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If a woman is to be believed when she asserts that she did not consent to sex, it follows that she must be believed when she asserts that she did.  –  Pandora Blake and Niki Adams

The Red Umbrella 

A lady suspected to be a prostitute has been beaten by a client…in Accra [Ghana].  According to reports, the unknown young man picked the lady up…and they had a sexual marathon…The man then suggested they go to his house…to finish off the business…but…instead of receiving her wage for the job, she received severe beatings from her client.  Her screams drew the attention of neighbours who came to her rescue…the young man is insisting he never had sex with her…

Dirty Amateurs

Anything that increases the number of amateurs having amateur sex (such as criminalizing sex work) invariably increases the STI rate:

The Rhode Island Department of Health…released data…showing that the rates of HIV and several other STDs are increasing…from 2013 to 2014…The number of infectious syphilis cases increased by 79%…The number of gonorrhea cases increased by 30%…The number of newly-identified HIV cases increased by nearly 33%…The increase has been attributed to…high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years…[including] using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom…and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol…

Don’t Take My Word For It

This sounds interesting on its face, but keep in mind how abysmally bad most sex work research is; note the small sample and highly questionable methodology.

Women are buying more sex than ever before, according to new research…[which] found that women who pay for sex come from all ages [and] backgrounds and it appears that one of the main reason for the transaction is they lack the time for a relationship.  Researchers…spoke to 21 escorts and are now seeking female customers to continue their study.  The study…found that advertisement profiles of men rose from 5,246 in 2010 to 15,732 this year.  Female profiles rose from 11,056 to 28,614 over the same period…

Under Every Bed 

Grodd

Though most of this is the usual hilarious pearl-clutching hysteria, note the sinister propaganda that “drug dealers are shifting to sex trafficking”; in other words, “authorities” are just using a new excuse to target the same victims they always have:

…Panelists at a forum…told a full room at Beloit Public Library…that human trafficking takes place, even in Beloit [Wisconsin, population 37,000]…“We have drug dealers shifting over to human trafficking as their crime of choice,” said Milwaukee County Prosecutor Christopher Ladwig…Sgt. Theresa Janick of the Milwaukee Police Department has worked undercover in the Sensitive Issues Unit that includes prostitution…“The average age for girls entering into human sex trafficking is 12…”The gorilla pimp…beats on his own chest”…Guns and more violent problems are all wrapped up into one giant crime scene…“Pimps…use mind control”…Detective Joe Cassioppi of the Beloit Police Department [made up] a local case of sex trafficking in which a mother of three was first victimized by an online trafficker in Ohio, then began victimizing her own children…Cassioppi said the mother in this case is now serving 30 years in prison [but presented no names or links to the story]…

My favorite bit is the pimp gorilla with mind-control powers.

Deafening Silence

“Rectification” is a particularly horrifying euphemism:

Beijing Police has ordered six entertainment venues to suspend trading for rectification after being found involved with alleged prostitution and gambling…[this] is the first major raid…in the Chinese capital this year…police has clamped down 68 criminal groups and captured more than 600 criminals charged with prostitution…

Policing for Profit 

At least they’re not pretending that this money is being paid “back” to anyone:

A brothel madam who earned a fortune running an Edinburgh prostitution racket has agreed to hand over £1m.  Margaret Paterson, 62, was jailed for five years in 2013…The crown brought an action to seize any crime profits from Paterson and a…settlement [has] been reached in the case…

Opting Out

Now, this is an interesting development:

…A leaked EU document showed that David Cameron’s approach to online pornography – have it banned by default and make people opt in – has not been viewed in positive terms in Brussels…with the EU reportedly considering making the PM’s plan illegal.  Instead, the European officials would opt for a system that allows pornography by default with users, then being able to opt into a deal where the ISP blocks such content.  The user would also be able to back out of the agreement with the ISP at any time…It [would] at least partially…[ease] the burden on ISPs who have had to deal with numerous issues thanks to the Tory government’s blanket approach…

Fever Dream*TBI logo

You may remember the TBI’s bogus “sex trafficking report” from several years ago:

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced results of a week-long operation to…identify potential victims of trafficking, arrest those seeking to purchase illicit sex, and learn more about the specific nuances of this type of crime…Governor Bill Haslam signed…a…law giving TBI original jurisdiction over investigations of human trafficking [and]…the state legislature approved funding for four Special Agents, who will exclusively investigate human trafficking cases…the TBI and Vanderbilt University partnered on in-depth studies to better understand the scope of human trafficking in Tennessee…

The idea that cops are interested in the “nuances” of sex work is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has ever been involved in it in any capacity.

Original Sin (#407)

I’m sick of hearing otherwise-reasonable people declare that the use of violence to suppress consensual adult behavior is something that’s up for “debate”:

Last week the New Statesman organised a debate on “buying and selling sex”…this debate was not about sex workers with different experiences trying to find common ground.  It was not about propping up a flawed binary between “happy hooker” and “helpless victim” (categories that are both used to silence sex workers who speak up).  And it wasn’t a stimulating academic conversation exploring ideological difference.  Sex work is a survival strategy used by real people…The campaign to criminalise clients, and the industry devoted to “rescuing” sex workers from their chosen source of income, is a moralistic crusade with financial and ideological connections to fundamentalist Christianity…Many of the organisations [involved]…oppose gay marriage, sex outside marriage, and abortion.  For example, the [APPG]…choose as its secretariat Care, a notorious Christian charity which sponsored conferences promising to [“cure”] gay people…During the debate, panelist Fiona Broadfoot showed her colours when she claimed that since clients were criminalised in Sweden, the country had become “less sexually deviant” because there was less prostitution.  Are we really going back to the days when consenting sex between adults, in this case where payment is involved, is labelled deviant?…

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Parents should be mindful of the advantage provided by bedtime reading.  –  Adam Swift

This week’s video was suggested by the musician friend I mentioned in my last diary column, Drake Sherman; the links above it came from Grace (“fascism” and “Whitney”), Scott Greenfield (“lock”), Jesse Walker (“Terry”), Radley Balko (“never” and “Karelia”), and RMV (“satire”).

From the Archives

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[Prohibitionists] aren’t really interested in rescuing or protecting anyone.  They are profiting…off our deep social ambivalence with the realities of sex.  –  Remittance Girl

Rough Trade Xmas rapist

Judge issues advice to rapists: choose your victim & the time of year carefully, and you’ll get away with it:

A father of three has been given a suspended sentence for attempting to rob and threatening to rape an escort at gunpoint because he needed money for Christmas.  Liam McGran (49) later told gardaí he decided to rob the woman as he had been with her before and he knew she was small.  He demanded money and threatened to rape the woman in her home as he pointed an imitation pistol at her.  However the victim, who had a firearms licence and was knowledgeable about guns, recognised it as a fake and fought McGran off before he fled the apartment…The woman sustained scratches and bruises…He also pulled out some of her hair…

Welcome To Our World

As a regular customer of nail salons for almost 19 years, I can attest that Nir is nothing more than a concern troll:

…the nail-salon industry in…America [is]…an avenue of opportunity for immigrant workers with low skills and little English.  As Asian nail salons have proliferated—often offering manicures, pedicures, and acrylics at a fraction of the cost of high-end salons—immigrant women have trained and employed one another, providing new arrivals with a means of making a living, a way help out families back home, and a community.  They have also helped drastically grow the manicure market, making what used to be only a luxury for the rich an affordable and accessible habit for middle-income Americans…But The New York Times this week presents a very different narrative of the nail industry.  In a multi-part series by reporter Sarah Maslin Nir, the Times suggests that the real “price of nice nails” is an underclass of immigrant women subject to high rates of exploitation, abuse, fertility issues, and other health problems…In the apprenticeship system for that’s sprung up in nail salons, she sees only exploitation…But in the formal economy, cosmetologists of all sorts must pay to attend schools and certification programs, pay the government for a licence, and take internships or training programs before salons let them do hair/nails/makeup on their own.  Is the apprenticeship system really so different?  At least salon workers can still make tips while they train…One of the major impediments to doing so…is workers’ immigration status.  They have trouble participating in the formal economy…because they are in America illegally…Nir fails to indict U.S. immigration policies for their poor conditions.  Instead, she would actually [like to] see more government agents visiting the nail salons…

The Punitive Mindset

Stop faking!

A…woman arrested in a Daytona Beach [prostitution] sting…died in her jail cell…because she did not get the care she needed as a known addict…April Brogan…complained of being “dope sick” when she was brought to the jail April 29…Two days later…[she] started vomiting and foaming at the mouth…Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron said…there was no breach of protocol…

Broken Record 

This is turning into a full-blown black comedy:

Houston police and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up with [prohibitionists]…Prostitution is such a big problem during the annual oil and drilling convention…that police are stepping in to do something about it…the thousands of men in town for the convention…raises the demand for sex trafficking.  So police went out…with [prohibitionists]…to walk around the Astros and Dynamo games…giving out [propaganda] flyers…”We do not tolerate anyone that is trying to buy a human being,” said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia…

Traffic Circle

Articles recognizing “sex trafficking” as overblown hysteria are becoming far more common, and can be found in sources ranging from blogs:

…sex-trafficking – i.e. people who are kidnapped, enslaved and forced into sexwork against their will –  isn’t quite the massive global problem campaigners want you to believe it is…anti-trafficking campaigners aren’t seeking to pressure law enforcement to enforce existing laws more forcefully (kidnapping and rape are already prosecutable crimes).  They are blurring the lines between forced and voluntary sexwork, and it seems, when you examine their agenda critically, that their real desire is simply to criminalize all sexwork and label all sexworkers as exploited victims…

…to the Huffington Post:

…anti-trafficking groups have deliberately conflated trafficking with prostitution by…choice…anti-trafficking groups like the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW) not only spew wildly inflated statistics about the number of women and children being trafficked in the United States; they also argue that the vast majority of sex workers in this country are trafficking victims.  And that’s simply not true.  Studies show that most sex workers in the developed world are in the profession by choice, not because they are trafficked.  Yet even federal and state agencies do not distinguish between consensual prostitution and actual trafficking cases…Indeed, anti-trafficking groups acknowledge that they now use the term, trafficking, for what used to be called pimping…

Bottleneck (#440) invoice

Under the banner “Sex trade is work,” Argentine prostitutes handed out symbolic invoices with prices for their sexual services in front of the Buenos Aires City Legislature, in an unusual campaign for a law to recognize their rights as workers.  Health care, access to education, the right to freely practice their trade, trade union organization and the possibility of retirement benefits, basic rights that any other work would provide, are a dream for these women.  Argentina does not regard prostitution as a legal activity, but does not ban it either, which is why around 80,000 prostitutes remain marginalized by public policy and face risks including fear of losing their homes, extortion and police persecution…The police, if not extorting bribes, harass them and occasionally launch violent operations to shut down brothels…A bill to regularize prostitution rests with the Argentine Senate, but may not be considered this year…

The Course of a Disease (#444)

Given that the BBC has until now belched up “sex trafficking” propaganda as though it were factual, it’s a slight improvement for it to pretend that the subject of client criminalization is one which can be “debated” by two opposing sides (neither one an actual sex worker).  However, neither side does anything but spout talking points; the whole article is about as phoned-in a piece of tripe as ever got past a bored, hung-over editor.

A Year Later

Four months after the…government brought into force new laws aimed at ending prostitution…the vast grey market for sexual services in Canada remains, unsurprisingly, intact.  From Halifax to Victoria and everywhere in between, sex is still being bought and sold in Canada, according to sex workers, police departments, researchers, and common sense.  But that doesn’t mean the industry…hasn’t shifted in response to the laws…sex workers in five cities…said uncertainty over the new regulations has pushed some clients away and made business harder for them…Chris Atchison, a research associate at the University of Victoria, doesn’t expect it to last.  Atchison, who has spent almost 20 years studying men who buy sex, says what we’re seeing now is basically what happens anytime there’s any change to the laws around sex work…but the market doesn’t go away in the long run…the worry is that, as the industry recalibrates, it will reform in ways that are less open and thus less safe for sex workers and clients alike…

Sexcrime

Two dominatrix pornographers have become the first adult filmmakers to fall foul of strict new regulations governing online pornography…a ruling from the television on demand regulator has found that videos from professional dominatrix Megara Furie and a Welsh dominatrix operating under the name Mistress R’eal were in breach of the new guidelines…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#527)

A lawyer representing adult entertainment venues says his clients will sue Georgia over the state’s new anti-trafficking law, which…is financed in part through a new tax on [strip clubs]…Alan Begner, whose practice represents nearly two-thirds of strip clubs in the capital city, said…“Nude dancing is protected under the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions, and speech cannot be taxed”…

Worse Than I Thought (#532)

Why do people think “bipartisanship” is so wonderful? Anything politicians can agree on is almost invariably horrible for the citizenry:

The anti-human trafficking bill whose unanimous passage in the Senate last month was widely hailed as a triumph of bipartisanship includes language that could send publishers of…adult advertisements to prison, civil liberties advocates have warned…prosecutors don’t even need to prove prior knowledge, just that “the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the person”…the preponderance of language in the bill would quietly advance a “tough on crime” agenda just as many Americans are clamoring for broad-based criminal justice reform and a softening of state attitudes toward non-violent behaviors…

Bread and Circuses (#533)

The “sex trafficking” circus needs victims to die for the crowd’s satisfaction, and if a big, juicy one can’t be found, little scrawny ones will have to do:

Two women have been sentenced to federal prison terms in Massachusetts for their role in a sex trafficking ring that transported other women across state lines to engage in prostitution…Vanessa Grandoit…was sentenced…to one year in prison and five years of probation…Kairis “Lola” Sanchez…to 18 months in prison and five years of probation…The women acted mainly as drivers.

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When sex workers or former sex workers write as academics, their voices can’t be reduced solely to sex.  –  Noah Berlatsky

The Proper Study

Noah Berlatsky on sex workers conducting our own research:

Melissa Gira Grant…is not alone; there are many sex workers and former sex workers who research and analyze sex work from an analytical perspective.  Author, media consultant, and former sex worker Maggie McNeill, for example, discusses common myths about human trafficking…The Red Umbrella Project, a peer-led sex worker advocacy organization, conducted a study of New York City trafficking courts that found police were disproportionately targeting black sex workers and using racial profiling to make arrests…Tara Burns…researched Alaska’s trafficking laws while working toward her Master’s in social justice…Christina Parreira…has continued to work as a sex worker while also pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology…she has…interviewed other workers about how they understand their work…dropbox logo

Saving Them From Themselves

Missouri law enforcement is serving cloud-storage site Dropbox with a search warrant for an account used by area teens suspected of sexting…after school officials heard rumors that students were sharing nude photos via phones and Dropbox…cops interviewed students and seized some of their cell phones.  And what did they find?  No pics.  But…with just a little more privacy infringement, they’re certain they can turn up some nude teen photos…

King of the Hill

Two for one!  “Michigan ranks No. 2 for human trafficking sex trade behind only Nevada…

If Men Were Angels

A chiropractor in…Iowa…has had his license pulled after being accused of trading services for sex with clients and for performing exorcisms…Dr. Charles Manuel voluntarily surrendered his license after the Iowa Board of Chiropractic accused him of unethical conduct…The board also stated that Manuel had instructed some of his patients to stop taking their prescribed medications…

Schadenfreude (#434) 

Voice of America has followed the party line on “sex trafficking” thus far, so it’s nice to see them publishing an interview with super ally Anne Elizabeth Moore:

The garment industry, because there are so few employment options for women, creates this sense of an almost economic imperative..in the U.S. we talk a lot about how horrible it is for women and the sex industry in Cambodia, and how they all are trafficked.  And all the reports are about quoting Somaly Mam, who of course…spent a lot of time talking about how everyone that she worked with in her various foundations was a victim of sex trafficking, when you actually talk to the people that live in her shelters, and/or sought assistance from her, or even people who were…involved in…anti-trafficking organizations elsewhere, what you discover is actually that most of them are not victims of trafficking.  Most of them identified as people who were working either in the sex industry or another industry.  And the opportunity provided to them by the anti-trafficking organizations was simply better than their continued labor in that industry…

Served Cold

Utah based Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) has attracted a great deal of attention since it was first endorsed by Glenn Beck…This new addition to the already crowded field of anti-trafficking organisations “us[es] cutting-edge computer technology…[to] go into the darkest corners of the world to…liberate enslaved children and dismantle the criminal networks.”  It is this type of language that identifies OUR as yet another disturbing example of a “raid-and-rescue” organisation…these interventions represent the latest version of the “white man’s burden”…OUR takes things one step further by sending, essentially, gun-toting vigilantes to foreign countries in the pursuit of “hope and freedom” for enslaved children…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#445) clogs

It would be hard to imagine a more unintentionally-revealing example of mental masturbation than this attempt to entangle the supposed morality of overpriced clogs with welfare-state propaganda and dangerously-prudish Sweden’s wholly-undeserved reputation for sexiness:

Blixt’s wooden shoes are not just “hasbeens’ because of the retro style – it’s also a comeback of retro Swedish sexiness – not the stereotype, but rather the truth.  Outdated stereotypes of Sweden as overly sexualized have reigned for too long.   “I think it’s a misunderstanding,” Blixt remarks. “Sex is one thing, and a naked body is something else; it’s natural.”  When Blixt talks about sexy shoes, she’s speaking of classic Swedish values.  In other words: au natural…Made only with natural materials in good work situations, the shoes are sustainable, durable, and handmade…“We are actually raised to be creative in Sweden, and it’s easy to start a company here with our free education, access to social security, funding and young people who dare to think big,” Blixt reflects. “People learn to dare and believe in their ideas, and that is our hope for the future”…

The smugness is so thick one could cut it with a knife.

Guinea Pigs 

Another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

Rescue Forensics claims it “archives massive quantities of data from classified advertisement sites specializing in commercial sex ads.”  It gathers a lot of text, and even more nude and semi-nude photos.  Then it turns all that over to the cops…what Rescue Forensics appears to be selling is just one more tool to help cops track people engaged in sex work through their online activities…there’s a good chance that if you’ve placed an ad online in the last two years for escorting, massage, BDSM, stripping, private modeling, nude housekeeping, selling your underwear, or any other permutation of the various sexual services people can put on offer, Rescue Forensics has a copy.  And because Rescue Forensics has a copy, so do their users in law enforcement…for Dalton, the fight against trafficking isn’t just about finding the people Rescue Forensics believes are “exploited”:  It’s about abolition…Dalton was a policy advisor to Shared Hope International…Dalton himself acknowledges what they’ve built isn’t enough to identify someone who has been trafficked into sex work, and that there’s no way to tell from an ad if someone is forced or coerced…Dalton still stands to profit from a product that can’t make that distinction, placed in the hands of law enforcement officers who…routinely…harass and arrest sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought (#525)

Bad laws never die, even if they appear to have been staked and beheaded:

U.S. Senators…reached a deal on legislation addressing human trafficking.  Passage of the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act”…had been delayed for several weeks due to a partisan dispute over abortion funding for trafficking victims.  CBS News explains the complicated compromise, which ultimately does not allow funds allocated under the bill to go toward abortions…there’s still a chance that political maneuvering could doom the legislation…if Republicans force a vote on controversial amendments concerning immigration and other issues…

Precedent

There’s a saying in American politics:  As California goes, so goes the nation.  If that’s true, we may be at the start of a nationwide fight to decriminalize sex work.  The Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a federal lawsuit on March 4 that seeks to overturn the criminalization of prostitution in California by arguing that the ban is unconstitutional…because it hinders sex workers’ rights to participate in private and consensual activities…If the lawsuit is successful, California could become the tipping point for the decriminalization of sex work nationwide…the decriminalization argument will acquire powerful legal precedent in the most populous state in the country…it could move the conversation forward even if it fails…The state will almost certainly use trumped-up concerns over human trafficking to put the lawsuit to rest…But…nearly 40 million people live in California.  To even put this issue on the political radar of that many people is a revolutionary act…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on February 22nd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

wood splitting wedgeAs I’ve written many times, tyranny always starts with unpopular minorities, but it absolutely never stops with them.  Every time a new kind of law, legal procedure or police tactic is dreamed up by those with the sick need to control others, it is invariably tested first on some group that the “authorities” know few others will defend; then by the time it’s expanded to the general population, it’s much too late to do anything about it.  For example, US surveillance methods which were first excused as being necessary to uncover “terrorists” were quickly expanded to drug investigations, then to the entire population (as Edward Snowden revealed); similarly, the license-plate readers which were first used in the Drug War and “end demand” operations against sex workers’ clients were recently revealed to be employed in vast numbers to build a nationwide database of all automobiles.  Last year, I explained how men were being arrested for talking to a computer program intended to trick them into thinking it was a young girl, and in Florida and Arizona huge police operations (with cops in place of the program) have predatorily arrested hundreds of men whose only “crime” was looking for women their own age on dating sites.  In the UK, an internet censorship regime which was sold to the public in the name of “protecting children” from “extreme porn” is now being used to block anything some government official decides he doesn’t want the public to see.  And “asset forfeiture” proceedings, which were first touted as weapons against “drug lords”, are now being used to rob ordinary people who have done absolutely nothing wrong of their cash, cars and even real estate.

“Sex trafficking” has proved a bonanza for those who wish to install ever-greater tyranny without the slightest opposition from the populace; besides the increased surveillance, expanded asset seizure and new laws that criminalize ordinary behaviors, fanatical politicians are working to entirely destroy the internet as we know it by subjecting website owners and operators to criminal charges for third-party content.  And even if they fail, other nosy parkers are trying to harness the power of computers to spy on otherwise-anonymous citizens by analyzing what they post online:

…researchers have developed software that allows police departments to mine online ads offering prostitution services.  Traffic Jam gives police a rapid way to sort sex ads, spotting indirect language that may suggest sex trafficking, or grouping ads with similar language that may have been written by the same person… research analyst Emily Kennedy said more than 100 sites are commonly used in sex trafficking…

Regular readers know this is arrant nonsense; “sex trafficking” is here being used as a dysphemism for “sex work”.  Promoters of this incredibly misogynistic myth pretend that women are too asexual to choose sex for pragmatic reasons, and too stupid to place our own ads or plan our own travel; this article hilariously claims that women fly into towns “with a handler”, which is especially funny because four-year-old interviews with the same cops from the same podunk little Pennsylvania town mention no “handlers” of any kind.  These imaginary persons are almost literally pasted into the line to fit the “sex trafficking” narrative that is used to justify gross invasions of privacy.

But the aforementioned cops, who are well-known for the grotesque and evil lengths to which they will go to harass and victimize sex workers, fit right into the rogue’s gallery quoted in support of this Orwellian surveillance program; another such collective entity is the Arizona State University School of Social Work, Dominique Roe-Sepowitz’s highly-criticized factory for generating bogus prohibitionist studies and the academic leg of the awful Project ROSE.  And who, pray tell, financed the development of this data-mining program?Guinea pigs  Why, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which sunk $3.6 million into the project.  Another, similar platform was funded by the CIA.  But you just go right ahead believing that the US military-industrial complex is so very concerned with commercial sex that it’s willing to spend considerable funds just to stop people from having it; I’m sure that’s a lot more comforting than recognizing that whores are just the guinea pigs for yet another oppression that will soon be extended to everyone.

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We’re not anti-fairies but it’s in danger of getting out of control.
–  Steven Acreman

There was a good assortment of links this week, but only one video of note again.  And again, that one video was provided by Mistress Matisse; the links above it were contributed by Jesse Walker (“fairy”), Grace (“horse” and “art”), Sarah Woolley (“RIP”), Angela Keaton (“naked”), Eddie Cunningham (“movie”), Lucy Steigerwald (“rules”), and Gideon (“cleaning”).

From the Archives

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I am 27 years old and still a virgin; I don’t think I know much about sex, except in theory.  I have a crush on a former Facebook friend’s boyfriend; he flirts with me sometimes, calling me “darling” and saying I’m “sexy” and “pretty”.  We have not met in person yet, because he’s Canadian and I’m a Hindustani living in South Africa, but he recently sent me a picture of his penis and told me he’s about 19 cm long, and that scares me.  Is sex painful the first time?  I kind of dread ever having to have it in real life; I’d much rather just fantasize about it.  However, I really love this boy; I dream about him all the time, and I wish he would bring me to Canada, marry me and give me a baby so we can live happily ever after.  He’s younger than me (only 21) but very mature for his age; he really is my dream man!  But I don’t know where I really stand with him; it seems like he only talks to me when he’s bored, and he punishes me by ignoring me when I make him upset.  I’d really like to know what you think about online relationships; I value your opinion very much since you’re so sexually experienced.

I wish I could tell you that sex isn’t painful the first time, but it very often is and every factor you’ve mentioned – his size, his (much too young) age, your (advanced for a virgin) age, your inexperience and your fear – will tend to exacerbate that.  So will the fact that he is NOT, despite what you think, mature for his age; punishing love-interests by ignoring them or just using them to alleviate boredom are NOT the marks of a mature or caring man, and frankly neither is sending out dick pics to women he isn’t actually involved with.  I know that you won’t believe me when I tell you that you aren’t in love with him; you’re infatuated  with him, which is a horse of a different color.  You aren’t especially drawn to this man for his personality or self, but because he pays attention to you, and for a woman who hasn’t had that kind of attention often enough, it can be extremely intoxicating and judgment-eroding.  I’m not saying relationships that start on the internet can’t work because I know some that have, but I am  saying that such relationships involve many difficulties that you, inexperienced as you are, are unlikely to handle well.  My suggestion is that you open yourself to meeting men locally in whatever way is acceptable in your culture; you still might fall in love too quickly and end up with a man who treats you badly, but if that happens you’ll at least be close to friends and family rather than stranded on another continent with a man you’re completely dependent upon.  Ironically, you’re afraid of the part – the physical sex act – that is really no big deal, yet ready to rush pell-mell into the part – marriage and childbirth – which can really get you badly hurt or even killed.  Sure, first-time sex can hurt; in fact, ten-thousandth time sex can hurt, and since my vagina is quite small I experience pain nearly every time I have sex with an unusually large or rough partner.  Sometimes it’s even a lot of pain.  But physical pain is transitory and, unless severe and chronic, doesn’t really have much effect on one’s life.  Emotional pain, by contrast, can be both devastating and have long-lasting and far-reaching effects.  I suggest you re-examine your priorities, try not to dwell on fear or simple physical pain, and instead think long and hard about the real and profound danger of severe emotional and spiritual (and sometimes physical) pain that accompanies a bad, hastily-made marriage to a poorly-chosen man.

(This question originally appeared in the form of a comment on a very old post, “All Shapes and Sizes”; some of you may find it interesting to compare the original with the edited version, and understand that this is typical of the way in which I prepare questions for publication.  One difference: I usually leave out location, but since this lady already shared it in the comments it seemed pointless to leave it out here.)

(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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