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Posts Tagged ‘Prudish Pedants’

The guns of oppression are aimed at the friendless before they swing to the connected and moneyed.  –  Guy Hamilton-Smith

Advice for Clients

Miranda Kane on how NOT to deal with a sex worker:

…Don’t ask questions like…”Is this your only job?”  Sex work is many people’s full time profession…Do not ask for a discount on the promise you’ll become a regular customer…Don’t send a picture of your dick…Contact us in the correct manner…turn up on time…

See No Evil 

Booga booga, the evil picture must be exorcised lest its sex rays radiate forth and “sexualize children”!

petition was begun by former art history major Mia Merrill to censor (though she doesn’t see this as censorship) this painting because it sexualized a child. Balthus painted something wrong…censorship is precisely what she’s asking for, even if she says she’s not…No doubt Merrill’s belief that her feelings are righteous justify her authority to scold the Met, not to mention Balthus, since it’s outrageous that he should paint something that offends her sensibilities…censors can’t bear the idea that something that offends them isn’t somehow subject to their control, so they…tell the world how literally awful it is while assuaging their conscience that they’re not really censors.  To its credit, the Met has told them to suck eggs…If it’s offensive, then people will see it and find it offensive.  No one needs a scold to tell them so…

With Friends Like These…

Prostitution itself isn’t illegal in Malaysia, but there are so many laws around it, it might as well be.  This guy proposes to solve that problem with MOAR LAWS!

Sex is a primary need…and because of that, sex work is…one of the oldest professions on the planet…Malaysia is not a country that people around the world would associate with prostitution.  Nevertheless, it would seem that Malaysia is fast rising as one of the main destinations for sex tourism in Southeast Asia.  Prostitution in Malaysia is illegal, but if you were to walk the streets of Kuala Lumpur, you will notice it is a thriving business…involved in layers of illegal activities such as organised crime, human trafficking, money laundering and even violent crimes…Sheril A. Bustaman…[of] PT Foundation…argued prostitution is a legitimate industry if owned and controlled by sex workers themselves…When the [Singapore] government legalised prostitution…brothels and their workers had to be registered and be given permits to operate…Sex workers are required to follow specific health procedures and are to be tested for sexually-transmitted diseases regularly…When the whole industry is regulated, it eliminates so many other actual undesirable crimes such as human trafficking…

Reporter Azlee is clearly an authority due to one conversation (in which he apparently didn’t listen very well) and is therefore far more qualified to opine on what sex workers need than, say, sex workers and human rights organizations, who all support decriminalization rather than “regulation”.

Banishment

Another good argument against the evil of “sex offender” registration:

…despite a steady media diet of cops and robbers police procedurals, the rhetoric on crime policy has begun to shift.  The [US] appears to be [losing]…our faith in imprisonment as an effective response to problems like drug addiction…Yet…one group of people continue to languish in the collective “harsher is better” mindset…forcing people to register as sex offenders “is what puritan judges would’ve done to Hester Prynne had laptops been available“…registries are rapidly proliferating and becoming an increasingly popular back-end tool for feeding people into the carceral state…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

Lawyers are seeking a federal court order of protection for a transgender prison inmate who [was repeatedly]…sexually assaulted for the entertainment of prison guards.  Attorney Alan Mills of the Uptown People’s Law Center says…Strawberry Hampton…was forced to strip and…[blow] a cellmate for the entertainment of guards.  “She eventually said I’m not going to do this anymore and reported them through…the Prison Rape Elimination Act…When the guards found out she had reported them, that’s when the abuse really escalated.”  Including beatings, solitary confinement and the denial of food [sic]…

Shame, Shame 

A culture more worried about the sexual applications of this than about the government’s ability to fabricate evidence with it is a culture overdue for collapse:

There’s a video of Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother on the internet.  But it’s…an approximation, face-swapped to look like she’s performing in an existing incest-themed porn video.  The video was created with a machine learning algorithm…and open-source code that anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms could put together…It’s especially striking considering that it’s allegedly the work of one person—a Redditor who goes by the name “deepfakes”—not a big special effects studio…this…shows that we’re on the verge of living in a world where it’s trivially easy to fabricate believable videos of people doing and saying things they never did.  Even having sex…It isn’t difficult to imagine an amateur programmer running their own algorithm to create a sex tape of someone they want to harass…

“Even having sex” she says, as if that’s the worst thing this bird-brain can conceive of.  The idea of, say, cops manipulating a body cam video to make it look as though a black man they murdered had pulled a gun on the cop, doesn’t even enter her sheltered little mind.

Halfway Whores (#439)

This us about as “dog bites man” as it gets.  I’ve done parties like this, and so have many ladies I know:

…Silicon Valley’s homogeneity has a more trivial side effect:  boring holiday parties.  A fete meant to retain all your talented engineers is almost certain to wind up with a rather same-y crowd, made up mostly of guys.  At this year’s holiday parties, however, there’ll be a surprising influx of attractive women, and a few pretty men, mingling with the engineers.  They’re being paid to.  Local modeling agencies…say a record number of tech companies are quietly paying $50 to $200 an hour for each model hired solely to chat up attendees.  For a typical party…the company…[makes] them sign nondisclosure agreements, and [gives] them names of employees to pretend they’re friends with, in case anyone asks why he’s never seen them around the foosball table…

All-Purpose Excuse

Hey, picket-fence gays, are you ready to support sex workers yet?

Three [professional] sex-trafficking victims told their stories in a dramatic Tampa City Council meeting…to get support for a new city ordinance on bathhouses—a mammoth package of new occupational licensing requirements, record-keeping mandates, limits on hours of operation, and other rules…None of the victims…said they’d been exploited at a bathhouse.  Indeed, local lawmakers failed to offer any evidence at all that sex trafficking is an issue at Tampa’s bathhouses…but “sex trafficking” has become such a magic invocation that politicians can use it to pass just about anything, no matter how unrelated to the law’s professed purposes.  In this case, the city is using the specter of sex trafficking to collect new fees, take more control over local entrepreneurs, and make it much easier to shut down businesses they don’t like.  And they had ample help from the D.C.-based Polaris Project, which receives massive amounts of federal funding…it’s unclear how [other] evidence presented—reviews of erotic massage parlors—relates to bathhouses in Tampa, other than that Polaris is trying to make that link.  Tampa has entirely separate regulations  regarding massage therapists and parlors…the new ordinance…would mainly apply to the combination sauna, gym, and social clubs that are a fixture of Tampa’s gay scene…

Sales Pitch (#442)

I’ll bet the Swedes get all butthurt if foreign countries respond by claiming the right to punish Swedes in their countries for doing things that are legal in Sweden, such as homosexual activity:

Sweden…wants to…[make] it illegal [for Swedes] to pay for sex abroad…even if this was done in countries where the practice is legal…This is already illegal under Swedish law, however Swedish courts are not able to issue punishments on paying for sex in countries where it is legal, and that’s what the government wants to change…

The Scarlet Letter (#532)

Oklahoma prohibitionists claim that HIV+ people emit sex rays as well:

Every time I think sex policing cannot hit a new low, the news delivers something like this story out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  After an arrested woman informed the police that she was HIV-positive, the cops decided to broadcast this information—along with her full name and photo—to all the local TV news stations.  They also left letters on the subject on about 50 cars parked near…the…massage parlor where she worked…The woman…was booked for prostitution—a charge that was later dismissed—and knowingly spreading an infectious disease.  Yet police present no evidence that she engaged in unprotected sex with customers—nor, for that matter, that she had…sexual intercourse, with or without a condom, with anyone…The reporters seemed less interested in questioning the cops’ story than in expressing shock that prostitution could possibly exist in their town. “There are two schools on the next block, and just around the corner, there’s a family neighborhood that’s decorated for Christmas,” Charles Ely reported at the local ABC affiliate…

Catastrophic Consequences (#576)

This sleazy tactic has spread from Canada to Scotland to England to Ireland:

An erotic masseuse [in Dublin] has been accused of setting her dog on a [disguised cop] who [represented his deception of a sex worker as] a “mission of mercy” to try to find out if she had been trafficked.  Cristina Cristian is alleged to have assaulted the [garda] by unleashing her border collie Todd, which bit…Andrew O’Sullivan…[threatened] Christian and…her…girlfriend Elena Amuzan…and…[forced] Ms Amuzan…on the ground with her arm behind her back.  Ms Cristian…was scared when she saw this, thought they were being robbed and opened the bathroom to get her phone to call Ms Amuzan’s parents.  The dog had been locked inside and she did not realise it had got out.  She said she only called out in Romanian for the dog to come back…

Prudish Pedants (#624) 

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

Pornhub has opened up a pop-up shop in New York City, where patrons can buy promotional merchandise and sex toys…through Dec. 20…[prohibitionist] Gloria Steinem has called the brick and mortar location a tactic to further promote sexual violence.  Speaking at a Pornhub pop-up shop protest on [December 8th]…Steinem and tens of other [censors] called for New Yorkers to boycott the shop…“It is a hub that…we must realize is the source of the poison that is in our system,” Steinem said, [adding her oft-repeated nonsense]…that erotica is healthy but that mainstream porn was not healthy erotica, arguing that Pornhub normalizes the degradation of girls and women…[as part of] the protest’s press conference, Steinem and others marched into the store chanting, “Pornhub sells sexual violence,” as the feminist icon asked a store worker why the store was selling handcuffs and how those handcuffs were related to free will, democracy, or independent equality…

Anti-sex work kinksters:  reread that last line, then maybe rethink your loyalties.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Another attempt by politicians to destroy the entire internet:

…Under a proposal from Rep. Bob Goodlatte…anyone posting or hosting digital content that leads to an act of prostitution could face serious federal prison time as well as civil penalties.  This is obviously bad news for sex workers, but it would also leave digital platforms—including dating apps, social media, and classifieds sites such as Craigslist—open to serious legal liability for the things users post…it would give digital platforms a huge incentive to track and regulate user speech more closely…Ann…Wagner’s legislation (H.R. 1865) would open digital platforms to criminal and civil liability not just for future sex crimes that result from user posts or interactions but also for past harms…platforms that followed previous federal rules…would now be especially vulnerable to charges and lawsuits…Wagner’s bill doesn’t just stop at carving out a new Section 230 exception.  It also creates a new crime, “benefitting from participation in a venture engaged in sex trafficking,” and makes it easy to hold all sorts of web platforms and publishers in violation…So in cases like, say, Hope Zeferjohn, the teen girl convicted of sex trafficking for talking to a younger teen on Facebook about prostitution, Facebook could be facing a federal charge for participating in a sex trafficking venture…

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What if a different attitude about pornography were the “alternative to pornography”?  –  Tina Horn

Rough Trade Brandon Cole Reed

I suspect they have the right guy this time:

King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Kent man with three counts of rape, and Seattle police continue to investigate…in connection with five more sexual assaults, all involving women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North.  Brandon Cole Reed was arrested…one day after prosecutors dismissed a second-degree-rape charge against…Andrew Tatum, who was arrested in February…[for] the rapes Reed is now suspected of committing…Reed “picks up prostitutes on Aurora Avenue, drives to a nearby location, and then rapes them, by brandishing a knife, threatening to hurt or kill them, handcuffing them or brandishing mace,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote…Reed was 11 and his brother was 12 in 1995 when they dragged a 12-year-old girl into their house…and took turns raping her…[they] were found guilty of second-degree rape…and sentenced to 21 to 28 weeks in juvenile detention…Both were required to register as sex offenders for 15 years…Reed was also convicted in 2009 of second-degree malicious mischief for throwing rocks and damaging his ex-girlfriend’s car after she refused to get back together with him…

Lying Down With Dogs

This interactive map characterizes countries according to 11 different legal approaches to laws regarding prostitution, and 9 different legal characteristics, for the most complex and accurate analysis of the subject yet.  Please bookmark!

Check Your Premises 

I realize that idiots don’t actually understand what the word “average” means, but one would think they at least know it doesn’t mean “absolute minimum”:

The Canadian Women’s Foundation says…the average age for new recruits was 13…A 14-year-old at the centre of a human trafficking case is among the youngest girls allegedly forced into prostitution…in decades…Staff Sgt. Darrell Gaudet said…such cases are rare…in…more than 20 years, Gaudet said he has dealt with four cases of 14-year-olds…[and one] 13…

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

Police arrested a Longwood, Florida, 12-year-old girl for pinching a male classmate’s butt…Breana Evans has been charged with misdemeanor battery and was temporarily placed in juvenile detention.  Everybody involved…thinks the arrest is an overreaction…except the boy’s mom, who alerted police and demanded that they prosecute…police [pretend] that…they had no choice but to arrest Breana…[who] will have to complete community service, submit to drug tests, and [endure indoctrination sessions].  If she does all those things, the charges will eventually be dismissed…

Pity the poor “authorities”, who had “no choice”.  Because “prosecutorial discretion” is only for cops who rape or murder people, not for kids being kids.

The Last Shall Be First

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

Fayetteville [Arkansas] councilman John La Tour is being accused of confronting a woman he assumed was transgender and threatening to wave his penis at her at a crowded restaurant…After the incident, a manager apparently asked La Tour to leave [the] restaurant…According to a Facebook post by…Gavin Smith: “la tour [sic]…[demanded my friend] pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman.  She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way.  She’s a woman.  He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis”…La Tour subsequently [pretended] he’d merely asked the woman — who is employed at the restaurant — to dance…

Above the Law  

Probably a longer sentence than he would’ve received in the US:

Derren Tomlinson, 44, with the West Mercia Police department was sentenced to 11 years in prison this week for…raping a girl under 13-years-old, sexual assault on a child, and bestiality.  His offensively short sentence is likely due to the fact that he was a [cop]…The department found out…after looking through his phone which revealed a number of photos showing him raping a child…[and] engaging in sexual intercourse with a dog…

Prudish Pedants

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

…one of the most vocal proponents of [the] damaging dichotomy [between “bad porn” and “good erotica”] is feminist icon Gloria Steinem.  And every time I hear her or someone else trot out this tired trope, I recoil—because it is indicative of our culture’s persistent stigmatization of sex work, classist attitudes about sexual morality, and suppression of healthy sexual expression.  It’s a dichotomy that demands to be not only challenged, but dismantled…Steinem has been repeating some version of this baseless definition game since 1978, when she published the Ms. magazine article, “Erotica and pornography: Do You Know the Difference?”  The answer to this question is:  No, we don’t, Gloria, because neither you nor anyone else has ever managed to provide a useful or convincing distinction…

Gingerbread House

And how does the judge plan to “keep” these “children” in the “safe house” to endure “therapy”?  Oh, yeah:

There are more than 3,000 minors in [Nevada’s] juvenile justice system, and many are victims of human trafficking.  “For…10 years, I’ve been advocating…for a safe house for our sexually exploited youth,” said Judge William Voy…”We have to identify better which kids really need to be locked up…with the kids who don’t”…the state needs a therapeutic…secured facility to keep these children.  He said if the state doesn’t get this kind of facility it risks losing the kids to the streets all over again…

So Close and Yet So Far

This article could’ve been so much better; it quotes a number of sex workers, including my close friend Savannah Sly and my acquaintances Chelsea Lane & Jill Brenneman.  It presents some pretty good arguments, and talks about Amnesty’s research.  But it also quotes prohibitionists, repeats bad data, confuses legalization and decriminalization, does not discuss the failure of the Swedish model, and sets up a false equivalence between those who want to be free to make their own choices and those who want to control others’ choices with state violence (as though they were two equal sides in an academic “debate”).  It’s also mind-numbingly boring; I sincerely doubt anyone will read the whole thing.  I know I couldn’t.

Hard Numbers (#340)

Whores in the so-called “developing world” are so much better at activism than those of us in the US:

…Gabriela Leite and Lourdes Barreto founded the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes (BNP) in the mid 1980s in response to police violence in the red light districts where they worked…The BNP earned seats at the policy-making table and was fundamental in developing peer-led HIV prevention initiatives.  Their partnership with the country’s National AIDS Programme gained international attention in 2005 when Brazil refused more than $40 million in US funds because USAID…demanded that organisations receiving funds condemn prostitution…[Prohibitionism] gained strength in Brazil at the start of the new millennium, fuelled by moral panic and by the growth of carceral feminism…and Christian conservatism…The prostitutes’ movement has responded with a two-prong strategy: on the one hand, it is engaging in street politics, guerrilla theatre, and practical initiatives; on the other, it is entering the forums and institutions that sprung up around human trafficking…

He Said, She Said (#448)

A lot of people are going to be really unhappy about this:

The chorus outside Old City Hall hit its peak once a judge acquitted former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi on all charges of sexual assault and choking, the outraged shouts of “I believe survivors” reverberating off the courthouse steps and in more than 10,000 posts online…Ontario Court of Justice Judge William Horkins said he simply could not trust the three complainants, given their shifting memories and evidence that at times strayed into outright lies…he said the 5,000 messages exchanged between actress Lucy DeCoutere and another complainant sounded like they could be plotting to ruin the former broadcaster… “Ms. DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a ‘team’ and the goal was to bring down Mr. Ghomeshi”…As Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan stood in front of a stand of microphones giving reporters his reaction, a topless female protester jumped in front of him, yelling “Ghomeshi guilty!” knocking over the stand.  Police tackled the woman to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door.  She was handcuffed by police and led into the back of a police cruiser…

As a woman who’s endured several rapes myself, I understand the anger.  But what do the protesters actually want, for the state to be able to convict people on shoddy evidence?  I simply can’t side with people who believe that locking up as many people as possible to prevent some bad guys getting away with crimes is a good idea.  The carceral state is a far greater threat than any one rapist, or even than all unconvicted rapists put together.

False Witness

Anyone who understands the dynamics of group psychology should already have known this:

You would think securing a conviction against a suspected criminal would have to be helped if all the witnesses…independently identify the same culprit.  But new…research suggests that unanimity of witnesses should trigger a warning that perhaps police have the wrong person…the probability of a large number of people all agreeing in [difficult observation] circumstances [is] small…the error rate among [crime] witnesses…[is] around 47 per cent.  “So if…20 people all agree it is the same guy you should be now more suspicious of their agreement,” [lead researcher Professor Derek Abbott] said.  Their modelling showed even with just a 1 per cent error rate, confidence in a police line-up result would decrease after three unanimous identifications…

If you don’t understand this, please take the time to read my paper, “Mind-witness Testimony“.

Moving Pictures 

You know you’re living in a fascist state when there’s a whole industry glamorizing government actors who use violence to suppress consensual activity:

[US deportation agent] Keith Owens…[was featured in a] television series, Web of Lies…The episode [inanely] titled “Stolen Youth”…aired on March 2…being involved in this documentary is in line with his commitment to combating human trafficking…“This film will definitely wake the public up in regards to human trafficking that should be named modern-day slavery,” Owens said.  “These predators take possession of [their victims], and force and coerce people to do things they don’t want to do”…

You mean, like cops and other government agents do? Or do you mean a different kind of taking possession of people and forcing & coercing them to do things they don’t want to do?

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We call on the Government of Canada to join with global leaders, community, researchers and legal experts in rejecting criminalization regimes, including those that criminalize the purchase of sexual services, and instead support the decriminalization of sex work…as scientifically-grounded and necessary to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers.  –  The Gender & Sexual Health Initiative

Maggie in the Media

Here’s an interview with me on the Euvoluntary Exchange podcast, and a guest column I did for Radley Balko’s blog at the Washington Post.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Steve Smith

The Robbinsdale [Minnesota] police chief resigned from his position…after…he was arrested in a prostitution sting…ten people were arrested…including…Steven Smith…

The Scarlet Letter

Richmond, California’s…police department…plans to…post…photos of men arrested in prostitution stings to Facebook and Twitter…even though these men might not ever be convicted of any crime…

And Speaking of Victim Blaming…

It’s blessedly absent from this story:

Two…thugs bound and gagged a prostitute after robbing her — thinking that she wouldn’t call the police.  Jason Barton…and John Coulter…were joined by David Coulter from Northern Ireland, in a sickening attack on the 27-year-old Polish woman…[who] was found in her flat after her muffled cries for help were heard.  She pleaded with the tower block caretaker not to call the police but he ignored her protests…the vile trio…[was] found guilty… Book of Legendary Lands

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received Playing the Whore and The Book of Legendary Lands from Korhomme and The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection from Gumdeo.  Thank you both so much!

The Sky is Falling!

The arrival of…Seeking Arrangement…has caused…consternation in France…40,000 French “sugar babies” have already signed up…“Seeking Arrangement takes advantage of the financial misery of students.  The site hides violence against women in beautiful wrapping paper,” said Anne-Cecile Mailfert…[of] Osez le Feminisme…“We hope lawmakers will [ban] websites when they…adopt…the law criminalizing the purchasing of sex”…

Thou Shalt Not

Because prohibition always works so well:

Leading doctors have called for a ban on cigarette sales to those born after 2000 in a programme of “progressive prohibition”…They urged the British Medical Association to lobby for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century…

Above the Law 

Maryland Transit Administration Officer Martez Johnson…[gave a woman] a ride…after an MTA bus hit her car about 3 a.m. March 13…Martez walked the woman to the front door of her home…[then] forced his way inside…pushed her onto her couch and raped her…After he left, she called 911…Earlier this week, a Baltimore City police officer was charged…[with buying sex from] a 14-year-old girl advertising prostitution services online…

Finding What Isn’t There

In science, theories change to fit facts.  In politics, facts change to fit beliefs:

…a law designed to catch human traffickers…has netted few charges and even fewer convictions in Canada, anti-trafficking advocates complain.  There have been [only] 35…convictions since new laws…came into effect in 2005…MP Joy Smith…says more charges and convictions [must be created]…Jennifer Mann, a…Crown attorney, said…it’s…under-reported…But…John Ferguson, a retired RCMP superintendent, says the lack of convictions…may indicate that it is not that widespread…

Only one man is willing to accept that women have agency; all the women interviewed insist that childlike women are “controlled” by evil men.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39) Rajib Boy

The impoverished son of a sex worker in Calcutta…has been selected to participate in a Manchester United soccer training camp…Rajib Boy, 16…will head to the U.K. in April…amid hopes that the sport will liberate them both from poverty…”I am not ashamed of being a sex worker’s son…She is my main source of inspiration.  But I want to take her out of the red-light district as early as possible”…

Buried Truth

[Illinois] State Rep. Keith Farnham stepped down…after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided his home and his state office [for child porn]…Farnham…has…co-sponsored two laws cracking down child pornography [including] one…stiffening penalties for its possession…

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #133)

A federal appeals court…upheld the convictions of…fetish filmmaker…Ira Isaacs…A three-judge panel of the…9th Circuit Court of Appeals…rejected Isaacs’ arguments that the lower court…abused its discretion by excluding [his] proposed expert testimony.  Defense attorney Roger Jon Diamond said he would discuss with Isaacs whether to file a petition for rehearing before the full 11-judge appeals panel…

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

Porn Studies has released its first issue:

…In the introduction…editors-in-chief – Feona Attwood…and Clarissa Smith…write:  “Recent years have seen a resurgence of public discussions (and scares) about…pornography-related topics, perhaps most notably the expansions of pornography across the internet, its putative links to rape and sexual violence, and erotic life-styling or the oft-cited ‘sexualisation of culture’”…

Predictably, Gail Dines used the occasion to bark at the moon.

FearusOscillation (TW3 #321)

You’ve probably seen this image floating around the internet, and since it contains the address of a long-abandoned website someone bought that domain in order to debunk the image.  The nutshell version: in the original 1979 survey, students were given a five-point range from “always” to “never”, and this chart counts all responses except “never” as a “yes” response.  It certainly changes one’s impression to know that the “yes” percentages are actually four different gradations of agreement added together, doesn’t it?

Unmentionables

Chase Paymentech…told Lovability founder Tiffany Gaines…that the company considers it a “reputational risk” to handle online payments for condoms, which it classifies as an “adult-oriented product”…Gaines…created Lovability with the goal of making it less awkward for women to buy condoms

Micromanagement

Dr. Feelsad wants DNA surveillance of sex workers because of his sadfeelz:

…DNA…can be a powerful tool in combating human trafficking, according to forensic scientist Timothy Palmbach…[who] set out…to…develop…a DNA database of victims and at-risk persons…Palmbach ventured to a number of places, including Costa Rica, Nepal and Djibouti to see if he could successfully identify and obtain DNA samples from victims and possible perpetrators…in Costa Rica…police asked for help investigating a hotel known for sex tourism… he eventually found himself alone with a 14-year-old girl…[who would have charged him] $400 an hour…Palmbach [said] “I really almost started to cry…I just saw the depravity of the situation and how much it’s all driven by money and demand”…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More harassment of legal sex workers in Canada:

…CEASE, the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation…[is harassing sex workers with offensive] texts…Any sex worker with a phone number listed in the Edmonton…Backpage.com has likely received one of [the]…messages…Project Backpage [is] a new collaboration between the University of Alberta, Chrysalis Network…and CEASE…Because the sex industry has mostly moved from the streets to the Internet, [rescue industry] groups are finding it more difficult to [annoy] women…Susan Davis…[of] the West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals…takes the view that the texting tactic is a preferable alternative to police raids and sting operations, such as Operation Spotlight…

ritual shaming
Deafening Silence (TW3 #407) 

China aims to prove it can be at least as stupid and brutal as the US when it comes to destroying businesses and hurting the economy through liberal use of cops and dysphemisms:

The vice crackdown that began in Dongguan last month has resulted in the arrest of more than 850 suspects and will expand across Guangdong before it wraps up in May…the three-month campaign against the illegal sex trade has already led to the break-up of more than 60 criminal gangs…[and] cost more than 3,000 hotels, saunas and massage parlours their licences…In addition, some 854 websites and more than 96,000 public instant-messaging accounts have been closed for promoting sex services online…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410)

Articles like this give me hope that we’ll eventually start seeing similar ones about “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The nation’s largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture — as opposed to the actions of individuals — is responsible for rape…Recently, rape-culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream.  In January, the White House  asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”  Tolerance for rape?  Rape is a horrific crime, and rapists are despised…there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm…Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense…But now…RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)…repudiates the rhetoric…and…is especially critical of the idea that we need to focus on teaching men not to rape…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

A poll…shows that over half the population of the UK is opposed to the criminalisation of prostitution.  Only three in ten nationwide were in favour.  In London it was only one in four…The exact wording for the poll was:  Currently in the UK under certain circumstances, it is legal for men and women to pay for sex.  There are some people that wish to make it illegal for the user to pay for sex.  Do you think such a criminalisation is a good idea or not?…51% agreed that “No, paying for sex should not be criminalized.”  31% agreed that “Yes, it should be illegal to pay for sex.”  The other 18% had no opinion.  There was little difference between the sexes with 53% of men and 49% of women opposing criminalisation.  Under a third of both sexes were in favour…

To Protect and Serve (TW3 #411)

25 exotic dancers filed suit against the [San Diego Police] Department for violating their civil rights…during a routine permit inspection…10 unidentified officers detained the dancers under no stated suspicion and began photographing…[them] against their will for roughly one hour…

Whither Canada? Joy Smith

It’s good to see real information in the public discussion of sex work in Canada:

The Conservatives say they are listening to all the submissions they receive before they draw up Canada’s new prostitution law…But the…government [is using] a report by Conservative MP Joy Smith, titled The Tipping Point, as the intellectual underpinning for…the so-called Nordic model…The problem is much of the research cited in The Tipping Point is highly selective — ignoring truths that are inconvenient or cast the Swedish model in a poor light…The…report contends that countries like New Zealand that have decriminalized…have seen a dramatic increase in sexual exploitation and violence.  But anyone who reads the Prostitution Law Review Committee report assessing New Zealand’s legislation comes away with a very different impression…

And here’s one from the Ottawa Citizen:

…In Canada, we’ve been sold a false dilemma that presents only the possibility of a “Nordic”…regime or…“Dutch” approach…But Canadian sex workers…know that New Zealand’s model…merits much closer consideration…Sex workers in New Zealand are now covered by labour laws…the Prostitution Reform Act has not resulted in any growth of the sex industry or increase in number of sex workers, nor has the sky fallen.  The Prostitution Law Review Committee…found that there has been a marked improvement in employment conditions and a decrease in violence…

And an open letter signed by 300 academics:

We…are profoundly concerned that the Government…is considering …new legislation to criminalize the purchasing of sex.  The proposed legislation is not scientifically grounded and evidence strongly suggests that it would recreate the same…harms of current criminalization.  We join other sex worker, research, and legal experts across the country and urge the Government of Canada to follow the Supreme Court…decision and support decriminalization of sex work as a critical evidence-based approach to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers…

Surplus Women (TW3 #412)

What if…Orange County [California is] dealing with a serial killer preying on prostitutes?…Orange County…formed a multi-agency task force when homeless men were being fatally stabbed over a few months…but [are] not doing so now when the victims [are] female prostitutes…Are cops making a judgment call on which type of victims are worthy of their attention?  Anaheim Police Lt. Tim Schmidt…[says] “We don’t have the evidence to say they’re connected”…of the cases involving missing persons Kianna Jackson, Josephine Vargas…Martha Anaya…Tina Hoang and Jarrae Estepp…[rescue industry figure] Lois Lee…of Children of the Night…[says] “It’s just a high-risk job”…

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If they would just remove the police from skulking around and arresting those of us who just want to earn a living from a mutually consenting activity, they could actually focus on these terrible things.  –  Rachel Wotton

crack pipeOld Folks At Home

Damned amateurs are always screwing everything up:

A man, 75, and a woman, 66, suspected of using cocaine and running a prostitution ring out of their apartments…have been arrested after residents complained about vagrants, drunks and addicts…James Parham and his neighbor Cheryl Chaney…admitted providing prostitutes — mostly young women with crack cocaine addictions — to…younger neighbors…

Backwards into the Future

The Commission for Gender Equality…called for…decriminalisation of sex work [in South Africa]…[CGE commissioner Janine] Hicks said decriminalisation would…allow sex workers to report brothel owners who were involved in trafficking or hiring children…

Meanwhile, in Malawi:

…Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA)…in association with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, recently conducted…research that shows…a vast majority of sex workers are regularly abused [robbed and raped] by the Police…[executive director Victor] Mhango said…sex workers…are at liberty to call the toll free number 8000333 where they can be assisted… “Sex workers deserve to be protected by the law just like any other Malawian as enshrined in the Constitution,” he said…

Against Their Will

Here’s the way rescue industry group International Justice Mission tells it:

…General Sun Ro…led his team of police and IJM support staff to rescue these young women from a brothel where they had been sold and exploited for sex.  “You are now no longer oppressed,” General Sun Ro began, urging the young women to take advantage of the opportunities, vocational training programs and aftercare services available to them as sex trafficking survivors…

And here’s the reality.  Obviously, the general doesn’t consider beatings and gang rape by the police to be forms of oppression.

Prudish Pedants

a federal district court in Georgia ruled that a series of stories written or edited by Frank McCoy were obscene, and thus he violated 18 USC 1462 in “transporting” obscene works…the subject matter is…definitely…extreme [“the sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder of children”]…but…McCoy…had a distinguished English professor testify on his behalf that the works had “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…the judge disagreed…

The Gendered SocietyOscillation

Another example of how neofeminists play fast and loose with the facts:

A few months ago, a post…[stated] that [when]…junior high…students were asked what they would do if they woke up “transformed into the opposite sex,” the girls showed mixed emotions but the boys [said]…”Kill myself”…the source [was]…The Gendered Society by Michael Kimmel…[whose] reference [was] a 1984 book called The Longest War: Sex Differences in Perspective…the claim…seemed to have no basis at all, other than one commentThe Gendered Society…briefly acknowledges that women’s earnings are driven down by family-related work interruptions–but still treats gender gaps in pay and advancement almost entirely as…discrimination…[it] uncritically repeats tales…that girls’ self-esteem “plummets” in junior high school–without mentioning that they have been strongly disputed…by mainstream psychologistsThe Gendered Society also [claims that] the United States…”has the highest rate of reported rape in the industrial world–about eighteen times higher than England”…[but] according to United Nations statistics, in 2010 the reported rape rate in the U.S.–27.3 per 100,000 people–was slightly lower than in England and Wales, at 28.8 per 100,000…if it is indeed the most balanced gender studies textbook available–which may well be true–that says a lot about the rest.

The Immunity Syndrome (TW3 #19)

the “sex superbug” that “could be worse than AIDS” which was supposedly “found in Hawaii [and] California” turns out to be just another media-promoted terror story.  “The [gonorrhea] super-strain…[which] infected a female Japanese sex worker in 2011…has been found nowhere else,” [reported Jonathan Weiss of MedicalDaily.com]  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have affirmed that the bacterium has failed to appear anywhere else in the world beyond the single case in Japan…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #20)

This includes far too much “whore as victim” rhetoric, but it’s a step:

[Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario] Police Chief, Bob Davies…[announced] it will be new police policy to not release the names and addresses of individuals involved in prostitution type charges.  Moreover, the police department will make a major shift away from enforcement against women (or men) involved in the sex trade.  Instead officers will be trained to engage and identify the underlying factors that drive women into a lifestyle of selling sex and then connect them to agencies…which can assist individuals out of the sex industry…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #21)

Project ROSE—a collaboration between the Phoenix Police Department…and a number of local service organizations–[conducted] a three day raid targeting sex workers…Advocates have distributed “know your rights” information amongst communities who may be affected…[and] a…protest…[was held] Thursday May 16…in front of the “command post” at Bethany Bible Church…Arrestees…with no prior arrests for sex work, no outstanding warrants, and no…drugs at the time of arrest…have the option of “diversion” to Project ROSE or incarceration on a prostitution charge…[which] in Arizona can be a death sentence

Few arrestees qualify for the “diversion” program, and of those who do only a third complete it.

Think of the Children! (TW3 #23)

Touch of Flavor logoA weekend festival in [Baltimore] that promised classes on bondage, role play and other sexual techniques has been canceled after the new operators of the Clarence H. Du Burns Arena decided the erotic exposition was not appropriate at a facility also used for children’s sports practices…” Obviously, the sex rays emitted from all these dirty people would contaminate the structure, inducing the dreaded Premature Sexualization in the innocent little moppets who entered the building later.

Good News, Bad News (TW3 #30)

Rebecca Davies…and…other sex workers and supporters…will protest against the 2011 Prostitution Bill which is expected to be re-introduced and to demand full decriminalisation…Ms Davies said…the Bill would make WA the most dangerous place in Australia to be a sex worker…licensing, where employee’s full names were available for clients to see, could risk their safety and privacy…only about 10 per cent of sex workers would comply…Sex workers had to advertise a landline phone number, not a mobile, as one of the conditions – a restriction not placed on any other industry…

The More The Better (TW3 #32)

They are likely Hamilton [New Zealand]’s biggest brothel keepers, with 500 girls on their books in the seven years since they began their foray into the sex industry.  Tattooed, shady characters with underworld connections?  Far from it.  She’s the secretary of the PTA and…he’s a well-spoken former musician…the pair own a small…software development business…Hamilton’s two best-known brothels, and soon, a private swingers club…

Zimbabwe (TW3 #33)

This article about Zimbabwe’s repeated “crackdowns” on whores (and the way they keep netting amateurs) is mostly familiar ground and silly stereotypes, but does include two points of interest:  one, that “legislator Tabitha Khumalo has…threatened to expose fellow legislators who have gallivanted with those she calls ‘pleasure managers’ if they refuse to back [decriminalization]”; and two, that the Open Society Foundation’s 2012 study of the six nations with similar policies of “harassing and [physically] abusing…sex workers” included Zimbabwe along withSuper Bowl SLAVERY Kenya, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, and [wait for it] the United States.

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

Hey, kids, be the first in your neighborhood to be “trafficked”!  Have fun!  Win prizes!

Students at Colonial Middle school [in Memphis, Tennessee] have spent the last few weeks learning about the growing problem…of sex trafficking including prostitution…“I think its [sic] appropriate for middle school because if you look at the statistics of human trafficking the majority of people that get pulled in are between the ages of 12 to 14”…[said teacher Jennifer Shiberou]…

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? (TW3 #42)

In Australia, which began use of the HPV vaccine in 2007, cases of genital warts in young women aged 12 – 26 dropped 59 percent, and 39 percent for men…The…vaccine caused quite the uproar here in the States.  The usual antivaxxers hated it because, well, it’s a vaccine, but there was also mainstream fear-mongering, as well as being demonized by the conservatives, who said it would lead to promiscuity. That last is pure nonsense; in fact, a new study shows  no significant increase in sexual activity in young women who have had the vaccine over those who have not…

No Other Option (TW3 #46)

Here’s another good interview with the amazing Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton, who specializes in disabled clients and founded the charity Touching Base.  Its only sour note is at the end, where interviewer Wendy Syfret seems determined to drag “trafficking and degradation” mythology into what is otherwise a very positive piece.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

Steph Key…[introduced] another attempt to decriminalise sex work after her previous bill failed by one vote in November.  The new legislation would give sex workers and their employers the same access to the WorkCover scheme as other…businesses…retains laws that make sex work by a person aged under 18, or with a client under that age, illegal…wipes clean past sex work convictions …makes it illegal to discriminate against a person who is or has been a sex worker…[and] removes laws against living off the earnings of a prostitute…

According to Because I’m a Whore, this bill is much better than the last one and has the support of sex workers; if passed, South Australia would be the third place in the world to have true decriminalization.

HT TriangleOriginal Sin

The “Trafficking in America Task Force” looks at first like any other silly rescue industry NGO, but a little digging reveals some really bizarre stuff, including the assertion that the true cause of “sex trafficking” is PORN!

Statistics show that many times it starts with pornography…One look as a child, continued looks as a teenagers, perhaps buying sex for the first time as a young adult, expecting your female partner, girl friend, or wife to act as the prostituted women act.  When they don’t your relationship turns to self gratification rather than intimacy.  You ay [sic] turn to violent sex with those you buy…Then…you want to pay for younger victims — and — you  — are — stuck — in a  — cycle…when you look at pictures of women you are branding us as objects for your own pleasure, objects of no value.  We are human beings…Jesus said, “I did not give you a spirit of fear — but a spirit of power, and of love, and of SOUND MIND.”  Ask him to help you…Addiction to pornography is a type of emotional and mental trafficking…

A War for Peace (TW3 #313)

I’m beginning to think her mother is right:

…Amina Tyler…passed through heavy security and checkpoints to enter the city of Kairouan, where police were preventing hardline conservative Islamists from holding an annual conference.  There she unveiled her bleach [sic] blonde hair and cutoff jeans, scrawled “FEMEN” on the wall of a cemetery near the city’s main mosque, and attempted to take off her clothes…The protest enraged local residents who converged on her, and police took her into custody…Her mother, Wafa, [said] her daughter needed help and was being treated by a psychiatrist…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #319)

Shatabdi Saha, a banker…with the Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society…conducts…sessions…[in spotting counterfeit] because…many customers had started palming off fake notes…for their services…”If customers give them counterfeit notes, it’s a great loss for them,” [said] DMSC secretary Bharati Dey…unlike others, sex workers cannot go to the police to report such fake notes.  “The police will start harassing them instead of helping them”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #319)

the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announced it will no longer fund research based on DSM…for the simple reason that [it] is irrelevant to determining the cause and treatment of psychological problems…it…doesn’t point to the actual causes…that drive and maintain disorders…[its] categories are not discrete…and…it…fails to account for comorbidity…this fifth edition is just moving a few deck chairs on a sinking ship…Soon we’ll need to…lower the lid, hammer it down, and bury the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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The supposition that all women…engaged in sex work…are the victims of trafficking and under the control of criminal gangmasters is, at best, delusional.  –  Paul Maginn and Graham Ellison

ViagraBetween the Ears

Dr. Marty Klein explains that it isn’t only women who are ill-served by the medicalization of sexual dysfunction:

As a sex therapist, I see men…who…describe themselves as having…erectile dysfunction.  I say, “So, you don’t get erect when you want to.  Let’s call it that.”  Conceptualizing their situation as ED is frequently part of the problem.  They think their penis is suffering some pathology; more often, the pathology is in their expectations…I ask these men lots…of questions…and…we [often] discover that their uncooperative penis is actually behaving in an understandable, fairly reasonable way…Sometimes Viagra is part of the problem—it reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with their penis…but if there isn’t…Viagra can’t fix it…

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Judgy Bitch asks why it’s OK to advise people on how to protect themselves from robbery or worse while travelling (“Pay attention to how you are dressed, Don’t be drunk, Don’t flash your valuables, Keep an eye on who is watching you, Travel with friends, Use your body language to let predators know you are not easy prey [and] If you sense a problem, get the hell out of there”), but giving the exact same advice to young women is “victim blaming”.  Because obviously it’s far more important to sacrifice naïve young women on the altar of feminist politics than to actually help them protect themselves in the real world.

Neither Cold nor Hot

It’s sometimes amusing to watch the debutantes at Jezebel getting the vapors over sex work; this article by Madeleine Davies about sex workers coming to North Dakota in order to fill the woman shortage caused by an oil boom can’t make up its mind whether the men are “Neanderthals” and “criminals”, or the helpless victims of scarlet women “filtering in from across the country to profit off the needs of the desperate male residents.”

Feminine Pragmatism

Lindsay LohanYou’d almost think gossip reporters were historical ignoramuses who didn’t know that up until a century ago, the professions of actress and whore were indistinguishable:

Desperate for money, troubled actress Lindsay Lohan is…working as a professional escort, [said] her father…and other insiders…“The dates last for days, and the guys pay for everything…as well as jewelry and other gifts”… One of Lindsay’s most high profile clients is…Prince Haji Abdul Azim [of Brunei]…and wealthy…painter Domingo Zapata reportedly supported…[her] for months…

It’s That Time Again

Super Bowl time, that is; this year it’s in New Orleans, and though the “authorities” haven’t quite learned not to humiliate themselves with ludicrous “gypsy whore” fantasies, you may have noticed there was a lot less hype about it than before:

…The NOPD…[arrested] two suspected prostitutes and their alleged pimp, while also rescuing [the] 4-year-old…son of one of the suspected prostitutes…Detectives say the group placed ads on…backpage.com, which…is expected to be buzzing with sex solicitation during the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras…[State] Trooper Melissa Matey…said…”We do know those human trafficking cells are attracted to those large scale events, where…there’s gonna be a lot of tourists and…a lot of money to be made”…

I literally laughed out loud at “human trafficking cells”; apparently hookers are equated with terrorists and revolutionaries now.

Don’t Buy It (TW3 #6)

In reference to the “gypsy whores” myth, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women asked, “What’s the Cost of a Rumour?”  In the case of the London Olympics, we can now provide an answer:

Scare-mongering over an outbreak of sex trafficking during the Olympics resulted in half a million pounds being wasted…London Assembly Member…Andrew Boff said that just four cases of trafficking were discovered last year – despite an extra £500,000 being diverted to police…“a huge amount of time, money and resources was poured into this search, which turned out to be nothing more than tilting at windmills”…

The Sky is Falling!

Seekingarrangement.com has a clever advertising department; every so often they come out with a “press release” which announces that “more coeds than ever” are signing up as sugar babies.  Of course, the only thing vaguely “new” about this is they’re doing it on a website, but people like to pretend otherwise.  At least these two examples are refreshingly free of moral censure.

The Immunity Syndrome

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd…is trying yet again to delete a particularly idiotic provision of Alabama’s sex education law…[which] requires…classes to teach…that gay sex…is a “criminal offense”…[though] that law was invalidated in 2003 by…Lawrence vs. Texas

Another Small Victory (TW3 #18)

Supreme Court buildingMany sex worker rights activists seem to have misunderstood the implications of the news that “the Supreme Court has agreed to review a First Amendment dispute over whether the United States can force private health organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition to get AIDS funding”; had the Supreme Court refused to hear the government’s appeal, the lower court’s ruling overturning the pledge would have stood.  And while it’s certainly possible that the SCOTUS may leave the ruling intact or even expand it by striking down the ban for international organizations as well (which the first ruling did not), neither outcome is likely considering that this court has firmly established itself as the handmaiden and apologist for the excesses of the executive and legislative branches.  One very odd aspect of the linked article is that the call for total decriminalization by WHO and other UN agencies is described as “support[ing] lesser penalties for prostitution”, which is rather like describing the eradication of smallpox as “lessening the symptoms of the disease”.

Whorearchy

Here’s another woman who does not see herself as supporting state control of women’s lives, bodies and choices:

…I recently told my hairdresser that I was a go-go dancer and she replied by telling me that she would have totally stripped if she were my age but that she “didn’t have the body for it”…Even people at…the club where I primarily work…will put money on my platform as if it’s going to get them a lap dance or something…I’m not trying to be condescending towards strippers…but I…take pride in the fact that while strippers are ultimately hired to give guys boners, I was at least semi-hired for my talent…I don’t deny…that it takes some level of sexuality to be a successful club dancer, but there’s a big difference between wearing a push-up bra…and shoving my tits in some grandpa’s face…

For one who’s “not trying to be condescending”, she sure does a good job.

True Colors

Women With A Vision has purchased a new building to replace the office destroyed by arson, but it’s going to need “massive repairs” and renovation; that’s going to be very expensive, so please consider contributing to further their work in helping poor and marginalized women, including sex workers.Sarah Tressler

First They Came For the Hookers…

News on two of the ladies from this column who were fired for past sex work:

…Sarah Tressler…[lost] her reporting gig at the Houston Chronicle after…[being] exposed…[as the blogger] “Angry Stripper”…[but] she just landed a new job at The San Antonio Express-News as a breaking news reporter…Stacie HalasStacie Halas, a California…teacher who was fired for her porn star past [and recently lost her appeal] was [also]…offered a new job…[by] Dennis Hof of…[the] Moonlite Bunny Ranch…

Even if Halas is interested in going back to sex work she could do a lot better as an independent escort than by allowing herself to be exploited by Hof or others like him.

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #37)

A federal judge in California thinks it’s a wise use of public funds to lock up a 61-year-old filmmaker for four years for the “crime” of grossing out a cherry-picked group of a dozen people in Los Angeles.  Future law students will marvel at the self-destructive absurdity of our era.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39)

In September, I reported that a Korean whore had submitted a constitutional challenge to her country’s prostitution law; it has now been accepted:

…Judge Oh Won-chan…filed the case with the Constitutional Court after accepting a petition from a 41-year-old prostitute on trial for violating the law…the judge’s request doesn’t question the part of the law that punishes buyers of sex.  “We don’t punish a woman acting as a concubine or a wife for hire,” Oh said…[he] also questioned the effectiveness of the law, saying authorities should focus on punishing brothel owners and pimps…

Let’s hope the Korean government doesn’t respond with Swedish-style legislation, which only makes the struggle for rights more difficult.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)

Criminologist Graham Ellison has written another excellent editorial against criminalization in Northern Ireland, this time with the help of Dr. Paul Maginn of the University of Western Australia:

…The…proposals…are…premised more on ideological and religious beliefs…than a concrete evidence-base…History tells us that prohibition is an ineffective policy remedy…a few simple facts…dispel the stereotypes about sex work…only an exceptionally small proportion [are street workers]…there is no evidence to suggest that sex workers’ drug dependency is greater than the general population…[they] come from all manner of social class and educational backgrounds…the majority…are there because…the pay is…better than what they could get in other occupations…If Lord Morrow is sincere about his intentions to help womenPaying For It in French involved in ‘prostitution’, he should consider decriminalisation.

Book Reviews (October 2012)

The French edition of Chester Brown’s Paying For It has been chosen by the Angoulême International Comics Festival as an official selection, which will undoubtedly give it more well-deserved attention.  Congratulations, Chester!

Election Day (TW3 #45)

A judge has granted a preliminary injunction against the narrow portion of California’s tyrannical CASE Act which was challenged by the EFF and ACLU:

…Prop 35 is…beset with problems.  The biggest was its requirement that registrants turn over a list of all their Internet identifiers and service providers to law enforcement…the court found that there was a clear chilling effect on speech because registrants would have to disclose their identity either before they speak, or within 24 hours after speaking somewhere online…Allowing the government to monitor and record a wide swath of innocent Internet activity…is a dangerous trend that can easily expand, as law enforcement’s inevitable thirst for information fails to be quenched…

Unfortunately, there is as yet no organized challenge against the aspects of the law which criminalize a wide variety of normal sexual behaviors and virtually any association with sex workers.

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #51)

A leading adult film producer has launched a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over a…measure requiring porn actors to wear condoms, saying the law infringes on first amendment rights and was driving the industry out of Southern California.  Vivid Entertainment, which was joined in the lawsuit by porn stars Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce, claims the mandate was both an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of expression and a financial burden that studios could not bear…lead plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Cambria said…it was not economically feasible to digitally remove the condoms in post-production because the studios were competing with rivals elsewhere who had no such restrictions.

It’s interesting that the lawsuit doesn’t bring up the very real physical harm condoms can inflict on actresses under porn-filming conditions.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #52)

Those who wish to inflict the Swedish model on England and Wales have set up a fake “consultation” on the matter which is designed to trick the unwary into providing them ammunition via leading questions and outright lies about decriminalization.  The survey is referred to as a “call for evidence”, but as Laura Agustín points out this is “a misnomer as they are just asking for opinions and feelings – no evidence at all.”  Go ahead and respond to the survey (it’s fairly short), but follow Aspasia’s example by phrasing your answers carefully, since most are of the “have you stopped beating your wife?” variety.  The deadline is February 4th at 16:00 GMT.

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[A] silly uberfeminist crusader…once called me a sex addict in a national newspaper…To some…[that] would be the gravest insult; to me it was the intellectual equivalent of claiming I am Father Christmas.  –  Brooke Magnanti

King of the Hill

The latest entry in the contest to claim bragging rights for “biggest sex trafficking hub in the United States”:  “Reports from cities with federal Innocence Lost Task Forces lists Toledo [Ohio] as the third largest city for human trafficking and sex slavery…”  Previous claimants include New York, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Portland, Oregon and Sacramento, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Phoenix, Arizona; and the entire state of Tennessee.

Updates

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

A southwest Missouri woman who says she shared her bed for years with her husband and his sex slave has decided she needs help defending herself against five federal charges.  Marilyn Bagley… is charged with conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking, document servitude and use of an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activity.  She and her husband, Edward, are scheduled for trial in February.

My Body, My Choice

Note that prohibitionist “feminists” had no comment on this:  “Former U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith…[who] founded Shared Hope International…said that efforts to stop the sell [sic] and trade of minors in the sex industry should be an extension of the ‘pro-life’ cause.”

Acting and Activism

President Obama is not alone in the fight to end sex trafficking.  Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino…[is] starring in a new Hollywood film, Trade of Innocents, following a sex trafficking ring in Cambodia.”  Thanks, CNN; had you not told me that Obama wasn’t alone in pandering to hysteria, I would never have known.

Backwards into the Future

Even some politicians in Zimbabwe have more respect for human rights than their American counterparts:

Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against HIV and AIDS…wants government to decriminalise commercial sex work…The Director of the Public Personalities against AIDS Trust, Tendai Westerhof, [also] condemned criminalisation of sex workers…“It is disappointing that the country still criminalises sex work…these people suffer a lot as a result of the discriminatory laws…They are raped and cannot report such abuses.  As a result, they cannot access health services”…

Meanwhile, in South Africa, sex worker rights group SWEAT recently made a presentation in their parliament.

Down Under

Though the Australian cops in this story subscribe to fashionable “end demand” malarkey, some of them also admit that client persecution harms streetwalkers:

As a crackdown on kerb crawlers in St Kilda intensifies, street sex workers could be moving…to…Dandenong or Footscray, or [using smartphone] apps to meet clients in unsafe areas.  Police tried unsuccessfully for decades to curb the trade by targeting workers…But halfway through the new two-year strategy, they noticed that the switch to targeting clients was having unwanted consequences.  ”If we do push them out of the area, they won’t necessarily all leave the industry – and they’ll either adopt online or they’ll go and work in another location”…said [Senior Sergeant Brad Daly].  ”We might be creating things that we haven’t thought of yet”…lawyer Vanda Hamilton works with more than 50 legal and illegal sex workers and said…she feared many were being forced into troubling scenarios.  She said the only way to ensure safety was to follow New South Wales’ example by legalising street-sex work…”You’re never going to stop sex work, you’re just going to push it so far underground that you can’t help people”…

Guess what, Brad?  Virtually none of them are leaving the industry; they’re just going where you can’t see them.

Counterfeit Comfort

More of this, please (but where’s the ACLU?)

Less than a month after approving restrictions on Halloween activities by registered sex offenders, the city of Simi Valley has been sued…the…law bans Halloween displays and outside lighting every Oct. 31…[and] requires a sign on the front door in letters at least an inch tall:  “No candy or treats at this residence.”  Both the prohibition on decorations and the mandatory sign violate free speech rights, according to the lawsuit.  A total of 119 registered sex offenders live in Simi Valley…None has been involved in crimes involving children on Halloween, according to police, who say they have no records of any such crime occurring in Simi Valley during Halloween trick-or-treating…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the newest, even stupider adjunct to “sex addiction”:

The Daily Mailclaims [that young men] are addicted…[to] Viagra…[which unlike sex] is a pharmaceutical drug…[which] could [conceivably produce] physical dependency…[their “proof” consists of an]…interview [with] exactly one guy who uses Viagra a lot during sex…and…one…“psychosexual counselor”…who says this is “just a small sample of the problem”…Any studies…Any scientific research in any labs anywhere?  Because I…don’t see any.  At.  All.  Reading further down the article I see their real target:  porn “addiction”…[and] sexually empowered women…How dare the ladies express interest and enjoyment in sex!  Why won’t we just lie back and think of England like we’re supposed to!?…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Mere days after I added it to my Amazon wishlist, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous sent me a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, which I somehow never got around to reading before.  Thank you so very much!

Profit from Panic

Hey, kids! Fight “human trafficking” for fun and profit! Implicate your neighbors! Persecute sex workers! Win big prizes!  “To raise awareness of human trafficking…the Department of Justice and Equality in Dublin and the Department of Justice in Belfast will launch a photography and video competition for Third Level students…Research human trafficking and present your understanding of the issue through a photograph or short video…Winners of each category will receive…1st prize €1,000…2nd prize €500…3rd prize €250.”

Prudish Pedants

Here’s an interesting article debunking the fallacious notion that some kinds of porn are more “positive” than others, that “erotica” is intrinsically different from porn and that men can be “taught” to reject the kind of porn they prefer in favor of the kind women prefer…argued from a marketing perspective rather than a traditionally psychological one.  One important point:  “Human minds are not passive and infinitely malleable receptacles prone to any form of socialization and learning.  Successful marketers are well aware of this reality.  Ideologues, including some academics in the ivory tower, have much to learn!

Misdirection

Remember when controversy over contraception was only something we read about in history books or in reference to unusually conservative Catholics?  I sure do.  But over the last two decades that equine carcass has been dragged out of the glue factory and is once again being set upon by sex-hating control freaks trying to call attention away from the uncontrolled tumescence of government, national debt and the police state.  The fact that the public obediently paid attention to this distraction has enabled lots of crazy people, including a group of nuns who produced an anti-contraception video chock full of propaganda because they obviously forgot that lying makes Baby Jesus cry:

Feet of Clay

Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Gira Grant write:

This week Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half The Sky premieres on PBS as a two-part miniseries, providing an opportunity for his audience to step into his well-worn white savior shoes…viewers will survey the lives of young women whom Kristof and WuDunn have chosen as the best ciphers for their agenda…to…“turn oppression into opportunity”…[by] proposing dubious schemes for advancing women’s rights—like arresting sex workers in order to “rescue” them from prostitution, or enthusiastically supporting the creation of “sweatshops” to accommodate sex workers and other women in the global south…

In response, Moore & Grant presented a “collective evaluation” of Nicholas Kristof, in other words excerpts from essays by Laura Agustín, Teju Cole and many others (including yours truly).  The article is also mentioned in this Buzzfeed article, which shows the outcry is getting big enough for even the usually-oblivious media to notice.

Little Boxes

Catarina Migliorini says that cooking, driving, reading and every other human activity magically become different things if one only does them once:

…A 20-year-old Brazilian woman is auctioning off her virginity for a one-time tryst on an airplane…Catarina Migliorini says she’ll donate some of the money to provide housing for poor families in her native Santa Catarina…the Internet bidding [has already] reached  $160,000…[and] ends Oct. 15…Migliorini insisted in a statement to the Sao Paulo daily Folha that…”For me, it’s not prostitution…when someone does something once in his or her life, this is not considered a profession.  If you take a picture and it comes out good, you are not a photographer because of it”…The Daily Mail reported that Migliorini is [also]…part of an Australian film project called Virgins Wanted.  She’s getting $20,000 and a 90-percent cut of the auction price…

The HuffPo comments are, of course, predictably disgusting.  Meanwhile, Slate presents this series of portraits of female Iranian singers, who are legally barred from singing on stage for a general audiences because it is “immodest”.  This is not a hypothetical reductio ad absurdum; it is the natural result of busybodies having control over women’s interactions with men and attempting to draw imaginary lines between “good” and “immoral” behavior.

The Public Eye

Rachel Aimee, one of the founders of the late $pread magazine, covers one specific aspect of the “sex workers as mothers” topic:  deciding if, when and how to tell one’s children that one is a sex worker.  She interviews an escort, a stripper, a dominatrix, a nude model and a sex educator, and though as you might expect she doesn’t reach a definitive conclusion, she presents a lot of worthwhile food for thought.

Metaupdates

Think of the Children! in TW3 (#11)

Another good, clean organization refuses charity from nasty, dirty whores:

A pornographic website has launched a fundraising effort for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but the nonprofit says it wants nothing to do with the campaign…the…website said it would donate 1 cent for every 30 views of certain videos featuring breasts during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month…[but the Komen organization said] “We are not a partner, not accepting donations, and have asked them to stop using our name”…

Obviously, the Komen Foundation has not yet learned that they are supposed to care more about women’s health than about prudishness.

I Really Shouldn’t Even LOOK at an Issue of Cosmopolitan in TW3 (#25)

Priya-Alika Elias imagines what it would be like if Homer, Shakespeare, Joyce, Tolkien and others wrote Cosmo sex tips.  Alas, she didn’t do Lovecraft, but it’s still pretty damned funny.

Follow Your Bliss in TW3 (#37)

The…TSA…didn’t bother to do a background check on a priest who had been defrocked for molesting girls before they gave him a job, which included doing pat downs on children at Philadelphia International Airport.  The Philadelphia Inquirerreported that…65-year-old Thomas Harkins…has since been promoted from the…job that required him to pat down children and now oversees screening operations for checked baggage.

This Week in 2011

I answered questions on NBA policies, Wikipedia, gravatars and epigrams, discussed busybody control freaks who use women’s dignity as an excuse for oppression, introduced you to a young courtesan named Su Xiaoxiao, reported on a complaint to the APA about Melissa Farley’s numerous ethical violations, and shared short items on marital sex issues, Gardasil, a Sydney mega-brothel, a pervert cop, BDSM persecution, Edmonton’s attempt to create a bottleneck, a claim that the average hooker is 13, cops’ armed robbery of a strip club, AHF and an essay by Catherine Hakim.

This Week in 2010

I introduced the concept of “sex rays”, talked about my boob job, explained how criminalization exposes whores to danger from real criminals, discussed the families of sex workers, presented brief biographies of the five victims of Jack the Ripper, looked at the archetypal “hooker with a heart of gold”, and shared short items about Congress’ first attempt to control the internet and two creepy men’s attempts to sexually violate women unnoticed.

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You need to tailor your response to the reality. You should not tailor your response to the hype.  –  Ann Jordan

R.I.P. Robyn Few

The founder of SWOP-USA died Thursday (September 13th) at the age of 54 after a long battle with cancer.  She became an activist for HIV and medical marijuana in the early 1990s, but prostitution was at that time simply a way to pay the bills ; that changed after she was targeted for her activism by FBI and arrested in June of 2002.  In October of the following year she founded SWOP-USA on the model of SWOP Australia, and just two months later helped Dr. Annie Sprinkle organize the first Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers.  Biographical details are scarce, but I’m trying to get a proper obituary together for her for this Monday.

Updates

He or She?

Sometimes, men’s transgender paranoia is so severe it can lead to violence:

…20-year-old Christian Ariel Romero met [a] 41-year-old [transgendered prostitute]…and…offered [her] money for sex, Montgomery County police said…[but] when Romero discovered his companion was a man, he…repeatedly stabbed the victim…The judge set bail at $500,000, which [Romero’s lawyer] called harsh…“The defendant is a person who’s 20 years old, never done anything wrong in his entire life.  And the person who is on the other side is…a prostitute…with a track record, a history…”

As is typical in stories involving transgendered people, everyone dances around pronouns and facts are sparse or contradictory; the reporter says the victim was a “man” but she may have been a pre-op transsexual.  And the lawyer’s insinuation that the victim somehow deserved a murderous assault is “NHI” thinking at its most repellent.

All in the Family

Robin Hustle has a great deal more patience than I do; if I had a story of coming out to parents who were in denial about my sex work, I certainly wouldn’t tell it on Jezebel.  The article is intelligent, well-written, right on and even funny, but of course the comments are largely what you’d expect (starting with the very first one, which basically accuses her of lying).  No thanks; I learned my lesson with Feministe.

Follow Your Bliss

A disproportionate number of perverts, rapists and pedophiles have been discovered in a job which allows them to grope and fondle women and children with impunity in public.  Golly gee, who could’ve predicted that?

Crystal Ball

As I predicted, a few journalists are beginning to question the “sex trafficking” hype; though this article reprinted from Christian Science Monitor overstates the credibility of some of the fanatics’ claims and quotes professional victim Stella Marr at length, it also interviews prominent trafficking hysteria critic Ann Jordan, criticizes celebrity opportunists like Ashton Kutcher and flatly states that the scare-figures are wildly exaggerated:

…the…statistic…that there are 100,000 to 300,000 sex slaves in the US – figures repeated by interviewers, blogs, TV hosts and…movie stars…are wrong…the number of actual sex-trafficking victims has been estimated by the US government to be in the tens of thousands, but even those numbers have been criticized as unfounded and far too high; between 2008 and 2010, federally funded human-trafficking task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation.  Among those cases, only 248 suspected sex-trafficking victims under the age of 18 were identified…Hype over such high and inaccurate numbers of “child sex slaves” leads to a misguided response at best…At worst, it siphons financial resources away from preventing other sorts of human trafficking…[and] undermines solutions to problems…that lead to exploited youth in the first place…

Bottleneck

Cause:  Making it essentially impossible for brothels to operate legally.  Effect:  Lots of illegal brothels.

…Elena Jeffreys said when sex work was decriminalised 16 years ago, local councils were given the job of regulating the industry…but…they are now knocking back brothels on moral grounds…”Their job is to regulate the sex industry, not just to blanket knock back every single (brothel) application they get.  There’s some local councils in NSW that have never approved a brothel application and then they wonder why there’s brothels in their suburb that are unapproved”…Ms Jeffreys said there were more than 6000 sex workers in the state and most people would have lived near a brothel or a sex worker at some point without knowing it…

Capricious Lusts

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an American sex worker activist (other than myself) make this enlightened point:

…Controversial model-actress [Gehana Vasisth] recently tweeted that she wanted to open a…high class hygienic brothel where men could come and satisfy themselves…with professional, medically certified commercial sex workers…According to Gehana, legalising prostitution and pornography in India – like it is in the West – will help reduce crimes against women drastically.  “If men can satisfy their carnal desires without any restriction, rape and other crimes against women will be reduced,” she explained…

Metaupdates

How Old is Oldest? in June Updates (Part Three)

Over a year after the controversy which caused his break with Psychology Today, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa is back with a new blog entitled E pur si muove on a relatively new website named Big Think.  And though his debut is not without controversy even there, Kanazawa’s “about” blurb states:

E pur si muove is about science.  Science is the accumulation of pure knowledge for its own sake; it has no other goals or purposes.  In science, only logic and evidence are the arbitrators of the truth; nothing else matters.  No scientific conclusions can ever be good or bad, desirable or undesirable, sexist, racist, offensive, reactionary or dangerous; they can only be true or false.  No other adjectives apply.  If the truth offends people, it is our job as scientists to offend them.  In the memorable words of David Hilbert, Wir müssen wissen, wir werden wissen.  If what I say as a scientist is wrong, because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence, then it is my problem.  If what I say offends you, then it is your problem.  Get over it.  Prepare to be offended.

And really, that’s pretty much my attitude in this blog as well; I wish Dr. Kanazawa the best of luck with his new site and hope Big Think proves to be more dedicated to free speech than Psychology Today has proven itself to be.

Hard Numbers in TW3 (#16)

Whenever it looks like something might be decriminalized (such as brothel ownership in Brazil), you can bet the police will launch as many “crackdowns” as possible before their window of opportunity closes:

On the eve of June 14…armed members of [Rio’s] Police…and  public prosecutor’s office arrived at a brothel called Centauros…[where] they arrested prostitutes, management and the owner, seized documents, computers…used condoms…and…$150,000…in cash.  The owner…spent a week at a maximum security prison.  The prostitutes were released the same night and found work at other upscale brothels…Quite a lot of drama when you consider that prostitution is not actually a crime in Brazil…But as Rio de Janeiro prepares for its turn on the global stage – as the host of the World Cup in 2014, then the 2016 Summer Olympics – the city is taking drastic action to keep its thriving sex industry out of the spotlight.  Rio has already shuttered 24 sex establishments…and…another 33 venues have been threatened or harassed by the police…It’s the biggest crackdown…in a generation…according to anthropologists Thaddeus Blanchette and Ana Paula da Silva, who have been studying prostitution in Rio since 2004 and have authored almost 20 academic papers on [the subject]…

Prudish Pedants in TW3 (#18)

Keep in mind, California is still under a SCOTUS mandate to reduce its prison population, yet this persecution for profit continues:

Fetish filmmaker and distributor Ira Isaacs’ sentencing was put on hold last month because federal prosecutors intended to present evidence to support…a two-level increase in sentencing…[for] federal crime[s] where the defendant knew or should have known that a victim involved in an offense was a “vulnerable victim”…presumably [this means] an actor or actors involved in films deemed obscene…prosecutors have recommended that Isaacs serve a term of up to seven years and three months in prison, as well as a three-year term of supervised release and a $10,000 fine…[the court also stole] all of his websites…copyrights…computers, servers, props and video equipment.

Against Their Will in TW3 (#20)

Another win-win situation ruined by busybodies:

The Malay Mail reports [that a] car wash in…Kuala Lumpur…had formed a partnership with a local massage parlour, enabling customers to redeem free sex from the brothel as part of a customer loyalty scheme…police stormed the parlour and found several stamped loyalty cards that had been used by customers…officer Emmi Shah Fadhil [said]…“To get the extra ‘offer’, customers must send their cars for washing nine times within a certain period…The tenth car wash will entitle them to free sex.”  The parlour would usually charge between 130 and 180 Malaysian Ringgit ($40-$55) – cheaper than the $65 price for a full-service car wash.  Prostitution is illegal in Malaysia.  As a result of the raid, nine Vietnamese women aged between 18 and 28 were arrested.

Actually prostitution isn’t illegal in Malaysia; only public solicitation is.  However, for the past four years the Malaysian government has been engaged in a campaign to violently suppress brothels under the guise of “fighting human trafficking” in order to win a pat on the head and a “good doggie” from the US State Department.

See No Evil in TW3 (#24)

An anti-sex fanatic’s crusade to criminalize a lump of bronze continues:

…a bare-breasted sculpture in an Overland Park arboretum has triggered a grand jury investigation into whether the city is promoting obscenity to minors.  The artwork, titled “Accept or Reject” and donated by Chinese artist Yu Chang, depicts…what the artist statement says is the incomplete identity expressed in one’s digital self — critics contend it promotes “sexting” to children…”The statue appeals to an unwholesome obsession with a sexual act” [said petition sponsor Phillip] Cosby…who calls sexting “the most under-prosecuted crime in America”…

Anybody who claims that any crime (other than those committed under color of authority) in America is “under-prosecuted” is certifiably insane.

Sisters in Arms in TW3 (#29)

If abortion is criminalized, do people really want women who get them imprisoned?  Or will this turn into another Swedish Model-like agency-denying thing which only persecutes abortion providers (and maybe men who urge or pay for them)?

Broken Record in TW3 (#32)

Here’s a long but must-read essay by Georgina Perry of Open Doors, a London health organization serving sex workers; she explains how Olympic “sex trafficking” hysteria was amplified by politicians, the police, the media and others, and collapsed when one especially vociferous NGO lost its main source of funding:

For the last three years I’ve been…relegated from a professional considered knowledgeable in her field, to a noisy troublemaker, determined to rail against received wisdom.  I’ve had the data I assiduously collect, analyse and make public quoted back to me by law enforcement agencies, the media and NGOs but with clumsy interpretations skewed to strengthen a particular rhetoric…as the 2012 London Olympics drew inexorably towards us, the whole of the UK suddenly became an expert on my job…[the]experience…left me cynical and at times speechless at the sheer effrontery of those who stood to gain from talking up a story that…is not, has not and is unlikely to ever be a reality…

Naked Truth in TW3 (#35)

Melissa Gira Grant was interviewed on “Behind the News with Doug Henwood” on public radio station KPFA in Berkeley, California this past Thursday; she talked about the rescue industry, agency denial and the neofeminist anti-sex work agenda (starting at 30:00).

This Week in 2011

How “feminist” laws infantilize or pathologize women, how Arianna Huffington panders to hysteria, how politicians judge others but never themselves, and why only some religions have freedom.  Also, an Algerian tribe in which prostitution was normal and accepted and an essay on whores in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

This Week in 2010

The importance of caring for husbands sexually, the woman known to history as “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, a few book reviews, a story I wrote when I was 18, “whoredar”, and a little about my lesbian experiences.

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