Archive for October, 2013

Proof of our society’s decline is that Halloween has become a broad daylight event for many.  –  Robert Kirby

sexy HalloweenFor the fourth time since I’ve been writing this blog, we’ve come around to my favorite day of the entire year – All Hallows Eve, which also happens to be my birthday.  This is the forty-seventh time I’ve seen this particular day (the first one hardly counts, since I arrived less than ninety minutes before the Witching Hour), and though I no longer observe it with the wild exuberance I did in my youth I still look forward to it every year, and still enjoy all the little rituals by which we celebrate it.  In last year’s Halloween column I listed a number of “spooky” columns which might put y’all in the mood, and this year I decided to expand those recommendations into a full column:  Monday’s “Trick or Treat“, which you really should read if you haven’t yet.

Unfortunately, Halloween has in our culture become merely a ghost (pardon the jest) of its former self; it is now largely an adult celebration, just a second carnival out of place in mid-autumn rather than where it belongs in the dead of winter.  Today’s children are completely cheated of the holiday as it was meant to be celebrated; as I wrote in “The Day of the Dead“,

…our decaying society is far too obsessed with “safety” to let the kids be kids.  It’s a peculiar paradox:  the Child Cultists enshrine an idealized, romanticized view of childhood “innocence” to the point of trying to force it upon young adults who have long since grown out of it, yet are so frightened of the imaginary haunts their timid souls see in every shadow that they cheat actual children of the joys of childhood…And though we once understood that an annual dose of controlled fear and mild chaos helped children to cope with the existence of Mortem Imperator Mundi in much the same way vaccines protect them from disease, we have forgotten the former (and many of us the latter as well)…

Now, more than ever, we need Halloween.  Death will claim us all soon enough; it’s both foolish and counterproductive to waste one’s life trying to escape the inescapable, and to suck all the marrow out of its bones in a futile attempt to delay the inevitable.  Today is the day to flirt with the Reaper, to dance on one’s own grave, to play with skulls and to have fun with the gruesome…because the more familiar one is with something, the less terror it holds.  And the less we fear death, the freer we are to enjoy everything life has to offer.

Happy Halloween, Dear Readers, and Blessed Be!

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My new boyfriend is into cuckolding.  Some previous boyfriends have expressed interest in seeing me with other men, but not to this degree.  Also, I’ve thought about being in this sort of sexual situation, but never really felt as though the others were truly OK with it.  But this guy has detailed fantasy scenarios, such as my going on dates with other guys then coming home and telling him about it; he even fantasizes about my becoming pregnant for another man.  I’ve told him I am willing to have sex with other men, but it must be with protection.  He says he’s thought about this for over 5 years but never fully acted on it, except for watching one of his exes perform oral sex on another man.  I’m not afraid to participate, but I just don’t know how to go about doing it so as to make it really good for him; how should I act and what should I say during the scenes?

Venus, Mars and Vulcan by Maerten Van Heemskerck (c. 1540)Since you haven’t been with this guy for a long time yet, it’s important that you feel him out so you can get a good sense of how seriously he’s committed to living this fantasy.  What I mean is, some men have desires that excite them very much when they’re horny, but then once they climax they feel very ashamed and guilty.  Does he talk about the fantasy even when he’s not really aroused, like after sex?  Because if he does, that’s a good sign it’s not something he’s ambivalent about.  The reason that’s important is that you don’t want to get involved with this kind of thing if he’s going to be excited by it at first, but then use it to attack you whenever you have an argument.  I suggest taking it slowly; talk about the fantasy and find out exactly what he wants, then go in gradually.  I think it’s very important that the first few times y’all do it should be 3-way situations, with him present; if he seems to really enjoy it and he’s glad that it happened once your “date” leaves, then you can move on to the more adventurous things like seeing guys on your own and telling him about it.  I think you’re very wise to insist on protection for the other men; guys often don’t consider practical things like that when they’re all excited by a fantasy.  And that’s exponentially more true with the idea of getting pregnant for someone else:  in these days of DNA testing, that would be a spectacularly bad idea for reasons I’m sure you don’t need me to explain.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the mechanics of the role-playing if I were you; he’ll probably make it clear what he likes, and I’m confident you’ll pick it up as you go along.  Just take it slow, enjoy the experiences, don’t let him push you into doing things you feel are unsafe or that you aren’t quite ready for yet, and make sure you reserve the right to turn down any specific person he might suggest that you don’t want to go to bed with for whatever reason.  That way, this will be fun and exciting for you as well, and will minimize the chances of building up resentments (in either of you) that could harm your relationship in the long run.

(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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If everyone grew up to be what he or she wanted to be in childhood we would have a workforce made up almost entirely of firemen, ballerinas, astronauts, teachers, cowboys and nurses.  –  “Amazingly Stupid Statements

money honeyBy the end of September 2010, both my blog and my procedures were beginning to assume something remotely resembling their present form; most of the essays read like my current style, and some of the regular features I had introduced still exist today in one form or another.  For example, the fictional interludes still appear every month (this month’s example, “Dry Spell”, features the first on-screen comment from my husband), “More Q & A” was the second of its type, “Sweet Painted Ladies” was the second hooker song column and “October Miscellanea” was the first regular monthly miscellanea column, a feature which persisted until I (predictably) ran out of months to name them for.  By the beginning of last year I was getting so many news stories a monthly column was no longer enough, but even at this early stage I could have done a weekly one had I realized it would continue at that pace; “The Camel’s Nose” and “Whores in the News” are miscellanea columns as well.  Quite a few others were based around news stories: “Safe Targets”, “The Judge, the Feds and the Stripper”,Bride of FrankensteinCracks in the Dam”, “Juxtaposition”, “Anatomy of a Boondoggle”, “An Enormous Big Nothing” and “Good Fantasy, Bad Reality” all fall into that category, though as you’ll note I used to quote much larger fractions of the stories than I do now, and often paraphrased (a procedure left over from a message board I used to frequent whose moderators had the idiotic habit of deleting posts containing verbatim quotes from news articles).

Red Hot Riding HoodMy schedule had become much more regular by this time, though not as regular as it would later become; I still published each post manually after breakfast (just after 9:30 AM Central Time), but I wrote them in advance and stored them in a folder by date, reassigning dates as necessary to fit in what I considered more pressing stories.  The reason I remember this is that the column “All in the Family”, which appeared on October 4th, was originally scheduled for Jeff’s birthday (September 25th) because it’s on the topic of family; however, since he’s only barely mentioned in it I decided that was less important than getting other, more timely columns posted first.  This gives you an idea of the length of my queue at that point, about a week to ten days. Another shift is that the columns were becoming shorter: none of these were longer than 1700 words, and many were shorter than the minimum length for July; furthermore, there were no two-parters at all.

Strange Mysteries 1At this stage, I was still drawing heavily on my personal experience for subject matter and introducing non-sex working readers to a lot of basic concepts.  “Who Did Your Tits?” is the story of my boob job, “The Going Rate” discusses how escorts set their prices, “No Other Option” was the first of many columns on sex work with disabled men, “Linda” is a short character sketch of an escort I knew, “Scary Movies” is about the “bad” lessons clients learn from porn and “Deadbeats” is about nuisance callers and time-wasters.  As you may be able to tell from those last two titles, I was already starting to try to do some horror-themed columns in the days leading up to “Halloween”, but not as much yet as in later years; there were also several seasonal items in “October Miscellanea”, and the harlotography, “Five Women in Whitechapel”, featured the five victims of Jack the Ripper.  I suppose one might even include “An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought” for the spiders, but since it also includes chimpanzees and penguins that seems a bit of a stretch.

Rounding out the list are “Heart of Gold”, which discusses the stereotypical hooker; “The Love-Hate Relationship”, about Americans’ peculiar ambivalence toward whores; “Amazingly Stupid Statements”, a takedown of some of the dumbest things prohibitionists say; “Hooker Humor”, which features a few of the rare prostitute jokes that aren’t vulgar or insulting; “Playing the Harlot” and “Yesterday”, both extended responses to reader questions; “Wolves”, an attack on neofeminist pathologization of male behavior; and a short survey of “Japanese Prostitution”. Flapper on running board

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There are nights when the wolves are silent, and only the moon howls.  –  George Carlin, Brain Droppings

Schmucker witch 1911As regular readers know, Halloween is my favorite holiday.  Most of you have probably noticed that I try to do at least a few horror-themed columns every October, and a few even pop up at other times of year.  So in order to help y’all get into the spirit (hee hee) of the season, I’ve collected together everything on Halloween or horror-oriented topics I could think of.  First of all, there are my previous columns for the day itself: “Halloween”, “Samhain”, “All Hallows Eve” and “The Day of the Dead”.  “Moondance”  touches on very similar themes, and they’re also visited in “Saint Death”, in which I introduce you to Mexico’s Santa Muerte, the goddess of death.

One of the great pleasures of the season for me is horror fiction, and I’ve visited the subject a number of times which might surprise readers who don’t know me yet.  “Frightful Films” contains my list of the ten scariest horror movies and my favorite horror movies (which are not the same).  “May Eve” presented my picks for the scariest single episodes of TV shows, and “Walpurgisnacht” the scariest short stories.  I’ve also written quite a few horror shorts myself:   “Dry Spell”, “Friend”, “Mercy”, “Painted Devil”, “Pandora”, “Pearls Before Swine”,  “Ripper”, “Rose”, “The Screening” and “The Trick” all fall solidly into the category, and a few others (such as “Ghost in the Machine”, “Greek God”, “What Gets Into a Man…?” and this month’s “Monopoly”) are at least borderline.  I’ve also linked to two short-shorts from horror master Neil Gaiman, “Feminine Endings” and “Down To a Sunless Sea”, and a video wherein Gaiman explains a new tradition he’s trying to start called “All Hallows Read”.  You can even find two short horror films, “444-444-4444” and “Click”;  John Carpenter’s short spoof of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”; and other seasonal videos in this month’s Links #171, #172 and #173.  My column “Mass Hysteria”  compares the “sex trafficking” panic to that attending the famous War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938, and links a recording for your listening pleasure; “October Miscellanea” contains an item about horror comics and a listing of shows featuring vampire whores, “My Favorite Halloween Stuff” introduces my favorite monsters, horror novels, Halloween songs and more, and “Eros and Phobos” discusses the link between sex and horror.  Finally, you may like these striking Harry Clarke illustrations from the 1919 edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s  Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and this Poe-inspired short film called “The Boundaries of Life and Death”.

I’ll leave you with this selection of spooky links from previous columns:

Zombie links

Lovecraftian links

General horror links

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Continuously doing what doesn’t work…  –  Nick Andre, “Stupid”

This was such a disappointing year for Halloween items, I’m glad I recycled a bunch of old ones for tomorrow’s column.  Since I wasn’t about to let the occasion pass without a couple of spooky videos, I spent over 90 minutes yesterday screening candidates and found exactly three I thought worthwhile:  the first one isn’t scary but it’s fun and spooky; the second is very subtle and mysterious and rewards close attention; the third I’ll share next week.  Everything down to the first video was contributed by Jesse Walker, including the first of only three seasonal links; the other two appear directly after the first video and were provided by Aspasia and Nun Ya (who also gave us “headline of the week”).  Grace supplied “knife”, “never call” and “meth”, Jason Kuznicki  “WTF?”, Lenore Skenazy  “student”, Jillian Keenan “names”, Amy Alkon “note”,  Cop Block “tase” and Radley Balko “toy”.

From the Archives

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What these girls don’t realize is that they are victims.  I don’t understand why anyone would choose to do this.  –  Lea Benson

Rough Trade

China moves ahead of the US in this area of human rights:  “…a court [sentenced]…Li Tianyi, the 17-year-old son of prominent entertainers in the military, to 10 years in prison for gang rape, with four others…the…court…ruled that even if a woman is a sex worker…that doesn’t mean it’s O.K. to rape her…

It’s a Start (April Updates)

former New Orleans police officer [Thomas McMasters], who was fired in 2011 for falsely arresting a woman on prostitution charges, was reinstated…with full back pay…[because] the NOPD…took too long to conduct its internal review…

Presents, Presents, Presents!Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance

I received no fewer than five birthday presents this week!  Ted sent I ♥ Sex Workers, Eddiejc1 sent And Then There Were None and Ada, Leonard Fahrni sent Big Sister, and Krulac sent  Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance.  Thank you all so very much; y’all may not really understand how much it means to me to be so appreciated for what I do that y’all want to send me these gifts.

The Sky is Falling!

The app is just a short-term sugar arrangement, but the anonymous (though clearly female) writer just can’t stand that some women are more interested in profit than “romance”:

If you can’t get a date through any socially acceptable means…apparently you should resort to bribery…[via] Carrot Dating.  Creator Brandon Wade…of…SeekingArrangement.com, seems to believe that all it takes to get women interested in a guy is a “gift”…[such as] a tank of gas or a plastic surgery procedure…

Above the Law

drunken sheriff’s deputy [Paul Derrick] was recorded…when he tried to arrest…female [Marine Brittany Ball] at a…[South Carolina] restaurant…because she…turned down his advances…He…[screamed] at her and [barked] orders as he twisted her arms behind her back…When a few men approached…he threatened to arrest them…Sheriff Leon Lott initially backed Derrick…suggesting that Ball was “resisting”…[but] after a week of pressure…[he] placed Derrick on leave without pay…

And if they had been in a less-public place, it might have gone like this:

A…Houston police officer…pleaded guilty [to rape]…in exchange for [only] 10 years in prison.  Adan Carranza…responded to a fender bender…handcuffed one of the drivers and put her in the back of his patrol car…waited for the other drivers to leave…[then] raped her in the backseat…and…took her to jail for reckless driving…DNA and video evidence confirmed the woman’s story…he…will…have to register as a sex offender for…20 years [after release]…

An Example To the West (TW3 #24)Hit & Run cover

in…response [to the American TIP report]…Thai law enforcement authorities are…pulling sex workers out of brothels, [though] there is little evidence to suggest that [they]…are actually victims of trafficking.  In 2012…police investigated three times as many cases of sex trafficking as the year before but that lead to only a couple of arrests…the largest organisation for sex workers in Thailand called for a stop to the “rescues” of prostitutes in Bangkok, arguing that many of them…choose to work in a profession which pays them more than the bare minimum…

Damned If You Don’t

Charles Samuel Couch says that he was wrongly ensnared in a Manhattan Beach [California] sex sting at a public bathroom…and he’s suing the city, the police chief, and 16 other cops…he was…chaperoning a boy…[when] an undercover detective…entered a stall next to the kid’s…[he] bolted…[saying] “There is a man looking at me in the stall”…The two fled, but…Couch was “tackled, choked and handcuffed”…interrogated for “several hours,” his car was ransacked…and the [boy’s] parents…who vouched for Couch, were called…Detectives also took Couch’s laptop…and kept it for more than a month…[claiming it] had been used “as the means of committing a felony”…the Daily Breeze  published Couch’s photo as one of “18 arrested in sex sting”…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #40)

Sex rays are also dangerous to plants and wildlife!

…Fuck for Forest…makes porn…to raise money for conservation efforts…Unfortunately, they have trouble giving away their sex-tainted cash…co-founder Leona Johansson [said]…“Many NGOs are afraid of us.”  The World Wildlife Fund told them that it would take their money, but wouldn’t allow any official connection between the two organizations because “we cannot be linked to certain types of industry.”  And the Norwegian Rainforest Foundation refused their donation outright.  “I cannot see that this helps the work for the rain forest,” the foundation’s director told a Norwegian TV station…

Presumably grants funded via government violence help the work for the rain forest in a way voluntary transactions can’t.

Standard Operating Procedure

US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Naval Criminal Investigative Service…Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II…are accused of accepting bribes from…Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. in exchange for preferential treatment regarding contracts, as well as for tipping the company off to federal fraud investigations…Misiewicz was reportedly gifted with all-expense paid trips for him and his family, prostitutes, cash, luxury hotel rooms, and tickets to shows…

My First Million

I reached a total of two million page views just before midnight on Wednesday.  Thanks so much to all the readers who have helped make this blog a success! two million

Little Boxes (TW3 #45)

Businesses that allow patrons to pay to be cuddled are springing up everywhere.  One…is The Snuggery in…New York…no sexual contact of any kind is allowed…An establishment with a similar business model in Madison, Wisconsin, may never get the chance to cuddle anyone, as city officials are worried that the Snuggle House will end up being a front for a brothel…

But that’s nothing compared to this one:

Barton Jason Lewis Bagnes is asking the Utah Supreme Court to throw out his lewdness convictions, arguing that he did nothing sexual…He was sucking on a candy pacifier and throwing fliers folded into paper airplanes onto lawns when two 8-year-old girls approached him…Bagnes’ trousers were low enough to display a diaper with the Elmo…character…[and] he pulled down his pants to show them the diaper…the fliers that landed in people’s yards showed children of various ages in diapers, some posed provocatively.  Two web addresses were scrawled on the flier, promoting sites that showed sexually explicit images of children in sheer underwear…Bagnes’ history of diaper-flashing goes back to 1999, when he first was convicted of lewdness and was placed on the state sex offender registry…Bagnes has claimed he wore diapers because of urinary incontinence and displayed them to children to spread awareness of the medical problem…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #49)

Mike Ware of Fort Worth and Keith Hampton of Austin, filed writs of habeas corpus requesting the release from prison of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez, who have become known as the “San Antonio Four”…the [National Center for Reason and Justice and the] Innocence Project of Texas and asserts that all four women were wrongly convicted…and that new evidence establishes their complete innocence…The only evidence…against them was the [coerced] testimony of the two children…and medical evidence that is now known to be faulty.  The trial was also severely tainted by homophobia…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #52)Exposing Johns

Tizzy Wall on another horrible member of the same degenerate clan as mugshot and revenge porn sites:

ExposingJohns.com…[collects] information by creating fake ads on private entertainment advertising platforms and then [exposes] the folks who unknowingly contact them…For a mere $195.97, they will “investigate the claims” to delete the profile of an “exposed john” within two weeks, and expedited services carry an even heftier price tag, costing up to nearly $500 for a “premium 24 hour investigation”…

Due Consideration

As a woman who miscarried at 22 weeks, stories like this are especially horrifying to me:

Glenda Xiomara Cruz [of El Salvador] was crippled by abdominal pain and heavy bleeding in the early hours of 30 October 2012.  The 19-year-old…went to the nearest public hospital where doctors said she had lost her baby.  It was the first she knew about the pregnancy as her menstrual cycle was unbroken, her weight practically unchanged, and a pregnancy test in May…had been negative.  Four days later she was charged with aggravated murder …at a court hearing she was too sick to attend.  The hospital had reported her to the police for a suspected abortion…last month she was sentenced to 10 years in jail…

Libertarianism Happens To People

Wisconsin…state Rep. John Nygren…is sponsoring [two] bills aimed at…minimizing the damage from heroin overdoses…The first would offer limited immunity for people who call 911 or bring overdose patients to an emergency room…The other would expand those with access to Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose.  Nygren is sponsoring these laws after confronting his daughter’s heroin habit, and her near fatal overdose in 2009…

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #319)

Notice what word isn’t used:

The Swedish sports world has been rocked by a migrant labour scandal whereby sports clubs duped migration authorities with sham contracts for foreign players…non-EU employees…must earn a minimum of 14,300 kronor ($2,200) a month, but [one revealed]…she had been paid about 5,000 kronor a month…[and another] no more than 2,400 kronor…

Lower EducationBlurred Lines

The student unions at the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham have become the latest to ban the pop song “Blurred Lines” from their respective campuses…Essex University’s student union became the twentieth to ban the sale of the Sun and the Daily Star…Greg Lukianoff…of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)…[said] “UK student unions…think of themselves as…very progressive…But they are echoing…the old Victorian censors…campaigners in both eras share this idea that there are certain moral ends which are so much more important than someone’s measly right to freedom of speech.  This…leads to people wanting to blot out normal aspects of everyday life: sexuality, sexual expression, speech that might be offensive to women…”

Traffic Jam (TW3 #321)

Project ROSE Prostitution Diversion Initiative…was [protested] by a group of sex workers and allies that refer to themselves as the Phoenix Sex Worker Organizing Project [sic]…Phoenix police and students from the ASU School of Social Work team up twice a year to arrest local sex workers and [force] them [to] choose between a six month diversion program or criminal charges.  According to…SWOP…diversion programs…”ignore the fact that many people who work in the sex industry are not victims in need of rescue, but consenting adults who should not be arrested, coerced into diversion, or incarcerated for working”…

Project ROSE’s awfulness also inspired an editorial in Affilia:

Stephanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli provide a succinct analysis of the ethical considerations associated with diversion programs that arrest people…to force them to accept services…“targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry”…Project ROSE is found to violate…the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, and the International Federation of Social Work Ethical Principles.  Informed consent…is violated because the services…rely on recruitment via “massive police…sting operations…social work…should not be in the business of arresting people for their own good.”

Across the Pond (TW3 #333)

Remember “…officials are putting together ‘exit’ services to help the dozens of sex workers who face having their place of work closed down”?  Clueless lawheads imagined closing the saunas would force those dirty whores to get “clean” menial jobs, but here’s what is actually happening:  “Hundreds of Edinburgh sex workers have signed up to an [escort advertising] site – convinced they will be forced out of their…jobs…Six saunas are expected to be permanently closed…

Real People (TW3 #337)

Tizzy Wall interviews Siouxsie Q on a number of subjects, but the most interesting part to me is her commentary on actors’ inane pretenseDear John Letter that they’re better than whores when “HELLO? WE ARE OF THE SAME CLAN!!!”

Social Autoimmune Disorder
(TW3 #342)

In the US, new tools of tyranny always spread like a social disease:  “…[Oakland, California] has been mailing letters to men suspected of cruising for prostitutes…The…letters avoid accusations, simply saying their vehicle was spotted in a high-risk neighborhood….Los Angeles may try the same tactic…Sanford, Florida started a letter campaign, but…will include photos of…license plates…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 22nd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

History, it is said, repeats itself.  And while the parallels are never exact, they are often pretty damned close.  Witness, for example, the new Victorianism which has engulfed Western society:

…we have become shockingly hypocritical about sex and grant our governments tremendous power to suppress it while simultaneously spending tremendous amounts of time and money on it…We have revived Victorian ideas of government-enforced temperance and “social progress”, and the…“Cult of the Child”…which…preaches that children [including adolescents] are as emotionally fragile as soap bubbles and the merest hint of sexual imagery…can cause irreversible trauma…is…pressed into service for sex issues which have nothing to do with children…prohibitionists [have resurrected] the late Victorian “white slavery” moral panic under a new name, “child sex trafficking”, and [wield] it as a bludgeon against adult whores…lest anyone balk at treating adult women as children, there’s a Victorian answer for that as well; prostitutes are  abnormal, defective “victims” of men who have to be protected from our own choices, which are clearly irrational.  Similarly, trafficking fanatics classify brown people as…too stupid and unsophisticated to move between countries on their own without being “trafficked” by gangsters, so by the Victorian “white man’s burden” philosophy they need to “save” these poor victims, whether they want to be “rescued” or not

Traffic in Souls (1913)But while the racist, colonialist, prudish, censorious and paternalistic attitudes we see around us, especially in speeches by politicians and articles from the mainstream media, are straight out of the late 19th century, at least the language used is still modern, isn’t it?  Well…not quite.  In recent decades we’ve seen the return of tortured, obfuscatory euphemisms and circumlocutory, polysyllabic abortions used in place of clear words and direct phrases, and nowhere is this more true than in prohibitionist anti-sex work screeds larded with cumbersome, politicized passive-voice constructions such as “prostituted women” or even “women victimized by systems of prostitution”.  And in recent months, it’s been growing steadily worse; yellow news stories steeped in purple prose extol the supposed “horror” of sex workers’ lives in lurid detail, women are described as utterly helpless and hopelessly naïve, and sexual behavior is described in phraseology that would not seem out of place in a hellfire-and-damnation revivalist’s tent.  And really, that’s not surprising; the equation of all prostitution with “sex trafficking” goes back to the 1880s, and one of its chief originators at that time, The Salvation Army, is also one of its chief proponents now.  The “trafficking” mythos is deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity’s obsession with “pure and pious womanhood, and even when there is no Christian group involved in a prohibitionist scheme the same themes of sin and degradation echo through their rhetoric, even if translated for a non-Christian audience.

To be sure, some of them are very subtle, contenting themselves with merely denying that sex work is work, equating all sex work with survival streetwalking and using Victorian phrases like “selling their bodies”.  Others absurdly state that “prostitution is not a victimless crime”, deny sex workers’ agency (“When you are bought and sold for sex…does that make it a freely made choice?”), misdirect attention from the real issues with simple-minded morality plays featuring demonic pimps and heroic cops, and ignore the coercion implicit in the “diversion programs” they tout.  Still others feature cops using language that sounds plagiarized from penny dreadfuls: “[The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics] is committed to dismantling organizations involved in the seedy world of prostitution and ultimately human trafficking.  Our agency…[is] determined to make a positive impact in a dark world that troubles the soul. Women that are used as a commodity sickens ones hear [sic].”  But others aren’t nearly as restrained:

The struggle against human sex trafficking in Israel has made appreciable progress in the past decade.  Mass media have better informed the public of the severity and dimensions of this vast criminal enterprise…The Sinai fence and more effective border patrolling has appreciably, though not totally abrogated the tacit understandings between the IDF and Beduin [sic] smugglers that annually brought thousands of sex slaves into Israel’s brothels…girls as young as 13, are coerced by the ravages of poverty, incest and rape…into sexual servitude.  Procurers and their underworld bosses subjugate them in lives almost never truly rehabilitated by even the most valiant and dedicated social welfare agencies…tens of thousands of [men]…continue to buy women’s bodies in order, as they commonly express it, “to make them do whatever I want”…the purchase of sex is about power, not about sex, about societal toleration of the abuse of women’s bodies – and souls…

If not for the uniquely modern idiocy that sex isn’t sex, one could easily mistake this for a description of a Victorian or silent-film melodrama, complete with bearded Bedouin slave traders (no doubt carrying their struggling captives on camels); note also the revoltingly misogynistic assertion that whores are “fallen” women who can “never truly [be] rehabilitated”, a common Victorian prostitute-motif which persists in modern “sex trafficking” myth and is echoed in theSalome by Jean Sala characterization of rape as uniquely destructive, a “fate worse than death”.

But the myth of the harlot as a passive, pathetic victim of the Almighty Phallus is a comparatively recent one; for the majority of the past two millennia (and for centuries before that among the Jews), we were cast by prudes and religious fanatics as powerful figures akin to witches, vile temptresses sent straight from Hell to seduce godly men into wrongdoing.  A few of their modern successors still prefer that sort of rhetoric, and demand that whores be made into outcast pariahs who can be persecuted by the “authorities” at will:

…New Port Richey [Florida]…Police Chief Kim Bogart…suggested the city consider crafting an anti-prostitution ordinance that makes it easier for police to arrest known “ladies of the night.”  He’s hoping the ordinance would be worded so that if such a woman even waves or makes a certain gesture to someone, it would be justification for arrest…Councilman Jeff Starkey took aim at the city’s prostitution problem.  “It’s unbelievable how brazen these nasty, nasty, nasty women are”…he said…

Of course, before we were witches and temptresses we were priestesses; many ancient religions believed that sacred whores were a way for men to connect with their goddesses.  The practice still existed in the early Christian era, much to the chagrin of early Church fathers (who had inherited the long Jewish tradition of hatred for whores).  Our last (and most fiery) example of retro anti-whore rhetoric derives its inspiration from that time period:

…Preaching from 1 Corinthians 6:15–7:5, [Russell] Moore likened the present-day cultural saturation of pornography with the first-century pagan practice of temple prostitution.  “The temple prostitution of Corinth has been digitalized and weaponized…and brings with it the kind of illusion and anonymity that the temple prostitutes could never promise…there are digital harems of prostitutes, available and pushed upon every single population in the United States of America and increasingly every single population in the world,” Moore said…

As I’ve said before, if I’m going to be insulted and lied about I’d rather be cast as a powerful succubus than a weak and deluded victim.  Given the choice between two ridiculous stereotypes from the past which have somehow held on into the 21st century, I prefer to be a living weapon so dangerous she must be arrested on sight than an infantilized defective who needs to be locked up because she’s too stupid to know what’s good for her.

(This essay was inspired by Dr. Laura Agustín‘s “tweets” about how silly prohibitionist language has become lately; she and Mistress Matisse provided most of the featured examples.)

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Most victims don’t know they’re being exploited.  –  many trafficking fanatics, who apparently believe they get to define other people’s experiences for them

“Sex trafficking” hysteria is growing so rapidly now that in any given week one can see almost as many of these as one cares to look for (consider the effect that has on Kevin Bales’ media-report-driven “algorithm”).  Here is a selection of the more interesting ones from the past few weeks, done in TW3 style.

Check Your Premises

Any “method” premised on the twisted belief that heterosexual male desire is “sickening” is doomed to fail:

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez said…she wants city officials to come up with better methods for curbing prostitution, beyond arresting sex workers who end up returning to the streets after a brief stint in jail…she is “exasperated by the reality that…it just isn’t working…it’s time for…additional legal tools…targeting the sickening demand for prostitutes”…Martinez is hoping to…go…after those who exploit the prostitutes and engage in human trafficking…Pimps have also adopted new tactics that include shuffling prostitutes through Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Seattle…to make it harder for police to recognize [them]…

I suspect the notion that whores are “trafficked” in a circuit by “pimps” is a warped view of touring.

Sex Work 4 U Recruitment

Critics say a satirical sex-traffic awareness campaign, that issued a fake callout for children to become sex workers, backfired.  But the organization behind the campaign is calling it a success.  Posters by Edmonton’s Chrysalis Human Trafficking Network, read:  “Now recruiting: Child sex workers”…The Twitter feed was ultimately shut down…Jacqueline Linder, executive director of Chrysalis, said…”It looked real and it was meant to look real”…

No, it did not “look real”, as you can see for yourself by clicking on the picture; it looked like ugly prohibitionist bullshit of the sort we’ve seen before.  Jemima has more on the sleazy fanatics at Chrysalis, including a typical bogus “checklist” with items designed to describe just about any young person.

A Fantasy of Hate

Even among “sex trafficking” fetishists, it’s rare to see such raw, unfiltered misandry outside of neofeminist hate sites:

…Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape Criminal Justice Training Specialist Krista Hoffman…said…”One of the big problems with sex trafficking is our cultural acceptance of prostitution…[Pimps] don’t mind beating girls up around the face”…One study found that purchasers…actually like the appearance of bruises and cuts.  “When it looks like girls are beaten up a bit it heightens the excitement for them,” Hoffman said…

Only in the twisted fantasy world inhabited by neofeminists could anyone claim that the stigma and criminalization inflicted on whores indicates “cultural acceptance”.  And only an evil fanatic with almost no attachment to reality whatsoever could imagine that the average man wants to have sex with a woman who has obviously been beaten.

Law of the Instrument

Inspector Haynes just can’t understand why sex workers “don’t even realize that they are victims“:

Five women believed to be sex-trafficking victims have been rescued by police during raids on nine suspected brothels in Birmingham.  Police…said they were determined to put a stop to “modern day slavery” in the region…Officers…seized mobile phones, cash, laptops and paraphernalia relating to prostitution…Detective Inspector Darren Haynes said…”Tonight’s action…is about protecting people who more often than not don’t even realise that they are victims”…

Repeat Offenders

The agency-denying, lie-spreading nun-SOAP cabal is at it again:

…Beginning this week, a group of 200 volunteers, including 30 nuns, will be cold-calling or visiting 300 New Jersey hotels to talk about the Super Bowl’s dirty little secret:  prostitution…everybody knows hookers follow the game.  But most…see only a victimless crime, a business arrangement between consenting adults, where the women are willing opportunists and the men just out for a good time.  The nuns don’t see it that way.  They see victims…The volunteers…will be distributing soap…with the coalition’s hotline number on the wrapper, so a girl being forced into prostitution has a lifeline…

Held Together With Lies

Since Kevin Bales’ widely-quoted “estimate” is based on media reports, it was only a matter of time before it grew even more ridiculous:

There are 29.8 million people living as slaves right now, according to a comprehensive new report  issued by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.  This is not some softened, by-modern-standards definition of slavery.  These 30 million people are…chattel in…absolute ownership…Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe…are blighted particularly by sex trafficking, a practice that bears little resemblance to popular Western conceptions of prostitution.  Women and men are coerced into participating, often starting at a very young age, and are completely reliant on their traffickers…You don’t have to go far to see slavery in America.  Here in Washington, D.C., you can sometimes spot them on certain streets, late at night.  Not all sex workers or “prostitutes” are slaves, of course; plenty have chosen the work voluntarily and can leave it freely.  But, as the 2007 documentary “Very Young Girls” demonstrated, many are coerced into participating at a young age and gradually shifted into a life that very much resembles slavery…

bogus slavery mapOf course, this is absolute poppycock; none of these so-called “slaves” are chattel slaves unless the legal systems of their countries officially recognize slave ownership, and most aren’t even coerced by any legitimate definition of the word.  As regular readers have seen, claims of “sex slavery” in Southeast Asia are  dramatically exaggerated, and the claims about Eastern Europe are both exaggerated and twenty years out of date.  The documentary mentioned is prohibitionist “average entry at 13” propaganda, and if the reporter wanted to quote old stories from his newspaper he should’ve tried this one.

Pyrrhic Victory

NSA says sex workers & associated parties are valid drone targets, then hides the admission:

There was an odd statement from NSA in the middle of yesterday’s WaPo story  describing how NSA facilitates CIA’s drone mission… “The NSA is ‘focused on discovering and developing intelligence about …foreign intelligence targets, such as terrorists, human traffickers and drug smugglers’,“…I believe this is the first time since the Snowden leak that NSA has suggested its “valid foreign intelligence targets” include “human traffickers and drug smugglers”…the WaPo explained [that it was] “withholding many details about those missions, at the request of U.S. intelligence officials“……and…the reference has now been removed from the story…

O, Canada! (TW3 #31)

Canadian “authorities” are nearly as obsessed with “trafficking” porn as American ones:

Brianne answers the knock, expecting to see the…man with whom she negotiated sex-for-money over email…Instead, two police officers step inside…“We’re not here to arrest you,” the officer says to Brianne.  “We’re here to help you.”  Women who are victims of human trafficking don’t fit the profile you might imagine…these girls could be your daughter, says Det. Mark Benallick…of the Toronto Police…“What begins as a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship progresses to increasing control, until these women are treated as slaves…These pimps have the ability to spot vulnerable girls in a crowd…and instantly know which ones can be manipulated”…

Note the increasing tendency to ascribe magical powers to pimps.

King of the Hill

Not just the US; the entire world!

Two girls excitedly walk off their plane that just landed in Paris…their happiness is snatched from them as they are betrayed, dragged and forced into a hard-to-escape lifestyle…Many are familiar with the depiction from the movie Taken, but many fail to realize the reality that lies behind [it]…the University of West Georgia…is…close to one of the biggest sex trafficking hubs in the world…Atlanta International Airport is…a target for human traffickers…the U.S. is not that different from well-known sex trafficking countries such as Czechoslovakia.  FBI reports that Atlanta is the center for the sex-trafficking of adolescence and around 200 to 300 youth are prostituted in Atlanta a month…

Original SinDignity Gala Invitation

What planet do these people live on, where “sex trafficking” is “unrecognized”?

Although largely unrecognized, sex trafficking in the U.S. is a serious problem, and its victims needs the loving support that the Catholic Church can give…Candace Wheeler, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Restoration Ministries…[said] “These girls need the body of Christ, and the body of Christ needs them”…According to the Department of Justice…300,000 children are at risk of sexual exploitation each year…girls at risk for sex trafficking… “have typically been violated before the age of five”…

How much lower in age can the filthy masturbatory fantasies of “trafficking” fetishists go?

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #317)

Pop stars cause sex trafficking!

On Sept. 20, Rihanna tweeted…about a female performer from an illegal sex show she attended in…Thailand…officials say they used Rihanna’s tweets to help lead them to the arrest of the club’s owner.  Christian Film & Television Commission founder Ted Baehr says…”Most times these female performers are held in captivity against their will, and most are sold into slavery at young ages and don’t live past the age of 20 because of working conditions and highly-addictive drugs used to keep them in slavery”…Baehr says…Rihanna is supporting the international sex trade…

This is the second time we’ve seen the magical slave-philter, but I guarantee it won’t be the last.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #329)

Talking about the prostitutes she met whilst filming Jodie Marsh On The Game, [the model-turned-bodybuilder said]…“Mostly the thing they had in common was they’d all been forced into it by a man.  And their lives were shit…One girl — who had a gang bang in Germany where 15 men had sex with her one after the other — said she loved it…I’ve been celibate for two and a half years but that put me off sex even more…It made me think nobody is coming near my body ever again”…

I’m glad to hear that, Jodie; it’s best for the world that control freaks like you never breed.

Imaginary Evils

Remember, many huge police operations have found virtually no “sex trafficking” in the UK:

…trafficking of foreign women to be sexually exploited in the UK is worth at least £130 million, a Home Office report suggests.  The annual revenue generated by one female sex worker was estimated as £48,000…Organised crime was responsible for all such trafficking…A study…in 2009 identified 2,600 foreign women in England and Wales who were victims of [sex] trafficking…A further 9,200 were identified as vulnerable to being trafficked… Understanding Organised Crime: Estimating the Scale and the Social and Economic Costs, warned that the £130 million figure was likely to be an underestimate.  It estimated the social and economic costs…at £890 million…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #341)

Educated white American feminist goes “undercover” in a Turkish brothel; blah blah blah “piece of meat”, blah blah blah “traffickers and pimps”, blah blah blah “girls sold for sex”.  Because only educated white feminists are sophisticated and brave enough to take risks to make a living (you know, like by going into Turkish brothels), and only educated white feminists are magically protected from the mustache-twirling pimps with their magical pimp vision and mind-control potions; all other women everywhere are asexual simpletons who could NEVER EVER EVER make valid decisions that contradict feminist dogma.

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Is there a difference in the way men and women are affected by sexual repression?  And what’s the biggest personality difference between sexually liberated and sexually repressed people?

Zombie Rising from the Grave by Diane DiederichI think the main difference is that in general, women are better at totally repressing their sexuality than men are.  Most women can sublimate their libidos into other things, which they may become incredibly fanatical about; examples include their children or pets, art, social activities and religious or political crusades.  Men may also sublimate in this way, but the sex drive won’t stay buried; they’ll still seek out porn, sex workers or even unwilling partners (as the numerous cases of boy-molesting priests amply demonstrate).  Sexual repression in either men or women may lead to an obsession with suppressing sexual expression in others, and (especially in men) the psychological defense mechanism called “reaction formation” will often reveal the person’s particular kink.  For example, there are many cases of pedophiles who campaign against “child porn”, closeted homosexuals who lead anti-gay crusades, compulsive clients who loudly support criminalization of sex work, etc.  Full-blown sexual reaction formation is less common among women; this isn’t to say that women’s anti-sex campaigning isn’t due to sexual repression (I suspect it usually is), merely that it’s a lot harder to tell exactly what urges are being repressed by looking at the subject of their obsession.  In other words, it’s unlikely that a woman involved in an anti-porn jihad is reacting to a repressed fascination with it; in fact, the trauma which produced the hate may have nothing at all to do with porn, which is merely an external symbol of male sexuality or “privilege”, essentially an effigy she can burn.

In general, sexually repressed people can be detected by their strange, uptight attitudes toward sex.  Even if they don’t picket strip clubs, pass out anti-gay hate leaflets or try to get people criminally charged for displaying vaguely-sexual art, their reactions to sexual topics or imagery will generally be extreme, inappropriate and wildly disproportionate to the stimulus; examples might include feeling the need to comment on the clothing or “sexy” behavior of a young woman one does not personally know, or getting someone fired for a silly off-color joke.  People with healthy sexualities do not generally feel the need to police the sexual or quasi-sexual behavior of others, and I suspect are generally more tolerant and accepting of individual differences even in areas which don’t appear to have anything to do with sex.

(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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Authors, activists, consultants, and futurologists are constantly warning us about threats so spectacular and exotic they make scenarios of nuclear Armageddon look quaint.  –  Daniel Gardner

The Science of FearIt is a tired book review cliché to declare a book “important”, but I’m going to do it anyway:  The Science of Fear is an important book.  Its author is a journalist (with a law degree) rather than a scientist, but the book is extensively researched and exhaustively footnoted, and has been praised by many psychologists and other scientists.  In twelve clear and readable chapters over about 300 pages, Gardner does what so many skeptic writers fail to do in book after book: he explains not just how people immerse themselves in fearful folly, but explains why we do so.  In other words, he doesn’t merely debunk hysteria by throwing statistics at it; instead, he looks at how the instincts which served us well on the African savannah betray us in the modern world.

As Gardner explains, humans actually have two different kinds of thinking going on simultaneously and more or less independently of each other.  “System One is the more ancient.  It is intuitive, quick and emotional.  System Two is calculating, slow and rational.”  He refers to the two systems as “gut” and “head”, and convincingly demonstrates how gut – which worked beautifully for keeping pre-verbal humans out of trouble in a natural environment – leads to lots of serious problems in the complex, artificial world we’ve built.  In early chapters he explains the various “rules” hard-wired into our brains which are the source of the problem:

The Law of Similarity tells our brains that things are what they look like.  In nature, a new creature which looks like a lion is probably best avoided, while one that looks like an antelope is probably edible.  But this principle is also the basis for sympathetic magic (the idea that harming the image of a thing also hurts the original), which in the modern age has given us censorship, draconian “child porn” laws, and neofeminists’ belief that what other women do in private magically affects them.

The Anchoring Rule means that when humans are exposed to a number, any numerical estimates which closely follow exposure are adjusted from the first number rather than calculated independently, even if the numbers have nothing to do with one another.  In other words, if I took a group of people and asked them for an estimate of the number of “child sex slaves” in the US, but told them that the oft-repeated claim of 300,000 is wildly incorrect, their guesses will still be much closer to 300,000 on average than those of another group who was given no information, or who was given another, lower false estimate.  In other words, once a ridiculously-high number is thrown out in propaganda, it’s in people’s heads whether they want it there or not, and only careful consideration of factual evidence can negate that.

The Rule of Typical Things directs the brain to grab ahold of single characteristics that seem to fit a stereotype, and to ignore the unlikelihood of other factors.  For example, because people believe the “most whores are streetwalkers” and “all whores have pimps” stereotypes, they will tend to believe any narrative in which those two factors are embedded, no matter how ridiculous the other claims (50 clients a night, $300,000 a year, recruited within 48 hours of running away from home, etc) in the story may be.

The Example Rule can be simply stated as “the easier it is to recall examples of something, the more common that something must be.”  In nature, that makes perfect sense; if you can think of lots of examples of brightly-colored snakes that are poisonous and few or none that aren’t, it makes sense to conclude that most brightly-colored snakes are poisonous.  But when people are shown image after staged image of pathetic child prostitutes, and told over and over about how horrible sex workers’ lives are, and exposed to a new “survivor” narrative every week, their guts tell them that those things are common despite the fact that they are nothing of the kind.

The Good-Bad Rule means that people judge things that make them feel good as less dangerous than those which make them feel bad; when people’s minds are full of images of pimps, drug abuse, used condoms, and other “icky” things, they will be more likely to conclude that sex work is harmful and dangerous than those shown neutral or positive images (which is why prohibitionists hate “happy hooker” stories so very much).

Daniel GardnerI used prohibitionist examples in the above descriptions not because Gardner uses them, but because I want to demonstrate why a book about the psychology of fear is important to this blog.  One of the examples he does use is the “child sex predator” panic (which is especially fed by the anchoring rule and the example rule), but the majority of the examples are not sex hysteria-related; he discusses things like cancer, nuclear power, breast implants, crime, chemicals and terrorism and shows how thanks to the rules described above, people imagine them to be much more dangerous than they actually are.  He also discusses other fear-promoting psychological functions such as confirmation bias, the tendency for groups to follow the lead of their most extreme members, and the formation of false memories; this section was very helpful to me in writing my paper “Mind-witness Testimony”, which will be published in the Albany Government Law Review this spring (and which I will share with you at that time).  Finally, he looks at those who profit from the encouragement of fear – businesses, the media, special-interest groups and governments –  and shows how they exploit the irrational part of the human mind for their own purposes.  Even if you don’t generally like books on psychology, I think most of my readers will like this one; it will help you to understand more about many of the things I discuss every week.

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