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Archive for October, 2013

Proof of our society’s decline is that Halloween has become a broad daylight event for many.  –  Robert Kirby

sexy HalloweenFor the fourth time since I’ve been writing this blog, we’ve come around to my favorite day of the entire year – All Hallows Eve, which also happens to be my birthday.  This is the forty-seventh time I’ve seen this particular day (the first one hardly counts, since I arrived less than ninety minutes before the Witching Hour), and though I no longer observe it with the wild exuberance I did in my youth I still look forward to it every year, and still enjoy all the little rituals by which we celebrate it.  In last year’s Halloween column I listed a number of “spooky” columns which might put y’all in the mood, and this year I decided to expand those recommendations into a full column:  Monday’s “Trick or Treat“, which you really should read if you haven’t yet.

Unfortunately, Halloween has in our culture become merely a ghost (pardon the jest) of its former self; it is now largely an adult celebration, just a second carnival out of place in mid-autumn rather than where it belongs in the dead of winter.  Today’s children are completely cheated of the holiday as it was meant to be celebrated; as I wrote in “The Day of the Dead“,

…our decaying society is far too obsessed with “safety” to let the kids be kids.  It’s a peculiar paradox:  the Child Cultists enshrine an idealized, romanticized view of childhood “innocence” to the point of trying to force it upon young adults who have long since grown out of it, yet are so frightened of the imaginary haunts their timid souls see in every shadow that they cheat actual children of the joys of childhood…And though we once understood that an annual dose of controlled fear and mild chaos helped children to cope with the existence of Mortem Imperator Mundi in much the same way vaccines protect them from disease, we have forgotten the former (and many of us the latter as well)…

Now, more than ever, we need Halloween.  Death will claim us all soon enough; it’s both foolish and counterproductive to waste one’s life trying to escape the inescapable, and to suck all the marrow out of its bones in a futile attempt to delay the inevitable.  Today is the day to flirt with the Reaper, to dance on one’s own grave, to play with skulls and to have fun with the gruesome…because the more familiar one is with something, the less terror it holds.  And the less we fear death, the freer we are to enjoy everything life has to offer.

Happy Halloween, Dear Readers, and Blessed Be!

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My new boyfriend is into cuckolding.  Some previous boyfriends have expressed interest in seeing me with other men, but not to this degree.  Also, I’ve thought about being in this sort of sexual situation, but never really felt as though the others were truly OK with it.  But this guy has detailed fantasy scenarios, such as my going on dates with other guys then coming home and telling him about it; he even fantasizes about my becoming pregnant for another man.  I’ve told him I am willing to have sex with other men, but it must be with protection.  He says he’s thought about this for over 5 years but never fully acted on it, except for watching one of his exes perform oral sex on another man.  I’m not afraid to participate, but I just don’t know how to go about doing it so as to make it really good for him; how should I act and what should I say during the scenes?

Venus, Mars and Vulcan by Maerten Van Heemskerck (c. 1540)Since you haven’t been with this guy for a long time yet, it’s important that you feel him out so you can get a good sense of how seriously he’s committed to living this fantasy.  What I mean is, some men have desires that excite them very much when they’re horny, but then once they climax they feel very ashamed and guilty.  Does he talk about the fantasy even when he’s not really aroused, like after sex?  Because if he does, that’s a good sign it’s not something he’s ambivalent about.  The reason that’s important is that you don’t want to get involved with this kind of thing if he’s going to be excited by it at first, but then use it to attack you whenever you have an argument.  I suggest taking it slowly; talk about the fantasy and find out exactly what he wants, then go in gradually.  I think it’s very important that the first few times y’all do it should be 3-way situations, with him present; if he seems to really enjoy it and he’s glad that it happened once your “date” leaves, then you can move on to the more adventurous things like seeing guys on your own and telling him about it.  I think you’re very wise to insist on protection for the other men; guys often don’t consider practical things like that when they’re all excited by a fantasy.  And that’s exponentially more true with the idea of getting pregnant for someone else:  in these days of DNA testing, that would be a spectacularly bad idea for reasons I’m sure you don’t need me to explain.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the mechanics of the role-playing if I were you; he’ll probably make it clear what he likes, and I’m confident you’ll pick it up as you go along.  Just take it slow, enjoy the experiences, don’t let him push you into doing things you feel are unsafe or that you aren’t quite ready for yet, and make sure you reserve the right to turn down any specific person he might suggest that you don’t want to go to bed with for whatever reason.  That way, this will be fun and exciting for you as well, and will minimize the chances of building up resentments (in either of you) that could harm your relationship in the long run.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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If everyone grew up to be what he or she wanted to be in childhood we would have a workforce made up almost entirely of firemen, ballerinas, astronauts, teachers, cowboys and nurses.  –  “Amazingly Stupid Statements

money honeyBy the end of September 2010, both my blog and my procedures were beginning to assume something remotely resembling their present form; most of the essays read like my current style, and some of the regular features I had introduced still exist today in one form or another.  For example, the fictional interludes still appear every month (this month’s example, “Dry Spell”, features the first on-screen comment from my husband), “More Q & A” was the second of its type, “Sweet Painted Ladies” was the second hooker song column and “October Miscellanea” was the first regular monthly miscellanea column, a feature which persisted until I (predictably) ran out of months to name them for.  By the beginning of last year I was getting so many news stories a monthly column was no longer enough, but even at this early stage I could have done a weekly one had I realized it would continue at that pace; “The Camel’s Nose” and “Whores in the News” are miscellanea columns as well.  Quite a few others were based around news stories: “Safe Targets”, “The Judge, the Feds and the Stripper”,Bride of FrankensteinCracks in the Dam”, “Juxtaposition”, “Anatomy of a Boondoggle”, “An Enormous Big Nothing” and “Good Fantasy, Bad Reality” all fall into that category, though as you’ll note I used to quote much larger fractions of the stories than I do now, and often paraphrased (a procedure left over from a message board I used to frequent whose moderators had the idiotic habit of deleting posts containing verbatim quotes from news articles).

Red Hot Riding HoodMy schedule had become much more regular by this time, though not as regular as it would later become; I still published each post manually after breakfast (just after 9:30 AM Central Time), but I wrote them in advance and stored them in a folder by date, reassigning dates as necessary to fit in what I considered more pressing stories.  The reason I remember this is that the column “All in the Family”, which appeared on October 4th, was originally scheduled for Jeff’s birthday (September 25th) because it’s on the topic of family; however, since he’s only barely mentioned in it I decided that was less important than getting other, more timely columns posted first.  This gives you an idea of the length of my queue at that point, about a week to ten days. Another shift is that the columns were becoming shorter: none of these were longer than 1700 words, and many were shorter than the minimum length for July; furthermore, there were no two-parters at all.

Strange Mysteries 1At this stage, I was still drawing heavily on my personal experience for subject matter and introducing non-sex working readers to a lot of basic concepts.  “Who Did Your Tits?” is the story of my boob job, “The Going Rate” discusses how escorts set their prices, “No Other Option” was the first of many columns on sex work with disabled men, “Linda” is a short character sketch of an escort I knew, “Scary Movies” is about the “bad” lessons clients learn from porn and “Deadbeats” is about nuisance callers and time-wasters.  As you may be able to tell from those last two titles, I was already starting to try to do some horror-themed columns in the days leading up to “Halloween”, but not as much yet as in later years; there were also several seasonal items in “October Miscellanea”, and the harlotography, “Five Women in Whitechapel”, featured the five victims of Jack the Ripper.  I suppose one might even include “An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought” for the spiders, but since it also includes chimpanzees and penguins that seems a bit of a stretch.

Rounding out the list are “Heart of Gold”, which discusses the stereotypical hooker; “The Love-Hate Relationship”, about Americans’ peculiar ambivalence toward whores; “Amazingly Stupid Statements”, a takedown of some of the dumbest things prohibitionists say; “Hooker Humor”, which features a few of the rare prostitute jokes that aren’t vulgar or insulting; “Playing the Harlot” and “Yesterday”, both extended responses to reader questions; “Wolves”, an attack on neofeminist pathologization of male behavior; and a short survey of “Japanese Prostitution”. Flapper on running board

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There are nights when the wolves are silent, and only the moon howls.  –  George Carlin, Brain Droppings

Schmucker witch 1911As regular readers know, Halloween is my favorite holiday.  Most of you have probably noticed that I try to do at least a few horror-themed columns every October, and a few even pop up at other times of year.  So in order to help y’all get into the spirit (hee hee) of the season, I’ve collected together everything on Halloween or horror-oriented topics I could think of.  First of all, there are my previous columns for the day itself: “Halloween”, “Samhain”, “All Hallows Eve” and “The Day of the Dead”.  “Moondance”  touches on very similar themes, and they’re also visited in “Saint Death”, in which I introduce you to Mexico’s Santa Muerte, the goddess of death.

One of the great pleasures of the season for me is horror fiction, and I’ve visited the subject a number of times which might surprise readers who don’t know me yet.  “Frightful Films” contains my list of the ten scariest horror movies and my favorite horror movies (which are not the same).  “May Eve” presented my picks for the scariest single episodes of TV shows, and “Walpurgisnacht” the scariest short stories.  I’ve also written quite a few horror shorts myself:   “Dry Spell”, “Friend”, “Mercy”, “Painted Devil”, “Pandora”, “Pearls Before Swine”,  “Ripper”, “Rose”, “The Screening” and “The Trick” all fall solidly into the category, and a few others (such as “Ghost in the Machine”, “Greek God”, “What Gets Into a Man…?” and this month’s “Monopoly”) are at least borderline.  I’ve also linked to two short-shorts from horror master Neil Gaiman, “Feminine Endings” and “Down To a Sunless Sea”, and a video wherein Gaiman explains a new tradition he’s trying to start called “All Hallows Read”.  You can even find two short horror films, “444-444-4444” and “Click”;  John Carpenter’s short spoof of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”; and other seasonal videos in this month’s Links #171, #172 and #173.  My column “Mass Hysteria”  compares the “sex trafficking” panic to that attending the famous War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938, and links a recording for your listening pleasure; “October Miscellanea” contains an item about horror comics and a listing of shows featuring vampire whores, “My Favorite Halloween Stuff” introduces my favorite monsters, horror novels, Halloween songs and more, and “Eros and Phobos” discusses the link between sex and horror.  Finally, you may like these striking Harry Clarke illustrations from the 1919 edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s  Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and this Poe-inspired short film called “The Boundaries of Life and Death”.

I’ll leave you with this selection of spooky links from previous columns:

Zombie links

Lovecraftian links

General horror links

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Continuously doing what doesn’t work…  –  Nick Andre, “Stupid”

This was such a disappointing year for Halloween items, I’m glad I recycled a bunch of old ones for tomorrow’s column.  Since I wasn’t about to let the occasion pass without a couple of spooky videos, I spent over 90 minutes yesterday screening candidates and found exactly three I thought worthwhile:  the first one isn’t scary but it’s fun and spooky; the second is very subtle and mysterious and rewards close attention; the third I’ll share next week.  Everything down to the first video was contributed by Jesse Walker, including the first of only three seasonal links; the other two appear directly after the first video and were provided by Aspasia and Nun Ya (who also gave us “headline of the week”).  Grace supplied “knife”, “never call” and “meth”, Jason Kuznicki  “WTF?”, Lenore Skenazy  “student”, Jillian Keenan “names”, Amy Alkon “note”,  Cop Block “tase” and Radley Balko “toy”.

From the Archives

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What these girls don’t realize is that they are victims.  I don’t understand why anyone would choose to do this.  –  Lea Benson

Rough Trade

China moves ahead of the US in this area of human rights:  “…a court [sentenced]…Li Tianyi, the 17-year-old son of prominent entertainers in the military, to 10 years in prison for gang rape, with four others…the…court…ruled that even if a woman is a sex worker…that doesn’t mean it’s O.K. to rape her…

It’s a Start (April Updates)

former New Orleans police officer [Thomas McMasters], who was fired in 2011 for falsely arresting a woman on prostitution charges, was reinstated…with full back pay…[because] the NOPD…took too long to conduct its internal review…

Presents, Presents, Presents!Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance

I received no fewer than five birthday presents this week!  Ted sent I ♥ Sex Workers, Eddiejc1 sent And Then There Were None and Ada, Leonard Fahrni sent Big Sister, and Krulac sent  Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance.  Thank you all so very much; y’all may not really understand how much it means to me to be so appreciated for what I do that y’all want to send me these gifts.

The Sky is Falling!

The app is just a short-term sugar arrangement, but the anonymous (though clearly female) writer just can’t stand that some women are more interested in profit than “romance”:

If you can’t get a date through any socially acceptable means…apparently you should resort to bribery…[via] Carrot Dating.  Creator Brandon Wade…of…SeekingArrangement.com, seems to believe that all it takes to get women interested in a guy is a “gift”…[such as] a tank of gas or a plastic surgery procedure…

Above the Law

drunken sheriff’s deputy [Paul Derrick] was recorded…when he tried to arrest…female [Marine Brittany Ball] at a…[South Carolina] restaurant…because she…turned down his advances…He…[screamed] at her and [barked] orders as he twisted her arms behind her back…When a few men approached…he threatened to arrest them…Sheriff Leon Lott initially backed Derrick…suggesting that Ball was “resisting”…[but] after a week of pressure…[he] placed Derrick on leave without pay…

And if they had been in a less-public place, it might have gone like this:

A…Houston police officer…pleaded guilty [to rape]…in exchange for [only] 10 years in prison.  Adan Carranza…responded to a fender bender…handcuffed one of the drivers and put her in the back of his patrol car…waited for the other drivers to leave…[then] raped her in the backseat…and…took her to jail for reckless driving…DNA and video evidence confirmed the woman’s story…he…will…have to register as a sex offender for…20 years [after release]…

An Example To the West (TW3 #24)Hit & Run cover

in…response [to the American TIP report]…Thai law enforcement authorities are…pulling sex workers out of brothels, [though] there is little evidence to suggest that [they]…are actually victims of trafficking.  In 2012…police investigated three times as many cases of sex trafficking as the year before but that lead to only a couple of arrests…the largest organisation for sex workers in Thailand called for a stop to the “rescues” of prostitutes in Bangkok, arguing that many of them…choose to work in a profession which pays them more than the bare minimum…

Damned If You Don’t

Charles Samuel Couch says that he was wrongly ensnared in a Manhattan Beach [California] sex sting at a public bathroom…and he’s suing the city, the police chief, and 16 other cops…he was…chaperoning a boy…[when] an undercover detective…entered a stall next to the kid’s…[he] bolted…[saying] “There is a man looking at me in the stall”…The two fled, but…Couch was “tackled, choked and handcuffed”…interrogated for “several hours,” his car was ransacked…and the [boy’s] parents…who vouched for Couch, were called…Detectives also took Couch’s laptop…and kept it for more than a month…[claiming it] had been used “as the means of committing a felony”…the Daily Breeze  published Couch’s photo as one of “18 arrested in sex sting”…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #40)

Sex rays are also dangerous to plants and wildlife!

…Fuck for Forest…makes porn…to raise money for conservation efforts…Unfortunately, they have trouble giving away their sex-tainted cash…co-founder Leona Johansson [said]…“Many NGOs are afraid of us.”  The World Wildlife Fund told them that it would take their money, but wouldn’t allow any official connection between the two organizations because “we cannot be linked to certain types of industry.”  And the Norwegian Rainforest Foundation refused their donation outright.  “I cannot see that this helps the work for the rain forest,” the foundation’s director told a Norwegian TV station…

Presumably grants funded via government violence help the work for the rain forest in a way voluntary transactions can’t.

Standard Operating Procedure

US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Naval Criminal Investigative Service…Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II…are accused of accepting bribes from…Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. in exchange for preferential treatment regarding contracts, as well as for tipping the company off to federal fraud investigations…Misiewicz was reportedly gifted with all-expense paid trips for him and his family, prostitutes, cash, luxury hotel rooms, and tickets to shows…

My First Million

I reached a total of two million page views just before midnight on Wednesday.  Thanks so much to all the readers who have helped make this blog a success! two million

Little Boxes (TW3 #45)

Businesses that allow patrons to pay to be cuddled are springing up everywhere.  One…is The Snuggery in…New York…no sexual contact of any kind is allowed…An establishment with a similar business model in Madison, Wisconsin, may never get the chance to cuddle anyone, as city officials are worried that the Snuggle House will end up being a front for a brothel…

But that’s nothing compared to this one:

Barton Jason Lewis Bagnes is asking the Utah Supreme Court to throw out his lewdness convictions, arguing that he did nothing sexual…He was sucking on a candy pacifier and throwing fliers folded into paper airplanes onto lawns when two 8-year-old girls approached him…Bagnes’ trousers were low enough to display a diaper with the Elmo…character…[and] he pulled down his pants to show them the diaper…the fliers that landed in people’s yards showed children of various ages in diapers, some posed provocatively.  Two web addresses were scrawled on the flier, promoting sites that showed sexually explicit images of children in sheer underwear…Bagnes’ history of diaper-flashing goes back to 1999, when he first was convicted of lewdness and was placed on the state sex offender registry…Bagnes has claimed he wore diapers because of urinary incontinence and displayed them to children to spread awareness of the medical problem…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #49)

Mike Ware of Fort Worth and Keith Hampton of Austin, filed writs of habeas corpus requesting the release from prison of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez, who have become known as the “San Antonio Four”…the [National Center for Reason and Justice and the] Innocence Project of Texas and asserts that all four women were wrongly convicted…and that new evidence establishes their complete innocence…The only evidence…against them was the [coerced] testimony of the two children…and medical evidence that is now known to be faulty.  The trial was also severely tainted by homophobia…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #52)Exposing Johns

Tizzy Wall on another horrible member of the same degenerate clan as mugshot and revenge porn sites:

ExposingJohns.com…[collects] information by creating fake ads on private entertainment advertising platforms and then [exposes] the folks who unknowingly contact them…For a mere $195.97, they will “investigate the claims” to delete the profile of an “exposed john” within two weeks, and expedited services carry an even heftier price tag, costing up to nearly $500 for a “premium 24 hour investigation”…

Due Consideration

As a woman who miscarried at 22 weeks, stories like this are especially horrifying to me:

Glenda Xiomara Cruz [of El Salvador] was crippled by abdominal pain and heavy bleeding in the early hours of 30 October 2012.  The 19-year-old…went to the nearest public hospital where doctors said she had lost her baby.  It was the first she knew about the pregnancy as her menstrual cycle was unbroken, her weight practically unchanged, and a pregnancy test in May…had been negative.  Four days later she was charged with aggravated murder …at a court hearing she was too sick to attend.  The hospital had reported her to the police for a suspected abortion…last month she was sentenced to 10 years in jail…

Libertarianism Happens To People

Wisconsin…state Rep. John Nygren…is sponsoring [two] bills aimed at…minimizing the damage from heroin overdoses…The first would offer limited immunity for people who call 911 or bring overdose patients to an emergency room…The other would expand those with access to Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose.  Nygren is sponsoring these laws after confronting his daughter’s heroin habit, and her near fatal overdose in 2009…

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #319)

Notice what word isn’t used:

The Swedish sports world has been rocked by a migrant labour scandal whereby sports clubs duped migration authorities with sham contracts for foreign players…non-EU employees…must earn a minimum of 14,300 kronor ($2,200) a month, but [one revealed]…she had been paid about 5,000 kronor a month…[and another] no more than 2,400 kronor…

Lower EducationBlurred Lines

The student unions at the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham have become the latest to ban the pop song “Blurred Lines” from their respective campuses…Essex University’s student union became the twentieth to ban the sale of the Sun and the Daily Star…Greg Lukianoff…of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)…[said] “UK student unions…think of themselves as…very progressive…But they are echoing…the old Victorian censors…campaigners in both eras share this idea that there are certain moral ends which are so much more important than someone’s measly right to freedom of speech.  This…leads to people wanting to blot out normal aspects of everyday life: sexuality, sexual expression, speech that might be offensive to women…”

Traffic Jam (TW3 #321)

Project ROSE Prostitution Diversion Initiative…was [protested] by a group of sex workers and allies that refer to themselves as the Phoenix Sex Worker Organizing Project [sic]…Phoenix police and students from the ASU School of Social Work team up twice a year to arrest local sex workers and [force] them [to] choose between a six month diversion program or criminal charges.  According to…SWOP…diversion programs…”ignore the fact that many people who work in the sex industry are not victims in need of rescue, but consenting adults who should not be arrested, coerced into diversion, or incarcerated for working”…

Project ROSE’s awfulness also inspired an editorial in Affilia:

Stephanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli provide a succinct analysis of the ethical considerations associated with diversion programs that arrest people…to force them to accept services…“targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry”…Project ROSE is found to violate…the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, and the International Federation of Social Work Ethical Principles.  Informed consent…is violated because the services…rely on recruitment via “massive police…sting operations…social work…should not be in the business of arresting people for their own good.”

Across the Pond (TW3 #333)

Remember “…officials are putting together ‘exit’ services to help the dozens of sex workers who face having their place of work closed down”?  Clueless lawheads imagined closing the saunas would force those dirty whores to get “clean” menial jobs, but here’s what is actually happening:  “Hundreds of Edinburgh sex workers have signed up to an [escort advertising] site – convinced they will be forced out of their…jobs…Six saunas are expected to be permanently closed…

Real People (TW3 #337)

Tizzy Wall interviews Siouxsie Q on a number of subjects, but the most interesting part to me is her commentary on actors’ inane pretenseDear John Letter that they’re better than whores when “HELLO? WE ARE OF THE SAME CLAN!!!”

Social Autoimmune Disorder
(TW3 #342)

In the US, new tools of tyranny always spread like a social disease:  “…[Oakland, California] has been mailing letters to men suspected of cruising for prostitutes…The…letters avoid accusations, simply saying their vehicle was spotted in a high-risk neighborhood….Los Angeles may try the same tactic…Sanford, Florida started a letter campaign, but…will include photos of…license plates…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 22nd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

History, it is said, repeats itself.  And while the parallels are never exact, they are often pretty damned close.  Witness, for example, the new Victorianism which has engulfed Western society:

…we have become shockingly hypocritical about sex and grant our governments tremendous power to suppress it while simultaneously spending tremendous amounts of time and money on it…We have revived Victorian ideas of government-enforced temperance and “social progress”, and the…“Cult of the Child”…which…preaches that children [including adolescents] are as emotionally fragile as soap bubbles and the merest hint of sexual imagery…can cause irreversible trauma…is…pressed into service for sex issues which have nothing to do with children…prohibitionists [have resurrected] the late Victorian “white slavery” moral panic under a new name, “child sex trafficking”, and [wield] it as a bludgeon against adult whores…lest anyone balk at treating adult women as children, there’s a Victorian answer for that as well; prostitutes are  abnormal, defective “victims” of men who have to be protected from our own choices, which are clearly irrational.  Similarly, trafficking fanatics classify brown people as…too stupid and unsophisticated to move between countries on their own without being “trafficked” by gangsters, so by the Victorian “white man’s burden” philosophy they need to “save” these poor victims, whether they want to be “rescued” or not

Traffic in Souls (1913)But while the racist, colonialist, prudish, censorious and paternalistic attitudes we see around us, especially in speeches by politicians and articles from the mainstream media, are straight out of the late 19th century, at least the language used is still modern, isn’t it?  Well…not quite.  In recent decades we’ve seen the return of tortured, obfuscatory euphemisms and circumlocutory, polysyllabic abortions used in place of clear words and direct phrases, and nowhere is this more true than in prohibitionist anti-sex work screeds larded with cumbersome, politicized passive-voice constructions such as “prostituted women” or even “women victimized by systems of prostitution”.  And in recent months, it’s been growing steadily worse; yellow news stories steeped in purple prose extol the supposed “horror” of sex workers’ lives in lurid detail, women are described as utterly helpless and hopelessly naïve, and sexual behavior is described in phraseology that would not seem out of place in a hellfire-and-damnation revivalist’s tent.  And really, that’s not surprising; the equation of all prostitution with “sex trafficking” goes back to the 1880s, and one of its chief originators at that time, The Salvation Army, is also one of its chief proponents now.  The “trafficking” mythos is deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity’s obsession with “pure and pious womanhood, and even when there is no Christian group involved in a prohibitionist scheme the same themes of sin and degradation echo through their rhetoric, even if translated for a non-Christian audience.

To be sure, some of them are very subtle, contenting themselves with merely denying that sex work is work, equating all sex work with survival streetwalking and using Victorian phrases like “selling their bodies”.  Others absurdly state that “prostitution is not a victimless crime”, deny sex workers’ agency (“When you are bought and sold for sex…does that make it a freely made choice?”), misdirect attention from the real issues with simple-minded morality plays featuring demonic pimps and heroic cops, and ignore the coercion implicit in the “diversion programs” they tout.  Still others feature cops using language that sounds plagiarized from penny dreadfuls: “[The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics] is committed to dismantling organizations involved in the seedy world of prostitution and ultimately human trafficking.  Our agency…[is] determined to make a positive impact in a dark world that troubles the soul. Women that are used as a commodity sickens ones hear [sic].”  But others aren’t nearly as restrained:

The struggle against human sex trafficking in Israel has made appreciable progress in the past decade.  Mass media have better informed the public of the severity and dimensions of this vast criminal enterprise…The Sinai fence and more effective border patrolling has appreciably, though not totally abrogated the tacit understandings between the IDF and Beduin [sic] smugglers that annually brought thousands of sex slaves into Israel’s brothels…girls as young as 13, are coerced by the ravages of poverty, incest and rape…into sexual servitude.  Procurers and their underworld bosses subjugate them in lives almost never truly rehabilitated by even the most valiant and dedicated social welfare agencies…tens of thousands of [men]…continue to buy women’s bodies in order, as they commonly express it, “to make them do whatever I want”…the purchase of sex is about power, not about sex, about societal toleration of the abuse of women’s bodies – and souls…

If not for the uniquely modern idiocy that sex isn’t sex, one could easily mistake this for a description of a Victorian or silent-film melodrama, complete with bearded Bedouin slave traders (no doubt carrying their struggling captives on camels); note also the revoltingly misogynistic assertion that whores are “fallen” women who can “never truly [be] rehabilitated”, a common Victorian prostitute-motif which persists in modern “sex trafficking” myth and is echoed in theSalome by Jean Sala characterization of rape as uniquely destructive, a “fate worse than death”.

But the myth of the harlot as a passive, pathetic victim of the Almighty Phallus is a comparatively recent one; for the majority of the past two millennia (and for centuries before that among the Jews), we were cast by prudes and religious fanatics as powerful figures akin to witches, vile temptresses sent straight from Hell to seduce godly men into wrongdoing.  A few of their modern successors still prefer that sort of rhetoric, and demand that whores be made into outcast pariahs who can be persecuted by the “authorities” at will:

…New Port Richey [Florida]…Police Chief Kim Bogart…suggested the city consider crafting an anti-prostitution ordinance that makes it easier for police to arrest known “ladies of the night.”  He’s hoping the ordinance would be worded so that if such a woman even waves or makes a certain gesture to someone, it would be justification for arrest…Councilman Jeff Starkey took aim at the city’s prostitution problem.  “It’s unbelievable how brazen these nasty, nasty, nasty women are”…he said…

Of course, before we were witches and temptresses we were priestesses; many ancient religions believed that sacred whores were a way for men to connect with their goddesses.  The practice still existed in the early Christian era, much to the chagrin of early Church fathers (who had inherited the long Jewish tradition of hatred for whores).  Our last (and most fiery) example of retro anti-whore rhetoric derives its inspiration from that time period:

…Preaching from 1 Corinthians 6:15–7:5, [Russell] Moore likened the present-day cultural saturation of pornography with the first-century pagan practice of temple prostitution.  “The temple prostitution of Corinth has been digitalized and weaponized…and brings with it the kind of illusion and anonymity that the temple prostitutes could never promise…there are digital harems of prostitutes, available and pushed upon every single population in the United States of America and increasingly every single population in the world,” Moore said…

As I’ve said before, if I’m going to be insulted and lied about I’d rather be cast as a powerful succubus than a weak and deluded victim.  Given the choice between two ridiculous stereotypes from the past which have somehow held on into the 21st century, I prefer to be a living weapon so dangerous she must be arrested on sight than an infantilized defective who needs to be locked up because she’s too stupid to know what’s good for her.

(This essay was inspired by Dr. Laura Agustín‘s “tweets” about how silly prohibitionist language has become lately; she and Mistress Matisse provided most of the featured examples.)

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