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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

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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Life is a sum of all your choices.  –  Albert Camus

1968 ImpalaHer sister’s phone call had plunged Liz into one of her periodic episodes of deep self-doubt.  While they had both gone to college, Mary had primarily used the experience as a means of finding a husband with prospects, while Liz had been inflamed by the spirit of women’s lib and decided she wanted a career of her own.  Mary had chosen well; her husband had just been made a full partner in his law firm, and they had a beautiful house and two newish cars.  They had two great kids and a third on the way, and it was obvious that they were still very devoted to one another.  And while Liz was doing OK and didn’t exactly regret her choices, they hadn’t made her either as happy or as wealthy as her sister seemed to be.  She still drove the dependable but aging ’68 Impala her father had given her when he bought his new Caprice a few years back, and insisted she didn’t really need a color television set.  And her rented house in a modest middle-class suburb had all the room she needed.

But now she had been offered a promotion and a big raise; one catch was that it required a move to the East Coast, and another, more serious one was that she wasn’t at all certain she could handle both the extra responsibility and a move to a strange city at the same time.  What if she made the wrong decision?  And which decision was the wrong one?  Staying here where she was comfortable but not really successful, or leaving her comfort zone in the hope of finding success?  What if she lost both comfort and success, and had to slink back home with her tail between her legs?  What if all this turmoil was the result of a poor decision in the first place, and she should’ve married Claude when he proposed?  She had heard through the grapevine he was doing nearly as well as her brother-in-law.  What if any decision she made now was wrong, because her previous decisions had been?  What if…

“May I have a cookie?”

The unexpected question startled Liz out of her ruminations; she turned to find a rather extraordinary little girl of perhaps seven standing outside of the open patio door.  She was dressed in soaking-wet blue jeans and a dirty T-shirt with a picture of Wonder Woman on it, and the state of her clothes and the fresh mud caked on her sneakers left little doubt as to how she had arrived in Liz’s backyard.

“Did you go into the drainage canal on purpose, or was it an accident?”

“An accident,” she said with a sheepish grin.  “I was trying to cross on the pipe and I slipped.”  The pipe in question was a conduit which crossed the canal from bank to bank, a few feet above the high water line; it was certainly wider than a tightrope, but Liz wouldn’t have felt comfortable trying to cross on it.

“I’m not sure I understand what that has to do with cookies.”

“Nothing, really,” the child stated matter-of-factly; “I just saw the package there so I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.”

“Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

“Yeah, my mommy says that all the time.  I’m not sure what it means, though.”

Liz set a plate full of cookies and a glass of milk down on the patio table.  “It means if you don’t try something in the first place, you have no possibility of succeeding at it.”

“So if I hadn’t asked for the cookies, there was no chance of getting them.”

Liz handed her a paper napkin, realizing immediately how silly that was given her current state. “Right, and if you don’t try to tightrope-walk on a pipe, you’ll never know whether you could’ve done it.”

“Yeah, but you also wouldn’t have any chance of falling in the mud.”

“Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it?  I mean, you’re filthy and you smell like a swamp – ” (the little girl giggled) ” – and your mom will probably scream at you, but you got some cookies out of it.”

“And a new friend.”

“You’re very sweet,” Liz said; “I think you’re just saying that because I gave you cookies.”

“No, really, you remind me of my mommy.”

“Oh, how so?”

“Well, you actually look a lot like her, and you’re about the same size, and you’re smart like she is.”

“I think you probably inherited that from her.”

“Maybe from both; my daddy’s very smart too.  He and mommy met in college.  Did you go to college?”

“Yes, I did.  I think you ought to go too, when you’re old enough.”

“TINA!” came a female voice from the other side of the canal.  “Come inside and get cleaned up before dinner!”

“I’m guessing that’s for you?”  The girl nodded.  “I hope I didn’t spoil your dinner.”cookies on a plate

“Nah, that was just like an appetizer.”

Liz laughed.  “What’s your mommy’s name?”

“Beth.”

“How strange; I’m called Liz.  Your mommy and I have the same name, Elizabeth.”

“Oh, yeah!  But it’s like y’all chose different parts of the name to go by.”

“It seems we made different choices in a lot of areas.  But that’s part of what makes life interesting.”

“Well, I should go before she gets mad.  Thank you for the cookies.”

“You’re welcome, Tina.”  And with that the child sprang up and went through the gap in the fence, and Liz stood up just in time to see her reach the other bank after crossing perfectly on the conduit.  She laughed a little as she heard Beth’s exclamations of dismay a minute later, then went back inside and picked up the phone.  “Mr. Perkins?  It’s Liz.  I’m sorry to bother you at home, but you did say to let you know as soon as I had made my decision.  I’m going to take that promotion.  Yes, thank you very much; we’ll discuss the particulars tomorrow.”

Then she walked back out on the patio, picked up the plate and ate the one remaining cookie.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, she thought.  If you don’t reach for the cookies you’ll never know how they taste, and Liz had decided she wasn’t going to be afraid of a little mud.

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Immune to the Stuff

I’m a mostly straight, young but not too young, sexually active adult woman.  I don’t intend to get married, but I very much value emotional connections and intimacy.  I can have sex for the sake of sex without needing it to mean more, but I appreciate more when it’s there.  Well, about two years ago I met a much older man who claimed his was an open marriage; we didn’t actually have sex for a couple of months, and I was intrigued by the idea of a close but not fully committed lover who would not be seeking a wife.  Eventually I found out that while his wife didn’t much mind his having no-strings extramarital sex, she would not at all have accepted his being emotionally involved with a mistress.  I was pissed because I had expressed early on that I didn’t want to get involved in keeping secrets, but he talked me back into his arms and thus ensued another year of amazing sex, moments of transcendent friendship, and also plenty of moments of being ignored or even fully disregarded despite his expectation that I would be responsive to him and his texts and his emails.  He could have gotten the sex without having to make false promises of emotional attachment, but that’s not what he did.  So I ended it because being told I am amazing while simultaneously being ignored might be as damaging as anything I have experienced.  Still, I have a lot of self-doubt over this; is something wonderful about him that I am overlooking?  Did my desires and wants cross the line into immature self-centered behavior?  Am I overlooking a point of view, or am I just overlooking an asshole’s asshole nature?spooky cocktail

It’s hard for people who are sexually experienced, savvy, wise in the ways of the world and generally free of belief in romantic bullshit to recognize that we, too, can be deceived in relationships.  No matter how much we may like to think that we’re “immune to the stuff”, as Robert Palmer put it, the fact of the matter is that the right dose in the right combination delivered in the right medium will still intoxicate us just as if we were starry-eyed ingenues.  And unfortunately, there is no way to be sure that the mixologist isn’t up to pure no good when he or she slips you that mickey; every time you imbibe you run the risk that the cocktail will be stronger than you bargained for, especially when it’s so delicious you just keep knocking ‘em down without keeping a very close count.  From what you’ve told me here, your lover was quite the skillful alchemist; he read what you wanted, told you what you wanted to hear and expertly smoothed over your valid concerns.  This doesn’t mean you’re gullible; it means you’re a real and complex person with needs of your own, and you fell in with someone who both knew how to manipulate that and had no moral scruples against doing it.  Lest you think I’m being unnecessarily harsh in my judgment of him, consider your own statement that “he could have gotten the sex without having to make false promises of emotional attachment”; he wanted the advantages of a regular sex worker without having to pay for one.  You didn’t say what he does for a living, but he’d have made a great politician; the combination of charm, promise making-and-breaking and casual dishonesty is typical in that career.  Politicians are usually very popular, too, which is how they keep getting elected no matter what they do; that doesn’t make them good people, it makes them good manipulators.  So I think you made the right decision: treasure the good memories, let go of as much of the pain as you can, and walk away before he talks you into wasting another year on someone who seems unable to play by the rules of ethical polyamory.

(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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My girlfriend of 10 years was an escort before she met me, and didn’t hide that from me when we got together.  I didn’t bother me because it was in the past, but now she’s working again and I’m having a hard time with it.  I feel she enjoys some of the calls, and I worry that I won’t be able to live up to those experiences; I also feel like sex isn’t as special for her as it is for me.  It’s harder to date an escort then I imagined!  Can you please give any advice or feedback?  I do love her and we have a son together; I just need some advice from a woman who has lived it.

goose gander sauceShe probably does enjoy some of her sessions.  Would you prefer she didn’t?  I understand you’re feeling insecure about this, but seriously consider what I’m asking you here:  Do you want her not to enjoy her job?  And if you don’t, is merely not enjoying enough?  Does she need to be entirely miserable the whole time for you to feel secure?  I get that men are competitive creatures, and that y’all want to turn everything into a pissing contest, but the fact of the matter is that it’s very unlikely that you have the biggest cock she’s ever encountered, or that you’re the most technically competent lover she ever had, or that you “live up” to her most exciting scene every time y’all fall into bed.  But remember, she had all these experiences before she met you and yet she chose you anywayAs I explained to a female reader almost six months ago (in a situation where the shoe was on the other foot),

The inconvenient fact is that sexual desire isn’t directly linked to emotional connection; at the beginning of a relationship they usually are, but in the majority of cases it doesn’t stay that way for more than a few years.  Every woman would like to believe she’ll always be the one her husband is most sexually attracted to, but that’s not usually the way it happens; the attraction which inspired him to choose her as his primary partner is emotional and/or spiritual, and may grow stronger even as his lust for her weakens with time and familiarity.  Really, there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s why many an elderly man still deeply loves his wife long after her physical charms have faded.  In short, it’s entirely possible that your man may find another woman he finds more sexually attractive than you, but it’s highly unlikely that would in and of itself present any serious threat to your bond with him.

That sauce serves as well for the gander as for the goose:  it is highly likely that your lady chose you for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with sex, and that bond will still exist even if she’s getting a lot better sex from her clients than most escorts do (which I can assure you is highly unlikely).  As my wasband Matt pointed out in his interview over four years ago, she’s no more likely to fall for someone she meets at work than she would be if she worked in any other job; in fact, because sex isn’t all that and a bag of chips to whores, we are dramatically less likely to stray, and if we do it certainly ain’t going to be for a stupid-ass reason like “I had an hour of good sex with some dude I don’t actually know”.

(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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