Love & Sex

The Not-So-Terrible Two

We’ve come together through ‘The Naked Truth,’ Santa Fe

Did you know that The Naked Truth column in SFR is coming up on its two-year anniversary in June? Wow. Who would have thought a random, mid-pandemic text exchange about the rising popularity and success of adult content site OnlyFans could have led to something so tangible?

Most correspondence in those days was brief, almost always rooted in COVID-19 fears; maybe even panic. Yet, my ongoing sex and sex advice column makes it into your hands today because of that simple exchange.

While we were amping each other up about the burgeoning sexual revolution—me as an online content creator and him as an ally—my now-editor typed into his chat bubble, “Ohmygod—'ask a content creator’ could be such a cool column.” That initial idea was rooted in de-stigmatizing sex work. Most of us view porn at some point or another, so why do we demonize the people who make it?

Relatively new to sex work and body positive content creation, and possessing ever-present imposter syndrome, I ignored my self doubt and rattled back, “Dooooo ittttt!”

And then he asked me to do it.


We’re talking about someone who, at the time, hadn’t flexed her writing muscles since high school. Sure, I’d been building up my rep as a sex worker through my online persona, Layla Asher, and I’d been learning to better embrace myself, my vessel, my sexuality, but it felt like my COVID brain couldn’t even begin to form complete sentences (you all remember that phase of lockdown, right?) let alone write an ongoing column.

“I’m nobody,” I thought. “Who’s going to give a shit about what I have to say?”

Still, my mind accessed a memory, a quote, maybe, from somewhere deep inside my brain; that thing about how you should start before you’re ready. I’ve always been a risk taker, especially when opportunities fall into my lap, so I responded with a simple “Yes!” before resigning myself to a reality wherein I could figure out the rest later. And so it began.

All self-deprecating humor aside, it felt like if I took the opportunity to educate myself, maybe I could help to educate my own community and maybe—just maybe—contribute to changing even one person’s mind about the harmful stigmas that haunt sex work. But I had concerns.

Was I jeopardizing my safety and anonymity by publicly coming out as a sex worker? Would I be making people uncomfortable with my…let’s call them progressive ideas about things like porn and nonmonogamy? If I ended up causing readers discomfort, would that discomfort morph into hatred and then be directed my way? Rather than succumbing to fear, however, I chose to buckle up, hold on tight and stay true to why I developed Layla Asher in the first place—to create change. No one ever achieved change in silence.

I started learning about the community straight away.

Take my inbox following my very first piece, “Blowjobs Get a Bad Rap,” (June 22, 2022), for example. Immediately, the need for a place where people could ask questions without judgment was clear. And let me tell you, Santa Fe, you have range. I mean a Meryl Streep kind of range. Some of your messages had a Julia Child-like playful irreverence, some had straight up She Devil vibes and the occasional piece of hate mail was full of that good old-fashioned Margaret Thatcher level of rigidity. I welcomed all of it, secure in the knowledge that the good can never come without the bad seeping through, and that the bad meant people were reading and the conversation was happening. That felt like a win.

Themes began to emerge in the letters I received over time. Following a column on polyamory (March 29, 2023), a lot of readers wanted to know more about—and experience—nonmonogamy. At the same time, however, plenty of readers were still holding out hope for their person, their soulmate. That’s also very cool.

I’m also glad to say that if my readers are any indication, people are adopting a more conscious approach to sex and masturbation. This sort of signifies an overarching theme that the pandemic felt like a reset for many, like shedding old skin or a chance to change how we regarded love and sex. I also learned that more and more of you are yearning to identify what you want when it comes to love and sex, and you’re trying to learn how to ask for it. It’s like a crossroads between the old ways of having relationships, both sexual and not, and a new era wherein folks are embracing more progressive or even radical ways of thinking.

As time goes on, the best part of penning The Naked Truth has been in feeling like we’ve cultivated a new type of community together. This was not something I saw coming, honestly. I thought we’d talk about sex a little, burst a few bubbles and maybe some of you would get laid. But I think we all needed this feeling of connectivity, especially in this little town of ours, especially during a pandemic. It’s not over yet, mind you, but things are getting better.

As lovely as that feels, and as I’m sure many of you are aware, Santa Fe can still feel isolated at times, whether or not the state asks us to stay home. Sure, it’s kind of nice to live in a place with ultra-low expectations when it comes to being social, but that can come at the cost of developing human connections; something we all need to survive.

That said, this kind of ethereal space of togetherness emerged for us. Online relationships are real. And knowing you entrust me with the thoughts that weigh heaviest on your hearts or desires that live in the kinkiest parts of your souls makes me feel deeply connected to all of you. When the column comes out and I get inundated with messages that read, “I thought I was the only one who felt this way!” or “I’m so relieved to know I’m not alone,” I am reminded how connected you all are to each other, too, even if you don’t know it. How lucky am I to bear witness to that?

Layla Asher is a local sex worker on a mission to spread radical self love to her community and the world. Want to ask your local sex worker their expert opinion on something? Let’s start a sex positive conversation that keeps respect and confidentiality at the forefront and judgment a thing of the past. Please submit your questions to and include an alias that protects your anonymity.

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