Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

I’m thinking of hiring an escort to surprise my husband; I know he’d love it, but I’m not sure how I would react to it.  Any advice?

menage a troisIt’s a lovely idea, and the fact that you’re even considering it puts you in the class of cool, laid-back and sensible wives.  However, there’s often a gap between the spirit and the flesh, so there are several factors you ought to consider before actually going through with it.  First, you need to consider how jealous you might be deep down; though the very fact you’re thinking about this shows you aren’t sexually insecure, jealousy is a visceral reaction and it could surprise you.  Have you ever felt a twinge of it when you’ve seen your husband dancing with, flirting with or talking to another woman, or when he discusses old girlfriends?  Because if you have, you need to think about how you might react to watching him actually fuck another woman in front of you.  Even if it’s just a subtle discomfort, it could mar your enjoyment of the experience and even affect the way you feel about him immediately afterward.  As I always tell couples before we start, we’re there to give both of you an exciting evening, not to cause trouble between you.  So do think about how you might feel, and if you have a unexpectedly-negative reaction during the date you need to be honest about it rather than trying to bury it.

Another important factor is your relative level of bisexuality.  You didn’t mention what exactly your husband has said about three-ways in the past; do you think he just wants two women working on him, or would he like to see you making love to another woman?  Because lesbian contact between the women is an integral part of many men’s fantasies about this subject, you should be prepared for that; if you’re bisexual or strongly bi-curious this is a moot point, but if you’re neither it would be a good idea to think about how you would feel about kissing another woman, or having her go down on you.  I think it would be an excellent idea for you to read my two-part “Couples” column, which goes into depth about couple calls from the escort’s point of view; the second part compares one that went really badly with one that went really well, and I think the differences may be instructive for you.  If you decide you do want to try, here’s my advice on finding a good sex worker for the job.  Good luck, and have fun!

(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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Off Limits

I think married men should be off limits for prostitutes.  Why don’t you care about other women?

Cheating.How do you propose whores determine a man’s marital status, demand he produce his certificate of bachelorhood?  You do realize a married man looks exactly like an unmarried one, don’t you?  Frankly, it’s not our responsibility to determine which men are married, just like it isn’t a bartender’s job to guess which of his customers may belong to a religion that forbids drinking.  If a man wants to have extracurricular sex he’s going to, and there’s nothing his wife or any whore within driving range can do to stop that; even if we had some sort of professional code against providing services to married men, they’d simply lie and say they weren’t married.  However, it would be really stupid for us to make such a code, even if it could somehow be enforced; for one thing, married men make up easily 75% of our clients, and for another you wouldn’t actually WANT us to stop seeing them, even though you believe that you do.  As I wrote almost five years ago in “Harm Reduction“,

…at least two-thirds of married men will at least occasionally seek extramarital sex.  No woman has any way of knowing whether the man she chooses will be a member of the minority who is able to resist temptation, so if she defines a “successful marriage” as one in which her husband never strays she is playing Russian Roulette with at least four bullets.  But if she defines it as one in which her husband’s probable infidelities cause no overt damage, difficulty or social consequences, all she need do is keep him from getting involved with amateurs…whores allow men to cheat in a managed fashion and thereby minimize harm to their wives and children.  Far from being a “social evil” as it usually referred to in the United States, prostitution is a positive good because it provides a controlled outlet for male sexual impulses which might otherwise cause tremendous problems, including (but by no means limited to) rape and broken marriages.  While it’s true that for a wife to discover her husband has been patronizing whores might damage their marriage, would an affair or constant pressure for unwanted sex do any less?…

Insecure women may refer to sex workers as “homewreckers”, but in fact we save far more marriages than we destroy because we allow men to manage the sexual impulses their wives either can’t or won’t cater to, and which they would otherwise follow into affairs which might indeed wreck the home.  Finally, married men are the safest of clients; they have good boundaries and aren’t likely to get obsessed, fall in love or turn into stalkers.  They come to us precisely because they want to stay married, so they choose to dally with women who are absolutely not going to jeopardize their marriages by getting involved with them.

(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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One of my readers is a long-time client of whores who’s very incensed by the prohibitionists’ demonization of men like him; he therefore wanted to write about the various ladies he’s seen, and I decided to give him a place to share that.

menopauseAbout a year after my wife’’s  menopause and plummeting libido ended all sexual activity in my marriage I started seeking sex workers.  A professional sex worker was a better solution than an affair;  I love my wife and don’’t blame her for what happened to her body and her feelings, plus I felt it was safer and saner to see pros than to risk entanglements with amateurs. I don’t really crave variety, so I like to find one sex worker I like and continue seeing her until she leaves the business.  The following is a description of all the ladies I’ve loved and learned from.

My first was Kate, a single mom in her 40s with a well-paying job in health care administration.  But she wanted to send her son to a very exclusive prep school, so she set up a website and began escorting.  Her minimum date was 4 hours, and she was by far the best GFE I have ever encountered.  Kate was well educated, extremely smart, and very determined; she and I had many long discussions over the years, on a wide range of topics.  Eventually her son graduated from the prep school and attended an Ivy League college, majoring in the same branch of science I work in; Kate introduced us and I mentored him, using my connections to make  sure he got interviews and opportunities. Once her son was established in his career, Kate married one of her wealthier clients and retired from escorting; she still works in her health care profession and manages a busy social calendar heavy on organizing charitable events.  We stay in contact and I count her as a friend.  After Kate I met Mary, whose day job was in the insurance industry; she wanted the income from escorting to help her establish herself in real estate.  She owned a number of properties, and the escorting income let her make repairs and improvements or pay the mortgages when there were extended vacancies.  I saw Mary for 9 years, by which time her investments had paid off to the point where she no longer needed to escort; she then moved to another city to be closer to her children and grandchildren.  We remain in contact and still see each other once in a while.

After Mary, I went through a period where I had more than one regular, because the ladies I liked were difficult to schedule with.  One of them was Ami; she was a whip-smart IT professional and a marathon runner, and she just escorted because it was a turn-on to her.  She didn’t really need the money and was extremely low-volume; in fact, she would only see me when we could schedule it around her busy work and training schedule.  But because her motivation was sexual, she lost interest after menopause; we still meet for coffee from time to time.  Another was Jane, who lived in another city that I visited several times a year for business; we didn’t discuss her work, income or motivations, but I believe her total income was several times mine (and I consider myself well paid).  Jane was well-connected in the escort world, so whenever we couldn’t get our schedules to sync up she would connect me with  low-volume UTR escorts (mostly part-timers)that she knew.  I never really enjoyed those experiences as much as I did my time with Jane or Ami, though; I just didn’t have a connection with any of them as I did with my regular ladies.  About four years ago it became much more difficult to get in touch with Jane, so I assume she retired; she’s the only one of my regular ladies I’m out of contact with, and I wish it were otherwise.  After Jane I met Candy, a full-time sex worker supporting two children (one with special needs); one of her other clients recently proposed, though, so she has told me she will be retiring soon.

happy older manI feel enriched by my experiences with these wonderful women; I’’ve learned valuable things about myself and about life that I never would have known otherwise.  None of these women would stand for being labeled ““exploited”; all were fiercely independent and proud to be living life on their own terms, using their intelligence and understanding of men to improve their lives.  In over 20 years of seeing sex workers, I’’ve never met or heard of a pimp; none of them had ever  experienced any violence except at the hands of the police, and the only drugs involved were prescriptions for our aging bodies.  I think any of them would have bitch-slapped anyone who tried to “”protect”” or ““save”” her.  The control freaks who want to dictate what I and a consenting adult woman can do in her bedroom like to pretend that clients view sex workers as “toilets” or “collections of orifices”, but my experience is completely opposite:  Their professional services and care help me in countless ways.  I’’m happier, less stressed, and more focused when I can have satisfying sex every week or two; I am more productive at work, sleep better, and am more engaged with my friends and family.  In fact, I’’m quite certain that my marriage was saved by my decision to seek the services of sex workers; when I’m  celibate my judgement becomes impaired and my sexual fantasies and dreams become distorted to the point of being disturbing.  Without sex workers I almost  certainly would have started an affair, made inappropriate advances, or filed for divorce to get “official” permission to seek partners for sex.  Long-term marriage is an economic institution, and my wife and I are healthier, happier, and wealthier than any of our siblings precisely because we remain married while they divorced.  I’’m grateful to the sex workers I’ve known for their part in that outcome, and they have continued to enrich my life long after the financial and sexual relationship has ended.

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Once a Client

Though you and your husband are divorced now, your marriage was successful for a long time.  How did you manage to transition from thinking of him as a client to thinking of him as something else?

2-headed girlThe short, pithy and only-somewhat-accurate answer is, “I didn’t”.  It’s very popular to imagine love as an emotion which transforms all relationships into something completely different, but that’s poppycock; the fact that I love Grace never changed the fact that she was my business partner, and it doesn’t change the fact that she is my property manager now.  Her role as my manager is separate and distinct from her role as a person I love, just as an accountant who prepares his wife’s taxes is no less her accountant simply because they love one another.  I honestly believe that the pretense this isn’t so is one of the most important reasons marriages fail so often nowadays.  As I wrote in “Housewife Harlotry“,

Just because a man is another man’s friend doesn’t mean he can’t also be his doctor or business partner, and if he thinks their friendship means he can neglect the economic relationship he will find that neither lasts very long.  Similarly, a woman who thinks that “love” means she can neglect her defining contribution to the marriage, sex, may strain both interactions (the love-relationship and the socioeconomic partnership) to the breaking point.

Even during the most intimate phase of our marriage, I absolutely never lost sight of our respective socioeconomic roles in the relationship: he provided me with income and I provided him with sex, companionship and other wifely contributions.  In other words, because he never actually stopped giving me money for my companionship, I never stopped being a whore and he never stopped being my client.  The fact that I loved him didn’t change that underlying relationship, just as the eventual dissolution of that relationship didn’t change the fact that I love him; they are two distinctly different things.  Likewise, I think it’s absurd and dangerous to conflate sex with love; just because I have sex with someone doesn’t mean I love him in any way, and just because I love someone doesn’t mean I want to have sex with her.  Human relationships which are more than superficial tend to be complex and multi-faceted, with different components and aspects.  And effacing the lines between those aspects, or conflating them with one another, nearly always results in harm to the aspects and usually to the whole relationship.

(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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Government officials…think it’s not easy enough to steal people’s things.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

License to Rape

Why is it so hard for US journalists to use the word “rape” when whores are the victims?

…a South Florida man told a prostitute that he was a police officer and that he would arrest her if she refused to have sex without a condom…22-year-old Mark William Rose was arrested…and charged with impersonating a police officer in the commission of a felony and false imprisonment…Rose told arresting deputies he had previously used the…bluff about a dozen times, with three women conceding to sex…

Get Out of the 19th Century Often?

News reports about prostitution stings in southern states are usually shockingly stupid, and often have not one word about “sex trafficking”:

Over two dozen men were arrested [after falling for]…a cop [decoy].  “We dirtied her up. We told her, you know, you gotta, you can’t be, this is not Pretty Woman,” [pig mouthpiece Joey] Davis [oinked]…Davis explains prostitution is a day job…”a little kid, they don’t need to see that stuff going on”…Some of the women get paid in heroin further spreading disease.  Unknowing wives may become victims.  “Was it worth it?  They didn’t ask for that.  And you don’t know, you might be signing your own death warrant”…

That’s right, kiddies; heroin causes disease!

Tyranny By Consensus

I wonder how much Michael Weinstein has cost the state of California so far?

Adult performers are speaking out against a ballot initiative that mandates condoms in porn throughout the state of California…The measure empowers everyday citizens to sue adult film producers for creating condomless porn—and offers a financial incentive for doing so. Several industry insiders…[say] they worry this would expose them to harassment from stalkers, trolls, disapproving family members and anti-porn activists…

Neither Addiction Nor EpidemicJosh Duggar

Josh Duggar…has “checked himself into a long-term treatment center,” according to a statement  issued…by the Duggar family.  Several media outlets reported that “Josh Duggar is going to rehab for porn addiction“, as if a “porn addiction” were a demonstrably real thing instead of a concept that should be relegated to the scariest of scare quotes.  Duggar’s problems are many but porn addiction is a psychological fiction propped up by the same moralism that Duggar has espoused for years.  By crying “addiction” and going to rehab, Duggar…gets to appear penitent while implicitly sending the pious message that pornography is an evil from which one must be saved…

Above the Law 

Although the term “gay” has now come to include women, I’m honestly not sure what it’s doing in the victim’s description here:

A gay transgender inmate transitioning into a woman was repeatedly raped by a Rikers Island [guard] and jail officials did nothing to stop it, a new suit charges.  The inmate, identified in court papers only as M.T., was assaulted on Dec. 2, 2012 by…L. Galan after months of harassment…Galan gave M.T. gifts like an iPod Touch, headphones, a charger, a case and $20 in cash to not report the abuse…


commercial sex wasn’t “illegal” in Germany prior to 2002…ProstG removed morality language…”pimping” [laws]…limited legal recognition for contracts…and…ensuring sex worker access to employment benefits…What the 2002 Act failed to do was create federal mandates on zoning, registration, health and safety, and police power.  This left substantial jurisdiction to German states…an estimated 98% of Germany geographically, and over 90% of German towns and cities are restricted areas, and over two-thirds of German residents live in a city where commercial sex is prohibited…Berlin is one of only three german cities without restricted areas.  In other cities, street-based sex work is limited to a few blocks…if not completely forbidden…In Munich, which only allows commercial sex in 3% of the city, sex workers say police regularly stage sting operations to lure sex workers into prohibited zones.  Also unchanged by ProstG…are state police laws, which–even in liberal cities like Berlin–give police the free reign to enter wherever they suspect commercial sex is taking place…including a sex worker’s home…

Uncharted Seas

The title says it all: “All the Bad Arguments Against Polygamy, Debunked“:

Since the marriage equality movement’s recent triumph in the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision, national attention has settled on the status of polygamy, or the legal recognition of marriage between more than two partners.  Several national publications have printed arguments both for and against polygamy rights…Both right and left have taken turns making the case for polygamous marriage, and both right and left have taken turns criticizing the idea…but it’s remarkable just how many bad, sloppy, unconvincing arguments have been marshalled.  Let’s go through and refute them one by one…

My First Million (#437)

I hit the 4 million pageview mark at about 19:30 UTC last Sunday, August 30th.  Thanks to all the readers who made it happen!


Vendetta (#518)

Let’s hope the moralists all start devouring one another:

A billboard along an exit from Phoenix Sky Harbor airport could give visitors the wrong impression, according to some…travelers.  The billboard…urges men not to buy sex from prostitutes.  “Buy sex [,] lose everything” is the billboard’s message…”We need to remove it, take it down,” said John Rejebian…”I think the public needs to be spared these things”…A logo for CEASE Network is in the lower-right corner of the billboard…

New Excuse (#544)

Elizabeth N. Brown examines the profit motive behind the War on Whores:

…the government’s interest in stopping commercial gay sex is surely more motivated by the commercial aspect here than the man-on-man component.  We’re riding high on a wave of state successes in shutting down prostitution-related businesses…[under] the guise of stopping “human trafficking,” and aided by massive amounts of federal funding plus newly granted wiretapping, asset forfeiture, and other law enforcement powers.  As Scott Shackford pointed out, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) didn’t go after Rentboy.com out of a conviction that gay sex workers pose a threat to national safety but because they could seize $1.4 million from employee bank accounts, along with their homes and other assets.  This is not so much a moral crusade—not for police, prosecutors, or federal agencies anyway—as a money-grubbing one…

Ashley Madison (#557) 

Computer security expert John McAfee on the Ashley Madison “hack”:

Ashley Madison was not hacked – the data was stolen by a woman operating on her own who worked for Avid Life Media…A hacker is someone who uses a combination of high-tech cybertools and social engineering to gain illicit access to someone else’s data.  But this job was done by someone who already had the keys to the Kingdom.  It was an inside job…In my first IBTimes UK article about Act One of the Ashley Madison Affair, I alleged that the group of hackers claiming responsibility for the “hack” simply did not exist.  I gleaned this information from reliable sources within the Dark Web – which have yet to fail me.  I also claimed that it was the act of a single person.  Any adept social engineer would have easily seen this from the wording in the first manifesto published by the alleged hacking group…

I have to wonder if this employee wasn’t the anonymous tipster who provided the material for “Show and Tell“.  I also found this tidbit rather amusing:

The chief executive of…Ashley Madison is resigning…following a hack that revealed millions of user names meant to be kept secret.  Noel Biderman founded the site in 2002 to make it easier for married people to find other married people to have affairs with…Biderman…has sworn that he would never cheat or use the site.  But the hack…uncovered emails suggesting that he was conducting multiple affairs…

What Were You All Waiting For?

The Amnesty International statement is such a big deal, even the 38 “anti-trafficking” groups that make up the “Freedom Network” came out in support of it.  This is not the first time people who adhere to a version of the “trafficking” paradigm have come out for decriminalization; the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is the most important one, and Kate D’Adamo (first listed author of the statement) is well-known as an opponent of criminalization.  But the fact that a number of organizations who fly the “trafficking” flag are willing to break ranks with the others is a powerful sign of the beginning of the end of the hysteria.

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Sex…is the only area where amateurs are respected more than professionals.  –  Anna Leventhal

The Red Umbrella 

Client gets angry when he recognizes that his whore is a whore:

A businessman…shot a sex worker when she ended their relationship…Jonathan Kovacik, 58, gave Rosalynde Pitcher £6,000 in cash towards [breast enlargement] cosmetic surgery…He also offered her £50,000 to “give up drugs, alcohol and the work” and marry him…However, armed with a Walther CP88 competition air pistol, Kovacik is alleged to have flown into a fit of rage when he suspected the 21-year-old was “stringing him along” for his money…Miss Pitcher was working…[as a cam girl] for the website adultwork.com…Kovacik, who has a property portfolio and owns a car garage, frequently “lavished” Miss Pitcher with a car and other expensive gifts…

A Procrustean Bed

The law is definitely unconstitutionally vague, but that would be a politically unpopular finding right now:

The constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that targets sex trafficking was upheld…by the state’s highest court, which rejected claims by two men that the statute was vague and its scope too broad…the two men…are…the first people convicted under the statute…lawyers for Tyshaun McGhee and Sidney McGee claimed the statute’s language, particularly the phrase “commercial sexual activity,” was unconstitutionally vague.  They said the law also lacked the elements of use of force and coercion that a federal sex trafficking statute requires to establish the crime…

The Proper Study

We’re seeing this sort of thing more and more:

When I first began looking into the research on decriminalizing prostitution, I didn’t know where the evidence would take me. I was familiar with the arguments on both sides of the debate, but I had little idea what the empirical literature said.  But after reviewing dozens of studies, papers, and articles and talking to researchers, the issue is much clearer to me:  Sex work should be fully decriminalized and regulated, similar to other businesses…prohibition doesn’t appear to have any good empirical evidence behind it…

One Size Fits All

Is there any behavior in Ireland that isn’t “trafficking”?

…the Office of the Registrar General has been given more extensive powers to prevent the institution of marriage being abused for immigration purposes…An unexpectedly high occurrence rate of marriages between women from Eastern Europe and Portugal, and men from the Indian subcontinent has been noted…The Registrar will now have…the right to refuse a marriage registration form if they feel that a marriage is not legitimate…The Minister…[is] concerned that sham marriages [are] leading to a proliferation of women being trafficked into Ireland for this purpose…

Above the Law Bryan Lee

An Ohio State Trooper has been sentenced to five years in prison after using his authority to force women into sexual acts, using Facebook to send his victims vague threats, and using Craigslist to advertise for “traffic stop sex.”  The investigation into Trooper Bryan Lee, 31, began in October of 2013 and he was allowed to resign prior to being terminated and prosecuted…

Dysphemisms Galore (Traffic Updates)

Tara Burns turns in a top-notch piece of long-form investigative journalism on the case of her friend, Amber Batts, who was this week sentenced for “sex trafficking” in Alaska.  I’m not even going to attempt to excerpt it; the piece needs to be read in its entirety so you can get the full picture of the sort of people the State destroys in order to support its lurid and melodramatic “sex trafficking” narrative, and the way that neither facts nor evidence has the slightest power to halt or even slow the machinery of injustice once cops and prosecutors have thrown someone into it.

Shift in the Wind (#433)

There’s nothing unusual in this article from The Economist explaining why decriminalization is a good idea; however, I’m very pleased to see that the paper hasn’t made its pro-decrim stance a one-time thing.  I hope it continues to debunk prohibitionist nonsense on a regular basis, even though the writer in this case subscribes to the dumb canard that Rhode Island “accidentally” decriminalized in 2003 (when in fact it purposefully did so in 1980).

Think of the Children! (#445)

Since no outside charity will take money contaminated by “sex rays”, Rentboy decided to create its own charity:

Rentboy.com has created a “Cash4Class” scholarship fund designed to help escorts who advertise on their site to afford school.  To win the $1500 fund, the boys can either submit a 500-1000 word essay or a 1-5 minute video that answers the following question: “Why is going to school part of achieving your dream?”… adult film star Colby Keller will be the official judge of the entries…deadline [is] September 15th, and [the contest is] open to current Rentboy.com advertisers who have proof of enrollment in…classes…

Seizing Power

For those who forgot why Backage started taking payment in the first place:

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal…was leading the charge to force all social networks to police adult content and establish age and identity verification tools…As part of that agreement, Craigslist began charging for ads in its erotic services section at the end of 2008.  “Requiring phone numbers, credit cards and identifying details will provide a roadmap to prostitutes and sex traffickers — so we can track them down and lock them up,” Blumenthal said in a statement…he…[called] the erotic services section an “online brothel” and “hooker haven,” and asserting there was a link between adult entertainment and “human trafficking, drug activity and child exploitation”…

An Example To the West (#554)

Journalists like to pretend the bad consequences of US “anti-trafficking” policy are unintentional; they most certainly are not.  American “anti-trafficking” policy has not “failed” in Southeast Asia; it is doing exactly what it is intended to do:

…the U.S.-led anti-trafficking agenda…has failed or even hurt migrants and refugees.  It has fed a chaotic global obsession with policing and prosecutions, but resulted in few concrete policies to address the underlying causes of trafficking or to assist its victims.  This has been acutely felt in Thailand, a politically volatile country seesawing between military coups and failed democratic governments.  In recent months the ruling junta has led an aggressive anti-trafficking campaign to satisfy its Western critics.  But instead of reducing trafficking and forced labor, these efforts appear to have marginalized human rights and trampled on the most vulnerable…

Not Good Enough (#555) flibanserin

The dangerous psychotropic drug flibanserin, which poorly treats a normal variation in female sex drive which is being defined as a “disorder” by an industry hungry to cash in by selling people drugs they don’t need, has now been approved:

…critics said the campaign behind Addyi had made a mockery of the system that regulates pharmaceuticals and had co-opted the women’s movement to pressure the F.D.A. into approving a drug that was at best minimally effective and could cause side effects like low blood pressure, fainting, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness…Addyi’s label has a boxed warning — the strongest kind — saying the drug should not be used by those who drink alcohol, since that can increase the risk of severely low blood pressure and fainting…Leonore Tiefer, a sex therapist…and critic of the drug, predicted the restrictions on use would keep Addyi from becoming popular.  “It’s going to be more trouble than it’s worth,” she said…Addyi is thought to work by changing the balance of certain brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin…women who took the drug had an average of 4.4 “satisfying sexual experiences” a month, compared with 3.7 for women getting a placebo and 2.7 before the study began.  The drug did not increase desire more than a placebo when measured by a daily diary…

Acting and Activism (#559) 

I’m really pleased to see just how hard Hollywood’s prohibitionism is backfiring on it lately:

Dunham & Co. structured their opposition to the draft policy on the flawed assumption that decriminalization a) encourages non-consensual sex work…and b) promotes men’s dominance over women, in a grand philosophical sense.  This is akin to saying that because women and children are often exploited in the garment industry, we should outlaw garment manufacturing and make sure conditions are really unsafe for anyone who wants to make clothes…

Here’s another example:

Lena Dunham, a woman who by most accounts has never had to worry a day in her life about paying rent and putting food on the table, put her name on a petition aimed at stopping women around the world from doing what she does on television in front of millions of people on a regular basis: acting like she’s enjoying sex for money…You can imagine how confusing Dunham’s position is to those of us who actually do sex work for a living.  She doesn’t see that she’s contributing to our distress by openly calling for the end of our freedom to do sexual work…

Amnesty At Last (#564)

Though the Washington Post has published many pieces attacking “sex trafficking” hysteria, its editorial board is apparently still dominated by prohibitionist fossils who prefer lies and pearl-clutching to facts and self-ownership:

…Supporters of the resolution assume that sex work can be a profession like any other and that sex transactions can be consensual.  This is…not true for the vast majority, who resort to selling their bodies because they feel they have no other option.  Decriminalizing prostitution…would allow pimps to operate with impunity, using the money and status that comes with their newfound legitimacy to scale up trafficking operations that hurt the most vulnerable…The evidence seems to bear that out in Germany and the Netherlands, where [sex work is not decriminalized]…

“Decriminalizing the sale of liquor…would allow bootleggers to operate with impunity, using the money and status that comes with their newfound legitimacy to scale up trafficking operations that hurt the most vulnerable…The evidence seems to bear that out in the United States, where liquor was legalized in 1932″…

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The whore is despised by the hypocritical world because she has made a realistic assessment of her assets and does not have to rely on fraud to make a living.  –  Angela Carter

Because of the stigma against it, sex work is often taken up by women whose choices are otherwise limited; in other words, it is often the best of a limited range of options.  And for much of recent history, it was virtually the only worthwhile option available to women viewed as sexually “soiled” or “ruined”, often through no fault of their own.

Squirrel Tooth AliceTake Mary Elizabeth Haley, for example.  She was born in Belton, Texas in 1855 to James and Mary Haley, a fairly well-to-do couple.  Unfortunately for Libby (as she was called), if her family hadn’t had bad luck it would’ve had none at all; first they were financially ruined by the Civil War, and then the nine-year-old was abducted by Comanche Indians in 1864.  It took her father three years to raise the ransom the Comanches demanded, and even after she was released her ordeal was far from over:  “civilized” whites assumed she had been raped by the Indians, and her parents found themselves with an unmarriageable daughter.  Her father seems to have been deeply in denial about her ostracism, however; when young Libby’s looks and personality attracted a suitor mature enough not to care about her “reputation”, her father responded by shooting the man to death because he was too old.

Libby was both intelligent and pragmatic, and thus understood that her hotheaded father would either murder or frighten away any man willing to overlook her history, so at 14 she ran away to Abilene, Kansas and became a dance-hall prostitute.  Nobody in the boomtown knew anything about her, so it wasn’t difficult for her to find a boyfriend:  a professional gambler and sometimes-cowboy named Billy Thompson, younger brother of the gunslinger Ben Thompson.  From 1870 to 1876, the couple drifted across (mostly) Kansas and Texas, following the cattle drives or running from the law and/or people Billy had cheated; each brought in money by their professional skills, and they were married in 1873 after the birth of their first child.

Near the end of 1876, however, their luck began to change.  In October, Billy was arrested by Texas Rangers and extradited to Kansas to stand trial for the 1873 murder of Sheriff Chauncey Whitney; miraculously, he was acquitted, and for the first time they felt as though they might actually settle somewhere.  Both Billy and Libby were quite good at their professions, and had put aside a sizable stake;kissing prairie dogs they purchased a ranch and a dance hall/brothel in Sweetwater, Texas, and moved into management (Billy as a rancher, Libby as a madam).  During the years they had spent much of their time on the range, Libby had developed a fondness for prairie dogs; now that they lived in town she started keeping them as pets (some said she even walked them on leashes).  From this and the prominent gap between her front teeth, Libby at last gained the name by which she is known to history:  Squirrel Tooth Alice.

The next twenty years went quite well for them; both businesses prospered (especially the brothel), and Alice’s fame spread across the West.  They had nine children in all and their marriage lasted for 24 years, until Billy died of some sort of stomach condition in 1897.  Alice continued to run the brothel until she retired in 1921 at the age of 66.   Alas, her declining years were not as happy as they could have been; though several of her daughters followed their mother into our honorable profession, several of her sons inherited their father’s worse characteristics and turned to crime.  Alice lived in the homes of several of her children who had settled in Palmdale, California, and when she became too ill to care for themselves she moved into the Sunbeam Rest Home in Los Angeles.  There she died on April 13, 1953, at the ripe old age of 98.

Prohibitionists are fond of pretending that because sex work is often a constrained choice, that this is an argument for criminalizing it (as though it made any moral or logical sense to remove the best choice from a limited range of options!)  How would it have helped young Libby Haley to cut off the means of her escape from the narrow-minded bigots of her home town?  Prostitution not only allowed her to make a living, but also to find love, acceptance, fame and personal satisfaction; I guess the prohibitionists would prefer she had died a lonely charity case, unsullied by either men or money.

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