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Archive for the ‘Perception’ Category

Haggling isn’t actually about the relative expense of a sex worker’s price; it’s a means of trying to circumvent her boundaries.  As I explained nine years ago in “Head Games“,

…[most] men who haggle can easily afford the girl’s price, they simply want to get her to back down from it in order to feel as though they’ve won a victory over her…men who have reviewed expensive escorts will still haggle with girls who charge half as much; this demonstrates that it’s not about the money but rather about getting the girl to accept a compromise.  More subtle types will accept an escort’s price, but will try to get her to compromise one of her other rules in some way; for example, if a girl has published hours they’ll try to get an appointment just before or just after those hours, or if she refuses same-day appointments they’ll try to get one.  A girl who only accepts certain forms of communication will be pushed for another form (for example, her personal phone number)…

Since the demise of the quickie ad sites in the last two years, we’ve seen another type of haggler become more common:  the guy who tries to avoid screening.  This kind of sleazebag is hardly new; every sex worker has dealt with men who seem to think their nervousness is more important than her safety.  These self-important schmucks love to pretend that outing clients is a real concern, despite the fact that

Every whore understands that it’s wrong to out clients; “about 20% of men see sex workers occasionally…yet we don’t see anything like 20% of men exposed as clients.  The fact that ignorant people believe the nonsensical claim that fewer than 15% of men have ever paid for sex tends to point toward the lifetime exposure rate as being even lower than that…”  And it isn’t only a matter of ethics; a whore who got caught outing clients would be destroying her own brand for good, so there are good practical as well as moral reasons for keeping our mouths shut about the famous men who end up between our legs…

Sometimes a request for screening information will provoke a torrent of abuse, clearly demonstrating why being alone with such a man would be a spectacularly bad idea.  But on other occasions, the wannabe client will try to convince the sex worker to eschew screening by insisting he’s a “nice guy”; appealing to her avarice by waving fantasy sums of money and/or promises of an “ongoing relationship” should she relent (a promise worth precisely as much as it cost him to make); or proposing she spend all the prep, travel, and social time to meet him in person to “see if we’re a good fit” (conveniently providing him with social time while demonstrating next to nothing about how he’ll behave in private).  I had one of these clods attempt all three with me in a five-text conversation last week; given that his last text was a flurry of insults, pomposity, and accusations of dishonesty and impersonation (“my guess is you’re…posing as an escort“), he unwittingly demonstrated, as such men generally do, that my decision not to see him was a wise one.

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I’m always happy when journalists investigate the wild fantasies promoted by politicians, cops, and “rescue” profiteers via the mainstream media.  First of all, they have much better investigational tools and resources than I do, plus paid time to do the job; second, they have a far larger platform, and can thus inform many more people of the truth even if their coverage of the topic trails mine by years; and third, given the central role played by the news media in disseminating the lies and propagating the hysteria, it is the moral responsibility of ethical journalists to at least attempt to counteract the massive damage done by their unethical, incompetent and lazy brethren.  So I was very pleased indeed to see Michael Hobbes (whom I’ve corresponded with before) publish in Huffington Post (which for a while was as happy as any other site to spread anti-sex tall tales) a thorough debunking of that “brave hero cops rescue dozens of ‘sex trafficked children’ in Georgia” masturbatory fantasy from a couple of weeks ago.  So much information is intentionally omitted from the “official” press releases in such stories that I’m often forced to surmise the real meaning of semantically-opaque terms like “rescued”; I’m gratified to see that the details Hobbes uncovered are close to my educated guesses:

…“U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children in Georgia”…proclaimed the government’s official press release.  Federal agents and local law enforcement, it said, had rescued 26 children, “safely located” 13 more and arrested nine perpetrators, some of whom were charged with sex trafficking.  The facts of the operation weren’t clear (what does “safely located” mean, exactly?), but it didn’t stop media outlets from taking up the story…the vast majority…were little more than rewritten versions of the U.S. Marshals Service’s press release.  Within hours, social media users continued the game of telephone. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote in a tweet…More than 150,000 people shared a single-sentence tweet from someone named King Randall, I: “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer here in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?”  Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia… 

…“This was not a designated anti-trafficking operation,” [said] Darby Kirby, a U.S. Marshals Service inspector…the…effort…was a collaboration between state and federal authorities to locate 78 “critically missing” children…they…found all but 13…39 were “recovered,” meaning they were removed from whatever situation they were in — which could be anything from living on the streets to crashing on a friend’s couch to staying with a parent who didn’t have custody rights.  The other 26 cases were closed without the child being “recovered”…[which] could [either] mean that another agency…found them — or that they had been home all along…authorities said they suspected [emphasis Maggie’s] that 15…were [so-called] victims of trafficking (meaning [only that] they were engaging in commercial sex) but confirmed only six cases…The operation netted only one new charge of sex trafficking…Of the seven men and two women arrested, three were charged with probation violations, one was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and two were accused of violating custody arrangements.  One…was arrested on a warrant for a previous sex trafficking charge, and two more were arrested on warrants for sex crimes in other states…agents did not rescue a large number of children from a single location — or even a single jurisdiction…only two…were recovered together.  The other kids were found individually across 15 Georgia counties and six other states:  South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.  The operation took place over two weeks, not one night…the agency did not conduct any raids…

…It’s also worth noting that the operation was also set up to arrest [legal minors], not just rescue [children]…two…were [arested as] suspects in homicide cases, and one was a person of interest in another…11…had…“some kind of gang affiliation”…seven warrants [in all] were issued for underage offenders…54 of the 78…had been in foster care before they went missing…most…were…runaways…

There’s a lot more, but I think you get the picture.  Between some reporters waking up, some outlets at last letting skeptical journalists publish stories like this, and some (like the New York Times) being forced to recant their own propaganda for fear of being associated with QAnon, I think it’s safe to say we’ve at last entered the period of skeptical journalism that always precedes the collapse of a moral panic.

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This is not a game…This is our…livelihood.  –  Cris Sardina

Counterfeit Comfort 

This steaming turd is even more worthless than is typical of NPR’s bluenosed imitation of “journalism”, starting with the headline:  the “sex offender” registry wasn’t “designed to protect” anyone; it was and is intended to inflict unconstitutional and extrajudicial punishment on an arbitrarily-defined group of people after the end of their sentences.  Even if the registry were limited to the sort of violent criminals the story luridly cherry-picks in order to uphold its false premise, it would still make no sense; there is no registry for murderers, those who permanently maimed their victims, and many other criminals far more dangerous than the majority of those condemned to permanent pariah status for such heinous “crimes” as public urination, taking selfies, or having consensual sex before the Sacred Moment of Shazam.  If, as the story postulates, there is a problem with these people taking back their lives from illegal state control, maybe the solution is to stop condemning so goddamned many people  –  a disproportionate number of whom are poor and black, and 25% of whom were first “registered” when they were under 18  –  to unpersonhood in the first goddamned place, often by evil scams such as those described in the item below.

Bait and Switch (#849)

Cops don’t care how many lives they destroy with their sick fantasies:

Since 2015, nearly 300 men in…Washington State have been arrested [by male cops fantasy-role playing online as young teen girls] in…a…[scam revoltingly labeled] Operation Net Nanny…[as is typical in such scams, many] are 25 or younger [and seeking consensual sex with age-peers, though cops manipulate them so as to be able to argue that they committed] …attempted rape of a child…even though no actual children were involved.  The emails and texts offering sex are written [one-handed] by [pervert cops]…The “girls” in the photos are [clearly] not 13.  They are [adult sows]…At least five of the men [entrapped by this evil sex game] have committed suicide…most of the [victims] have no felony record…and 92 percent have no history of violent crime.  They are nonetheless sentenced, on average, to more than six years in prison with no chance of parole…[then condemned to] the…sex-offender registry for at least 10 years — and often for life…The[se victims] can wind up serving more time than men who are convicted of sexually assaulting and raping actual children…

Make sure you read down to the part about how these ugly scams are enabled in part by “sex trafficking” profiteers “Operation Underground Railroad”, best known for their cowboy raids victimizing brown people in the developing world.

Finding What Isn’t There (#880)

The easiest way to increase “sex trafficking” numbers is to invent imaginary “victims”:

…“Operation Not Forgotten” [is what Georgia cops melodramatically called a scam in which they arrested]…26 [legal minors, mostly teen runaways] and…found [13 kids who were with parents other than those assigned custody by courts.  Spokespigs oinked out fantasies about]…potential victims of sex trafficking…

Nine adults were arrested during the raids, mostly for probation violations, custody order violations, or merely continuing to exist while condemned to the “sex offender” registry.  Despite the claims of “authorities” that this was a “sex trafficking bust”, only one person was charged under Georgia’s incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” law.

The Widening Gyre (#961)

Words cannot express the extent of my delight at seeing the arch-mythmonger Polaris forced to debunk some of the hysteria it has disseminated (and profited handsomely from) for most of this century.  In the past few years, local cop shops have often been forced to deny stupid rumors that they aren’t in control of which are clogging their phone lines, but this is the first time I’ve seen Polaris put in this position, and the schadenfreude is so sweet.  Incidentally, the reason I took a screenshot of this press release rather than linking it is that Polaris counts clicks on their site as “sex trafficking reports”, and they even block the Internet Archive from archiving their pages so as to force those wanting to disseminate the information to cick directly on their site, thus unwittingly giving them ammo for their campaign of lies.

Paint By Numbers (#973)

Have you noticed dumb “anti-trafficking” stunts are now mostly ads for sports?

Renée Brinkerhoff…started Project 356…to…“use [auto rally] racing as a platform to do something about child trafficking worldwide”…[after] she saw a man on an airport bus viewing a…[porn] image of a young child on his phone…Ms. Brinkerhoff…also “participated in [anti-whore stings]”…She once spent two weeks in Southeast Asia working with…Exodus Road, a…profit[able anti-sex work] organization…that [provides opprtunities for weathy white entertainers to play cowboy using brown people in developing countries as unwlling props]

Working From Home (#1045)

So much for the idea that celebrities cosplaying as sex workers would fight stigma:

Bella Thorne…[is a] former Disney star [who] made $1 million…during her first 24 hours on OnlyFans…[by] engaging in fraudulent behavior…[thus] triggering OnlyFans policy changes that harm sex workers…Thorne had charged $200 for nudes that she failed to deliver, and which reportedly led to numerous refund requests…[as a result] OnlyFans introduced…policy change[s] that…add[ed] a 30-day wait period for payouts and restrict[ed] pay-per-view prices to $50.  The company [claim]s the policy change wasn’t based on a single user, but many saw it as a response to the [huge number of] chargebacks…Thorne…[issued a mealy-mouthed “apology” in which she claimed her scam was somehow well-intended]…

The Implosion Begins

Evangelical churches get what they deserve for embracing “sex trafficking” mythology:

Some Christian leaders, including a couple of prominent conservative evangelicals, have denounced…QAnon…and…its…growing support among…evangelical churchgoers and other mostly conservative communities…Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr…compared QAnon…to the early church heresy of Gnosticism …“Christians don’t have secret beliefs we hide from the world”…Tyler Huckabee, senior editor at Relevant Magazine…that QAnon’s claims are “farfetched”…and fueled by “confirmation bias”…Author and pastor Joe Carter denounced QAnon in a column…label[ing] QAnon a “political cult” and “satanic movement…QAnon…often traffics in lies, which Jesus says are associated with Satan”…

For evangelicals to refer to dealing in lies as “Satanic” when they have embraced that strategy in their attacks on science, human sexuality, and sexual minorities for over four decades is pretty fucking rich.  And for evangelicals to call others’ beliefs “farfetched” is laugh-out-loud funny.

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I’ve written before about the dark side of characteristics usually viewed as positive, pointing out that every deviation from balance has a cost.  The candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as quickly; of course that means it lasts half as long, but it also means that other candles burn at half speed relative to it.  My thoughts race constantly; I’m usually well ahead of everyone else in figuring things out, and my reflexes are abnormally fast.  But have you ever considered what the world looks like when viewed from within such a nervous system?  Take traffic, for example; many people say I drive too fast, but from my vantage point most other people are driving much too slowly.  Anything slower than freeway speeds seems like crawling to me, and being trapped in a clump of people going below the speed limit makes me feel like I’m having one of those nightmares where you are moving in slow motion, and I get so nervous I can’t endure it for long without trying to find some way out of it.  When I’m doing physical work with other people, they often seem to me to be taking much too long, and with far too many breaks in which they sit still in a way I can’t manage without being sedated.  And then there are automated telephone systems, which to me seem something like this:

Thank.  You.  For.  Calling.  The.  Blank.  Ety.  Blank.  Office.  Lo.  Cated.  At.  The.  Inter.  Section.  Of.  Main.  Street.  And.  First.  Ave.  Nue.  In.  Snail.  Ville.  Wa.  Shing.  Ton.”

{long pause}

If.  This.  Is.  An.  E.  Mer.  Gen.  Cy.  Please.  Hang.  Up.  And.  Call.  Nine.  One.  One.

This.  Line.  Does.  Not.  Handle.  E.  Mer.  Gen.  Cies.

{very long pause}

If.  This.  Is.  Some.  Other.  Thing.  Please.  Call.  Our.  Other.  Line.  At.  Eight.  Zero.  Zero.  Five.  Five.  Five.  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.   Exten.  Sion.  Six.  Seven.  Nine.

{pause so long I start saying “Hello?  Hello?”}

For.  The.  Least.  Con.  Ceive.  Ab.  Ly.  Use.  Ful.  Sel.  Ec.  Tion.  Press.  One.

For.  The.  Least.  Con.  Ceive.  Ab.  Ly.  Use.  Ful.  Sel.  Ec.  Tion.  Save.  The.  Pre. Cee.  Ding.  Press.  Two.

For.  Some.  Depart.  Ment.  You.  Never.  Heard.  Of.  Press.  Three.

As you might expect, by this part I’m about to scream and/or jump out of my skin, and I start repeatedly pressing zero, hoping it isn’t one of those systems where the operator is actually reached by pressing five or eight or whatever.  If I know or suspect it’s a voice-actuated system instead, I’m liable to start repeating “Agent. Agent. Agent. Agent.” every time the system starts to say anything, in hopes of getting to talk to someone before my phone runs out of power or I die of boredom, starvation, or old age, whichever comes first.

Anyhow, I think you probably get the picture.  And it may help you to comprehend why navigating bureaucratic systems is like some kind of exotic torture for me, and why it’s best for all involved if I work for myself.

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Every so often a story comes along that demands too long a quote, and covers too many categories, to fit neatly into a news column.  The always-awesome Elizabeth Nolan Brown recently published such an article; though at first glance it belongs in “Top Cop“, it also covers a great deal of material I’d file under “Greeks Bearing Gifts” and “Counterfeit Comfort“, and…oh, to Hell with the introduction; here’s a generous taste:

…Kamala Harris…is currently painting herself as a criminal justice reformer.  Last night, a voiceover introducing Harris even described her as having fought “to end mass incarceration.”  That would be news to the countless Californians she fought to lock up or keep locked up…Harris’s record as a “progressive prosecutor” is one of continually cracking down harder on “quality of life crimes” like drug use, prostitution, and truancy.  Overall, Democrats seem confused about which way they want to go on law and order issues.  The 2020 convention has seen some nods to “racial justice,” policing…and Black Lives Matter, but…even as Democrats make nods to change, Harris, Biden, and other prominent party members speak of new arrest and incarceration regimes they want to put in place—for guns, for speech, for sex, and more.  Out of one side of their mouths, they talk of ending racist and discriminatory policing and our over-reliance on jails and prisons…but out of the other side of their mouths, they push policies that would lead to more surveillance…more ways to extract fines from people and cage them, more reason for contact between law enforcement and those they’re policing, and more opportunities for violence, abuse, and targeted harassment of ethnic, racial, religious, and sexual minorities…

…various voiceovers and speakers mentioned Joe Biden’s role in the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act—widely considered one of the biggest policy disasters in modern U.S. history and a huge driver of our country’s mass incarceration problem.  Of course, they didn’t mention the crime bill by name, just one specific part of it:  The Violence Against Women Act…several aspects of [which] were just as problematic as the rest of the cursed legislation.  Along with the Jacob Wetterling Act, a component of the ’94 crime bill that required the creation of sex offender registries, the VAWA “laid the foundation of the current, overwhelmingly carceral—and increasingly overwrought—response to sexual violence,” write Judith Levine and Erica Meiners in their new book, The Feminist and the Sex Offender…Among VAWA’s “chief provisions were mandatory arrest in domestic violence situations…and ‘no drop’ prosecution, which prohibited the alleged victim from retracting charges…some [prosecutors]…began to subpoena women to testify against their partners or jails them until they comply…child protective services sometimes charge mothers with neglect or ‘failure to supervise’ for allowing the children to witness their mother’s abuse“…(Aya Gruber’s new book, The Feminist War on Crime, is a great place to read more about all this

Americans’ addiction to Manichean thinking, one-size-fits-all pseudo-egalitarianism, and worship of authority figures has created this mess, and no politician has the ability to end it…especially because they’re highly motivated to continue it so as to increase their own wealth, power, and social capital.

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More than eight and a half years ago I predicted that when the end of “sex trafficking” hysteria came, it would not simply fade away, but rather violently implode.  A year later I described it this way:

…This doesn’t mean that things will get steadily better…in fact, they may get worse in some ways…In “The Widening Gyre” I referred to the “trafficking” myth as “an increasingly-erratic cultural meme spinning wildly out of control, whose far-flung debris is going to cause a lot more damage before it finally disintegrates”, and…[in] this last and most dangerous phase we should expect to see a lot more people hurt…Because it’s a useful tool of social control and a versatile excuse for tyranny, governments (especially the US government) will work hard and invest huge sums to continue the panic well beyond the time when it would have died naturally; that, however, can only work for so long, and once the edifice of prohibition starts to collapse the US will no more be able to halt the process than the communists could stop the destruction of the Berlin Wall…

As it turned out, government and private funds were able to extend the lifespan of the panic by about three or four years, and it was their own overconfidence that eventually triggered the death-spiral:

…the hubris of those who yearn for power over others above all else undermined their own plans; in the spring of [2018] power-drunk US politicians tried to use the hysteria to achieve their long-desired goal of control over the internet, and the result of that power grab – the massive internet-censorship bill called FOSTA – badly backfired, galvanizing sex worker activism so powerfully that neither the media nor up-and-coming politicians could ignore it any longer…sex workers who once preferred to remain silent have become extremely vocalacademics in many fields are urging decriminalization…and the broken-down Hollywood celebrities who champion police violence against women are increasingly finding themselves ignored or even publicly mocked for their cluelessness.  “Feminist” anti-sex rhetoric is finally being recognized as the puritanical garbage it always has been, and the hysteria, as I predicted it would long ago, is rapidly approaching the point of implosion

Less than three months after I published that came the plague, and as their funds started to dry up prohibitionists began to lose their shit, desperately attempting to somehow tie the pandemic into their profitable wanking fantasy.  But what not even Cassandra McNeill could predict was that the process of collapse would be accelerated by the most unlikely of unwilling and inadvertent allies, the Trumpaloons.  And the schadenfreude is so sweet, it almost hurts my teeth:

…the…#SaveTheChildren…hashtag [has been] trending…[thanks to] followers of QAnon, the sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory…[combining prohibitionist fantasies about] human trafficking…with…[inconvenient-to-prohibitionists fantasies about] a global conspiracy involving a ring of Satan-worshiping, child-molesting criminals led by…Hillary Clinton…[who] are kidnapping and eating children…in order to harvest a life-extending chemical from their blood…[unlike “]legitimate[” propaganda which claims sex workers and brown people are]…doing the [imaginary] trafficking[, QAnon cultists claim it’s] a cabal of nefarious elites that includes Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Pope Francisthe…[recent nonsense] about…Wayfair…trafficking children under the guise of selling expensive cabinets…went viral…in [part thanks to QAnon followers]…and…In recent weeks, Facebook engagement on human-trafficking-related content has surged…Even the Trump campaign has begun sharing more anti-trafficking content to its millions of Facebook and Twitter followers.  The QAnon strategy of pushing some [politically-approved prohibitionist nonsense]…in addition to [inconvenient, unprofitable] conspiracy theories has [forced the rescue industry and anti-sex media to attempt to draw arbitrary] lines between [so-called] legitimate anti-trafficking activism and…[inconvenient, unprofitable] conspiracy mongering.  Recently…QAnon believers [are even infiltrating pro-police state “awareness raising” events], toting signs with messages like “Hollywood Eats Babies”…Tim Ballard, the [pro-Trump] founder of the [dangerously deranged, violently racist] group Operation Underground Railroad, see an opportunity to reach a new, hyper-engaged online audience…Other…[rescue industry profiteer]s worry that QAnon will divert valuable resources from [established, well-connected] groups trying to stop [sex work and censor the internet]…After the Wayfair incident, the Polaris Project…issued a news release saying its hotline had been overwhelmed with…reports…it…[couldn’t] spin [for its own profit]…longtime anti-[sex] activists…[a]re alarmed by QAnon’s recent incursion onto their turf.  They ha[ve] worked for years to [invent and disseminate] fa[ntasies] about child trafficking, only to see them [hijacked] by [a rival gang of] partisan opportunists.  And they worr[y] that…QAnon belie[fs are so bizarre they] could undermine the [rescue industry]’s bipartisan credibility…


I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to watch the New York Times forced to debunk the prohibitionist propaganda it has eagerly promoted for almost 17 years.  As in tales of black magic, the “sex trafficking” fetishists, propagandists, and profiteers have lost control of the evil forces they unleashed under the delusion that they could control them, and now those forces are threatening them as well.  If this keeps up – and I fervently hope it does – the media and political opportunists are going to have to choose who they hate more:  sex workers and our clients, or Donald Trump and his horde of idiots.

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This was written at the request of a sex worker who wanted to explain the business to someone close to her who objected to sex work and believed most sex workers were trafficked.  The writer is a well-known person who wishes to remain anonymous.

As part of my job, I have interacted with bankers, lawyers, doctors, government officials and diplomats of the highest professionalism.  So it is no exaggeration when I say that sex workers are among the hardest-working professionals I have ever met.  It takes great skill to be a successful sex worker; the physical act of sex is only a small part of the job.  You have to be a therapist and a mind-reader, anticipating your clients’ moods and needs.  You need to be an entrepreneur and a time-management specialist.  You need to always be on your game, because word of a bad experience quickly gets around; unlike most other jobs, you can’t keep screwing up or your clients will ultimately stop seeing you.  You also need to keep yourself in shape and pace yourself so you don’t burn out.  You’re often working by yourself, so you have to ensure you don’t get too isolated.  Most women get into sex work for the money, but who doesn’t seek the most money for any job?  This is one job where success leads to more success and even higher rates.  You don’t wait for a promotion; you promote yourself.

Despite lurid headlines about sex trafficking, there are relatively few examples of that in the United States.  Statistics show that virtually all sex workers in the United States are in the business because they want to be sex workers; even Asian massage parlors are filled with workers who want to be there.  (Occasionally you may read about a bust, but then the charges are quietly dropped later because prosecutors can’t prove the women were coerced.)

Here are examples of some of the sex workers I have been privileged to know:

  • A gifted PhD from an Ivy league University, with well-respected published papers under her name, who decided she could make far more money with her beauty and charm than working in a think tank after getting her doctorate.
  • A zoologist who supplements her income with sex work so she can afford a nice apartment.
  • A single mother who found that sex work allowed her to finish her college degree and provide a better life for her son.
  • A high-profile business executive who does sex work when she’s traveling on business in other cities because she gets a kick out of it.
  • A life coach in her late 40s who turned to sex work because a bad investment left her short of the money she needed to build her core business.

Each of these women had their own reason for deciding to engage in sex work, but they all loved doing it.  They got to meet many kinds of men, from different walks of life, some of whom become close friends.  They are empowered and set their own schedules to fit their lifestyles.  And yet this is what some want to call “exploitation”.

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What are the mechanics of retirement for a sex worker?

There are a few countries where sex workers have access to state pension schemes; even in the US a sex worker who diligently files taxes (as a “consultant” or whatever) is at least eligible for social security.  But of course that’s not what most people would consider a proper retirement income.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, most whores who stuck with the business long enough eventually accumulated enough money to set up their own brothels; even in the 20th century an ambitious lady might own an escort service.  In civilized countries that is still the case, though the rise of internet-based independent work has made it much more difficult for an agency to succeed.  And “sex trafficking” hysteria has made such services far more dangerous to operate because under criminalization regimes, cops and prosecutors actively seek to destroy such services and the lives of those who own and operate them.  Of course, it’s certainly possible for a sex worker of any sort to invest in a 401K or build up an investment portfolio, to set herself up in some conventional business (such as rental properties), or to marry for money, but that’s no different from what anyone else with a more conventional business might do.

I myself owned an escort service for the first few years of this century, but the changing world and the 2008 economic debacle killed any plans I had to retire on that; similarly, divorce ended my access to my wasband’s pension.  Currently, I’m working on building up my non-sex-work income streams, but unless a generous benefactor provides for me in his will or something like that, it seems unlikely I’ll ever be able to move beyond semi-retirement.  And in that respect, I’m afraid I’m a lot like many other self-employed people in the early 21st-century US.

P.S. – The original question was more specific and complex, but I felt it would be more instructive to generalize; if you’re curious about the original phrasing, just click on the link embedded in the question.

(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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Scholars who pathologize sex workers in the classroom grant the state license to mete out gratuitous violence in the streets.  –  Rahsaan Mahadeo

Maggie in the Media

I was recently interviewed on an Australian sex worker radio show named Behind Closed Doors; it was originally supposed to be only one show, but Kitty, Dean & I were enjoying ourselves so much we just kept going and did a two-parter!  Here it is in podcast form (Part One & Part Two); I hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed talking!

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot has reached Eastern Europe:

Since July 1, in Latvia…[prostitution is technically not] illegal  as politicians have been unable to reach a compromise on this issue…The only [criminalization] proposal has been submitted by the party alliance Attīstībai/Par! (AP!) and its sets forth punishing only the buyer of the prostitution services and not the person providing them.  The proposal is to be reviewed in the Interior Ministry. Following this process, the ministry plans to bring the draft law for discussion in the government…

The Notorious Badge

Critics just can’t resist inserting their own dumb beliefs about whores into even good reviews:

Alice, the feature debut from Australian writer-director Josephine Mackerras, is…a leftfield take on female empowerment…Alice…discovers that her husband has cleaned out their accounts and stopped paying their mortgage; a bit of digging later and she discovers the money has been spent on prostitutes…With the bank threatening to foreclose on her home and a huge sum to pay…Alice agrees to work for the very escort agency her husband favoured; there is quite simply nothing else that will keep the roof over her head…Mackerras’s take on prostitution won’t be for everyone, and it does sugar-coat the profession somewhat, but it’s a sympathetic and often gutsy portrait of a woman doing what she must, and surviving, even thriving…

Acknowledging that selling sex is pragmatic and lucrative is “sugar-coating”.

Feminists and Other Puritans

An excerpt from The Feminist War on Crime by Aya Gruber

…The feminist penal regimes implemented in the 1980s and 1990s are now entrenched institutions overseen by prosecutors…administrators, and for-profit actors with vested interests in their continued survival.  Politicians are certainly not apologizing for VAWA…[and] plenty of feminists…remain committed not just to upholding the existing feminist crime control regimes and closing “loopholes” in them but also to creating new ones—new antitrafficking laws, revenge-porn laws, laws against hosting prostitution ads, [etc]…Campus antirape sentiments have proven a boon to prosecutors eager to implement strict versions of affirmative consent…and expand pro-prosecution trial rules…some of the most ardent prison critics…proceed as if there were a carve-out to the mass incarceration critique for sexual misconduct—including, or perhaps especially, intoxicated sex or sex without affirmative consent—even though there is no such carve-out for aggravated assault, drug dealing, or even murder…

Wise Investment (#1024)

In every country, sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

Liberal scholar [and long-time critic of the Chinese Communist Party] Xu Zhangrun has hired two lawyers to prepare legal action against police who accused him of soliciting prostitution…Xu was dismissed by Tsinghua University in Beijing…after he was taken away by police who [claimed] that the…scholar had solicited prostitutes in the southwestern city of Chengdu last year.  Xu, who had taught at Tsinghua for 20 years, was sacked because of “moral corruption”…The law professor…[hired] lawyers Mo Shaoping and Shang Baojun, and former human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang…to represent him…in an attempt to overturn an administrative ruling b[ased on a]…confession…police [pretend he made but]…Xu [denies]…

The Cop Myth (#1045)

Sociologists may at last be admitting their role in creating the police state:

Now is the time for sociology to reckon with its role…in the production of a criminal legal system subsidized by Black captivity, dispossession, debt and death…Any academic attempt to distinguish between “good policing” and “bad policing” or “overpolicing” and “underpolicing” makes policing itself not just theoretically possible, but legitimate…The University of Minnesota has already committed to cutting ties with the Minneapolis Police Department.  Now it and other sociology programs around the country must take the next step by canceling carceral curricula…According to an American Sociological Association report, “criminology/delinquency” was the highest-ranked specialization sought by employers…in 2019.  Courses like “Deviant Behavior,” “Criminal Behavior and Social Control”…and “Juvenile Delinquency” not only legitimize state violence, but also employ academics…sociologists fail to consider how “deviance,” “delinquency,” “criminal” and “terrorist” still conjure up racialized images that cops…and [spooks]…use…to…justify the killing of people of color…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1060)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

[Pennsylvania politician] Mike Folmer [was convicted on child pornography charges despite]…pleas [that the]…judge [should let him skate because Jesus]…Folmer [was]…sentence[d to 2 years in prison]…8 years on probation…[and] sex offender [registration] for 15 years…[his] defense attorney [also made the bizarre argument that he should be let off easy because he is a career sociopath]…“He had an addiction to pornography,” [attorney Brian] Perry said…Folmer [demonstrated his megalomania]…to the judge…[by comparing himself to] King David…

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It’s now been a year since I largely abandoned traditional escort advertising sites such as Eros; I still have a few free ads (such as on Tryst), but as I explained in “In the Club“, most of my new clients over the past two years have come from “people who approach me via my blog, Twitter, other writing, my public speaking, TV interviews, etc.”  That column also explained that by the end of this year, I plan to semi-retire, seeing only people I’ve already seen before (and the occasional new client who comes directly recommended by a sex worker I know personally).  By the beginning of this year I’d seen very little change in my income despite five months without regular ads, and though like most sex workers I’ve been hit pretty hard in the bank account by the events of this year, that has only demonstrated to me more clearly that I can survive without a constant flow of new clients.  So I think it’s time to remind y’all that as of January 1st, it’s going to get harder to see me if you haven’t seen me before; I even plan to remove my business phone number from ads.  Regulars won’t see any difference, nor will anyone who has seen me professionally at least once by the end of this year, so if you’re not yet in that exclusive club, but would like to be, you should contact me pretty soon to get screened and arrange a visit.  I understand that some of you may be interested, but aren’t traveling or seeing anyone right now; that’s perfectly fine as long as you’re screened and paid by New Year’s Eve, even if we have to delay our actual meeting (and I do phone call as well, if that helps).  It’s likely I’ll do one more reminder around the beginning of December, but don’t wait until then; even one session now will protect your ability to book an appointment with me until I finally put away my lingerie for good at some point down the road.

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