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Posts Tagged ‘Mind Over Matter’

They want to give rapist policemen more power over sex workers.  –  Waiting Girl

The Red Umbrella 

A [man] who robbed a sex worker at knifepoint in her own home has been jailed for eight years.  Richard Ansell, 25, made an appointment to visit the woman at her house…Soon after arriving, he pulled out a 10″ knife from the inside of his jacket and demanded money…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

It’s amazing how little their arguments have changed in 54 years.

It Looks Good On Paper

Noah Berlatsky on underage sex workers:

…Most domestic minors in the sex industry are not kidnapping victims.  They’re [teenagers] who have fallen out with their parents (often because they are gay or trans)…and…sell sex to survive.  And the biggest danger they face is not from organized rings of predatory criminals, but from the police.  That’s one of the central insights in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Beyond Victims and Villains, a new book by…Alexandra Lutnick…[who] told me…that…“young people experience violence more often from law enforcement officials than from any other group.”  In the worst cases, this violence takes the form of physical and sexual assault…The legal system itself is abusive…between 2000 and 2009 arrests of minors for prostitution and related vice charges rose by 8.5 percent.  Lutnick found that even in places where minors have technically been decriminalized, young people are arrested for what is essentially a prostitution offense; police find something else to charge them with, like loitering, disturbing the peace, or even lying about their age…Young people are supposedly arrested for their own good, to remove them from the influence of pimps and from their own dangerous choices.  But…arresting young people means that they are less likely to be able to get jobs and education, which means that they have even fewer options other than selling sex…

Above the Law 

This isn’t the only brutality police chiefs ignore, which makes the “misogyny” explanation pure bullshit:

…recent investigations suggest it’s not uncommon for…[cops] to sexually assault, abuse and harass female civilians…While media exposés in recent months have highlighted the pervasiveness of police sexual misconduct, the problem isn’t new — and few departments appear to be doing anything to address it.  In 2011, the International Association of Chiefs of Police…produced a series of recommendations designed to change a culture that the IACP noted may encourage some officers to sexually abuse, harass and assault those they’re sworn to protect.  But…only three departments of 20 surveyed appear to have taken any of the recommended steps for curbing sexual misconduct…departments put themselves at risk of expensive lawsuits by not having policies in place, putting taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in payouts.  And…a broken system of laws and background checks [allows cops]…accused of sexual misconduct to get jobs in departments where new allegations would later surface, including rape…

The real reason isn’t “male-dominated police culture” or any of this crap; it’s that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and cops rarely if ever face any consequences even for murder, much less rape.

Capricious Lusts (#37)

As we’ve seen before, Bollywood is actually pretty sex work-friendly even if the Indian government isn’t:

When a TV journalist asked a popular Bollywood actress whether she was “lowering the level of the fine art of cinema” because she used to act in porn movies, the interview went viral and many Indians jumped to her defense…Sunny Leone, a Canadian-born former porn actress of Indian origin, has been able to build a whole new reputation — and fan base.  After the interview aired over the weekend on a television news channel…the criticism was immediate and widespread.  Leone…has seamlessly journeyed from her porn-star past to a stint on a TV reality show to a successful career in the Indian film industry.  She has acted in a murder thriller, a horror movie and an upcoming sex comedy.  But…Bhupendra Chaubey…peppered her with aggressive questions about her past as “a porn queen”…Leone answered the questions calmly, insisting that she had no regrets and that she did not find anything “vulgar” or “wrong” with her former line of work…she said: “I don’t have any horror stories – I wasn’t abused, I wasn’t beaten, I wasn’t molested”…

Vendetta

Swanee Hunt’s latest campaign to ruin the lives of whores and clients alike is one of her most twisted yet; it tricks young people into aiding the police state by lying to them about imaginary “victims” and “exploiters”:

With the sex-for-hire trade increasingly shifting to the Internet, a Cambridge advocacy group brought together dozens of high-tech volunteers for a series of weekend workshops aimed at giving law enforcement new tools to combat human trafficking.  Tasked with developing software programs and apps for everything from monitoring John chat rooms, compiling Top 100 lists of prostitution customers and promoters and enabling police to record real-time arrest information on their cellphones…as part of an initiative run by…Demand Abolition…

But the prohibitionists no longer control the whole narrative; the media are increasingly listening to sex workers:

Sex workers around the world are expressing outrage about a tech event…called #hacktrafficking4good after its namesake hashtag…it included participants from MIT who came together to develop…surveillance tools that could help [cops]…“identify” and “disrupt” the online market…But sex workers and activists…bashed the project on Twitter, called it patronizing and said the effort made sex workers more vulnerable to abuse…Some, including Boston’s Sex Workers Outreach Project, also accused police of being more dangerous to sex workers than clients.  Data from the National Blacklist site, where sex workers post warnings about clients to avoid, backs up that claim.  It shows that Boston police are one of the local sex workers community’s greatest concerns.  Several local listings warn against [pigs]…asking for unprotected sex and trying to entrap sex workers…hack trafficking protest

Case Study

Dysphemisms and gawking abound in UK articles about sex work:

This mousy-looking Fife housewife helped run a sex-for-sale empire that straddled Scotland.  Ana Calder, 36, built a thriving vice business with her boyfriend, recruiting women from Brazil to sell their bodies in a dozen brothels in eight towns and cities across the country. They took a cut of the women’s earnings and raked in more than £150,000 before they were caught…The couple searched the internet for [Brazilian sex workers]…and encouraged them to come and work in Scotland…Undercover police…saw…condoms and…checked that the women were safe…

Mind Over Matter

Ruchira Gupta wants women like me banned by law from ever having sex:

Ruchira Gupta…[of “rescue” profiteer group Apne Aap repeated a long-debunked prohibitionist lie about Germany]…”a woman who had applied for a job…was [given] a job in a brothel…she…was taken off the social security benefit because she had refused the job that she was given!”…Gupta [bloviated that]…There is a difference between “welcome sex” and “consensual sex”.  I used this term because consent can be obtained under many different circumstances, like marriage, employment and power relations.  But in “welcome sex”, the woman wants the sex which then becomes all about participation and collaboration rather than domination…it becomes about mutual pleasure rather than one person’s pleasure…

Out of Control (#410) 

If he had simply paid to enact this fantasy, he’d still have a career:

A prominent doctor at Mt. Sinai Hospital is accused of heavily sedating a 22-year-old patient with morphine and then ejaculating on her face while she was semi-conscious.  Dr. David H. Newman, who has reportedly given lectures on the importance of improving the patient-doctor bond, has not been arrested or charged…

Prudesville

How much longer can this absurd melodrama continue?

An Olympia man may get a $45,000 check from the city of Everett to settle a case about public records requests for surveillance videos showing bikini baristas engaging in illegal activity…West filed a lawsuit after police denied his request for the…videos in 2014.  As part of the settlement, West offered not to publish any of the videos unless they contain images of public officials engaged in misconduct.  The videos were part of a 2013 investigation into public corruption and prostitution at bikini espresso stands in Everett and other areas of Snohomish and King counties…

Bread and Circuses (#533) 

Translation: “Landlady railroaded for allowing whores to work on her property“:

The madam of a brothel that operated in Houston’s East End for years was sentenced to life in federal prison…for her role as the leader of an international sex-trafficking ring that forced women and girls into prostitution.  Hortencia “Tencha” Medeles, 70, was convicted during a trial last year…Houston is a major hub for sex trafficking due to its size, proximity to the border and large immigrant population.  The ring was built on the backs of women and teenagers who were smuggled into the United States from Mexico and Central American by smooth talking pimps who promised them love and marriage.  When they got to Houston, however, they were beaten, raped and threatened that they as well as their families back home would be killed if they did not perform or tried to escape…

Given her age, it’s likely she’ll die in prison before her conviction is reversed after the end of the moral panic.

Welcome to the Future (#543)

All prohibitionists are liars, but Irish ones may be the most egregious:

…“Women are just like pawns in the whole structure of it,” said Linda Latham of The Women’s Health Project…rape, violence and forced criminality is a common experience…Not all sex workers are duped or coerced into the lifestyle – however evidence suggests the majority are.  Statistics indicate 98%…Denise Charlton…with The Immigrant Council of Ireland stated:  “Almost without exception the women…have been trafficked…We call for much-needed action to stop the pimps and traffickers”…

The most fascinating lie here: 98% is actually the fraction of sex workers who are not coerced.

Above the Law (#591)

An undercover [cop]…proposed to an activist and lived with her for 18 months…The previously unknown case will place fresh pressure on [Scotland Yard], which last year was forced to apologise to seven women who had similar relationships.  The woman…told BBC Newsnight she was a victim of “psychological torture”…[She] was friends with a group of left-wing political activists…who are thought to have been the target for long-term infiltration…the relationship…lasted from 2002 to 2004…

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The enormous variations in prostitutes’ life stories make it impossible to fit them in binary categories like “forced” and “voluntary”.  –  Linda Duits

The Rescuers

The youth of the Christian Union conducted a demonstration…in the Red Light District, but the prostitutes wanted nothing to do with it…Mariska Majoor of PROUD, the sex workers’ union…[said] “The Christian fundamentalists make customers afraid while the…women in the Wallen just want to work”…PROUD performed a counteraction to make it clear that sex workers do not need to be saved by Christian fundamentalists…

Dirty Amateurs

Cruising for sex on Craigslist personal ads resulted in a 15.9 percent increase in HIV infections after the website entered various U.S. markets, according to a recent study by the University of Minnesota …Jason Chan…found that HIV incidence began to increase about a year after Craigslist entered a market, then climbed through the study period…the association…occurred only with respect to personal ads — not professional escort services.  Chan figures that sex workers took more precautions than people seeking sex in a social context…

Scapegoats 

Universal criminality in action.  Can’t prove a charge?  Just add another in mid-trial that you don’t actually have to prove:

A factory worker has been jailed for four years after he was cleared of having sex with a Shetland pony but convicted of outraging public decency.  Alan Barnfield was…spotted putting something around the neck of the…pony and leading it and another horse to the darkened end of the paddock.  Worried residents called police and he was found “sweating profusely and smelling strongly of horses”…the outraging public decency charge was only added halfway through the trial [because] it…carried an unlimited sentence whereas the main charge…[only] carries a two-year maximum.  The second charge was added when lawyers…realised that…[they would]  actually [have]…to…prove…[the main charge]…

Too Young To Know

Anyone who whose memory extends back to a time earlier than the age of eighteen should know that the doctrine of “sexualization” is total bullshit, yet people believe it anyway.  Will Matheson argues that since humans are naturally sexual, the actual problem is what we might call “Puritanization”, the societal suppression of those healthy, natural urges.  It’s a good essay, and I’m not just saying that because he quotes me right below Carl Sagan.

Whatever They Need To Say

This cannot be repeated too many times:

One of Amsterdam’s most iconic landmarks is being torn down.  The lights have been switched off in the famous Red Light District…the city’s politicians…have undertaken a massive gentrification project under the guise of rescuing women from the sex trade.  Project 1012 is…buying up brothels with public funds [and] re-selling the realty to “high-grade” enterprises:  dining, design and fashion…It was then Alderman Lodewijk Asscher…who managed to “sell” the project…[by pretending] that sex work is inextricably bound up with exploitation, oppression and human trafficking…This…cannot be substantiated with scientific data…Project 1012 has never been about the faith of sex workers, but about…ownership…of valuable real estate…That’s why brothel owners had to leave, despite the fact they were never charged with actual crimes, let alone convicted.  They merely needed to be branded as social pariahs…

Buried Truth 

Surprising no one:

A preacher who claimed that Starbucks flavour their coffees with semen has admitted that he…has been tempted himself by the gay lifestyle.  “Absolutely, no doubt about it.  I spent three and a half years in prison…I was tempted, but I didn’t yield to temptation…”

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#137) Shockspot

A hi-tech “teledildonics” contraption…lets lonely men thrust into an artificial vagina – and have a robot dildo penetrate webcam girls in time to their thrusts…They’ll have to be quite brave – the Shockspot produces 18lb of thrust…

What could possibly go wrong?

Paint By Numbers

“Fighting sex trafficking” by standing on lawns is so passé:

A group dedicated to saving young women from forced prostitution…[stood around on] Interstate-5 off-ramps for hours in the rain.  Interstate 5 is…where [prohibitionists pretend truckloads of]…sex trafficking victims are taken from Washington to Mexico.  A group of people in Portland…did something about it…[by standing around holding] bright pink signs…

Stupor Bowl

I think we can safely close the lid on the coffin of the “gypsy whores” myth; “Video Vigilante” Brian Bates (no friend of sex workers) is celebrating its demise, and a Phoenix criminal defense attorney mocked it with a poem which also lampooned cops and crusading prosecutors:

‘Twas the night before the Superbowl, when all through the state,
Not a hooker was stirring, who wasn’t a fake;
The cops posted their escort ads on the internet with care,
In hopes that potential Johns soon would surf there;

The police were nestled all smug on their hotel room beds,
While visions of entrapped soon-to-be sex offenders danced in their heads…

…The wrinkles on the face of the undercover cop
Gave the look of old age even with the tube top,
When, what to the client’s disbelieving eyes should appear,
But a detective with cuffs, claiming her age should’ve been clear…

Mind Over Matter

Nobody has any damn business telling people that their reasons for having sex are “wrong”:

Rashida Jones doesn’t think women are deriving pleasure from amateur porn.  “It’s performative, women aren’t feeling joy from it,” Jones said…while promoting Hot Girls Wanted, a documentary she produced on the amateur porn industry…”It’s fulfilling a male fantasy…what is the real cost to your soul and to your psyche?”

Yes, she thinks having sex can damage one’s soul.  But neofeminism isn’t a religion, noooooooo.

Choke Point choke point diagram

In what seems to be a retreat from its Operation Choke Point initiative, the FDIC has…[instructed] banks to judge their relationships with their customers on a case-by-case basis, rather than refusing to provide…services to entire categories of industries…[even] leading banks to close the…accounts of many churches…[because] a large percentage of [their] contributions [are] in cash…The Washington Times…argues that [this] effectively ends Operation Choke Point…

The Public Eye (#423)

This author is too deeply soaked in prohibitionist thinking to write a proper story, but the words of the sex workers shine through anyway:

…the critically acclaimed Sex Workers’ Opera…[was] scripted…to…speak out against…criminalisation…UK…policies are…geared towards rescuing “sex slaves”…but for…sex workers…there is nothing more terrifying than the idea of “being rescued”…In one skit, the cast compares [Swedish model proponents] to naïve fishermen, who tell others to go and fish in safer seas where there are, in fact, no fish…

A Whore in Church (#425)

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

A group of nuns and residents who live near a west suburban strip joint…[alleged] prostitution and liquor law violations…at the club, which they…have been seeking to shut down…the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo and others [now] claim Club Allure…promotes and allows certain touching and “high friction rubbing” that could be considered prostitution…They also say the club…violates…liquor laws by serving alcohol in close proximity to the nuns’ convent…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (#439)

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

A private investigator who gets paid by councils to have undercover sex inside illegal brothels has been fired after withholding information about a prostitute whom he met on a job…the investigator was accused…by [prohibitionist NGO] Brothel Busters…of having “deliberately omitted” important details…to…protect…an illegal sex worker, with whom he had become “enchanted”…

Divided We Fall (#445) Malooka Aldlouah

Prostitution charges are such a convenient bludgeon against minorities:

A court in Cairo has sentenced a 25-year-old transwoman named Malooka Aldlouah to six years in prison under a law that criminalizes “debauchery”.  Aldlouah may be the first person sentenced…since an appeals court announced…it would uphold the acquittal of 26 men accused of participating in a “gay sex party”…in December…police [pretended]  that [Aldlouah] had posted “hardcore” videos on YouTube that were intended to advertise sexual services including “sadistic sex”.  But a review of [her] YouTube and Facebook accounts…showed only videos of her dancing clothed…and none had been posted within the past year…

Sex Work is Work (#507)

A group of South African sex worker rights activists have published “A Guide to Respectful Reporting and Writing on Sex Work“, a hefty 4.7 meg compilation which covers everything from recommendations on language and stock photographs to admonitions against outing sex workers.  Given that it’s in English, it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt for American usage.

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I’m a 24-year old woman who considers herself rather “sexually stunted”; though I’ve had a few partners, masturbating makes me more uncomfortable than turned on and when I actually do have sex I find myself constantly second-guessing how much I’m actually enjoying it, or whether I’m “doing it right” (even with masturbation!).  I honestly doubt that I’ve ever had a orgasm.  Though it sounds like your mindset was very different, any advice on how to start exploring my sexuality?

Cosmopolitan March 1987My mindset is not as different as you think; the main difference is that I’m almost a quarter-century older than you are.  When I was your age (in 1990) there was no internet to tell me what my sexuality “should” be like; of course we had women’s magazines, but I decided that those were dumb while I was still in high school, so I was blissfully unaware of people who would almost certainly have told me that I was doing it wrong.  Almost from the beginning of my sexual experience, I thought of sex more as something I did for other people than something I did for myself, a way to have adventures, to manipulate men, and to trade for favors or presents or money; I reckon you could say I was a born whore, however much prohibitionists may deny that’s possible.  As a teenager I masturbated about twice a week, and even that seemed like too much to me; in my twenties it decreased to about once a month (and then only during celibate periods), and the last time I did it spontaneously (i.e. not as a show for a client) was just before I became a stripper in the late ‘90s.  As I’ve explained before, I rarely feel what most people think of as “lust”, so though I’m quite responsive I just don’t feel the need to masturbate, and even by my late teens I was dreadfully bored with it.  As I’m sure you can imagine, I didn’t always orgasm from it, and like you I often wondered if what I felt was “really” an orgasm at all because it was usually nothing like what my sex partners (male or female) seemed to be experiencing.  That’s why I learned to fake well at a relatively tender age; for me, the chief enjoyment of sex has always been about pleasing my partner (whether for love or money) than pleasing myself, and had I believed in Robin Morgan’s asinine statement that “rape exists any time sexual intercourse occurs when it has not been initiated by the woman, out of her own genuine affection and desire,” I’d have probably given up on sex at 17.

Fortunately for my relationships, for my bank account and for many men, I think Morgan and those like her are idiots, and kept at it in spite of not really getting much physical pleasure out of it.  And soon after my 17th birthday I discovered that my chief erogenous zone was between the ears rather than between the legs, and that the right situation – in my case, being held down or tied up – did a helluva lot more for me than any combination of kissing, licking, rubbing, twiddling or other purely physical techniques (I later discovered that getting paid had a similar, though less pronounced, effect).  Nor am I alone; the majority of women are far more aroused by mental and emotional factors than by physical ones, and the right situation has a far greater effect on sex drive, satisfaction and even orgasmicity than any mechanical or biochemical stimulus.

What this is all leading up to is, you probably just haven’t found your “trigger” yet.  Ignore those who tell you that there’s something “wrong” with you for being functionally anorgasmic, semi-anorgasmic or quasi-anorgasmic; I’ve been that way for long stretches of time, and it only ever bothered me was when I listened to people telling me what I was supposedly missing.  Orgasm isn’t only about “doing it right”, sexual satisfaction isn’t only about orgasm, and nobody has the right to define the parameters of “good sex” for you, or to tell you why you “should” or “shouldn’t” have sex.  My advice to you is, first, to stop doing anything that makes you uncomfortable; if masturbation is in that category, don’t do it (trust me, you won’t shrivel up into a prune without it).  Next, try to stop analyzing your sexual experiences; as long as they’re pleasant or otherwise rewarding (emotionally, socially, etc) it doesn’t matter “how much” you enjoy them in comparison with other women or some imaginary gold standard.  Once you’ve done those things, a lot of the pressure will evaporate from your mind and you can start paying attention to things like, “What turns me on the most?” or “What situations or activities make sex better for me?”Gamesters of Triskelion  Don’t limit this to personal activities; a lot of my early sexual feelings came from watching TV shows like Star Trek which contained situations that most others wouldn’t view as sexual, but which made me feel “funny”.  Even today I sometimes have idiosyncratic sexual reactions to things I see or read, so this isn’t something limited to childhood or relative sexual inexperience.  Whenever you run into something that makes you feel sexy, or a sexual activity that turns you on more than others, follow up on it; don’t be afraid to ask a boyfriend or girlfriend for help, either.  And don’t be in a rush about it; though most people understand that (in general) women need to take their time to warm up during a sexual encounter, few recognize that this is usually true of a woman’s entire sex life.  I’m sure you’ve heard the claim that a woman’s sex drive peaks at 35; that isn’t because of any physiological factors, but rather because it just takes the better part of two decades for most women to get really comfortable with their sexuality and to learn what works best for them as sexual individuals.  So you shouldn’t consider yourself “stunted”; a lot of women don’t even start thinking about this stuff until their late twenties, so in comparison with them you’re actually ahead of the curve.

(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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