When I pressed her for a reason
She refused to even answer… - Billy Joel, “The Stranger”
Got a question? Email me at email@example.com. The last question is from a recent comment thread, but I thought it was worthwhile repeating in a more prominent location.
Inasmuch as “trafficking” is a problem, what should be done about it? I personally think that full deregulation of voluntary personal physical activities would pretty much take care of the problem, but I don’t think my countrymen would go for that. I understand that nothing will satisfy the anti-sex zealots who use trafficking as an excuse to persecute sex workers, but is there any degree of regulatory compromise that you would be comfortable with that could also allay the fears of those who talk about trafficking?
The short version is that there isn’t any such thing as “trafficking”, at least not as depicted by the fanatics. It’s a boondoggle, a moral panic, a new version of “white slavery” or the Satanic Panic. There are no vast criminal cartels “trafficking in humans” for sexual or any other purpose, and the overwhelming majority of the people labeled “trafficked” are actually either regular hookers, or people who have migrated to work; of course there is sometimes exploitation just as there is everywhere, but to depict these incidents as part of some gigantic conspiracy is no different from pretending all child sexual abuse is part of a Satanic cult network.
According to a recent study done of the decriminalized sex work industry in New South Wales, your surmise that deregulation would solve most of the problems is 100% correct. As for the rest of your question, it’s a lot more complex issue than “trafficking” fanatics pretend; here are a few columns which will serve as a good introduction of those issues: A False Dichotomy, Chupacabra, Déjà Vu, Don’t Buy It, Held Together With Lies, Here We Go Again, Rhinoceros, Rooted in Racism, Thought Experiment and Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong. And here are a few others on the problems caused by a criminalization, law enforcement or “rescue” approach: Against Their Will, As Young As Possible, Bad Fantasy, Good Reality, Enabling Oppression, Finding What Isn’t There, Hard Numbers, Knights Erroneous, Law of the Instrument and One Size Fits All. Finally, you can learn a great deal from Dr. Laura Agustín, many of whose essays are real eye-openers.
Have you had a regular job since retiring from prostitution? How do you deal with nasty comments about prostitutes from people who don’t know your background? And have you ever met a prostitute and had her “read” you as a former whore?
I haven’t had a “straight” job since I left the library in 1995. When my husband proposed he knew full well I would never agree to retire if that involved working for someone else again, so he had to agree to support me or it was no deal. Technically, I’m still a whore, but I only have one client now and it’s a very long-term contract. That’s really a good thing for my readers, because writing this column is literally a full-time job so I wouldn’t be able to do it if I had to spend 40 hours a week plus commute time doing something else.
Though I’m not really “out”, I publicly oppose all laws restricting consensual behavior, so my support for whores isn’t really a giveaway; my recent Friday the 13th column listed the sort of arguments anyone can use to argue impersonally against anti-whore bigotry one might hear in public. And I’ve done a whole column on the topic of people “reading” me.
Will you ever let your husband write a column?
How did you go from being a sex industry pro to being married and living in a completely remote area? Do you miss the variety, and do you do anything about it if you do? Also, do you think jealousy is ingrained in us, i.e. part of our instincts, or do you think it exists due to socio-cultural imprints?
The best way to answer the first part of your question would probably be to refer you to the interview with my husband linked in the question above; the second part was covered in my Q & A columns for November 2010, May 2011 and August 2011. As for jealousy, the proof of its biological origin is the fact that men and women tend to experience it differently. Most men are far more concerned with physical infidelity, and most women with emotional infidelity (which is why most well-adjusted women don’t really care about whores). This makes sense when you realize that since a woman can only have one baby per year, physical infidelity results in a huge genetic opportunity loss and resource drain for the male if his woman is impregnated by someone else. For women, it doesn’t matter how much seed her husband spreads around because he has plenty; it’s his resources being diverted to other women and their children which concerns her. That’s why men tend to feel more threatened by hearing about their wives’ past one-night stands than about ex-husbands, while women tend to feel more threatened by ex-wives than by past flings.
I think there certainly can be. People who are intelligent, open-minded and imaginative tend to be harder to restrain by arbitrary rules because they see no rational reason for those rules. And a woman with a mind of that sort who is faced with bills is far more likely than her duller, less imaginative sisters to recognize that sex work is a viable source of income, and far less likely to buy the propaganda designed to keep her from doing it. So although I don’t think it’s correct to make the broad statement that “whores are smarter than amateurs”, I do think it’s fair to say that the average intelligence of high-opportunity-cost sex workers is probably higher than that of their amateur sisters, for the simple reason that in situations where there are multiple options of which sex work is the best, less-intelligent women are far more likely to discard it as a viable option due to arbitrary rules and false propaganda which are more readily disregarded by women of greater intellectual agility.