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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

No Need?

Prohibitionists are fond of claiming that nobody “needs” sex; in order to sell their evil belief that the State should have the power to inflict violence on individuals for peaceful, consensual acts of which the State nonetheless disapproves, prohibitionists try to represent sex as a mere “extra”, like playing video games or going on vacations.  Those of us whose profession includes tending to the sexually wounded and touch-starved know better; we understand that while people don’t die for lack of sex, they also don’t immediately die for lack of other things that the prudes would still refer to as “needs”.  Life is not merely a synonym for “biological existence”, and there are many things which have nothing to do with maintaining biochemical processes, yet are necessary for a life that isn’t low-level torture.    The psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a “hierarchy of needs”, with the basic biological requirements such as food and oxygen at the bottom and pursuit of one’s own personal potential at the top; the needs at the bottom are most paramount, and it’s very difficult to consistently pursue the needs at the higher levels when there are holes lower in the pyramid.  Note that intimacy (including sexual intimacy) is in the middle, yet prohibitionists claim it’s unnecessary and even say people have no right to it; one wonders what kind of dreary, prison-like existence they believe humans “should” be leading?  Nor are sex prohibitionists the only ones whose minds are poisoned by this evil belief; drug prohibitionists have for many years now waged a campaign against people getting relief from chronic pain on the grounds that some of them might enjoy the drugs.  These are not the thought patterns of normal, morally-developed human beings, but rather the sick beliefs of busybodies whose own sexuality is only satisfied by denying happiness to others.

English is a language with a very large and nuanced vocabulary; for most concepts there is a broad selection of words to convey subtle differences in meaning.  But in this case the language is lacking; there are no adequate words to cover the gap between “want” and “need”.  The former implies mere preference or desire, while the latter indicates something that’s required for a healthy life, and the few words we have to bridge the gap, words like “yearning”, “longing” and “pining” come across as more poetic than specific.   I am not exaggerating in the least when I tell you that cannabis has kept me going the past two years; I don’t “need” it like I need food or water, and I often go a couple of days without it when my schedule doesn’t permit a long-enough downtime.  But neither is it a mere “want”; it enables me to relax, to control my anxiety, and to relieve the deep sorrow under which I otherwise labor for most of my waking hours, and it allows me a quality of sleep I had been denied for a decade.  Certainly, there are other drugs that might do the job…but not as well, and at the cost of deleterious side-effects, a level of medical surveillance with which I’m not comfortable, and more money than I can afford.  Similarly, my clients don’t “need” my services like they “need” oxygen, and yet it often isn’t a mere amusement either; recently the wife of one of my gentlemen publicly thanked me for relieving her husband’s stress and told me I was great for their marriage.

If most people were morally-developed enough to respect each others’ differences and preferences, it would hardly matter; whether another person’s desire for human contact is merely a fancy born of boredom or an aching emotional wound makes no difference if everyone respects his right to seek it for himself.  But sadly, that is not the case; we live in a world where evil lunatics claim the right to assess why others want what they want, and to use violence to deny it to them if they can’t “prove” that they “need” it badly enough…and often, not even then.

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Last week, one of my online friends asked if it was ethical to buy a used car from someone who was an overt racist.  I told him certainly, if it was a good car at a fair price.  I then pointed out that every one of us does business with dozens of racists & people with even worse character traits every day; we just don’t know it.  One of the costs of living in a complex modern society is that you know zero about 99% of the people you need to interact with.  How does a merchant know anything about the character of most of the people who buy things from his store?  He doesn’t, and that’s OK.  Here’s a personal example:  There’s a very good chance that any given woman I interact with in public supports the sending of armed thugs to rape, rob and cage me and most of the people I love.  If I had to stop interacting with such people I would simply have to stay home and never buy anything (NB: I say “woman” because studies show far more women than men are in favor of the government dispatching armed thug rape squads to destroy the lives of other women).  If a person’s or company’s behavior offends you and you can get the same service or product from another who doesn’t, by all means go to the other.  But in most cases you either don’t know or else there’s no real alternative, and you’ll harm yourself more by obsessing over this than your one-person boycott could possibly ever do to induce the offender to change their ways.

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I visit my regular lady about 6-8 times a year.  I recently told her that I’d be passing through her town soon, but wouldn’t be able to schedule a regular appointment.  She then said that we were going to meet for a drink or a meal.  I asked if the drink/meal would be a work occasion for her, or a purely non-work get together.  She replied, “Non work, just some nice time out of work”.  I don’t want to presume that she doesn’t expect to be compensated, but since she did not mention anything about compensation, I do not want to offend her by bluntly asking how much she would like.  What would be a good way to bring up the matter without insulting her?

I wouldn’t bring it up at all.  Most providers have a social rate, posted on their website; for example, mine is half of my regular rate.  What I would do if I were you is look up that rate on her site, put it in a greeting card telling her how much you appreciate her, and discreetly give it to her at dinner.  Even if she wasn’t expecting anything other than your treating her to a nice meal, it’s a generous gesture and she will appreciate it.  Also:  make the restaurant an especially nice one.  She’ll appreciate that too!

(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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At the beginning of September I got an email from a bottom-feeder who takes money from escorts to write fake reviews.  Naturally, I replied with a blast of “How dare you!”, “Don’t you know who I am?” and “Fuck you, you fucking fuckwad, I wouldn’t need fake reviews even if I wanted to be on TER, which I don’t.”  The reply?  Unctuous flattery about how the offer was only open to the best, most “upscale” girls (in which case, why do they need it?) and pretended offense that I would claim this unethical scam was unethical.  At the time, I bitched on Twitter but decided not to give the sleazebag business by calling attention to him.  But a few days ago he sent me his “offer” again, and this time I really blew my stack and promised to call attention to this.  Here are the highlights of the email, with his contact info and a lot of repetition removed.

Saw your ad online and wanted to tell you that you look beautiful.  I want to give you best reviews out there with top rankings.  My approach is proven to help you make more money, attracting new clients, by Sharing positive experiences.  Placing you above the competition…I write TER and Eccie reviews.  We never have to actually meet, That’s it!  The stories I write are full-detailed and believable…Will do as many as you want from various profiles.  You can even write your own and I will post it for you…I will not post for new providers, or any TER profile I deem to be skeptical [sic]…Please do not ask me for TER Handle’s [sic] I post from to read my review’s [sic], it is a breach of my security and my clients [sic]…I charge $150 for 1 or 2 for $275.  Paid via Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum only.  I will not discuss any other form of payment, so please do not ask…time lines for posting up to ten reviews will be outlined safely, as not to draw attention from TER support…Don’t wait this rare opportunity won’t be here much longer…If you do not agree with this service please do not respond, also please do not post this to Twitter.  Too [sic] all the Grumpy Girls over at FCKTER, FCKP411, & Escort Union PLEASE get a fucking clue, NO ONE wants an UNREVIEWED PROVIDER.  Stop fighting the very system that keeps us all safe.  I don’t work with anyone who isn’t known in our community, and would never jeopardize the safety or the security of the referencing system that is widely used by everyone…this is 10000% discreet and confidential…

Reviews don’t keep sex workers safe; they keep clients safe.  But even that’s not true any more, considering that prosecutors are now using reviews as “evidence” of “promoting prostitution” (i.e. pimping).  And given TER’s policy of not removing demonstrably-false reviews (including this dude’s, unless this is a total scam, of course), the system can actually harm escorts by allowing enemies to plant fake bad reviews to hurt her business, and by allowing cops to write fake reviews so as to establish credibility with which to infiltrate our community.  I haven’t allowed reviews for a while now, and I’m not alone; many ladies don’t any more, some for reasons I’ve already mentioned and some from a general distaste for the whole thing.  Guys, there are better ways to select an escort than buying into a system which can be gamed by bottom-feeders like this dude and used by pigs to destroy your life.  And ladies, please don’t enrich scum-suckers in hope of gaming a broken, abusive, increasingly-dangerous system.

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Andrea Werhun is an author and performer based in Toronto.  She is currently a contributing writer for Playboy.com and has had her sex work experience featured by the New York Times, CBC, VICE and Hazlitt.  This is an excerpt from her forthcoming book, Modern Whore, which is available for pre-order at that link!

No matter what you call ‘em—clients, johns, philanderers, adulterous scumbags, your dad—the men who pay for sex have a bevy of legitimate reasons to procure the services of an erotic professional.  Maybe they’re lonely, stressed about work, or dissatisfied with life.  Perhaps they’re not getting what they want in the bedroom, not sure of what they want or are too afraid to ask.  Whatever it may be, these men are in desperate need of someone who can sexually alleviate their woes.

Take your travelling businessman, for instance.  No wife, no home, no children, he bounces around from airport to hotel to conference room to airport again, selling his wares on behalf of himself or his company.  Nothing caps an exhausting day of pitching the next best thing than a good, relaxing, lay-down-and-do-nothing fuck.  Then there are the men fresh out of long-term relationships—those vulnerable, hurting men in need of some healing love.  And whores, despite their relative anonymity and so-called “non-emotional” relationship to clients, do immense amounts of emotional labour for men with broken hearts.  Never discount the value of a little non-judgmental touch.  In addition to your travelling salesman and your broken-hearted boy, there’s always your regular, run-of-the-mill dork-a-zoid of any age who couldn’t make a move on a real girl if his internet connection depended on it.  The kind of man who trembles and shakes and breathes heavily and cums really fast and shoos you out the door as soon as the stressful ordeal is over.  In and out!

The lazy, impatient bachelor is my personal favourite:  good looking, mid-thirties to mid-fifties, single, immature, economically-minded, and very horny.  The lazy bachelor, in his many forms, has put it to me like this:  “Say I meet a woman at the bar I’d like to fuck.  I buy her a few drinks and, if I’m lucky, she gives me her number.  Then I go on a date with her, and of course I have to buy her dinner.  Even after all that, I’m still not guaranteed sex.  I don’t want to play games—I just want to fuck!  Hiring an escort is definitely cheaper in the long run.”  And there you have it.  Games aren’t fun if you’re not guaranteed a win.  Go for gold.  Go for the whore:  a guaranteed win.

The most common type of client of all is the married man.  Why?  Because being a good husband is the hardest job of all! 

My madam used to say, “I think we save marriages.  It’s safer for men to see an escort than it is to, say, have an affair with the secretary at the office.  There’s a lot less mess,” and thank goodness for that.  We wouldn’t want wives divorcing their husbands left and right for unearthing a little infidelity, would we?  Since the truth poses such a threat to the holy institution of marriage, let’s all do the acceptable thing and keep our adulterous predilections a secret.  Here’s a line I often heard from my married clients:  “This isn’t emotional cheating, you know.  I’m just paying you for a service.  It’s not like we’re having a passionate affair or anything.”  Uh huh, then why not tell your wife?  Crickets.  You know why you won’t tell your wife, married man?  Because the status quo serves you, not her, and you know it.  Having a wife, whether she’s at home minding the children or at work busting ass for that second income, is too good a deal to fuck up with a truth bomb like, “When I tell you I’m staying late at the office, I’m actually doing lines of coke with an escort in a motel room off the highway.”  Spare her the gory details.  What’s the harm if she doesn’t know?  So ladies, I pose this question to you in all earnestness:  what’s the point of getting married anymore?  What’s in it for us?  I have fucked so many self-serving, outwardly devoted, secretly philandering men in my time that you’ll have to excuse my disillusionment regarding institutionalized monogamy.  I know your husband is the exception.  I have happily accepted wads of cash from many, many exceptions.  Do hard-working, independent women truly need to marry a man?

Last, but not least: the differently abled.  These are men who deeply appreciate the loving touch and warmth of a sex worker.  I hadn’t seen many in my two years of working; in fact, only two: the first, a sweet young man with cerebral palsy, and the other a man we’ll call Paul.  During a particularly nasty cold in his thirties, Paul—a perfectly healthy, able-bodied, athletic man in his prime—woke up with a tingling sensation in his legs.  Tingling, the next day, became numbness, and numbness, over the weeks and months and years to follow, became full paralysis below the belt.  For someone whose life had been turned upside down by a mysterious and debilitating condition, Paul was an incredibly positive, kind, and resourceful individual.  He became a regular of mine with the agency and eventually offered to see me independently at the same rate.  Every week, I traveled an hour by subway to a distant station where he would pick me up in his minivan, fully tricked-out with all the knobs and gears that allowed him to drive without using his legs.  We took the highway to his suburban home, swiveling the driver’s seat and unfolding his wheelchair, unfurling the ramp from his vehicle to the garage floor, rolling to an elevator that took us into his house.  From there, we took another elevator to his bedroom.  Paul lived alone and was evidently quite self-sufficient.

Adjacent to his master bedroom was a spacious bathroom suite fitted with a jet stream bathtub.  He ran the water and began the ritual as I disrobed in the bedroom.  He too would disrobe, and when the water filled to a comfortable level, Paul would muscle his way with impressive upper-body strength into the tub, and I would follow, spooning against him.  Here we would soak in the warm water, lightly touching each other, relaxing, talking.  Feeling sufficiently prune-like, I would step out first, putting on the plush bathrobe he always provided, and help Paul exit the tub.  For the next half hour, we laid naked and clean on his bed wrapped in each other’s arms, kissing.  Paul would then wiggle his way down the bed and go head-over-heels into pussy town.  To say he was gifted at cunnilingus would be an understatement.  His legs may have been paralyzed but lord was that tongue limber!  Sometimes it was too much for me to handle, and he’d wiggle his way back up and we’d talk.  Paul used a catheter to piss and ate a steady diet of the same foods every day to regulate his shits because he couldn’t feel his genitals or his bowels.  Once, I played with his penis out of absent-minded habit and he revealed another escort had made him cum when he hadn’t realized he could.  I jerked him off to see what would happen.  Within minutes, Paul ejaculated—“Oh!” he said, “Look at it go!”  He couldn’t feel a thing.  “Still works though!”

Even though it took me an hour to get to Paul, an hour to be with him, and an hour to get home, the one-hour, all-in rate of $250 still seemed worth it to be in his company.  I once self-consciously breached the conversation of asking for a little more, considering the travel time.  He explained, with light despair, that he didn’t have any more money to offer me.  I immediately retracted and told him it was okay.  I saw Paul until the very end of my escorting career.  Besides the six types of sex work clients I’ve outlined, there are essentially only two types of people:  the kind and the unkind.  The reason a client hires a sex worker is inconsequential if that person is unkind.  And I can say, without a doubt, that Paul was one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

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Thanatopsis

Death and I are old friends; he was gracious enough not to interrupt my work before it was done, and it’s the least I can do to return that favor when the time comes.  –  “Die Young, Stay Pretty

You are going to die.  Soon.  And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  “Nutrition” will not save you, nor will “health care”, nor “science”, nor “repairing telomeres”, nor “transhumanism”, nor “The Singularity”, nor being “uploaded to the cloud”.  And you’re not going to be preserved by the “Rapture” or the “Second Coming” either.  You’re going to die sometime between today and your 120th birthday, and the most any of your science fiction or mystical mumbo-jumbo could possibly do to change that would be to extend it a little.  And I mean a very little, because any conceivable solution involving brain transplants or computers or electro-horcruxes or whatever which resulted in the illusion of your consciousness continuing (yeah, I said “illusion”; sorry to burst your bubble, but a simulation of your mind is NOT you) in this plane beyond death will require an advanced technical society and a stable economic system to maintain, and I guarantee the plug will be pulled on your pathetic, meaningless, narcissistic ego-trip as soon as the culture you live in collapses and is replaced by a younger, healthier one which realizes that catering to the primitive fears of long-dead plutocrats is a waste of valuable resources.  And yeah, that WILL happen, because cultures are every bit as mortal as humans (if longer-lived by a factor of maybe 3 to 10).  Beyond that, species also have a limited lifespan, as do planets, “stars and even the universe itself.  It is literally impossible to stop the process; entropy increases, and the only way to slow that in one area is to speed it up somewhere else.”

Depressing?  Not at all, unless you think cacophony is a good thing.  Imagine a piece of music in which every single note is sustained forever once it starts.  It’s just as complex as any piece you know, but instead of each note lasting for a certain time before giving way to the next, each continues to drone on at exactly the same pitch and volume, forever, no matter how many new notes are added.  By the end of a three- or four-minute pop song there would be nothing but an unbearable din without beauty or structure, and by the end of a typical symphony you’d be trying to get as far away from the resulting sonic abomination as possible.  But you couldn’t, because every radio, every iPod, every concert hall, every TV jingle, every kid singing off-key with the wrong words in the entire world would be doing exactly the same damned thing, FOREVER.  And any advanced aliens who picked up the broadcasts would certainly come here as quickly as possible in order to obliterate the obscenity with a gravity bomb, or to drop us into the nearest black hole, and good fucking riddance.

The beauty of a piece of music or a dance derives from a succession of notes or steps, each following the other in sequence and each giving way in its time to the next.  The meaning of an essay, story or book depends upon each finite word in its proper place. And the meaning of not merely an individual life, but the life of a culture, a species, a world and the entire multiverse depends upon that same finiteness.  Death is what gives life meaning, and fighting excessively against it is as childish and futile as the behavior of a toddler who refuses to let another child take his place on the carousel once his ride is done.

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When you’ve been a sex worker for as long as I have, you begin to notice that the stigma against us isn’t just limited to cops, anti-sex fundamentalists, politicians, Puritans, busybodies and the Great Unwashed who swallow every lie they’re spoon-fed by all of those other groups; it extends to many, many people who should know better.  The ACLU, which in former times even stood up for the rights of despised groups like Nazis and the KKK, largely remains silent on the topic of sex work; oh, they’ll throw us a bone now and again, like a low-effort editorial, an amicus brief in a case somebody else is struggling to pay for, or the signing of a group letter in opposition to an insanely anti-whore law which just happens to create fallout that will hurt good people and not just dirty whores.  But most of the time, despite decriminalization being part of the group’s official platform since 1975, when an ACLU member opens her mouth on the subject in public it’s to vomit out prohibitionist shit like “people don’t choose to become prostitutes” that they need to have their faces forcibly rubbed in until they learn better.  The rest of the time, they’re too busy with Very Important Issues like the “right” of wealthy white queers to force bigots to bake $500 cakes for their displays of conspicuous consumption, or the “right” of women to beat, rob & murder people with impunity by putting on a magic costume.  But when it comes to the actual civil rights of people to have consensual sex and do the work of their choice without interference from armed thugs trying to stalk, entrap, rob, rape, brutalize and cage them, and otherwise destroy their lives?  Crickets.

And then there’s Gay, Inc, my term for the coalition of powerful organizations that have been instrumental in winning rights for queer people.  One would think, given that a very large fraction of sex workers are GLBT in one way or another; that more than 10% of transwomen admit to having done sex work (the real number is probably much higher); that in the early days of gay rights transactional sex was not only accepted, but celebrated; that before the ’90s many closeted gay men’s only sexual outlet was with sex workers; that even a very large fraction of female sex workers are lesbian or bisexual; and that the fucking riots which started the whole fucking gay rights movement in the first goddamned place were started by black trans sex workers, that Gay, Inc would be not only duty-bound but enthusiastic to support sex worker rights.  And one would be wrong; with the exception of a short-lived, chauvinistic and breathtakingly ignorant explosion of anger after the Rentboy raid, picket-fence gay boys and buttoned-up-to-the-neck lesbians have devoted all their energy and money to causes most gender and sexual minorities don’t give a flying fuck about, such as government-issued fucking licenses; the “right” to be a pig, screw or grunt; corporate sponsorship of “Pride parades” that cost enough to feed a small impoverished nation for a month; or the “right” to force bigots to bake the aforementioned overpriced cakes (one wonders what kind of unexamined privilege is necessary to trust eating food prepared by someone who hates you and is only complying at virtual gunpoint).  Oh, and let’s not forget the “right” to send the pigs after streetwalkers who dare to enter their gentrified neighborhoods; you know, the same pigs that used to raid their fucking nightclubs, back when they used to go to nightclubs to pick up guys (including, oh yeah, rentboys & hustlers).  The “leaders” of Gay Inc even openly compare sex workers to “killers or psychopaths”, and participate in the demonization of our clients.

And then there are “feminists”, whose idea of supporting women’s rights is infantilizing us, getting us evicted from our homes and killing us by slow starvation, when they’re not openly advocating for us to be murdered.  And I don’t just mean the mainstream ones, who have always been religious fundamentalists since the beginning; I mean whitebread feminists like Jill Filipovic with no real agenda intellectually more complex than the average Sex and the City episode.

To be sure, there are yellow, lily-livered followers in all of these groups who absolutely know that it’s wrong to persecute people for consensual sex; some of them were even given a little bit of the courage they otherwise totally lack by the announcement of Amnesty International’s backing of decriminalization.  But until the majority of the members of these groups grow a spine and start standing up for what they absolutely know in their hearts to be right, their deafening silence is just as damaging to us as are the cops and the laws which enable their depredations.

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