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Posts Tagged ‘Why I Wait’

Notoriously Unreliable

Sex. In America an obsession. In other parts of the world a fact. –  Marlene Dietrich

The only thing that inflames American prurience as much as people having sex is people not having sex.  Americans spend vast amonts of money on sex aids and medications such as Viagra, and even try to medicalize normal female sexuality that “experts” deem insufficient; however, they also spend similarly on “treatment” for sexuality that other “experts” deem excessive.  They devour porn, both the overt form and the softer type rolled into movies, television shows, and especially the extreme BDSM torture porn presented as “sex trafficking” propaganda…which facilitates the bllions spent on harassing other people for consensual sex.  And though we’re still not done with a moral panic claiming that prepubescent “sex slaves” are one of the world’s largest criminal industries because they’re raped by literally every single adult male in the US every single week, we also regularly see articles about a supposed “sex drought” (that presumably doesn’t include all those rapes of “child sex slaves”).  The latest iteration of the latter nonsense appeared in the Washington Post under this “OOOOH It’s SCARY, Kids!” graphic:

For anyone who knows anything about sexology, those four little words in the lower left corner speak volumes.  As I’ve written many times, the GSS is notoriously unreliable on sexual matters because it’s an in-person survey.  A number of sexologists, myself included, consider it almost wholly worthless on sexual topics.  As I wrote just two months ago, “These surveys don’t find anything about what people are actually doing sexually; what they measure is people’s relative comfort with the question, which is a horse of a different color.”  In other words, we don’t actually know that fewer people are having sex, only that fewer people are reporting sex to strangers in lab coats.  And that may have a lot to do with our government’s war on sex, in which paying for it is cast as “wrong”, therefore underreported; an example of the idiocy of such surveys can be demonstrated by the fact that a Swedish government “study” claimed the number of men who had ever bought sex decreased by 41% between 1996 and 2008…which would have to mean that a huge percentage of those who had paid for it must either have died or moved out of Sweden in a 12-year period, because even if they had not hired a whore since the ban that wouldn’t erase their previous experiences.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown had (as usual) some good comments to make on this micropanic, incluing quotes from a couple of people whose names aren’t Maggie McNeill pointing out that the GSS is kinda crap.  There was a passing reference to the fact that social researchers are wedded to the fantasy that most sex happens in “partnerships” (which it doesn’t and never has), so they blame the less-sex on people partnering later, which is baloney.  They make the same dumb “explanation” about lower sex reporting in Japan.  If there is any truth to the claim that young men are having less sex rather than merely reporting less sex, it’s probably because so many men under 30 have no worthwhile jobs and the government is scaring them out of buying sex from pros.  Their lack of ambition turns off amateurs, and their lack of money turns off pros and amateurs).  But whatever shortage there is, is undoubtedly magnified by their being more ashamed than ever to report hiring sex workers.

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The system isn’t in place to help you. It’s in place to keep you where you are.  –  Sophie

Thought Control (#137)

I’ve written on several occasions about arch-censor Fredric Wertham, a prohibitionist busybody who used Melissa Farley-style tactics to lobotomize the comic book industry in the 1950s; here’s a short video (courtesy of Kevin Wilson) showing him in action.

The Course of a Disease (#729)

There is no “debate”; this terrible law was unilaterally imposed by politicians despite vociferous opposition from everyone who is affected by it:

French sex workers have lodged a constitutional challenge to [the Swedish model]…reopening a debate on whether people should be free to [have consensual sex without government interference]…around 30 sex workers backed by nine associations, including [the prestigious Médecins du Monde], went to the Constitutional Council to argue the law infringed their sexual and commercial freedom and made them more vulnerable to attack…the law…[i]s an infringement of “constitutional rights to personal autonomy and sexual freedom, respect of privacy, freedom of contract and freedom to do business”…

The Course of a Disease (#796)

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Rep Kay Khan of [Massachusetts is at it again with]…two [Swedish model] bills…One…n[orm]alizes [the persecution of] young people involved in sex work by [subjecting them to indefinite detention under the pretense of “protecting” them]…the other [pretends] to decriminalize adult sex workers [in order to confuse people into backing a campaign to choke off their income, get them evicted and persecute their families]…The two bills evolved from an earlier bill, HB 3499, which was submitted to to the Massachusetts House and Senate in early 2017…Any step towards decriminalization [would be] a win for sex workers’ rights.  But unfortunately, these bills [are not such a step and intentionally] leave in place statutes, language, funding, and institutional infrastructure which…[enables cops to] aggressively pursue…sex workers…

The Swedish model is NOT a step toward decriminalization; it infantilizes women, demonizes men, and defines consensual sex as “violence against women”.  That is a giant step away from decriminalization.

Signs (#886)

The public seems to have finally noticed that hotels are training their staff to harass women:

…Marriott International said it has reached a goal of training 500,000 hotel workers to spot and [harass sex workers]…Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson [said] “By…[indoctrinat]ing our global workforce to say something if they see something, we are [licking the boots of our masters and] protecting associates and guests [from dangerous sex rays]”…It collaborated with [prohibitionist] anti-[whore] groups ECPAT-USA and Polaris to create the program, which has been translated into 16 languages as well as English so it can be taught to employees throughout the 130 countries in which Marriott does business…

Legislators Gone Wild (#887) 

Oh, what a surprise:

…an annual Campaign and Expense…report filed by the End Trafficking and Prostitution (ETAP) PAC revealed…what appears to have been an outrageous abuse of power and conflict of interest by an elected government official…In December 2017, Reno lawyer Jason Guinasso  filed a public records request with the Lyon County recorder’s office demanding copies of the work card applications submitted to the Lyon County sheriff’s office by professional sex workers at all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels.  He filed the request on letterhead from the law firm at which he works – Hutchison and Steffen – which happens to be owned by then-Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, a political opponent of then-Assembly candidate Dennis Hof, who happened to own all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels…my guess is he wanted to make the addresses public in an effort to shame the adult women who were engaged in a legal business he has personal objections to…A couple months later Mr. Guinasso registered “End Trafficking and Prostitution” as a PAC with the Nevada Secretary of State…to place initiatives on the November 2018 ballot to shut down the legal brothels in Nye and Lyon counties – the two counties, not coincidentally, where Mr. Hof owned brothels…On June 7, 2018 the Lyon County Commission voted to place an “advisory question” on the ballot despite Mr. Guinasso’s failure to obtain enough signatures from Lyon County voters to do so himself…[this] was ultimately and overwhelmingly rejected in November by 80 percent of voters…

As we’ve seen before, crap like this is one of the primary reasons sex worker licensing schemes have such abysmally low compliance rates (below 1% in Nevada):  very few women are interested in being on a shaming & stalking list.

Why I Wait (#889)

Another dumb article about a phenomenon that probably doesn’t even exist:

…In her December 2018 cover story for The Atlantic warning that Americans—Millennials in particular—are having “so little sex,” senior editor Kate Julian soberly framed the drop as a “sex recession”.  Drawing from a 2017 study…[and methodologically-poor] evidence from the 2016 General Social Survey…sex for all adults dropped from 62 to 54 times a year, on average…mainly among white, middle-aged, married couples…the fear of a “sex recession” is misdirected.  A drop in sexual encounters from 62 to 54 times per year means that the average adult is still having sex more than once a week.  Current research suggests that having sex more than once a week does not have any positive impact on relationship satisfaction

That’s enough to show you the weaknesses in this turd sandwich, which, while skeptical of the worry, is not at all skeptical of the crap evidence itself.  Regular readers may recall that, as I’ve written on multiple occasions, the GSS is conducted face to face and is a terrible source for any sexual data (such as “have you ever paid for sex?“) because people simply lie about sexual questions.  These surveys don’t find anything about what people are actually doing sexually; what they measure is people’s relative comfort with the question, which is a horse of a different color.  The innate moralism of this article is visible in its assumption that the only important factor in talking about sex is “relationship satisfaction” (because obviously everybody has to pair off in vanilla monogamous amateur couples), not to mention the author’s asinine and moralistic statement that “There’s also a bit of a dark side in framing sex as economic given the realities of sex work“; I suspect this dumb bunny wouldn’t know one of the “realities of sex work” if it sashayed up and kissed her on the nose.

Stupor Bowl (#899) 

There’s very little point in bothering to quote this ridiculous mess because it’s the same garbage we’ve seen countless times: Theresa Flores selling her magical anti-pimp soap (designed to “help” women too stupid to remember the numbers “9-1-1”) and retelling her masturbatory fantasy of ninja pimps who managed to sneak her out of her home to “sell her for sex” every single night for two years without any member of her family ever noticing or any of her teachers wondering why she was falling asleep in class.  Politicians posturing so spasmodically one has to wonder how they don’t dislocate something.  Prohibitionists lovingly drooling over fantasies of enslaved thirteen-year-olds.  The magnification of a few prostitution arrests into an army of invisible “traffickers”.  I’m only mentioning it for two reasons: First, note that the opportunists now wait for mere days before the event in the forlorn hope that we won’t have time to debunk them (they used to start crowing about this idiocy as much as a year ahead); and second, that debunking is now so widespread that a refutation of this foofaraw appeared in the very same paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Disaster (#899)

Tumblr made its bed, and now look who’s lying in it with them:

One month ago, Tumblr made the wildly unpopular decision to ban pornography and adult content from its website.  The move was greeted with outrage…and…critics accused the site of attempting to please larger tech corporations…Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio, however, maintained that the changes were made to foster a more “inclusive” community…however…the website is currently littered with pages promoting Nazism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, and far-right terrorism.  Despite their often flagrant violation of Tumblr’s Community Guidelines, these pages remain largely active and easy to find…

Well, at least Tumblr users are safe from “female-presenting nipples”.

On Tape

Trump has finally made it acceptable to question “sex trafficking” porn, at least when he spreads it:

…Trump[‘s]…human trafficking hyperbole is barely distinguishable  from the melodramatic “modern slavery” narratives put forth regularly by Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton, and others during their tenure in power.  Or the stories stories spun by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during her time as California attorney general.  And none of those stories were any less out of touch with reality…Ye[t]…CNN—which has rarely met a fact-free sex-trafficking melodrama it wouldn’t publish uncritically—ran an article titled “Experts: Trump’s tape-bound women trafficking claim is misleading“…and…at Vox, Dara Lind…reports that a top Border Patrol official emailed agents last week seeking information to back up the president’s claims…Seeking post-hoc justification for wild human trafficking claims is also a bad habit that predates Trump.  For many years, numbers spread by Justice Department and administration officials were more or less made up out of thin air, as The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler has pointed out. (See also: “The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs“)…

Top Cop

Another look at the odiousness of the police-state operative Hillary fans have anointed as their savior:

…any Democratic women who reject the feminist label would kill her campaign before it even started.  This may be why it’s especially galling that all four [female] candidates signed a piece of legislation that is making life harder and more dangerous for some of society’s most vulnerable women…SESTA/FOSTA, which was widely advertised by its proponents as a way to fight human trafficking.  What the legislation, which was co-sponsored by Sens. [Kamala] Harris and [Kirsten] Gillibrand, actually did was amend the Communications Decency Act, which, until last year, prohibited websites from being held liable for content posted by the site’s users…prominent sex-work marketplaces either shut down voluntarily, like Craigslist’s Casual Encounters section, or, like Backpage, were seized and shut down by the Feds. This is exactly what Harris intended…“from my earliest days as a prosecutor, I’ve led the fight against Backpage and other sex [work advertising] platforms”…There was one group…that has roundly condemned SESTA/FOSTA, and that’s the group most impacted by it: sex workers…

The article, by Katie Herzog of The Stranger, includes interviews with me, my friend Sophie and other sex workers.

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With all the legitimately pressing problems facing America today, it’s astonishing that anyone could earnestly advocate for more obscenity prosecutions.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Above the Law  

We’re so lucky to have these brave heroes to protect us from refugees:

Police in Alpine, Texas, have charged a National Guardsman stationed near the Mexico border with sexual assault after…he drunkenly tried to rape a woman in a hotel.  Luis Ontiveros…is accused of assaulting…[another] member of the National Guard…[who] had…thrown up from drinking too much…He took her clothes off before she was able to get out of the hotel room…and knocked on the hotel room door next to hers, telling the man who answered that Ontiveros had tried to rape her…

A Mound of Filth (#506)

More “sex slave” fantasies from Dominique “Body Fluids” Roe-Sepowitz:

The latest numbers from the FBI show in 2017 Arizona was third in the nation for human trafficking offenses…[Ignorant prohibitionists fantasize] it is impacting people from all walks of life.  “It is anybody.  Businessmen, junkies from the street, anybody looking for sex,” said an [anonymous prohibitionist]…Dominique Roe-Sepowitz is an associate professor [who makes a living stoking “sex trafficking” hysteria by making up fake statistics.]…”In Arizona, we [claim] we have about 250 kids a year and about 800 adults a year [involved in sex trafficking],” [she] said…She [moaned and put her hand down her pants while fantasizing that]…traffickers are creative and calculating when targeting their victims…It happens through social media, in public buildings and parks and even in front of schools.  “They’re going to find that child wherever they are”…

Forward and Backward (#604)

UK politicians don’t like policies that oppose their harm magnification agenda:

…Leeds Council [is considering]…closure of the Leeds ‘managed zone’, in which sex workers are able to solicit for business in a designated area without fear of arrest…Regulation via zoning is not ideal but any solution which increases safety for sex workers, allows them to report crimes and brings down the number of arrests is important.  Working without fear of arrest means sex workers aren’t running from the police are more able to use basic safety measures like working in close proximity to each other and sharing information about clients…outreach charity Basis Yorkshire [says]…97% of sex workers are now willing to report crimes to the police, compared with just 7% before the scheme launched.  There has been a dramatic uptake in engagement with health and support services…

For over a year now, the Leeds red light district has been the subject of a smear campaign by prohibitionists, with the help of the BBC.

Welcome to the Future (#607)

“Immigrant Council of Ireland” is the deceptive name of one of the most vile prohibitionist organizations in Europe:

Police across Europe should be given the resources to spy on…sex workers’ homes to prevent prostitution, a report has said.  The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) was one of six organisations to examine laws on sex work and trafficking across Europe.  The group’s Disrupt Demand report called for more [police violence vs. sex workers and clients]…and [more] “surveillance operations on indoor locations”…

Most news coverage of this “report” tries to make it sound like a study, when in fact it’s just a collection of prohibitionist fantasies and demands with no new material of any kind.

The Puritan Recrudescence

The natural result of widespread kowtowing to the heckler’s veto:

…Nina Hartley went to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to give an optional lecture to students…about STI testing, the importance of consent, and the potential pitfalls of learning about sex from porn.  The talk was soberly titled, “Fantasy vs. Reality: A critical view of adult media.”  There were no explicit images or videos, just an informational Powerpoint slide.  And yet, of course, conservative media outlets are losing their shit over it, because a porn star (who is also a sex educator and activist) spoke with our kids (who are actually legal adults) about fucking (but really much more).  Hartley was invited to speak by Joe Gow, the chancellor of the university…with…$5,000 from Gow’s office fund, as opposed to with state tax dollars…sensationalistic headlines…desperately attempted to turn it into a tawdry sex scandal…Then Fox News jumped into the fray.  The outcry was such that Gow felt the need to pen an op-ed in the La Crosse Tribune…in [which]…he…agreed to personally compensate the university for Hartley’s $5,000 appearance fee…[and] book…a speaker from Fight the New Drug, a [Mormon-backed prohibitionist organization]…infamous for using bad scienceshoddy data, and alarmist first-person stories to demonize pornography…

Count the Idiocies

Since this is suburban Seattle, I could’ve done this one stoned:

Sex trafficking is happening in plain sight in Snohomish County1, according to nurse practitioner Paula Newman-Skomski2.  “It’s most visible is along Highway 99,” she said.3  This past weekend [Operation Cross-Country] found 13 female victims of sex trafficking – two of the victims are juveniles4. No arrests were made.  The FBI said the victims were offered referrals to a variety of resources.5…”Every year we identify 40 to 45 juveniles involved in the trafficking trade here in Snohomish County,” said Newman-Skomski.6…”…easily transported up and down the I-5 corridor.”7  It is the kind of illegal activity the FBI focused on when it shut down Backpage.com8…Peoria Home in Everett…is a two-year, residential recovery program for women 18 and over who have been exploited through sex trafficking and prostitution.  It opened in April9

1 No, it isn’t. If it were cops would be crowing about it.
2 Whom nobody around here has ever heard of before.
3 No, Those are street workers.
4 No, they got 13 bites in a sting; the fact that they didn’t arrest them could mean several different things.
5 Such as finger-painting classes and the number of the welfare office.
6 No, they don’t; that would represent some 20% of all sex workers in Greater Seattle.  Underage sex workers represent only about 3-4% of all sex workers.
7 Interstates cause sex trafficking!
8 No, it isn’t.
9 “Rescue” profiteers are utterly shameless.

Why I Wait (#812)

Most of this article is the usual garbage: equating dating with sex, pointedly ignoring commercial sex, pretending that people answer surveys on stigmatized subjects honestly, etc.  But there was one paragraph which contained some possible clues to the reasons any actual decrease (however small) might exist:

…it might be a consequence of…surging anxiety rates, of psychological frailty, of widespread antidepressant use…of environmental estrogens leaked by plastics [and soy products], of dropping testosterone levels…of helicopter parents…of sleep deprivation, of obesity…

In my estimation, the most likely candidate for this supposed decline is the ongoing culture war on sex, which discourages people from being honest about their sexuality (especially activity involving sex workers).  In other words they aren’t really having less sex; they’re just admitting it less.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#815) 

Regular readers will recognize Alberta’s article as completely unmoored from reality:

There’s been a “total abandonment of pornography as a battleground in America’s culture war,” writes Politico reporter Tim Alberta in “How the GOP Gave Up on Porn“.  He couldn’t be more wrong.  The flashpoints have shifted certainly since the 1970s and ’80s, when Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority teamed with second-wave feminists to take on Playboy and Hustler.  And social conservatives’ embrace of President Donald Trump does present a stark contrast to earlier eras…But such hypocrisy should not be mistaken for a radical repositioning of Republican dogma on “obscenity”…it was just two years ago that Republicans added language to their official party platform that declared porn “has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions“…Last year, Republicans in at least a dozen state legislatures introduced measures to ban porn access for anyone who wouldn’t pay a $20 fine…But never mind reality.  Fresh from declaring that there’s been no recent Republican action against porn because he doesn’t personally remember it, Alberta gets right to theorizing about why…

See No Evil (#854) 

Prosecutors want to cage a man for twenty years for drawings of fictional characters:

…a Rapid City, South Dakota, man was charged in federal district court with…Possession of Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children…Andrew Hallock…pleaded not guilty to the charges…[which carry] a mandatory minimum of 5 years up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine…The charges [derive from] Hallock…possessing…sexually explicit drawings and cartoons of minors…The investigation is being conducted by the I[maginary] Crimes Against [Imaginary] Children Taskforce…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#885)

Politicians send thugs to violently assault women to advance vain Disnification campaign:

Police and military personnel [brutalized] and detained 53 Laotians–50 women and three girls who were allegedly employed as sex workers–during raids on karaoke bars in southern Thailand’s Narathiwat province…Authorities could not find and arrest the bar owners during the raids, but they were…[threatening] the…sex workers…[with] prosecut[ion] for prostitution [to intimidate as many of them as possible into claiming to be “trafficking victims”]…

No Difference (#886)

Tanzania ramps up its pogroms against gay men:

International human rights organisations have condemned…the harassment and arrest of gay men in Tanzania, following comments from a government official on plans to establish a task force to identify, track down and arrest people suspected of being gay…ten men were arrested on suspicion of being gay on…Zanzibar after members of the public [ratted] them [out] to police.  They are being held…with[out] charge…for allegedly conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony, and the police reported they found the men sitting in pairs “two by two”

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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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