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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Fadeaway

I’ve never been very confident with women, so at the age of 28 I lost my virginity to a sex worker.  I continued to see other professionals since then as time and money allows.  Then two years ago I met a sex worker who was exactly my type; she soon gave me her personal phone number, and we texted a lot about upcoming meetings and about other things.  The last time we met in person she trusted me enough to let me take pictures of her (she advertised without showing her face), and invited me to karaoke with her.  A few weeks later I texted again, and her sister replied to me, saying she was in hospital and wouldn’t be working.  I wrote to her booker (who knew she liked me) and asked if she knew more, and she led me to believe that the problem was mental health related.  Not knowing what else to do, I’d send a little “get well soon” text to her every few weeks.  Eventually she responded, saying she was out of the hospital but unlikely to ever work again.  She seemed to appreciate my messages, and we continued to text for most of last year.  Eventually, I offered to take her out to a platonic dinner in August.  She said yes, and I made arrangements.  A couple of days before, she pulled out and begged forgiveness, saying she still didn’t feel physically up to anything.  I took this well, and continued to text her every other week as I had been before, but she soon stopped replying.  She’s been out of hospital for a year now, and I haven’t heard from her since summer.  I’m wondering if there’s anything else I can do.  I just don’t know how to deal with silence.  If she told me to “please stop” I’d absolutely respect that, but I’m worried she may have had a relapse or something like that too.Ghost Woman on Train Track by epica3

Human beings are complicated creatures; not only is it possible for us to feel multiple conflicting emotions at the same time, but we do it with astonishing frequency.   What this means in your case is that, though the lady does seem to have been genuinely interested in you, it’s also pretty clear that she doesn’t want you in her life any more.  Why?  There’s no way to know for sure, but I suspect it isn’t coincidental.  If the reason she ended up in hospital was indeed mental health-related as you suspect, it could be tied in with burnout or with ambivalent feelings about her work, and if that’s the case it’s no surprise that she no longer wants to communicate with a client, even a cherished one…especially a cherished one, really.  My guess is that she wants to break entirely with her old life, and that includes you.  But since she really does like you, she doesn’t want to hurt you and is instead pulling a classic feminine move called the fadeaway.  In a way, this breakup method is even more cruel because there’s no closure for the one rejected; however, it feels less cruel to the one doing the fadeaway, and in her mind that’s what counts.  You don’t have much choice but to move on; at this point all you’re accomplishing is hurting both of you.  Enjoy your memories of her, send her prayers or good wishes, and then close that chapter in your heart so you can be ready to love someone else.  Because she did give you one priceless gift: your first love.  And you may find that, painful as the experience was, it has prepared you for other intimate relationships, paid or otherwise.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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The text of Eden folded seamlessly into the curriculum of U.S.-based anti-sex trafficking efforts with its images of taped mouths, chained wrists risen toward the heavens, “in our own backyard” and “stolen innocence” messages, and the idea that the average age of sex trafficked girls in the U.S. is age 13.  –   Kari Lerum

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

The only interesting thing about this tired rehash is that its fake numbers aren’t nearly as absurd as usual:

In 2010, there were 50,000 victims of human trafficking identified, with many more still being forced to…sell sex. But even the experts admit, the number of victims is difficult to quantify and largely unknown…Of…eight human trafficking cases, [Louisiana] prosecutors…[managed to win] only one [conviction]…

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (#134)

One of the women who is suing the police after discovering that her former boyfriend was an undercover…[cop] has found a tracking device in her car…The woman – known as Lily – had a two-year relationship with Mark Kennedy without knowing his real identity.  She is part of a group of women taking legal action against the police for the emotional trauma they suffered after forming intimate relationships with men who were later revealed to be spies…the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported that a tracking device – wrapped in tape – was found near a wheel of her car…while she was at a conference…in Spain to discuss surveillance and censorship…

Profit from Panic 

The rescue industry is getting so successful it now has mergers and acquisitions:  “The Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Operation Underground Railroad have announced that they will now be working hand-in-hand in a joint effort to save children by merging the two organizations…

Worse Than I Thought

The [Utah] Legislature passed a bill…that would clarify that a person is guilty of prostitution not only when engaging in sexual activity with another for money but also for trade of goods…

Profound Ignorance 

Another astonishingly-stupid “study” produces predictably-stupid results:

Researchers with Mount Royal University and The Hindsight Group…[released] findings from a survey of men who were ordered to attend…“John schools”…66%…watched online pornography by the age of 15…67%…viewed online sites before venturing out to purchase sexual encounters…58%…said the Internet has made it more difficult for them to quit paying for sex…they’ve laid the groundwork for further investigation into prevention models that curb the demand for sex trade workers…

monkeysFor those who know nothing about the social sciences, here are a couple of hints: a “captive audience” is going to produce badly skewed results, and assuming the conclusion before the data is even recorded isn’t very likely to result in anything resembling actual data.

Diary of a Sad Man

In the coming weeks, the UK will see what must be a legal first – someone suing for libel over claims that they are not a former prostitute.  The development has come in the legal drama surrounding Dr Brooke Magnanti, who…[wrote] under the nom de plume “Belle de Jour” about her secret life as a £300-an-hour call girl, and her ex-lover Owen Morris…The adventures of Belle de Jour spawned the long-running TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper.  But in 2013, Morris – known as “The Boy” in Magnanti’s book The Intimate Adventures of a Call Girl– claimed she had lied about her history as an escort and sued for defamation and breach of privacy.  Morris claims that…his career has been damaged by the…revelation of her true identity…Magnanti is now counter-suing.  She claims that Morris’ assertions that she was never a prostitute are defamatory to her reputation…

Schadenfreude (#429) 

An in-depth analysis of how Eden and its ilk harm sex workers:

Does it matter when popular stories about “sex trafficking” are based on half-truths, junk science, and/or religious beliefs?…it is critical that we face the consequences of stories told in the name of rescuing girls and women…many individuals still derive most of their knowledge about human trafficking from sensationalistic media stories about so-called “sex trafficking….Hollywood action-adventure characterizations of victims and villains are deployed; complex structural problems are squeezed into personal morality tales; and the stories are then used by anti-sex work politicians and activists to justify heightened forms of criminal punishment.  While the stories may have popular appeal, evidence suggests that more criminalization actually hurts all sex workers across the continuum of privilege and oppression…

An Example To the West (#504)

A campaign by Thai authorities to crack down on human trafficking has led to the arrests…of…as many as 150 refugees and asylum seeker…Pakistan-based media and some Christian groups say the number may be as many as several hundred.  Among those arrested were people fleeing religious persecution and sectarian violence in Pakistan…

The Mote and the Beam (#510)

It’s interesting to compare coverage of the same “sex trafficking” story from two different media outlets. The Christian Science Monitor tells us:

…the women of the Senate…decided to take on the “despicable, vile issue of human trafficking”…Sex trafficking crosses party lines…the House passed a dozen, bipartisan anti-trafficking bills…about 300,000 American children are at risk of being trafficked…it can happen to anyone.  The average age is 11 to 14 years old…[cop] Michael Ferjak…[denied the agency of adult women and said] “We must…stop thinking that a 14-year-old can actually [think]”…

While in Reason, Noah Berlatsky writes:

According to the logic of many lawmakers, those engaged in prostitution are always victims.  And once you have victims, you need victimizers—people who can be heroically beaten back by courageous law enforcement personnel.  Generally, the victimizers are identified as sex traffickers or pimps.  But a bill from Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) targets another popular bete noire:  classified advertisers…the hope seems to be that negative publicity will cause the site’s owners to shutter Backpage, or at least its “adult” listings section…Kirk’s website throws around numerous frightening and dubious statistics, such as a claim that 300,000 children are “at risk of being trafficked for sex in the United States” every year…The implication, of course, is that the Internet makes prostitution more dangerous and exploitive.  But is it really less safe for women to advertise online than (as one obvious alternative) to work on the street?…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#512) Alissa Afonina

Though the court’s statements and the media coverage of the story both came across as “doing sex work is evidence of brain damage”, Alissa Afonina doesn’t see it that way:

My brain injury is supported by far more than just the sexual symptoms, which is all the media decided to focus on…I have brain scans, countless assessments and [a] history of behavior that is totally congruent with my type of brain injury…I worked…because making that amount of money felt good and I wanted to save as much as I could…

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I have friend who dated an escort, and he said she liked to pay for things; she always grabbed the check at dinner, and also bought him gifts.  Later I read a Reddit post which described the same thing, and a Google search then found other, similar results.  Is there a reason for this?  One commenter said that it was because she wanted the relationship to feel different from work.

woman getting moneyI’ve never had that impulse myself; in fact, quite the opposite (and I know a lot of girls who feel as I do).  I’ve only had the one non-commercial relationship with a man since I started full-time sex work, but even in the dilettante days of my youth I felt the same way:  I’m already bringing something of economic value to the table, and it’s up to him to match it with financial support.  I’m only talking about the economic dimension of the relationship; I see the emotional and social dimensions as totally reciprocal by necessity.  But frankly speaking, if I were to pay a man’s way I’d feel as though I were paying for his love rather than for sex, and though that may be perfectly OK in some women’s minds it certainly isn’t in mine.  Now, it’s completely different in my lesbian relationships; with another woman I feel as though we’re both bringing sex and love to the table, and the question of “Who pays?” has less to do with the mating dance and more to do with the pragmatic question of who can afford it.

That’s not to say, however, that my way of looking at it (in either heterosexual or homosexual contexts) is “correct” or even typical; everyone has to do what works for her, even if it’s unconventional or would be seen by many others as “wrong”.  And if being the paying partner works for some of my sisters, who am I to judge them?  Perhaps they like the novelty (“she wanted the relationship to feel different from work”) and/or perhaps they get a sense of independence or even control by paying.  Or perhaps they simply view it pragmatically, as I do when I’m dating a woman.  And be sure to watch the comment thread below, because if any of my sex worker readers have other reasons she may tell them there.  If it were me, I’d worry that a guy I was paying for all the time might only be there because I was doing that, or that he was developing a sense of entitlement to it, or that he secretly resented it or felt emasculated.  However, I’m the Princess of Paranoia and often overthink such things; none of them might be true, and even if one were it might not matter to the lady in question as much as it would to me.  The most important thing is that both partners feel comfortable with an arrangement, whether it’s “normal” or not; it’s only when one or both of them isn’t (or allows outsiders to convince him or her that he or she isn’t) that problems arise.

(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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People have the right not to be “rescued” by outsiders who neither understand nor respect them.  –  Meena Seshu

The Scarlet Letter

Given that most sex workers aren’t in it for life, it seems fair to assume that a proportion might eventually choose to [leave it]…for many, this will be impossible.  Sex workers [in the UK] are subject to a particular type of non-statutory reprimand: the “prostitutes caution“…it’s not quite the same as the regular kind of caution you might be landed with for shoplifting or being caught with a bit of weed.  Regular cautions require that…there…be evidence of guilt sufficient to give a realistic prospect of conviction…[and] the offender must admit the offence.  In the case of a prostitutes caution, neither of these is required…sex workers suspected of soliciting…can be slapped with a caution, even if there’s not enough evidence to take the matter to court.  Want to call foul?  Tough: there’s no right of appeal…And if a potential employer sees you’ve got cautions, there’s a good chance you won’t get the job…

Blasphemy

Read this and tell me that Marxism & feminism aren’t religions:

Prostitution is the quintessential expression of global capitalism.  Our corporate masters are pimps. We are all being debased and degraded, rendered impoverished and powerless, to service the cruel and lascivious demands of the corporate elite…If we accept prostitution as legal, as Germany has done…we will take one more collective step toward the global plantation being built by the powerful.  The fight against prostitution is the fight against…the subjugation of impoverished girls and women…Those who sell their bodies for sex do so out of desperation…Selling your body for sex is not a choice…Lee Lakeman…[says] it is not…”OK [for]…Asian women [to work] in brothels because they are sending money home to [their] families…The only way to fight capitalism…is to stop men from buying prostitutes…men will have to accept feminist leadership…and…give up the self-indulgence of prostitution”…The legalization of prostitution in Germany and the Netherlands has expanded trafficking and led to an explosion in child prostitution…average age [blah blah blah]…“When some women are bought and sold,” said Hilla Kerner…“all women can be bought and sold.  When some women are objectified, all women are objectified.”

Profound Mental Disabilities

a 2013 study…suggests that BDSM practitioners are generally psychologically healthy and that they tend to prefer roles that fit their personalities…a newer study…examined the personality traits of BDSM practitioners using a somewhat different personality model.  Some of the findings were highly similar…there is no evidence that BDSM practitioners in general suffer from any particular form of psychological disturbance and in fact they seem to be mentally and emotionally well-adjusted…both dominants and submissives…tend…to be higher in openness to experience and conscientiousness compared to…the general population.  Additionally…submissives tend…to be more extroverted than the general population…and [dominants are] less sensitive to rejection…

Soap Opera anti-pimp pads

Just when you thought the “anti-pimp personal hygiene products” trope couldn’t get any stupider:

Pivot provides rescue information to human trafficking victims without detection by their captors.  Ordinary-looking sanitary pads are distributed by activists and healthcare providers to suspected victims. Hidden inside each pad is an insert with rescue information and a trafficking hotline number.  A victims [sic] accesses the insert in the privacy of a restroom, detaches the phone number (disguised as a fortune-cookie tab), and flushes the rest of the insert in the toilet…

Checklist 

The newest “sign” of “sex trafficking”:  going to a beauty parlor:

A new law in Ohio requires licensed cosmetologists to take a course on identifying trafficked women and girls…because of the major highway systems, eight ports on Lake Erie, and proximity to Canada…the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force…identified salons as prime locations to spot victims who may have been brought in by pimps to change their appearance or to win their trust with pampering…

Let Me Help

Meena Seshu, an experienced social worker turned activist for women’s rights in India, [met] a group of sex workers to help them organize.  Seshu thought she knew what to do: “guide them,” as she had been trained to do.  And yet, they rejected her…Seshu…said, “I’m sorry. I know nothing.  Can you teach me?”  Sesha discusses this humility in this amazing talk…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

Pimps!  Sex slaves!  Benevolent cops!  And other imaginary characters!

Three Sudbury [Ontario] men have been identified as pimps exploiting young women and forcing them in to sex slavery…The same blitz also found six women in the Sudbury who are being forced to work in the sex trade…No charged were laid, but police officers here shared all the information they gathered…[a mouthpiece claimed] “Operations which seek to reach out to trafficked persons give sexually exploited persons the opportunity to report instances of exploitation and allow police to build relationships…”  [The so-called “blitz” was part of] Operation Northern Spotlight…

Under Every Bed (#420) a loon and her lunacy

Still crusading against imaginary “traffickers” in North Dakota:

When she first arrived in town, Windie Lazenko headed to the neon-lit strip clubs and bars catering to lonely oil field workers with extra cash and time on their hands…For nearly two decades, Lazenko was part of that illicit world, starting as a 13-year-old runaway when, she says, she was bought and sold for sex…Lazenko is now one of the most prominent activists in the fight against sex trafficking in the oil patch…

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

The connection between abortion prohibition and “sex trafficking” hysteria continues to increase:

Bipartisan legislation to crack down on human trafficking turned unexpectedly controversial…because of a Republican-backed provision relating to abortion that Democrats said they failed to notice…The disputed provision would permanently prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the woman was jeopardized…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (#439)

A Sydney council has lost a landmark legal battle against a massage parlour it alleged was operating as an illegal brothel, after a court ruled the council failed to prove there was enough sex being provided on the premises.  Hornsby Council paid a private investigator to go undercover inside the parlour and [rape] a prostitute as part of a bitter, year-long legal battle to have the operation closed…[because it is near schools]…evidence of sex being sold on the premises fell short of the NSW’s specific definition of the term “brothel” – which requires more than one prostitute to be providing services onsite…councils…would have to fund multiple trips inside suspect premises to have any chance of a result…

Monsters (#510)

The Louisville…Police Department has been insistent that the victim in a Jan. 9 homicide…was not transgender, the homicide was not a hate crime, and the victim’s gender identity was not a factor…Information…directly contradicts or severely undermines all of those assertions…court records and an interview with [the victim’s friend] Tiffany show the police department had evidence, but did not tell the media, that the victim may have identified as a transgender woman who went by the…name Papi…Surveillance video…shows the victim — identified by police as…Sherman Edwards — presenting as a woman, with long hair and carrying a light brown purse…Prosecutors have arrested and charged…Henry Gleaves…with murder…Tiffany said Edwards…had used female pronouns for several years, but…police [said]…“that was a man that was shot.  It was…obviously a man, right?  He doesn’t have a female name”…Among the records contradicting the Louisville police’s insistence that Edwards identified as male is a videotaped interview conducted by…police…shortly after the shooting with Tiffany…

Policing for Profit (#513) 

People [accused] of soliciting prostitution in certain areas of Spokane, Washington, will have their cars impounded by police.  The city has marked these areas with signs proclaiming them a “Designated Area of High Prostitution Activity…”If you’re soliciting prostitutes, you may think twice if you see a sign that says we’re going to impound your car if we catch you,” said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart.  That seems plausible, indeed.  What doesn’t seem plausible is “high prostitution activity” not simply shifting to elsewhere once the signs go up.  Why would sex workers or clients continue to frequent areas that the city is announcing as targets of increased police stings and enhanced penalties?…

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I am 27 years old and still a virgin; I don’t think I know much about sex, except in theory.  I have a crush on a former Facebook friend’s boyfriend; he flirts with me sometimes, calling me “darling” and saying I’m “sexy” and “pretty”.  We have not met in person yet, because he’s Canadian and I’m a Hindustani living in South Africa, but he recently sent me a picture of his penis and told me he’s about 19 cm long, and that scares me.  Is sex painful the first time?  I kind of dread ever having to have it in real life; I’d much rather just fantasize about it.  However, I really love this boy; I dream about him all the time, and I wish he would bring me to Canada, marry me and give me a baby so we can live happily ever after.  He’s younger than me (only 21) but very mature for his age; he really is my dream man!  But I don’t know where I really stand with him; it seems like he only talks to me when he’s bored, and he punishes me by ignoring me when I make him upset.  I’d really like to know what you think about online relationships; I value your opinion very much since you’re so sexually experienced.

I wish I could tell you that sex isn’t painful the first time, but it very often is and every factor you’ve mentioned – his size, his (much too young) age, your (advanced for a virgin) age, your inexperience and your fear – will tend to exacerbate that.  So will the fact that he is NOT, despite what you think, mature for his age; punishing love-interests by ignoring them or just using them to alleviate boredom are NOT the marks of a mature or caring man, and frankly neither is sending out dick pics to women he isn’t actually involved with.  I know that you won’t believe me when I tell you that you aren’t in love with him; you’re infatuated  with him, which is a horse of a different color.  You aren’t especially drawn to this man for his personality or self, but because he pays attention to you, and for a woman who hasn’t had that kind of attention often enough, it can be extremely intoxicating and judgment-eroding.  I’m not saying relationships that start on the internet can’t work because I know some that have, but I am  saying that such relationships involve many difficulties that you, inexperienced as you are, are unlikely to handle well.  My suggestion is that you open yourself to meeting men locally in whatever way is acceptable in your culture; you still might fall in love too quickly and end up with a man who treats you badly, but if that happens you’ll at least be close to friends and family rather than stranded on another continent with a man you’re completely dependent upon.  Ironically, you’re afraid of the part – the physical sex act – that is really no big deal, yet ready to rush pell-mell into the part – marriage and childbirth – which can really get you badly hurt or even killed.  Sure, first-time sex can hurt; in fact, ten-thousandth time sex can hurt, and since my vagina is quite small I experience pain nearly every time I have sex with an unusually large or rough partner.  Sometimes it’s even a lot of pain.  But physical pain is transitory and, unless severe and chronic, doesn’t really have much effect on one’s life.  Emotional pain, by contrast, can be both devastating and have long-lasting and far-reaching effects.  I suggest you re-examine your priorities, try not to dwell on fear or simple physical pain, and instead think long and hard about the real and profound danger of severe emotional and spiritual (and sometimes physical) pain that accompanies a bad, hastily-made marriage to a poorly-chosen man.

(This question originally appeared in the form of a comment on a very old post, “All Shapes and Sizes”; some of you may find it interesting to compare the original with the edited version, and understand that this is typical of the way in which I prepare questions for publication.  One difference: I usually leave out location, but since this lady already shared it in the comments it seemed pointless to leave it out here.)

(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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If [rescuers]…used my photo in websites, smiling, showing me sewing clothes I couldn’t even afford, I would want someone to at least say, “Yeah, that is bullshit.”  –  Sarah Miller

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

TANSTAAFL:

The police chief in Miami Gardens has been fired after he was arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitution…Stephen Johnson was [caught in a sting after buying the absurd claim that]…the price for…two women would be $100 for 30 minutes…

Feminine Pragmatism 

More than 70% of UK sex workers have previously worked in healthcare, education or charities, while more than a third hold university degrees, according to one of the largest surveys of the industry ever undertaken…The second most common former area of employment was retail, with…33.7%…38% [had an undergraduate degree]…while…17%…had a postgraduate degree…The Leeds University study [was] carried out by Dr Teela Sanders in partnership with National Ugly Mugs…

Down Under

A man who became obsessed with a prostitute and launched a rash of lawsuits against her…has had his case shot down in the Supreme Court [of New Zealand].  The client and the sex worker were in an “arrangement” that turned sour some three years ago…when the Auckland woman [realized] her client was stalking her…

The Sky is Falling!

Any gap between a country’s sex work laws and total decriminalization gives the cops room for a campaign of persecution against sexual behavior:

A popular “sugar daddy” dating website that links young women with wealthy older men…may break sex work laws, [Austalian] police have [bloviated]…In Victoria escorts must be registered, and in South Australia it is illegal to pay…for sex…South Australia Police [pretend to be concerned about “dangerous situations”, and]…Victoria Police [threatened to “look] at [the sites] closely”…

Profit from Panic Punjammies

The rescue industry is getting so absurd, even Jezebel can see it:

…Punjammies is just one of many companies selling goods made by former sex slaves.  There’s also the Nomi Network—their tagline is “Buy Her Bag Not Her Body,” a deployment of rhetoric implying she’s going to have to sell one or the other, and she is dependent on your choice to seal her fate.  There’s Purpose Jewelry, “handcrafted by survivors of modern day slavery… each jewelry tag is hand-signed by the girl who created it.”  There’s JC Denim, “handcrafted by girls who have been rescued out of sex slavery.”  One more—just for the pun—a soap brand, Trades of Hope made by women who “have made a clean break from their previous lifestyle in the sex trade…”  Punjammie fans…are proud of the work they’re doing by buying and wearing Punjammies.  You see a lot of words and phrases like empower, good deed, and making a difference

Broken Record

There’s something especially funny about Sweden picking this up while the rest of the West is admitting it’s hokum:

The Ski World Cup in Sweden has been a worldwide party…But behind the scenes police have been battling a rise in prostitution…“The phenomenon is bigger than we think, there are large hidden numbers” [said a trained police parrot]…”We have received information…that this…is…a…bigger problem during the World Cup than…normal…”

The End of the Beginning

the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the residence restrictions automatically imposed on sex offenders by state law are unconstitutional…the law prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, without regard to the nature of the crimes they committed or the threat they currently pose…the 2,000-foot rule excludes 97 percent of the land zoned for multifamily housing in San Diego County…residence restrictions…often apply even if an offender’s crime had nothing to do with children, [and] can be so extensive that entire cities are effectively off limits…

Vendetta

You may not be able to spot it for all the cop-worship and badge-licking, so I’ll help you: “The CEASE Network” is just another front for Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition” pogrom-funding program:  “CEASE, an acronym for Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation, got its official start in Boston, Denver and Seattle earlier this year, with seven more cities — including Portland, Chicago and Phoenix — set to launch their own initiatives later this month…”  This article is several months old, but I think it’s important to track the growth of this private war conducted to please the bloodlust of a morally-warped multi-billionaire.

An Example To the West (#343)

A Bangkok Post article from the director of EMPOWER:

Every year without fail for over a decade, Thailand has been scolded by the United States for not doing enough to comply with US anti-trafficking and border control policies in its annual Trafficking in Persons report…To show that Thailand is doing its job to tackle human trafficking in the sex industry, every year a few hundred migrants, mostly young women, are rounded up, detained and deported as victims…It will never be possible to use harsh laws and punishment to stop people moving across borders for better lives…

Not Good Enough

I honestly have to wonder if Emily Nagoski hasn’t been reading me:

…Flibanserin…is a drug intended to treat low sexual desire in women.  The F.D.A. has rejected it twice already, and will most likely reject it a third time…the drug…is…attempting to treat something that isn’t a disease…The previous model, originating in the late ’70s…placed sexual desire first, as if it were a hunger, motivating an individual to pursue satisfaction.  Desire was conceptualized as emerging more or less “spontaneously.”  And some people do feel they experience desire that way.  Desire first, then arousal.  But…many people (perhaps especially women)…experience desire as…emerging in response to, rather than in anticipation of, erotic stimulation.  Arousal first, then desire…What these women need is not medical treatment, but a thoughtful exploration of what creates desire between them and their partners…Feeling judged or broken for their sexuality is exactly what they don’t need — and what will make their desire for sex genuinely shut down…

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates) IM propaganda

The fetish for posting silly “sex trafficking” signs in stigmatized businesses has been growing for a while now, but this the first time I’ve seen magic powers attributed to the placards:

Lawmakers are introducing a new bill…[which “creates signs to free sex slaves”] across Florida.  The bill would require new signs that tell victims how to get…rescued [from] truck stops, massage parlors, and other places where human trafficking victims are forced into sex slavery…

Another Fine Mess

Yet another edition of “OMG WHORES KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNET!!!!

…Pornography…spurred the adoption of…VHS tapes, interactive CDs and DVDs, and pretty much the entire Internet.  Now it’s coming to your smartphone in a whole new way, thanks to…Snapchat…the service unveiled a feature called Snapcash, which allows people to send money using Square…Strippers and porn stars have started to use Snapchat to send videos and photos of themselves naked for a small fee…Snapchat doesn’t leave anything in your search history.  There’s no trace of it to be found by a snooping significant other or an overprotective parent…

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Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down.
  –  Stevie Nicks, “Dreams”

This was not an easy essay to write, which is why I put it off for as long as I did.  But the events of the last few months made the writing of it an absolute necessity; there’s been a lot of gossip, and a lot of speculation, and I’m sure many of you have suspected something like this for some time now.  I don’t know how to say this in any way but plainly, so here goes:  My husband and I are getting a divorce.

Every Rose Has Its ThornsNow, this isn’t as sudden a development as you might think; a wise and perceptive person might have seen the signs as early as 2007, within a year of my retiring from sex work.  Maybe my retirement changed some of the subtle alchemy of my appeal; maybe it was just the Coolidge Effect.  Or maybe it’s just that, though I’m an easy person to love, I’m damned hard to live with.  I have a tendency to be moody, paranoid and set in my ways; I’m also emotionally intense, incredibly stubborn and often unreasonable, and I tend to get my way all the time without directly demanding it.  He had fallen in love with a glamorous, mysterious enchantress, and perhaps once the bloom was off the rose he began to realize what a damned thorny plant he was holding in his lacerated hand.  And once the money troubles started again the following year (due to the economic crash), I reckon he felt enough was enough; he asked me for a divorce in October of 2008.

To say that I did not take it well would be putting it mildly; “psycho” would probably be closer to an honest appraisal.  The only thing I have to say in my defense is, consider how you would feel if you were a woman who had made her living by being attractive to men, and the one man you had broken your own rules for suddenly rejected you.  I felt as though I had been kicked in the teeth, and reacted accordingly.  He did not expect such an extreme reaction on my part (because men, bless your little hearts, never do understand women even after spending years with one), and backed down from the request; once again I had got my way.  We spent a stormy two years until he asked for divorce again just a few months after I started this blog; that time we went to marriage counseling, and for about a year and a half it really looked like things were improving (my interview with him was near the beginning of this stretch of reconciliation).

But by the end of 2012 the relationship started to unravel again, this time in slow motion.  We didn’t argue at all; in fact we were generally quite friendly on the phone, and he always enthusiastically supported my work.  But he had maintained a second residence (for work) since the summer of 2010, and began to spend much more time there than he did at home.  He was here for only two separate one-week periods in 2013, one in April and the other in July; he made excuses about why he couldn’t come home for Christmas that year, and the only time I spent with him in the whole of last year was a single night when I toured through San Diego.  So it really wasn’t much of a surprise when he asked for a divorce again about a month after I got home from the tour, and this time I agreed.  He insisted on giving me terms more generous than any I had a right to expect; he wasn’t even in a rush, and suggested we do the actual paperwork sometime in the next year (we’ve since agreed to do it this coming July).

Needless to say, I did a lot of deep thinking about what was happening; I was upset and relieved at the same time, and what finally helped me to accept it was the realization that, though I still love him, it was his friendship I would miss the most, and that by being a big girl about it and sincerely wishing him only happiness, that perhaps I wouldn’t actually have to lose it after all.  That’s what it looks like is happening; he’s happier and friendlier on the phone than he’s been in at least two years, and I no longer feel the sullen resentment toward him I’ve felt for seven years.  As soon as I let go of a failed marriage, I found my favorite client again, and who knows?  The stage of our relationship yet to come might actually be the best one for both of us.  Since I fully expect to mention him from time to time, I’ll call him “Matt” from here on out; I obviously can’t call him “my husband” any more, and since I now have two exes I asked him which pseudonym he wanted me to use.

Maggie & Jae 2-19-15After the end of my first marriage, I fended off would-be lovers with the fierceness of Athena until I found myself; this time, the act of letting go was itself an act of self-actualization, and Athena ceded the field to Aphrodite.  My trip to Seattle was, as I’ve already said, powerful and transformative; I knew it was the beginning of a new book of my life, and I knew that it was right and good to be open to whatever it brought with it.  And one of those things, much to my surprise, was love.  I’ve mentioned Jae, a sex worker and activist from Seattle, quite a lot since November; what I haven’t mentioned is that we are much more than friends.  We are, in fact, lovers, and a large part of the reason I’ve come to Seattle is to live with her; in a few years, after my business here is done, she’ll be moving out to the country with me.  And in the meantime, she’ll be traveling with me on some of my trips, so many of y’all will get a chance to meet her.  Yes, we got serious very quickly, but that’s not at all unusual in lesbian relationships (What does a lesbian bring on the second date?  A U-haul trailer.)  Don’t be surprised, dear readers; it’s not like I’ve made a secret of my bisexuality, and if one excludes commercial encounters I’ve actually been with more women than men.

I can’t say that’s all there is to tell right now, because it wouldn’t be true; it is, however, all I want to tell right now and all that I think I should tell right now.  I apologize if the narrative has been a bit less well-organized than usual; it was, as I said above, rather difficult to write.  I’m sure many of you will want to express your sympathy for the divorce, and of course I appreciate that.  But as I said above, this was a long time coming, and Matt and I are both relieved that we can stop inadvertently hurting each other.  In short, three people are happier today than they were in October, and in the big scheme of things that’s something to be thankful for.

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