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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

It’s time again for another vivisection of a “sex trafficking” article so breathtakingly stupid, so absolutely and unequivocally unmoored to reality, so completely devoid of the faintest whiff of critical thinking, that it would be a sin to chop it down to a single quote in a news column.  I’ve written before of the increasing infiltration of pure Satanic Panic rhetoric into the “sex trafficking” panic; the latter is merely a new version of the former, but stories like this one make that connection abundantly clear:

During the Nebraska State Fair, traffickers may well bring men and women to Grand Island, planning to profit from those looking for sex.  The total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 may also attract people who enslave sex workers to Central Nebraska.  Those are the thoughts of Melissa Kometscher, who is a human trafficking specialist for the Salvation Army…

Yes, a total eclipse.  On the one hand, we’ve seen “sex trafficking” loons claim that events as innocuous as gem and mineral shows attract “traffickers”, so this is no surprise.  But unless the Salvation Army has some dogma against amateur astronomy that I’m unaware of, one can only include Moronic Melissa is imagining some sort of Satanic connection, like the Sabbat being held in the dark of the moon.  Despite the clear reference in its name, Americans often forget that the Salvation Army is a fundamentalist Christian sect, with all that entails.  And they have both a hatred of whores and a long history of denying our agency; the Sallies played a large hand in inventing the concept of “sex trafficking” almost 140 years ago, and were instrumental in bringing it back in this century.

…People who travel to an event sometimes engage in activities that they wouldn’t try in their own hometowns, Kometscher said.  When they’re out of town, the chances of someone knowing them are much lower…

This is the crux of the fundamentalist mindset:  people will only be moral if they’re terrified of consequences, either from human “authorities” or Divine retribution.  To someone locked in this benighted world view, only constant spying and prying by cops & other busybodies keep ordinary people from raping enslaved children.  It’s a horrible, sick, twisted belief-system, and I’d genuinely feel sorry for those suffering from it if they didn’t use it as an excuse to sic armed thugs on the rest of us.

…those who force people into sex might travel to Grand Island and set up shop at a local motel for a few nights, Kometscher said.  They often publicize their availability on websites, she said…

This is the standard, misogynistic, “women are capable of neither pragmatic sexual decisions nor planning travel” dogma, but I wanted to point out the subtle way Kometscher slides from “such and such might happen” (an absolutely true statement, because anything that doesn’t break the laws of physics could, potentially, theoretically happen) to “such and such happens often”, in this case an absolutely false statement.

…Kometscher is one of three Salvation Army human trafficking specialists in Nebraska…Since starting the job in September, Kometscher has learned a lot of things about…sex trafficking…

She’s an “expert” despite the fact that her training only started 9 months ago.  Obviously she must know more than someone like me, who’s been a whore for over 17 years.

Right now, traffickers target people 12 to 14 years old.  By providing people in that age group, they “make more money,” she said…

Fantasies like this say a lot more about the fantasist that about the people they’re fantasizing about.  I’d find it easy to believe that most people are deeply aroused by being tied up (if I didn’t know better) because I am; what does that say about people who believe that most men are more attracted to 13-year-olds than to adult women?  In fact, the great majority of underage sex workers lie up about their age, and in countries where there are larger numbers of very young sex workers than in the West, many young sex workers take drugs to add curves so as to appear older.  In fact, only a small fraction of men are primarily attracted to girls in the 12-14 age range; it’s called “hebephilia” and it definitely isn’t typical.

…A lot of times, the trafficker starts out as the subject’s boyfriend. They say, “I love you,” without meaning it…

Behold the colossal hubris of the prohibitionist.  They not only feel justified in making judgments about whether other people’s relationships are “real”, but also in making declarative statements about other’s private thoughts.  Nobody says that an abusive boyfriend isn’t “really” a boyfriend, unless the girlfriend is a sex worker.  And if you think that only pimp wannabes tell girls “I love you” without meaning it, I’m afraid you have a rude awakening coming at some point in your future.

…Brainwashing is common in sex trafficking, Kometscher said…

More magical pimp powers at work.  These people have the most fascinating BDSM fantasies.

She’s heard that in Omaha, a trafficker recruited young people at a high school football game.  People lured into the trafficking business will try to persuade their friends…

I hear lots of stupid things, especially in news articles about “sex trafficking”, but I’m not a delusional, sexually repressed fanatic so I don’t believe them without proof.  And what is it with “sex trafficking” fetishists and football games?  The second part is much more insidious; it’s a conflation of a true fact (that most young sex workers learn about it from friends) with the pretense that all young people who do sex work were forced or tricked into it.

…Of those who have been trafficked, 41.5 percent will try suicide at least once…92.2 percent experience violence.  It comes not just from their traffickers, but also from customers.  The violence can take the form of strangulation, forced sex, stabbing, gunshots and cigarette burns…

97.62% of statistics are made up on the spot.  And I must say I’m very disappointed that Kometscher didn’t include being dragged behind a car in her list of things she fantasizes doing to young women while she masturbates.

The victims become confused, Kometscher said.  Traffickers often don’t give them a watch.  Traveling constantly, they don’t know what time it is or what day it is.  They become so disoriented they don’t even know where they are…

Yes, they’re so disoriented and confused that they can’t see the sun, and so brainwashed they’re unable to recognize their home towns while recruiting their friends at high school football games.  And not being able to tell what day it is must make it really difficult to maintain a school schedule.  This is the kind of self-contradictory nonsense that permeates all “sex trafficking” mythologizing; it’s a sign of the deep and intractable credulity of the typical American mind that this isn’t rejected out of hand by the vast majority who encounter it. 

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“Cashless society” is a euphemism for the “ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society”.  –  Brett Scott

Hooker Humor

As I’ve often said, most jokes about sex workers told by amateurs aren’t at all funny:

I’ve come to the conclusion that comedians, along with the general public, don’t expect sex workers to be present…Why should comics be concerned with using us as a punchline; they wouldn’t think for a single minute that there was a one of “them” in the audience.  No one is wearing fishnet tights and a leopardskin coat with twenties bursting out of her bra…sex workers…are two steps below human beings, one step below women and one step above rats.  If you need confirmation of how mainstream this view has become, have a look at JK Rowling’s ostensibly feminist tweets about how it’s filthily misogynistic to call Theresa May a whore because surely there can be no worse insult… 

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

It’s really funny when a pig buys into myths about what pigs are allowed to do in entrapment scams:

…police chief…Michael R. Zeug…of Walnut Grove [Minnesota]…was charged…with attempting to hire a minor for sex…a regional drug task force and a human trafficking task force…[set up a scam in which] Zeug sought to buy sex from someone he believed was a 17-year-old girl, but [was] actually…an agent with the federal Department of Homeland Security [getting off by talking dirty to men]…Amid sexually explicit communication, they asked each other whether they were cops; both said no…Zeug…wanted her to flash her breasts to assure him she was not in law enforcement…

Policing for Profit  

Cops pretend they need asset seizure to “go after drug cartels”:

Police in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs seized $150 million over the past five years…The average estimated value of a seizure was $4,553, while the median value was $1,049.  About three-quarters of all seizures were cash…When these police seizure locations are mapped, it shows that…low-income neighborhoods like the South Side and West Side were more frequently the targets…

Against Their Will (#338)

People moving around a country without government permission is now called “human trafficking”:

With Papua New Guinea currently in the campaign period, there has been a lot of movement of people, cash and goods in most parts of the country…the movement of people in exploitation or trafficking [may happen].  Khalil Omarshah of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), says it is unfortunate that they have not received any reports of human trafficking because they [want] it [to be] an issue…

Choke Point 

It’s nice to see the light bulb go on in someone’s head:

The most important thing about bitcoin, the characteristic the gives the lie to the oft-repeated claim that it’s “a solution in search of a problem,” is…its censorship-resistance…Centralization…creates single points of failure that are vulnerable to political or social pressure…As the world goes digital and physical cash transactions continue to decline…there will likely be a lot more attempts to turn trusted third parties into choke points…in a world where all payments are subject to veto by virtue-signaling middlemen, today’s politically correct social norms could become tomorrow’s dangerous control state…

Comfort Zone (#422) 

Because the US cares so very much about “trafficking victims”:

…in February, as part of the Trump administration’s promised crackdown on immigration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)…gave the government sweeping new authority to detain and deport undocumented immigrants, even those in the middle of applying for protective visas…92,585…survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and [other] crimes with pending applications face imminent deportation…many undocumented immigrants are withdrawing their applications for protective visas or deciding not to apply at all…For the first fiscal quarter of 2017, from October to December of 2016, the number of received U visa applications decreased by 269 from the same time period in 2015…The agency also approved only 3,021 U visas compared to 9,996 for the same periods…

A Mound of Filth (#617)

Trump wants to enable “Cuckoo Clock” McCain to vomit her poison all over the entire world:

Cindy McCain is expected to be offered a role in President Trump’s State Department…and may hold the title of “U.S. ambassador-at-large for human rights”…McCain is known for working extensively on human rights issues and is part of the McCain Institute Human Trafficking Advisory Council…

Actually, she’s known for working against human rights.  But I guess that distinction is too much for most “journalists” to understand.

Lying Down With Dogs (#623)

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

…the Tanzanian government arrested 500 suspected sex workers alongside an estimated 300 alleged clients in a police sweep that took place in March 2017…[last year] sex worker communities experienced major arrests and harassment.  1,168 sex workers…were imprisoned…The alarming situation started in 2016 after the government [adopted an aggressively-prohibitionist]…HIV response…[including a] ban…[on] the importation and use of [sexual lubricants]…

Under Every Bed (#666)

Though Seattle is the center of “sex trafficking” hysteria in the Pacific Northwest, Portland make its own bizarre, spastic attempts to get some of the attention:

Students…should have been taught about sex trafficking from a much younger age…The Nest curriculum teaches students about common grooming methods predators use…sexualized media is inescapable…while Portland’s police force is skilled in recognizing and addressing sex crimes, rural areas have needed the most basic training in recent years…[a fetishist said] “if people in [a] community enjoy sex, then, yes, you have sex trafficking going on.”  Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum…explained that state officials were also partnering with truck drivers and truck stops to catch sex trafficking in process on the I-5 corridor…

The most bizarre part is the female FBI agent, Jessica Biehn, who tries to give lip service to sex worker rights while simultaneously referring to strip clubs as “centers of commercial sexual exploitation.”  Biehn pompously declared that going to strip clubs “is not acceptable” [to her and other prudes, presumably], and “warned student panelists not to give business to strip clubs later in life, even for bachelorette parties“. The mind boggles.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Cops just can’t let go of the truly stupid wanking fantasy that drug dealers want to throw away valuable merchandise by giving it to penniless brats:

…Police outside of Houston confiscated nearly $1 million worth of methamphetamine…all 600 pounds of which came in the form of brightly-colored lollipops…According to HCSO Lt. Ruben Diaz, whoever was making the pops was likely trying to target children…many of them were molded into a variety of kid-friendly colors and shapes, including butterflies, flowers, Yoda’s head, and the Batman logo…”Even if they were not sold directly to a child, what if these lollipops were dropped anywhere in the neighborhood?” Diaz [panted while touching himself]…”A child picking them up is going to see them and think it’s regular candy”…

Please, Mr. Diaz, find me even one single instance of a child ever being poisoned by drug-infused candy carelessly dropped on the ground by a dealer.  Go on, I’m sure you can do it since this is such a likely danger.

Stupor Bowl (#713)

It’s disgusting to see so much money wasted on debunked bullshit:

A group of [prohibitionist busybodies]…unveiled plans…to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria during] next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…[the scheme includes] billboards spreading [propaganda] to [ramped-up pogroms]…Terry Williams of the Women’s Foundation [said] “We’re excited the Super Bowl is coming here so we can [make a helluva lot of money from this panic]”…Minnesota’s plan — estimated to cost about $1 million — is unique in that it’s bringing together private and public sectors…

The one-word expression for “bringing together private and public sectors”, especially to suppress human rights, is “fascism”.

Business As Usual (#717) 

The NYPD’s newest sleazy tactic in its campaign to strangle sex workers’ business, evict them from their homes and deport them if possible:

The NYPD has a new weapon in its battle against sex traffickers — [fanatical] civilian women armed only with [closed minds] and [anti-sex dogma].  Female [rescue group] workers are now going…into city massage parlors suspected of being brothels to talk with the mostly immigrant women who work there and try to [trick them into custody]…The initiative stems from a recent city push to [destroy sex workers’ income and get them evicted from their homes]…rather than throwing them behind bars.  But prostitutes are afraid of speaking to authorities after years of arrests.  So…[the rescue] group[s]…began going out with NYPD vice teams to help [trick the sex workers]…

The Widening Gyre (#737)

Remember how I predicted 5 years ago that “sex trafficking” hysteria would spin out of control as its end drew near?

…For years, U.S. police have been using tall tales about an American “sex trafficking epidemic” to scare citizens into giving up civil liberties (or at least offering up the rights of sex workers and their clients)…But now the narrative is getting away from them.  So sure are Americans (despite all evidence) that sophisticated criminals are waiting to snatch up our girls and women at every opportunity that people are now inventing sex-trafficking rings of their own…and berating police for not taking action.  The latest example comes from Glendale, WI, where local police had to fend off rumors that “girls as young as 12 are being snatched up from two local malls and sold into prostitution rings”…

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Diary #364

Some of you know that I’ve got practical reasons for distrusting the government as well as philosophical ones.  I hear phrases like “I’ve never seen this before” and “That’s not supposed to happen” with depressing regularity; that’s bad when the person saying it works for a corporation and the problem involves money, but it’s absolutely horrible when the person saying it works for an unaccountable, monopolistic bureaucracy whose mistakes can destroy one’s whole life (or at least make it incredibly difficult for many years).  For example, an error made by H&R Block on Matt’s 2001 income tax return (this was before we got married & I had my CPA do his taxes) triggered an ordeal which ended only last year, having outlasted the marriage by a year.  And a computer error made in Louisiana at some point during my marriage to Jack (1992-95) cascaded through the government records system, creating problems that were finally resolved when a DMV supervisor in Seattle actually made it his mission to track it down in April 2015 (partly because he’s a decent human being & partly because I cried in front of him.  A lot.)  But even though he told me there should be no problem getting a new passport now, I was still very gun-shy about applying for one; frankly, I was traumatized by the whole thing and felt as though I should just leave well enough alone.  However, a couple of weeks ago a very generous gentleman who wants to take me to Europe insisted that I apply; he offered to pay for expedited service and even enlisted Lorelei to his cause, and she cleverly researched every step I needed to take, giving me the exact locations and procedures so I’d have no excuse not to comply.  In the face of such loving pressure I could hardly resist, and two weeks ago today I steeled myself and walked into the office.  It wasn’t easy for me emotionally; I was literally texting four different people to calm my nerves during the process (Lorelei, my gentleman, Matt and my little sister), but I got it done and all that was left was to wait.  Well, on Friday I got an envelope from the State Department; what I expected to find within was a form letter and a bunch of documents telling me additional rigmarole I would need to go through, but what I found was my actual passport, the first one I’ve had in 25 years.  So all the stress paid off, and it’s good to know my 20+ year paperwork nightmare is over.  And most importantly, gents:  Europe is back on the table again, if any of you care to hire me for a long appointment.

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Contrary to the beliefs of many straight vanilla people, sexual focus, kinks & fetishes can’t usually be traced back to any defining event like being molested; most often, they are innate and the individual is aware of them to one degree or another at a very early age.  I was fascinated by bondage from at least the time I was four, though I had no idea what sex was; I just knew that depictions of women being bound or otherwise restrained had a very definite effect on me.  They made me feel “funny” and I couldn’t help watching, yet I was uncomfortable if anyone else was in the room with me (especially an adult).  As I grew older, I recognized these feelings as sexual, but even before that I would’ve almost certainly been deeply affected had some adult restrained me without my permission; I think it would have felt like a personal violation, attended by feelings of shame.  In fact, my friend Jillian Keenan has argued that this is a good reason to refrain from spanking children:  spanking fetishists experience spanking as a sexual act, often from a very young age, so when she was a child spanking felt to her like an intimate and humiliating violation, what we as adults would call sexual assault.  And since there’s no way to know which children have the fetish (it’s not at all an uncommon one), it’s a bad idea to risk inflicting a punishment which could result in sexual trauma.

Well, last week I was reading about female prisoners being shackled while giving birth, and a friend of mine wrote about being forced into shackles for a court appearance.  And in both cases I experienced weird, highly unpleasant, deeply disturbing feelings with sexual undertones, as I often do when reading about the subject.  And that started me thinking:  does being turned on by bondage make nonconsensual shackling worse than it would be for vanilla people?  What if being bound by someone I do not trust and to whom I have not given consent, someone who deliberately intends to harm & terrify me, makes the feeling of being restrained by pigs that much more terrifying, appalling & violative than it would to a vanilla woman?  It’s not just humiliating & scary, as I’m sure it is for everyone; it also makes me feel violated & dirty.  The feeling is not at all dissimilar to that of being raped:  it’s something that I perceive as a sexual act, something that at the hands of a person I trust would be exciting and hot, being used by evil thugs to display their power over me.  And since I have experienced both at the hands of pigs, I know whereof I speak; it’s not exactly the same feeling, but it is extremely similar.  There’s the same sense of contamination, like you want to shower afterward until the hot water runs out, but don’t feel as though you’ll ever be clean again.  And there’s a lingering trauma effect of feeling unsafe, even alone in one’s locked house, or in company of beloved friends, that never quite goes away ever again (though it does fade over time).

No conclusions here; it’s just food for thought.  But when I explored this idea on Twitter last week, a couple of men who are not kinky & have never been raped (one had been arrested, the other didn’t say) had the mind-boggling nerve to mansplain to me that the feelings weren’t the same, because (presumably) they can peer into my head and measure the reactions for comparison.  So before any bootlickers reading this claim its “necessary” for “officer safety” to shackle women, please let me preemptively tell you to shut the fuck up.  An average-sized woman arrested for a consensual “crime” is not a violent male criminal; there is no way my unarmed 132# self is of any danger to cops, and that goes triple for a pregnant woman in labor.  The handcuffs and shackles are solely for the purpose of humiliating and degrading the prisoner and breaking her down psychologically; they serve no other function.  They are the tools of a police state, and in defending the practice you are complicit in it.

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Regular readers know that I’m not usually one for giving testimonials, and never unless I actually try and like a product.  And that doesn’t happen all that often for the simple reason that I’m rather set in my ways, so it isn’t often I actually try a new product to discover whether I like it or not.  But when the product A) was developed by a very dear friend; B) is derived from cannabis; and C) is intended to intensify orgasms…well, obviously I was much more motivated than usual to try it.  The product, as most of you can probably guess, is Mistress Matisse’s new Velvet Swing, a cannabis-infused lube which enhanced orgasm in 80% of the women who tried it during the testing phase; I bought some at the official product launch three weeks ago, but it took until last week to try it because I really wanted to give it a fair test.

Many of you may recall that I don’t orgasm easily or often; I have a recessed clitoris (which makes external stimulation generally ineffective), plus most people aren’t willing or able to give me the kind of stimulation I need for long enough and hard enough to actually get me where I need to go.  And to make things worse, it’s extremely difficult to get my overactive brain to relax enough for me to actually achieve the proper headspace unless one or more of my kinks are engaged intensely enough to nullify my high distractibility.  So needless to say, I wasn’t sanguine about the possibility of any lube, cannabis-infused or otherwise, doing much for me; I’m used to being a statistical outlier in anything to do with sex, so I figured it was very likely I’d be in that 20% the product didn’t do much for.  On the other hand, cannabis tends to have very strong effects on me; 20 or 25 mg of edible and I’m good for the whole evening, and my trips are very intense and border on the psychedelic, including full audiovisual effects (visions and hallucinations).  So if any sexual product could enhance my orgasms, a cannabis-based product would probably have the best chance.  Given all those facts, I figured it was best I try the product with someone I’ve been with often, and whose primary interaction with me is vanilla instead of kink (so that I’d be able focus on what was happening in my genital region rather than on my endorphin high).  On the 31st I spent the night with one of my favorite regulars, and I knew he wouldn’t mind (because SCIENCE!)

I used 10 pumps, the maximum regular dose, because I didn’t want there to be any doubt in my mind; I rubbed it onto my clitoris, between my labia and into my vagina, and then we kept ourselves occupied for 40 minutes to allow it to achieve maximum effect (as recommended).  By the 30-minute mark I experienced a distinct tingling, and when he started to touch me I found the sensation much more intense than it would normally be; he was able to give me six orgasms with manual stimulation alone, a feat which nobody (male or female) has ever achieved before.  The first orgasm was a fairly big one and the other five were just little ones, but given that external stimulation doesn’t normally result in any orgasms, big or small, that’s pretty damned impressive.  I didn’t really notice a lot of difference in the stimulation resulting from penetration, though my labia & vagina did seem “fuller”, more engorged.  As the old commercials used to say, Your Mileage May Vary; however, if you live in or can travel to Seattle (it’s not sold anywhere else yet), I’d definitely recommend trying it.  I plan to again at the next available opportunity; next time with a woman, I think!

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I have a “good girl” job and a secret sex work career; aside from my clients, there are exactly two people on this earth who know what I do – and one of those is my therapist.  I feel zero shame about doing what I do, and have felt it as a calling from a young age; however, I’m deeply aware of the consequences of exposure.  But I’m quite clear that my silence comes at the cost of isolation, so I’d like to change that and develop a support system.

There are a lot of sex workers who don’t have a support system or peer friends they can turn to; as you point out, this work can be very isolating because the stigma makes it difficult-to-impossible to discuss with anyone who isn’t a fellow inhabitant of the demimonde.  And since we’re in the midst of a moral panic over our work, the danger isn’t just emotional but physical; sex workers can be arrested, see their businesses and careers (both sex-related and “straight”) destroyed, have their kids abducted by the State, lose friends and family or even be infantilized and forced into “treatment” or “diversion” programs which treat our choices, jobs and sexualities as pathological.  If you live in a city with a SWOP chapter, I suggest you join right away if at all possible; your privacy will be respected and you’ll meet other sex workers to talk to.  If there is no nearby sex worker group, or if you feel uncomfortable attending meetings in real life, I strongly suggest you reach out to other sex workers on social media; you’d be amazed how much it can help and how real & strong those friendships can become.  For example, Mistress Matisse & I met online more than 5 years ago and now we’re extremely close friends in real life; I’ve also met & befriended many other sex workers on social media, and have developed strong bonds even with folks I haven’t met in the flesh.  Such connections not only help to keep physically-isolated sex workers emotionally healthy, but can also help us to stay safe.  And best of all, they remind us that we’re not alone, that the anti-sex busybodies cannot control us and that we are slowly but surely moving toward a day when we don’t need to hide any more.

(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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I could see planes circling in mid-air.  They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low.  I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building.  –  Buck Colbert Franklin

If you’re phobic of snakes or just easily disgusted, you probably don’t want to watch this video, contributed by Scott Greenfield; the links above it were provided by Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Amy Alkon, David Ley, and Lenore Skenazy (in that order, skipping the first link).

From the Archives

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