature: Karin 'Loslyf' Eloff

Date: 1-Nov-2006
Author: Craig McKune

A single mom, passionate writer and ex-stripper, Karin Eloff is now the editor of Loslyf, South Africas Afrikaans porn magazine. She spoke to Craig McKune about herself, her daughter and her controversial profession.

An editorial page picture shows her rolling seductively on a rough carpet naked but for the black duct tape that straps her torso and cuffs her wrists. The editorial column is signed, "Voorwaarts naai! Zo xxx".

Eloff used "Zo" when she was a stripper and now uses it as Loslyf editor.

Pinning her down for an interview took some persuading as she says the office in Johannesburg grinds to a halt when she is not there. But she kindly made time on a Friday afternoon between work and picking her two-year-old daughter up from nursery school.

Her venue choice was the Xai-Xai Lounge on Seventh Street, Melville a simple spot with wobbly tables, good food and magazine-collage wallpaper.

Xai-Xai was overrun with musicians and journalists - mostly Eloff's friends. One large man with fabulous sideburns and the physique of a latter-day Elvis greeted her particularly warmly. He is Jaxon Rice, singer for a rock band called the Diesel Whores, and is famous for his obnoxious, blasphemous and rude onstage behaviour. He is also Eloff's ex-boyfriend.

"I don't like subtlety," she pronounces as we make small talk and compare tattoos hers a bold Maori design on the back of her hand, mine a subtle hand on the back of my leg.

Then we discuss pets. Eloff is a cat lover, but she doesn't like dogs. She thinks they are a little daft. "I like arrogant creatures."

Eloff orders a Black Label and I get tea.

"Good for your complexion", she notes.

We shuffle between the wobbly tables to find the least precarious. She wears jeans and a t-shirt, just like a normal person might. I specify this because many people expect different from her: a former stripper at Teazers, Miss Hustler 2003 and a current porn industry leader.

In the words of a friend, who has only read about Eloff in Huisgenoot, "Shefs a bit trashy".

In Eloff's own words, "I thought stripping was a dark and fucking dingy world".

But she has strong feelings about these judgements, and I really get her heckles up by calling porn readers "dodgy".

"Why do you call them 'dodgy'? You've got a preconceived idea that someone who looks at porn is dodgy."

Eloff says that strippers often face such degrading attitudes. "Some people think that the girl is useless and stupid. They would never think that a stripper could have an honour's degree." Which Eloff has she studied psychology at the now Johannesburg University between 1994 and 1997.

She understands why people are judgemental: "Those ideas arenft based on nothing. But before I get angry, I'm first going to try and get into your head and understand why you find that."

On her father's advice, "Whatever decisions I make in my life are fine, as long as I can live with the consequences".

Eloff hopes to teach these same values to her daughter and wants to raise her openly and honestly. But Eloff realises that other people's opinions of herself may still affect her daughter, and she refuses to tell me her name. She says she does not want her daughter to have problems with her school friends and their parents later.

"Not that I'm ashamed of what I'm doing, but parents might not like me. That might affect her negatively."

And, for similar reasons, Eloff plans to leave Loslyf soon. Though she would like to remain in publishing she is a writer at heart.

She speaks humbly of a book she has been working on, but is obviously passionate.

"I love om woorde te wek", she explains. " I love to struggle with words and let them funnel through me."

She said she writes about what it is like to be a single mother "on the second floor of a woonstelgebou".

She only writes in Afrikaans because she feels she can be more honest. "I feel in Afrikaans. I breathe in Afrikaans. I fuck in Afrikaans. I write in Afrikaans."

Her manuscripts, she says, have been received well by publishers, but they need editing, which she struggles to make time for, now that she is a mother.

It was, in fact, in 2000 when Eloff moved to Stellenbosch to try and publish her book that she started stripping.

"It was a very nave plan", she laughs. She had no money and started teaching belly dancing. A student, who thought Eloff danced very sensually, suggested she dance at Teazers in Cape Town.

"I just thought, 'Are you fucking mad? I canft be a stripper'."

But the seed had been planted.

"I even wrote about it in my book. It was a socially acceptable response to say to her, 'No, you're mad'." Yet she applied and started that night.

"The first night was very funny." Eloff explains that in "sky-high" boots, a g-string and a bikini top, they would dance on tables, each with a pole to hang on to except for her first table.

"These poles are fucking vital to you so you don't fall off. The g-string hooked on the heel of my shoe and I fell on my arse. It wasn't sexy at all."

Stripping led Eloff through good times, but it also eventually led her to Johannesburg where she developed a drug habit.

"I became one of those people that you have your preconceived ideas about."

In 2004, it was the discovery that she was pregnant that ended the drugs. "It was like a slap in the face. It's one thing to hurt yourself, but itfs another to hurt another human being."

A year later, she was a dedicated mother, drug-free and the first woman editor of Loslyf.

Loslyf, Eloff says, began as an Afrikaans novelty, aimed at an alternative market. Alternative artists were often interviewed Diesel Whores, Koos Kombuis, Fokofpolisiekar and Buckfever Underground for instance.

The Loslyf reader, says Eloff, "varies from your 20-, 30-something, Afrikaans, funky kind to 40-, 50- and 60-year-old ou ballies working in the post office".

Through Loslyf readers, Eloff believes she has learned not to judge people, "because people really sometimes write weird things".

For her there are only three rules: Sex must be consensual, respectful and harmless.

She explains that people often write about sexual fantasies that she doesn't relate to, "but my response to them is not judgemental. I'm not condoning it. I'm simply asking if it's consensual".

And when challenged on pornography's role in feeding men's negative perceptions of women, Eloff is adamant: "If you respect people, you will not behave offensively. If you are an emotionally and psychologically healthy adult, you should be able to deal with porn in a healthy, non-discriminatory way."

For Eloff, it is foolish to deny that sometimes we do want to be seen as sex objects. "And what the fuck is wrong with that?"

She says it is people's respectful treatment of each other that is important that people are treated "not only as sexual creatures, but also as sexual creatures".

"If I can just convince one person that sex and sexuality is not dirty, and convince them not to be hung up about it, then I'm happy."

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