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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

backpage-censoredToday is Friday the 13th, on which I ask non-sex workers to speak up for our rights.  I’ve given many suggestions for how to do that over the past seven years, but this year I’m going to be a little more specific about the help I’d like you to give, and it’s twofold.  First, very simply, is to give sex workers money; we had an extremely rough autumn thanks to the quadrennial national madness, and every sex worker and organization is hurting right now.  The second way, if you’re American, is to call your senator or representative (especially your senator) to say how displeased you are about the persecution of adult sex workers and clients.  You won’t get to talk to the politician, but their office staffs are usually quite small so a few dozen phone calls in one day on the same subject will make an impression on the staff, and that may get through to the politician in a report.  The reason I’m asking you to take this specific step is that the extrajudicial and unconstitutional persecution of Backpage has come to a head; on Monday evening, exhausted by the constant string of nuisance lawsuits, groundless charges, illegal arrests and blatant slander, Backpage followed in the footsteps of Craigslist by censoring its adult services section in the United States:

As the direct result of unconstitutional government censorship, Backpage.com has removed its Adult content section…new government tactics, including pressuring credit card companies to cease doing business with Backpage, have left the company with no other choice but to remove the content in the United States.  As federal appeals court Judge Richard Posner has described, the goal is either to “suffocate” Backpage out of existence or use the awesome powers of the government to force Backpage to follow in the footsteps of Craigslist and abandon its Adult advertising section.  Judge Posner described such tactics as “a formula for permitting unauthorized, unregulated, foolproof, lawless government coercion”…As The Center for Democracy and Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have observed, the Senate subcommittee has engaged in an “invasive, burdensome inquiry into Backpage.com’s editorial practices [that] creates an intense chilling effect, not only for Backpage but for any website operator”…This will not end the fight for online freedom of speech.  Backpage.com will continue to pursue its efforts in court to vindicate its First Amendment rights and those of other online platforms for third party expression.

In the meantime, the many sex workers who use Backpage for advertising are scrambling to figure out what to do.  Many will simply move to other sections of Backpage, such as massage and personals, just as they did on Craigslist; others will prefer to migrate to different platforms.  With that in mind, here is a LONG list of other escort advertising sites; these are all drawn from lists at Rate That Rescue and Saucy Says What? plus a few sent to me by people on Twitter.  Note that I can’t vouch for any of these except Eros, Slixa, TNA, Mature Sensual and ECCIE; the last three are free, and I’d really like to see ECCIE get more traffic in Seattle because it’s a great site that served me well in Oklahoma.  I’ve written about P411 & Date-Check before; both have advertising but aren’t primarily advertising sites per se.  The rest are just listed and linked, but I know little or nothing about them.  I’ve organized them with the biggest sites at the top, then regional or special-interest sites in alphabetical order with notes to indicate if they’re anything other than broad female escort sites.  Sites marked with an asterisk are those on which I have a current or recent profile.

Date-check*backpage-censored

ECCIE*

Eros*

The Erotic Review

Preferred 411

Slixa*

A+ Ladies

Adam 4 Adam (MfM)

Adult Escort Finder

Adult Hobby Board (TN, MT)

Adult Search (Maine)

Adult Work (BDSM/fetish)

Alt Playground (BDSM/fetish)

Asspig (MfM)

Avenue X (East Coast)

Best GFE (NJ, NY, PA, CT, MA)

Big Doggie (mostly Southeast US)

Bigcity (Dallas)

Black Ebony Escorts (Black escorts)

Body Rub Search (FBSM)

Bondage (BDSM/fetish)

Boyscort (MfM)

Boytoy (MfM)

City-Source (CA)

Cityvibe

Companions Reviews

Concierge du Monde (MfW)

Daddysreviews.com (MfM)

Duttslist (Craigslist knockoff)

EEOW

Eros Transsexuals (TS)

Erotic Monkey

Erotic Mugshots

Escort Ads

Escort Boards (CO, KS, NV, TX)

Escort Directory

Escort Fish

Escort Phone List

Escort Phone Review

Escort Photos (CO, TX)

Escort Post

Escort Woman

Escorting Consultant – (SF Bay Area)

Escorts are for Women Too (MfW)

Established Men (sugar dating)

Fetish Freak Webcams (BDSM/fetish)

Fetlife (BDSM/fetish)

GFE Club (NJ, NY, PA, CT, MA)

GFE Forum

Gina’s Little Secret

Girl-Directory

Goddess Temple (CA)

Grain Belt News (KY, MI, MN, MO, ND, SD, NE, OH, WI)

Grenlist (FL)

The Hidden Pages

The Hobby Hunter (Portland)

Hot Male Escort Guide (Male escorts)

Hott Pages

Hourboy (MfM)

Humaniplex (Southern CA)

Hung Angels (TS)

Independent Girls (FL)

Indys (IN, MN, MI, OH, IL, WV, PA)

International Escorts

Kingdom 99 (Canada)

The Kings List (Craigslist knockoff)

Le 69

London Ebony (Black escorts)

Lovings (West Coast)

Male Companions for Women (MfW)

Manhunt (MfM)

Massage M4M (MfM)

Massage Republic

Masseur Finder (MfM)

MatureSensual (mature escorts)*

Max Fisch (BDSM/fetish)

Men 4 Men Cruising (MfM)

Men 4 Rent Now (MfM)

Men 4 Sex Now (MfM)

Message Forum (MfM)

Millionaire Dates (sugar dating)

Millionaire Match (sugar dating)

Millionaire Sponsor (sugar dating)

MP Reviews (CA, NV massage parlors)

My Provider Guide

Myscarletbook

Naughty New Orleans (New Orleans)

Naughty Nightlife

Naughty Reviews  – (AZ, CA, FL, HI, IN, KY, MI, OH, OK, IL, TN, TX, WI)

Night Shift (Sacramento & SF Bay Area)

Open Adult Directory

The Other Board (CO, NV, TX)

Outcall (mature escorts)

Pleasure Massage Directory (FBSM)

Pure VIP

Queer Sex Work (MfM)

Rate That Provider (KS)

Recon (MfM)

The Red Directory – (FBSM Canada)

Red Massage (FBSM)

Rent Hot Angels (MfM)

Rent Masseur (MfM)

Rentboys – (MfM)

RS2K (IL)

Rubmaps (FBSM)

Sacred Eros – (tantra, sex coaching etc)

Seeking Arrangement (sugar dating)*

A Sexy Service (TN)

Sipsap (Maine)

Skip the Games (Boston, NY, PA, DC, GA)

Southern GFE (NC)

Squirt (MfM)

Sugar Daddie (sugar dating)

Sugar Daddy Finder (sugar dating)

Sugar Daddy for Me (sugar dating)

Sugar Daddy Meet (sugar dating)

Sugar Daddy Today (sugar dating)

Sugar Sugar (sugar dating)

Tabu Life (BDSM/fetish)

That Mall

TNA (West Coast)*

Trans Escorts (TS)

Trans X (TS)

Travel Sex Guide

Trusted Fling (CA)

TS Dating (TS)

TS Escorts (TS)

TS 4 Rent (TS)

TSMFE (Tampa Bay area massage parlors)

USA Sex Guide

Utopia Guide (Northeast US)

VIP Girlfriend (DC, NYC, LA, Miami)

Wealthy Men (sugar dating)

What’s Your Price? (sugar dating)*

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2016 in Review

stack-of-papersAs I wrote last year, it’s getting a lot harder to compile these yearly statistics columns; social media platforms like WordPress just can’t seem to leave well enough alone, and they’ve steadily made it more difficult to write and edit my posts (much less find out the kind of statistics I used to be able to find with a single click).  As the new year dawned they even made it extremely difficult to get to the site’s dashboard; luckily I remembered the URL and was able to create a link myself in Chrome.  Furthermore, Google continues to censor search results so as to curtail traffic to “adult” blogs like this one; while I used to get a huge number of serendipitous hits, my site is now found almost entirely by people specifically looking for it or following direct links.  Furthermore, I fear the statistics themselves are less meaningful than they used to be; the tallies for some are so small that they don’t seem likely to represent more than a fraction of the actual figures for those categories.  Perhaps WordPress simply hasn’t kept up with the way people access websites, but if we believe these figures nearly everyone who comes here now does so by typing the address in, which seems unlikely.  So unless things change dramatically in the next year, this may well be the last annual statistics column I do.

I received a total of 918,225 visitors in 2014, about 83,000 less than in the previous year; the average number of hits per day was 2515.  My best month was September, with a total of 84,336 views (2811 per day); as you can see the performance is still very consistent, with the high not all that far above the average.  The record for best single day is still held by October 6th, 2013 (9253 views).  As usual, Twitter gave me the greatest number of referrals, 59,547 in all; it was followed by Reddit (11,775 hits) and Facebook (5501).  #4 was a (presumably collective) heading labeled “Android apps” with 4259, #5 Vice with 2643, #6 Pinterest with 2144, #7 USA Sex Guide with 2025, #8 Bustle with 1949, #9 Jeff Pearlman’s site with 915, and #10 Reason with 877.  The top ten countries in which my readers live together account for about 87% of all of my traffic; #1 is the United States with 575,464 hits (62.7%); #2 the United Kingdom with 66,273 (7.2%); #3 Canada with 53,220 (5.8%); #4 Australia with 38,161 (4.16%); #5 India with 13,757 (1.50%); #6 Germany with 12,479 (1.36%); #7 Japan with 10,218 (1.11%); #8 The Netherlands with 9045 (0.99%);  #9 France with 8921 (0.97%); and #10 Singapore with 8505 (0.93%).

When counting searches, I only included those with 5 hits or more (otherwise it would’ve taken all night).  The most common search which discovered this blog last year was the perennial favorite “soapland” (in many, many different forms) for a total of 815 hits.  “Sonagachi” was second with 552; many of these seemed to think they could find a rate table, as though there were such a thing.  “Maggie McNeill” (spelled several different ways and with added terms such as “nude” or “boobs”) was third with 477, and “honest courtesan” (in various permutations) was fourth with 369 hits (followed closely by “Veronica Franco” in fifth with 362).  Inquiries about genital sizes & shapes came in sixth with 346, and various permutations of “anonymous blogging” seventh with 283.  “P411” was eighth with 213 hits, inquiries about sex workers’ rates were ninth with 176, and “Lillie Langtry” was tenth with 119 (kicking out “rhinoceros” for the first time; it only scored 105).  Note that numbers for all of these continue to drop due to Google’s continuing prudification of its search parameters.

My top ten posts for the year were as follows:

Name Date # of hits in 2016
All Shapes and Sizes September 8th, 2010       48,108
A Visit to Soapland October 21st, 2011       44,143
Black Men September 18th, 2010       24,793
Advice for Clients August 21st, 2010       22,878
A Whore in the Bedroom September 9th, 2010       20,843
Something in the Milk January 28th, 2014       15,584
More Terminology September 7th, 2011       14,121
The Going Rate October 9th, 2010       13,825
Honolulu Harlots July 5th, 2011       10,573
Veronica Franco November 14th, 2011         9679

Dr. Brooke Magnanti’s “How To Blog Anonymously (and how not to)” also had considerable traffic (37,482 hits in all); the reason it doesn’t appear in the table above is that it’s a static page rather than a post (I exclude my “Introduction” page for the same reason).  Unfortunately, it’s no longer possible to easily track comments per post, so I’ve had to drop that metric from the roundup.  You’ll also note the top posts have only barely changed; predictably, the demise of Ashley Madison has caused my column on it to lose readership, making way for Veronica Franco to break into the top ten.  But other than that it’s boringly similar to last year, which is another reason, I think, for dispensing with this feature in the future.  Ah, well; all things must pass.  After seven years and so many other changes, this one is really quite minor.

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Dr. Kate Lister runs the wonderful, informative and entertaining Whores of Yore Twitter account, and when she recently decided to start a website to go with it I invited her to tell my readers about it.  Kate’s mission is much the same as mine: to demystify and destigmatize sex work by improving communication between sex workers and the general public.

whores-of-yore-logoLast month, on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (2016), I launched the Whores of Yore website; it was the culmination of a year’s hard work on a wonderful project that took me completely unawares.  Whores of Yore grew out of a Twitter feed, that grew out of a research project on medieval sexuality, that grew out of a PhD into women and medievalism.  I am a post-doctoral researcher at Leeds Trinity University (UK) and was reading into medieval attitudes surrounding sexual sin, when I found a London court record from 1340 of two “notorious strumpets”; Alice Strumpette and Clarice la Claterballock.  I thought that was just wonderful.  The wry wit in the aliases made me laugh, as I am sure they were supposed to.  But, beyond being funny, the fact that such names would be adopted said more about sex work in the fourteenth century then many academic texts I have read; there was a real humanity to it.  I started the Twitter feed @WhoreofYore to share snapshots of history like that.

I had not foreseen any interest in the feed, but very quickly the followers grew and online articles began to be published about the content.  I started getting feedback from followers who were reacting to the material I was posting in ways I could have never predicted.  Twitter is a great leveller; your voice is on an equal footing with everyone else, and the feedback is instant.  In the beginning, getting daily, uncensored and anonymous feedback about your work is daunting, but I learnt to listen, to respond and serve.  I do get trolled, but follower feedback also made the feed better; it encouraged me to break away from a western focus, include more trans voices and bring in a daily dose of #HistoricalHottie (photographs of handsome men from history to balance up the eye-candy on offer).  But, what changed my research was that Twitter allowed me to engage directly with the sex worker community.  Suddenly, the history I was researching was no longer dead and buried; it was correcting my terminology on Twitter, and calling me a cunt when I got things wrong.  Without realising it, I had been guilty of viewing sex work only through a historical, academic lens; it wasn’t real to me.  But when a sex worker from Australiawhores-of-yore-screencap made contact with me to say she enjoyed the feed, but please could I stop using the word “prostitute” and use “sex worker” instead, I finally got it.  History is powerful because it frames contemporary debate, but it is not to be archived away and accessible only to (well meaning) academics; it should engage with lives today.  I was using the word “prostitute” in a clinical, academic way, but that perpetuated narratives that exists outside of historical research and the ivory tower.  That was the moment that I saw a project that could make history relevant to contemporary issues.  I wanted @WhoresofYore to facilitate an active process of feedback, reciprocal communication and attribution between sex workers, historians, activists, and anyone else who had a view to express.

As sex workers are stigmatised, often criminalized people, historically, they have had little opportunity to speak without intermediaries.  Rather, their stories and voices have been assumed by journalists, activists, and academics (like myself – the irony is not lost on me).  However, with the advent of social media platforms, this is rapidly changing; social media has allowed sex workers a public voice, a space to engage with those speaking for them and about them, like never before.  Online sex worker communities have been formed, alliances made and agendas set.  “Nothing about us without us” is the mantra of the sex worker rights movement; the web and social media provide a platform for the sex worker voice to be heard, and invited academics to genuinely listen to the group they research.  I wanted to build on this dynamic with a website and further bridge the gap between academic, historical research, and the sex worker voice; I hoped the website would create a space that enabled a process of democratisation and facilitate a discussion, rather than a lecture into the study and history of sexuality.

I wanted the website to feature articles on the history of sexuality and sex workers, but to retain an emphasis on sexuality and contemporary voices.  To that end, I created a several article sections: sex history, sex talk, sex worker voices, LGBT History, politics and the law and an interactive timeline of sex workers throughout history.  I put out a call for article submissions on the Twitter feed, and articles started to roll in.  I have been extremely fortunate and BASIS Yorkshire (a charity who work with street sex workers and some of the most vulnerable members of the sex work community) have agreed to write a monthly blog about their work.  BASIS is very private and protective of the people they work with, so to be able to facilitate a space for them is a real honour.  I also have a sex therapist, Drew Lawson, who is regularly blogging on the site and answering all kinds of questions about sexuality.  I work with the archivist at Delta of Venus, the web’s largest collection of vintage erotica, to bring a selection of historical pornographic images.

kate-listerBut, this is only the beginning.  So far, the project has been entirely self-funded, but I am looking into investment to grow.  The project will expand to include podcasts, vlogging and interviews with historians, activists, members of the sex work community, and those who feel they are marginalised by their sexuality.  The history of sexuality will be placed side by side with sexuality today in the hope we can join up some of those conversations.  The purpose of this archive is not to create a goldfish bowl for others to stare into, but to provide a platform and invite people to share their experience and story; if you have an article to bring to the conversation, please email me.  Shame and stigma are broken down through conversation, and when we listen to one another; I hope that’s what this project can play a part in.  As Shannon L. Alder once wrote, “Never be ashamed of who you are.  True shame always belongs to the person that enjoys being ashamed of who you are.”

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Theselfiecamera_2016-12-28-18-53-58-928 holidays were absolutely lovely; Grace and I got to spend a lot of time with my friends, who are quickly becoming her friends as well.  And that’s a wonderful thing; there is very little in the world more rewarding to me than when two people I like meet and become friends with each other.  We’ve spent nearly every day visiting, attending small parties, going to dinner with people, getting high and otherwise celebrating, and even though I need to put her on a plane tomorrow I don’t feel that same sense of profound sadness that I did last year at this time.  That’s because I’m committed to our plan that will allow us to see a lot more of each other in the coming year than we have in the past two; I have a really good feeling about it, and I’ll let you know more as it unfolds.

Of course, the holidays weren’t all fun and debauchery; I worked a good deal as well (including catering to a gentleman’s librarian fantasy, as you can see in the picture), and I’ll be leaving for my tour a week from today.  My San Francisco calendar is pretty full up, but I may be able to fit one more appointment in if you’re flexible; I still have pretty good availability in most of the other stops except Phoenix, so if you want to see me (and especially if you want to take advantage of the special) you need to contact me by this weekend at the latest.  I’m thinking about rerouting my return trip to stop in Salt Lake City instead of Denver; whichever of those cities books an appointment first will win the stop!  Last but not least, thank you so much to Celos for sending me the Universal classic monster movie collection!  If anyone else wants to send a late Christmas present from my wishlist, I promise I’ll overlook its tardiness.

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Abolitionists have failed to acknowledge the utter mundanity of most sex work.  –  Frankie Mullin

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

…upstate New York school…principal Eric Luther sought [underage student Jane] Doe out…and told her to “go for a walk with him”…two members of the New York State Police were stationed outside the…office…[and] the district superintendent, Robert Finster, [was] in the principal’s office, along with Amy Bird, the principal of the middle school.  Upon learning that other students had accused her of possessing drugs, Doe insisted that the allegations were false…Doe offered to let Luther search her backpack in front of her, but…school officials had a more humiliating search in mind.  Doe had to leave her backpack…while Luther and Bird took her to the nurse’s office…With [school nurse Kelly] Avallone and Bird looking on, Doe…[was forced] to disrobe completely…[and] stand exposed for several minutes…while they inspected her shirt, bra, boots, pants and underwear…Then nurse Avallone allegedly offered to perform a rectal exam…Jane [refused, but]…Avallone…[forced]…her…to…bend over [while she]…pried Jane’s buttocks apart with her hand, exposing Jane’s rectal cavity…Avallone [then] pried apart the opening to Jane’s vagina and shined her flashlight inside…there was absolutely nothing concealed…When Luther returned Doe’s backpack…her belongings were rearranged and…Luther admitted to searching the backpack outside of her presence.  All Luther had to say…was “Stop having your name associated with people with drugs”…

The Red Umbrella 

It’s always great to see good December 17th essays from allies:

…No one “dies of prostitution” any more than they do from domestic partnerships.  That women are killed in prostitution, as in relationships – the sphere in which women are most in danger of male violence – is the result of specific conditions:  misogyny, poverty, racism, stigma.  To claim that sex work is intrinsically violent is to let men off the hook…When deaths occur in other industries (there were 27 in agriculture this year, 43 in construction)…the usual response is to ask how working conditions can be made more secure, not whether the industry should be scrapped.  Of course men don’t need to buy sex, but nor does London need more luxury flats.  These arguments should have no impact on the right of workers to be protected…

Maggie in the Media 

Full of Themselves

Of all the semi-whores, none are as pompous as licensed massage practitioners:

…seven…Kitsap County [Washington massage businesses were defamed]…as suspect by cop-turned consultant Lavon Watson, who has made a new career out of investigating the rising tide of what some call “Illicit Massage Businesses,” or IMBs…They are easily identifiable if one knows what to look for, say those [persecuting]…them.  But they are not easy for authorities to shut down…Their proliferation has blurred the lines in the massage industry, with many legitimate massage practitioners reporting advances by their clients.  Their presence also worries those fighting human trafficking…Massage Network Solutions [is] a group of local therapists that met…with Watson, a retired Redmond police officer and massage therapist himself…while police and prosecutors here have [dumped dirty money into persecuting so-called]…pimps involved in human trafficking, storefronts — licensed by state and local governments to operate — might be furthering sex slavery…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

[Reporters for WSB in Atlanta dutifully promoted cop propaganda by accompanying pigs]…as they raided three local strip clubs looking for illegal activity.  [Prior to]…the raid [cops spent public money ogling strippers and getting lapdances for]…about a month-and-a-half to two-months…Sandy Springs police issued nine citations at Flashers, mostly for permit violations, and one for a solicitation for an illicit sexual act…At the Dollhouse…police issued 19 citations…[and] arrested [a dancer]…police issued six citations at Mardi Gras [and]…arrested [another dancer]…

Gingerbread House

The rescue industry is big business:

Phoenix will launch a project next year to convert an apartment complex into supportive housing for victims of human trafficking, an effort city officials [pretend] is the first of its kind in the country.  The City Council…unanimously approved plans for Phoenix Starfish Place, which the city expects will serve primarily sex-trafficking victims.  The project includes buying a vacant affordable rental complex, designing trauma-focused services and providing residents with vouchers to subsidize rent…[prominent “sex trafficking” fetishist & profiteer] Dominique [“Body Fluids”] Roe-Sepowitz…is [involved] with the project…

Shifting the Blame (#33)

Called it.  Four and a half years ago.

Suffolk County’s disgraced former Police Chief James Burke, long suspected of keeping the FBI in the dark about the Gilgo Beach murders, faces a new accusation from a sex worker who says there’s a link between him and the killings…The escort, who according to an affidavit has been in the profession for five years, discussed multiple times she said she partied with Burke in 2011 at an unknown Oak Beach home and engaged in “rough sex”.  Numerous people, prostitutes, and drugs, including cocaine, were at the gatherings, she said, adding that she observed former chief Burke use cocaine at the two parties she’d attended with him present…

“People, prostitutes and drugs”.  Because prostitutes aren’t people?  That kind of thinking is why those bodies ended up on the beach & their murders still haven’t been solved.

I Saw My Brain

Another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

More than 100 people, including [a bureaucrat]…were arrested in a six-day [pogrom]…in Polk County…the [persecution] was aimed at people who either advertised sexual services online or responded to prostitution ads online….[lying sows] posted fake online ads, and male [rapist pigs] responded to ads posted online by others…

Choke Point (#610)

It looks like there’s a new payment processor, PervoutPay, which promises to be sex work friendly.  Of course, all their ad copy I’m seeing is about porn, and this testimonial from Lance Hart has a strong whiff of whorearchy:  “We offer a legitimate service that is legal, yet we ask our customers to lie about what they are paying for…That has to make the customers feel at least a little weird(er) about paying us…like this is some kind of back alley deal.  PervOutPay is a big step forward in legitimizing sex work…”  Note the equation of “legal” and “legitimate”, which is bullshit; my business is as “legitimate” as Hart’s despite its illegality.  So what about it, PervoutPay?  Are you going to screw over escorts who try your service, or are you truly interested in “legitimizing sex work”?

To Molest and Rape pervert-cop-jason-miller

Serial sex offender let off easy, later assaults teen boy. Guess his profession:

Jason Miller was a New Jersey cop when he was caught on his dash cam pulling male motorists over to show them his penis, unzipping his pants to give them a close-up view of his genitals before walking back to his car without writing any citations…turning off his dash cam to allow himself to shove his genitals in their faces without it being recorded.  But there were times he forgot to turn the camera off, which led to his arrest after the department received two anonymous tips…He…struck a plea deal to avoid serving jail time or having to register as a sex offender…He was also forced to resign and forbidden to ever work as a New Jersey cop again.  On [December 15th]…he…was arrested again; this time for following a 16-year-old boy into a Burger King bathroom and sexually assaulting him…Miller claims the teen came onto him…

Utter Cluelessness

Just because we can’t find “victims” doesn’t mean the “problem” isn’t “overwhelming”.  Pizza!  Words With Friends!  EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

Aimee Schroeder…starts her day [t]rolling through listings on Backpage.com.  Her task is to pinpoint which Twin Cities ads are selling…children…for sex.  Photographs of girls…with bruised bodies and the track marks of drug use tip her off to possible sex-trafficking crimes…Schroeder keeps an eye out for small hands and children’s clothing…Imran Ali [is] the Washington County assistant attorney who is heading up the county’s year-old effort to [profit from hysteria over]…sex trafficking…because Washington County is a hub for major highway connections, sex work is often headquartered there…Pete Orput [fantasized while secretly touching himself].  “I can order up a human being to come to my house and sell her body to me, and then I can order a pizza — and I’ll bet the gal beats the pizza to my door”…Victims can get sucked into trafficking a number of ways, including through…”Words With Friends”…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

Aoshilong, a Chinese clothing manufacturer that sells its line on Amazon, produces leggings for little girls in various prints…According to a December 12 story from WFTX…in Fort Myers, Florida, that was uncritically repeated by many other outlets, “the pants are covered with marijuana leaves”…an…anti-drug activist [vomited out]…”Anything that normalizes marijuana with kids is child abuse”…which is more plausible:  that a Chinese manufacturer of decidedly mainstream clothing made leggings for little girls printed with marijuana leaves…or that a few hyperventilating cannabiphobes mistook Japanese maple leaves for marijuana leaves?…

Opting Out (#694)

For those of you who still insist I’m an alarmist:

Last month, the UK moved forward with the latest version of its ridiculous “Digital Economy Bill” which will put in place mandatory porn filtering at the ISP level — requiring service providers to block access to sites that don’t do an age verification check.  But it was at least somewhat vague as to which “ISPs” this covered.  The bill has moved from the House of Commons over to the House of Lords, and apparently we now have at least something of an answer — and it’s that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook will be covered by this regulation…The debate over regulating Twitter got pretty silly pretty fast.  At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots…

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Balancing Act

black-nightgownI don’t believe it’s likely to have escaped the notice of anyone reading this blog for more than about three minutes that I’m a whore.  Besides the fact that it’s in both the name and the subtitle, and sprinkled liberally all over the blog, and discussed with great frequency, there are all those nude photos and hooker comments in the Twitter feed, and Google is your friend.  Every so often some rando “slides up in my mentions” (as the young people say) on Twitter without apparently noticing that I’m a bona fide, card-carrying, earning-my-living-on-my-back prostitute, but I hardly think it’s possible for any person to visit this blog without working that out in fairly short order.  I’m not just mentioning this as an exercise in the bleeding obvious; I’m bringing it up because it seems that occasionally someone loses sight of what that actually means.  And what it means is this:  I am a paid entertainer.  I make my living by pleasing people, by diverting them, by giving them comfort and relief and solace and even advice (please note that last).  Yes, we speak of “selling sex”, and certainly most of my clients are looking for skin-to-skin contact, whether that culminates in orgasm or not.  But not all of them are, and unlike the pathetic control freaks we ludicrously refer to as “authorities”, I am not a pompous bean-counter who thinks it’s vitally important to draw firm and legally-binding lines between sexual and non-sexual activities.  If I’m capable of doing a thing that makes you feel better physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or whatever, and you’re willing to pay me for doing that thing, we can probably strike a deal.

Please reread that penultimate clause.  Obviously, I expend a lot of time and energy doing good for others that I don’t expect to get paid for; I do favors for my friends, I give money and time to good causes like SWOP Behind Bars and Toys for Tots, and my activism is almost entirely pro bono.  On top of that, I answer reader questions (most of them requests for advice) nearly every week, and the only price I ask for it is that I be allowed to share the answer so as to help others and build this blog.  But if you think the amount of my time donated to helping readers is inconsequential, I invite you to count the number of questions I’ve answered in the past, assume an hour of time to answer each question (it’s often two or more), and multiply that by my professional rate of $400/hour.  Then try not to choke.  This is not a complaint; Aphrodite gave me a mission, and I’m not going to stop doing it until I board the ferry.  However, until that day comes, I need to eat, clothe myself & keep a roof over my head, and that requires balancing work I do for earthly rewards with that I do for heavenly ones.  Part of the way I do that is by refusing to duplicate my own efforts just to please the lazy and narcissistic, and part by avoiding matters that stress me out.  But I recently received a request for advice which went far beyond the limits of what I can afford to give, and I realized this column was necessary.  Most of the requests for my advice are reasonably short and can be answered in an hour or so; others are similar enough that I can direct the reader to previous columns in which I’ve answered it.  But this one was so incredibly long and complex that I couldn’t even take the time to read it all; I had previously answered the reader with links to earlier columns, but he wasn’t satisfied with those and sent back a missive longer than all those linked columns put together.  A quick skim revealed that this person isn’t in anguish or deep confusion; he merely seems to be looking for me to provide justification for a course of action he’s already decided to follow in keeping with his pre-existing belief system.

While it’s not for me to judge another person’s value system, it’s for nobody else but me to make judgments about mine.  And I judge that letters like this, which ask me to spend an entire evening of my increasingly-precious time to lend validation to someone on an issue about which he’s clearly already made up his mind, are not a worthy use of my limited pro bono resources.  If you have a question you don’t think I’ve answered before and you genuinely want my help, it’s yours for the asking.  And if you want to pay me for my time (I only charge $100/hour for phone calls in which I’m not required to come up with sexual fantasy talk), I’ll talk to you for as long as you want about whatever it is that’s eating you.  Because if your issue is too complex to explain in a few hundred words (especially if your first few hundred are spent in telling me why I’m wrong about something I said in a previous letter), you’re going to have to pay somebody to listen to you and give you advice on it, whether that somebody is me or a professional therapist.weighing-of-the-heart

(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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img_20161214_180002This last week before Grace arrives has been pretty busy.  Besides work, trying to get as ahead as possible on my writing, holiday prep and activism (including Saturday’s December 17th vigil and an interview for Nightline about the TRB shutdown), I’m working on the final pre-composition stages for The Forms of Things Unknown.  Once Chester Brown gets me the cover art I’ll need to have it colored, then compile the virtual book in CreateSpace software before proofreading it completely and then having a proof sent out.  I’ve also had a number of beauty appointments lately, such as my most recent trip to the stylist; she talked me into letting her blow my hair out, and I liked it so much (you can see why in the picture) that I think I’ll let her do it every time I go.  It’ll be interesting to have relatively-straight hair for two days every eight weeks!  I’m also preparing for my January tour, for which I’ll leave only a week after Grace goes back to the ranch; if you’re interested in seeing me in one of the cities I’ll be visiting, you need to let me know ASAP.  To encourage you, I’ll give you a special rate (see that link for details).  And on top of everything else, I made some hard but necessary decisions last week which I’d rather not discuss just yet, but which I’ll be telling you about later (probably in the spring or early summer, as plans mature).  Anyway, Grace arrives tomorrow and I’m more than ready for some celebrating and relaxing, though I will still be taking appointments throughout the holidays because bills don’t take days off.  And if you’d like to send me a gift as Skye did (thank you for the Scary Stories Treasury!) you can either consult my Amazon wishlist or just donate via PayPal toward my beauty fund.  ‘Cause I ain’t gettin’ younger, y’all, and all this pulchritude takes maintenance!

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