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Posts Tagged ‘Why I Wait’

Bills don’t evaporate when clubs shut down.  –  Reese Piper

R.I.P. Laura Lee 

In the eight years I’ve been writing obituaries for people important to the demimonde, I’ve never before had to write one for a personal friend.  It is with a heavy heart that I announce the untimely passing of Laura Lee, a titan of sex work activism, who left us without warning Wednesday morning.  Matisse and I were informed Wednesday night, but asked not to say anything until Laura’s daughter was ready to make a public announcement, which she did late Thursday:  “My mum unfortunately passed away on Wednesday 7th February 2018.  She asked me to let you all know that she was so grateful for everyone’s support.  I ask you to continue all of your amazing campaign work in her honour.  I’m so proud of all my mum accomplished in her tragically short life.  My family have asked for complete privacy at this difficult time.  Much love & power to you all!”  In respect for the wishes of my late friend and her family, this is all I can say for now, but I’m starting to collect information to write a proper harlotography for her soon. Rest well, sweet lady, and Aphrodite bless thee.

Sex Workers Against Trafficking

GAATW is the largest “anti-trafficking” organization which recognizes that sex workers are the best guardians against real (as opposed to prohibitionist-imagined) coercion:

Sex worker rights organisations are creatively responding to violence, exploitation and other abuses within the sex industry, including instances of human trafficking, according to a new report published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation and working conditions.  The report is based on research conducted with sex worker organisations in…Canada, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, India, Thailand and New Zealand.  It highlights cases where sex workers, or sex worker organisations, learnt of situations where a woman was experiencing violence, working under unacceptable conditions, or was brought to the industry through force or deception…sex workers resolved the issue…by providing advice and referral to other organisations, negotiating with the brothel owner/madam, chasing the pimp out of their area, or gathering money to help the woman return home.  Despite this important work, sex worker rights organisations are largely unrecognised and even vilified by the anti-trafficking community…

Gorged With Meaning

Both sugar babies and sugar sites are heavily invested in pretending sugar dating isn’t sex work:

Brook Urick approves every piece published on Let’s Talk Sugar, a lifestyle site aimed at sugar babies…[which] is the media arm of SeekingArrangement.com…It may sound strange that sugar dating is attempting to reshape itself into a lifestyle brand.  But if you’re familiar with this scene, and familiar with Seeking Arrangement’s legal treatise, you’re well aware of the motives at play.  Prostitution is illegal in most of America.  Dates that come bundled with a suggested donation?  Not quite…Anything that portrays the sugar community as a niche cultural curiosity with an entire lexicon of inscrutable customs, taboos, and salutations, helps the company’s case that sugar dating is fundamentally detached from sex work.  Seeking Arrangement’s refusal to genuinely engage with the rest of the adult industry has earned mixed reactions from other, self-acknowledged sex workers.  Bobbi Besos, a prostitute who works at the Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas, recently penned a blog post on the brothel’s website—”Sugar Dating: Let’s Stop Sugar-Coating Prostitution“—arguing that the sugar scene’s quasi-legal standing meant that Seeking Arrangement can recuse itself from anything dangerous, coercive, or otherwise destructive that happens over the course of the transactional encounters they help facilitate…

Original Sin

Casual sex causes “sex trafficking”!

During a speech to pastors in Kansas City in December, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley linked the [supposed] problem of sex trafficking to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.  Hawley, the top Republican prospect to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in November…[fantasized] “We have a human trafficking crisis…because people are willing to purchase women…like commodities…The sexual revolution has led to exploitation of women on a scale that we would never have imagined, never have imagined…the false gospel of ‘anything goes’ ends in this road of slavery”…

Missourians have a choice of one lying prohibitionist control freak or another.  Lovely.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes 

UK feminists win another battle against the employment of women:

…Formula One’s “grid girls”…will find themselves unemployed as of next season.  They are the latest battleground in what has ultimately been a long-fought [prohibitionist] war, which has, at various times, seen arguments about the Sun’s Page 3, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfies, dancers in music videos [etc]…These women are sexually objectified, the argument goes…[and] they send the wrong message to young girls and women…For an argument that is ostensibly about work…any analysis of labour itself is conspicuously missing…Working conditions…would seem a better place to start than sweeping moral judgments on the type of work itself…

Why I Wait

Seeming paradoxes arise when ignoramuses equate marriage rates and childbirth rates with rates of sex-having:

Deaths now outpace births, marriage is plummeting, and young people aren’t having sex.  The media are calling it sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome”—an alarming trend that has the Japanese government funnelling tax dollars into speed dating and matchmaking services over fears of an impending economic collapse.  But in a neon-lit pocket of Tokyo’s Shibuya district, BDSM equipment, mirrored ceilings, vibrating beds, and condom vending machines paint a different reality.  Welcome to Love Hotel Hill, where Japan’s sex industry is flourishing…It’s estimated that more than half of sex in Japan occurs in love hotels…There are more than 30,000…in the country, and hundreds in Tokyo alone.  With increasing life expectancies, the rising age of marriage, and high population density, multigenerational households are ubiquitous.  When married couples live in close quarters with elderly parents and children, love hotels offer a practical alternative to thin-walled Japanese homes where privacy is scarce…Discretion is a love hotel’s most important commodity—they often feature secret entrances, covered garages, and disposable license plate covers.  Patrons can make cash-only transactions with clerks stationed behind opaque screens to guarantee anonymity.  Others have sophisticated automated systems…

“Sex trafficking” hysteria is being used as an excuse to make it increasingly difficult for US hotels to offer their patrons similar anonymity.

Amsterdam (#530)

What are they going to do to tourists who won’t turn?  Arrest them?

Guided tours in Amsterdam’s red light district must ensure tourists turn their backs to windows and not photograph prostitutes.  These new measures…aim to lessen the number of tourists visiting the oldest parts of the city…The new rules also ban tours with drugs or alcohol and tighten up the “conditions for bike and Segway tours”…Guided tours will also have to end before 11 p.m. and tourists will not be allowed to stand in bridges or in front of store entrances during working hours…Tour companies that do not respect the new rules…will be heavily fined…

Lack of Evidence (#546)

Remember how New York City claimed doubling the size of its vice squad would magically “help” sex workers?  Here’s what the extra vice pigs are doing:

…Raquel is a 23-year-old trans woman from the Bronx, who [was arrested by plainclothes cops for walking down the street]…it wasn’t until she arrived at the 25th Precinct…that she learned she was being charged with prostitution, along with four other trans women arrested that night.  A police report [lies] that she agreed to perform oral sex…These arrests occurred against the backdrop of an NYPD [propaganda campaign claiming they would] arrest fewer people on prostitution charges and focus vice resources on arresting men who buy and traffic sex…The announcement won praise from [prohibitionists]…Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, called [harassing sex workers and cheating them of income] a “big step toward combating this form of modern-day slavery”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#710)

California now has its own annual anti-whore pogrom:

More than 500 [people] were arrested…56 [of them were sex workers “authorities” claimed]…were rescued during a statewide [pogrom labeled with the Orwellian moniker]…Operation Reclaim and Rebuild…[only] 11 [of the sex workers were underage]…Among the 510 [men] arrested, 30 [were labeled] suspected traffickers and 178 [were labeled] “johns”…

Checklist (#753) 

Just in case you didn’t think you were spied on enough in airports:

If you pass through the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, you may see new signs asking people to be on the lookout for sex trafficking.  Delta Airlines and the airport have [collaborated] with the Super Bowl and [prohibitionist profiteers] Polaris to [raise hysteria about] the [non-]issue…Delta has also [indoctrinated] thousands of its employees [in racial profiling techniques] to [harass passengers]…

The Course of a Disease (#796)

American politicians increasingly use Swedish-scented rhetoric in futile attempts to disguise the stench of tyranny:

Legislation just introduced in the [Pennsylvania] state House would tackle a key [PR issue] identified by [prohibitionists] seeking to improve the way [they are seen by the public]…[sex workers are] arrested while the customers [are less so.  Prohibitionists lie, claiming that]…a little more than half of victims of human trafficking are being used for sex work [when actually it’s less than 10%], according to the [prohibitionist] group Equality Now [which is led by disgraced prosecutor Lauren Hersh, who resigned in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape]…

Not So Easy

Prohibitionists are learning the hard way that the wind is shifting:

With more than 200 strip club workers and advocates filling a makeshift meeting room inside the Rosenwald Center’s gym Feb. 6, the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) rejected parts of a plan from the New Orleans City Council to limit the number of strip clubs on Bourbon Street.  The CPC instead followed recommendations from its staff that call for a “soft cap” of 14 clubs, rather than a harder cap limiting clubs to one per block face, as the City Council had proposed…The CPC’s recommendations now head [back] to the City Council…The CPC…said in its report…that it “has not found a direct causality between the number of [Adult Live Performance Venues, or ALPVs] in the [Vieux Carre Entertainment District] and crime”…

That last line is a reference to the thoroughly-disproven dogma of “negative secondary effects“, which claims that sex rays emanating from sexual businesses damage the brains of bystanders, forcing them to commit crimes. 

But while the staid Times-Picayune promotes this ludicrous fantasy and worse:

…[Politicians] have been relying on Times-Picayune investigative series to stoke fears that strip clubs are hotbeds for trafficking…the piece [is]…riddled with more holes than a New Orleans paved road…its authors consistently equate exotic dancing and prostitution with “trafficking”…moreover, the Times-Picayune denies actually having uncovered a pervasive trafficking problem, explaining in the first part of the series that “there has been no evidence that clubs knowingly employed dancers who were victims of human trafficking”…the paper’s gripe with the clubs appears entirely based on the [fantastic] premise that “[s]ome pimps are known to require women under their control to dance in clubs”…

…competing news media are coming out on the sex workers’ side, and the Advocate even gave column space to stripper Reese Piper:

Stripping allows people to not just survive, but thrive, with flexible hours, high earning potential, and a low bar of entry.  When I graduated college, I had more than $80,000 in debt.  Dancing eased that burden…I am also autistic — a disability that makes it difficult to hold down a traditional job…it’s our right to work without fear just like everyone else…

Stupor Bowl (#811)

The real reason the government keeps pushing the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” myth:

Guests at this year’s Super Bowl game in Minneapolis can expect cops, checkpoints, and security theater everywhere, in no small part thanks to the myth that the Super Bowl is a mass sex-trafficking event…”sex trafficking” gives federal and local authorities an excuse for posting police anywhere and everywhere people are gathering—and for enlisting citizens as spies, too…We’re transforming Minneapolis into a police state to…crack down on an issue that almost everyone admits is imaginary…Even crony charity groups that spread all sorts of sex-trafficking misinformation found this myth too easily debunkable to keep repeating.  Pretty much the only folks who haven’t gotten the memo that Super Bowl sex-trafficking panic is bunk are the law-enforcement agents who benefit from promoting it…

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Criminalisation…reinforces the idea that sex work is intrinsically wrong.  –  Frankie Mullin

Whore Madonnas

Melissa Petro on the stigma faced by sex workers with children:

…For sex workers, there are no legal protections against discrimination, should we become associated with our current or former occupations.  Current and former sex workers risk losing their housing or being refused service by landlords, property owners, and co-op boards.  Sex workers are…often unable to transition to other work…and…can also lose custody of their children.  Finley Fawn is a cam model…who has been fighting for custody of her six-year-old son since April…In 2008, a tantra provider lost custody of her children to a man with an extensive documented history of domestic violence…in 2013, former sex worker Tanaha Koontz lost custody of her three children to [her] abusive husband…Then there’s the devastating case of Petite Jasmine…Those who view sex work as incompatible with motherhood often [pretend] concern for the children’s safety.  They conflate issues related to poverty with sex work—unstable housing, food insecurity, and erratic incomes, for example—even though sex work can often be the very solution to these economic woes…the only legitimate concern having to do with…a child’s safety is the fact that individuals working in prostitution are still being criminalized, so these women tend to be incarcerated or face arrest, which can mean having their children sent to a relative or taken under the dysfunctional care of the state…

The Red Umbrella 

A plasterer who was besotted with a prostitute recruited a teenager to pour accelerant over her and set her alight…Mohammed Ali Fouani wanted the Korean woman to…give up her job and live with him…

Real People 

Following in the footsteps of Norma Jean Almodovar, a policewoman decides to turn to honest work:

A Melbourne single mother has traded her role as a senior constable with Victoria Police for high-class escorting in an attempt to make a better life for herself.  After spending several “soul-destroying” years in the police force, Heidi…became an escort after being introduced to the industry by a friend…

Part of the Picture

The author is right; “porn addiction” in women really IS “equally damaging” to “porn addiction” in men, because zero equals zero:

…there is so little open discussion about the effects of porn addiction among women that we don’t even have a vocabulary with which to discuss it. And it is an equally important topic…Women become addicted to the dopamine rush associated with porn in the same way as men.  They feel the shame and the isolation that addiction inevitably brings.  The same loss of interest in sex that doesn’t live up to the extreme material they’re watching.  And the same breakdown of their romantic relationships while their minds are elsewhere.  It’s hard to quantify the scale of porn addiction among either sex and there are no official figures, but even by talking to people off the record, the scale of the damage is palpable…

Ell.  Oh.  Ell.Ozzy the sex addict

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Why does it always take so long for people who know anti-sex dogma is bullshit to finally speak up?

Ozzy Osbourne is the latest in a string of people (almost always men) to diagnose themselves as “sex addicts”…the concept of sex addiction has been fabricated by “addictionologists,” the people who claim they have the addiction, and the media.  The concept has rapidly been accepted as truth when there is still no substantive evidence that sex addiction is real…“sex addiction”…[has] become…a blanket term we throw over people whose sexual expression is different from “the norm,” without unpacking the actual behavior(s) or empowering the people involved to take responsibility for their own actions…there is no sound research that supports it and the people promoting it often lack training in sexuality…

Profound Ignorance 

Criminologists aim to prove that economists don’t have a monopoly on painfully stupid assumptions about sex work:

With the sale of sex shifting online, today’s pimps are avoiding police detection by using underground websites, social media, mobile apps and even by hiding their ads on mainstream sites such as Craigslist and Backpage.  In a first-of-its-kind study, criminologists from Michigan State University and Loyola University Chicago interviewed 71 pimps in Atlanta and Chicago to determine how their marketing decisions are influenced by police enforcement…”We found that pimps are exploiting the anonymity that new technology and websites allow,” said Mary Finn, lead author of the study…pimps use their own language, symbols and disingenuous photos to advertise their services and communicate with customers…The pimps were recruited through ads placed on Backpage and paid $60 per interview…

IOW, these dumb bunnies advertised that they’d give $60 to any dude who was willing to call himself a “pimp” and tell tall tales to credulous “researchers”.  What’s most shocking is that these educated doofuses continue to buy into the prohibitionist myth that all whores have “pimps”, when (as I explained to Tracy Clark-Flory) that’s total nonsense:

…Maggie McNeill, a sex worker and writer, argues that pimps have become exceedingly less necessary as the internet has allowed sex workers to advertise themselves…But, she argues, the focus often remains on these third parties because it fits an anti-sex work narrative of coercion…

Monsters

Trans sex worker Hande Kader was last seen getting in her customer’s car about a week ago…Her friends and lover…reported Hande’s disappearance to the police…[who] found a burned trans woman’s body near [Istanbul]…Hande was wearing prosthetics which helped identify her burnt body…

Why I Wait

Always be skeptical of any claim about the sexual habits of the “younger generation”:

…Researchers…are boldly claiming that millennials aged 20-24 are having far less sex than previous generations…15 percent of surveyed millennials in that age range reported having no sexual partners since they turned 18, compared to 6 percent of Generation X people…The authors…offered a variety of explanations for their findings — ranging from the funding of abstinence-only education in schools, to fears about STDs, to the premium placed on good looks on dating apps like Tinder, to popular misconceptions about “millennial hook-up culture” — but there are just as many reasons to be skeptical…the information was gleaned from the General Social Survey (GSS), which…[uses] heteronormative language…Another problem, which the researchers noted in their paper, is that the definition of what constitutes “sex” is left up to the…respondents to decide.  It’s entirely possible that earlier generations unintentionally exaggerated their sex lives by lumping all kinds of sexual activity into the broader umbrella term of “sex”, thus skewing the numbers…

I’ve previously discussed the inadvisability of using the GSS to make any predictions about sexual behavior.

Cops and Robbers

The result of stigma, encouraged by criminalization:

“Dirty whores.” “You should be put on fire.” So shouted the 100-strong mob as it surrounded the house of a group of women, thought to be sex workers, in Belfast on Friday 29th July…Since the video went online, sex workers have come out of the woodwork sharing similar stories says Lucy Smith, who run National Ugly Mugs Ireland (NUM)…”Another woman came forward last week and talked about how she’d been beaten up in the street by a gang,” Smith says…Carmen…worked briefly in Belfast last year.  She…found her flat surrounded by a mob of 30 or 40 people…”They broke the glass of our window with eggs.  They were shouting things like ‘£10 prostitute’ and telling us to go home”…Attacks of this kind happen across the UK and Ireland…In east London, sex workers frequently report having objects and insults hurled at them from cars.  In Edinburgh, sex workers have been surrounded and followed.  In Birmingham, since the beginning of this month, sex workers have twice reported having bottles and urine thrown at them from a car.  In some cases, sex workers have had bones broken before the police arrive…

Choke Point 

Fascism in action:

My wife, Carla Sinclair, is editor of Wink Books…she used Paypal to pay Ben Marks his fee for reviewing a photo book…called Castro’s Cuba: An American Journalist’s Inside Look at Cuba 1959-1969.  Carla included a message to Ben in the Paypal transaction, which read, “Hi Ben – Your Castro’s Cuba review is up!  Thanks so much!  Carla.”  As soon as she pressed the send button, she got a pop-up message on the PayPal site that informed her that the payment was being held for review…an email [later] arrived from PayPal. It turns out, the problem arose because Carla’s message included the forbidden word “Cuba” (and/or possibly “Castro”)…

Whore Detection

Another violent cop, another black woman profiled as a sex worker:

…a Washington, DC [cop pinned] a black woman to his patrol car, leaving her feet dangling while he [called] her “a prostitute”.  [Fortunately the attack was captured on video]…by Twitter user @macandcheeks…and…city authorities have…opened an investigation into the incident…the…woman…named Shadon…is…a schoolteacher…she and others at the bus stop were standing up to a man who was harassing another woman when the police intervened…

Rooted in Racism (#577)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…Liberian [football] player Andrew Nagbe is currently in a detention centre awaiting [deportation]…the 22-year-old…was arrested by migration officials at the Stockholm Pride festival at the end of July…Nagbe was taking part in the…events with his boyfriend [when] he was detained…He had originally travelled to Sweden on trial with Swedish third-tier team Umeå FC before plying his trade at a string of lower league teams…It is still illegal to be openly gay in Liberia…“In prison I’ll be beaten and raped every day until I am released and leave the country again. Everyone I know in Liberia knows I am gay now, so they won’t hold back,” he added…The Swedish migration service [pretends] that Nagbe…[is not] gay and that [the danger]…if he returns home [is] not verifiable.  Only by presenting new evidence will Nagbe be able to appeal the ruling…

What a Week! (#656)

So much for “negative secondary effects”:

Do strip clubs bring down property values?…Surveying 317,056 residential sales in Seattle between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2013, researchers found little evidence strip clubs influenced the prices of nearby homes.  This, note authors Taggert Brooks of UW-La Crosse and Brad Humphreys and Adam Nowak of WVU, runs counter to common arguments underpinning local governments’ rights to restrict strip clubs, which typically hold that such establishments have negative “secondary effects,” including a downward pull on property values…“There was nothing we picked up that was really significant in any way, shape, or form,” says Dr. Nowak.

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To avoid doing anything, wait for the right circumstances.  –  Mason Cooley

I’m sure my regular readers have noticed that, though I usually feature news items y’all send me within a week or so, there are times when I don’t even mention them in passing (much less feature them), even if they seem to be something right up my alley.  Indeed, sometimes a dozen or more of you will send something to me, and that’s on top of all the times I see it on Twitter, yet I stubbornly refuse to give it as much as a nod.  And when it does happen, some of you probably ask yourselves, “What is up with that?”  Well, today I’m going to explain it, with the help of a recent example of the phenomenon.

bovine excrement meterThe one-word explanation is “instinct”.  As many have remarked, my bullshit detector is pretty finely calibrated; I can usually sense it no matter how expertly it’s hidden, and I can often produce an analysis of the exact breed and variety of the bull and tell you what he was eating besides.  But at other times, I’m just not conversant enough with the background or good enough with math to figure out exactly what’s wrong with the story in question; I still know that it’s wrong, but I can’t quite put my finger on why.  And so rather than rush to report something everyone else is nattering and opining about, and thereby look like an idiot when it’s invariably debunked, I just sit back quietly and wait for the other shoe to drop.

This particular case in point started back in July, with the publication of an article in Marie Claire which rehashed the perennial legend that young Japanese people have lost interest in sex (remember when the “herbivores” were taking over a few years ago?)  Well, nobody noticed this new one (because it was Marie Claire, after all) until author Abigail Haworth rehashed it in the Guardian one month ago today…and then it took off, being quoted and discussed in many other media outlets.  Needless to say, none of them bothered to do any original research to confirm the story; as in the case of “sex trafficking”, the parrots in journalists’ clothing at Time, Huffington Post, Slate and many other rags mindlessly reported the original, with the high level of critical analysis one might expect from a toddler or a spambot.  I knew it was garbage from the get-go; Japan has one of the largest and most diverse sex industries on the planet.  It equated dating with having sex, like the American researchers who obsess about “correcting” the large discrepancy between the fraction of men who cheat and the fraction of women, because they refuse to recognize that the majority of male cheating is carried out with whores rather than cheating wives.  Furthermore, it claimed that a low birth rate was somehow evidence of lack of sex, as though the reporter had dispatched her story from some past era before the invention of reliable contraception.  However, I was still reluctant to weigh in; I’m not an expert in Japanese culture, so it was conceivable that there was something beyond those two obvious errors that I was overlooking.

As it turned out, on this occasion I had been overcautious.  The debunkings which started appearing a week later came to the same conclusions I had, with very little more to add; I had simply underestimated the institutional cluelessness of the modern media.  In Global Voices Online, Keiko Tanaka quoted a number of criticisms of the piece, including one which pointed out that Haworth cannot read Japanese and was therefore at the mercy of a tiny number of sources.  And in Bloomberg, William Pesek wrote:

…The real issue is that many avoid traditional, committed relationships out of doubts…based on economics rather than culture.  If low libido were strictly societal, why do the Czech Republic, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan have fertility rates as low as Japan’s?  I don’t see the global media characterizing those countries as sexless freak shows spiraling toward extinction…Part of the problem is cherry-picked data.  Take the 2011 survey…on which sex-drought stories are often based.  Its finding that 61 percent of unmarried men and 49 percent of single women between 18 and 24 of age weren’t in any kind of romantic relationship is mentioned up high.  Rarely cited is this fact on Page 2 of the report:  almost 90 percent of respondents intend to marry someday.  And…71 percent of unmarried Americans aren’t in committed relationships [either]…Japan’s low birthrate…is a result of exorbitant living costs, elevated stress and diminished confidence…

So there you have it.  Though both of those articles did add details of which I was unaware, I could have commented on the matter without hesitation and been largely right on.  Ah, well; at least I’ll have a resource to refer back to the next time the “asexual Japanese youth” canard starts making the rounds again in 2017 or thereabouts. sex is gross

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