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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Diary #381

Last week was one for cleaning up, fixing up and setting straight.  Grace spent it totally revamping the wellhouse (tank, plumbing and electrical) and repairing a water-pipe leak that had caused considerable damage to the bathroom subfloor; I made some long-delayed updates to my professional website and, as you saw yesterday, finally got around to adding a bookstore to this site.  Those of you who don’t know me personally may not understand how a woman who could build this cyclopean edifice of a website over seven and a half years could somehow be so intimidated by procedures that she could leave important tasks hanging for months or even years, but maybe it would help you to understand if I told you that I started thinking about doing this blog in 2007; it took me three years to actually start it.  And people who visit my Den of Iniquity will tell you that there have been no important changes in a year, and no major ones in two years.  See, I don’t really like change in my environment or procedures; once I get things the way I like them, they tend to stay that way until Doomsday.  That’s one of the reasons I was so upset by the move from Oklahoma to Washington; even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I’m just not easily able to cope with change on that scale.  And so Grace is in charge of putting things to right at Sunset; all I have to do is tell her what I want done, answer any procedural questions she has, pay the bills as they come in and throw fits about delays and cost overruns (and truth be told, Grace could probably do without that last).  If I were wealthy, I’d probably have a whole entourage of assistants to deal with stuff for me; alas, such is not to be.  And so I get to things when I get to them, unless a crisis forces my hand or someone I love prods me to deal with them before that.  And I guess that will have to do.

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When one of the men caught in Seattle’s anti-sex pogroms offered to write about his experience in “john school” (i.e, coerced “re-education” sessions), naturally I accepted.  Also naturally, I gave him a pseudonym to protect him from retaliation by Val Richey and company.

I was mandated to attend the Organization of Prostitution Survivor’s STOP Exploitation class (in other words, “john school”) in Seattle, WA.  It’s well-known that such classes have no actual deterrent effect; the only things they actually achieve are enriching the organizations which hold them, and disseminating radical feminist dogma.  Over the ten weeks I was forced to attend, the most consistent elements of the sessions were the use of fear and shame to induce conformity, and the toxic perpetuation of sex worker stereotypes and tropes.  Indeed, the existence of sex workers is only barely recognized in this course, and when they are mentioned at all it’s as a “privileged minority”; most sex workers are claimed to be “prostituted persons”, passive objects subjected to constant violence and coercion by “pimps”.  Ironically, it’s parasitic organizations like OPS which are the real exploiters of sex workers; they are manipulated through court mandated diversion programs, lied about by professional “Prostitution Survivors”, and oppressed by law enforcement and prosecutors to perpetuate a cycle of violence via the criminalization of sex work.  Sex workers are not even afforded a voice in a “school” that should have been focused on them and their struggles; instead they are extinguished as individuals with free-will to fuel an anti-sex agenda.

The hypocrisy and falsity of STOP are well-represented by its chief facilitator, Peter Qualliotine; his plastic smile and smarmy manner are inadequate cover for the dangerous oppression he helps enable.  The local media has been unfriendly and unbalanced regarding the topic of sex work.  Sex workers are claimed to be “sex slaves” or “victims” and the lies and disinformation promoted by opportunists like Qualliotine and professional “survivors” like Alisa Bernard are accepted without question or the most rudimentary fact-checking, despite the fact that SWOP Seattle is extremely public and it would be the work of only a few minutes for any reporter to get a statement from them about these claims. Interestingly, even Qualliotine himself seems to know there’s something fishy about his claims; though there’s a gleam in his eye when he tells us that he “enthusiastically endorses masturbation!” as an alternative to seeing sex workers, his shoulders slump, his arms are crossed and he looks down at the floor when he claims that decriminalization will never work and that independent sex workers are a very slim minority.  And disturbingly, he brightens up again when discussing Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer (which he does often over the ten weeks).  The fact that Ridgway claimed it was wrong to pay for sex, just as Qualliotine himself claims, is not ever mentioned.

I paid attention as closely as I could because by the third week I realized that I wanted to write this, but it wasn’t easy; when Qualliotine isn’t quoting Melissa Farley’s bogus “statistics” and infantilizing women by claiming they aren’t psychologically able to make their own sexual decisions (because of “PTSD” and “trauma bonding”), he’s regaling his captive audience with the grade-school baseball analogy for sex, talking about “toxic masculinity” and claiming that simply looking at a woman exists on a “Continuum of Sexual Violence” that leads to rape and murder, with paying for sex at about the halfway point.  He also alluded to BDSM, conflating it with domestic violence, and though he branded male-dominant relationships specimens of “male privilege”, he paradoxically also claimed it’s men’s responsibility to end “sexist” sexual interactions (including money for sex) even if a woman prefers them or demands them.  Almost as an afterthought, he added that the cops need to “go after” madams and female escort service owners as well as male “pimps” and clients.  In a session mostly devoted to intimate partner violence, Qualliotine lists public shaming, outing and debt as forms of violence; presumably, the shaming, outing and debt inflicted by police stings don’t count.  It was all so stultifying a number of attendees slept; Qualliotine either didn’t notice or didn’t care.  I assume he gets the same amount of money per warm body from King County whether anyone actually listens to him or not.

Valiant Richey, King County Prosecutor (in other words, Demand Abolition’s local propaganda officer) claims most sex buyers are white and well-to-do, a proposal that promotes the concept of patriarchy.  But that’s not what I saw in these sessions, which are at least half men of color, many evidently working-class; one couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that, as with all prohibition, the consequences of criminalization fall upon the marginalized despite OPS’ claims to the contrary.  Qualliotine is an entitled white man bloviating against entitlement, whiteness and masculinity in order to play the hero and set himself up on a pedestal.  His pretense of personal outrage is so clearly false it’s embarrassing; during one of his rants about whiteness I saw two of the men of color firmly close their eyes, as though they could no longer bear to look upon this vulgar hypocrite.  This isn’t about feminism or justice; it’s about feeding Peter Qualliotine’s ego.  His sense of entitlement is immense; he actually expects attendees to trust him and OPS before even working with them, demanding one-way respect before earning it.  There exists no independent review of this dangerous and banal reductionism; it’s a middle school curriculum produced by an art student that reduces complex life issues to abstract polemic theory with no expectation of producing any effect.  Indeed, it reinforces the very stereotypes that it claims to want to expose.  If the goal of STOP was to make an ally, it failed.  Rights, not rescue; I’ve never believed in it more.

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I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for awhile.  –  Tom Petty

I know that seeing all one’s favorite entertainers die off one by one is part of aging, but damn, Tom Petty now!  His video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” is one of my favorite short films, but this video is the one that first made me realize that he was great rather than merely good.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“fascism”, “happens” and “wrong”); Tushy Galore  (“correction”); and Kevin Wilson (“rules”).

From the Archives

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Under Pressure

As I’ve written before, my sexuality is almost entirely reactive; left to my own devices in the absence of the right kind of sexual stimuli, I rarely feel anything like what most people describe as “lust”.  I don’t just wake up in the morning feeling horny, I don’t have spontaneous sexual fantasies, I don’t seek out porn or other sexual imagery and I haven’t successfully masturbated since 1997.  But this doesn’t mean I’m frigid or dysfunctional; I respond to sexual stimuli of the sort that push my buttons with tremendous passion, as anyone who’s ever seen it happen can attest.  It’s not that I don’t have an “on” switch; it’s just that it doesn’t have an automatic setting.  But attentive lovers can find my most obvious triggers fairly easily, and can then get me in the mood as easily as they can start a car.  Of course, there are other buttons that are less obvious, and a couple that are known only to me; once in a while I even respond to something I read or see, or something a lover does, in a way that surprises even me (though that’s pretty rare these days).  Imagine if you will a pressurized tank of libido which remains completely still and quiet until the valve is opened, but then gushes out at great pressure, and I think you may begin to get the picture.

Over the past few years, it seems that my creative output has become a lot more like my libido.  In high school and university I could write on pretty much any topic anyone wanted, and I’d come up with spontaneous writings of all kinds on many different subjects.  Over the years that ability waned, and it became rarer for me to just write off the cuff; in the past two decades I’ve come to need a proper trigger to set me off, and those of you who’ve followed my blog for years may have noticed that the variety of triggers has decreased.  The reservoir of creative force isn’t even close to depleted; it’s just that the number of different things which can tap into it is smaller than it once was.  Many things that would’ve once inspired an essay are now unable to induce the flow of creative juices, while others still set off a torrent of words and ideas, sometimes more than I expect.  And that’s why I’ve altered my format over time to favor columns in which I react to things such as questions or news stories, and to allow a more variable length; it’s much easier for me to simply set out basins to catch these outbursts than to waste time and energy trying to divert the flow into channels of my choosing, where it may not want to go.

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If she can shoot up by herself, then she can walk by herself.  –  unidentified prison “nurse”

Although I’m not a Ramones fan, I’m a huge Addams Family fan, so I really enjoyed this little video contributed by Jesse Walker.  The links above it were provided by Radley BalkoFranklin HarrisKevin WilsonLucy SteigerwaldTim Cushing, Radley Balko again and ESPLERP, in that order.

From the Archives

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Take It Easy

I’m dating a Catholic virgin (both of us are professional adults).  We’re going to have sex soon, and I want to make it good for her, but I’m not very experienced myself and I’m both long and thick; I have to buy custom condoms because nothing store-bought fits.  Worse, I have a pronounced downward bend; it caused problems with my first-ever girlfriend, and that left a lasting impression on me.  I really don’t want to ruin this for her; do you have any advice?

The most important advice I can give you about this is, DON’T RUSH.  If she’s a virgin your size may scare her at first, so you need to be ready for that possibility.  If it happens, you need to sincerely tell her that it’s not a rush, and you have to mean it so she sees it in your eyes and believes you.  Start with fingers and oral, to get her ready before you even try; if she has an aversion to fingers, try gently explaining that you’re concerned about hurting her so you want to take it slow & get her ready.  The vagina can take a LOT more than any human man has; lesbians often fist each other (which even though women’s hands are smaller than men’s, are still MUCH thicker than penises).  Plus, babies, right?  But that’s after warmup and relaxation.  So anything you can do to help her relax is a bonus; a few cocktails (you don’t want her drunk, just relaxed) or some good cannabis are time-tested methods.  When you do start the actual penetration process, don’t be in a rush; a little at a time, with kissing and touching, will help her to stay calm and relaxed.  And make sure you have plenty of water-based lube on hand; women vary in the amount they lubricate naturally, and if she’s nervous she may be drier than under optimal conditions.  Plus, condoms require more lube than bareback sex; the latex produces more friction than bare skin.  If she does get scared and changes her mind, don’t get angry; that isn’t uncommon.  Just gently withdraw and assure her that it’s OK, and that y’all can try again another time (again, you need to mean it because she’ll know if you’re just saying it).

Just because she’s a virgin does not mean she’ll be super-tight; women’s genitalia come in all sizes just as men’s do, so once she gets over the nervousness you may fit quite well.  And it’s a myth that a lot of sex loosens a woman; after 36 years of sex I’m still extremely tight.  What some guys mistake for loosening is just the woman learning to relax, which of course increases with experience (childbirth can also damage the muscles, but that’s a subject for another day).  It’s possible that your angle may cause an issue, especially if it’s pronounced; you may need to try a couple of different positions to see which one works best for her.  Reverse cowgirl (woman on top, facing the man’s feet) can be good for penises with a pronounced downward bend, and that has the bonus of letting her control the rate and depth; of course, that also results in deper penetration, which is not so good for a long cock.  So you’ll probably need to experiment to see what’s best.  Incidentally, I believe there has been some progress in the treatment of Peyronie’s Syndrome (that’s what the pronounced bend is called), so you may want to talk to your doctor for referral to a specialist for consultation.

Finally, and VERY importantly, do not worry about your skill level.  Really, honestly, that is of little to no consequence to most women.  What’s important is that you be loving, gentle and patient; that you listen to what she says and watch her nonverbal cues about what feels good and what doesn’t; that you make her feel beautiful, desirable and loved, and not pressured or inadequate; and that you help her understand that more than anything else you want intimacy with her, specifically, and not just any attractive woman.  And that because of that last, you’re willing to take your time and do whatever it takes to make her happy and comfortable.

(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…big problem is dealing with middle class saviours trying to save me from my job.  –  Sarah from Bristol

Advice for Clients

Ignore step two, because you’ll almost certainly be breaking some law. But the rest of this is pretty good:

So you’ve decided to spend time with an escort, but now what?  Your first call can be nerve-wracking, and you don’t want to creep the woman out!  Start with Step 1 below to learn how to make things easier on yourself, and on your potential date…

Hey prohibitionists: we’re winning, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Jezebel 

The owner has since taken down all the pirated porn and apologized:

Bellesa.co is essentially a piracy curator.  This site subsists…off of pirated videos.  Those videos have been uploaded to other piracy-based tube sites, and then a person or persons at Bellesa.co curates them into the single biggest piracy site focused entirely on female-centric videos.  This site is absolutely no more ethical than The Pirate Bay or any number of piracy sites designed to exploit producers and performers for financial gain…it…puts ZERO DOLLARS into the pockets of female producers or performers…

Rooted in Racism

Hmmm, I wonder why they accused this particular restaurateur?

A few weeks ago, RÚV (The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service)  reported on the Chinese restaurant Sjanghæ in Akureyri, claiming its owner, a Chinese born woman, was suspected of human trafficking…RÚV [accused] the owner…of paying her Chinese staff a monthly salary of 30.000 kr ($285)…[when actually] the staff’s monthly salary was 465 thousand krónas ($4355), which is well over the Icelandic minimum wage of 300 thousand ($2810)…the restaurant has been closed since RÚV’s report, as no customers have wanted to show up…[Jóhannes Sigurðarson, Sjanghæ’s lawyer] believes the restaurant will open again, although it’s unclear when exactly.  He and the owner will be determining shortly whether or not to press charges…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

Prohibitionists are desperate to make New Zealand look bad:

A report, released by University of Auckland researcher Natalie Thorburn, claims child sex trafficking is prevalent in New Zealand and children as young as 12 were being exploited for money and drugs…Counsellor Tania Blomfield [claimed] that she knew of a child as young as nine being forced into the sex trade by her mother…Blomfield [fantasizes] child sex trafficking is “a growth industry, sadly.  I think it’s getting worse and worse because we are not dealing with it”.  However National Coordinator for the Prostitutes’ Collective Catherine Healy says sex trafficking is a catch all phrase that does not fully describe the situation…”Let’s not conflate it with sex work and say ‘oh they’ve been trafficked into sex work’ when actually they’re being abused by family members”…

The Prudish Giant

Though this is about coerced labor, Wal-mart is notoriously anti-sex and IJM is one of the sleaziest of the rescue industry groups; I suspect this will soon turn to whore persecution:

International Justice Mission…announced support from the Walmart Foundation to address human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, in the Thai fishing industry…there has not yet been a comprehensive study documenting the prevalence of forced labor and exploitation of fishermen on Thai fishing vessels.  With funding from the Walmart Foundation, IJM commissioned Issara Institute to conduct groundbreaking research in Thailand documenting the prevalence of forced labor…

Law of the Instrument (#560)

It’s not the number of “human trafficking victims” that’s increased, but the number of “human trafficking” charges:

The numbers of victims of human trafficking in Ireland has almost doubled in four years, with 94 [claimed] to have been children…The majority of…persons [labeled by “authorities” as “trafficked”] between 2012-2016 were women, with most subject to sexual exploitation…The authors of the report, however, [fantasize] that the true scale of trafficking could be much higher…

Remember, Ireland charges people with “human trafficking” for crimes ranging from undocumented immigration to rape.

An Example To the West (#582) 

Not so long ago, most US brothels were owned by sex workers:

…Dennis Hof…is offering the 540 women who work in his brothels the chance to buy shares.  He first wants to see if they would help buy the famous Chicken Ranch, which is for sale in Nye County.  “I want to give the girls the opportunity to not only invest in it and be shareholders but also have input in the management style…we want a $25,000 minimum investment.  The purchase price is $4.5 million”…Barb Brents, a UNLV sociology professor who researches the adult industry in Nevada, said some brothels in other countries share ownership with sex workers.  But to do it in Nevada would be a sweeping change…There are still some hurdles for Hof’s plan.  The biggest might be the background checks for brothel investors…

Check Your Premises (#773) 

Though “debating” prohibitionists is a bad idea, attacking their statements is a good one:

…Sarah…accused [politician] Thangam [Debbonaire] of “prejudice and hatred” towards sex workers and questioned whether the MP had met many…”Client criminalisation leads to sex workers having less time to suss out potential clients…because the client is keen to give the worker less info about himself, and to move the interaction into more private spaces where he is less in danger of being arrested…when the criminalisation of kerb-crawling was introduced in Scotland in 2008…violence against street sex workers went up by 50 per cent in just the first six months…sex workers are arrested all the time for brothel-keeping offences, which can mean sharing a workspace with other sex workers for safety.  Of course, having a criminal record relating to prostitution would make it almost impossible for me to ever leave sex work.  When the police raid premises they take everybody’s money – all the money I had earned that day, and probably my phone too – no receipt, no way of getting it back…

Lower Education (#773)

Anti-sex crusaders love their pseudoscience:

…Journalist Emily Yoffe dove into the “neurobiology of trauma”  nonsense last week as part of her series of articles at The Atlantic on campus rape.  This phrase has appeared in federal legislation, state legislation, Department of Education guidance to colleges, and campus sexual assault proceedings.  It is used to explain why victims of sexual assault might not resist or even say no at all; why their memories of the incident might be spotty; and why changes to their stories over time are normal.  Under this theory, hormones and other neurotransmitters go mad and can cause temporary brain damage; memories of an assault are stored perfectly somewhere in the brain but are “fragmented” at first, so it might take victims time to piece together the true story of what happened…But…these claims…fly in the face of almost all recent research on memory and trauma…We have been here before.  In the 1980s, the idea that childhood sexual abuse caused…repressed memories grew quite popular…

The Mote and the Beam (#774)

Some tech companies are willing to destroy the internet to secure a temporary business advantage:

Since the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 was introduced in the Senate in August, tech companies and advocacy groups have…called it “disastrous for free speech online,” asking its members to call their representatives in Congress.  Meanwhile, supporters of the bill have emerged from unlikely quarters — including tech giant Oracle and Hollywood studio 21st Century Fox — and are using the legislation as an opportunity to take shots at Google…

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