Archive for March, 2011

Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men. –  Chinese proverb

The apparent path of the sun crossed the equator at 23:21 GMT last night, making today the first day of astronomical spring; if you live in the southern hemisphere it’s the first day of astronomical autumn, so perhaps reading my post on Mabon would be more appropriate!  But here in North America, and indeed for most of the world’s population, it is spring so we’ll go with that.

As the Chinese proverb above reminds us, plants recognize the season before humans do, and indeed here in the southern part of the United States we’ve had signs of spring for over a month now.  As soon as the snows of February melted I started seeing little green shoots everywhere in the brown turf, and some of the early wildflowers appeared by the end of the month.  Generally I see jonquils at the end of February, but this year they didn’t bloom until last week; I reckon the unusually cold February weather delayed them.  I’ve grown quite used to seeing them as one of the earliest signs that spring proper has indeed arrived rather than just a spell of unseasonably warm winter weather.  Another sign of spring I recently received were the first kids; when I went to bring in the herd a week ago Saturday there they were with their mother, three of them nursing happily under a tree.  And since then we’ve seen six more from five mothers, good healthy ones by all signs.

That’s one of the nicest things about living in the country; one really gets to see Nature coming back to life in a way that’s hidden from urbanites.  Of course those of you who by choice or necessity live in cities still get the change of weather, but seeing the entire landscape change and the new plants and animals being born is another thing entirely.  The spring is my second-favorite of seasons after the autumn, and for similar reasons; I love the moderate temperatures, the changing scenery and the profusion of color everywhere I look.

When one lives close to Nature, one can really understand the joy our ancestors felt at the coming of spring and the rebirth of the world.  Pagans still celebrate the seasons with festivals drawn from the old traditions, so as is my custom at the sabbats I have invited my witch friend JustStarshine to tell us about the spiritual significance of the holiday.

The Significance of Ostara

Ostara, Eostre and Eoster are names that are believed to have come from Germanic or Old English goddesses of spring; these names being adopted by pagans in the same way that the word “Eoster” has evolved into the Christian “Easter”.  Modern Pagans may use any of  these names for this  festival, or even just refer to it as the Spring Equinox.

Ostara is one of the lesser sabbats and is the Festival of the New Balance and Festival of New Life; it is a time when all the elements of life are being brought into new balance, physically, as day and night attain equal length.

The symbol of the festival is the egg – a sign of rebirth and new beginnings when old ways must be broken down as a new tide of life begins.  The present-day Easter Bunny was originally the hare, symbol of fertility and always closely associated with the Goddess and magic.

It was at this time that our forefathers planted the special ears of corn saved as a corn dolly or kern king, being a symbol of the potency of the Corn King sacrificed at Lammas.

Witches celebrate the sabbats in different ways according to their chosen path.  Mine is Wiccan and after the opening rituals I take the fresh spring flowers placed on my altar to each quarter, from East to North, saying as I go:

East: May there be understanding on earth, new awareness and knowledge of Mother Nature’s needs.  As spring flowers bloom afresh may this blossom.

South: May there be a return of joy in life, in song, dance, love and the beauty of the natural world.  May this blossom.

West: May there be peace on earth.  May this blossom.

North: May the greenwoods return, the freedom and balance of natural life.  May  this blossom.

Later in the ceremony I turn  to each quarter and ask that I may have:

East:  Harmony of Mind
South:  Guidance on vitality and change
West:  Harmony of emotions
North:  Physical harmony.

As is the case with Imbolc, this is a ritual that reflects the optimism and hope engendered by new growth and new life.

I ask for all my readers, no matter what your beliefs, a renewal of joy, health and prosperity.  Blessed Be!

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Minor things can become moments of great revelation when encountered for the first time. –  Margot Fonteyn

A week ago Friday (March 11th), I received the following email from a young man who asked to be called “Joseph”:

First, allow me to say that I greatly admire your blog.  I stumbled across it while trying to find out more about that recent CNN special about ‘selling the girl next door’ and found it very enlightening, intriguing and engrossing.  And a bit frustrating, since I am in my mid-20’s, still a virgin, never even had a girlfriend (one high school crush notwithstanding) and can’t envision getting laid unless I found someone like yourself (in your previous job of course).  That’s impossible because of my job (military stationed overseas).

Since I can’t ask you to help me break regulations and find a professional in my area, I have another question.  You’ve mentioned that occasionally parents would hire you to take their son’s virginity.  Would you ever talk more about that?  I’m not looking for lurid details, mind you, but what were those jobs like?  Did the parents tell you why they went to such lengths?  Did the son know about what the parents were going to do?

Anyway, thank you for your time and keep up the fine work.  I read your blog every day.

As I’ve written before I’m especially fond of military men, so I told Joseph that I would be happy to oblige.  Joseph, if I don’t answer your questions adequately please let me know and I’ll try to elaborate in a response!

At the time I received my first such request, my personal policy was not to see men under 21; any younger than that just didn’t feel right.  Not that we exactly had a large volume of requests from men that young, mind you; it’s pretty rare that any man below about 25 has the money to hire an escort.  Once in a while there’s the frat boy type, but that’s about it.  Well one night, I went on what I expected to be a normal call; the gentleman sounded middle-aged, was polite, from another state, staying in a nice hotel, that sort of thing.  And when I got there he was much as I had expected, but before he paid me he told me that he had actually called me for his son, who had just turned 18.  Now, I knew that at one time it was not at all uncommon for fathers to hire prostitutes to take their sons’ virginity, but it’s not exactly usual nowadays and in any event I had never done it.  Still, I’ve never been one to turn down new experiences so I agreed.

The young man was, understandably, very nervous; it didn’t seem to bother him that I was 10 years older than he was (actually 15, but I claimed 28 in those days), but he had never been alone with a naked woman in a well-lit room before.  I asked him what sort of experience he had and it was the usual fumbling through clothes in dark cars with high-school girls, so I invited him to look me over and touch me as he pleased. Like many virgins he was almost too gentle for fear of hurting me, but I assured him he needn’t be so tentative and that if he accidentally hurt me I would let him know.  We didn’t do anything really unusual; I gave him the typical activities most men like, and even though I didn’t usually kiss clients I was happy to show him how most girls like to be kissed.  I kept the pace relaxed and interspersed with bits of casual conversation so he could see I wasn’t all that different from any other women he had known.  Inexperienced men often find experienced women quite intimidating, so I was careful to make everything seem as natural and comfortable as I could.

From my high school and university days I knew that virgins and near-virgins tend either to climax very quickly or to take an extremely long time due to nerves and performance anxiety; he was one of the latter sort, so I kissed and verbally encouraged him until nature took its course.  We then lay together for a long time while I caressed his chest and reassured him; like many young men he was very concerned that he had performed adequately.  I said he had done just great and that if he always strove to pay attention in bed, to give his partners more of whatever they seemed to like and to avoid whatever they seemed not to like, I was pretty sure most of his future girlfriends would be very happy with him.  All in all, I really made an effort to make the experience as special and memorable to him as possible; after all, to me he was only one customer, but to him I was and always would be his first.  And I must have succeeded, because later that evening I got a call from the father thanking me for making his son so happy; apparently the young man was singing my praises after I left!

He was the first young man whom I initiated, but he wasn’t the last; sometimes they paid for themselves, one was paid for by his friends (they took up a collection!) and another was actually arranged by his mother.  The latter was a very cool lady; we talked on the phone for quite a while so she could feel me out, and when she was satisfied that I was the right woman for the job she tasked me to show her son how to make love because she wanted him to know the right way before he inflicted himself on coeds.  What made the date even more interesting, however, was that the boy wasn’t a virgin after all; he just didn’t want to hurt his mother’s feelings by telling her after she had gone through all the trouble to carefully select and interview an escort!  It turned out Mama had nothing to worry about; he did at least as well as the average man, which was really my experience with most virgins.  It was certainly the case with a young Indian man in his late twenties who had come to America to make his fortune and was about to send for his bride; he wanted to be sure he knew what he was doing so he could make her happy in bed.  And though he asked me to critique his performance, I could find nothing to complain about.

Indeed, this sort of thing happened so consistently with virgins I sometimes wondered if most men don’t start out with good instincts and then tend to lose them over time.  Perhaps as some men gain experience and confidence they start taking for granted that they know what they’re doing, or perhaps they fall into bad habits that none of their lovers bother to correct.  Some men may just be so selfish that once the initial novelty wears off, they just don’t care about what women (especially not paid women) might like, and others may be so mired in the masculine “never ask for directions” thing that they try to teach themselves (by reading books or watching porn or whatever) and end up firmly convinced of their own expertise no matter how wrong they are.  I’ll bet a lot of them even learn from other virgins, and when the blind lead the blind the outcome is not likely to be a good one.  Maybe the parents who hired me for their sons understood that; in the absence of an older girlfriend to learn from, perhaps for a young man to enjoy his first time with a caring and patient harlot isn’t at all a bad idea.

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Sex is the gateway to life. –  Frank Harris

It’s easy to tell when a lawhead can see no valid reason for a law restricting some consensual activity:  he declares that it tends to lead to some other activity which is unambiguously bad.  For those who haven’t encountered the word in my writings before, “lawhead” is my term for those strange (but alas, all too common) individuals who believe that legal declarations have existence in objective fact; to a lawhead someone 17 years and 364 days old is a bona fide child, just as much as a toddler is, because the law declares it so. And if a law declares something wrong it MUST be wrong for some reason, even if the lawhead cannot himself discern that reason.  For example, lawheads counter scientific and anecdotal evidence that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol by declaring it a “gateway drug” which inevitably leads to more serious, harmful drugs like heroin.  The lawhead cannot accept that marijuana prohibition could possibly be wrong, so he must invent a lie to justify that prohibition:  “It may be that marijuana is harmless,” he thinks, “but since it leads to things that aren’t the State is justified in banning it.”

The “gateway” argument is also commonly used to justify the prohibition of prostitution, as in this February 23rd article from WMC-TV in Southaven, Mississippi (thanks, Joyce!):

An undercover prostitution sting operation in Southaven, Mississippi busted five suspected prostitutes and six men.  Police Chief Tom Long hopes to send the message that Southaven will not tolerate prostitution.  “We are going to make these arrests,” said Long.  “We’re not going to write them a citation and cut them loose.  We’re going to arrest them, book them, and process them and put them through our court.”

Over the weekend undercover police officers used classified ads posted on backpage.com to invite suspected prostitutes and customers into Southaven…Long said the prostitution sting is an effort to scare the illegal activity out of Southaven.  “We have no street walking [sic] section,” said Long.  “We don’t have people walking up and down the streets and its [sic] never been a problem for us.”

And Long hopes to keep it that way.  “Anywhere you have prostitution you have drugs, you have theft, you have other crimes constantly being committed,” said Long.  A proactive approach, according to the chief, keeps the trouble elsewhere…

It should be obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that this is a bogus argument; how could escorts coming into town for one hour and then leaving again somehow magically lead to drug dealing and theft?  Perhaps he believes that those invisible “sex rays” which destroy the “innocence” of children have a similar effect on adults?  Is Chief Long trying to convince people that the “sex rays” from a hooker’s body radiate out through the windows of her car, causing moral degeneracy in everyone they strike? Or maybe he believes that we “traffick” in drug dealers and thieves and then leave them behind when we go like irresponsible urbanites abandoning unwanted dogs in rural areas? And then there’s the obvious contradiction inherent in his talk about streetwalkers even though his sting was directed toward escorts, and the fact that if he actually believes any of the filth he’s spouting then he is guilty of inviting crime into Southaven himself by luring hookers from outside to enter the city!

However, I don’t believe for one second that Chief Long, or the majority of the thousands of other cops who mouth this same nonsense all over the United States on a daily basis, actually believe a word of it deep down.  Those promoting these ridiculous arguments are either lawheads themselves or they’re trying to justify their tyranny to lawheads.  Because it’s pretty obvious to sensible people (i.e. those whose brains haven’t rotted from long immersion in fundamentalism or neofeminism) that prostitution is a victimless crime, a justification is needed for the laws prohibiting it or the lawhead’s entire world view is in jeopardy; so, otherwise-harmless prostitution is painted as the “gateway” to theft and other real crimes, thus inventing a reason for prohibiting it and circumventing the obvious fact that such laws are an egregious violation of women’s rights.

The “prostitution attracts crime” myth is a pretty old one; nowadays it’s largely been replaced outside of the minds of small-town cops by the “all prostitution is coerced” mythology and by fanciful claims that our private activities somehow magically “demean” all other women even if they don’t know we exist.  But in the final analysis, those aren’t very different from it, are they?  Both of those beliefs (and others like them) really proceed from the same need to recast the innocuous as harmful, not for itself but for its fancied consequences.

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Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition. –  Timothy Leary

To start with, Ching Shih (1775–1844) was only her stage name; it simply means “Widow of Zheng”.  Her real name and her history prior to 1801 are completely unknown except for the fact that she was a prostitute in one of the famous floating brothels of Canton.  She was captured in a raid by the powerful pirate Zheng Yi, commander of six pirate fleets, who appears to have known her professionally before the raid because his men were specifically instructed to bring the 26-year-old beauty to him.  He had fallen deeply in love with her and proposed marriage, and she agreed on the condition that Zheng Yi grant her 50% of his profits and command of one of his fleets.

Artist’s conception of Ching Shih (origin unknown)

Ching I Sao (“Wife of Zheng”), as she was then known, quickly won the respect of her men and her husband drew upon her shrewd advice to increase his power; his family had been noted pirates since at least the mid-17th century and the cunning former whore advised him to use that reputation in combination with intimidation to build an alliance of pirate fleets which until that time had engaged in self-defeating competition.  By 1804 this alliance, known as the Red Flag Fleet, was the most powerful pirate force in China; it was comprised of over 1500 ships and ranged all the way from Korea to Malaysia.  In 1807 Zheng Yi was killed in a typhoon, and his widow (now called Ching Shih) quickly made a pact with Chang Pao, the late commander’s chief lieutenant, which placed her in absolute command of the fleet with him as her executive officer.  The deal appears to have been leveraged by her sex appeal, because they became lovers and later married (though sources vary as to whether this was before or after her retirement).

Ching Shih realized that in order to maintain control she had to establish strict discipline lest the men believe that a female commander could be defied with impunity.  She therefore imposed a code of behavior far more severe than the pirate “articles” common in the Spanish Main:  disobedience, theft, desertion, dereliction of duty, cowardice and rape of female prisoners were all punishable by beheading.  Her power grew at a frightening pace, and within a year the Red Flag Fleet boasted two hundred oceangoing junks of twenty guns each, eight hundred small ships, dozens of riverboats and over 17,000 men; it was one of the largest navies in the world and nothing could stand against it.  She extorted tribute from merchants all over the China Seas and from coastal towns from Macau to Canton, and became a de facto government in her own right; soon she began to impose taxes and levies and enforced her own laws.

This sketch from 1836 imagines what Ching Shih might have looked like in battle.

Clearly, the Chinese government could not ignore this, so in 1808 it sent a fleet against Ching Shih; she easily defeated it, capturing 63 ships and impressing hundreds of sailors into her navy (those who remained loyal to the Emperor were beaten to death with clubs).  Further attacks were equally unsuccessful, as were the attempts at rebellion by subject villages (which were burned to the ground and saw all their men slaughtered).  In desperation, the Chinese government asked for help from the British and Portuguese; their forces, too, were defeated by the harlot admiral.  By 1810 the government was forced to admit defeat and offered a general amnesty to all pirates who would give up their ships and arms.  Ching Shih was no fool, and saw her opportunity to quit while she was ahead; accordingly, she appeared unannounced at the official home of the Governor-general of Canton and negotiated an incredible deal:  she and all her men were given full amnesty and allowed to keep all of their loot, any of her men who wished to join the Imperial Navy would be allowed to do so, and Chang Pao received a lieutenant’s commission.  Ching Shih thus retired from piracy at 35 and opened a combination casino and brothel which she operated until her death at the age of 69, survived by at least one son.

Ching Shih was quite probably the most successful pirate who ever lived; not only did she defeat all attempts to stop her and make staggering sums of money, but she also managed to keep all her profits and transition into a respectable business when she was still quite young.  And considering that the half-share in the pirate fleet which set the stage for her eventual control of the whole was essentially a price for her favors, I think it’s fair to say she was among the most successful prostitutes of all time as well.  She didn’t become an empress as Theodora did, but she essentially made herself a queen, foiled the efforts of the three greatest navies in the world and died a peaceful death as a wealthy, successful, respected businesswoman at a ripe old age.

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This is the second part of the collected questions and answers from the commentary threads on the Jill Brenneman interview columns which appeared in this blog last month.  I’ve arranged the questions into logical order, editing as explained yesterday.

Asehpe:  How do you manage to do sex work despite your scars?  This must take a lot of self-control and self-discipline.  I wonder if this doesn’t cause misunderstandings with your clients, who probably expect girls that at least look enthusiastic.

Jill: I’m a sex worker because I need the money and at present lack other opportunities.  I’m amazed that I have repeat clients; whatever success I have probably still comes from the training from the era with Bruce.  Some clients have left the date very unhappy with zero feeling on my end.  I got lax with self discipline and self control with the Federal Air Marshall.  I let my years as an activist, and my years of harm reduction training and crisis counseling give me a false sense of my own safety.  He wasn’t happy with the results, wanted what he didn’t want to pay for, he also wanted more enthusiasm than I was giving.  He insulted me and I reacted with a smart-ass comment…he had me down, handcuffed with a trash bag over my head and then restarted the negotiation.  He could get everything he wanted at no additional charge including enthusiasm and I could get to breathe and take no more blows that worsened the concussion he had given me…The only person I can truly blame is myself.  I knew better than to get cocky and aggressive…with a client and let my ego get in the way of doing the job safely.  Since then I have been much more careful.

It’s hard to have gone back to sex work.  While I totally respect that many of my colleagues enjoy the work, take pride in what they do and do it well, I’m not in that space with sex work.  I’m haunted by the violence, not sexually attracted to men and offer the clients more of what they want physically but very little emotionally.  I am able to recognize the difference between the past as a runaway teen and now as an adult consenting sex worker, and despite what the antis say, there is a huge difference.  In some ways, I feel better about my activism now that I have returned to sex work because of a sense that I am with my colleagues doing sex work and activism rather than just being an activist.  But from a client’s perspective, I admittedly suck.

Asehpe:  Where do you see yourself going in the future?  Do you have plans for the rest of your life, or are you just living each day as it comes?  Are you going to continue being active in the pro-prostitution/harm reduction movement?

Jill: I don’t have plans for the future.  I never have; I never felt safe making them.  Life can quickly take away what it has given.  I try to focus on remembering the gifts…of love and friendship in each current day.  I would like to be a flight attendant again.  I miss that, but who knows?  I’ve found it just isn’t wise to make plans for the future as they seldom work out.  I’d rather focus on what I have today then even ponder the future.  Yes, I will remain a sex worker rights/harm reduction activist.  It’s a passion for me; I suffered some horrendous things, [but] some really awesome people taught me that I could be loved, could give love and could make a conscious choice.  I could let the horror of my past make me into a monster, I could do nothing, or I could use it to understand oppression, to understand violence, to hate to see others suffer and try to make a difference for them when they are not able to do it for themselves.

In retrospect, even if I knew what I was facing with Bruce before I got into the car with him but knew what I could learn from that, and that it could…[make] the difference whether I grew up to be shallow and empty or to have humanity and to be able to rely on my own sense of right and wrong…I would still get in his car.  I would not be who I am today had I not…I will always do the activism because I have something to give as a result of my past.  Something that perhaps is a bit different than others, something that may bring constructive social change to someone.

Amanda:  [To Asehpe and other readers] I would like to clarify one thing:  there is no such thing as a “pro-prostitution” movement.  There is a “sex worker rights” movement.  “Pro-prostitution” is a label dreamed up by the antis who like to throw it at sex worker rights advocates.  Fighting for human and civil rights is very different from being “pro” anything.  The antis also like to claim that the vast, worldwide “pro-prostitution lobby” is funded by porn and encourages sex trafficking.  That does not describe the sex worker rights movement at all.

Jill: Amanda, thank you for illustrating the point about “pro-prostitution”.  There is NO “pro-prostitution” as it is represented by the antis.  I don’t know that people without experience from within the anti movement realize the horrible meaning [they] attach to that.  [They] believe that all prostitution is bought and sold rape; what they are saying by calling us “pro-prostitution” is that we are “pro-rape”, that we are deliberately trying to get as many women raped, assaulted and hurt as we can.  They malign the sex worker rights movement and its activists with that terrible term.  I have never met anyone who was “pro-prostitution” as they represent it.  Even many of the staunchest supporters of sex work have suffered rape and violence in their lifetimes and I don’t know anyone in our movement that wants anyone to suffer bought and sold rape.

Thus as Amanda illustrated, it is imperative to remember when describing yourself as “pro-prostitution” the meaning is completely different from how people here understand it and how the antis understand it.

Frank:  Jill, when you were at home, what did you want your parents to do that they weren’t doing, or what did you want them to stop doing?

Jill: It wasn’t so much about what my parents weren’t doing…it was that they never wanted me at all and made no secret of it.  I was malnourished and…froze in the winters for lack of winter clothes.  I was an unwanted child in an era pre-dating Roe V. Wade.  I was born many weeks premature…in an era where premature births almost always ended in death.  There was a lot of sexual abuse from [my mom’s boyfriend], who got extensive access to me with a blind eye from parents.  I wanted that to stop.

I had little choice in…leaving home…quite simply no one wanted me there in the first place.  Even if I had a choice, for me to stay would have meant the sexual abuse…would have had to stop, there would have had to be some concession on the amount of hatred…directed at me, I needed more food, clothes that weren’t falling apart and were warm enough for a very harsh New England winter.  My only support was from a paternal grandmother who died just before I was thrown out.  Without that I had nothing left and it was a matter of time.

Asehpe:  I am…curious about how you feel about your parents and other family members, if you want any contact with them.

Jill: I re-established minimal contact and was present the day my brother’s baby was born.  No one in the family has ever asked what happened to me.  I don’t have much contact with them, they have so little part of my life.

Brandy Devereaux:  What I would like to know is how…the run-in with Bruce could have been avoided.  What I mean is if there had been a youth drop in shelter that you could have gone to, would you have?  If you had been educated to the fact that there are creeps out there like Bruce and the signs to look for to avoid nutcases like that, would you have not gone with him?

Jill: The likelihood is nothing could have been done.  He offered what I needed right then, when I had nothing else.  I knew partially the risks yet went with him anyway.  I can’t say that I would do it differently if the same scenario happened again.  The warning bells of hunger, homelessness and basic needs ring louder than those of potential threats; it was a case of actual threat vs. possible.  The only logical answer was to go with him.  By the time I got to his car and he wanted me blindfolded, nothing had changed.  I still needed what he claimed to offer; I had nothing else.  I knew at the time I was probably going to be raped and hurt; I expected that to be part of the trade-off for food and shelter, [but] I just didn’t know the rest.  I couldn’t have, I’d never even heard of most of the rest.

Asehpe:  I have the impression that your life history makes certain things — intimacy, friendship, trust (especially of men) — much more difficult for you than they would otherwise have to be.  This is a sobering perspective for people who take such things for granted, and gives to your tragedy a depth of dimension that is really very moving.

Jill: I’ve learned over time how to build and maintain strong relationships with female friends which last well as long as sex isn’t involved, [but] my relationships with men are virtually nonexistent; while I recognize there are good men out there and have met some of them, I have virtually no ability to form any kind of trust with them.  The best…I can achieve is seeing that some of my friends are in relationships with good men and being happy about that situation.

Asehpe:  Perhaps if you at some point found a good man who needs your help, who was equally scarred by life… this might allow you to develop a relationship.  Nothing makes us feel more like we’re healing than helping others heal.  Cleaning other people’s wounds has a soothing effect on our own.

Jill: I agree with you that helping others is cathartic.  I’m empathetic by nature anyway, but found reward in being a crisis counselor in Minnesota, by being a non judgmental friend…helping others clean their souls has helped me a great deal…I’ve been fortunate to have made some really wonderful friends over the years that I have been able to learn from and regain my humanity.  I would like to believe and hope that I have been able to give back more than I have taken from the world…I wasn’t a particularly quality human being for years after I got away from Bruce.  I’ve been very fortunate in having had the opportunity to learn from mistakes and be able to make amends to the people I hurt and prove I could learn humanity.

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After the Jill Brenneman interview columns of February 21st24th, a number of readers had questions which Jill graciously answered in the commentary.  But since these were spread chaotically across four days, she asked if they could be gathered together and I thought that was a good idea.  I’ve placed the questions and answers in what I feel to be a logical order, editing them for length and punctuation; I’ve also changed the pronouns where needed so the questions are addressed directly to Jill.  In a few places I’ve moved sentences for clarity, but the only added words are in brackets.  I expect that these two columns will generate still more questions, but please wait until you’ve read tomorrow’s so as to avoid redundancy.

Kaiju0:  I am left feeling very confused about how men like this can exist.  It is almost unbelievable to me…I have such a difficult time imagining myself or men I know DOING these things to a woman, let alone a teenaged girl.  And I know they may have been deceived by Bruce regarding your age and…willingness to participate, but at some level they HAD to question it.  They had to know something was wrong.

Jill: There were times when both men and women involved questioned what was happening.  But I was presented as…his willing 19-year-old girlfriend, who was a Goth sub.  We role-played this until I could handle questions about it without much thought and…he could depend on my answers supporting him.  Bruce was very proud of the cover story of meeting a confident…women’s studies student and teaching her “her place”.  I upheld the cover story; to do otherwise was a brutal experience afterward, and there were times that he felt I wasn’t convincing enough.  He was very proud of what he could do to me, what I would let him do, that he could pass me around to his friends and mostly that he had taken me from college student to slave.  Of course, I was never a college student but that was immaterial.

Sometimes [people] probably could tell something wasn’t right…More than once some of the men told him to slow things down because they saw he was hurting me a lot and/or saw that he was so aggressive he was risking killing me.  Although, I don’t know that they cared about me as much as they were afraid…he would…make them witnesses.  But it is important to understand, I played my role, promising it was ok to keep going, telling people I was ok when I wasn’t, ensuring everyone was aware this was my choice even though it wasn’t.  I fought very hard to overcome their objections because to do otherwise was viewed as betrayal.

Asehpe: Did you ever find out what Bruce’s ultimate fate was…or has it become immaterial to you?  With experiences such as yours, one would imagine that sooner or later a desire for revenge, or at least justice, would appear.  Do you feel a need for something to give it closure?

Jill: Bruce’s current status is immaterial to me, other than I hope he hasn’t harmed anyone else…I don’t want revenge.  It wouldn’t give me anything [and] I’m afraid of him anyway [so] the point is moot…He is a large man.  There is no physical punishment I could or would want to give to him to equal what he did to me as a teenage girl.  They simply aren’t parallel.  My only wish is that he not be able to harm anyone else.

There won’t ever be closure; the closest I can come is speaking about what happened to try to protect others.  I don’t believe it’s possible to achieve closure with something this devastating…The best revenge would be to prevent the suffering of others.  I’d rather have that happen than any harm I could do to him.  The only thing I would like would be answers from him.  Certainly after the escape attempt I had learned the entire scope of his power; I don’t know why he had to continue to the very last day to be as violent and degrading as he was to me.  With the exception of the escape attempt, I did everything he told me to do that was humanly possible.  His rule was that I never speak first, never question anything, [and] I never broke that rule.  Many times he wanted displays of my willingness to die on command; I gave him those over and over whenever he wanted proof that I understood it was his right to demand that for his varying reasons.  I was broken within hours of being in his cellar; he had absolute control.  I would like to ask him why he still hurt me so much.

For the record, I’m not trying to present this as a sub thing; it wasn’t inherently that.  It was simply that he had that much control because I was not able to do what I wanted to do, [which was to] resist him until he did kill me.  The process of being killed was too long and painful…I wasn’t afraid of dying, I was afraid of living.

Maggie: There are a lot of things in sex which are a good fantasy but a terrible reality, and sexual slavery is one.  Though Bruce wanted others to think you were a willing submissive who could stop things if you wanted, that clearly was NOT the case and that makes the two things as different as charity and theft.

Jill: You’re right; I had never considered the idea that Bruce sold the events that happened as something I could stop if I wanted.  I knew he presented them as something I was willing to do, but it never occurred to me he would have also made it appear that I could have stopped it.  People openly commented about my bravery in how far I would go or let them go and about what a great “catch” I was and how truly wonderful it was that he had convinced me to “drop college” for him and [all] that.  But I always thought they knew I had no voice in stopping it.  But you must be right.  It makes far more sense than my thought process.

Kelly James:  You must be angry…at least I know I’m angry..angry like if given the opportunity I don’t think I’d have any problem personally flipping the switch on his electric chair kind of angry.  How do you deal with the anger?

Jill: I never really found the anger.  Bruce’s violence and…that [which] surrounded him through his associates and clients, along with the endless role-plays to make sure I acted the way I was prepared rather than with anything I felt, took an enormous emotional toll.  My assumption is that was Bruce’s plan from the outset.  I was far too scared and far too emotionally and physically wounded to do much other than what kept him from being more violent.  Essentially fear was overwhelming of any other emotion.  Freedom never really changed that; while the fear went down over time, I have never really had much anger.  Even to this day, therapists and psychiatrists have tried to get me to access my anger to break the cycle of depression and PTSD.  I just haven’t ever really found it.  Ultimately I probably bought his point that it was destiny and have yet to find a way to move beyond that.

Kelly James:  I understand….almost kinda thought you’d say that.  I’m sure as hell angry that happened to you and I bet if I told you that what happened to you happened to me, you’d be really angry…It was random chance that…you met Bruce – not your destiny.  It could have happened to any one of us…and it’s okay to be angry at the monster who perpetrated it.

Jill: You are entirely correct:  If you told me what happened to me, happened to you, I would be really angry.  While I’m never a good advocate for myself, I am always a really good advocate for others because then I can find the anger…As bad…as it is that I happened to be the one who ran into him, I honestly feel better with the concept that it was me than anyone else…There was another girl who was involved for a short time; the day she was no longer there was the same day we left for Los Angeles.  I don’t know what happened to her; I’ve always hoped that she simply escaped.  I can’t accuse him of anything other than making her suffer while she was there like he did me because I don’t know.

Kelly James:  Perhaps some self-defense/martial arts classes would give you a way to physically express anger and help you get over your fear.

Jill: You know, I’ve got 2 years of self-defense training.  As a flight attendant after 9/11, I found a serious need for it in order to feel safe working flights every day.  Although he is such a large man, I’m not sure even what I know and have practiced over and over in…class could overcome the size difference.  My fear of him is more about what lengths he would go to in order to get vengeance for me escaping.  I’ve always feared his return in my life would come at a time I was with a friend and a lot of thought has gone into how to deal with that so that at least the other person had the ability to get away from him.  I would hope self-defense would at least buy some time.

Lindsey:  I cannot even imagine what you’ve gone through and I don’t think that I could be that strong.  I found your insights into the anti-prostitution movement to be very enlightening because I was never fully aware of the intricacies…This interview brought so much depth to why criminalizing prostitution is a bad thing for everyone…I think the most discomforting part for me was not the graphic details of abuse…but rather the way the anti-prostitution activists pushed aside the sex workers as if their opinions didn’t matter.

Jill: Thank you for the kudos but they are unnecessary.  I speak out about the past in hopes of preventing a similar future for someone else.  IMO, that doesn’t make me deserving of honor or…reward, it just makes me human and means that I learned something from the violence that I was able to apply to myself to be more of a human being than I would have been otherwise.  In some ways it is much better that I experienced what I did; it gave me an understanding of myself that made me stronger and more empathetic.

Sailor Barsoom:  So you were speaking out against prostitution…and they still thought you were some evil infiltrator?  (The CIA?)

Jill: They still believed I was CIA or “a pro-prostitution” mole…I wasn’t dogmatic enough, didn’t know who the famous people in feminism were and didn’t care.  I was never meant to be an anti.  I wasn’t a good fit…despite my history.  Had I run into the sex worker rights movement first I would have started there anyway; the fit was much better, plus I’ve been free in the movement to be true to myself.  I wish I were a CIA mole infiltrating radical feminism; it would be a safe gig with good pay and really good insurance.

To be concluded tomorrow.

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The prostitute is not, as feminists claim, the victim of men but rather their conqueror, an outlaw who controls the sexual channel between nature and culture. –  Camille Paglia

Ignorance of a subject never stops fools from opining about it, but when the subject is prostitution the ignoramuses aren’t just wrong; they tend to actually turn the facts backward and upside-down, then proclaim their own ignorance to be knowledge and brand the knowledge of the real experts, the whores themselves, as propaganda.  In the looking-glass world of the prohibitionists the real is unreal and vice versa; common situations are called “rare” and rare ones an “epidemic”, an independent businesswoman is a “victim”, a female-dominated profession is characterized as “exploitation of women”, ignorance is strength and freedom is slavery.  To be sure, this isn’t a new problem; insecure men have been claiming their own lust is “really” female lust for at least three or four millennia.  But the sick, twisted weltanschauung of neofeminists, born as it is out of their own wounded, frightened psyches, has found an ally in the fragile, infantile ego of the male politician and this marriage made in Hell has given rise to an anti-whore catechism which makes the myth of the wanton seem positively reasonable in comparison.

Brandy Devereaux recently brought a perfect example of this to my attention; in this article from Statesman.com political grandstanding and lies are called “remarkable”, financial independence is called “economic dependence”, social networks are called “isolation”, work is referred to as “being purchased”, the majority is called a minority and vice-versa, firsthand accounts are called “myth” and making one’s own choices is called “demeaning servitude”.  The neofeminist author of this article refers to women as “objects” and proclaims laws which characterize adult women as incompetent minors to be a “giant step forward”.  But see for yourself:

One recent morning two Georgia lawmakers did a remarkable thing…speak up for teenage prostitutes.  Girls are manipulated and violated, held captive through violence, isolation, threats, economic dependence and emotional abuse, said…Edward Lindsey…”Right now there are hundreds of girls all across Atlanta and this region who are waiting in hotel rooms to be purchased by men on the Internet,” said state Rep. Buzz Brockway…Maybe there are some happy hookers, but they are a comparative few within a sea of misery that their outsized myth helps create.  If you meet such a person, ask her how she started out in the business and how old she was.  Increasingly, the prostitute is now understood to be a trafficked object, a slave to a pimp, a victim trapped in demeaning, dangerous servitude…

With so many conflicting views, it can be difficult to write laws to help people brutalized by those who buy and sell them.  If she’s a victim, she should be protected.  If she’s a criminal, she should be prosecuted.  In grappling with such conflicts, states across the country have been rewriting laws to make it tougher on traffickers, pimps and johns and easier on those they prostitute…The Georgia House recently passed some of the most progressive legislation in the country on the subject.  The vote was 168-1, and when it passed the lawmakers broke into applause.  For traffickers, pimps and johns, the bill imposes higher fines and longer sentences, which get even longer if their victims are young.  There would be a 25-year minimum prison sentence for using coercion to traffic someone under 18.  Buying sex with a 16-year-old would bring a sentence of at least 5 years.  Younger than that and it’s a 10-year minimum.  At least as important, the bill would make it harder for the sellers and buyers of sex to defend themselves.  Didn’t know her age?  Wouldn’t matter…

On this issue, people usually on opposite sides came together:  religious groups and feminists, Republicans and Democrats.  The new Republican attorney general, Sam Olens, contributed ideas he picked up from the National Association of Attorneys General.  Prosecutors worked on the bill with a group called A Future Not a Past, which aims at ending the prostitution of girls.  Georgia Women for a Change suggested approaches from national anti-trafficking organizations.  A Baptist group that last year opposed a bill that would have banned prosecuting underage prostitutes supported this one…

I’m sure I’m not alone in recognizing the Swedish reek on all this; as I predicted last year, it’s rapidly becoming more popular because it lets sex-haters of both types, the neofeminist and Puritan, infantilize prostitutes and attack our livelihood while claiming to “help” us.  Note the implication that all prostitutes start as teenagers (a myth I busted back on November 27th)  and mention of the organization “A Future Not a Past”, which commissioned the bogus Schapiro Group “study” I analyzed two days later.  As for the Georgia law touted in this mirrored manifesto, I pointed out the potential for abuse inherent in it on February 19th.  I’m not surprised the legislators broke into applause; they had succeeded in getting widespread support from the sheeple for an expansion of government’s power to enrich itself by accusing citizens of vague, unprovable and poorly-defined crimes.  While most of the rest of the world moves toward greater liberty and increased choices for women, we in the “Land of the Free” are allowing our leaders to steadily row this country backward into the Dark Ages.

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The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of inhumanity. –  George Bernard Shaw

In my column of February 6th I discussed the tendency for prohibitionists to paint prostitutes as somehow less than fully human; the Victorians considered us atavisms, cops (including female cops) try to depict us as predatory criminals, and neofeminists portray us as “prostituted women”, in other words passive, stunted children without the ability to make adult decisions.  It is to fight this perception that I so often stress the lack of important differences between harlots and other women; politicians and neofeminists both wish to distract amateurs from recognizing that the war on whores affects all women, not just professionals, because the day they recognize that fact is the day that prohibitionist laws become the subject of the same sort of massed feminine fury which is routinely directed against attempts to restrict abortion rights.

One particularly concrete example of the effect of whore-persecution on amateurs came to my attention last Thursday (March 10th); according to this report paraphrased from BBC News, a woman died after being stabbed by her boyfriend because two cops who were nearby thought it more important to continue with a plot to entrap streetwalkers than to try to save a woman’s life:

Two Northamptonshire police officers who said they were too busy working on “an anti-prostitution operation” to respond to an emergency call in which a woman was stabbed to death have received “written warnings” for their behavior.  Police received a call at 0011 GMT on January 18th, 2010 from the home of Louise Webster, 40; the dispatcher could hear screaming and shouting and two minutes later confirmed that someone had been stabbed.  At 0012 GMT and 0015 GMT a GPS device in one of the officer’s radios placed them in the immediate vicinity of the incident, so the control room requested them to respond because they were closest.  But since they refused to do so, another officer patrolling alone somewhat farther away responded and arrived at about 0029 GMT; only then could the paramedic, who had to wait near the scene for police to arrive, enter the house to treat Webster, by which time it was too late to save her.

The murderer, Martin Ashby, was sentenced to life in prison last week, but the cops only received “warnings” because a police complaints commission claimed that even if they had responded it was too late to save Webster anyway.  One commissioner dissented, saying “The police work to protect the public and preserve life.  I find it deeply disturbing that these two officers who were in the immediate vicinity, chose to ignore these basic but fundamental principles.”

Even if the commission’s predictable findings were correct, the cops couldn’t have known it at the time; the fact of the matter is that these cowards preferred to bully one group of women rather than go to another’s rescue.

Whore stigmatization even affects women who left the profession years before; just ask Melissa Petro (who has now given up her fight to remain a teacher) or Tera Myers, a teacher who made a few porn films in the mid-‘90s under the stage name Rikki Andersin.  Myers resigned from her position last week after a student recognized her in an old film (which he shouldn’t have been watching in the first place) and ratted her out to the school district.  The following is paraphrased from a March 7th report by KFVS-TV:

Tera Myers, a high-school science teacher in Chesterfield, Missouri, has resigned after a student asked her about her past, referring to the one or more pornographic movies she made in the mid-1990s.  A statement from the school district says she requested to be placed on administrative leave “out of respect for her privacy and that of her family,” and that she will be paid for the remainder of the term but will not return in the autumn.  This isn’t the first time it’s happened to her; in 2006 her past was revealed while she was teaching in Paducah, Kentucky and her contract was not renewed because the superintendent “feared her presence would cause a distraction in the classroom.”  Since acting in porn is not illegal, the information was not revealed on background checks performed by either school district.

Like Melissa Petro, Myers’ career in harlotry was short-lived and she was praised as an exceptional teacher, but obviously we can’t have those sex rays contaminating the innocent little darlings, especially not the ones who are already watching porn and developing future careers as stool pigeons.

Of course, this isn’t really surprising; unjust and abominable treatment of whores and former whores is widely accepted in North America.  The US government mouths platitudes in response to UN reports condemning its human rights violations (“We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination…based on…their status as a person in prostitution…”) while not only condoning but actively encouraging the persecution of voluntary adult prostitutes, even in foreign countries where it isn’t criminal.  And the Canadian government has argued that the prohibitionist laws struck down by the Ontario Superior Court in September should be reinstated because the government has no obligation to protect Canadian citizens who choose jobs known to be dangerous (such as cops?), and indeed has the right to artificially make such jobs more dangerous in order to discourage people from choosing them.  But though news stories and Canadian government statements about mistreatment of or even violence against sex workers often contain a subtext that prostitutes choose and deserve to be harmed, violated or murdered, there are a few exceptions such as this one which  appeared last Wednesday (March 9th) on the website of the Fox affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee:

Four prostitutes were killed and another…was shot several times and left for dead.  All of these cases happened within weeks of each other…other than having prostitution in common and being found in the same central location, investigators still are not sure why these victims were chosen…”Prostitutes, young women’s bodies have been dumped here and that’s just sad,” said John Gray, who has relatives buried in the cemetery [where the bodies were found]…”It’s a scary thought that someone would kill people on a consistent basis and bring them to the same spot and dump their bodies.  I would think it’s the same person…Right now, they’re saying it’s prostitutes being killed but when a person starts killing like that, you have to start getting worried about anybody.”

Unlike the Long Island district attorney,  the officials in Memphis don’t appear to be minimizing the case simply because the victims were hookers; perhaps that’s just the way the article’s author, Lynn Lampkin, chose to write it, but the way the victims’ profession is treated as nonchalantly as if it were “cab drivers” or “waitresses” says otherwise and though the interviewee states the point clumsily, he also seems to recognize that a man who would kill prostitutes could just as easily kill any other woman.  I honestly feel that most normal people are beginning to see us as women like any others, but unfortunately most of the cases of arrested development who see us as subhuman are concentrated in places where they can prevent the general awakening from having any practical effects in the here and now.

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This story is unusual in that it’s a rewrite of one I first penned around 1989, which was lost when the paper copy vanished and the floppy disc on which it was kept was somehow damaged.  I’ve never forgotten it, though, and a few weeks ago I realized it would be perfect for this month’s fictional interlude so I simply rewrote it (IMHO somewhat better than before).  It’s also unusual in another way:  Up to now the whores in these tales, whether protagonist or antagonist, have largely been on the side of the angels; but as you will soon see this one is definitely an exception!  If you’re a new reader and like this story you might also enjoy the others linked here.

Demons are moody, treacherous beings; the spells designed to summon them are full of complex instructions and peculiar requirements, and violation of any of these may break the magical constraints placed upon the entity and allow it to exact a horrible vengeance upon the mortal foolish enough to drag it from its own plane of existence in an attempt to force it into servitude.  And given his comparative inexperience at black magic, Howard wasn’t about to risk any of the more complicated rituals; he was too squeamish for blood sacrifice, too shaky-handed to inscribe intricate cabalistic diagrams, and too poor at math to trust his calculation of precise astrological conditions, and he wasn’t knowledgeable enough to be sure what the various archaic names for certain herbs and powders might actually refer to in modern terminology.  But the grimoire he had stolen from an estate he was cataloging for the bank was large and very complete, and his thorough study of it eventually turned up half a dozen spells in which even a novice like himself could feel a reasonable degree of confidence.

He read the descriptions of the specific demons conjured by these more accessible invocations and quickly settled upon the one which appealed most to him:  Nahemah, the Princess of Succubae, fallen angel of prostitution and harlot of Hell, who conferred upon he who could command her the gifts of divination and sexual power over any mortal.  Considering Howard’s meager assets and dismal track record with the opposite sex, this was the demon for him; with divination he could pick winning stocks or horses, and with power over women he could enslave the proud whores who were only interested in him for as long as he could keep paying.  He would show them, and other women too; in fact everyone who had ever crossed him would rue the day they had done so once Nahemah was his to command!  Best of all, her spell wasn’t even difficult; the only critical stipulation was that the final word be pronounced exactly at midnight.

The next day he paid no mind to the lovely spring weather as he drove around town collecting everything he needed for the procedure, and for the rest of the afternoon he devoted himself to laying out his supplies and moving all the furniture to the sides of his living room, then carefully inscribing the protective pentacle on the floor in chalk.  He made sure he measured every dimension carefully and precisely copied the arcane words of protection around its rim, then studied the ritual again and practiced pronouncing those Latin words of its text with which he was unfamiliar.  He confined his dog in the garage so as to preclude any possibility of her smudging the lines of the diagram and then tested the amount of time it would take him to perform the whole summoning, determining after several trial runs that he should start at 11:30 and pace himself with frequent pauses at junctures where they seemed to be allowed so as to be ready to complete the last phrase as his hall-clock was striking twelve.  He then checked that clock and his others against the official time announcement, then prepared a generous supper and after eating allowed himself the rare indulgence of a cigar.  “I’ll be able to afford these whenever I like once I strike my bargain with Nahemah,” he thought, “and a different girl fixing my dinner every night!”  His thoughts soon wandered to other pleasures he would enjoy with those women, but he dismissed such fantasies as distracting to his concentration; there would be plenty of time for that later, only it wouldn’t be mere fantasy then!

By 11 PM his nerves were thoroughly frazzled and he had a glass of wine to calm them.  He only allowed himself the one; after all this work and preparation he wasn’t about to risk his success on slurred speech.  In over four decades he had never succeeded at anything worthwhile, and he certainly wasn’t going to do anything to risk failure tonight!  So he composed himself as best he could, and when he heard the half-hour chime he checked his clocks again, then lit the candles and began the ritual.

Howard’s spirits began to rise as he realized that this time he had done everything right; he neither stumbled over the words nor fumbled over the gestures, and the pacing was exactly as he had practiced. Some fifteen minutes into the ceremony his dog began to howl mournfully from the garage; perhaps her keen senses had detected some disturbance in the environment caused by the spell’s beginning to work. Then as if in imitation of the dog, the wind outside also began to howl, but he ignored both it and the animal; with his victory so close he could not admit even the slightest distraction.  He paused momentarily in his incantation while gesturing and burning a piece of rune-marked parchment, then stole a glance at his watch and began the final phrases of the conjuration, ending just as his clock began to strike twelve.

He did not have long to wait after that; a column of multicolored smoke erupted within the summoning diagram inscribed on the floor and the room was filled with a sweet, complex odor with earthy undertones.  Within the vapor a shadowy form appeared, and as the cloud began to dissipate the shape was revealed as that of a hauntingly beautiful woman whose unearthly nature was only betrayed by the fact that her eyes were lightless orbs like two enormous black pearls.  The dog’s howling was frantic now, and the wind had risen to a gale, and as Nahemah looked upon him with a terrible smile he somehow knew deep in his gut that something was very, very wrong.

“I will never understand mortals,” she purred in a voice as sweet as honey and as cold as the void between worlds.  “I enjoy coming to your plane so much that I placed as few restrictions on my summoning as possible, yet you blithely ignored my simple requirement and called me hither a full hour before the permitted time.  ‘Tis a pity; it would have been far more entertaining to trick you into betraying yourself.”  And with that she stepped forward out of the circle, its power broken by the miscast spell, and her would-be master’s scream was abruptly silenced as the two of them vanished like a nightmare on wakening.  Poor, incompetent Howard; though he had done his very best to get everything right, it never occurred to him than no mortal government has the power to compel a demon to observe Daylight Savings Time.

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Prostitution is not just a service industry, mopping up the overflow of male demand, which always exceeds female supply. Prostitution testifies to the amoral power struggle of sex…. Prostitutes, pornographers, and their patrons are marauders in the forest of archaic night. –  Camille Paglia

Just how old is the “world’s oldest profession”?  Many people (including myself) feel it’s just a formalized version of natural female behavior, and I’ve discussed this idea at least twice before (on October 12th and January 17th).  The latter column was inspired by one written by Amanda Brooks, and a number of working girls commenting on these columns stated that the work felt perfectly natural to them, or that they were drawn to it at an early age.  But whores aren’t the only ones contemplating the origins of our profession; some evolutionary biologists think about it as well.  Regular reader Joyce sent me a link to the March 6th entry in a blog called The Scientific Fundamentalist which appears on the Psychology Today website.  The blog is written by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics (who is currently a visiting scholar at Cornell) and the column is called “Do Men Try To Impress Prostitutes?”:

…In the epilogue of… [Superfreakonomics] entitled “Monkeys are people too,” Levitt and Dubner discuss the research by M. Keith Chen and Laurie R. Santos with capuchin monkeys.  Chen and Santos introduced money in a small group of capuchin monkeys and taught them how to use it.  Eventually, the capuchins learned that coins had value and they could exchange them for valuable commodities like food.  One of the things that Chen and Santos discovered in their research is just how humanlike the capuchins are.  As soon as they learned that coins had value, one of the male capuchins gave a coin to a female in exchange for sex.  Yes, capuchins engage in prostitution.  The observation that nonhuman species engage in prostitution is not new, however.  Frans de Waal and other primatologists have long observed that bonobos also engaged in prostitution, by exchanging food for sex.

If monkeys and apes routinely engage in prostitution, then it means that the evolutionary origin of prostitution probably dates back before we were human.  It means that prostitution is indeed the world’s oldest profession.

Kanazawa then goes on to describe a passage of the book in which a man describes an encounter with an escort in which he tried to impress her, and then continues:

…This does not make sense…if the evolutionary origin of prostitution thus dates back long before we were human, then it means that prostitution is evolutionarily familiar…[and]  men’s brains should be able to recognize prostitutes and to treat them differently from “ordinary” women, whom they do have to impress if they want to have sex with them.  In other words, there should be an evolved “hooker module” in the brain.  The deep evolutionary origin of prostitution and prostitutes and thus their evolutionary familiarity suggest that men would not try to impress prostitutes, because they know it is not necessary…I don’t suppose there are any systematic and high-quality data on how men treat prostitutes, whether they indeed try to impress them, even when sex with them is a sure thing.  If it turns out that men routinely attempt to impress prostitutes before having sex, then it means that prostitution is evolutionarily novel and it is not the world’s oldest profession.

He then went on to cite research showing that “intelligent men are significantly more likely ever to have paid for sex”, which he said also suggested that prostitution is a recent development.  While I was glad to see the subject seriously being studied, I was a little put out over Kanazawa’s conclusions.  Still, he seemed like an open-minded person so I decided to take the plunge:  I looked up his email address and sent him an email stating that I had read his article and was confused by his logic:

This presumes that prostitutes are fundamentally different from what I call “amateurs”, which we aren’t; your assumption seems to be based on the fallacies that 1) prostitutes provide a consistent level of service no matter how we’re treated, and 2) that to a man, all sex is good sex.  While the second statement may certainly be true of some men…it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination true of most; the average client of a $300/hour hooker…wants a good, quality “girl friend experience” (GFE) which will be much more likely if he treats his “date” like a lady.  Most escorts who are treated as though they’re “bought and paid for” will try to complete the act as quickly as possible and get such a client out the door.  Furthermore, in my experience the typical client enjoys the illusion that a beautiful woman wants to spend time with him, even if he intellectually knows she is there for the money.  I guarantee you that the majority of my clients tried their utmost to impress me, even to the point of bringing me gifts, flowers and the like.

I went on to say that I reckon intelligent men are more likely to have patronized us because they are more likely to make “the reasonable and pragmatic decision to spend [their] money on a ‘sure thing’ rather than chasing women whose price and quality are uncertain.”  I rather expected to be ignored; I worried that my letter might be taken as rude and I thought Kanazawa might dismiss me as some silly tart with notions.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised; less than two hours later he replied very graciously thanking me for my input and asking a number of questions which let me know that he was not merely being polite, but was genuinely interested in my thoughts on the subject.  We exchanged several emails over the next few hours and he told me he’ll be doing a follow-up article based in part on our conversations, and will let me know when it’s published.  In the meantime, I read a number of his other columns (especially this one on modern feminism and the ones on sex differences linked within it) and found them quite interesting; I suspect y’all will, too.

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