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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

The reason it took so long was we kept looking for something we couldn’t find.  –  Joe DiSalvo

Election Day (#45) trump-the-circus-peanut

It was interesting, but not at all surprising, to look back at my comments after the last presidential election and discover that the issues literally haven’t changed at all.  Once again the world was subjected to Americans vomiting poison all over each other for over a year while flushing some two billion dollars down a colossal toilet of hate in a mad contest to convince the undecided that an unbalanced TV clown who has bankrupted more businesses than I’ve owned would be a better Chief Sociopath than a power-mad harpy who never met a non-Anglophone brown person she didn’t want to bomb, and vice versa.  We endured months of propaganda claiming that a word-salad-spewing orang-utan the color of a circus peanut candy could somehow manage the largest corporate complex on Earth even though he couldn’t successfully manage any of his own companies; that a robotic war criminal with the fashion sense of Kim Jong-un and the charisma of your average DMV functionary was somehow less evil than her public behavior would indicate because she has a vagina; and that people so disgusted with these two utterly repellent specimens of homo sapiens that they threw their support behind either a stoner hick with a loose-cannon running mate or a crackpot prohibitionist so deranged even she doesn’t actually know what she believes, somehow owed the Two-Winged Fascist Party their votes lest the madman beat the megalomaniac or vice versa.

Well, we all know how that turned out; Trump won the popularity contest in spite of his own best efforts to sabotage his campaign, which means we may soon be forced to endure the spectacle of a sitting US president defending himself against a slew of lawsuits and even criminal charges.  His cabinet suggestions are a veritable rogues’ gallery of tyrants and malefactors, including the psychopathic Joe Arpaio, who was finally ousted from his position as dictator of Maricopa County, Arizona under the shadow of pending federal criminal charges.

There was some good news, though; California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational cannabis, while Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota approved cannabis for medical use and Montana reversed an attempt by prohibitionist politicians to castrate access to medical cannabis in their state.  Prohibitionists convinced the bootlicking yahoos of Arizona to vote down recreational use, but a fat lot of good it’ll do them with weed being legal now in both California and Colorado.  Given that even the Texas legislature is considering legalization, it seems likely that the federal government will soon give up its evil and hopeless efforts to eradicate usage of the drug by destroying hundreds of thousands of lives.  In fact, it would be a smart move for Trump, one of the most hated men ever to win the Presidency, to reschedule marijuana and thereby basically end the most costly and devastating campaign of the War on Drugs, thus winning brownie points (sorry, y’all) with a large fraction of the people who hate him most while doing absolutely no damage to his reputation with his fanatical followers.

Also, Michael Weinstein’s bizarre one-man crusade to drive the porn industry out of California by allowing any individual to sue the makers of porn movies that don’t include visible condoms (thereby financially destroying the industry) has finally failed at last; while we probably haven’t seen the last of the fanatically-evil Weinstein, it appears that the voters of California aren’t going to give him the power he wants.  And perhaps the defeat of a mindlessly-restrictive prohibitionist law aimed at destroying one segment of the sex industry is a harbinger of flagging support for prohibition of other forms of sex work, just as expanding access to cannabis is a harbinger of failing support for prohibition in general no matter who is in the White House (especially given that despite Trump’s many horrible characteristics, this is the first time we’ve had a former sex worker as First Lady).

Like a Horse and Carriage

Taiwan appears set to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage…Taiwanese lawmakers are currently working on three bills in support of marriage equality, one of which is already listed for review and could be passed within months.  Same-sex marriage also has the prominent support of President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female head of state.  About 80 percent of Taiwanese between ages 20 and 29 support same-sex marriage…That’s seen as a reflection of Taiwan’s ready acceptance of multi-party democracy and other inclusive attitudes, as well as the fact that Taiwan’s 23 million people largely follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions that take no strong positions on sexual orientation…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#558)

A possible move toward decriminalization in India:

A Supreme Court panel formed to look into the status of sex workers…has recommended that sex work be given legal recognition…Recommendations include that state authorities should issue ration cards to sex workers, that sex workers should be given voter identification cards, and that the children of sex workers should be given admission in government schools…The panel has also recommended that [programs for transition out of sex work] be made a right for those who seek it…The panel has also called for recommendations to amend the existing Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act…[including] changing the definition of brothel…not penalising those living on the earnings of a sex worker…deletion of the section on soliciting…and the doing away of the section on the removal of a prostitute from any place…among others…

Morality Lessons

We’re lucky to have such outstanding moral exemplars to “protect” and “lead” us:

The FBI reportedly ran 23 child pornography websites to try to ensnare users, according to an affidavit from the agency acquired by the…ACLU…It was previously reported that the FBI had seized and maintained the child pornography website Playpen to install malware on its users’ computers…[so as to] gain users’ identities and apprehend them.  But the…FBI had not revealed that it also operated the 23 other child porn websites until the new affidavit…the…websites…were hosted at a government facility…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-eutt-sharp

I’m pleased to see the actual word “rape” being used for rapist cops more often these days:

An Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputy was arrested for first-degree rape…Eutt Sharp was arrested on [October 29th] after a woman reported she was raped by an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputy…

Of course, this probably has a little bit to do with damage control after Daniel Holtzclaw.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#669) 

The defense of choice for sex offenders, plus ADHD:

During a trip to a tanning salon, a Saskatoon woman spotted something in the mirror while applying lotion — something she soon realized was a cellphone…a…police investigation…revealed videos taken of 18 other women, without their consent, while undressing in tanning salons around Saskatoon…Harley Zane Irwin…received a 12-month conditional sentence…after pleading guilty to 19 counts of voyeurism…Dr. Derek Doan, Irwin’s family doctor and psychotherapist, assessed Irwin as having Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  A second doctor diagnosed him as having a sex addiction that resulted from childhood trauma.  Dr. Fred Reekie, a psychologist deemed an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of sex addiction, said Irwin is making strides in his treatment and has shown tremendous growth…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Because “I was wrong” isn’t in the cop vocabulary:

James Reed, the Illinois sheriff whose Halloween alert confused Crunch Choco Bars with THC…treats, now admits the error, reporting that…”was positive for containing cannabis.” In a press release issued last week, the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office says “the suspicious candy bars…were found to be imported from Japan, and the design on the wrapper is actually a Japanese Maple Leaf, which [does not in any way] closely resemble…a cannabis leaf”…Instead of apologizing for unnecessarily scaring parents and lending credibilty to the mythical menace of marijuana-infused Halloween candy, Reed offers lame excuses…claim[ing]…”attempts to locate [the candy] on the internet were unsuccessful.”  It is hard to imagine what those attempts entailed, since a Google image search for “Crunch Choco Bars” immediately revealed Reed’s confusion…this incident was a completely bogus scare, a fictional example of a nonexistent phenomenon.  Had Reed’s warning proved accurate, it would have been the first-ever documented case of cannabis candy distributed to trick-or-treaters in the two decades since California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use…

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Say to her, “My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here.”
 –  Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Prayer to Persephone”

Every year it’s the same; by the time August rolls around Mother has become so overbearing I can barely stand her, so it’s a good thing that’s the start of her busy season.  By the beginning of October she always turns morose, knowing as she does that I’ll be leaving soon, and on the night before I depart she lets loose with such a lugubrious display that a stranger might be forgiven for thinking that my annual return home was something new rather than a ritual we’ve enacted countless times since my youth.  The part I hate most is the tearful goodbye when the carriage arrives; that’s so awful I once tried to sneak out before dawn so as to avoid it, but Mother carried on so unbearably about it for the next several months that Father asked me to promise never to do it again.

asphodelAt least it’s mercifully short; for all her drama she knows better than to break our pact by excessive delay, and before long we’re past the lake and through the tunnel, and I can really relax for the first time in months.  I nearly always sleep through most of the journey; the pomegranate wine my thoughtful husband always sends along acts as a balm to my frayed nerves, and the gentle rocking of the carriage on the dark, cool, quiet road lulls me into the blessed rest I get so little of in my Mother’s bright, noisy house (where it’s impossible to sleep past dawn).  But after we come down onto the plains the road becomes rougher and the number of stops more frequent, and I remain wakeful the rest of the way home.  The sight of endless fields of asphodel brings peace to my soul, and when at last we reach the river I get out and sit beneath the willows to wait for the ferry.

Sometimes the wait is short, and sometimes long; even my driver, who has made the journey more than anyone else, is unable to predict so as to plan his trip accordingly.  Depending on my mood I’ll read or play solitaire, and if time permits I’ll have the driver go among those on the riverbank who lack the proper fare, and distribute it to them from my own purse.  Sometimes I even speak to the others waiting at the landing, especially if there is some notable thinker or entertainer among their number; on occasion I’ve even invited an especially-interesting person to ride the rest of the way with me, but the offer is rarely accepted.  It seems very few wish to arrive at my house any more quickly than absolutely necessary, and though I certainly understand that it still makes me sad.

Fear of the unknown is, alas, a fact of the human condition, and unlike me most only make this trip once.  Rather, they only recall making the trip once, but that’s a distinction without a difference.  So while I’m always happy and relieved to come home, the vast majority are reluctant or even terrified, and know nothing of my hospitality.  That is not how I would have it; were it up to me, I would periodically invite every poet and philosopher on Earth for a great feast at my mother’s house while I’m there for the summer, and tell them all of the beauty and rest which await them in my husband’s domain.  But the first time I mentioned that idea Mother wailed and tore at her hair, declaring that my beloved had warped my mind and begging Father to have the marriage annulled.  And once again, Father took me aside and asked me never to broach the subject again.

That’s the way it always is when I bring up my real feelings about virtually anything, except when they happen to agree with hers.  Though I’m older now than she was when she bore me, Mother has never actually accepted me as an adult, and I doubt she ever will.  She simply wouldn’t admit that I was not very much like her, and refused to believe that I found every nice boy she tried to fix me up with dreadfully boring.  But when I finally expressed an interest in a tall, dark, handsome, commanding and unbelievably wealthy older man, she suddenly decided that I was too young to be married and totally ignored anything I, my suitor or even Father had to say on the subject.  Eventually, I was so annoyed at being treated like a child that I eloped with Father’s blessing; I guess none of us recognized the depth of Mother’s possessiveness, nor the degree to which she was determined to relive her life through me (correcting every mistake in the process, naturally).  She told everyone who would listen that my husband had “groomed” me, that he had taken advantage of my low self-esteem, that he had plied me with expensive gifts and sweet words, and that he did not “really” love me (as if love were something whose purity could be determined with a touchstone) but only wished to “exploit” me.  When I explained to relatives and other concerned parties that this was not the case, and that I was an adult who could make her own choices, Mother declared that my husband had damaged my mind with hypnotic powers, and that I couldn’t be trusted to know what was best for me.  And when those who knew me found that theory rather dubious, Mother adopted a scorched-earth policy and filed rape charges against my husband, swearing that he had abducted me before the eyes of my horrified playmates.  Yes, she actually used the word “playmates”, as though I were still in the nursery.

Obviously, something had to be done; given Mother’s high position and the damage her extended tantrum was inflicting on everyone, there was no way it could be allowed to continue.  She wouldn’t listen to anything my husband had to say, and Father was stuck in the middle; it was therefore up to me, and despite Mother’s low opinion of my maturity I understood that someone had to be an adult here.  After consulting with my husband we decided that I would offer her a deal:  I would live with her for half the year and my husband for the other half.  Of course, that wasn’t good enough for her, and she demanded and threatened and carried on until we had to call in my great aunt to mediate.  We finally agreed to my living with her from March to Octoberpomegranate and my husband from November to February, and that he would be allowed to visit me periodically while I was at her house.  Of course, she did her best to be inhospitable while he was there, so eventually we decided on the occasional secret tryst at some other locale while she was otherwise occupied.  And in the interest of serenity we didn’t try to counter the silly tale she spread about how I had been “tricked” into staying with my husband even a third of the year; his fearsome reputation would’ve made countering her claims a difficult proposition at best.

So that’s my story; quite different from the version you heard, isn’t it?  I reckon it doesn’t matter; people believe what they want to believe, and some of them even seem wedded to the delusion that they can indefinitely avoid this riverbank, though none ever has since the dawn of the world.  I don’t need to convince them of their folly; like it or not, they’ll know soon enough.  And then they’ll cross on this ferry as we are about to, and come at last to the lovely lands beyond, which they have been taught all their lives to fear.  As for me, I’ll soon alight from this carriage into the waiting arms of my husband, and tonight we will dine together in celebration of my long-anticipated homecoming.

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Has any of your past clients ever fallen in love with you and you didn’t reciprocate those feelings?  I ask because the last escort I saw was different from all the other ones I’ve met; she’s very smart, strong, confident, beautiful and she even told me I was cute.  She seems to be the kind of person I could be in a relationship with and I would like to get to know her off the clock, but I’ve had so many bad experiences with women in the past that I’m afraid to try anything.  What should I do?

lady-of-the-night-by-gweyeniAs I wrote in “Out of Bounds”, “It’s not at all unusual for a client to fall in love with a whore; sometimes, as in my case, that can actually go somewhere.  But there were a lot of men who fell in love with me before Matt, and every one of my sex-working friends has had clients fall for her; it’s a natural outgrowth of a situation in which a lonely man spends a lot of time in the company of a beautiful, alluring woman who only shows him her best side.”  But it isn’t common that the whore returns the feeling; I’ve answered a number of similar questions over the years from men in similar situations to yours.  And even in the very unlikely event that she does reciprocate and a romantic relationship develops (remember, I was married to a former client for 14 years), such relationships have the same kind of problems as others do, plus a host of special difficulties born of stigma and jealousy.

I’m not telling you that you should run away, nor that a relationship with a sex worker is doomed; I’m telling you that A) it’s very unlikely she feels the same way about you as you do about her; and B) if she is in fact interesting in seeing you “off the clock”, you need to be aware that the relationship isn’t likely to be easier, simpler or more idyllic than any other sexual relationship between two flawed human beings, which is to say “not at all”.  My advice to you is the same as it was to the two gentlemen I answered in “A Living Thing” and “Favor” earlier this year, which is:  Enjoy what you have with her and don’t try to turn it into something it isn’t.  And if she begins to clearly and directly express romantic interest in you, and it actually does turn into a romantic relationship rather than a strictly professional one, don’t go into it expecting it to be all sunshine and fairy dust, because I can absolutely guarantee you it won’t be no matter what you think right now.

(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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The courts, instead of keeping our lawmakers honest, have instead opted to craft ostensibly thoughtful and well-reasoned opinions allowing the legislature to do whatever ridiculous and often horrible things pop into their heads.  –  Matt Brown

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#12)

Criminalization always makes sex work conditions shittier:

…the International Labor Organization interviewed…sex workers…and local authorities in Vietnam, and strongly suggested that the country do something about the occupational safety and health risks that come with the industry.  Most workers had casual jobs before they chose to enter the sex industry, after considering it a better option.  Out of the 73 workers surveyed, only one reported to having been deceived into selling sex, but many workers had their movements controlled by employers and some had their identity papers held…According to the workers, conditions would be better in well-maintained, expensive bars, discotheques, spas, massage parlors and restaurants, while brothels and cheap cafés, restaurants, karaoke bars and parlors are dirty and do not guarantee security and safety.  However, no matter where they work, there is always the threat of violence and police raids, especially for women working on the streets…

Too Young To Know

Despite the emphasis on asinine dysphemisms like “resorting to sex work” and “selling their body” [sic], at least this article understands that young people nearly always sell sex out of necessity, and not because they’re abducted by bogeyman “pimps”:

Teenagers in America are resorting to sex work because they cannot afford food, according to a study…by the Urban Institute…Evidence of teenage girls turning to “transactional dating” with older men is likely to cause particular alarm…The consistency of the findings across gender, race and geography was a surprise…Teens would overwhelmingly prefer to earn money through a formal job but prospects for youth employment are extremely limited…

The two red flags I see here are 1) the Urban Institute has produced shoddy sex work studies in the recent past; and 2) the study seems to rely more heavily on anecdotes told by teens about other, unidentified teens, rather than on reports given by teens about their own behavior.

Still a Child 

It’s shocking & saddening to see how low the journalistic standards of PBS and the New York Times have dropped:

An exposé on the shocking number of girls who continue to be forced into marriage in the United States will air…as part of a two-part special for PBS NewsHour….“This is a story so few know is happening right down their street,” [Gayle] Lemmon [said]…in an email…Among the stories featured will be that of a New Jersey girl named Jada, whose father brought her with him to live in Saudi Arabia.  At the age of 12, her father decided to marry her off…he…forced her to walk on his right side while they were together in public — so other Saudi men would know that she was for sale.  Apparently, it’s a cultural signal there.  Another woman…is Nina, a 33-year-old Michigan woman, who said she was seeking an annulment because she had been married against her will at the age of 19.  The case is perhaps the first of its kind in the U.S., and could shape future legal precedent…Nina…talks about [how] sex with her “husband” came to feel like imprisonment and tantamount to rape…

“Right down their street” sounds like something borrowed from “sex trafficking” hysteria, which this whole story resembles. “Apparently, it’s a cultural signal…” “Apparently“?  Didn’t y’all bother to fucking find out, like by consulting an expert on Saudi culture?  And as for Nina, last I checked, 19 was not considered a “child” anywhere in the US, at least not yet.  I’m certainly sympathetic to women who may feel economically trapped in a bad marriage, or feel unable to leave due to threats of violence, but this seems to be conflating adult women with 12-year-old girls, and that’s an extremely dangerous road for self-respecting women to be allowing our culture & media to follow without speaking up.

Policing for Profit 

This excuse is pathetic, even by cop standards:

NYPD brass testified before the…City Council…that it has no idea how much money it [steals] from citizens each year…and an attempt to collect the data would crash its computer systems…NYC councilmember Ritchie Torres introduced legislation this year that would require annual reports from the police department about how much money it [steals], but at Thursday’s hearing, the NYPD said it has no technologically feasible way to track [thefts that were]…not [challenged by the rightful owners in court]…Bronx Defenders…is suing the NYPD for public records on its asset forfeiture program, which rakes in millions in seized cash and property…every year.  According to the scant records Bronx Defenders did manage to get back, the NYPD reported more than $6 million in revenue in 2013 from seized cash, forfeitures, and property sold at auction, and it had a balance of more than $68 million in seized currency in any given month of that year…the vast majority of [stolen] assets are simply forfeited…after the…property owner fails to go through the burdensome and Byzantine process of trying to retrieve them by the deadline…

Nice While It Lasted

Now that the precedent’s firmly established, you’re going to see an increasing number of laws that presume guilt:

In Arizona, the legislature…decided to define sexual abuse and molestation of a child in such a way that intentionally or knowingly touching the genitals or anus of a child or the breast of a female younger than fifteen is a felony.  That should come as no surprise to anyone who is remotely familiar with Arizona, as the one thing the legislature is good at is passing the broadest and most Draconian criminal laws they can imagine…thanks to the Supreme Court of Arizona’s opinion in State v. Holle, the terms of the statute are to be applied literally…the defense that there was no sexual motivation is one the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence…the court justifies making every parent in Arizona a sex offender tasked with proving his or her innocence should a prosecutor decide to ruin his or her life with charges…

Vendetta (Traffic Updates)

More anti-sex violence and attempted brainwashing funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

[Boston] is stepping up efforts to shame prostitution customers — including the prospect of sending them off to “john school” to [indoctrinate them in the religion of] human trafficking.  It’s all part of a police [fantasy that they can] reduce the online sex trade in the city by 20 percent over the next year…Police are set to receive a $30,000 grant from Demand Abolition…

Between the Ears (#545) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

…in a class-action lawsuit representing…tens of thousands of users, [an] Illinois woman has…[sued] sex-toy company Standard Innovation.  She accuses the company, which is based in Ottawa, Canada, of consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, intrusion upon seclusion, and violating the Federal Wiretap Act and the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute…The woman reportedly bought her We-Vibe Rave for $130 in May and proceeded to use it several times before learning via a Defcon hacking convention talk…that her extremely personal usage was being scrutinized for marketing purposes by its maker…the toy can connect to a smartphone for such activities as adjusting vibration type…and intensity…not to mention allowing someone else to be at the controls from afar…

The Widening Gyre (#545) sex-trafficking-flyer

I guess that “outside agency” never heard of Snopes:

The Boys and Girls Club in Chico [California] was notified…about a suspicious job flyer…Devon Saul says these flyers are raising some serious questions.  “For very minimal work it does through [sic] up a red flag to say okay what’s the catch…It promises great pay. 60, 80, 100 dollars a day.  Great trips, great gifts and bonuses and things like that”…His concerns were solidified when an outside agency in Tehama County notified then non-profit that this may be a sex trafficking scam…the club decided education on human trafficking was needed for staff…

Actually, it says $60 to $100 a week, which is about $12-$20 a day; not exactly a fortune.  But I guess we can’t expect literacy from a man who mixes metaphors so egregiously and thinks that if two people are both hysterical, that “solidifies” their fantasies.  And I guess it’s too much to expect these people to actually call the number to investigate what it’s about instead of jumping at their own shadows.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

I encourage residents to use public computers to report every police car and other official vehicle they can find:

Oakland is…introducing a website…[where busybodies can report] the license plate numbers of suspected johns’ vehicles and describe the specific activity they witnessed.  The sightings are uploaded to the police, who will send a letter to the address where the vehicle is registered…The predecessor…was a program called Dear John, introduced in 2013, which allowed residents to fill out a form that they submitted to the police.  That program generated more than 300 “Dear John” letters mailed to the owners of the vehicles spotted by residents…[cops pretend that] there had been no signs of false reporting in [that] program…

The crowning hypocrisy?  This is Oakland.

To Molest and Rape 

Another woman raped by cops answers headline: “Almost certainly.”

A woman who was…raped by a [cop] said much of which she recalled from that night was “blurry,” but that at one point she woke up and “he was on top of me”…an acquaintance…[drove] her [home from a bar] because she wasn’t in a condition to drive…[Erich] Fritz pulled the man over…and arrested him for operating while intoxicated…Fritz [then] took her to…a hotel room [and raped her]…

Turning Point

Tina Horn uses the New York Times Magazine cover story as a jumping-off point for an article entitled “10 Reasons Decriminalizing Sex Work Is A Feminist Issue“.  And though I think there are much better arguments to be made than most of these, every little bit helps and it’s great to see the number of articles like this one ever increasing.

Too Close To Home (#672)

Read Liz Brown’s fantastic expose, then understand that this is talking about the same events through an anti-sex filter:

The men didn’t know that Hillman, the man they had invited into their elite circle, was actually an undercover detective.  Law enforcement is beginning to take notice of so-called “John boards” — review sites where customers rate prostitutes.  The men busted in this Seattle group earlier this year exposed a secretive world where online sex buyers are treading on a whole new level of criminal behavior…Hillman wrote fake reviews and was invited to join a subgroup that called itself “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…The League attracted the attention of law enforcement not because its members bought a lot of sex, but because of how they worked together…After six months of undercover surveillance, law enforcement closed in.  They busted eight brothels.  A dozen Korean women were offered human trafficking victim services and released…

Hillman didn’t write “fake reviews”; he paid and wrote reviews just like the others, which (considering he used the acts to harm us) makes him a serial rapist.  And no, those women weren’t “offered” anything, nor were they “released”, because the cops never got their filthy hands on them; they were tipped off and fled.  But because that would ruin the narrative of “exploited victims”, this story was invented so the “authorities” could look benevolent to ignoramuses.  Also note this story doesn’t bother to mention the ruined lives and the suicide this ham-fisted pogrom left in its ugly wake.

Of Course It Is (#673)

I hope she gets every damned penny:

…a lawsuit was filed against the city of Oakland [by] attorneys for Jasmine Abuslin, formerly known as Celeste Guap…her attorneys expect to file similar suits against other jurisdictions involved in this sex scandal.  So far, only two [cops] have been formally charged…

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Almost none of [the “sex trafficking” narrative] is true—and the little that is technically true is so lacking in context that it’s utterly misleading.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Anatomy of a Boondoggle 

Just another example of “authorities” paying men to rape whores:

Police raided two flats used as brothels…in Nicosia [Cyprus], arresting a woman from China and detaining another female sex worker [pretended] to be a victim of human trafficking.  A civilian associate of the police visited the brothel and used marked bills to buy sexual services…After [raping the women] the man signalled the police by sending them an SMS message…Police located the two marked bills and [stole] 347 condoms, four of which had been used, along with four mobile phones, sex toys, a computer, and the amount of €345 in cash…

Something Rotten in Sweden

It’s good to see that even reporters who credulously parrot cop anti-whore propaganda now feel compelled to at least mention Amnesty’s findings:

…It can be difficult for police to build cases against traffickers when their primary witnesses — victims — are too afraid to talk [and] don’t trust police [who]…still conduct stings against sex workers…To create more trust among potential victims and curb the demand for commercial sex, sting operations should focus more on catching johns and pimps, [fetishist cop Mark Keller] said…He also suggested changing state law to the so-called Nordic model, which makes it legal for people to prostitute themselves but illegal to pimp, traffick or purchase sex…The model could help [cops] gain the trust of sex trafficking victims…Keller said.  However, it was recently scrutinized in a report by…Amnesty International…which found it subjected sex workers to increased police scrutiny, evictions and other penalties…

The Eye of the Beholder (June Updates)

Given that there is no possibility of a child, what exactly is the rationale behind this prosecution, other than “The ‘authorities’ find this skeevy” or “The law is the law”?

A mother and daughter are facing incest charges in…Oklahoma after authorities learned they were legally married earlier this year.  It is unclear what motivated Patricia Ann Spann, 43, and her daughter, Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, 25, to wed…Investigators also found Patricia Spann married her son in 2008.  He filed for an annulment 15 months later, citing “incest”…Police discovered the marriages late last month during a child welfare check-up.  Patricia Spann told investigators she had lost custody of her biological children as a young mother and only came into contact with her daughter two years ago…the couple believed the union was legal, since she was not listed as the biological mother on her daughter’s birth certificate.  Each woman faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic weiners-weiner

Maybe if we keep repeating this enough, it will eventually sink into the thick public skull:

…Despite popular headlines and self-promoting TV doctors’ proclamations to the contrary, sex addiction isn’t real…There is no doubt that some people have trouble regulating their sexual thoughts, desires, and behaviors.  But addiction has a real meaning and a real clinical definition…When addicts…are shown pictures of their drug of choice there is a clear and uniform response in their P300 brain waves…However, when UCLA researchers studied the response to viewing sexually explicit images in people who self-defined as being unable to regulate their porn viewing, the results showed no similar response…In fact, they found the only thing correlated with brain wave activity was sexual desire such that the higher their self-reported sexual desire, the more brain wave activity they showed.  The authors concluded that there was no evidence to say that even problem sexual regulation fit the definition of addiction as defined by brain response and that these people simply had high sex drives…

Divided We Fall (#13)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

Indonesian police are taking aim at Grindr and other gay social networking apps following the arrest of three men accused of running a “gay prostitution ring” [advertising] underaged boys for sex.  The arrests come amid an unprecedented uproar about homosexuality in the country, where it has never been a major political issue before this year.  Members of the legislature announced…they would…ban “gay propaganda” online.  The country’s Constitutional Court is likewise currently in the middle of hearings on a petition to [criminalize]…all sex outside of marriage…Police have told local media they have identified 148 victims of the network, though only 27 of them are [supposedly younger than 18]…“More than a few gay communities have been growing and targeting kids as victims,” said Asruron Ni’am Sholeh, chair of the Child Protection Commission…

“Targeting kids”…hmm, where have we heard that accusation before?  But back when the moral retards were just warring on female sex workers, the big GLBT organizations couldn’t be bothered to notice.

Finding What Isn’t There

Note how dysphemisms and weasel-words are used to conjure a story out of nothing but rumors, exaggerations and hysteria:

More than 1,000 women and girls have been apparent victims of sex trafficking in illicit cantinas in the United States that largely operate beyond the reach of law enforcement, the anti-[sex work] group Polaris [fantasized]…Half of the…cases…arose in Houston, Texas, a city near the Mexican border with a large Latino population…Cantinas…may disguise the cost of commercial sex in very high drink prices, and women are forced to flirt and drink with patrons…hotlines run by Polaris got reports of 201 cases of sex and labor trafficking, involving 1,300 potential victims at cantinas and bars in 20 U.S. states from 2007 to 2016.  More than half the victims were underage…At one illicit cantina in Houston, some victims were forced to have sex as often as 50 times a day, it said.  The cantina owner, convicted of sex trafficking, conspiracy and other charges, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year…Cases can be hard to investigate and prosecute because traffickers and owners may hide their ownership of cantinas or liquor licenses, and because victims are too scared to testify in court, afraid that traffickers will retaliate by hurting their families…

“Apparent” victims, meaning reports from busybodies that added up to nothing.  Reports of “force” that don’t hold up because there isn’t any, which Polaris then insists are real except that the “victims” won’t admit it.  Impossibly-high claims of clients per day such as we haven’t seen in a couple of years now, using a high-profile racism-based railroading case as “evidence”, and moving the entire city of Houston hundreds of miles south to bolster their fantasy.  This is absurd even by Polaris’ standards.

Too Close To Home

Serious question: How do we nominate Liz Brown for a Pulitzer?

…On January 7, Washington officials [claimed]…women [had been] lured from South Korea under false pretenses and “held against their will” at local brothels.  [They crowed about seizing] a website where deviant men promoted and reviewed these enslaved women…King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg [said]…”The systematic importation of vulnerable young women for sexual abuse, exploitation, and criminal profiteering has been going on for years and it came to a stop this week…This is what human trafficking looks like.”  But as more information about the case has become available, Satterberg’s narrative starts to break down.  The reality—as evidenced by police reports, court documents, online records, and statements from those involved—is…a story of immigration, economics, the pull of companionship and connection, the structures and dynamism that drive black markets, and a criminal-justice system all too eager to declare women victims of the choices they make…

The piece is long, thorough and damning. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing, even if you need to do so in three sittings (it’s broken into three parts).  The “sex trafficking” narrative has been slowly crumbling, and in this important article Liz has handily taken a sledgehammer to a very prominent outcropping of it.

The Mote and the Beam (#613) 

Another victory against a political witch hunt:

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how Backpage.com screens for possible sex trafficking in classifieds advertising.  The order…came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers…the…stay means that Backpage need not comply…until further action from the Supreme Court…The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to make Backpage produce certain documents as part of its [persecution of sex work advertisements] over the internet.  After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-james-robinson

Go on, keep giving male cops power over women; what could possibly go wrong?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations arrested Riverdale [cop] James Robinson Jr…[for] raping a woman he was transporting to jail…Robinson stopped the car next to an empty building near a Custom tire shop…as soon as the woman was released from jail she…asked the shop for footage from its security cameras…

One Born Every Minute (#644)

Interesting that this article doesn’t mention the anti-Backpage mob:

In a 2014 opinion in a case involving a woman who was drugged, raped, and filmed by men she met through the website ModelMayhem.com…the Ninth Circuit wrote that the CDA was not “an all purpose get-out-of-jail-free card for businesses that publish user content on the internet.”  The court found that Model Mayhem…could be sued for failure to warn as the site was aware of the model’s rapists because they were the subject of a criminal investigation for doing the same thing to other Model Mayhem users…the court found that Section 230 did not protect the website when it failed to do anything about the rapists it knew were prowling its site…a…Match.com case is very similar.  [Wade] Ridley, the suit claimed, had attacked other women using Match.com and the company had done nothing to warn love-seeking online daters about the possibility of attack.  The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of some claims, but it found that the logic supporting the court’s Model Mayhem ruling applied here, too…

Of Course It Is

A step in the right direction, at least:

…Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley [announced] criminal charges against seven [cops]…O’Malley [also] said she found evidence of [rapist cops]…in Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Joaquin counties, all outside her jurisdiction.  She said she has  contacted her counterparts there to pursue criminal action…The most serious Alameda County charges — felony oral copulation with a minor — will be filed against Oakland [cop] Giovanni LoVerde and Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy Ricardo Perez…Oakland [cop] Brian Bunton also faces a felony charge of obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor charge of engaging in prostitution.  Three other Oakland [cops] will be charged with crimes…Terryl Smith…LeRoy Johnson…and…Warit Uttapa…Dan C. Black of the Livermore Police Department…faces [four] misdemeanor charges…O’Malley said it’s likely that formal charges against the officers will not be filed until Guap, the case’s primary witness, returns to California…“If the [City of Richmond] does not pay for her to come back, we will pay for her airfare,” O’Malley said…

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Uncoupled

How do I hate myself less for only being able to feel intimacy with sex workers, due to a history of having been abused?

In ancient times, if a culture was going to survive and thrive, it was vital that its people “be fruitful and multiply”.  Social pressures evolved to encourage people to marry and have children, and laws were designed to encourage this as well, and over the millennia we managed to trick ourselves into a mass delusion that lifelong exclusive monogamy is “natural”, despite the fact that it barely even exists at all (and then largely due to the existence of my profession).  So even though we are no longer in danger of civilization collapsing if women aren’t popping out babies as fast as they can, a lot of people still act as though that were the case: older parents gripe if their adult children aren’t giving them grandchildren; the entire GLBT rights movement got sidetracked into a quest for official government fucking licenses; and expressing aloud a lack of interest in coupling will generally elicit either a stare of the sort otherwise employed when meeting someone with two heads, or else a smug reassurance that one simply “hasn’t met the right one yet”.  Even many people who recognize the inherent instability of monogamy go instead for polyamory, an attempt to fix the problems inherent in ongoing committed relationships by multiplying them.

All snark aside, committed relationships work for many people, and emotionally-monogamous but sexually non-monogamous ones work for many others; hell, even actual monogamy (or a reasonable approximation of it) works for roughly a third of the population.  But there are also a lot of people who are unable or unwilling to maintain romantic partnerships for one reason or another.  Some may suffer from mental health issues; others like their sexual freedom too much to commit to a partner; still others simply feel it’s not practical; and many would love to have a partner, but are too shy or unpleasant or socially-awkward to attract and keep one.  And some, like you, have suffered too much at the hands of people who professed to love you to ever give that level of trust again (not for the foreseeable future, anyway).  And how does society respond to the (voluntarily or involuntarily) unpartnered?  By telling them that there’s something wrong with them, or at least with their situation, and that the condition is one to be cured, shunned or even mocked.  And sexual prudes and control freaks of every flavor want to add still another level of torment by declaring that sex is only for the coupled, so that those without the comfort of a partner should also be denied the simple, natural joy of feeling their skin against another’s.

Given those pressures and messages from both the well-meaning and the authoritarian, it’s no wonder you have succumbed to self-loathing, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to feel that way.  To Hell with those people who are telling you, directly and indirectly, that there’s something wrong with you for preferring your sexual intimacy unspoiled by the fear of getting hurt again.  Those who judge you don’t understand what you’ve been through, and they don’t want to understand because having to admit that a large fraction of so-called romantic relationships are abusive to one degree or another, some severely so, would upset their pretty little happily-ever-after weltanshauung.  You still need sexual intimacy, so you get it from people with whom you have no personal connection, and can therefore trust not to hurt you; I think that’s a brilliant solution, and anyone who encourages you to hate yourself for it is an asshole who deserves only scorn.  Fuck them and their fucking rules about what you “should” do with your body, money and time.  Perhaps one day you’ll decide to trust a romantic partner again, and perhaps you won’t; either one is perfectly OK if it’s what you decide is right for you.  But one way or another, sex workers will always be there to provide sexual intimacy without judgment, entanglement or the danger of falling into another abusive situation.

(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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Fireworks

I’m looking for a way my wife can learn the ways of seduction.  We married at 19, had our first child at 23 and have been married for 27 years.  When we were young she did not have to do anything special to keep my attention, but as I’ve aged I’ve grown to desire sexually confident women.  In recent years I’ve been living and working in a developing country and had an affair with a much younger woman; it isn’t that the sex with her is dramatically better, but rather her confidence in her beauty and sexuality, and all of the little subtle seductive things which I long for.  My wife is a good woman who is kind, thoughtful, and caring, but we have very different love languages and have grown apart over the years.  I confessed the affair to her and we’re talking very openly about the situation; we both want things to work, but I need the things I mentioned, which do not come naturally to her.  How can my wife learn such things so we can connect?  Or am I just being a selfish ass?

fireworks heartTalents of any kind, from music to leadership to skill at a sport, start out as natural aptitudes and are then shaped by a person’s environment and education; such skills grow if encouraged and atrophy if discouraged, and if pursued diligently can be developed to a professional level.  And yes, that includes the talent you’re calling “seduction” but which I would call “sensuality” or “lovemaking”.  People in the modern West like to pretend that sexual interaction is like some kind of magical energy field which arises instantly, spontaneously & mutually when two people are “in love”; romantic stories and Hollywood movies pretend that all two people under the influence of the temporary neurochemical derangement we incorrectly label with the exalted word “love” need do is get naked together and POOF! Fireworks.  The “abstinence only” form of sex miseducation even teaches this idiocy as fact, lying to young people that suppressing their natural sexual urges and denying all sexual expression for the better part of a decade (or more) will magically result in the best sex imaginable when the two of them clumsily grope each other in the dark without either of them having the faintest notion of what they’re doing.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking I mean mere technical proficiency, though; there’s a school of thought diametrically opposed to the spontaneous-generation dogma which is equally absurd and ignorant.  You might call it “Cosmo sex tricks” thinking: the idea that the human body is a machine not dissimilar to a power tool or electronic gadget, and that if one just turns the right knobs and sets the dials correctly, POOF!  Fireworks.  And I’m here to give you a big ol’ NOOOOOOOPE on that idea.  The art of sensuality starts with a natural aptitude which is then shaped by environment, education and practice; lots and lots and LOTS of practice.  It doesn’t magically appear after a lifetime of repression because a preacher says “I now pronounce you…”, and it can no more be learned from a book, magazine or video than “Learn Guitar in Ten Easy Lessons” will turn you into the next Jimi Hendrix.  Given equal aptitude, a woman with a better formative environment and more practice will still excel over one with worse and less; given the same environment and amount of practice, a man with higher aptitude will still surpass one with lower.  We can’t all be master chefs, basketball stars, or prima ballerinas.

But here’s the good news:  We Don’t All Have To Be.  Your wife doesn’t have to be Maggie McNeill; she just has to demonstrate love and affection as you need it.  And though we only have your side of the story, your very first line is “WE married at 19…”  We.  She and you.  I suspect that neither your natural aptitude for sensuality nor your early experience was very different from hers, or else neither of y’all would’ve done anything as foolish as getting married at 19 (no offense; remember, I got engaged at 20 and I’m supposed to be the wise one here).  You say, “we have very different love languages”; I certainly believe that, but why is she the one who needs to learn a new language on the near side of 50?  It seems to me that both of you could stand to acquire some new skills in that department.  You both need to try to demonstrate love and sensuality in a way the other can respond to, and you both need to try to appreciate what the other is trying to demonstrate.  It’s not going to be easy; nothing worthwhile ever is.  But there are counselors and workshops and the like who may be able to assist you; you’re going to have to find them in your area, and you may have to try a few before you find the right one.  You say y’all both want this to work, and after investing 27 years in each other that sounds like a good idea to me.  There is no Royal Road to proficiency in anything, but a burden shared is a burden halved, right?  If you work toward being her ideal lover as hard as she works toward being yours, y’all may be within hailing distance of each other sooner than you think.The Mysterious Distance Between Man and Woman by Valeria Giachetti (2009)

(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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