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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

No one has said…that we want prostitutes to have a good time while we also try to stamp out prostitution.  –  an “expert adviser” to Norway

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

Elizabeth Nolan Brown has become a force to be reckoned with:

Every year some 1,000 new children are trafficked for sex in Ohio, while an additional 3,000 remain “at risk” of being trafficked, according to U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty [of] Ohio…[who claimed the figure] came from a report commissioned by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.  The only such report comes from 2010…At the root is an FBI-led operation that took place in Toledo and its surrounding county between 2005 and 2009, called “Operation Innocence Lost”…Toledo…[is] a city with a decaying economy and one of the highest crime rates in the region…number one in Ohio, and 49th in the entire United States.  In the course of Operation Innocence Lost…60 [young people were labeled] “minor victims of sex trafficking.”  Forty-five—an average of 15 per year—came from Lucas County.  It’s this number from which the committee extrapolated for all of Ohio.  Using Lucas County population data, the researchers arrive at the conclusion that 15 per 24,965 Ohio girls ages 12 through 17—or 0.06 percent—are “successfully recruited into the sex trade from Ohio each year.”  With 337,961 Ohio girls in this age group overall, that 0.06 percent rate yields an estimate of… 202 per year…[another] study claims that every minor…knew an average of 5 more underage minors “that were not known to law enforcement, but who were engaging in the sex trade”…[so they multiplied the “estimate” by 5]…

It gets worse from there; the article is well worth reading in its entirety.

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Dude argues that censorship is OK because Donald Trump is running for president. I am not making this up:

It is time to ban pornography…We find it perfectly acceptable that smut, no matter how [much I personally dislike it], should be widely available…“Ban” strikes us as a nasty word…But are bans really so terrifying and impossible?  We are not averse to banning something when we think it is really wrong.  We are happy to “ban” murder, rape and even certain types of speech (try yelling “Fire!” in a theater)…Gail Dines…has found [exactly what she wanted to find]…Happily, the left appears ready to take up the censor’s task…pornography…serves as an instruction manual for the subjection of women…the rise of Donald Trump provides evidence of pornography’s social harm…If you cringe at Trump’s sneering misogyny, then join me in calling for a ban on the thing that made his crude appeal possible…

Droit du Seigneur 

The people prohibitionists want to “rescue” us:

A “disabled” ex-cop with ties to the mob has been accused of…running dozens of prostitution Web sites…Michael Rizzi…who retired in 2000 on a disability pension…[owned] nearly 60…Web sites…Between 2012 and 2016, the operation processed more than $2 million in credit-card transactions…Rizzi’s wife, Jill, is the daughter of Gambino family muscle Richard Juliano…

Notice it’s never called “sex trafficking” when cops are involved:

A “prostitution ring” in  Kentucky’s capitol city may have shared a lot more than proximity with powerful state officials. The operation, allegedly run by former Franklin County constable Thomas Banta, is accused of servicing a roster of local legislators and police officers…He’s charged with five felonies, including promoting prostitution, kidnapping, and impersonating a peace officer…The case does contain a few red-flag details, such as a claim by one woman that, under Banta’s direction, she had appointments with 15 to 20 clients per day, twice a week, and was once offered $500 to have sex with a dog…one claims she was in eighth grade when Banta first started paying her to have sex with him and others.  Interestingly, none of the Ketucky media that have reported on the story have been throwing around terms like “sex trafficking,” despite the possible link to at least one underage woman.  I guess it’s only sex trafficking when former government officials aren’t involved.

The Prudish Giant

The original article of this title referred to Google, but Facebook long ago surpassed it in prudishness by at least an order or magnitude:

…The spaces in which we interact online are largely controlled today by corporations…these unelected “sovereigns of cyberspace” operate without accountability, and often with little respect to our hard-won freedoms.  On today’s Internet, those making the rules aren’t elected officials but technocrats — mostly male and mostly American.  And those making day-to-day decisions about what we can and cannot see aren’t judges with years of training but low-wage workers at outsourcing firms in places like the Philippines…Facebook…has created its own set of “community standards” that are intended to be globally applicable…Under Facebook’s rules, sexual content is banned, as is most nudity (though exceptions exist for works of famous art, photos of mothers breastfeeding and post-mastectomy images).  Shirtless photos of women are forbidden, while shirtless photos of men are fine…The human body is not inherently sexual, nor are all depictions of sexual acts pornography.  By lumping together porn with all other sexual content — and lumping sexual content with nudity — Facebook is setting a new standard, one that is far more restrictive than our Constitution, and one that treats women’s bodies as shameful…

Above the Law  

Since I have a new subtitle for rapist cops, I’m now going to use this one for other kinds of officials:

An Iowa Department of Transportation driving instructor forced a customer to view sexually explicit photos and videos of himself during an exam and then threatened her to keep quiet…John Wayne Alexander…is charged with felonious misconduct…and harassment…The 60-year-old abruptly retired from the DOT in March amid a disciplinary investigation…A…woman seeking to have her license reinstated told police that Alexander instructed her to pull into [a] parking lot…saying he wanted to smoke a cigarette…then gave [her] his phone…and said that he needed her to delete several photos, which showed him “in various forms of self-pleasure and undress”…Fearing for her safety and license status, the woman says she deleted the images as told.  She gave the phone back to Alexander, who then forced her to watch a video of himself masturbating and using a sex toy…

Guinea Pigs 

Don’t be fooled by this article’s appearance in Forbes; if you look closely you’ll realize it’s a “guest post”, which is to say a sponsored article like paid ads in newspapers made to look like actual articles.  One telling sign of that?  Forbes now blocks users with adblockers, yet I have no trouble accessing this because it is an ad, just presented as news.  Anyhow, much of this is the usual mixture of incredibly bad numerical charlatanry (such as the painfully stupid claim that fewer than 0.6% of the male population somehow manages to support the entire 0.3% of the female population which are full-time sex workers) and intensely moronic “solutions” such as magical apps that “children” can activate for “rescue” if they’re suddenly “trafficked” by “pimps” jumping out of bushes at them.  But if you can last that long without your eyes rolling entirely out of your head, look at all the calls for mass surveillance in this.  Yikes.

Fever Dream (#541)

I don’t give a damn what the cops’ victims did for a living; it’s the article’s language that’s horrifying:

…the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) [arrested] 32 people…in Knoxville…Human traffickers all around us [sic].  If you’re buying or selling, you are part of the $150 billion business — and part of the crime…Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch calls human trafficking the “scourge on society” and [masturbates while claiming] his department is committed to doing all that’s necessary to protect victims…

Despite all the “trafficking” talk, the sex workers were arrested and charged with the clients and all charges are ordinary prostitution-related ones.

Crying for Nanny (#570)

A long, revolting exercise in bootlicking intended to raise support for an idiotic lawsuit which every sane person understands cannot win:

…every lawsuit filed by…[an] underage [prostitute] against Backpage has been dismissed because of a law called the Communications Decency Act of 1996.  The law protects [websites]…from being held legally responsible for what users post…“If someone publishes a faulty motorcycle [ad on Backpage.com], the buyer of that motorcycle shouldn’t be able to sue Backpage merely for posting the ad, that doesn’t make sense,” said ABC News’ senior legal correspondent Sunny Hostin…Backpage [said]…”making online service providers responsible for millions of posts by third-party users…[would] inevitably [result in] highly restrictive censorship or the total banning of certain categories of online content so that online service providers are not in constant anxiety about potential liability for the one ad that slipped through their moderation systems”…

Of course, censorship is exactly what prohibitionists want.  Don’t read this unless you have a strong stomach for graphic depictions of cop worship & bootlicking.

Saving Them From Themselves (#597)

I hope he wins and establishes a precedent:

The investigation of a “sexting” case involving a…teenager, and the desire by prosecutors and police to repeatedly obtain photos of his genitalia, sparked a national uproar in the summer of 2014.  Authorities backed down from their second search warrant for explicit photos, and the teen was placed on probation.  The case took a further turn last December when the detective, David E. Abbott Jr., was accused of molesting two young boys and killed himself as police moved to arrest him…The teenager, Trey Sims, 19, filed a federal civil rights suit…against both Abbott’s estate and Claiborne Richardson II, the…[district] attorney who [colluded with] Abbott to [manufacture “child” porn by photographing]…Sims’ genitalia…Sims was then charged with manufacturing and distributing child pornography, but the girl was not…Richardson and Abbott only charged Sims because he is male, a violation of his equal protection rights…

Turning Point

Emily Bazelon pisses the prohibitionists off even more by promoting Amnesty International’s pro-decriminalization platform:

On Wednesday night, Amnesty International released its long-awaited policy…calling on governments around the world to “decriminalize consensual sex work.”  Amnesty also wants countries to “include sex workers in the development of laws that affect their lives and safety”…Amnesty’s researchers spoke to 54 people in Norway, including police officers, prosecutors, academics, social science providers and 30 sex workers, including three victims of trafficking…Amnesty’s basic finding is that Norway’s laws punish people who sell sex — not through arrest but in a variety of other ways.  One researcher told Amnesty that police forces in Oslo “often use terms like they are going to ‘crush’ or ‘choke’ the [prostitution] market, and unsettle, pressure and stress the people in the market”…

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The Best Part

Screenshot_2016-05-26-22-35-30On Tuesday morning I picked up a rental car in Anaheim and drove for almost four hours to Fresno, where I did a photo shoot with Rick Horowitz which I hope will be the first of several I do for my nude photo project.  I then stayed the night at his home, where I shared a delicious dinner and hours of lovely conversation with him and his wife.  The next morning I set out for the long drive back to Los Angeles (specifically, Long Beach Airport) for my flight back to Seattle, and as I was leaving Rick said, “That was a really long way to drive for photos.”  I replied, “I could’ve gotten the photos in Seattle; I drove here for the experience.”

I’ll be reaching the half-century mark pretty soon, and I’ve met a lot of people in that time.  I’ve talked with them, argued with them, loved them, and fought with them.  I’ve hired them to do jobs and been hired by them; I’ve fucked them, been fucked over by them, played with them and feared them.  I’ve learned from them, taught them, helped and been helped by them, ignored them, missed them and avoided them and done many other things far too numerous to list.  And for the majority of my adult life, I’ve made my living by interacting directly with them on a one-on-one basis.  And as time has gone by, I’ve grown to realize that the most enjoyable, rewarding and memorable moments of my life have always involved other people.  Nor do I mean exciting, cinematic adventures in which I happened to have companions; I just mean conversations, shared meals and other simple one-on-one interactions.  As I sit here writing I can open the vault of memory and find a wealth of experiences from months, years and decades in the past; I can see their faces, hear their voices and even tell you where we were and what we talked about.  Some of the people with whom I had these treasured interactions are still dear friends, and some I haven’t seen in many years; many of them were with people I met only once, and whose names I have long forgotten.  And many others fall somewhere between those two extremes.

I’ve said many times that the most rewarding part of my book tour in 2014 was the human interaction; just to present one single example, I spent last weekend at the home of a friend I made on that tour.  And though the past year has been very difficult for me, the one thing that has helped me through it most was the support of my friends.  I look forward to shared meals like some people do to rock concerts and enjoy conversations like some people do Hollywood blockbusters.  You know how some people think it’s perfectly reasonable to wait for days in line to see a movie, concert or parade, or to be among the first in the door at a sale?  Well, I think it’s reasonable to travel long distances to visit friends.  And that has only become more true as I’ve grown older.

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Diary #308

purple blanket selfie 5/20/16If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that my meds worked as they were supposed to on my flight to Los Angeles; the success was probably due in part to the fact that it was a very smooth flight, but I felt no nausea at all despite the fact that the seats on the airplane did not recline at all and I was thus forced to sit bolt-upright the whole way (which is usually a recipe for vomit). Furthermore, little bumps and shakes that would normally fill me with anxiety did nothing more than slightly unnerve me, so I’m pretty confident that the return trip won’t be too bad.  Anyhow, I had a lovely and relaxing weekend with my friend; those of you who know me well understand what the presence of my fuzzy purple blanket in this picture means, and those who don’t will just have to guess or be mystified.  I also got to visit with Matt, I went to Disneyland yesterday and I’m going up to Fresno for a photo shoot today.  Then tomorrow I’ll be flying back to Seattle, and scrambling to catch up before Savannah Sly arrives this weekend.  But for me, busy is good; it keeps my brain occupied with productive things instead of letting it wander off into negativity.  And I really did have a memorable and pleasant trip, even the parts when I wasn’t naked under my purple blanket.

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Why is there this apparently common desire for women, even educated, emancipated ones such as yourself, to be sexually taken with an almost rapey level of male aggression?  The idea of being so sexually aggressive makes me intensely uncomfortable as a person, goes against everything I was taught, and seems to fly directly in the face of the openly expressed desires of women themselves.  This message seems utterly mixed to me, and seems also to leave any sexually assertive male at risk of an  accusation of rape after the fact.

The human brain is not rational, and we don’t get to choose what turns us on.  Our prudish, sex-negative culture wants us to believe that sexual turn-ons and turn-offs can be controlled, that “demand” for pragmatic sex can be “ended”, that the gay can be prayed away, that average guys can be “taught” to be attracted to older or fatter women than they might otherwise desire, that women can exorcise subby or bottomy feelings via “feminism”, and so on.  And I’m here to tell you that all this is, in the words of the late, great Douglas Adams, a load of dingo’s kidneys; sexual likes, dislikes, kinks and fetishes emerge by mysterious paths from the murky swamp we carry deep in our brains, and there’s no known way to reroute those pathways once they’re established.  Sure, we can choose whether to act on our feelings or not; there are some things I’ve found very hot my entire life yet have never acted on, and probably never will.  And there are other things I’ve tried, enjoyed and still find hot as hell, but will probably never act on again because they either come with too much baggage or it’s much too difficult to find the right person or persons to do them with.

Furthermore, some things are, as my old friend & sometimes-bottom Philippa used to say, “good fantasy, bad reality”; for many women rape falls into that category.  There’s a vast gulf between a fantasy rape by a guy one already trusts under controlled conditions with a safeword to stop the scene if it gets too scary, and a real rape by a stranger who may even mutilate or kill her when he’s done.  Fantasy rapes are (properly) negotiated ahead of time by two clearheaded adults who want to share an exciting experience; real rapes are one-sided violations of another person’s consent and well-being.  There’s nothing wrong with your being “intensely uncomfortable” with acting out rape fantasies; it just means they’re not your bag, and you would be better off with a woman who doesn’t like them either.  No harm, no foul.  The problems start when a guy who is turned on by raping women doesn’t bother to secure their consent first, or (like James Deen & Jian Ghomeshi) ignores their clearly-stated “no” and tries to hide his very real violence behind a smoke screen of consensual kink.

(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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Diary #307

sensory homunculusSome weeks are just like, “Where the hell did that go?” and some seem interminable; the worst ones are a bit of both, so that when viewed in retrospect the bad parts seem to dwarf the others, like the disproportionate features of a sensory homunculus.  Last week was like that, and everything this week lies in the shadow of my much-dreaded flight to Los Angeles.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure I’ll enjoy the trip just fine after I get there.  But between this moment and Friday morning lies the awfulness of an airline flight, and long-time readers know how much I dread those.  Really, the main purpose of this trip is to test out the new meds I’m hoping will enable me to fly without degenerating into a crying, puking crazy woman and being completely useless until the next day.  To be perfectly honest, I will probably be so doped-up that I’ll still be useless until the next day, but uselessness due to being drugged into insensibility is vastly preferable to uselessness due to being sick, terrified and exhausted.  Anyhow, we’ll see.  If you live in the LA area and want to see me, this is last call; I might make an appointment after I get there if I can find the time, but I doubt that.  I’m going to keep myself as busy as possible so I don’t have time to stress out about the flight back.

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Life is a sum of all your choices.  –  Albert Camus

1968 ImpalaHer sister’s phone call had plunged Liz into one of her periodic episodes of deep self-doubt.  While they had both gone to college, Mary had primarily used the experience as a means of finding a husband with prospects, while Liz had been inflamed by the spirit of women’s lib and decided she wanted a career of her own.  Mary had chosen well; her husband had just been made a full partner in his law firm, and they had a beautiful house and two newish cars.  They had two great kids and a third on the way, and it was obvious that they were still very devoted to one another.  And while Liz was doing OK and didn’t exactly regret her choices, they hadn’t made her either as happy or as wealthy as her sister seemed to be.  She still drove the dependable but aging ’68 Impala her father had given her when he bought his new Caprice a few years back, and insisted she didn’t really need a color television set.  And her rented house in a modest middle-class suburb had all the room she needed.

But now she had been offered a promotion and a big raise; one catch was that it required a move to the East Coast, and another, more serious one was that she wasn’t at all certain she could handle both the extra responsibility and a move to a strange city at the same time.  What if she made the wrong decision?  And which decision was the wrong one?  Staying here where she was comfortable but not really successful, or leaving her comfort zone in the hope of finding success?  What if she lost both comfort and success, and had to slink back home with her tail between her legs?  What if all this turmoil was the result of a poor decision in the first place, and she should’ve married Claude when he proposed?  She had heard through the grapevine he was doing nearly as well as her brother-in-law.  What if any decision she made now was wrong, because her previous decisions had been?  What if…

“May I have a cookie?”

The unexpected question startled Liz out of her ruminations; she turned to find a rather extraordinary little girl of perhaps seven standing outside of the open patio door.  She was dressed in soaking-wet blue jeans and a dirty T-shirt with a picture of Wonder Woman on it, and the state of her clothes and the fresh mud caked on her sneakers left little doubt as to how she had arrived in Liz’s backyard.

“Did you go into the drainage canal on purpose, or was it an accident?”

“An accident,” she said with a sheepish grin.  “I was trying to cross on the pipe and I slipped.”  The pipe in question was a conduit which crossed the canal from bank to bank, a few feet above the high water line; it was certainly wider than a tightrope, but Liz wouldn’t have felt comfortable trying to cross on it.

“I’m not sure I understand what that has to do with cookies.”

“Nothing, really,” the child stated matter-of-factly; “I just saw the package there so I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.”

“Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

“Yeah, my mommy says that all the time.  I’m not sure what it means, though.”

Liz set a plate full of cookies and a glass of milk down on the patio table.  “It means if you don’t try something in the first place, you have no possibility of succeeding at it.”

“So if I hadn’t asked for the cookies, there was no chance of getting them.”

Liz handed her a paper napkin, realizing immediately how silly that was given her current state. “Right, and if you don’t try to tightrope-walk on a pipe, you’ll never know whether you could’ve done it.”

“Yeah, but you also wouldn’t have any chance of falling in the mud.”

“Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it?  I mean, you’re filthy and you smell like a swamp – ” (the little girl giggled) ” – and your mom will probably scream at you, but you got some cookies out of it.”

“And a new friend.”

“You’re very sweet,” Liz said; “I think you’re just saying that because I gave you cookies.”

“No, really, you remind me of my mommy.”

“Oh, how so?”

“Well, you actually look a lot like her, and you’re about the same size, and you’re smart like she is.”

“I think you probably inherited that from her.”

“Maybe from both; my daddy’s very smart too.  He and mommy met in college.  Did you go to college?”

“Yes, I did.  I think you ought to go too, when you’re old enough.”

“TINA!” came a female voice from the other side of the canal.  “Come inside and get cleaned up before dinner!”

“I’m guessing that’s for you?”  The girl nodded.  “I hope I didn’t spoil your dinner.”cookies on a plate

“Nah, that was just like an appetizer.”

Liz laughed.  “What’s your mommy’s name?”

“Beth.”

“How strange; I’m called Liz.  Your mommy and I have the same name, Elizabeth.”

“Oh, yeah!  But it’s like y’all chose different parts of the name to go by.”

“It seems we made different choices in a lot of areas.  But that’s part of what makes life interesting.”

“Well, I should go before she gets mad.  Thank you for the cookies.”

“You’re welcome, Tina.”  And with that the child sprang up and went through the gap in the fence, and Liz stood up just in time to see her reach the other bank after crossing perfectly on the conduit.  She laughed a little as she heard Beth’s exclamations of dismay a minute later, then went back inside and picked up the phone.  “Mr. Perkins?  It’s Liz.  I’m sorry to bother you at home, but you did say to let you know as soon as I had made my decision.  I’m going to take that promotion.  Yes, thank you very much; we’ll discuss the particulars tomorrow.”

Then she walked back out on the patio, picked up the plate and ate the one remaining cookie.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, she thought.  If you don’t reach for the cookies you’ll never know how they taste, and Liz had decided she wasn’t going to be afraid of a little mud.

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Favor

I’ve been seeing the same sex worker for almost three years now, and I’m in love with her.  She wants us to continue as client and escort, yet she has extended me more trust than seems usual; she told me her real name, has seen me in her own house, and has stopped using protection when we’re together (her idea, not mine).  To me, all this seems to suggest something beyond the client-escort relationship, but I have never seen any other sex workers beside her.  I absolutely respect her decision not to pursue anything more right now, but is it foolish of me to keep hoping?  She is an amazing person and very dear to me.

Before anything else, you ought to read last Thursday’s column, which covers some of the same ground; if you treasure your relationship with this lady, please refrain from indulging yourself in the urge to try to make it something “more” (which in most cases actually means “less”) than it is.  The fact of the matter is that most romantic relationships are of short duration, and only survive by turning into something else.  Relationships in which both people know exactly what to expect from each other, on the other hand, can go on for years.  In your case, it’s pretty clear that you’re a very favored client; it’s not unusual for escorts to see clients in their homes (I do, as do several of my friends), and it’s unusual but by no means unique for favored clients to know a sex worker’s real name (a few of mine do).  However, her eschewing protection with you is highly unusual, and frankly I find it rather alarming; I can’t even imagine what she might be thinking, and she’s putting at least one of you in danger (possibly both).  Beside the danger of STIs (it’s obvious her preventative procedures are less than scrupulous, since she has no idea where you’re sticking your cock when you aren’t with her), there’s the very real danger of pregnancy; how are you going to feel if she tells you that she’s pregnant, doesn’t believe in abortion and you’re on the hook for 18 years or more?  As I said, I can’t imagine what she’s thinking; even if she is “amazing” as you say and harbors no intentional ill-will toward you, that doesn’t mean her judgment isn’t total crap.  To put it in D&D terms, a high charisma is no guarantee of a high wisdom.  Just because she doesn’t mean to harm you or herself, doesn’t mean one or both of you aren’t going to get hurt.  And if you plan to keep barebacking her (which you probably will because you’re male and y’all just can’t seem to grasp how dangerous an activity that is), I’d invest in a vasectomy and at least quarterly STI testing if I were you.

(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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