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Archive for January, 2015

In the world of anti-trafficking organizations, money and lies are deeply – perhaps inextricably – tied.  –  Anne Elizabeth Moore

Secret Squirrel

there are growing numbers of women…for whom the opportunities offered by smartphones for tracking and surveillance are nothing short of terrifying…“For women experiencing domestic violence, these technologies can be used to further terrorise and intimidate them,” says Sandra Horley, the chief executive of Refuge…Refuges, whose locations are kept closely guarded for the safety of their users, now often warn women fleeing abuse to check their phones for apps that might be spyware, and to switch off location services before they arrive…Jennifer Perry…of the Digital Trust [said]…“The easiest thing is to access the woman in the cloud.  A man might buy a phone and set it up for his partner to be ‘helpful’.  He knows the username and password.  You have women who don’t even realise they have a cloud account in their smartphone…The man can just sit at his computer and watch everything that happens on the phone”…

We Told You So

Super ally Anne Elizabeth Moore published a long, thorough report on the incredible amount of money “anti-trafficking” organizations make despite their total lack of any sort of quantifiable results:

…Considering their common mythical enemy – the nameless and faceless men portrayed in TV dramas who trade in nubile human girl stock – one would hope anti-trafficking organizations would unite in an effort to be less shady.  With names reliant on metaphors of recovery, light and sanctuary, anti-trafficking groups project an image of transparency.  Yet these groups have shown a remarkable lack of fiscal accountability and organizational consistency…anti-trafficking groups fold, move, restructure and reappear under new names with alarming frequency, making them almost as difficult to track as their supposed foes…

The Sky is Falling!

Great news!  There is no actual crime in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania State Police are going undercover to root out potential prostitution arranged through dating websites…Troopers work with vice, computer crimes and neighboring municipal police units to coordinate stings and monitor…“sugar daddy” websites…

Broken Record 

Most parroting of “gypsy whores” myth now contains a disclaimer.*  Note also that the writer slips and says “arrested” rather than “rescued”:

Catholic Charities of Arizona is preparing to serve an increased number of sex-trafficking victims arrested by local police in the days surrounding Super Bowl Sunday…The Phoenix metro area was bracing for a surge in visitors as it got ready to host a triad of large sporting events within an eight-day period.  The NFL’s Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX and the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament were all set to take place there Jan. 25 through Feb. 1…Although firm evidence of a correlation between the Super Bowl and an uptick in prostitution is lacking, a 2014 study by Arizona State University’s School of Social Work found that the game produces conditions that traffickers seek to exploit…

The ASU School of Social Work is nothing but a factory for generating bogus prohibitionist studies; it’s the academic leg of the awful Project ROSE.

*For another modified “gypsy whore” iteration, see “Soap Opera” below.

Soap Opera

First-magnitude fabulist Theresa Flores’ maudlin comedy act, distributing soap bars to fight “pimps” hiding in hotel lavatories, continues:

…the Grosse Pointe Soroptimists…offered [hoteliers]…bars of soap…wrapped in labels that feature the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number…A similar effort is under way this week at motels in Phoenix, in advance of the…Super Bowl.  Special events…provide an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking…Theresa Flores, 49…started the S.O.A.P. program…because she thought hard about what might have helped escape her torture…in the early 1980s…new Michigan laws designed to thwart human trafficking…[removes] the statute of limitations for people who were forced into prostitution as minors.  The new law is named the Theresa Flores Act…

Bottleneck

Another demonstration of how regulation of sex work hurts sex workers:

…There are…an estimated 20,000 prostitutes in Greece…of which fewer than 1,000 are…registered…There are brothels (or ‘studios’) where women can register to work legally…Each is granted a licence, issued by the state…There’s a list of…stipulations that must be met before a woman is allowed to work in one of these studios.  She must be over 18; have the right to live and work in Greece; be free from STI’s or other infectious illnesses; not suffer from mental illness or drug addiction; and not have been convicted of homicide, pimping, child porn, trafficking, robbery or blackmail.  Oh, and she must be unmarried, too…the law isn’t stopping married women from working as prostitutes.  It’s simply preventing them from operating in regulated environments and forcing them on to the streets, something which is both illegal and dangerous…

Rhinoceros (#403)

COAST isn’t mentioned here, but this is the same sort of insulting, patronizing bullshit they peddle, pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

…representatives from Homeland Security met with valley strip club workers to show them what to…look for [in] signs that women are being forced to strip or are underage.  The average age of girls entering the sex trade is 13…It’s something authorities worry could increase in Phoenix leading up to the Super Bowl…

Stupor Bowl

The first few paragraphs of this story look like typical “gypsy whores” idiocy and police puffery, then it makes a sharp turn to the right:

…The Phoenix vice squad’s order and earnest claims by [prohibitionists]…are odd in one very important respect:  Actual empirical evidence fails to support the claim that the Super Bowl is related to a prostitution spike.  “No data actually support the notion that increased sex trafficking accompanies the Super Bowl,” observes Snopes.comThe Village Voice succinctly busted the myth around this time last year…The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women released a report in 2011 confirming that the “sporting events bring sex slaves” story was a myth…and relied on extremely negative imagery about women…In city after city, there has been no Super Bowl prostitution spike…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time) sex worker map

Click on the subtitle link above to see what Canadian cops do when they get their hands on information like this:

For two months, women involved in the sex trade in London [Ontario] have been marking places on a map…they’re noting where they live, work, buy drugs, get health care, experience violence, visit social service agencies, spend time and avoid trouble…The final map will be shared with social agencies in London, but not before the women themselves have been asked about their comfort level with the information released…The map will show concentrations of activities, but not identify what any individual woman — all of them anonymous — is doing and where…

Yellow Fever (#426) 

Remember Tenancingo, the Mexican town which was supposedly infested with “pimps” and derived “virtually its entire living from sex trafficking”?  Remember the hundreds of victims, tens of thousands of clients and millions of dollars?  Well, here’s a new story about the prosecution of some of those “pimps” which contains a few clear facts buried in the yellow garbage.  Actual number of “traffickers”?  Two, plus their employees.  Actual number of “victims”?  26.  And what was presented as an ongoing operation ended in 2011.

The Notorious Badge (#452) 

Given that what’s portrayed in 50 Shades isn’t anything like a healthy BDSM relationship, and that there is no sex work in the book, one must wonder what this is about:  “…The movie’s director was determined to make sure the kinky drama was portrayed as realistically as possible so she and [Jamie Dornan] spoke to real-life sex workers to gain an insight into their world…’so that we in no way portrayed it incorrectly’…”

The More the Better (#502)

Cracked appears to be positioning itself as solidly pro-sex worker; the latest is an article entitled “5 Things You Don’t Know About Strippers (Until You Are One)“, written with input from 7 actual strippers, which ends with this:

…we’ve done a few articles on sex workers and porn stars (including a woman who has sex with a ventriloquist dummy on camera) and we keep coming to the same conclusion:

A) The demand for these people’s services is enormous;
B) The vast majority of us partake in some form or another (by consuming porn, if nothing else);
C) They thus fulfill a basic need in a way that the world would sorely miss if they stopped; and
D) We fucking hate them for it.  Like, to the point of violence.

Why? We’re honestly asking. Someone let us know.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on December 7th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

British readers, enjoy this website while you can.

Queen VictoriaIn the year 2015, less than half a human generation past the end of a century which saw advances in sexual freedom (both practical and legal) unprecedented in human history, we are now well into an attempt by the powerful to roll it all back to the Victorian Era.  But while the Victorians were largely concerned about appearances and tolerated considerable debauchery in the back-streets, neo-Victorians pretend that “sin” should be eradicated everywhere for everyone, and modern surveillance methods (not to mention the erosion of the presumption of innocence) have made it easy for police and prosecutors to destroy anyone’s life with an accusation of sexcrime, even if they have to manufacture it.  For years, we’ve seen the recrudescence of the absurd but dangerous Victorian dogmas of the “innocence” of “children” and the fragile asexuality of women; these have been used to justify scorched-earth policies on adolescent sexuality and the re-establishment of the misogynistic doctrine that rape is a “fate worse than death”. More recently, however, the UK government has dramatically ramped up its censorship efforts, and this time even adult men will be included (though still mostly in the name of “protecting women and children”).  In 2013, internet “filters” (i.e. censorship programs) were mandated, first to block adult content and later to stop anything else the government decides it doesn’t want the peasantry to see.  Then last autumn, we discovered that the government is willing to cage people for years for looking at drawings of taboo subjects, and now it comes to this:

…from now on, VoD porn – online porn you still pay for, essentially – must fall in line with what’s available on DVD.  That means that British pornography producers will no longer be able to offer content online that couldn’t be bought in a sex shop.  Acts that are no longer acceptable include:  spanking, caning and whipping beyond a gentle level; penetration by any object “associated with violence”; activities that can be classed as “life-endangering”, such as strangulation and facesitting; fisting, if all knuckles are inserted; physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual; the portrayal of non-consensual sex; urination in various sexual contexts; and female ejaculation.  It’s quite a list, but one mostly made up of stuff that seems to have been picked out pretty arbitrarily (women orgasming, exactly which items can or can’t be inserted into a consenting adult’s body)…

The list also includes bondage, humiliation and “role-playing as non-adults”.  As in the above-referenced manga case, even pretended depictions of taboo acts are taboo, despite the fact that pretended depictions of far more serious acts (like murder or mayhem) are allowed on ordinary television.  For now, the Vice article assures us, “the new law only covers content produced in the UK, meaning that viewers…can still…view as much [international] fisting, strangulation and urination as they like…”  However, given the expansion of the internet “filtering” parameters, do you honestly believe it will stay that way for long?  Erotic Review certainly doesn’t:

…British authorities are gearing up for an all-out war with online porn.  Sources tell me plans are afoot to start blocking British access to foreign so-called tube sites, which host porn videos, regardless of where they are based or whether the scenes they show are legal.  The attack on TV-like services is just the latest stage in a war which could severely restrict people’s access to porn…

One detail of the new censorship regime which is being treated almost as a joke provides another clue to where this is actually headed:  “the publicly funded regulator, the Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD), will have to pay someone to watch porn and enforce the new regulations…at a cost of £36,000 [per year]…”  You know who else pays censors to watch porn so the people can’t?  China.  The Great Firewall of Britain is well on the way, and once it’s discovered that merely blocking adult content fails to achieve the desired effect, the next level of tyranny is criminal charges accompanied by “sex offender” registration (a combination already used for the most-vilified forms of porn).  As I pointed out in “Welcome To the Future”, the dystopia is already here; all that remains to be seen is how heavy a yoke the subjects will accept before they finally attempt to throw it off.

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I’m extremely curious about Asian massage parlors; the media portrays these businesses as pure human trafficking operations, in the sense that the girls are essentially indentured servants who are brought to this country in debt and pressed to work off the debt without any hope of actually doing so.  What is the truth of the situation? 

Asian massage parlorThere are several different ways that Asian women come to the US to work; the most common is via family connections, as is the case with restaurants, nail parlors and other Asian-owned businesses.  Some women do indeed borrow heavily to migrate, but the “indentured servitude” aspect is exaggerated and mischaracterized.  First of all, few of them are trapped in the slave-like conditions of police and media wanking fantasies; it’s just that they have debts to pay and want to pay them as soon as possible rather than letting them drag out for years and years as many Americans are wont to do.  Far from being passive “victims” who are “brought” to the US like cargo, these are young women who took stock of their situations at home and decided that moving to the US was worth the debt and hardship.

Next, there is no moral difference between a sex worker taking out a loan to emigrate to a wealthier country and a student taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans  – except that the former has a guaranteed job and the latter doesn’t.  Here’s another comparison: poor people who take out high-interest “payday loans” because they can’t get better deals from somewhat-less exploitative finance companies or regular banks.  It’s absolutely true that sometimes migrants are tricked into worse deals than they expected, but as anyone with poor credit can tell you the exact same thing is true of American financing deals, which can sometimes result in paying back many times the sum that was borrowed and carry a bewildering load of unfair and excessive fines and penalties.

Lastly, the reason these girls go into debt is that immigration into Western countries is incredibly expensive now, and the reason for that is the “authorities” have erected so many barriers to it; many thousands in fees, bribes, permits, paperwork and other squeeze is required to get into the US, and that money has to come from somewhere.  If US authorities really wanted to “combat human trafficking”, they would remove all artificial barriers to immigration…but that would stop the flow of lovely money to the politicians and corporations who profit from the restriction of international travel for work.  Forget all the nonsense about gangster “traffickers”; these crony capitalists – and the police departments who receive huge “sex trafficking” grants to harass them and rob their businesses – are the real “pimps” who profit from the labor of migrant sex workers.

(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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[When we fail to] require lawyers and courts to base arguments on real evidence…not conjecture or faux science…we give government unlimited power to mandate harmful laws, with no recourse for those whose lives or health are jeopardized.  –  Kathryn Kolbert

Don’t Confuse Us With Facts

Compare the judge’s comments about Rue to those made by Judge Himel about Melissa Farley:

…the U.S. Court of Appeals…heard oral arguments in a Texas case challenging the constitutionality of an abortion law, H.B. 2, that has shuttered half the abortion clinics in the state…Judge Catharina Haynes…questioned whether the law was medically justified…“Are we saying if you can find someone in the world to say we need marble floors in an abortion clinic, then that would be good enough to allow the Texas legislature to pass that?”…in recent abortion cases across the country, that is indeed what state attorneys are doing when they hire Vincent Rue, the pioneering junk scientist  behind “post-abortion syndrome”…Rue, discredited by courts decades ago, has since made a career as a behind-the-scenes litigation consultant…Judge Daniel Huyett found that Rue’s testimony “…is not credible…Moreover, his admitted personal opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, suggests…personal bias”…In…the Texas trial…the state was caught red-handed:  Four of the state’s five expert witnesses were forced to change their testimony on the stand when confronted with emails showing they had lied about who had written their reports…

The More the BetterBetty White nude

Recognize this young lovely?  She’s one of America’s best-loved comic actresses, Betty White, practically a symbol of wholesomeness and niceness.  And she started her career by posing nude in the early ’40s.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to discover this; it’s yet another refutation of the Madonna/whore dichotomy and a demonstration of the ubiquity of sex work and the fact that sex workers aren’t mostly pathetic victims.

A Broker in Pillage

Translation of the last line:  “Let us keep your car or cash and we won’t publish your name and picture.”  The quaint non-“law enforcement” term for this is “blackmail”.

…HB713 would allow [cops] to [steal] a car or other property that was [nearby during] a first-time prostitution…offense.  Right now, property can only be [stolen] for a felony prostitution charge…the Texas Department of Public Safety [pretends] there’s a link between human trafficking and prostitution…Property…could be used as part of a deal in settling a case with the person arrested…

Above the Law 

criminally-charged drug court participants were forced into sexual activity by drug court officer Winfred Eugene Vance Jr. and…Vance’s supervisors did nothing to stop it…Vance blackmailed drug court participants into sexual activity after the participants were threatened with a false failed drug test that could lead to jail time if they did not comply…

Naked Truth

Articles from sex workers, telling the truth about sex work, continue to appear in more mainstream venues.  This one from transgender sex worker Diana Hemingway, entitled “9 Things I Learned in My First Year as a Sex Worker“, does a lot to bust stereotypes and reiterate what I say repeatedly:  sex workers aren’t intrinsically different from others, and sex work is work.

First They Came for the Hookers…

A particularly-blatant example of how sex prohibition never stops with whores:

A couple who lost their teenage daughter to prostitution is now speaking out against a proposed [strip club] in Regina.  Nearly 25 years ago, Ed and Linda Smith’s daughter was killed at age 18…  “We’re opposed to this strip club…not only will it be demeaning to women by treating them as…a commodity, it will also have a huge negative impact on the men who attend”…said Ed Smith…[who is] a regular speaker at “John schools” in Saskatchewan…

The Widening Gyre 

“Sex trafficking” is caused by commercials!

A Youth Exploitation Safety Symposium aimed at keeping young people safe from human trafficking is scheduled…Keynote speaker Nicole Clark will explore media’s negative effects on girls’ self image and self-esteem, from oversexualization to the pressures to be thin and pretty…

Bottleneck (#313)

This licensing law was sold as a way to “protect” women:

Saskatoon has imposed a temporary freeze on issuing adult services licences, something the operator of a local brothel says is a “very big mistake” and will force the city’s sex workers to resort to illegal and “sketchy” ways of making a living…Canada’s new prostitution laws…now make reference to “offering, providing or obtaining sexual services”…no licences will be renewed until the city determines whether it needs to change its bylaw in light of [this]…

Still a Child 

Agency denial, pimp mythologizing, ludicrous numbers and the other typical trappings are used to divert the reader’s attention from the fact that the “sex trafficked child” who is “rescued” by an “FBI Child Exploitation Task Force” in this story is 18, which the last time I checked is still a legal adult in every part of the United States.

Drawing Lines

A particularly loathsome example of a porn performer trying to pretend she isn’t a whore, because whores are degraded and disgusting and she’s pimped by big companies.  Bonus hypocrisy points: it’s well-known that, like many in her profession, she escorts on the side.

Consider this her nomination to the Hall of Shame.

Facts in the Case of Monica Jones

Monica Jones’ conviction was overturned on appeal:

Defendant-Appellant Monica Renee Jones…was convicted in Phoenix Municipal Court of manifesting an intent to commit…prostitution.  Defendant contends as follows: (1) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of her prior conviction; (2) the trial court erred in considering her potential punishment in assessing her credibility; (3) the trial court erred in not holding a jury trial; and (4) the trial court erred in holding the city code constitutional.  For the following reasons, this Court vacates the judgment of guilt…

Skewed By Taboo

Another, very thorough look at how the GSS and similar surveys are absolutely useless on sexual topics:

…One of the many reasons sex is puzzling is that we lack reliable data.  People lie to friends, lovers, doctors, surveys and themselves…[in] the General Social Survey…Heterosexual men 18 and over say that they average 63 sex acts per year, using a condom in 23 percent of them.  This adds up to more than 1.6 billion heterosexual condom uses per year.  Heterosexual women say they average 55 sex acts per year, using a condom in 16 percent of them.  This adds up to about 1.1 billion heterosexual condom uses per year…[but] fewer than 600 million condoms are sold every year…About 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 say they are sexually active, not currently pregnant and not using contraception.  Even with relatively conservative assumptions about how many times they are having sex, we would expect 10 percent to become pregnant every month.  But this would already be more than the total number of pregnancies in the United States…

Traffic in Nonsense

There are actually several of these “anti-trafficking” trucker groups:

…“Truckers Against Trafficking” [are]…teaming up with the Iowa Department of Transportation to educate those who know the roads best…officer Jared Arbegast is reaching out to give more awareness to the…nearly 300,000 young people at risk of being trafficked for sex each year…They say this can happen anywhere there is a large gathering of people, for example major sporting events…TAT recommends that if you do encounter a sex trafficker, do not approach them, instead notify the police…photos of “Victims” and pimp would be great…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo here we are in “scramble” mode; I’m leaving two weeks from tomorrow and as I’ll bet you can guess, I still haven’t even thought about what to pack yet.  I did make one decision about that; I’m only going to take my favorite winter clothes and buy some more up there, because I honestly don’t have very much in the way of nice-looking winter clothes.  Those of you who have seen me in person may find that surprising because I have many lovely spring, summer and autumn outfits, such as this awesome new bathing suit I received from Daz late last week.  But since it never gets all that cold in New Orleans it’s hard to find really pretty winter outfits there, and as a result most of my winter stuff is, well, a bit on the utilitarian side.  But I’ll bet in Seattle I can find some slinky, sweatery long-sleeved dresses, or just heavy skirts to wear with some of the flattering sweaters I already have.  Ooh, maybe some gothy thing with heavy brocade!  And some new boots; new boots are always a winner.  And a motorcycle helmet, but that’s not quite in the same category as the other stuff.

Anyhow, you’ll be glad to hear the book is well underway; I made all my selections last week and I’m finishing up with the transfers today, and then I can start the intensive work of proofreading, turning links into endnotes and rewriting some parts that wouldn’t pass muster by my current standards.  As I’ve stated before, this book is really intended to allow new readers to catch up on my first two years of blogging more easily, without having to slog through so much old stuff about no-longer-current events.  But I still feel it would be a bit lazy on my part just to slap 100 essays in there and call it good.  Incidentally, the last six are important things I’ve published elsewhere, including my research paper “Mind-Witness Testimony“, so die-hard completists won’t feel quite so much as if they’re just shelling out cash for a lot of stuff they’ve already read.   Of course, you could buy it to give it to someone you feel would enjoy my writing, but doesn’t like blogs.  Just sayin’.  I’m not going to do a full-blown book tour this year because I’ll be very busy writing an all-new book in hopes of getting a mainstream deal; however, I will be leaving Seattle at least three times, and in the first (in April-May) I’ll be going down through California and then across on I-40 to New Orleans by way of Oklahoma, so if you’d like me to speak somewhere please let me know in the next 60 days.  One last thing:  I’m now offering my highest sponsorship premium, namely dinner with me, to anyone who wishes to sponsor my work in general (in other words, even when I’m not on tour).  If you’re interested, use this link to email me for details.

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Back Issue: January 2012

Erroneous prejudices…can only survive in a climate of ignorance; exposed to the light of truth they tend to wither away.  –  “A Whore in Church

john school horror comicJanuary 2012 was the last month before the onset of several changes that would result in layout and procedures which continued essentially unchanged for three years.  The reason the change became necessary is obvious if one considers the number of miscellanea/ update columns this month:  The two-part “First Updates of the Year“, the two-part “The Beat Goes On” and the single-part “We’re Not Done Yet” easily could have been organized as five weekly columns instead, and I no longer remember why I didn’t arrange them thus from the beginning of the year instead of waiting until February and then doubling them until I caught up.  That change didn’t drag out nearly as long as the transition from a monthly Q&A column to a weekly; though it was beginning already, the weeklies didn’t actually appear for another year.  Naturally, some things remained unchanged; there were four holiday columns (for New Year’s Day, Twelfth Night, Little Christmas and Friday the Thirteenth), plus a harlotography (“The Princess de Caraman-Chimay“) and a fictional interlude (“Palindrome“).  But even in January, the changes were already starting:boiling frog  “2011 in Review” was the first calendar-year statistics column; “Rockin’ Robin” announced my arrival on Twitter; and essays like “Universal Criminality“, “Rhinoceros” and “Objectification Overruled” not only read like my current output, but also discuss points that I still refer to quite often.

Minerva MinkOf course, those three weren’t the only ones you’ve seen cited and linked often since then; “Crystal Ball” set forth my prediction for the likely timetable of the collapse of “sex trafficking” hysteria, “Scapegoats” became my heading for bestiality articles, “Moloch” turned into the one for stories of young people being sacrificed to the machinery of American “justice”, and “Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark” is the title that appears above items discussing studies which “prove” things everybody already knew.  The latter is also an example of a type of column which disappeared entirely just a few months later, namely the “sequel” column generated by my “One Year Ago Today” feature (which ended it July).  The other examples from this month were “Symptomology“,By Any Other NameWelcome To Our World Again” and “Sleazier Than Thou“; though “Not for Everybody” and “Safety in Numbers” were certainly inspired by the essays they followed, they weren’t direct sequels.

Rounding out the month were “Living in Truth“, an introduction to a classic anti-tyranny essay; “The More the Better“, in which I express pleasure at the growing number of “ordinary” women coming out about doing sex work; “A Whore in Church“, which debunks the weird notion that sex workers can’t be religious; “An Angel of Mercy“, which contrasts one nun’s ministry to sex workers with the more common “rescue” type; and “Sex, Lies and Busybodies“, which looks at three examples of outsiders sticking their noses into sex workers’ business. Campanha cancro

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People just have to accept that they live in Norway and it will snow.  –  Per Kristian Klausen

Today is the 15th anniversary of my boob job; however, I decided not to have a birthday party for them, because that would be weird (I’ll wait until their Sweet 16 next year).  And speaking of “weird” and “tits”, Rachel Bloom is getting married today; I’m commemorating it by posting one of her more delightfully deranged videos.  The first video is also pretty weird, but it’s an actual lawyer commercial contributed by Rick Horowitz (who also gave us everything above it).  The links between the videos were provided by Mike Siegel (“fowl” and “one”), David Ley (“nuns”), Grace (“state”), Jasper Gregory (“Bangles”), Wendy Lyon  (“expect”), and Jesse Walker (“franchise”).

From the Archives

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If someone were trying to pass laws that would directly impact your job, your income, and your life…you’d hope that your input…would be heard.  –  Seattlish

Something Rotten in Sweden

[Thursday] morning a group of 10 people from Sex Worker’s Outreach Project Seattle…and the Gender Justice League traveled to Olympia to attend a public hearing in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on SB-5277…& SB-5041…which together seek to increase the penalties for patronizing a prostitute…Although testimony was allowed by several people in support of SB-5277, and by a lawyer speaking on behalf of clients, the meeting was adjourned before the Sex Workers themselves were allowed to testify.  The members then attempted to get meetings with Senators Kohl-Welles & Padden, but were unsuccessful.  They were told they have 24 hours to submit written testimony to the committee assistant…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Moron writer refers to something only criminalized a century ago as “one of the oldest crimes in history“.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  “Police Officer Abel James…was charged with patronizing a prostitute in Brooklyn…

Secret Squirrel

snoopInvestigators…say business has boomed in recent years from clients who want their sweethearts investigated for…habits and secrets…The trend is partly driven…by [publicized]…examples of online daters embellishing their profiles, and of scammers using dating sites to lure people into false romances…Google [searching]…is like a gateway drug to professional snooping…“It’s the new prenuptial,” Jeffrey Schell of Kassel Investigations in Boise, Idaho, said…Except the “party being investigated doesn’t have to…agree”…

Nasty Words

the residents of Ulker Street [in Istanbul] used…a slang called Lubunca…[whose] earliest traces…can be found…as the Ottoman Empire was waning…Lubunca was found in spaces where men engaged in sex work, such as bathhouses…[in] the late 1980s and early ’90s…Lubunca became more prevalent, along with trans sex work…“A lot of the vocabulary…overlaps with Romani,” [linguist Nikolas] Kontovas says…“Sex acts are one of the largest categories, if not the largest…There’s also tons of vocabulary for money,” he says, and for what he likes to call fun, like alcohol and cigarettes…[now] Lubunca has evolved into a slang used by some gay people who are not trans and are not sex workers…as a way to exhibit one’s identity…

Surplus Women 

Michael Wenham…[stabbed] Karolina Nowikiewicz…to death in [an]…unprovoked attack at her flat…Wenham…was recovering from unsuccessful [penis enlargement] surgery…[and] still had a dressing on his penis which had affected his sex life with [his] wife…Wenham…called in sick to work before…buying a [prepaid cell phone,] Stanley knife, disposable gloves and plastic sacks which he used in the killing.  When the first [sex worker] he tried was unavailable, he booked…Ms Nowikiewicz…Attacking her from behind, he sliced open her neck, cutting through her major arteries and her spinal chord…[he then] washed himself in the bathroom, placed the bloody knife in a drawer…went outside and called the police to admit to what he had just done…there was no evidence of sexual assault, consensual sexual activity or even arousal.  Karolina was chosen because her job made her an easy target…

Above the Law 

Unfortunately, she learned what cops are really like:

Trumball, Conn…police officer William Ruscoe began a drastically reduced 30-month prison sentence for handcuffing and raping a teenage girl in his home…Ruscoe…blamed his crime on financial problems that made it hard to support his wife and two children…During a sentencing hearing Ruscoe pleaded with the court to give him a downward departure in sentencing from the 6-year prison term he agreed to in his plea bargain…The…victim was part of the department’s Explorer program, which provides educational training for young adults on the purposes, mission and objectives of law enforcement…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#137) vajankle

…The vajankle – as its name suggests – is the unholy union of a vagina and an ankle…[for] serious foot [fetishists]…Sin boutique…explains: ‘These quirky feet have a vagina built right in at the ankle!’…the vajankle costs a toe-curling $179…

Sex Work is Work (#448)

Mistress Matisse draws in part upon Joyce Arthur’s suggestions to create a new style guide for journalists writing about sex work.  This will provide a handy reference to point to when correcting the rampant dysphemisms in modern yellow journalism.

A Year Later

This op-ed condemning Canada’s awful new anti-sex worker regime wouldn’t be at all unusual in the Canadian press, but it appeared in the American press, specifically in the deeply-prohibitionist New York Times:

…Many hoped this would be Canada’s chance to emulate New Zealand, where…decriminalization [has improved health and safety]…Instead…Bill C-36 has…[reproduced] many of the statutes struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013…[and also made] it a crime to purchase sex…and…advertise the sale of sex…If abolishing prostitution is the goal for some Canadian legislators, precedent suggests that the new measure is unlikely to succeed…instead of taking this opportunity to pass truly meaningful reforms, Canada has merely replaced one flawed policy with another.

The Widening Gyre (#501) 

Now will the cops stop pretending this woman was “sex trafficked”?

…Tae Bum Yoon…[was arrested for the murder of] Ashley Benson…in an eighth floor stairwell of the DoubleTree Hotel in [Portland]…It wasn’t the first time they had met, and evidence suggests they had some type of disagreement over money owed…

All Wet

Though the content of “5 REAL (And Absolutely Shocking) Reasons Men Hire Prostitutes” actually is pretty real (though not remotely shocking), what I found most interesting was that writer Suzanne Jannese said about the most recent absurdly-lowball figures on the fraction of men who have paid for sex, “The stats surprised me—they were higher than I had expected…”  One wonders how Ms Jannese thinks we even pay the rent.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on November 30th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

rainIgnorance and misinformation are the norms in mainstream articles about sex work, especially when the author and/or sources have prohibitionist inclinations. But since misinformation constantly rains down like a tropical monsoon from the vast cloud of obfuscation (formed from equal parts of prohibition, secrecy and stigma) which perpetually hangs over the demimonde, even sex workers and authors who are typically well-informed about sex are very likely to be drenched in it.  And when that happens, we shouldn’t be surprised if the resulting article is all wet.  Behold “Why Are So Many Young Men Paying for Sex?” from the November 24th Telegraph:

Last week, a report revealed that 1 in 10 British men have paid for sex…the same report…also found that those most likely to have paid for sex in the last five years are single men aged 25 to 34.  The research…led lead researcher Dr Cath Mercer of UCL to conclude: “The picture that emerges does not necessarily fit the stereotype of the lonely older man … men who pay for sex are more likely to be young professionals”…

Nope, nope and nope.  First of all, the absurd claim that only some tiny fraction of men pay for sex – numbers used to typically hang in the low teens but due to “end demand” propaganda are now often below 10% – says a lot more about ant-sex stigma and poor methodology than it does about the reality of sex work.  Here’s how I explained it in an article I wrote over a year ago for Slixa:

…on sensitive topics carrying criminal penalties or heavy social stigma, the results [of such surveys] are less than solid; negative opinions of…dependability on such matters range from “unreliable” to “useless”.  The fact of the matter is that human beings want to look good to authority figures (like sociologists in white lab coats) even when they don’t know them from Adam, so they tend to deviate from strict veracity toward whatever answer they think the interviewer wants to hear…claims about the fraction of men who have ever paid for sex have always been absurdly low, more closely resembling the fraction of the male population who hire sex workers occasionally (say, while on business trips) than those who had ever tried it even once.  To get an idea how far off the claimed numbers are, let’s look at a typical figure for the last [couple of decades]…13%.  Now, just for giggles, let’s pretend that this is the fraction of men who admit to paying for sex once a year rather than once in their lives.  According to the National Taskforce on Prostitution,  roughly 1% of American women  have sold sex as a job for at least part of their lives; my own calculations (based on comprehensive figures from New Zealand) indicate that less than a third of that number are doing it at any given time.  So if 1/3 of 1% of women are sex workers, but only 13% of men buy sex annually, that would mean we all average 39 appointments a year…less than one per week.  I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath and wipe the coffee off of your computer screen before I remind you that what [such studies] actually claim…is far worse; that’s supposed to be the number who have done it at least once in their lives, not once a year, which would mean we should all be averaging, say, ten appointments per year or less…

My go-to figures are that about 20% of the adult male population – fully twice the new figure – pay for sex occasionally (not “have ever” as stated), and that about 6% of them pay regularly.  Given what I wrote about stigma sharply reducing the number who’ll admit to paying, I suspect you can guess where the idea that those “most likely to pay are 25 to 34” comes from; it’s the demographic most likely to admit to paying rather than the one that’s actually most likely to pay.  I think it’s safe to suggest that younger people are much more likely to read my blog or those of other sex workers, and to be familiar with our arguments for the goodness and importance of sex work; therefore, it’s not remotely “shocking” that they are more likely to recognize the importance of admitting the truth about paying for sex in order to combat the propaganda that “sex buyers” are abusive, abnormal perverts.

laptop nudeThe article then goes on to interview one escort who says her experience upholds the claim that more clients are young; big deal.  I could just as easily pretend that my experience that the average client is in the 45-55 age group “disproves” the research.  Different escorts attract different types of clients; I billed myself as “the thinking man’s companion”, and lo and behold I attracted a lot of doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers.  That’s a demonstration of the power of marketing, not proof of what the market in general looks like.  Another idea put forth in the article is the popular belief that more men pay for sex now and that the demographic has widened; this, too, is supported by the experiences of one escort, and it is equally wrong.  To be sure, the internet has made advertising easier, thus allowing some escorts to attract a broader demographic than might previously have been possible.  But that is not the same as saying that those men were previously not customers; they were merely someone else’s customers.  Even if there has been an increase in the past decade, this does not necessarily represent a true increase; rather,

…it would merely be a rebound toward normal levels from a probable low in the 1970s due to the high availability of “free” sex at the time.  Kinsey found that 69% of men in the 1940s had paid for sex at least once in their lives, and though the tendency of more recent studies to generate lower numbers is due partly to poor question design and partly to underreporting due to increased social stigma since the 1980s, it’s certainly possible and even likely that the increased availability of “free” sex had some impact…during the Victorian Era nearly every middle- or upper-class man saw whores occasionally, and there were many more of them; roughly 5.5% of the female population in a typical 19th-century European or American city worked in the trade at any given time, as opposed to less than 0.3% today.  But as more women entered the industrial workforce in the 1910s and 1920s and premarital sex became far more socially acceptable over the same period, both the number of prostitutes and the demand for their services began to drop to today’s unusually-low level…

In other words, if more men are buying sex now it’s probably due to the fact that the “free” stuff has become scarcer, scarier and more socially expensive in today’s prudish, rape-obsessed, anti-sex climate infused with ridiculous concepts like “sex addiction”, which this article mentions as though it really existed.  There’s also a reference to the media myth that young Japanese people are abandoning sex, which the author could have dispelled by a short visit to my blog.  Oh, well, at least he gives one sensible person the last word:

…Dr [Chauntelle] Tibbals offers a caveat to the notion that young men paying for sex is a modern phenomenon: “There are endless historical circumstances…Sex workers were an integral part of westward expansion in the US, for example, or in the lives of people in the military…I wouldn’t say that the ‘lonely old men’ idea is outdated so much as it was always off mark.”

Alas, I doubt many reading the article will pay much attention to that; every young generation loves to think it invented extramarital sex, and every older generation loves to condemn them as though it were really true.

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When I was 21 I fell in love with a beautiful 25-year-old escort; I became her regular and after five months we started unpaid dating.  We fell in love with each other and planned to marry; I had no objection to her work, and she appreciated my support.  But not very long after we moved in together, she was diagnosed with a virulent cancer and died nine hard months later.  As you can imagine, I was emotionally devastated and started to see a psychiatrist who helped me a lot.  Seven years later, I’m successful in my business but don’t feel anything for any of the women I’ve tried to date.  When one of them questioned my emotional distance I told her about my dead girlfriend; she mocked me and then left me.  So eventually I decided to start seeing escorts again; for the last six months I’ve regularly seen a wonderful girl.  I’m so comfortable with her; we can talk about anything, and she’s the first woman I’ve been able to actually have sex with since my girlfriend died.  I have very strong feelings for her, but I don’t know if she feels the same.  I don’t want to lose her; can you give me any advice?

The Ghost Bride by Dienel96 (2011)Humans are creatures of habit, and sometimes we fall into destructive patterns of behavior without realizing that we’re doing it.  For example, a woman may get out of an abusive relationship, only to find she keeps unconsciously attracting or seeking other abusive men.  Or a man may keep dating women who all look eerily like his high school sweetheart.  It’s a well-known observation that people often marry partners who resemble (physically or behaviorally) their opposite-sex parent, and so on.  What it looks like to me is that you are unconsciously trying to bring your lost love back from the dead.  The two of you were so much in love and then she was suddenly snatched from you at a tragically-young age, so you haven’t really been able to accept that despite years of therapy; because of that and the bad experiences with amateurs, you seem to have convinced yourself that you can only be in love with another escort.  But while it may be true that escorts are easier to talk to than amateur women, and for most men we’re certainly less sexually intimidating, it is actually much harder for most men to have romantic relationships with us due to jealousy, stigma, cultural baggage and everything else.  Most escorts won’t even consider dating men they meet as clients, and though there are occasional exceptions your good luck in finding one in your first love may have blinded you to just how uncommon a situation it actually is.

It’s OK to keep seeing escorts for your sexual needs, but you mustn’t expect lightning to strike twice; it’s very unlikely that you’ll easily find another one to replace your lost love.  Do date amateur women, but do not under any circumstance tell them you even see sex workers, much less that you were emotionally involved with one; most amateurs are utterly clueless on this subject and will react like that one girl you tried to date, or maybe even worse.  And most of all, you need to return to therapy so you can get help in finally letting go of your beloved, so you’ll stop trying to replace her with someone who may share nothing in common with her except a profession.

(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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