Archive for May, 2013

Porn is not addictive.  Sex is not addictive.  The ideas of porn and sex addiction are pop psychology concepts that…have no legitimate scientific basis.  –  David Ley

Interview: Jill Brenneman

Jill has largely retired from activism, but has written a guest post about the Cleveland kidnap victims on Amanda Brooks’ blog:  “…Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry…likely have many years of very costly medical expenses and the need for equally costly psychological help…Like me, their lives were interrupted at a young age.  Now they have to move on with the physical and emotional issues…and…rebuild their lives…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Once again, Dr. David Ley tells it like it is:

…when people buy into the belief that porn is addictive, it changes the argument…sex and porn aren’t the problems…one part of this issue is an attack on aspects of male sexuality, including masturbation and use of pornography…which society fears…


Though this was first published nearly a year ago, this updated version appeared last week:

…even though experts and studies have denounced the [sex offender registry] as ineffective, the battle cry of its supporters is still, “If it saves one child…!”…There is no evidence that [it] has done that at all.  However, many, many thousands of children have had their lives made a living hell because of it…parents on the registry…are subject to the whims of local and state laws, including severe restrictions on where they may live…Vigilantes have murdered registrants, leaving their children fatherless…and…children [as young as]…nine…have been [registered]…Registered 12-year-olds aren’t even rarities…in Wisconsin…a district attorney did everything he could, and bragged about it, to have a 6-year-old prosecuted and targeted…for “playing doctor.”  Some of these children find escape only in suicide

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Nowhot dog hooker

New Yorkers are so very fortunate to have brave, dedicated professionals protecting them from dangerous criminals:

…Catherina G. Scalia, 47…was arrested after she…gave [an] undercover cop a massage…without a license…She’s also accused of unauthorized practice…[and an] offer for additional services…Scalia disputed the charges at her arraignment…”They keep framing me.  I am broke.  I am jobless.  All these arrests are entrapment”…When CNN…profiled Scalia and her hot dog truck a year ago, Scalia asserted she was a stripper, not a prostitute…

Bullies With Badges

Anael Ibanez…[was arrested] for distributing pornographic material and exploiting prostitution [in] Syracuse [Utah]…the only ones who actually watched the sex show [Ibanez arranged] were a couple of undercover police officers and…[a man they] charged with sexual solicitation.  Four sex show performers also were arrested…and…charged…SWAT team members were dispatched to clear the theater…[they] broke a glass door…to gain entry…Ibanez works for a janitorial company…and had access to the theater after hours…

Yes, they dispatched a SWAT team to bust adults having sex.

Sleazier Than Thou (TW3 #18)

May must be Ashley Madison’s slowest month, because it’s always the one in which owner Noel Biderman makes some claim like this:  “…its membership registration spiked [last] week following Sunday’s…season finale of The Simpsons…[Biderman] said new registrations surged a whopping 230% this week after…a frustrated Marge Simpson stumbled onto…’Sassymadison.com’…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Reema BajajIf prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

In June 2011…Reema Bajaj…was accused of prostitution…in June 2012 [she] pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge…Although she kept her Illinois law license…she…had trouble attracting clients.  Earlier this month, she dissolved her law practice…and…sued three local lawyers: a former prosecutor who worked on her case, Calvin Campbell; one of her own former defense attorneys, Timothy Johnson, who is now law partners with Campbell; and a “John Doe” defendant.  Bajaj alleges that the three lawyers circulated nude photos of her, causing her emotional distress and hurting her ability to generate business…

I hope she wins, restarts her practice and specializes in defending sex workers, since she knows firsthand how difficult it is for us to get justice in America.

Where are the Victims? (TW3 #28)

Because you know, “false consciousness” and all:

To hear the testimony of the women who worked for them, Vincent George Sr. and his son were not the violent and manipulative sex traffickers that prosecutors described, but, rather, the heads of a happy extended family…Bridgette Carr, director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, said it was…“not shocking” that women would assist the defense, and may actually be evidence of how effective the pimps were in manipulating the women…

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer has now spread to Tennessee:

…12 new laws…include harsher criminal penalties on traffickers…and the creation of a state trafficking task force…a statewide study in 2011 documented incidents of sex trafficking… authorities will be able to prosecute those paying for sex – the “johns” – as traffickers…[thus allowing] for…termination of parent rights…

Read that again:  Tennessee is going to call clients “traffickers”, charge them with a felony and steal their children.  In other words, they’re going to punish fake “child trafficking” with the real, state-sanctioned variety.

Creating the Crisis

The largest study on domestic violence ever done demonstrates that the MRAs were much closer to the truth than the feminists:  men and women commit partner abuse at roughly equal rates.  23% of women and 19.3% of men have been physically abused by a partner, while 28.3% of women and 21.6% of men have physically abused one.  Lifetime rates of abuse are higher among women, while past-year rates are higher among men.  41% of women and 43% of men reported emotional abuse.  Motives were similar in both sexes.  Here’s a short summary of the findings; the full report is available at the first link.Liu Xiaozhen

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #50)

Being an official busybody for an oppressive regime is hard work!

Despite China’s ongoing sexual revolution…  anyone found to be producing and distributing  obscene material can get three years in jail…[this] requires many pornography censors…[like] 70-year-old Liu Xiaozhen…[who said] “You have to watch even if you don’t want to”…

What a Week! (TW3 #52)

As bad as American prohibitionists are, at least most of them aren’t murderous:

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead at least seven women and five men at a [Baghdad] brothel…[near] where alcohol shops were attacked last week…The attackers apparently…[used] silenced weapons, as residents…said they did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary…Zayouna is an upscale…district…where a number of brothels have opened in recent years…

Between the Ears (TW3 #133)

Ethicists and feminists are concerned [about]…a drug that can amp up female sexual longings…Male-sexual-enhancement drugs…are about…improving blood flow to the penis…while research so far suggests that most women need more than mere physical arousal…To stoke female desire with pharmacology, then, you need to get into the brain…some feminists anticipate that the marketing of these drugs will pathologize normal losses of desire…when in fact…[they] may result from stress or relationship problems that should be addressed in other ways…

I agree.  If female desire were mostly about hormones, placebos wouldn’t be as effective as testosterone; in fact, they are often more so.  Nor is this a problem limited to women, as Dr. Marty Klein discusses in the linkback.

Miracle Village aerial viewBanishment

Florida’s “sex offender” residence restrictions are so bad that a small, isolated settlement named “Miracle Village” has become a haven for them.  Meanwhile, David Vitter (who has been the center of several sex scandals) is trying to keep them from getting food stamps:

…This…will…contribute to the continuing cycle of trapping the same individuals in the criminal justice system.  All released felons have difficulty gaining employment…those with sexual offenses face even more impediments due to the public registry and the myriad of restrictions placed upon [them]…Studies…show that, denied benefits, there is a higher rate of return to drug use and crime…anything gained financially from a reduction in the food stamp program will just show up as increased prison costs…

But wait, there’s more!

A network of…internet companies is mining data from sex-offender sites…[for] an extortion racket [which demands] up to $499 for removing names…and other personal data…SORArchives.com, Offendex.com and Onlinedetective.com did not take down individual profiles after payments were made and launched online harassment campaigns against those who balked at financial demands or filed complaints…the websites [also] list individuals…who no longer are required to register and…include names and addresses of people who never have been arrested or convicted of a sex crime.  The…operators ensure that anyone in their databases can be found easily [via] Google…[and] have prominently profiled specific individuals, published their home and e-mail addresses, posted photographs of their relatives and copied their Facebook friends onto the…websites…

Original Sin

Pope Francis…urged mobsters…to abandon their evil ways, particularly…trafficking rackets…”I think of the great pain suffered by men, women and even children, exploited by so many mafias”…He decried the crime syndicates for “making them do work that makes them slaves, prostitution”…Francis…has branded human trafficking as one of the most terrible evils plaguing the world…

Big Sister (TW3 #317)

This pro-censorship Guardian article isn’t nearly as interesting as Jezebel’s response to it, written by revolting neofeminist toady “Lapdoug” Barry:

There’s a campaign afoot in Iceland to seriously restrict underage access to hardcore porn…the argument that porn is a form of free expression smells…a lot like the sort of bullshit the multibillion-dollar porn industry shovels…the porn industry does not have the interests of Icelands [sic] malleable adolescent minds at heart when it argues that limiting access to its productions is tantamount to government censorship…

The biggest lie of several here is that the porn ban is intended to “protect adolescents”, when in fact it was specifically sold (as part of the Swedish model) to “protect” women.  But let’s give Lapdoug’s argument the benefit of the doubt; if he’ll agree to let his writings be censored by a government agency for a trial period (twenty years or so should suffice), I’m sure people who respect human agency far more than he does can be counted on to give a nationwide censorship regime all the consideration it deserves.

James LiptonThe More the Better (TW3 #317)

Are people really so stupid they believe it’s totally different now?

[James Lipton]…of…Inside the Actors Studio used to be a pimp…the youthful 86-year-old admitted…that he had pandered “a whole bordello”…in 1950s Paris…”The French mecs didn’t exploit women.  They represented them, like agents”…Lipton…added that…he was against people paying for sex.  “I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don’t deserve it.”

Because obviously celebrities are morally superior beings qualified to judge what others “deserve”.

Objectification Overruled (TW3 #320)

Pathetic middle-class white British feminists are at it again:

The UK’s main supermarkets could be exposed to legal challenges…if they refuse to remove magazines and newspapers with naked women on their covers…In a letter published in the Guardian, 14 equalities lawyers say…retailers are vulnerable…under sexual discrimination law…A campaign launched by UK Feminista and…Object aims to put pressure on Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and WHSmith to remove lads’ mags from their shelves…[they] threaten…a test case and will support employees uncomfortable with images of naked and near-naked women…

This is a load of rubbish and they know it; such a precedent would mean that anyone could bring a case against any product she finds “offensive”, for example Catholics suing to have birth control removed.  But lest you think this idiocy is limited to Britain:

…the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has unanimously passed a proposal…to ban the display of bikini-clad mannequins outside lingerie shops…With Mumbai recording the second highest number of rapes in the country, [law sponsor Ritu] Tawade said the display of inadequately clothed mannequins was indecent and could lead to “wrong acts” by men…corporator Sunil Prabhu backed her…”I agree…that such scantily clad mannequins do invite unwanted attention of men and the resulting surge of sex crimes”…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #320)

Yet another rescue industry “hero” is exposed as a con artist:  “[Andy Conner]…the [Washington state] Sheriff’s Deputy who funded a charity to help young women escape prostitution…is on administrative leave while the King County Sheriff’s Office investigates allegations that thousands of dollars may have gone missing…

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Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul.
  –  Jimmy Kennedy

Ever since my second “favorites” column a year and a half ago, I’ve pondered what I would put in a favorite songs list.  It wasn’t an easy choice; after all, one hears so many more songs in a lifetime than one sees movies or reads books, and one’s feelings about them can change dramatically with mood or time.  So as usual, I had to come up with a few rules to bring the pool of candidates down to a manageable size; I excluded hymns, songs without words, songs in languages I don’t understand, and songs which were (in my mind) inextricable parts of longer works.  I also limited the selections to one per artist (in the case of songs deeply associated with that artist).  The rules made the process difficult, but doable; I had to cut off almost a dozen songs from the first draft, including everything from Jesus Christ Superstar and a Bulgarian folk song I really love.  What I eventually ended up with was a list of 40 twentieth-century popular songs in English, most of which (with several notable exceptions) were first recorded within my lifetime.  I would’ve considered some of these (the ones marked with an asterisk) my “favorite song” at some point in my life or another; the rest are simply ones that, no matter how much time goes by, I always find myself pleased to hear (or find myself singing or humming).

These are presented in alphabetical order with minimal comment except to note the writers and (where applicable) performers I prefer, featuring a few selected videos; if I’ve mentioned the song before, I’ll link the column in which I did.  And if any of you are surprised that a large fraction of these are dark and/or melancholy, you must not have been paying attention for the past three years.

Bette Davis Eyes  (Donna Weiss/Jackie DeShannon; performed by Kim Carnes)
Bohemian Rhapsody*  (Queen)
Born To Be Wild*  (Mars Bonfire; performed by Steppenwolf)
Brown-Eyed Girl  (Van Morrison) (Jeff strongly associated this one with me, so naturally it reminds me of him.)
Can’t Get it Out of My Head  (Electric Light Orchestra) (I like a lot of ELO songs, especially “Turn To Stone” and “Telephone Line”, but this tale of pining edges them out.)
City of New Orleans  (Steve Goodman; performed by Arlo Guthrie) (Sheer poetry set to music; one of the great American classics.)
The Cover of the Rolling Stone  (Shel Silverstein; performed by Dr. Hook) (I can never hear this without smiling and singing along; just good goofy self-deprecating fun.)
Crazy On You*  (Heart) (Probably my favorite rock song of all time.)

Diamonds are Forever  (John Barry/Don Black; performed by Shirley Bassey) (I like “Goldfinger” a lot, too, but this one stands alone better.)
Dreaming  (Blondie) (Blondie is one of my favorite bands so it’s tough to choose only one, but this would have to be it.)
Dust in the Wind*  (Kansas)
Edge of Seventeen  (Stevie Nicks)
Free Fallin’  (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) (Another hard choice because Tom Petty has a lot of great songs, but I think this is the one that sticks with me the most. )
Free Will  (Rush) (What lover of reason and liberty could not like these lyrics?  Good tune, too.)
Hazy Shade of Winter  (Simon and Garfunkel) (I generally don’t like covers as much as the originals, but the Bangles version featured above is an exception.)
I Never Do Anything Twice  (Stephen Sondheim) (Listen closely to the words.  This is from the film The Seven Per Cent Solution.)

Istanbul  (Jimmy Kennedy/Nat Simon) (I loved the original Four Lads version as a child, and was delighted when it was superbly covered by They Might Be Giants in 1990.)
The Logical Song  (Supertramp)
Love Reign O’er Me  (The Who) (A simple song, but one which gives me chills under the right conditions.)
Mr. Crowley  (Ozzy Osbourne) (This one grew on me for years until I included it in one of my stripping routines.  But I’m not a Goth, honestly.)
Mother Russia*  (Renaissance)
Ode to Billie Joe  (Bobbie Gentry) (Of course I love “Fancy”, but this haunting enigma of a song is one of the great ballads of the 20th century.)
Over the Rainbow  (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg; performed by Judy Garland)
Queen Bee  (Grand Funk Railroad) (I liked it on the Heavy Metal soundtrack, and later it was Jack’s song for me.)

Real World  (Matchbox 20) (One of the few songs of the 90s that inspired me to seek out the album.)
Satisfaction  (The Rolling Stones)
Signs  (Five Man Electrical Band) (A song which has stuck with me for decades and still pops into my head every time I see one of the ubiquitous order-and-threaten placards that deface this entire country.)
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes  (Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach; performed by The Platters)
Stairway to Heaven  (Led Zeppelin) (In case you missed it, Heart did an amazing cover of this song a few months ago.)
25 or 6 to 4  (Chicago) (I’m not really a big Chicago fan, but this is an old favorite I still enjoy.)
Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad  (Jim Steinman; performed by Meat Loaf) (It was extremely hard to pick a favorite Jim Steinman/Meat Loaf song, but this one captures the typical spirit of their oeuvre in a relatively short tune with memorable lyrics.)
Veteran of the Psychic Wars*  (Michael Moorcock; performed by Blue Oyster Cult) (My favorite Blue Oyster Cult song is just about a tie; though this I considered this one my favorite for several years, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is extremely close to it and contains my favorite single line in all of rock, “The door was open and the wind appeared”.)

Vienna  (Billy Joel)
Werewolves of London*  (Warren Zevon) (A great song from a unique artist, and one of the greatest first lines in rock history.)
What a Wonderful World  (Bob Thiele/George Weiss; performed by Louis Armstrong) (Louis Armstrong.  ‘Nuff said.)
What’s Up?  (4 Non Blondes) (This is almost tied with about half of the album from which it comes, especially “Spaceman”; it’s really a shame the group fell apart so quickly.)
Wheel in the Sky  (Journey)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps  (The Beatles) (You know what I said about the difficulty of picking one song for several of the choices above?  Multiply that by six.  I featured this one because it’s badly underrated, but “Eleanor Rigby” is a work of art and I couldn’t exclude it; see the rare 1966 video below.)
Windmills of Your Mind*  (Michel Legrand/Alan & Marilyn Bergman; performed by Noel Harrison) (This was my favorite song when I was 11 or 12; it’s from the movie The Thomas Crown Affair.)
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald  (Gordon Lightfoot) (Yes, another one about death; I’m sure you’re shocked.)

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There is one particular immigrant group in my country whose members I no longer wish to see due to a long and consistent pattern of bad experiences with them.  Unfortunately, one of the largest review forums here is run by members of this group, so now they are blocking new reviews of my services.  They aren’t slandering me with false bad reviews, but the lack of good ones has caused me to drop from visibility (I was formerly one of the highest-rated escorts on the site).  I don’t think the ethnic exclusion is the only reason, either; companions’ fees here are very low compared to the international average, and though mine are still low compared to that, they’re about twice what is normal here.  Because I have no trouble getting it, I believe the board members feel other girls will realize they can do the same and it will move the market.  The men seem to be coordinating via email to squash the girls they decide should be squashed; I have seen this happen twice in the past year.  Neither girl is in the industry any longer, despite being more beautiful than me and equally as good in service. I fear that I am next on the list.

lady and trainI honestly think your best bet is to get away from that website entirely; no presence on the site at all is better than a poor rating.  Work on maximizing the draw from your ads and your website, concentrate on regulars, play up your exclusivity and DO NOT lower your rates; in fact you might try an experiment.  Start a new persona, with no pictures; set “her” rates even higher and play up “her” exclusivity even more.  Just make sure that your contact information for the two personas is completely different so nobody even suspects they are both you.

Also, you need to expand your horizons.  If the main problem is in your own city, I suggest a tour to other large cities in your country.  Once you get the hang of touring you can expand it to neighboring countries, then eventually to the whole continent and beyond.  I realize it’s a little scary to go so far from home, but unless there’s a problem with your passport you could certainly make a great deal more abroad than in your own country, not only because the rates at home are unusually low but also because in other countries you will be seen as “exotic”.  An extended tour would also get you away from the politics at home and let the trouble die down, plus travel broadens one and a new perspective might help you to shake some of your remaining fears.  Who knows, you might even enjoy the jet-set lifestyle and decide to tour indefinitely!

Since I have never toured at all (much less internationally), I’d like to invite my escort readers with experience on the subject to contribute any additional advice in the comments (or if you prefer it to be confidential, just email it to me and I’ll forward it.)

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind small. – Sextus Empiricus

The Sphinx at GizaSome years ago, after I retired but before I started writing this blog, I found that my perspective on human affairs had undergone a dramatic shift toward the cosmic.  I don’t mean that my opinions changed at that time (though some of them undoubtedly did, at least subtly); what I mean is that my viewpoint suddenly receded, as though I had stepped away from a magnifying lens through which I had always viewed the world.  I believe it was triggered by a period of very intensive study of biological history; since then I have been unable to view the timescale of any human life as “long”, and in fact often catch myself talking about stretches of many decades as “brief periods in history”.  Most of you have probably noticed it when I discuss moral panics and make statements like “they never last longer than about 20 years,” in the same tone most people might say “I’ve only been waiting for 20 minutes.”  I think the shift was necessary to prepare me for rights activism; an advocate who expects major change to occur within a relatively brief span of years is almost certainly doomed to disappointment, while one who understands that she is working not for herself but for generations yet unborn is much more likely to go to her grave with a sense of accomplishment as long as there has been some noticeable progress during her tenure.  This isn’t to say that change never happens within a human life, because it certainly does; the surviving veterans of Selma and Stonewall can attest to that.  But it is equally true that many generations stretching back to the Gracchi and beyond have worked to secure the rights of the individual against the state, and that without the efforts of those legions of fighters now gone to dust, the efforts of their modern descendants would have certainly come to naught.

So though the pace of change is usually glacial, it is inexorable.  As generation follows generation and the knowledge and thoughts of each who troubles himself to think is made available to those who follow him, more and more people come to realize that society must respect the rights of individuals who themselves respect the rights of others, and that the use of state-sponsored violence to suppress individual rights is therefore indefensible.  We live in a time where information can be shared more quickly and widely than it ever has been before, and though that means disinformation can also be shared more quickly, history demonstrates that, as fictional detectives are wont to say, “the truth will out.”  Good ideas eventually win out over bad ones, though it may take centuries and there will inevitably be periods of retrogression.

We seem to be slowly moving toward the end of such a retrograde period.  For the past two centuries, Western civilization has experimented with the bizarre and evil notion that it is both possible and desirable to force non-violent people to conform to the rulers’ definition of “moral behavior” by violently suppressing consensual behaviors of which the state officially disapproves.  And while those whose power and wealth depend upon prohibition have convinced a large fraction of the populace that evil is kindness, ignorance is wisdom and slavery is freedom, the self-evident absurdity of the belief becomes apparent to a larger number every year, and must eventually result in the consignment of the entire prohibitionist dogma to the ash-heap of history.  The week does not pass now in which we don’t see more and more people turning away from belief in the beneficence of bans, even while governments and their sycophantic worshipers push for ever-more prohibitions on consensual behavior.  These people are never swayed by moral arguments, and only rarely by practical ones; however, they do respond to political pressure, and many of those situated to apply that pressure do respond to solid practical and ethical argumentation.

So it’s very heartening to me to find a book like Prohibitions from the Institute of Economic Affairs.  Though it was published in 2008, it seems not to have attracted the attention it deserves; I only discovered it via an article in Thinking About Freedom, the German-language blog of The Liberal Institute.  But it is evidence of a seismic shift in society to see such a large number of scholars from such a diverse group of fields – philosophy, political science, economics, ethics, history, sociology, and law – come together to argue against the prohibition of drugs, boxing, guns, types of advertising, porn, prostitution, gambling and organ transplantation.  Editor John Meadowcroft wrote the chapter on prostitution, in which he absolutely demolishes most of the typical anti-whore arguments and concludes thus:

An optimal legal regime…must legalise prostitution and all the activities that facilitate it, including the actions of third parties who manage sex workers or provide services to them for financial gain.  Such a legal framework will ensure that prostitutes may employ agencies to screen clients or work together in brothels that employ appropriate security and provide other services, such as healthcare.  The complete legalisation of prostitution would bring the industry within the tax system and facilitate the detection of criminal behaviour.  Where there is criminal exploitation of people who do not enter prostitution through choice, such crimes can and should be dealt with via existing legislation dealing with kidnapping, sexual offences and employment practices.  Moving prostitution from the black and grey economies into the white economy would greatly facilitate this…The prohibition of prostitution is an example of bad public policy founded upon a series of fallacious arguments that have gained wide currency, in part because relatively few people are willing to challenge them in public.  This chapter has shown that prostitution is a mutually advantageous exchange voluntarily entered into by adult women and men.  Many of the harms associated with prostitution are in fact the result of its quasi-legal or illegal status…Prostitution should fall within the private sphere of personal morality rather than the public sphere of government legislation; it is morally wrong for government to dictate the sex lives of consenting adults.

grinding millI’ve uploaded the book in PDF form  so you can read the chapter in its entirety (or better yet, the whole book).  I think we’ll be seeing a lot more books and essays of this type in the near future; ever-increasing numbers of educated, articulate people are refusing to be cowed into silence by the spurious arguments and public shaming of moralists, and within the next few years we may begin to see a real debate unmarred by the mealy-mouthed disclaimers some of our spineless “allies” feel compelled to utter.  And once that happens, there will be no way for the prohibitionists to turn back the clock; though our quest to be treated as free people should be has been a long and arduous one, the wheel of time must eventually grind the false arguments of our enemies to powder.

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The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.  –  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Swept AwayTwo weeks ago, Human Rights Watch issued a report on the official abuse of sex workers in China, and it was covered by every major media outlet in the world; I saw a plethora of links to the story on Twitter, and many readers sent them as well.  Here’s the one from the Guardian:

China’s high-profile crackdowns on prostitution have made sex workers more vulnerable to abuse by police and clients while failing to curb the trade…Women described being assaulted by police and other security officials until they admitted to being sex workers, leading to them being fined or detained for up to two years without trial…Prostitution largely disappeared in the Mao era but has flourished since China’s economic reforms began.  The United Nations estimates that between 4 million and 6 million adult women are engaged in sex work…Authorities have launched frequent drives against the sex industry, but…while such campaigns see hundreds of women rounded up, brothels often continue to operate with little obvious difficulty…three years ago the ministry of public security ordered an end to the public shaming of sex workers and said they should be treated more respectfully [but] problems remain widespread…Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch…said that one of the problems was that fines were a major source of revenue for the police…

This will of course all be familiar to regular readers, though I’m not sure what to make of the Graun’s touchingly-naïve acceptance of Maoist propaganda that there was no prostitution in the Glorious Workers’ Paradise.  Perceptive readers will also note that these same (or similar) abuses are widespread in Western criminalization regimes:

…police violence, arbitrary detention of up to two years in “re-education through labor” and “custody and education” centers, and coercive HIV testing…police [abuses include]…torture, beatings, physical assaults, arbitrary detentions, and fines, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, bosses, and state agents…“In China, the police often act as if by engaging in sex work, women had forfeited their rights,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “The government must abandon its repressive laws against sex workers, discipline abusive police, and end the suppression of sex workers rights advocates”…

All those things happen in the USA as well, including the “re-education” being sold as an “alternative” to imprisonment in some jurisdictions; America also makes extensive use of sleazy tactics like “naming and shaming”, tax audits, stealing sex workers’ children and bogus felony charges (“conspiracy”, “money laundering”, etc) which are apparently not so common in China.  But while Human Rights Watch flatly recommends decriminalization in China (“China should…enact legislation to remove criminal and administrative sanctions against voluntary, consensual sex work [and] stop periodic police anti-prostitution ‘sweeps’, which do more harm than good”), its only statement on US prostitution law was a weak request to stop using condoms as evidence (an equivalent level of response in the Chinese report might have been “please limit sex workers’ detention to six months and always wear condoms while raping them”).  Furthermore, though Western journalists were happy to spread the news of China’s persecution of whores, they are just as happy to spread prohibitionist propaganda and maintain a politic silence about the horrific human rights abuses committed by Western police and officials.  Consider, for example, the rosy picture painted by the Swedish government and advocates of their “model”; supposedly, it reduces prostitution while not harming women in any way.  Contrast that with the truth which the mainstream media won’t report:

…The police have big difficulties in catching the clients so the activities are now aimed against sex workers.  To chase the girls requires plenty of resources and is not possible without employing policemen just for this – “Cunt Hunters”…I was visiting Trondheim for work in May 2012.  At the evening of the first day the boss of the apartment hiring company came to the condo and threw me out…Two [cops] were observing, disguised as repairmen who were been circulating in the stairs…They had watched my advert in the internet, called me pretending to be clients, came watching and after that had called the director…[who] refused to [refund my rent]… Trondheim’s…Propaganda Department of the Police [says that they] aim to make Trondheim unattractive as a working place by first finding the sex workers and after that taking their clients away…and [evicting them] from hotels…

Swedish copyright arrestThat was written by an escort from Norway (her English is excellent, but I did make a few slight edits for readability; you will note that like me, she refers to client criminalization as the “Swedish disease”).  Though her description of the abuses is unusually thorough, it is by no means the only narrative of its kind…though you wouldn’t know it from reading the mainstream media, who are so invested in portraying Sweden as a “feminist paradise” that the considerable evidence to the contrary is almost totally ignored:

A Swedish court has cleared three teenagers accused of rape for inserting a wine bottle in a girl’s vagina until she started bleeding…the men pinned her down on the bed and pried her legs open before inserting the…bottle…One of [them] allegedly told her not to report the incident to the police, which she nonetheless did…[the] court…ruled that…she may have kept her legs together initially out of modesty…

Imagine the outcry if this had happened in India.  Since “everybody knows” Asian countries are misogynistic hellholes of repression, watchdog groups readily chastise them and journalists eagerly report any story which serves to reinforce the narrative.  But when it comes to countries which “everybody knows” are champions of gender equity, fair treatment and civil rights, the silence from those same groups is deafening.

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There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.  –  Calvin & Hobbes

Altogether, rather a busy week for links!  I’m still working on catching up from all the various delays I’ve had since February (including the recent hard drive crash), so it was nice not to have to work too hard on this column.  The race this week was very close; Jesse Walker was in the lead at first, then Grace  overtook him, only to be passed on Friday by perennial champ Radley Balko.  Everything down to the first video is his; the first three after the video are Graces’s, and the next three Jesse’s.  The video itself is a parody of this rather unsettling Beyonce song which went so well with yesterday’s “Oscillation” I used it today.  The second video is a mock newsreel referring to the events in Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, and the links between the two were provided by Mistress Matisse (“Calvin and Hobbes”), Feminist Whore  (“fallacies”), Aspasia (“Call of Cthulhu”), Walter Olson (“litigious”), Nine (“El Salvador”), Jemima (“negative impact”), and Krulac (“cronyism”).

From the Archives

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If they would just remove the police from skulking around and arresting those of us who just want to earn a living from a mutually consenting activity, they could actually focus on these terrible things.  –  Rachel Wotton

crack pipeOld Folks At Home

Damned amateurs are always screwing everything up:

A man, 75, and a woman, 66, suspected of using cocaine and running a prostitution ring out of their apartments…have been arrested after residents complained about vagrants, drunks and addicts…James Parham and his neighbor Cheryl Chaney…admitted providing prostitutes — mostly young women with crack cocaine addictions — to…younger neighbors…

Backwards into the Future

The Commission for Gender Equality…called for…decriminalisation of sex work [in South Africa]…[CGE commissioner Janine] Hicks said decriminalisation would…allow sex workers to report brothel owners who were involved in trafficking or hiring children…

Meanwhile, in Malawi:

…Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA)…in association with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, recently conducted…research that shows…a vast majority of sex workers are regularly abused [robbed and raped] by the Police…[executive director Victor] Mhango said…sex workers…are at liberty to call the toll free number 8000333 where they can be assisted… “Sex workers deserve to be protected by the law just like any other Malawian as enshrined in the Constitution,” he said…

Against Their Will

Here’s the way rescue industry group International Justice Mission tells it:

…General Sun Ro…led his team of police and IJM support staff to rescue these young women from a brothel where they had been sold and exploited for sex.  “You are now no longer oppressed,” General Sun Ro began, urging the young women to take advantage of the opportunities, vocational training programs and aftercare services available to them as sex trafficking survivors…

And here’s the reality.  Obviously, the general doesn’t consider beatings and gang rape by the police to be forms of oppression.

Prudish Pedants

a federal district court in Georgia ruled that a series of stories written or edited by Frank McCoy were obscene, and thus he violated 18 USC 1462 in “transporting” obscene works…the subject matter is…definitely…extreme [“the sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder of children”]…but…McCoy…had a distinguished English professor testify on his behalf that the works had “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…the judge disagreed…

The Gendered SocietyOscillation

Another example of how neofeminists play fast and loose with the facts:

A few months ago, a post…[stated] that [when]…junior high…students were asked what they would do if they woke up “transformed into the opposite sex,” the girls showed mixed emotions but the boys [said]…”Kill myself”…the source [was]…The Gendered Society by Michael Kimmel…[whose] reference [was] a 1984 book called The Longest War: Sex Differences in Perspective…the claim…seemed to have no basis at all, other than one commentThe Gendered Society…briefly acknowledges that women’s earnings are driven down by family-related work interruptions–but still treats gender gaps in pay and advancement almost entirely as…discrimination…[it] uncritically repeats tales…that girls’ self-esteem “plummets” in junior high school–without mentioning that they have been strongly disputed…by mainstream psychologistsThe Gendered Society also [claims that] the United States…”has the highest rate of reported rape in the industrial world–about eighteen times higher than England”…[but] according to United Nations statistics, in 2010 the reported rape rate in the U.S.–27.3 per 100,000 people–was slightly lower than in England and Wales, at 28.8 per 100,000…if it is indeed the most balanced gender studies textbook available–which may well be true–that says a lot about the rest.

The Immunity Syndrome (TW3 #19)

the “sex superbug” that “could be worse than AIDS” which was supposedly “found in Hawaii [and] California” turns out to be just another media-promoted terror story.  “The [gonorrhea] super-strain…[which] infected a female Japanese sex worker in 2011…has been found nowhere else,” [reported Jonathan Weiss of MedicalDaily.com]  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have affirmed that the bacterium has failed to appear anywhere else in the world beyond the single case in Japan…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #20)

This includes far too much “whore as victim” rhetoric, but it’s a step:

[Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario] Police Chief, Bob Davies…[announced] it will be new police policy to not release the names and addresses of individuals involved in prostitution type charges.  Moreover, the police department will make a major shift away from enforcement against women (or men) involved in the sex trade.  Instead officers will be trained to engage and identify the underlying factors that drive women into a lifestyle of selling sex and then connect them to agencies…which can assist individuals out of the sex industry…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #21)

Project ROSE—a collaboration between the Phoenix Police Department…and a number of local service organizations–[conducted] a three day raid targeting sex workers…Advocates have distributed “know your rights” information amongst communities who may be affected…[and] a…protest…[was held] Thursday May 16…in front of the “command post” at Bethany Bible Church…Arrestees…with no prior arrests for sex work, no outstanding warrants, and no…drugs at the time of arrest…have the option of “diversion” to Project ROSE or incarceration on a prostitution charge…[which] in Arizona can be a death sentence

Few arrestees qualify for the “diversion” program, and of those who do only a third complete it.

Think of the Children! (TW3 #23)

Touch of Flavor logoA weekend festival in [Baltimore] that promised classes on bondage, role play and other sexual techniques has been canceled after the new operators of the Clarence H. Du Burns Arena decided the erotic exposition was not appropriate at a facility also used for children’s sports practices…” Obviously, the sex rays emitted from all these dirty people would contaminate the structure, inducing the dreaded Premature Sexualization in the innocent little moppets who entered the building later.

Good News, Bad News (TW3 #30)

Rebecca Davies…and…other sex workers and supporters…will protest against the 2011 Prostitution Bill which is expected to be re-introduced and to demand full decriminalisation…Ms Davies said…the Bill would make WA the most dangerous place in Australia to be a sex worker…licensing, where employee’s full names were available for clients to see, could risk their safety and privacy…only about 10 per cent of sex workers would comply…Sex workers had to advertise a landline phone number, not a mobile, as one of the conditions – a restriction not placed on any other industry…

The More The Better (TW3 #32)

They are likely Hamilton [New Zealand]’s biggest brothel keepers, with 500 girls on their books in the seven years since they began their foray into the sex industry.  Tattooed, shady characters with underworld connections?  Far from it.  She’s the secretary of the PTA and…he’s a well-spoken former musician…the pair own a small…software development business…Hamilton’s two best-known brothels, and soon, a private swingers club…

Zimbabwe (TW3 #33)

This article about Zimbabwe’s repeated “crackdowns” on whores (and the way they keep netting amateurs) is mostly familiar ground and silly stereotypes, but does include two points of interest:  one, that “legislator Tabitha Khumalo has…threatened to expose fellow legislators who have gallivanted with those she calls ‘pleasure managers’ if they refuse to back [decriminalization]”; and two, that the Open Society Foundation’s 2012 study of the six nations with similar policies of “harassing and [physically] abusing…sex workers” included Zimbabwe along withSuper Bowl SLAVERY Kenya, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, and [wait for it] the United States.

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

Hey, kids, be the first in your neighborhood to be “trafficked”!  Have fun!  Win prizes!

Students at Colonial Middle school [in Memphis, Tennessee] have spent the last few weeks learning about the growing problem…of sex trafficking including prostitution…“I think its [sic] appropriate for middle school because if you look at the statistics of human trafficking the majority of people that get pulled in are between the ages of 12 to 14”…[said teacher Jennifer Shiberou]…

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? (TW3 #42)

In Australia, which began use of the HPV vaccine in 2007, cases of genital warts in young women aged 12 – 26 dropped 59 percent, and 39 percent for men…The…vaccine caused quite the uproar here in the States.  The usual antivaxxers hated it because, well, it’s a vaccine, but there was also mainstream fear-mongering, as well as being demonized by the conservatives, who said it would lead to promiscuity. That last is pure nonsense; in fact, a new study shows  no significant increase in sexual activity in young women who have had the vaccine over those who have not…

No Other Option (TW3 #46)

Here’s another good interview with the amazing Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton, who specializes in disabled clients and founded the charity Touching Base.  Its only sour note is at the end, where interviewer Wendy Syfret seems determined to drag “trafficking and degradation” mythology into what is otherwise a very positive piece.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

Steph Key…[introduced] another attempt to decriminalise sex work after her previous bill failed by one vote in November.  The new legislation would give sex workers and their employers the same access to the WorkCover scheme as other…businesses…retains laws that make sex work by a person aged under 18, or with a client under that age, illegal…wipes clean past sex work convictions …makes it illegal to discriminate against a person who is or has been a sex worker…[and] removes laws against living off the earnings of a prostitute…

According to Because I’m a Whore, this bill is much better than the last one and has the support of sex workers; if passed, South Australia would be the third place in the world to have true decriminalization.

HT TriangleOriginal Sin

The “Trafficking in America Task Force” looks at first like any other silly rescue industry NGO, but a little digging reveals some really bizarre stuff, including the assertion that the true cause of “sex trafficking” is PORN!

Statistics show that many times it starts with pornography…One look as a child, continued looks as a teenagers, perhaps buying sex for the first time as a young adult, expecting your female partner, girl friend, or wife to act as the prostituted women act.  When they don’t your relationship turns to self gratification rather than intimacy.  You ay [sic] turn to violent sex with those you buy…Then…you want to pay for younger victims — and — you  — are — stuck — in a  — cycle…when you look at pictures of women you are branding us as objects for your own pleasure, objects of no value.  We are human beings…Jesus said, “I did not give you a spirit of fear — but a spirit of power, and of love, and of SOUND MIND.”  Ask him to help you…Addiction to pornography is a type of emotional and mental trafficking…

A War for Peace (TW3 #313)

I’m beginning to think her mother is right:

…Amina Tyler…passed through heavy security and checkpoints to enter the city of Kairouan, where police were preventing hardline conservative Islamists from holding an annual conference.  There she unveiled her bleach [sic] blonde hair and cutoff jeans, scrawled “FEMEN” on the wall of a cemetery near the city’s main mosque, and attempted to take off her clothes…The protest enraged local residents who converged on her, and police took her into custody…Her mother, Wafa, [said] her daughter needed help and was being treated by a psychiatrist…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #319)

Shatabdi Saha, a banker…with the Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society…conducts…sessions…[in spotting counterfeit] because…many customers had started palming off fake notes…for their services…”If customers give them counterfeit notes, it’s a great loss for them,” [said] DMSC secretary Bharati Dey…unlike others, sex workers cannot go to the police to report such fake notes.  “The police will start harassing them instead of helping them”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #319)

the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announced it will no longer fund research based on DSM…for the simple reason that [it] is irrelevant to determining the cause and treatment of psychological problems…it…doesn’t point to the actual causes…that drive and maintain disorders…[its] categories are not discrete…and…it…fails to account for comorbidity…this fifth edition is just moving a few deck chairs on a sinking ship…Soon we’ll need to…lower the lid, hammer it down, and bury the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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This essay first appeared on Cliterati on April 21st; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

Perils of PaulineMost people yearn for a simple world where the goodies wear white hats and the baddies black, where people and behaviors can be easily sorted into neat little boxes, where good intentions lead to good outcomes and bad intentions lead to harm, and where everyone agrees on hierarchies of morality and the relative importance of different principles such as profit, honesty, self-respect, adherence to external mores, etc.  But the real world isn’t like that at all:  morality and motivations are often ambiguous, different individuals assign different weights to various principles, noble intentions can lead to disaster and base to commonweal, and the few people who wear “hats” at all favor a multiplicity of shades.

An article by Hsiao-Hung Pai in the Guardian illustrates this complicated reality in several different ways, the first being the venue itself; though the Guardian is happy to provide a platform for prudes and prohibitionists, it is equally amenable to publishing pro-sex worker articles and carried one of the earliest debunkings of “sex trafficking” hysteria three and a half years ago.  This has nothing to do with any lofty journalistic ethos; the primary motivation of a newspaper is to make a profit, and from the perspective of the editorial board any good or ill to sex workers which occurs as a by-product of that process is purely incidental.  The motive of the reporter herself (to write and sell a book) was similar to that of the paper, but her behavior went beyond the merely amoral to the reprehensible; in furtherance of her goal she lied, misrepresented herself, spied on sex workers, recorded their conversations without their consent and used their stories to generate profit for herself, and it is entirely possible that her actions may result in brothel raids and other dire consequences for her unwilling sources.

Though the book was researched unethically, if this excerpt is a fair indication it depicts migrant women as free agents motivated by the desire to provide for their families:

Ah Fen…had been in Britain for four years. During the first two years, like many newly arrived Chinese, she worked in catering.  In the third year she was laid off amid increasing raids on Chinese restaurants by the immigration authorities.  A friend introduced her to the sex trade.  With no skills to find other work, she accepted immediately.  She told me it was the best decision she had made during her time in Britain:  her income had gone through the roof and the money she had been able to send home was making a real difference to her family.  “In a good week, I can earn £1,500 to £2,000,” she told me…Another [named]…Ah Ling…[said] “I wasted my first three years in England working in restaurants and takeaways doing tough work with little reward…A year ago, a friend of mine in the sex trade suggested I try doing this.  She said: ‘Try it once and see if you are OK with it.’   Frankly, I had no real alternatives…Now I regret not having started it as soon as I got here.”  Sex work had transformed Ah Ling’s life.  She had paid off all her debts within a year and was earning £600 a week.  Her current aim was to pay for a new house back home for her family, and return after two more years of sex work…

Hsiao-Hung PaiOn the other hand, those heavily invested in “trafficking” myth see this through a distorted filter; one reviewer on Amazon called her reckless disregard for the welfare of migrant sex workers “compassionate” and claimed, “Hsiao-Hung Pai…videotaped the underworld of pimps and madams who make their living off slaving women in need…[and] deflates the myth of sex work as a free choice for migrant women.”  This “true believer” denies the testimony of the workers, refers to a £2,000/week job as “slavery” and otherwise warps the narrative to her own ends; similarly, some of the post-article commenters insist on imposing Christian concepts of female sexual purity onto Asian women who do not share it, derailing nuanced discussions of pragmatism with lurid appeals to emotion.  Yet at the same time, anyone who reads the text without the filter of “trafficking” dogma can see that it actually demonstrates the falsity of that paradigm, and adds more evidence to the growing heap which will eventually demolish it; many examples of such readers also appear in the comments.  In the end, will the net effect of Hsiao-Hung’s self-serving, callous “investigation” be positive or negative?  Will it ever be possible to tell?

For the final layer of complexity, we must look to the text itself.  The brothel madam described therein (“Grace”) is a thoroughly nasty person, as self-centered, mercenary and unconcerned with others’ welfare as the newspaper and the journalist.  But compare her actions with Hsiao-Hung’s; though the latter’s profession is “respectable” and the prohibitionists laud her work as “good” while painting the former’s as despicable, their own actions demonstrate otherwise.  Though Grace was rude and abusive, her coercion was strictly verbal and situational; women were free to walk away and find other work (even sex work with a different madam) if they chose.  The journalist, however, denied her subjects the information they needed to “opt out” of participating in her commercial enterprise; they were recorded without their knowledge or consent.  Furthermore, the sex workers profited handsomely from putting up with Grace’s abuse, whereas their only reward from being “pimped” by Hsiao-Hung is having their lives offered up for scrutiny by judgmental prudes and their persons potentially targeted for harassment, detention and deportation.  Who is the true “exploiter” here?  Who are the “goodies” and who the “baddies”?  In a world without scripts, stereotypes and endings neatly resolved just in time for the closing credits, these questions are a lot more complicated than in the two-dimensional, black-and-white world imagined by naïve moralists.

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With integrity unquestioned, a heart ever open to appeals of distress, a charity that was boundless, she is gone; but her memory will be kept green by many who knew her sterling worth.  –  obituary, Washington Evening Star

Prohibitionists who vomit out nonsense about whores “selling our bodies” demonstrate by their use of the phrase that their comprehension of male sexuality is an absolute vacuum.  Their lurid description of the mythic “john” who “hates and dehumanizes women” and thinks of harlots as disposable collections of holes is as far removed from the typical client as the average neofeminist is from a normal woman; if it were true there would be no regulars and very few happy hookers.  Furthermore, a creature such as the “antis” imagine would pay as little as possible for his pleasure, yet in reality bargain-hunters are no more common than men who are willing to pay as much as they can comfortably afford; this is why good brothels have always been lucrative.  And while the women in such places may be among the most beautiful available and the accommodations the most luxurious, one of the most important features of the expensive bordello is its discretion; most men who can afford luxury prices cannot afford publicity, so the success of a madam who can both run a fine house and keep her clients’ secrets is a virtual certainty.  And Mary Ann Hall, who ran the most successful brothel in 19th-century Washington, D.C., was so exceptionally discreet she actually vanished from history for over a century after her death.

Washington view 1852She was born in 1814, but nothing is known of her life before she arrived in the capital in the mid-1830s.  She prospered in her profession, though, catering to the Washington elite, and by 1840 had saved enough money to build a large, three-story brick house at 349 Maryland Avenue.  The residence was shrewdly placed; though she got the land cheap because of the proximity of a flood-prone canal, it was also only four blocks from Capitol Hill, near the Smithsonian Institute.  As her business flourished and traffic to the area increased, her property value soared; by the time the Federal Provost Marshal cataloged the city’s 450 brothels in 1862, Hall’s was the finest and most respected.  And due to the patronage of countless politicians, it was protected from the periodic revenue-trolling raids conducted by corrupt police on equally-legal but less-well-connected houses.

The aforementioned catalog estimated there were 5000 prostitutes in the city, the majority working for brothels of various sizes (Mary Ann had the most at 18) and the rest streetwalkers or courtesans in private residences.  It cannot be assumed that this number was in any way representative of the harlot population either before or after the Civil War; many of them were probably transients and camp followers there to capitalize on the massive buildup of troops, contractors and other war-related temporary residents, and most of those “brothels” were probably nothing more than incalls shared by at most two or three girls.  Many of them were located in the same general area as Mary Hall’s, which was also home to a number of industries and businesses catering to the nearby military encampment.  After the war, a severe housing shortage resulted in the entire district being redeveloped with tiny, cheap houses called “alley dwellings”, mostly occupied by former slaves and recent immigrants.  Unsurprisingly, the crime rate skyrocketed in the ‘70s, and though Hall’s business continued to be profitable the area’s blackened reputation surely dissuaded some of her clientele.  At the same time the “social purity” movement arrived in Washington, and busybody socialites descended on the district to “rescue” their “fallen sisters” from degradation (undoubtedly making their husbands even more reluctant to visit the neighborhood). By 1878 she had had enough and retired, renting the house first to another madam and later to a women’s clinic; she died of a cerebral hemorrhage on January 29th, 1886, at the ripe old age (for the time) of 71.

graves of Liz and Mary Ann HallWithin a few years, her name lapsed into obscurity and it is unlikely any historian would ever have put together the few records which specifically named the prominent and highly-eulogized lady buried in an expensive tomb at the Congressional Cemetery as a madam.  Ironically, the factor which eventually brought her story back into the light was the same thing which made her last few  years of business more difficult: the descent of her neighborhood into a slum.  An acrimonious family dispute over her estate forced the sale of the brothel, which in 1892 was purchased by the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth (a school for black children).  By the turn of the century the “progressives” were blaming all of Washington’s crime on the “bawdy houses” and “degraded negroes” in the southwestern part of the city; in 1914 prostitution was criminalized and the police (at the instigation of First Lady Ellen Wilson) launched a crusade to “eliminate” the problem by repeated raids and throwing the poorest residents of the district out of their homes.  At the beginning of the Great Depression the government bought up nearly all the land in the area, and by 1934 had razed most of the buildings (including Mary Ann Hall’s); eight years later a temporary building for wartime office space went up on the site, and after it, too was razed in the 1960s the area became a park.

Finally, in 1989 Congress decided to build a new Smithsonian wing, the Museum of the American Indian, on the site, and dispatched a team of archeologists to excavate it before the work of construction was to begin.  And though the building’s foundation revealed nothing of interest, the contents of its trash heap caught the archeologists’ attention; they included “gilt-edged porcelain, corset fasteners, seeds from exotic berries and coconuts and bones from expensive meats, including turtle,” plus hundreds of corks from an expensive brand of champagne.  Archival research then unearthed the history of the place and its mistress, and though we now know her name and a little of her fame, the identities of her clients and the details of their preferences and activities will forever remain her secret.

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Can relationships with different sexual histories really last?  Say for example one partner has had over 50 partners while the other one has had 2 or 3, or one only having experience with oral/vaginal and the other everything under the rainbow?  Are such relationships very likely to fail, or are they just like any other relationship?

hot and coldNumber of partners is completely immaterial unless one of the partners uses it to make trouble.  Usually, it’s worse if the woman has had more sexual partners than the man, but I’ve also seen women who will use a man’s relative promiscuity as an excuse to fight.  I’ve also seen many relationships with HUGE disparities work out just fine.  As with anything else, if two people are really compatible it’s just not an issue; if they aren’t, anything can trigger arguments.  It’s certainly true, however, that a person used to a lot of variety in activities might get bored if his partner is strictly the missionary-in-the-dark type and refuses to adapt.

I recently started a new, high-paying job, but I won’t get my first paycheck until next month and I have a lot of bills that can’t wait.  So I am thinking about posting on Backpage and escorting for a short while.  However, I don’t have a car and I’m not sure how much to ask in Dallas (is $200 an hour too much?)  Also, how can I protect myself from undercover cops?

If you’ve never hooked before, you need to be extremely careful.  $200 is typical for Dallas, so that’s OK; having men come to your location (incall) is actually helpful for avoiding cops because they generally prefer to have their targets come to them.  Of course, that still means you need to set yourself up in a hotel room first, unless you really want strangers knowing where you live (which I would not advise).  The alternative is either a taxi or getting a ride from someone you can trust to know what you’re doing.  You’ll need someone like that anyway; it’s not safe to be alone with a strange man without someone knowing where you are, what you’re doing, when he got there and when he’s supposed to leave (or when you got there and plan to leave).  If you don’t want to trust a friend, you might consider doing a few jobs for an agency instead of placing an ad yourself so that they can monitor you.  But if you do place an ad, please keep it tasteful; a lot of “sexy” talk attracts both sleazy guys and cops, and you don’t need either of those.  You didn’t mention health protection, but I cannot possibly stress enough that you absolutely MUST use condoms, no matter how much extra he offers you to skip them.  Finally, please read my post about screening and follow the advice in it.  Good luck!

What’s the difference between prostitution and escorting?  I have come across several high-end escort websites and I notice that all of these beautiful women have a disclaimer on the front page stating that payment is only for time and companionship, usually followed by “This is not an offer of prostitution!”  Does this mean I am safe from the law?  Is it legal to pay money for time and companionship services?

French cops with prostitutesThere is no difference between escorting and prostitution; though some escorts may claim differently, escorting is simply one of many types of prostitution.  The disclaimer you’re referring to is practically omnipresent on escort websites, and the protection is gives them is worth exactly what it cost for them to put it there: zero.  It’s just like the various formulae they imagine will reveal a cop in a sting:  “If you don’t take the money in your hand, they can’t arrest you,” or “cops aren’t allowed to take their clothes off,” or “cops can’t touch the girl,” or “cops have to answer truthfully if one asks if they’re cops.”  None of these things are true; they’re the equivalent of magical charms whispered by the superstitious before going into danger.  If a cop wants to arrest a woman he will, no matter what she says, does, doesn’t say, doesn’t do or writes on her website; even if the cops really had such rules (which they don’t), they would simply lie and claim the woman said or did whatever was needed to arrest her, or that they (the cops) didn’t do whatever it was they weren’t supposed to do.

So though the answer to your question is technically “yes” (it is indeed legal to pay for time and companionship), in actuality if you respond to a fake escort ad you will be arrested no matter what you didn’t say to the disguised policewoman.  The way to avoid this is to only make appointments with known escorts who either have good reviews or are recommended to you by friends; that way you know that the lady is a reputable businesswoman rather than bait to trick you into jail.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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