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In the News (#664)

A treatment becomes an industry…when its scope creeps to include anyone who is having the kind of sex that someone…deems to be a problem.  –  Michael Aaron

Welcome To Our World

Profiting from donations gathered to fight an imaginary child-abducting conspiracy…hmm, where have I heard that before?

Three Jerusalem residents who allegedly swindled donors into giving money to combat a nonexistent Christian cult they claimed was kidnapping, sexually abusing and forcibly converting hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish children to Christianity have been arrested…investigators launched an investigation into the supposed cult two years ago…the…investigation…soon determined that no such cult ever existed…

Check Your Premises

In the warped minds of US “authorities”, driving a friend to work is “child sex trafficking”:

An Oregon woman has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison in connection to an alleged commercial child sex trafficking operation…Veronica Britt…was identified as the driver for an underage girl who was meeting up with someone at a hotel for sexual purposes…

Surplus Women Jiarui (Jerry) Tang

One of the rare times you’ll ever see me actually assist the cops:

Investigators with the York Regional Police Homicide Unit continue to appeal to the public for assistance in locating Jiarui (Jerry) TANG, wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for Manslaughter in connection with disappearance of 36-year-old Annie LI.  Investigators believe that Mr. TANG has recently attempted to seek the services of women working in the sex trade.  Police believe that he poses a significant threat to these women and we are warning anyone who encounters him in person or online to use caution and contact police immediately.  Ying Chun (Annie) LI was last seen by her family on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in the area of Denison Street and Markham Road…police have reason to believe that Annie Li is deceased…Investigators believe that Mr. TANG frequents the Chinatown area of Toronto and he is believed to be still within the area…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

This interesting article traces the origin of the myth of “sex addiction” to another myth beloved by sex-haters: “social construction of gender”:

…David Reimer…committed suicide in 2004, never having recovered from the trauma suffered under the hands of Dr. Money…in…early 1970s Los Angeles…UCLA researchers George Rekers and Ivar Lovaas pioneered an experimental new type of treatment to literally “knock out” the effeminate behavior of young “sissy boys” through the use of severe corporal punishment.  Like Money before them, they triumphantly published their…findings in 1974…under the title “The Behavioral Treatment of a ‘Transsexual’ Preadolescent Boy“…This “successfully” treated boy, now a grown man of 38 named Kirk Murphy, committed suicide in 2003 due to feeling “broken” by his participation in the research.  These are just two examples of the horrors of…social constructionist ideology.  Despite all this, social constructionism is still alive and well, influencing both the social sciences and public policy.  Take a look at this this article for example about an elementary school teacher who pushes her female students to play with Legos, while forbidding her male students to do the same, all in the name of “gender equity”…the rise of the social construction of desire [occurred in] the same 1970s period in which all of these other troubling experiments were conducted…sex addiction [is the] offspring…of the cultural belief that sexuality is a social construct…that can be controlled, modified, and neatly packaged according to the social norms and mores of the time.  Indeed, the very first sex addiction 12-step group, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLA) met in Boston in 1977…[the] sex addiction [model is the attempt]…to fit sexual behavior into a socially constructed paradigm of monogamy, pair bonding, and…even intimacy…

A Broker in Pillage

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Federal drug agents regularly mine Americans’ travel information to profile people…[as] narcotics traffickers — though they almost never use what they learn to make arrests or build criminal cases.  Instead, that targeting has helped the Drug Enforcement Administration seize a small fortune in cash.  DEA agents have profiled passengers on Amtrak trains and nearly every major U.S. airline, drawing on reports from a network of travel-industry informants…Agents…singled out passengers for questioning or searches for reasons as seemingly benign as traveling one-way to California or having paid for a ticket in cash…DEA units assigned to patrol 15 of the nation’s busiest airports seized more than $209 million in cash from at least 5,200 people over the past decade [by pretending] the money was linked to drug trafficking…most of the money was passed on to local police departments that lend [cops] to [act as DEA goons]…

Monsters

Rae’Lynn Thomas…was shot and then beaten by her mother’s ex-boyfriend in their Columbus [Ohio] home…Thomas is the 19th trans person known to have been murdered in the U.S. this year.  While Thomas’s family was accepting of her…an ex-boyfriend of her mother’s who still lived with the women, James Allen Byrd, made no secret of his transphobic attitudes.  He reportedly often referred to the transgender woman as “the devil”…Renee Thomas…described the attack to police and media. ” He was in the bedroom and he just came around the corner and shot [Rae’Lynn],” she said.  After firing at her twice, Byrd — who was nearly a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than the petite Thomas — proceeded to beat her with any heavy object handy…

Business As Usual

Prohibitionists want everyone to believe that clients inflict the most violence on sex workers, and that the police are welcome “rescuers” from it:

According to surveys conducted periodically by Zi Teng…an organization promoting the rights of sex workers…Hong Kong police sexually abuse workers…in the first four months of 2016 the organization received 206 complaints of violence…Nineteen cases related to abuse by clients while 187 related to the police.  NGOs told Amnesty International that police are legally allowed to [rape]…sex workers…[while pretending] to be clients [in order to arrest]…them…

In case you missed it, that said over 90% of violence against Hong Kong sex workers comes from the police, an number not-dissimilar to figures from other places where cops are allowed to “regulate” us.

Feminists and Other Puritans

Yet “leftists” are still surprised that “feminists” are anti-sex:

[Sex workers] face…a strange alliance of opponents including Labour councillors, feminist activists, trade unionists and…religious groups…their hostility to [sex workers contrasts] oddly with their stated desire to “rescue” them…these activists were armed with feminist battle-cries, and were more likely to be seen reading the liberal Guardian than the right-wing Daily Mail…Object, a “feminist human rights” organisation…[is] part of a far broader alliance of feminist and left groups with a wide range of anti-sex and pro-censorship objectives…similar feminist organisations such as UK Feminista, rolled out a series of anti-sex campaigns…each…loyally supported by the Guardian, by voices from the Labour and Green parties, by trade unionists, and others that I had previously considered part of my progressive tribe…the old anti-prostitution movement was reinvigorated by a flood of new, feminist and left-wing campaigners under the End Demand banner…apparently, the right to middle-class feminist outrage trumped the more fundamental right to work…

Vendetta (#570)

Roughly 0.02% of all US men who purchased sex in that period. Wow, that’s some MIGHTY “suppression” there!

Yet another nationwide “sex trafficking sting” where the main targets of police attention are men who solicit sex from consenting, adult women.  The sting, part of a bi-annual “National Johns Suppression Initiative,” ran from July 1 to August 7 and netted 1,358 arrests for solicitation of prostitution, in 18 states…thirty-eight agencies participated, issuing more than $1 million in fines during the operation and [stealing]…421 vehicles.  New York City and Philadelphia…joined…for the first time…Oakland, California…arrested 42 people…Seattle had the second-highest number of arrests, 204, followed by Columbus, Ohio (167), Harris County, Texas (143), Houston (82), the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (74), Portland, Oregon (63), Boston (57), and McLennan County, Texas (55).  Agencies not listed in these top-tier sex thwarters—including those in or around Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, New York City, Las Vegas, Reno, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia—arrested a combined total of around 250 sex solicitors…no word on how many sex workers were arrested, though that’s usually part and parcel for these john stings

Above the Law (#599) rapist cop James Greene

Another blameless hero is given power over vulnerable women:

A Shreveport police detective who was fired after [raping] a woman…is back on the job.  James Greene…was…arrested and charged with abuse of office…he…was [given two weeks of paid vacation, then]…terminated…In January, Greene was found not guilty [after prosecutors stalled and fumbled for almost a year]…a civil suit has been filed against him by his [victim]…

Subtle Pimping (#603)

If there are so many “sex trafficking victims”, why do they need to keep making up stories about it?

Rena Olsen is a licensed therapist in Des Moines who…works with children.  But she hadn’t heard much about human trafficking…until she watched a documentary about it…Olsen [then wrote a novel called]…The Girl Before…She makes it clear that the fictional characters are not based on any story she has heard with clients…In Olsen’s book, a 6-year-old girl is taken from a park and told by her captors that her parents don’t want her anymore.  Through years of “training” for sale to clients who desire young virgins, her past is wiped out…Eventually, she becomes a perpetrator herself, training young girls snatched off the streets…

IOW, an ignoramus representing herself as an “expert” wrote a novel based on her own twisted BDSM fantasies, and morons are pretending this has something to do with reality.

Too Close To Home (#618)

Actually, this isn’t the “Nordic model” at all, and neither King County nor any part of the US has that because sex workers are definitely still criminalized here.  But the yellow little liar Val Richey (who’s afraid to look me in the eye when he’s in the same room as I am) is only too happy to use that known brand to sell his masters’ brand of snake oil:

Skagit County Coalition Against Trafficking…is hosting a…meeting on Aug. 23 to share [propaganda] about a model of addressing human trafficking — going after the traffickers and customers while [infantilizing sex workers and denying their agency]…Val Richey, King County prosecutor, will present the blueprint that is helping King County reduce human trafficking…The Nordic model is a three-pronged program…the Nordic model’s first prong goes after the pimp and treats prostitutes as victims who…need…mental health treatment…the second prong is arresting the buyer and instituting a financial penalty, half going to law enforcement and half to programs that [incarcerate & brainwash] prostitutes.  The third prong is education…[Gayle] Kersten [pretended] the Nordic model has worked in other countries and King County has had great success…

To Molest and Rape 

Just a typical case in a typical American prison:

DeEtta Williams…has filed a federal lawsuit against…Michael Ewell, who has since been fired, and the California department of corrections and rehabilitation.  She wants…the world to know what happens behind bars…there is a pattern of sexual assault at…women’s prison and…officials “know and just don’t bother” to do anything about it…“Ewell had a history of sexually assaulting women, a history well known to CDC,” according to the suit…In September of 2013, Ewell was accused of sexually assaulting “a fellow CDC officer, [and] was inexplicably transferred to a women’s prison.  He was assigned his own unit to supervise, giving him unfettered access and power over the female prisoners in his unit”…Ewell engineered her transfer to a unit where he worked and had her assigned to a job cleaning the guards’ office and small bathroom…He would “pop” her out of her cell at 5.30am, when no other officers were on shift, and have her clean the secluded area…He groped her…forced her to kiss him…slap her, rape her, choke her.  He threatened her children.  He…[orally raped] her…She lost weight.  Her hair fell out.  She tried to kill herself.  And she told warden Kimberly Hughes that she had been raped over and over again…Hughes was sympathetic…And…transferred Williams to a single cell…Two months later…[Ewell] was “terminated”…

Diary #320

selfie 8-12-16An awful lot of stuff happened last week, but unfortunately I can’t tell you about most of it yet.  There was a conference call I can’t tell you about yet, and I was consulted about an unpleasantness I can’t tell you about yet, and there were some developments in a project I can’t tell you about yet, and of course I can’t tell you about anything that happened with clients (though there were several notable developments, most of them good).  Then there were some other things I could tell you about but would rather not, and a couple of others I might like to tell you about, but you wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t care.  So even though I was so busy last week I barely had time to breathe, there’s very little to report in this column.  I’m going to dinner tonight with a young sex worker who flatters me by listening to my war stories, and I’m getting yet another beauty treatment on Thursday.  Last week I did receive a very early birthday present from Jeremy Dunn, the book you see me holding here (which was the most recent addition to my Amazon wishlist), and on Sunday my book became available on Walmart’s website, which I’m hoping generates a lot of sales!  But I’m afraid that’s pretty much it for this time, except for announcing that I’m going to be in New York City from September 14th to 19th, so if you’d like to see me in that time you’ve got less than a month to let me know!

This victim seems like a conniving little whore.  –  Baltimore prosecutor, name withheld by “authorities”

brutal thugs of BaltimoreSo the US Department of “Justice” has released its long-awaited report on the Baltimore police department, the product of an investigation which was begun after public outcry over the murder by torture of a young black man named Freddie Gray.  Gray was arrested under the pretext that he possessed an “illegal” weapon (a switchblade, like the one I carried in my purse in high school); like all prohibitionist laws, those against “weapon possession” (including the “gun control” laws so beloved by modern “progressives” and racist conservatives of the ’60s) are disproportionately enforced against minorities, and used as excuses for the overpolicing which has decimated black communities (New York’s much-hated “stop and frisk” policy was a gun control measure).  But middle-class Americans in general (and white middle-class Americans in particular) have developed an ingenious defense against recognizing the ubiquitous rot in our society:  they hyperfocus on one particularly blatant example, demand that “something be done” about it, and then smugly congratulate themselves on their enlightenment while ignoring the myriad other examples of exactly the same species of rot that surround them on every side.  The media attention to the Baltimore investigation is a perfect example of the syndrome:  it all tacitly assumes that the Baltimore police department is some kind of unique blot on the otherwise-spotless escutcheon of American policing, when in fact it is an extremely typical exemplar of the authoritarian cancer which utterly permeates the US body politic.

Take this Vox article about the report, for example; it speaks of “revelations” and “damning findings” as though it were about to unveil some shocking secrets, but absolutely nothing it mentions is outside the business as usual of US police departments.  It quotes the report as saying, “This conduct is not only criminal, it is an abuse of power.”  That’s true, but it’s a ubiquitous abuse of power which is so inherent in the machinery of prohibition that New South Wales decriminalized prostitution for the express purpose of eliminating that particular avenue of police corruption.  Barely the week passes that I don’t feature at least one or two examples of rapist cops (as of this writing, over 100 of them so far this year in the US alone), and in the past few years there have been several examples of the systemic pervasiveness of cops raping sex workers that were so egregious that even the badge-licking US media couldn’t ignore them (such as the recent scandal in Oakland).  As the above-linked Vox article notes,

According to the Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, sexual misconduct is the second most common form of police misconduct after excessive force.  An investigation by the Associated Press last year showed that from 2008 to 2014, around 1,000 officers lost their badges for sexual misconduct:  550 officers were decertified for sexual assault, including [rape]…440 other officers lost their certification for other sex offenses, including child pornography, sexting juveniles, or having sex while on duty…

And it goes without saying that these are only the ones who were caught and punished, however lightly; the vast majority never face any consequences whatsoever, because they specifically target women the state has branded “criminals” for completely consensual activities over which it has no legitimate jurisdiction.  This isn’t going to stop because the State makes a big show of prosecuting a few Daniel Holtzclaws or spotlighting a few Oaklands and Baltimores; as I wrote previously, the abuses “will continue to be business as usual until [the] public stops pretending otherwise and demands the abolition of prohibition”.

Links #319

She could…have paid for the panties before she put them on.  –  Halmstad District Court

I discovered this darkly funny Indian insurance company commercial while reading an item featured in yesterday’s news column; don’t worry, you’ll be able to understand the plot even if you can’t understand the language.  The links above it were provided by Mike Chase (“Orwell” & “marry”), Police Misconduct (“protect”),  Jesse Walker (“headline”), Mike Siegel (“archaeology”), Scott Greenfield  (“wrong”), Wendy Lyon (“Sweden”), Elizabeth N. Brown (“laws”), and Radley Balko (“volunteer”).

From the Archives

In the News (#663)

Prostitution is that it is one of the few remaining areas of public legislation which is based almost entirely on private morality.  –  Ian O’Doherty

The Scarlet Letter

Interesting how these “experts” don’t criticize “john shaming” when cops & politicians do it:

[Ohio busybodies have]…created a website…where residents can share pictures of men who pick up prostitutes in the area…the site’s creator…[hypocritically] wants to remain anonymous.  He says they are hoping that by exposing “Johns,” the men, the prostitutes and the drug dealers will stay away from their neighborhoods…Law experts…warn there’s evidence that shaming criminals doesn’t stop them from committing crimes.  Instead, they say it often angers them and motivates additional criminal behavior.

Profanation Rural Beauty

A fascinating article on the slow decline of the devadasis in Indian society:

…There was a time when the prostitute was celebrated.  The most beautiful woman in the city was not allowed to marry.  She became the city-bride (nagar-vadhu). She was allowed to choose a lover, but not restrict herself to one…We hear of…courtesans in ancient Hindu, Buddhist and Jain literature.  Known as ganikas, they lived independent lives…In time, these ganikas came to be attached to temples.  They became wives of the enshrined deities, who never get widowed, and who loved all men as containers of the divine seed.  These were the devadasis.  Their images inspired the carvings of beautiful women on temple walls.  They challenged the old monastic orders.  They were part of temple rituals.  But eventually, the priests and the monks stripped the devadasi of her independence and her agency.  Slowly, she was answerable to the men in positions of power…If not attached to a temple, the woman who sold pleasure for a fee became part of a king or nawab’s court, or a community to entertainers, the nats…In a feudal society, that looked down on trade and commerce, that created hierarchy based on purity of vocations, and gender, she was clearly at the bottom.  What little agency she had was taken away from her, first by colonial administrators and later by puritanical freedom fighters, who modelled themselves on monks of yore…

Saving Them From Themselves

If your reason for warning people against a consensual act is that they could face criminal charges, the problem is with the laws, not the act:

The Mexican government has teamed up with several children’s rights organizations to launch a nationwide campaign against “sexting”…The…campaign…has triggered a debate between government officials and internet rights NGOs on whether the practice leads to so-called “sextortion”…and “revenge porn”…the campaign…[is] overly “paternalistic” while laying out a “prohibitionist” strategy…[officials warn] sexting involving minors may be classified as child pornography and can therefore be punishable with up to 7 to 12 years of jail time…The Network in Defense of Digital Rights (R3D) have criticized the anti-sexting campaign for supposedly framing the practice as a “moral problem” while reflecting a “reduced vision of sexuality and its free exercise”…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now 

I’d normally file this one under “Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through“, but this feisty old dude clearly did think it through; he just isn’t afraid of the cops and their stupid shaming tactics:

A 90-year-old man was arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute…Nicholas Salerno of Dennis Port [Massachusetts] paid a local woman $100 [for at outcall] in June…[but] noticed a necklace missing after the woman used a bathroom in his home.  He reported the theft to police, who informed Salerno that he would be charged with soliciting a prostitute.  “I don’t give a [fuck].  I’m 90 years old,” Salerno told officers…The woman, later identified as 48-year-old Karen Proia, was charged with larceny and prostitution…

The Widening Gyre

This unsupported and hysterical assertion reeks of racism:

The trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy by boat is reaching “crisis” levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe, the UN’s International Office for Migration (IOM) warns…More than 80% of these women will be trafficked into prostitution…[fantasized] Simona Moscarelli, [prohibitionist propagandist] at the IOM.  “Our indicators are the majority of these women are being deliberately brought in for sexual exploitation purposes.  There has been a big enhancement of criminal gangs and trafficking networks engaging in the sexual exploitation of younger and younger Nigerian girls”…Nigerian women who are entering Italy among migrants on boats from Libya should be immediately…treated as trafficking victims.  Instead of being processed in reception centres, they should be [locked up and brainwashed]…she said…

Gingerbread House

“Secure unit” = “prison”.  Because female sexual “purity” trumps individual rights:

A 16 year old girl who is at high risk of being sexually exploited by men requires to be placed in a secure unit for troubled teenagers, the High Court has heard…the girl had a history of drug and alcohol taking and had been seen in the company of older men as well as getting into cars with different men.  Both her father and those [guarding] her [for the state] had reported the teenager at times having been in possession of relatively large amounts of cash, the source of which she would not reveal and which could not be ascertained…the Child and Family Agency had secured a temporary High Court order allowing it to [imprison] the girl…in a secure unit for troubled girls under 18…the girl had a history of absconding, initially from her family home and then from where she had been [confined] by the Agency…She had refused to fully engage with social workers or avail of counselling services…there were serious concerns about being vulnerable to sexual exploitation…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Ian O’Doherty with another denunciation of prohibition in Ireland:

…The reality, for anyone who has ever bothered to listen to prostitutes rather than merely lecture them on their moral failings, is that they are like everyone else – they want to be left alone to conduct their business in safety but that safety can never be guaranteed when the participants are automatically criminalised.  But even taking into account the rights or wrongs of the arguments in favour of legalisation, there is one major point which nobody wants to accept – it’s simply nobody else’s business…Even if you removed all the reasons for objection; even if you stopped all trafficking and ensured that all sex workers loved their job and were friends with the clients, the likes of Ruhama would never support it because of their moral judgment…

Moving Pictures 

“Sex trafficking” may be the first truly global moral panic:

Not My Life…is [an] Oscar-nominated film [about] the hidden international industry of human slavery…initially commissioned by Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime…How accountable are traffickers in Argentina?  According to the US State Department…“Argentina is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.  Argentine women and children, including many from rural areas or northern provinces, are forced into prostitution within the country”…

Welcome to the Future (#587)

It looks like the cops in Northern Ireland are gaining confidence in the prohibitionists’ ability to stall Laura Lee’s challenge to the Swedish model:

The PSNI has arrested six men suspected of buying sex and passed files on a total of 10 men to the Public Prosecution Service…In November the PSNI said that despite making two arrests it had decided not to seek prosecutions – for an unspecified period – in order to “allow time for understanding and awareness” of the new law…Solicitor Ciarán Moynagh, who is representing sex worker Laura Lee in her legal challenge against the new law, said the 10 referrals to the PPS show that the police had insufficient evidence to achieve an overnight charge or standard 28-day charge to court.  “It will be interesting to see whether charges ever arise and if so what type of evidence supports the case,” he added…The PSNI Human Trafficking Unit screened 252 people for trafficking in 2015/16 and recovered 59 potential victims…

“Recovered” is a euphemism for “arrested”.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#630) 

“Sex addiction” is now being used as a defense even for violent sex offenders:

An Army medic charged in his wife’s death will spend over two years in prison after being court-martialed for possessing child pornography and soliciting payment for sex.  Michael Walker pleaded guilty…to solicitation and not guilty to possession of child pornography…Walker said in court that he placed advertisements in September 2014 and was paid for sex multiple times…Defense attorneys argued pornographic images and videos of children found on Walker’s computer were dumped there in a massive file transfer.  They say prosecutors did not prove Walker was the person who accessed the files.  An attorney pushed for leniency, saying Walker is seeking sex addiction treatment…[he] was indicted in November on charges of aiding and abetting and conspiring to commit first-degree murder.  He faces a January trial in civilian court.

One Born Every Minute (#645) Matt Hickey screenshot 8-8-16 at 11.11 AM

Here’s Sydney Brownstone with an update on a sleazy rapist:

…Matt Hickey, the Seattle-based tech journalist recently accused by multiple women of rape and posing as a female porn recruiter online, put out a call [on FetLife] for “sluts” in Las Vegas who are into “being naked, drinking booze, and having fun”…[Hickey, whose FetLife handle is]…4eyez…[said he’s] “going to be living in Vegas for the next few months doing some research”…Hickey…[confirmed via text] that he is…the 4eyez account…[which has since] been deactivated or removed from the site.

Still a Child (#646) 

Louisiana politicians destroy the jobs of scores of women with the stroke of a pen.  To “protect” them, of course:

When a state law banning exotic dancers under 21 was passed, many believed some of the ones already performing at strip clubs would be grandfathered into the law…But state police [decided] that will not happen.  Dancers under 21 have until Oct. 1 to get offstage.  State troopers met with club managers [to threaten them]…If club owners are found with dancers under 21, penalties are strict…[politicians pretend] the move will ultimately reduce human trafficking and drug and alcohol abuse…Police [pretend] an undercover sting is something they want to avoid doing, but would go that route if a club is in violation.

A Procrustean Bed (#661)

Prosecutors claim that sex workers are both victims and criminals simultaneously:

Under California law, anyone under age 18 who is engaged in prostitution is considered a sex-trafficking victim, regardless of whether any force or coercion is involved.  Yet teens in the sex trade can also be charged under state law with committing prostitution.  California legislators are trying to change this…but the measure has run into opposition from law enforcement officials, who say that arresting victims is integral to saving them…the California District Attorneys Association, which says that without the threat of criminal sanctions, victims won’t have enough incentive to testify against people the state would like to lock-up as pimps…

Ulro

Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me:
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold always, may God us keep
From single vision and Newton’s sleep!
 –  William Blake

William Blake constructed an elaborate artificial mythology full of original concepts, gods, places and terms.  One of these concepts is Ulro, an utterly fallen state divorced from all abstraction and transcendence; he imagined four states of being, with Eternity (also called Eden) being the highest and Ulro being the lowest.  Beings in Ulro have “single vision”; they see only mundane physical reality uncolored by imagination, inspiration or even fully developed eroticism.  Ulro is the state occupied by the dullest sort of human, who is unable to see any of the complexities of the world around them; it is a kind of spiritual sleep, dominated by the stomach and intestines, and people who exist this way can be visualized as going through the world with one eye closed, seeing everything flat and without proper perspective.  The second state, Generation, is the one in which more intellectually & spiritually aware humans exist; it is dominated by the genitals and can be imagined as seeing with both eyes.  The third state, Beulah, occurs when the individual is open to the spiritual or imaginative dimension; it is dominated by the heart and characterized by “threefold vision”, which one might think of as the “third eye” of mysticism, the “altered consciousness” experienced by psychedelic drug users, an ecstatic religious state or even a transcendent erotic experience.  Finally, Eternity, dominated by the head and characterized by “fourfold vision”, allows connection to the entire universe; it is a condition of total bliss which few humans can reach, and even then only for very short periods of time while existing in this plane.

I’ve been fascinated by Blake’s mysticism ever since I first studied it while working on my bachelor’s degree in English; my major concentration was on the Romantic Period, and Blake was the subject of at least one major term paper and a number of lesser ones.  I wove many of his concepts into the D&D universe I created, and I often find myself looking at the world through a Blakean lens, especially when thinking about the incredible, half-blind ignorance with which so many people view the world, especially when the topic is sex.  Traditional religions, authoritarian governments, power-hungry collective entities and the popular media all work  –  separately and in conjunction  –  to immerse the population in a dense fog of obfuscation, a Veil of Ulro which allows them to be just awake enough to serve their masters, but not awake enough to actually penetrate that fog and see the world around them as it is.  They believe in the most ridiculous nonsense about sex, imagining men to be such eunuchs that they can simply be ordered to be celibate by churches, military officials, prison officials or prudish wives, and women to be so asexual that the only possible reason they might engage in pragmatic sex is because some evil man forced them to.  They are “shocked” when government actors behave exactly like other men would under the same conditions, and refuse to understand that interesting costumes don’t magically make men into paragons, but rather make them much worse.  They actually think that the leaders they have chosen to follow are better and more noble than those on the evil Other Team, and obediently close their one open eye whenever those leaders order them to ignore spying, brutality, looting, racism and even mass murder.  And they’re willing to believe in grandiose fantasies utterly divorced from all known facts about statistics, economics, psychology, sexuality, anthropology and plain common sense rather than accept that some women can have pragmatic sex, that most men are willing to pay them for it, and that many people are happy to strive for truly Pinocchian levels of dishonesty in order to make a profit, seize power, get rid of people they’re bigoted against or even seek petty vengeance.  Even Blake himself only claimed to have fourfold vision in moments of “supreme delight”, and most of us need drugs, meditation or superlative sexual experiences to get our “third eyes” open.  But is it really too much to ask that people just wake the hell up and open the second eye that’s waiting and ready right there on the fronts of their heads?

Fireworks

I’m looking for a way my wife can learn the ways of seduction.  We married at 19, had our first child at 23 and have been married for 27 years.  When we were young she did not have to do anything special to keep my attention, but as I’ve aged I’ve grown to desire sexually confident women.  In recent years I’ve been living and working in a developing country and had an affair with a much younger woman; it isn’t that the sex with her is dramatically better, but rather her confidence in her beauty and sexuality, and all of the little subtle seductive things which I long for.  My wife is a good woman who is kind, thoughtful, and caring, but we have very different love languages and have grown apart over the years.  I confessed the affair to her and we’re talking very openly about the situation; we both want things to work, but I need the things I mentioned, which do not come naturally to her.  How can my wife learn such things so we can connect?  Or am I just being a selfish ass?

fireworks heartTalents of any kind, from music to leadership to skill at a sport, start out as natural aptitudes and are then shaped by a person’s environment and education; such skills grow if encouraged and atrophy if discouraged, and if pursued diligently can be developed to a professional level.  And yes, that includes the talent you’re calling “seduction” but which I would call “sensuality” or “lovemaking”.  People in the modern West like to pretend that sexual interaction is like some kind of magical energy field which arises instantly, spontaneously & mutually when two people are “in love”; romantic stories and Hollywood movies pretend that all two people under the influence of the temporary neurochemical derangement we incorrectly label with the exalted word “love” need do is get naked together and POOF! Fireworks.  The “abstinence only” form of sex miseducation even teaches this idiocy as fact, lying to young people that suppressing their natural sexual urges and denying all sexual expression for the better part of a decade (or more) will magically result in the best sex imaginable when the two of them clumsily grope each other in the dark without either of them having the faintest notion of what they’re doing.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking I mean mere technical proficiency, though; there’s a school of thought diametrically opposed to the spontaneous-generation dogma which is equally absurd and ignorant.  You might call it “Cosmo sex tricks” thinking: the idea that the human body is a machine not dissimilar to a power tool or electronic gadget, and that if one just turns the right knobs and sets the dials correctly, POOF!  Fireworks.  And I’m here to give you a big ol’ NOOOOOOOPE on that idea.  The art of sensuality starts with a natural aptitude which is then shaped by environment, education and practice; lots and lots and LOTS of practice.  It doesn’t magically appear after a lifetime of repression because a preacher says “I now pronounce you…”, and it can no more be learned from a book, magazine or video than “Learn Guitar in Ten Easy Lessons” will turn you into the next Jimi Hendrix.  Given equal aptitude, a woman with a better formative environment and more practice will still excel over one with worse and less; given the same environment and amount of practice, a man with higher aptitude will still surpass one with lower.  We can’t all be master chefs, basketball stars, or prima ballerinas.

But here’s the good news:  We Don’t All Have To Be.  Your wife doesn’t have to be Maggie McNeill; she just has to demonstrate love and affection as you need it.  And though we only have your side of the story, your very first line is “WE married at 19…”  We.  She and you.  I suspect that neither your natural aptitude for sensuality nor your early experience was very different from hers, or else neither of y’all would’ve done anything as foolish as getting married at 19 (no offense; remember, I got engaged at 20 and I’m supposed to be the wise one here).  You say, “we have very different love languages”; I certainly believe that, but why is she the one who needs to learn a new language on the near side of 50?  It seems to me that both of you could stand to acquire some new skills in that department.  You both need to try to demonstrate love and sensuality in a way the other can respond to, and you both need to try to appreciate what the other is trying to demonstrate.  It’s not going to be easy; nothing worthwhile ever is.  But there are counselors and workshops and the like who may be able to assist you; you’re going to have to find them in your area, and you may have to try a few before you find the right one.  You say y’all both want this to work, and after investing 27 years in each other that sounds like a good idea to me.  There is no Royal Road to proficiency in anything, but a burden shared is a burden halved, right?  If you work toward being her ideal lover as hard as she works toward being yours, y’all may be within hailing distance of each other sooner than you think.The Mysterious Distance Between Man and Woman by Valeria Giachetti (2009)

(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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