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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

If they can take care of themselves without Government assistance, great…If not, let them starve and die.  Easy as that.  –  Christopher Barnett

I discovered this song years ago, but every time I rode the underground on my recent trip to the UK it popped irresistibly into my head, so now I’m going to share that experience with y’all.  The links above it were provided by Desiree AllianceEddie J CunninghamMike SiegelNun YaEmma EvansNina Hartley, and Mike Siegel again, in that order.

From the Archives

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I’d like to see you frequently, but that would add up pretty fast.  Do you give discounts for regular clients?

Every independent sex professional in the world has heard the line, “if you give me a discount I’ll be a regular”, and every pro in the world who’s heard it more than once (which is to say, everyone who’s been doing it for more than a month or so) rolls her eyes when she hears it.  Would you walk into any other business and make such an offer?  Of course you wouldn’t, because everybody including you knows it’s bullshit.  That’s not how volume discounts work, as anyone who’s ever been to a place like Sam’s or Costco understands; the way to get a lower price per unit is to buy a larger package deal up front.  Want a “regular client” discount from your favorite provider?  Offer to pay her up front for x number of sessions, and ask how much of a discount she’d give you for that.  Yes, it requires you to trust she’ll make good once you fork over the cash…just like you want her to trust that you’ll make good on your promise of regularity.  I can’t promise that any given sex worker will actually make such a deal, and I’m not telling you that some might not grant your request for a lower price after you’ve been seeing them for a while.  What I am telling you is that nobody is going to give a total stranger a discount merely on his say-so that he’ll be back, because we aren’t stupid.

As for me personally, I offer two kinds of package deals.  Since my hourly rate decreases the more hours you buy, I’m willing to sell a block of time for the multi-hour rate and then let you divide it up as you like (incall only; we’d need to work out a slightly higher price if you expect me to drive somewhere every time).  So, you could pay me up-front for a 16-hour gig and then take it as 8 two-hour sessions or 4 dinner dates; I’d even let you break it into 16 one-hour sessions, but I’d expect an extra tip for that much prep time  (remember, I only have to get pretty once per date, so 16 one-hour sessions is a LOT more prep time in all than one 16-hour session).  The other way to do it is a sugar-type arrangement wherein you pay me every month and I give you a agreed-upon amount of time every week.  The reason I’m willing to make these deals is simple:  regular clients are far less work and stress (no screening, no uncertainty or time-wasting back-and-forth initial-contact dance), and I like the comfort and certainty of prepaid appointments (so I naturally want to encourage them).  Again, I can’t promise that other ladies will be as generous, or that they’ll even make such a deal in the first place.  But the number willing to make such a deal is bound to be dramatically higher than the number who will respond well to a no-skin-in-the-game “if you give me a discount I’ll be a regular”, because the latter number is approximately zero.

(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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Regular readers know that I am not afraid of death, and in fact consider it a positive good.  And so, though I understand why people might want to have a little extra time on this plane, I can’t understand ruining the quality of the whole merely to drag the end out for a few extra years.  Nor do I understand the obsession with or demonization of a natural process; all things die, including nations, species, worlds, suns and even the observable universe itself.  Furthermore, the idea that extending human life would also extend productive life is science fiction; even now people tend to “run out of steam” over time, and even though people in developed countries live longer on average than they once did, there’s no evidence that canalization of the brain takes place any later than it did in ancient times.  What that means is, if you like working your arse off to support the decades-long retirements of a bunch of old dinosaurs whose cognitive norms formed a generation before you were born, just imagine how much you’d love it right now if 90% of the population were born before the Second World War, and a sizeable fraction of the people voting on stuff like sexual rights came of age in an era when it was still considered OK for humans to actually, legally own other humans.  The current rulers of our world were mostly born in the 40s-60s, and their ideas provide ample proof of that; imagine how it would be if most of them had been born in the 19th century.

Even if you believe in souls (as I do), you have to recognize that most of the popular ideas about such life-forces (such as the belief that they are somehow connected to rotting corpses after death) are absurd, childish and impossible.  There is no such thing as changelessness; there are only differing rates of change.  The idea of a changeless entity existing literally forever is utterly ridiculous, and frankly, I think people who imagine they want to live forever – even as a disembodied soul – have not done much thinking about what eternity actually looks like.  Compared to Eternity, the 15-billion year life of the current observable universe is exactly the same as Planck time.  I don’t mean similar; I mean exactly the same.  Indistinguishable.  15 billion years, or 15 trillion, or 15 googols of years (that’s 150,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000), or 15 googolplexes of years, are all exactly the same compared to Eternity.  Eternity is an infinite amount of time, which means any finite number, no matter how incomprehensibly large, is exactly as insignificant in comparison to that as the tiniest number one can define.  Eternal life wouldn’t be a gift; it would be a horror literally beyond imagining.

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Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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 It’s not a human thing to do—just take this entire community and completely strip them of safe places to…work.  –  Wills de Vogelaere

Banishment

Because obviously his sex rays might harm sick children:

…at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin…staff prevented Stuart Yates, a 49-year-old man on the sex offender registry, from visiting his severely ill son Kahlil, age 9, who was crying and begging him to visit…”In 1998, Yates pleaded guilty to…inappropriately touch[ing] a 15-year-old babysitter…Yates says he took a plea in the case, thinking he would serve six months in prison.  Instead, a judge handed down a five-year sentence….[and registration] as a sex offender for life…Yates is now suing the hospital to be let back inside“…In the face of a lawsuit, the hospital relented in part, and will permit Yates to visit three times a week, for two hours, under supervision.  But the visits must be approved 24 hours in advance, meaning that if the boy wakes up feverish or…takes a turn for the worse, his dad will not be able to hurry to his side…

Backwards into the Future (#540)

Only the authoritarian mind is so twisted it thinks decriminalization of consensual sex is “complicated”:

Vietnamese officials have expressed their concerns about the complicated nature of recognizing prostitution as a job…figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO) suggest that there are nearly 101,300 sex workers…in Vietnam…“Sex workers should have the right to make a living, contribute to society, and enjoy welfare in terms of healthcare and education,” said Cao Van Thanh, vice head of the Social Evil Prevention Department…at a recent meeting in Hanoi…Tran Van Dat, vice head of the Department of General Affairs on Legislative Development…said prostitution should be considered a legitimate profession…

Though they’re commies and therefore need to bloviate about disease and “regulation”, it’s still startling how much more enlightened these politicians’ views are than those in the backward US.

Uncommon Sense (#602)

Once again, myths and agency denial convince Switzerland to narrow the bottleneck for legal sex work:

FIZ, a Swiss NGO specialising in…women’s migration issues…thought that it was very important…that people actually talk about…severe forms of exploitation…the human trafficking framework…has negative effects on other groups of migrant women, and…has turned out to be a framework that is actually a lot about controlling the movement of migrant women, controlling the work of migrant women.  We see this very clearly with sex workers…

Spotlight (#721) 

Asstoon says he’s not just a savior, but an actual messiah:

I have a hard time talking about this issue without being emotional…If you don’t do something about it, then who are you?  It can happen to anyone…Traffickers prey on people…If you look at the place where these [passive, agency-less vegetables] are sold online, its right next to a car, or a sofa or a used bicycle…We basically take a victim, that otherwise is just a posting online, and we turn them into a human being…

Yes, that’s Kutcher claiming to be a literal god who can turn an inanimate object into a human being.

To Molest and Rape (#794)

It’s even easier to get away with rape when you’re literally in bed with the prosecutor:

A Brooklyn prosecutor was caught having an affair with one of the NYPD cops [who raped] a handcuffed teenager…Assistant District Attorney Nicole Manini…is under investigation for potentially violating professional conduct rules…Manini’s illicit relationship with [rapist cop] Richard Hall…was uncovered when investigators with her office reviewed his cellphone records as part of the rape case…Michael David, the lawyer representing Hall’s [victim], said he plans to use the…affair…in his client’s pending civil rights suit against Hall, [rapist cop Eddie] Martins and the city…

The Scarlet Letter (#798)

Who needs the cops to out HIV+ people when dating apps can do it for them?

The gay dating app Grindr says it will stop sharing the HIV status of its users with other companies.  Grindr made the decision…after first defending the practice, which involved sending user profile information — including HIV status and test dates — to two companies called Apptimize and Localytics.  They test the performance of Grindr’s products…

Prudesville (#816) 

Everett expands its argument beyond “women who dress like sluts are asking to be raped”:

After a federal judge ruled against the city of Everett for banning “bikini baristas” from wearing G-strings and pasties, Everett has decided to continue fighting against baristas’ partial nudity…city attorneys stress—while trying to support a ban on butt cleavage—how easy it is to understand the terms of Everett’s ban on “bottom one half of the anal cleft” and “more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola.”  One of the reasons Judge Marsha Pechman blocked the ban was because she ruled those rules were too vague to stand up in court.  She indicated that the argument that the ban limited freedom of expression on the basis of gender was also likely to succeed…

Disaster

Sex workers set up our own social network, just in case we’re censored from Twitter:

…a group of sex workers have apparently attempted to set up their own social network, called Switter.  It’s a Mastodon Instance (Mastodon being the fairly well known open source decentralized social networking platform that allows anyone to set up an individual “instance”)…The stated reasons for Switter are to prepare for the possibility of Twitter banning accounts of sex workers and to have more control over their social media space.  As I write this, the site claims to have about 12,000 signed up users…

And we’re not just fighting a defensive war this time:

Upstart blockchain-based adult outfit, SpankChain, launched an offensive…dubbed “WTFOSTA,” calling for sex workers to expose any politician who’s procured their services and subsequently voted in favor of the recently passed SESTA/FOSTA measure criminalizing web platforms deemed to foster sex trafficking.  The specific bid to the sex worker community, as posted on official campaign site wtfosta.com, is as follows: “We are offering $25,000 to each of the first 10 sex workers who come forward with hard evidence of any politician who voted YES on FOSTA/SESTA engaging their services”…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

Honest headline: “NYPD Creeps Threaten Lonely Men”:

…NYPD [pigs get their jollies]…by planting fake ads and sending [threatening] texts to those looking [for human companionship]…Police have posted phony listings on sites like Backpage.com for years, but always waited until the [victim] showed up and then arrested him. “Advertisements are posted by the NYPD and you won’t know which ads are from us” the [threat lies]…

Actually, it’s extremely easy for men to know which ads are real and which are pig swill: women in real ads will have an established online presence.  Just Google the name, email address, phone number, etc; if there are no other hits on an escort site, other ad sites, Twitter, etc, you’re probably looking at a pig trap.

Elephant in the Parlor (#825) 

Unfortunately, in our post-factual era this doesn’t help as much as it once did:

As Trump’s presidency drags on — having blown past tarnished and into deep, dark ignominy — receipts have become vitally important…Karen McDougal kept receipts.  The former Playboy model’s handwritten notes chronicle an alleged affair in 2006.  These non-coy notes —”we got naked + had sex” — were published in the New Yorker.  A White House rebuttal —”more fake news“— crashed on the shoals of receipts.  Stormy Daniels kept receipts.  The adult-film actress has a copy of the nondisclosure agreement that she signed, and Trump didn’t, requiring her to keep silent about her alleged Trump tryst, on pain of larcenous fines…Nastya Rybka, a Belarussian escort, also kept receipts……she…claims to have audio receipts that show Russian meddling in the U.S. election.  She’s seeking asylum in the U.S. in return for telling all…

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With the advent of FOSTA, all the rats who’ve feasted on sex workers’ dollars for years are deserting the sinking ship and leaving us to drown.  I don’t just mean the ad sites who have closed; several of the companies who’ve been happy to host adult sites for years suddenly threw their customers to the wolves last week without warning, and you can be sure more will follow suit (or be forced to follow suit when their site is stolen by jackbooted thugs as Backpage was on Friday).  So when I saw that Missy Mariposa had set up a new offshore hosting company specifically for sex workers, I asked her for a short introduction for those who might need her services.

I decided to set up Red Umbrella Hosting because I am sick of the very people who utilize our services trying to criminalize our existence.  I wanted workers to have a place to turn where they could feel safe and remain anonymous.  With Red Umbrella, sex workers can secure hosting and web design assistance without having to tie this life to their real identity or without having to worry if they were evading a ToS policy and at risk of being shut down.  I keep no user data, and I have a very liberal ToS.  Red Umbrella is my attempt for us to feel like we have a little bit of control over our careers and lives again.  Right now it’s just hosting, and a free blacklist (opening this week in conjunction with another site – you heard it here first) but I’m hoping to expand it to include Cloud Storage in the not so distant future.  I wish I could drop everything and invest unlimited funds in this and build an internet sex work utopia, but I think for one person that’s an impossible undertaking.

I chose to locate the dedicated server in Iceland primarily for three reasons – strict data privacy laws, no MLAT with the United States, and a proven record of protecting privacy.  It is true that they run the Nordic model when it comes to sex work, however they are also open about the fact their laws aren’t enforced due to a lack of funding and being short staffed.  Between 2009-2013 Icelandic courts only heard 20 cases related to sex work; I also could not find any evidence of them interfering with a sex worker’s internet presence.  In the end, I went with the country that I felt had an overall better track record with internet privacy and security, the country I thought would be the least likely to turn over data to the US without a warrant (as the CLOUD act allows them to attempt).  And as I keep no personal information, I am hoping that this type of situation is never even an issue for my users.

My long term goal is to help as many people as I can.  I am one person leasing a dedicated server, not a large company with a farm (maybe that’s where this is heading though, and I hear Iceland is beautiful), but thanks to a number of generous donations (including two very large ones from clients), my prices are very low for providers:  Managed WordPress: $200/year, paid annually, semi-annually, or quarterly via cryptocurrency or gift card; Domain Hosting $300/year (same terms), and Premium Hosting for $800/year (same terms).  Websites are too important not to have; most of our clients book us because of our marketing material, websites being a big part of that.  If sex workers lose their storefronts and safety tools, two things are going to happen.  Number one, the predators will come out to play and in full force; the guys on the blacklists are going to know they’re gone and go right back to the very things that landed them there in the first place.  Number two, sex work is going to be pushed right back onto the streets and hotel bars by women who will no longer want to see internet clientele and would rather take the risks freelancing.  I can’t idly sit around, doing nothing while people lose the ability to feed their families in the safest way possible.

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The do-not-step-on-sex-workers movement needs someone who, in addition to many other qualities, has the temperament & tolerance of a wronged wolverine.  –  Tanya Charbury

Recently, I saw a gent who told me he’d followed me for years and asked if I’d unmute him on Twitter.  I asked why I had muted him, and he confessed to being a bit bratty to me a while back.  We had a laugh about it and of course I unmuted him before he left my incall, but it did demonstrate to me that it was time to do something I don’t often do:  revisit a question I’ve already answered, in this case the one from “Short Fuse“:  Is it just me, or are you less patient than you used to be?

The answer I gave then was honest and accurate for its time, but that was almost four years ago and a lot has changed since then.  As I said then, “I’ve never been patient with fools, trolls, ninnies, sophists, fanatics and the other assorted riff-raff who attempt to lay claim to my time and energy.  In fact, my impatience with such people is almost legendary…”  But while the set of such annoyances was at one time reasonably small, it has grown over time to encompass a lot of people who, while they aren’t completely blameless, are also not necessarily working at annoying me.  Regular readers know that the past three years have been extremely difficult ones for me, and my emotional reserves have been at a very low ebb; I need to ration my psychic and temporal resources, spending them on myself, my clients, the people I love, and my role in this war the government has been conducting on us for the past two decades (which has recently heated up dramatically).  And that means I simply can’t take the time and energy to deal gently with strangers who step on my tail, either intentionally or otherwise (such as by ignoring my clearly-stated ban on bootlicking or partisanism in my timeline); it’s much easier to simply mute them, with or without delivering a parting shot, and then move on.  Ideal?  Not at all, as the incident with the gentleman I mentioned above demonstrates.  But I’m afraid at this stage of my life, it’s either that or expend my precious energies on unproductive discussions that will drag me down while failing to make a particle of difference in the struggle to which I’m committed.  So for now, at least, my temperament is going to more closely resemble that of a wronged wolverine than a playful pussycat, at least for those who deliberately or carelessly stroke my fur the wrong way.

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