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Back Issue: February 2012

The official and popular paradigm appears to be based on the belief that sex is such a horrible, monstrous abomination that the mere mention of it to an adult can constitute “violence”, that participating in it for taboo reasons can be a “crime”, and that if a person is exposed to sexual contact, conversation or imagery…even one minute before midnight on her 18th birthday she will be instantly and irreversibly ruined beyond any hope of redemption.  –  “Scorched Earth

DarkseidThis was the month in which the structure of the blog began to rapidly shift into the form it held for almost three years, and is not very different from today.  Before this, update and miscellanea columns were separate and monthly; as my news-gathering procedures improved, however, I had far too many items to wait so long between editions.  In the latter part of 2011 there were many extra news columns, and I realized that I had to go weekly to keep up; I’m still not sure exactly why I waited until February, but there you are.  “February Miscellanea” was followed immediately by “That Was the Week That Was“, the column which introduced the new feature and explained the name it bore until less than two months ago; in order to catch up the numbers I then published two a week until #8, which looked very much like the feature still looks, fine-tuning of subtitle appearance and order notwithstanding.

KristofvilleBut though the new feature was the first weekly one, other recurring columns were still monthly; February’s harlotography was “Olympe de Gouges” and its fictional interlude  “Companion“.  Holidays of course still appeared annually; this month’s were CandlemasValentine’s Day and Mardi Gras, with a special tetra-annual appearance by Leap Day.  Another kind of continuity appears in the fact that three columns (“Repeat Offenders“, “One Year Later” and “The Course of a Disease“) are direct sequels to those from a year before, connected by the “one year ago today” feature which had only a few months left to run;half-head man similarly,  “You Oughta Be In Pictures” discussed the importance of pictures in drawing traffic to the posts in which they appear.

Due to fully nine days in this already-short month being taken up in news columns, there isn’t much left to tell.  “Change a Few Words” demonstrates the principle that all prohibition is the same; “Gumbo” provides detailed directions for preparing my sister’s peerless recipe; “Do You Know What It Means?” describes a trip to New Orleans; “That’s the Ticket!” shares another example of absurd “sex trafficking” lies; “The Anti-Life Equation” uses the work of comics legend Jack Kirby to illustrate the evil of denying individuals control over their own lives; “The Sky is Falling!” discusses the panic over young women profiting from sex as they always have; “Profit from Panic” looks at some particularly-egregious rescue industry profiteering; “FarmVille” introduces Nick Kristof’s fun new way to fantasize about controlling brown-skinned women; “Scorched Earth” explores the United States’ all-out war on sex; and “Why is Sex Such a Taboo?” attempts to answer the titular question. Excalibur wedding

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Friday the 13th, In Tandem

Please remember that any contribution – loud or quiet, public or private, eloquent or laconic, lengthy or brief – is important and worthy, and everyone one will hasten the day when governments no longer believe it’s acceptable for them to persecute sex workers, our clients and our associates in any way they please.  –  “Friday the 13th

Except in leap years, February is exactly four weeks long; that means every date in March falls on the same day as it does in February, except in leap years.  And that means that both February and March will have a Friday the Thirteenth this year.  “So what?” new readers may ask; “You aren’t superstitious, are you?”  Well no, I’m not; not about Friday the Thirteenth, anyway, which if anything would be a good luck day for whores.  In fact I intentionally chose to be on the road today – in Las Vegas, to be precise, but not in a casino because I don’t actually believe in luck.  But I digress.  Long-time readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth I ask those of you who aren’t sex workers to speak up for us in some way.  In 2013, I explained it like this:

The gay rights movement didn’t really take off until the friends and families of gay people got involved, and it’s the same for us; since only about 1% of Western women ever formally work as whores, we’re going to need a lot of help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and other women who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex at least once (which might be as high as 10% of all women).  We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally, which comes to about 20% of the adult male population.  We need all of the women who recognize that cops can’t tell the difference between professionals and amateurs, and that laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization in light of their respective fields, all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex.

In 2012, I even provided a number of suggestions for how you could do it; one such suggestion was to fund activism, and since then I’ve even made it possible for you to donate directly to me if you like (and I’d welcome it if you did, since I have a lot of work to do this year).  But because we’ve got two Friday the Thirteenths so close together this year, what I’m going to do is the same thing I did in December 2013: provide links to every post any of you makes today.  And this time, I’ll also include a section acknowledging every fund-donor by whatever name he or she prefers.  Ready?  Set?  Go! red umbrellas against the sky

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

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

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Back Issue: January 2012

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

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

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

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

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Diary #238

headless chickenI’ll be leaving for Seattle only three weeks from tomorrow, so as you can imagine I’m pretty busy with preparations.  Next week I’ll be in “scramble” mode, and the week after I’ll be in full-blown headless chicken protocol, but for now it’s just “busy”.  I’ve got my touring car back from my mechanic, with a clean bill of health; by Sunday I was caught up on my blog, and starting this weekend I’ll be trying to get ahead.  I haven’t even thought about packing yet; the suitcases are on the bedroom floor, but I haven’t put anything in them.  Do I just pack winter and early-spring clothes, knowing I’ll be back here in April?  Or do I try to take as much as possible this time?  Do I bring whatever kitchen things Jae doesn’t have, or do I just buy new ones up there?  How many books should I try to bring?  Do I take my desktop computer this time, or just work on the Chromebook for now and wait until next time to carry up the desktop?  Such are the weighty matters occupying my brain, and I haven’t even started!

Today I’ll be working all day on my next book, The Essential Maggie McNeill; it’s a collection of all the “must-read” essays from the first two and a half years of the blog, so new readers can catch up more easily without having to slog through quite so much material.  After all, many of the essays from that time have either been superseded or dealt with then-current events that don’t matter so much now, so y’all might find it helpful to have a collection of what I think are the must-read essays from July 2010 to December 2011.  I’m also going to try to reprint some of my outside work, assuming I can get the permission; I know a lot of my readers will buy it just to support me because y’all are wonderful that way, and I want to make that gesture worthwhile.  I hope to have it done before I leave, but…well, you know.  I’ll keep y’all posted.

Speaking of helping me out, I want all of y’all who subscribe, or send me gifts or donations, to know how thankful I am for all that help.  The Christmas email I sent out is only the beginning; I’m going to be taking a lot more cheesecake photos this year, so keep your eyes peeled for periodic holiday greetings.  That’s not to say I won’t be publishing new pictures on the blog, but those I send out privately can be…well, a little more NSFW.  So if that sounds appealing and you haven’t subscribed yet, now would be a good time to consider it!

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I think I can safely declare this blog a success.  -  “Fourth Anniversary

Due to the decreasing number of daily slots available for general posts, this feature is appearing a little later than usual this year; in fact, I didn’t even get to write it until two days after the date on which it published last year.  But here it is, better late than never; newer readers who haven’t seen one before may be interested in the description of how the statistics are derived from last year’s review column.

Twitter logoI received a total of 1,110,606 visitors in 2014, about 100,000 more than in the previous year; the average number of hits per day was 3043.  My best month was January, with a total of 106,741 views (3443 per day); as you can see the performance is very consistent, with the high not all that far above the average.  Indeed, the record for best single day is still held by October 6th, 2013 (9253 views).  As it did last year, Twitter gave me the greatest number of referrals, 45,120 in all; it was followed by Reddit (8877 hits) and Facebook (7131).  #4 was Popehat with 3438, #5 ErosBlog with 3339, #6 Girl on the Net with 2632, #7 Reason with 2011, #8 Heartiste with 1955, #9 ECCIE with 1900, and #10 USA Sex Guide with 1662.  The top ten countries in which my readers live together account for about 85% of all of my traffic; #1 is the United States with 672,268 hits (60.5%); #2 the United Kingdom with 86,739 (7.8%); #3 Canada with 73,509 (6.6%); #4 Australia with 38,239 (3.4%); #5 Germany with 18,300 (1.65%); #6 The Netherlands with 14,106 (1.27%); #7 India with 13,831 (1.25%); #8 Japan with 13,558 (1.22%);  #9 Singapore with 10,823 (0.98%); and #10 France with 10,624 (0.96%).

In a strong sign of my increasing popularity, the most common search which discovered this blog last year was “the honest courtesan” (in various permutations) with 1958 hits; “maggie mcneill” (spelled several different ways) was third with 1710.  Perennial favorite “soapland” (in many different forms) was second with a total of 1858, and “rhinoceros” remained at fourth with 1402 hits.  Various versions of “ashley madison” (many expecting “free” credits) came in fifth with 971 hits; the many different ways to say “penis shapes” came sixth (about 835 total).  “P411″ was seventh with about 385,  then “escort terms” (various forms) with 358.  Ninth place was “anonymous blogging” with 356, and finally many different forms of “vulva shapes” with 337.  The numbers for all of these are dramatically lower than last years'; I’m sure this is due to Google’s continuing prudification of its search parameters, which also curtailed my traffic growth dramatically and reduced my page rank from a 5 to a 4.

My top ten posts for the year were as follows:

Name Date # of hits in 2013
A Visit to Soapland October 21st, 2011       52,920
All Shapes and Sizes September 8th, 2010       47,454
Ashley Madison January 30th, 2011       23,593
A Whore in the Bedroom September 9th, 2010       20,403
More Terminology September 7th, 2011       17,816
Black Men September 18th, 2010       16,315
Something in the Milk January 28th, 2014       14,944
Advice for Clients August 21st, 2010       12,995
The Going Rate October 9th, 2010       10,301
Rhinoceros January 21st, 2012         9342

Dr. Brooke Magnanti’s “How To Blog Anonymously (and how not to)” also had considerable traffic (16,423 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).  The top post by comment has changed somewhat since last year:

Name Date # of comments
by 12/31/14
The Privilege Paradigm August 22nd, 2013         230
That Is So Hot! April 19th, 2011         202
Speaking in Prostitute June 17th, 2011         191
Pendulum April 9th, 2011         146
The Enlightenment Police October 1st, 2011         145
TW3 #409 March 1st, 2014         144
Universal Criminality January 15th, 2012         140
Their Lips Are Moving April 25th, 2011         133
Denunciation September 2nd, 2013         126
Creeping Rot April 18th, 2011         123

Even with Google’s attempts to silence the voice of anyone who dares to write about sex, comparison with my reports for 2012 and 2013 will demonstrate just how much I’ve grown in both size and reach.  And in the coming year, I plan to use every means at my disposal to increase that even more. 

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Every thing teaches transition, transference, metamorphosis:  therein is human power, in transference, not in creation; & therein is human destiny, not in longevity but in removal.  We dive & reappear in new places.
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

So here we are again, for the fifth time; I daresay this is becoming a habit.  That’s really not surprising; ever since I retired from sex work in 2006, my life has been bound by habits and schedules, like a cocoon I wove to give myself structure and meaning at a time when the framework that had defined my life for nine years had suddenly been taken away.  That self-imposed bondage was comfortable and safe; it allowed me time to think and to explore, to figure out who I was now and to decide what was important to me and where I wanted my life to go.  And as I slowly, haltingly learned about the power of the internet, I also became aware of a great restlessness and dissatisfaction in myself; I found myself talking about sex work and sex worker rights on message boards that had absolutely nothing to do with the subject, and began to resent prissy moderators who could delete anything I wrote on a whim.  By the time I had been retired for four years, I could stand it no more; I had to stake out a place in this new digital world where I could share the truth about my life, my sisters and the only work I ever loved.  At first, I was extremely anonymous; in May of 2012 I even turned down an offer to host a TV show on the History Channel because I was just not ready for that kind of exposure.  I had not yet broken out of my cocoon, but merely reshaped it for purposes of my activism.

But in the summer of 2012, that all began to change when I accepted an invitation to appear at the Southern Harm Reduction Conference; a few weeks later I agreed to speak at Albany Law School’s symposium the next February.  The cocoon had become too small and much too restrictive, and I was breaking out of it; people began to hear my voice in interviews and see my face at events, and when I decided to go on my tour last summer I shook the last tatters of silk from my newfound wings and proudly revealed my face (and the rest of me) for the world to see.  There’s no turning back now; the die, as the man said in Latin, is cast.  In the past few months I’ve been recognized twice in the small town I live nearest, and that’s just fine with me; I wouldn’t turn down a TV hosting gig now as easily as I turned down the reality show offer I got last spring.  Flitting under my own power from coast to coast last summer was the scariest, craziest, least-scripted thing I’ve ever done, and also one of the most rewarding; this year I plan to explore even more widely.  Sometimes I miss the coziness of that cocoon, but the warmth of the sun and the smell of the flowers and the feel of the breeze under my wings are far better, and the work Aphrodite wants me to do can’t be done while tied up in the dark.

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