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Archive for June, 2014

I’m hungry, I don’t need respect, I don’t need honour, I just want three meals a day.  –  Elderly Korean sex worker

Think of the Children! 

A teacher who describes note-passing as “scary”?  The jokes write themselves.

A…woman has been charged with prostitution at the Tewksbury [Massachusetts] Public Library…a…plain clothes detective claimed Brittany Macintyre…handed him a pen and…paper.  The two passed notes back and forth until she allegedly asked for $60 in exchange for a sex act…one library patron [said] “I’m quite shocked because a lot of kids come here and I’m a teacher, so it’s pretty scary”…

Feminine Pragmatism Bacchus-D

Koreans could once be sure that their children would look after them in their old age, but no longer…As a result, some elderly women are turning to prostitution…”Bacchus Ladies” [are] older women who make a living by selling tiny bottles of the popular Bacchus energy drink to male customers.  But often that’s not all they’re selling.  At an age when Korean grandmothers are supposed to be venerated as matriarchs, some are selling sex…they invested their savings in the next generation.  In a Confucian society, successful children are the best form of pension.  But attitudes here have changed just as fast as living standards, and now many young people say they can’t afford to support themselves and their parents…The government…is scrambling to provide a welfare system that works [but] in the meantime…[the elderly] have no savings, no realistic pension, and no family to rely on…

One Born Every Minute

A neuroscientist who claimed to have fathered 58 children while running [an]…insemination service preyed on three women desperate to become mothers by sexually assaulting them…during the…process…[Professor Gennadij] Raivich told one alleged victim she had to give him oral sex repeatedly in order to get a sperm sample.  He told another she was more likely to get pregnant if she orgasmed…

Tyranny By Consensus

Michael Weinstein [spoke to]…the press…on the…condom mandate bill…armed with what he claimed to be the smoking gun that justified his campaign to force condoms down performers’ throats…a survey done by the UCLA School of Public Health which, according to Weinstein, proved that there was a “public health danger” involving porn performers…Weinstein presented this “pictographic”AHF Porn Study Propaganda Graphic which attempted to…paint a picture of porn performers as oppressed, drugged out, abused, exploited, and basically unable to think for themselves…[so] the state absolutely had to step in and rescue them with condoms…Both AVN’s Mark Kernes  and The Real Porn Wikileaks  have done fine efforts to debunk this agitprop, but there are some points that even their efforts do manage to miss which deserve additional attention…

A Procrustean Bed (First Updates of the Year)

The evil clownishness continues:

[Rhode Island Senator] Gayle Goldin…is urging her…colleagues to…reject [a “sex trafficking” bill which]…conflates sex trafficking with prostitution…the bill as written could mean that [a] cab driver [who carries a whore to a call could be convicted of] sex trafficking…Goldin said [a] slight change [to her original wording] has fouled the intent of the legislation.  It “would mean that the penalties intended specifically for the traffickers could also be used to penalize sex workers themselves,” she [wrote]…

A Whore in Church

This is absurd on so many levels:

The Roman Catholic sisters whose convent fence-line is mere inches from a flashy new strip club…were unable to prevent the business from opening last year.  But they haven’t given up…and…the Village Board of Melrose Park voted to join the nuns…in a lawsuit against…Club Allure…and the Village of Stone Park, which granted its license to operate…One of the main arguments in the lawsuit is expected to center on a provision of state law that…prohibits such businesses from operating within 1,000 feet of a place of worship…

Broken Record

I don’t know what’s more pathetic, Rachel’s idea of “big events” or her mathematical illiteracy:

Soon hundreds of thousands will pack [Omaha, Nebraska] for the College World Series…any big event…creates a bigger opportunity for…prostitution…Rachel Davis escaped such a life 15 years ago…[and] now helps others get out…“During…the world series…the Olympic Swim Trials, the Berkshire meeting…quotas…go up to $2,000 a night”…

Damned If You Don’t

Among those arrested [in a Sacramento, California sting] was the Rev. John Oselsky…who…stopped at a fast food parking lot…to purchase a meal when he was approached by two women who knocked on his vehicle window…Oselsky…speaks fluent Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian.  But his English is not good…Oselsky never…offered money [and] had [only] $13 in his wallet…

An Example To the West (TW3 #39) Naked Football Club

Brazilian prostitutes…played a football match …in World Cup host city Belo Horizonte…to raise awareness about sex workers’ rights…the women set up an impromptu pitch using traffic cones for goalposts and played to the enthusiastic cheers of onlookers.  The prostitutes, calling themselves the Naked Football Club — though in fact they played in the green and yellow uniforms of Brazil — teamed up with the visiting evangelicals from the United States to take on a local university team…

Libertarianism Happens To People

Mark Shurtleff…Utah attorney general…set up a unit…[which] sent armed police to raid businesses that were suspected of employing undocumented workers…Shurtleff…also…[over]saw a dramatic increase in the use of SWAT teams and…opposed an important ballot initiative  to rein in the abuse of civil asset forfeiture…[now] Shurtleff…[is] under investigation for allegedly violating campaign finance law…and…”accused law enforcement agents of using ‘Dirty Harry’ tactics when they searched his house, breaking through his door and pointing automatic weapons at his children…

Somewhere in the Middle

Chris Atchison…[has] been studying [sex workers’ clients] for about 20 years…[and] doesn’t think…there is…such a thing as a “typical john”…”People who purchase sexual services come from all walks of life…[and] all racial and ethnic categories…they don’t all [have]…identical reasons or…identical needs…Some…are physically disabled.  Some of these individuals have great social stigmas, social-anxiety disorders.  And some are individuals who…just…are lacking a partner, a widower, and so on and so forth…most [clients] would never hurt their escorts, from whom they mainly seek “companionship”…

Check Your Premises (Hysteria on Parade)

Another warped view of touring:

…Taken from one hotel to the next, she’s been forced to have sex with men for money again and again.  And there are many more like her.  Hundreds of young women and girls are coerced into doing this on any given day, police…say.  Most are…sent along what’s commonly described as The Pipeline, which takes them to cities such as Montreal, here to Ottawa and all the way to Windsor.  Shipping girls along circuits such as The Pipeline is a crucial component to a trafficker’s success.  The constant movement helps pimps avoid police detection, isolates the women and girls from their family and friends, and attracts a larger clientele by offering up fresh-faced girls…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #352) ritual shaming

dozens of prominent legal experts…are calling for the abolition of the police-run “custody and education” system, which…resembles the “re-education through labor” system in all but name, and has no basis in Chinese law…which forbids the state to deprive citizens of their freedom without any basis in legislation.  The first…facilities began to be built in 2002, in line with a 1993 directive from…the State Council, which ordered that those found engaging in sex work should be given “legal and moral” education, subjected to tests for sexually transmitted diseases and organized to take part in productive work…a person can be incarcerated by police for up to two years without trial for involvement in the sex industry, whether as a sex worker or a client…

Dutch Threat (TW3 #418)

Another excellent essay from Felicia Anna:

…the [Dutch] minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten presented…the government’s…new campaign against human trafficking…[with] an overview of the results of the last campaign…[which] got 392 anonymous tips…[this was] 93% more…then the years before…[but] 392 reports out of 20,000 estimated legal working prostitutes in Holland isn’t very much.  In fact, it’s only about 2%…while the police [claimed] in their own ‘report’ “Schone Schijn“…that it was somewhere between 50 and 90%…of those 392 reports…the police only decided to investigate 250…a whopping 28 arrests where made, which comes down to about 7% of the total amount of reports…This means that only 7% of the reports leads to an actual arrest, and…93% of the cases are false alarm…In short, people report it much more then before, but the actual number of people arrested has not changed at all…

Choke Point 

A mysterious group of business people will spend up to $5 million campaigning against…”Operation Choke Point”…The United States Consumer Coalition says the…operation unfairly targets legal businesses by choking off their access to banks and third-party payment processors…Brian Wise, a partner in the Washington strategic communications shop Wise Public Affairs, began forming USCC at the beginning of the year.  A Facebook site was launched in March, and the group has stepped up its media campaign…[to] highlight…business that…have been hurt by Choke Point…

Property of the State

Tennessee moves to criminalize smoking during pregnancy:

When newborn babies begin to withdraw from powerful drugs, they shriek at a high, telltale pitch.  Cut off from the substances they ingested through their mothers, they convulse, projectile vomit or writhe from skin-scorching diarrhea.  Their tiny bodies shudder violently…Tennessee…has made its mark in trying to understand what triggers the painful symptoms in babies going through nicotine and opioid withdrawal.  Researchers and insurers alike are looking for ways to reach out to and treat pregnant women with addictions…

The Roof Caves In

The Somaly Mam Foundation has pledged to change its name following the resignation of its founder…executive director Gina Reiss-Wilchins says the organisation has ‘been working tirelessly to chart the best path for…rebranding, renaming, and re-launching our organisation’…”  Meanwhile, there’s a petition for the New York Times to fire Nick Kristof for his lies and his perpetuation of Mam’s scam.  But as Dr. Laura Agustin points out, it’s a mistake to concentrate on Mam and Kristof:government money machine

…if some [donors] do stop funding SMF, they will simply shift support to other similar institutions engaged in the same cause…And some new figure with the ability to stir feelings will eventually emerge from the hundreds of groups now dedicated to sex trafficking…The current fuss about Kristof and Mam reproduces the cult of personality that caused trouble in the first place.  To focus on individuals is to avoid addressing structures.  A couple of self-promoting showoffs pale beside proliferating government machinery that now churns out salaries and prestige for thousands worldwide caught up in a movement based on fraud.

Whither Canada? (TW3 #423)

In what was billed as a national day of action, rallies against the government’s new prostitution legislation were [held] in several cities…Dozens of demonstrators gathered around red umbrellas…in a downtown Toronto park to speak out against the proposed law, which would…”simply move sex workers out into more isolated and more marginalized areas of the city”…said Jean McDonald, head of…Maggie’s …She said that…the Conservatives are “spitting in the face” of the Supreme Court’s landmark prostitution decision and ignoring the vital input of sex workers…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #424) 

Noah Berlatsky on Chong Kim and Eden:

…Breaking Out, an anti-trafficking organization, announced that [it]…had been unable to confirm [her tale and]…is contemplating legal action against her.  Kim’s supposedly true story was the basis for a 2012 film, Eden…the…exploitation tropes…are clustered about so densely and insistently that it’s hard to believe anyone missed them.  There are women-in-prison shower scenes…The trope of giving prisoners kittens to love is straight out of Caged from 1950…There’s also some S&M fetish (again a staple of the genre), and…stylized violence a la Tarantino…To just point out the most obvious issue, the movie details a copious number of murders, several of them committed by the main character herself.  This is standard issue for a Hollywood film, but in real life, this amounts to mass murder, including the killing of multiple law-enforcement personnel…where’s the massive investigation?  Why is this being covered in an entertainment review, rather than on the front page?…

TRPWL presented a catalog of the many inconsistencies in Kim’s story, including her omission of the fact that she was convicted of fraud in 2009.

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If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.  –  James Madison

Adam and Eve are Driven Out of Eden by Gustave Dore (1866)No scientifically-literate person would deny that human beings are animals, and no sane person would deny that we are not only imperfect, but unperfectible; it is literally impossible to remove all the flaws from any human being.  No accident of birth, no social pressure, no education, no surgery, no psychoactive drug, no holy book, no set of rules or procedures, no machine and no god can remove that flawed nature; we are born flawed, develop new flaws even while trying to correct old ones, and eventually die still flawed (and often because of those flaws).  The Christian myth of original sin may be based in this realization, but there is no baptism or consecration which will wash it away; we are stuck with it, and the best we can do is to recognize the truth and ask for others’ help in controlling the damage our flaws may cause.

Unfortunately, one of the most profound and dangerous of human flaws is our love for authority; the average human craves being told what to do by someone he perceives as superior to him, and the majority of exceptions to this are those who crave the power to tell others what to do.  And though a wisely-organized system would recognize this by limiting both the ability of all humans to exercise power over others, and the opportunity for individuals to surrender power to self-proclaimed leaders, we do not have a wisely-organized system for the simple reason that humans on the whole are not yet wise enough to design such a system.  Theoretically, democracy is supposed to do this, but humans’ love for titles, badges, costumes and Great Men has undermined every attempt since Classical Greece; whatever system is designed to put “the people” in power will eventually allow thugs and strongmen to arise, and no matter how carefully individual rights are protected the hoi-polloi will eventually rush to give up those rights for some perceived advantage (usually “safety”).  And when they do, the rights of the individualists are destroyed right along with those of the mob by the flawed and fallacious mechanism that all democracies to date have depended upon, majority rule.

Any human given power will eventually abuse that power if given the opportunity to do so.  Any human.  Let that sink in, because every argument for the “necessity” of government invariably ignores it.  Every single official, every single cop, every single judge, every single representative.  Every tax collector, inspector, legislator, minister, noble and king.  All of them, to a man, will abuse his authority if given the opportunity to do so; obviously, the solution is to limit and check the power of every single government actor and every group of actors so as to remove that opportunity.  But that is not what we do; in fact, the tendency is to do the opposite, increasing the power and decreasing the accountability of officials until we arrive at the situation illustrated every week in my TW3 and Links columns.  Nor are we satisfied with giving this kind of power to “official” authorities; oh no.  The human desire to be controlled by people who know absolutely nothing about them as individuals is unsatisfied with having the boots of elected officials, appointed officials, bureaucrats, hirelings and henchmen on their faces and bodies; they must also invite a host of ministers, gurus, celebrities, bosses, academics and other Pillars of the Community to stomp on their genitalia as well.

That last metaphor was not merely chosen for shock value; humans, as I said at the beginning, are animals, so although most do use their power for rational (if wrongful) purposes like enriching themselves or destroying their enemies, they also tend to use it for feeding their appetites:

…a minister…is facing 59 counts of first-degree sexual assault in cases against girls…as young as 13…Victor Barnard [led]…a cult-like faith community in central Minnesota…[and told girls he] chose [to rape that they were] to be “sacrificed to God”…

The Witches (1966)The writers of stories like this always pretend to be shocked, as though this were an aberration rather than the norm; for example, people point fingers at Catholic priests who molest boys as if the clergy of their religions were any different.  Atheists in turn point fingers at clergy, ignoring the fact the same kinds of abuses are committed at the same rate by secular authority figures.  If such incidents are rarer in some situations than others it’s merely due to lack of opportunity, not lack of desire.  Do you realize how many different headings on this blog cover variations on the theme of “authorities” abusing their power to get sex in one way or another?  “Above the Law” is the most obvious one, but there’s also “License To Rape”, “Droit du Seigneur” and “Follow Your Bliss”.  Furthermore, “Reaction Formation” and “Buried Truth” deal with “authorities” who work to punish others for sexual kinks they hide in themselves.  Spend some time perusing the stories filed under those tags, then tell me again how power-mad “authorities” are just a few isolated cases, and that it’s sane and sensible to keep giving them more power, more money and more control over every aspect of our lives.

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An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish.  Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.  –  Eric Hoffer

shouting at a brick wallI often get questions from readers asking if I’d like to school some ignoramus who has written a prohibitionist screed packed with disinformation, either in the news media or on a blog.  When I first started activism four years ago, I nearly always said “yes”; it was a chance to be heard by people who didn’t yet know me, and to draw more attention to this blog.  But as I explained in “Something Has To Give”, I just don’t have time for that kind of unpaid work any longer; from my point of view I can spend my afternoon writing a blog post that will be read by many thousands, or a commissioned article that may be read by tens of thousands, or a futile attempt to convert a true believer that will be read by dozens (hundreds at best) of other true believers.  And I’m much too pragmatic a woman to choose the latter when the first two options are so much more sensible.  Lest you think this is a recent decision on my part, allow me to quote a two-year-old column:

For any given issue there are three positions:  Those who are strongly for it, those who are strongly against it, and those who don’t have a strong opinion either way.  And no matter what fanatics and demagogues may tell you, the third is nearly always the largest group on any issue.  When trying to sway public opinion, therefore, the wise writer or speaker targets that middle group, the “silent majority”.  It’s silly to waste energy in trying to convince those who are already convinced (“preaching to the choir”), and pointless to argue with those who are dogmatically committed to the opposite view (one can’t reason a person out of a position he didn’t reason himself into).  But the members of that third group, if they can be won, will decide the way the wheel turns.  They are the ones who took it for granted that black and white people couldn’t live together peacefully, but now abhor racism; they’re the ones who accepted the claim that homosexuals were perverts, yet now agree with equal conviction that they shouldn’t be mistreated.  And they’re the ones that in the United States believe that whores are pathetic losers, degraded victims or depraved criminals, but in most other Western nations disagree with that notion.  They’re the ones the “trafficking” fetishists have drawn into their moral panic, and the ones who will drop that panic like yesterday’s fad once the majority recognize it as a lie.

The problem with debating true believers is succinctly explained in today’s epigram; Jefferson covered the same ground with, “Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.”  Consider creationists, for example; they live in a society where the soundness of the scientific method is evident every single waking moment of the day, and where there is a mass of biological and geological information at their fingertips.  Debunkings of every single creationist talking point are a mouse-click away, and creationists are exposed in passing to evidence supporting the great age of the Earth at least a couple of times per week.  But does any of it have any effect?  Not on your life, because it’s impossible to force something into a space that’s already occupied by something else.  The mind of a true believer is not empty; it is so stuffed with the reality-denying rubbish of his belief system that there is no room for facts, at least in those areas occupied by his beliefs.

Anti-sex beliefs are not mere ignorance; they are religious beliefs like any other, accepted on faith and requiring the denial of all information to the contrary.  There is never any profit in attempting to engage such a person on her own ground; it’s merely a waste of time and energy that could be better employed elsewhere, such as in speaking to people whose minds are not already closed.  That’s what I do in my writing, both on-blog and off; it’s also what I did a few weeks ago in guest-teaching two sections of a human sexuality class at Oklahoma State University.  It’s possible that some people who come to my blog, many who encounter my articles on mainstream sites and a few of the students I spoke to in person remain unconvincedofficial residence of Charles Mader or even shut their minds to my information, but the majority don’t.  Even debating a prohibitionist in a public venue can be productive, as long as one is reasonably certain that a sizeable fraction of the audience are receptive to fact and reason.  But when one argues with a “true believer”, either alone or surrounded by other “true believers”, one might as well be arguing with a dumpster.

(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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Maggie, Michael & ChristinaIf you meet me in the next few months and notice that my left arm is darker than my right, that’s what comes of driving due north in Arizona for six hours in June.  Actually, I did two long drives through the desert last week; on Tuesday I traveled from San Diego to Tucson, then on Thursday from Tucson to Las Vegas.  My traveling companion won’t rejoin me until tomorrow, so I was in a rented car which, alas, had no usb port for my thumb drive full of music; I was therefore stuck listening to the radio.  And in long stretches of rural Arizona and Southeast California that essentially means a choice between preaching, Mexican stations or static.  Still, I made it through and had a lovely time at the home of Cris Sardina, the head of the Desiree Alliance; the night I arrived six of us got together to have dinner, eat cake and swap war stories.  The next day I worked on my blog, washed clothes and did some more visiting, and then on Thursday arrived at the home of Christina Parreira and her husband Michael Whiteacre, who had invited me to stay at their place for a few days.  I was really very fortunate to have these invitations; not only did it enable me to save money on hotels for almost a week, it also afforded me the opportunity to eat home cooking and be out of the impersonal hotel environment for a while.  I’m definitely hoping to get a few more invitations like these in the next few months, for the sake of both my budget and my sanity!

On Friday morning, I was interviewed on Sex Nerd Radio, then later Christina had to go in to the brothel where she works; we arrived after dark and since it was quiet, she and two of the other ladies gave me a tour of the place.  If they had not told me it was converted from a group of trailers, I would never have known (though the sprawling arrangement might’ve given me a clue).  The workers decorate their own rooms, and the ones I saw were quite lovely; besides the public areas one would expect (parlor, bar, pool room, etc) there were also private areas customers don’t go, such as the kitchen and laundry room.  We then sat out on the patio chatting for a while before Michael and I returned to the city; one aspect of this tour I’m really enjoying is that I’m getting plenty of opportunities to talk to other sex workers in these informal settings, and I certainly hope those I’m talking to enjoy it just as much!

Today I’ll be giving a talk at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, then it’s off to Denver tomorrow; we decided to bypass Albuquerque because there was nothing going on there, but I may be doing several things in eastern Colorado so keep watching the tour schedule!

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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If you’ve just started reading my blog since last summer, you may be unfamiliar with Aella the Amazon; if so, this story will make little sense to you unless you first read “A Decent Boldness“, “A Haughty Spirit” and “Glorious Gifts“, in that order.

Wise to resolve, and patient to perform.  –  Homer, Odyssey (IV, 372)

To My Dearest Friend Phaedra, May Tethys Protect and Enrich Thee:

I pray this letter finds thee well, and that thou wilt forgive my poor grammar and worse penmanship.  I have written it in Tarshi because it is of the utmost importance that its contents are kept a secret between us, and I know that no one in my country and few in thine can read it.  My people already believe me to have become somewhat erratic due to my years spent in Man’s World, and I fear if they knew what I was planning I might not escape as easily as I did that unpleasantness about the spring festival six years ago.

youth with cattleThou wilt remember that I conceived by the wealthy Scythian who gifted me with the beautiful kine, and bore a healthy son; thou wilt also remember that by the ancient pact between their people and ours, sons go to live with their fathers while we keep the daughters.  Most of my people see a son as no more than bad luck, a necessary but unfortunate side effect of the lottery which might also produce a daughter.  But somehow I could not be quite so unconcerned; even in the three months between his birth and the Spring Festival I had become very attached to him, and though I spoke it not aloud I gave him a secret name in my heart, Asterios.  I suppose my Aunt Laomache is right, and I have been contaminated by outlandish ideas; I’ve known so many good men, both in Tartessos and during the months I spent at thy mother’s in Knossos, that I can no longer think of them merely as a necessary evil (no matter how bad most of them may be).  Furthermore, his father Niall and I have mated every year since at the festival, and he always makes me a present of more kine; I thus see my son (whom his father named Hemek) every spring, and again on the occasions when our clans have met for trading after harvest, and every day (or so I fancy) in the faces of the two daughters I have borne since, who strongly resemble their brother.

So though it is not considered proper among my people to care about the fates of sons, the heart cannot be commanded by mortal woman.  I know not why I feel such a powerful concern for his health and happiness, but feel it I do, and I have come to the conclusion that it is wrong to deny him the advantages his sisters will have.  The Scythians are great warriors and horsemen, but they are not civilized like we Amazons; they spend most of the year roaming the steppes, living in tents and grazing their herds hither and yon.  They have no writing and little in the way of art, and even their music and poetry are crude.  So though my son is already strong and skilled for his five years, I want more for him than to be a mere herdsman.  If wandering be the way of his father’s people, so be it, but let him wander among the cities of the West rather than the endless seas of grass in the East.  Let him go forth and learn about all the wonders of the world as I have, and come home a wealthy, important and learned man, perhaps one able to bring culture to his noble but naïve race.

I have spoken to Niall about this, and we are in agreement; he is very impressed with the knowledge I gained in my travels, and he would like his son to have similar learning.  If it meet with thy approval, we will send Hemek to thee two springs hence with the same captain who bears this letter; in the years I have known him I have found him to be an honorable man, and I believe I can trust him to deliver the boy safely into thy keeping in Knossos.  I also know thou hast important kin who can secure the necessary seals and papers to doubly insure that he not be abused or sold into slavery before he reaches thy house.  I charge thee to love him as thou lovest me, and to rear and educate him alongside thine own son; once I receive confirmation of his safe passage I will also pay the same captain to carry thee a sum of gold sufficient to pay whatever sum his teachers demand, and a like sum every year until his education should be complete.

Though I am a loyal Amazon and love my family and my mother country, I am no longer the pigheaded provincial I was when we met so long ago; I have learned that there are many ways for men and women to relate to one another, and have grown wise enough to understand that our ways are not necessarily the best.  Legend says our first queen established our laws so that we would never be dominated by men, and while I saw the kind of society she wished to avoid in several of the places we visited, in Crete I saw men and women living together as equals.  Perhaps thy people are morally superior to all others, yet I know them to be just as mortal; I therefore assume this to be the result of superior teaching and wiser laws.  That is the other reason I wish my son to be educated there; perhaps he can bring that wisdom back to his father’s people, and his mother’s people can in turn learn from them.  I do not believe that even a son of mine can create a new Golden Age singlehandedly, nor that such a thing is even possible.  But if change is to happen it has to start somewhere, and who better to start it than one of Amazon blood?

With Sincere Love and Gratitude, Thine Own True Friend Always

Aella sealed letter

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There are people who make bad decisions sometimes and unfortunately we don’t…know his story [or] anything about him.  –  Miranda Harbor

This week’s top contributor was Jesse Walker, with everything down to the first video and also the video itself (chosen due to the media attempting to whip up a panic about Slender Man).  The second video (via Jillian Keenan) is another example of a commercial worth watching, and the links between the videos were provided by Brooke MagnantiDave KruegerPaul MaginnRick HorowitzWalter OlsonMike RiggsMike Siegel and Radley Balko. (in that order).

From the Archives

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We never encountered any [people tortured in brothels], and we certainly looked for it…I think [sex trafficking fetishists have] been watching too many movies.  –  Thomas Steinfatt

Maggie in the Media

While in San Diego last Sunday I appeared on the Edge of Chaos podcast, which is now available; I was also interviewed for Reason TV the previous Friday, but that will take a few weeks to edit so watch this space.

Feminine Pragmatism

Women do whatever they need to do to survive in a worker’s paradise:

[Venezuelan] prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders…they are the foreign exchange counter for sailors in a country where buying and selling dollars in the streets is a crime — and prostitution isn’t…The bolivar has fallen to 71 to the dollar from 23 on the black market…[but] the official exchange rate…is 6.3 bolivars per dollar.  The dollar shortage is turning Venezuela into a two-tier society similar to the Soviet Union and Cuba…those with access to dollars such as prostitutes, tour agents, airport taxi drivers and expatriates are able to shield themselves from inflation by trading their greenbacks at ever higher rates.  Those who can’t are seeing their living standards decline…

Parable

Another spot-on sex work comparison:

…What if…the government legislated that piano teachers couldn’t…advertise…hanging out at houses of piano would be evidence you were illegally living off the avails of piano lessons…learning piano would be a crime, and so the piano teachers would operate in the dangerous shadows…some piano teachers might need to switch careers, but a police record won’t get them there, and…there are people adept and inclined and happy to teach piano…“But,” I hear some say, “why would a guy need professional piano lessons anyway?  It disgusts me.  Doesn’t he have a friend who can teach him piano?”…

Schadenfreude Chong Kim

Another “sex trafficking survivor”  bites the dust:

…Chong Kim whom [sic] has claimed to be a survivor of human trafficking is not…after thorough investigation into her story, people, records and places, as well as, [sic] many interviews with producers, publishers and…organizations, we found no truth…In fact, we found a lot of fraud, lies, and the most horrifically capitalizing [sic]…several other organizations…have [also] been defrauded by Chong collecting money in their name…

Follow Your Bliss

Yasmin Nair is on the same page as I am about Kristof:

…Nicholas Kristof’s collected work on sex trafficking constitutes a masturbatory text…there’s a pornographic impulse at its heart, a sexual fantasy about dark-skinned women and children being raped by sexual predators on the dirt floors of basements, until the white saviour smashes the door down to save them.  I don’t decry fantasy, but it’s about time we started to name Kristof’s fables of sex and rescue for what they are: Trafficking porn.  And it’s about time we started to openly question whether Kristof isn’t in fact actually projecting some of his own sexual fantasies onto helpless women across the world; little else helps to explain his excessive desire to probe…into the intimate details of his subjects’ lives…

Above the Law

FBI reports make rape sound humdrum and almost accidental:  “…Bryan Robert Benson pleaded guilty…to a civil rights offense for sexually assaulting a woman while transporting her to jail…Benson pulled into a parking lot….and engaged in intercourse with her against the police car without her consent…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (TW3 #12)

Sex workers who quit the trade will become eligible for low-interest loans this month of up to VND20 million (US$940)…But the scheme beneficiaries apparently don’t buy its efficiency…loan applicants must  produce certification from high-ranking commune-level authorities  that they have given up sex work….most young sex workers earn…more than VND30 million a month…[so] VND20 million is…unlikely to convince anyone to leave the business…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Joyce Arthur pointed me to this amusing “future story” in a Canadian newspaper:

A Nova Scotia man is suing a pleasure provider after the sexbot he rented behaved erratically during their night together…Andy Smith is suing for $100,000 in damages he alleges were made to his vehicle when the sex worker began pounding the windshield with her fists and slashed the hood of his vehicle…BestSexEver (BSE)…is countersuing Smith, claiming that he disrespected the sexbot by ignoring her programmed suggestions for best sexual positions in a vehicle, and speaking rudely about robots in general…A witness at the scene said a naked Smith jumped from his vehicle and started yelling obscenities at the sexbot…

A follow-up story imagines sexbots demanding the right to unionize.

Broken Record

On a really big tour bus with 40,000 seats, plus a Cadillac for the pimps:

Texas ranks second only to California…[in] human trafficking, according to the FBI.  Right now, San Antonio is in the national spotlight…[because of] the Spurs…”The sexual trafficking rings…are attracted to San Antonio,” said…Michelle Lee… “They travel much like a band would travel”…

See No Evil (TW3 #41)

Residents of wealthy Old Westbury, N.Y…[are] concerned…that a millionaire neighbor will plop a 33-foot, painted bronze sculpture of a beyond-naked pregnant woman with an exposed fetus on his front lawn…

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

18 months for whores, 8 hours for clients. Yeah, that’s fair.

Los Angeles police…announced plans…for a prostitution crackdown…The city is working with the Mary Magdalene Project…to provide an 18-month course to help prostitutes find another career.  Those arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitutes may be given a chance to attend an 8-hour “John’s School.”

Under Every Bed 

IT’S EVERYWHERE, IT’S EVERYWHERE!!!!!  In Missoula, Montana (population circa 69,000):

…pimps are often former drug dealers…[ignoramus Guy Baker said] “I have an ounce of cocaine and I sell it for a gram.1  I get my money but I lose my product.  But with a human…it’s a re-usable commodity2…[a cop arresting a sex worker is] their knight in shining armor”3…Baker says 77% of adult prostitutes were lured into the sex trade when they were juveniles4.

and in La Crosse, Wisconsin (pop c. 52,000):

It can happen in Internet chat rooms, private parties and even at home…Stopping the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children…was sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration…and other local groups…organizers hope to draw attention to sex trafficking…of children in the La Crosse area…[ignoramus Alan Krok said] “The exploiter’s teaching them that the police are the bad guys”3

and even in Cheboygan, Michigan (pop c. 5000):

Theresa Flores…was talking about the growing…practice of human sex trafficking…According to recent estimates by the  FBI5, approximately 293,000 American youth are at risk of being trafficked…students were “dumbfounded” that…trafficking could happen so close to home…Malls are popular locations…along with any major gathering of people like the North American International Auto Show…girls…said…it made [them] scared6 because [they] go to the mall often…

1If these dudes were trading an entire ounce of coke (28.35 grams) for a gram, it’s no wonder they couldn’t make any money at it.
2Standard gang-flavored “trafficking” rhetoric these days.
3Cops trying desperately to pretend they aren’t the bad guys in prohibition.
4Bogus stat pulled totally out of his arse, and smells like it.
5Actually, a bad 13-year-old guess from Estes & Weiner.
6Exactly the point

Cuckoo Advertising

Will these “reporters” never wake up?

A new survey conducted by Ashley Madison…[asked] 105,000 of its members…about their religious affiliation…one in four…who responded described themselves as “born again” Evangelist Christians.  Catholics comprised the next largest group at 22.75 percent, followed by Protestants (22.7 percent)…

Mumbo Jumbo

Here’s the magical pimp mind-control philter again:

…800,000…victims are added each year…Anti-Trafficking signs are posted in seven different languages in rest stop bathrooms along Interstate-90…“They just keep them so drugged that they don’t even know what’s happening to them,” said AmberDawn McCall, who was…was born into the world of human trafficking…[and] trapped…until the age of six…every child is a target, and traffickers…look for kids at places where no one is watching…

And in this one, we learn that “By just saying hello, a human trafficker can know whether or not a young boy or girl is worth pursuing as a victim…

Innocence Never Had

The truth about “child sex trafficking”:

The media warns readers about violent pimps stealing girls from malls, but most victims’ stories are very different…I was a teen trafficking victim, and my experience reflects much of the research that’s been done…When my dad pimped me out during the Clinton era, the state called his crime “sexual abuse of a minor.”  When the cops decided to try to “rescue” me when I was 15, they pressured the state to take custody of me…[though] I had been living independently and with friends for years…Most of my foster-home stints lasted less than a week…I was lucky.  Other teens have been raped and pimped in foster care…Within a few months, the state had run out of foster homes for me, so they dumped me in a youth shelter…my caseworker…[stole] my money, saying that I would probably spend [it] on drugs…

Please, please read this in its entirety.

Stupor Bowl

The Bay Area tries desperately to cash in on the “gypsy whore” myth before it collapses completely:

As football fans wait…for Super Bowl…in February 2016…officials and advocates are bracing for what they expect to be a perfect storm for human trafficking during that game…The last Super Bowl held in the region was in 1985…human trafficking may have been occurring but was not quite identified as prevalent as it is today…

Choke Point 

Possible good news:

The House of Representatives passed an amendment…to stop all federal funding to…Operation Choke Point…“This is a major victory for consumers, law-abiding businesses, and anyone who believes in due process and restraint of government encroachment,” said the Community Financial Services Association of America…“Our banking system…[should]  not…police customers or make judgments about the political popularity of businesses”…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #422)

Sonja Dolinsek on the harm caused by the “gypsy whores” myth in Brazil:

…human trafficking and its connection to sports events have been discussed since the World Cup 2006 in Germany.  Big and costly media campaigns warned of the rising problem…not only [were] media estimates of…victims for both South Africa and Germany…exactly the same (40,000 people), but…after both events, there was no evidence…many of the migrant sex workers who had arrived in Germany hoping to earn more money left earlier because business did not increase as they had expected.  The same was true for South Africa…the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)…criticised the…uncritical…reporting…as counter-productive and even harmful…the way human trafficking is represented resembles more a myth than…reality…

The Roof Caves In

Last Saturday, Kristof the Rat turned on his “hero” and downplayed his pivotal role in enabling her depredations on Cambodian sex workers:  “I wrote one column about her life story in 2008 after her autobiography was published in the U.S., and made several references to her after that, most recently in 2011…”  Kristof’s numerous columns on Mam, his “live tweeting” of one of her brothel pogroms, his spending a large fraction of his Half the Sky catechism on her…all would be flushed down the memory hole if he had his way, though the readers aren’t having it (see the comments) and neither is at least one editor of Kristof’s own newspaper.  Kristof wants to pretend that he was no more gullible than others, that everyone shares his credulity and his perverse need to impose his Gorean BDSM fantasies onto the lives of real women; he states “we were all hoodwinked” despite the fact that Cambodian sex worker activists have been documenting Mam’s lies and abominations for years.  He also wants people to keep believing in the “sex trafficking” mythology he’s been so instrumental in building, but that’s starting to unravel, too:

…willing sex workers who had been rounded up off the street during a police raid and…confined…for months as purported victims…[were] instructed by [Somaly Mam] to tell foreign visitors they had been trafficked…Although [her personal] stories…have now been widely scrutinised in the media, less examined have been Mam’s frequent embellished statements about the scale and nature of sex trafficking in Cambodia.  The term “trafficking” has become trendy…in the Western world…but it leaves out a whole spectrum of complex choices and negotiations, and often erases women’s agency entirely…

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It’s time we let the prohibitionists know that if they want to pick on sex workers, we have a whole lot of brothers and sisters they’re going to have to face as well.  –  “Friday the Thirteenth Again

Red Umbrellas by Georgio BisettiEvery year has at least one Friday the Thirteenth, and there can be as many as three in a year; next year will be that way, with the day appearing in February, March and November.  The longest time that can pass between two such days is 14 months, as noted in “The Last Thirteen for Fourteen“.  But this year we only have one, in the middle of the year, and that’s today.  Regular readers know what this means, but for those who’ve joined us since December, here’s how I explained it last September:

…from soon after the beginning of this blog, I’ve asked those of you who aren’t sex workers yourselves to speak up for our rights on this day.  The gay rights movement didn’t really take off until the friends and families of gay people got involved, and…we’re going to need [similar] help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and other women who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex…We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally…[and] all of the women who recognize that…laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization in light of their respective fields, all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex…

You could write a blog post, make an anonymous comment on an anti-whore news story, bring up the subject with friends, link or reblog this column…anything is a help!  If you don’t feel comfortable making any sort of public statement but still want to help the cause, there’s a “Donate” box in the right-hand column; you could also support my current speaking tour via GoFundMe or just buy a copy of my book.  There are also sex worker organizations such as SWOP, ESPLERP and the St. James Infirmary, or sex-worker-friendly organizations like Women With a Vision, that could use your contribution.  Whatever you do, please post about it in the comments and include a link if appropriate; I’ll republish every one next March together with whatever people do in February.  Above all, please remember that any contribution – loud or quiet, public or private, eloquent or laconic, lengthy or brief – is important and worthy, and everyone one will hasten the day when governments no longer believe it’s acceptable for them to persecute sex workers, our clients and our associates in any way they please.

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Feminine virtue is nothing but a convenient masculine invention.
–  Ninon de l’Enclos

The neofeminists would like people to imagine whores and intellectuals as opposites, and they pretend that making one’s living by pleasing men is philosophically incompatible with equality.  Indeed, most modern prohibitionist propaganda is based upon depicting the prostitute as a mentally inferior creature whose statements about her own thoughts and feelings cannot be trusted, and the horrible Swedish model is sold as a means of promoting female equality.  But as regular readers know, these dogmas are the exact opposite of the truth; throughout history many harlots chose the life specifically as a means of ensuring economic and social independence, and up until the 19th century courtesans were nearly the only women who were educated.  In fact, the spiritual ancestresses of modern neofeminists based much of their condemnation of whores on the very qualities the neofeminists pretend we lack, namely our independence, unconventionality and willingness to engage in free commerce with men; rather than whoredom being the opposite of feminism, whores were in fact its originators, both practically and philosophically.

Ninon de l'EnclosOne of the first to write extensively on the subject was Anne de l’Enclos, who is best known by her childhood nickname “Ninon”.  She was born in Paris on November 10th, 1620 (some sources claim slightly earlier or later years)  to a devout Catholic mother and an Epicurean father; not much is known about her parents (not even their names) except that they were comfortably middle-class and that their personalities and philosophies were strikingly different.  Ninon was a tomboy, and it amused her father, a professional musician, to indulge her by educating her like a boy and even allowing her to dress as one while riding (to her mother’s consternation).  By the time her father was exiled from France in 1632 (due to a duel fought over another man’s wife), Ninon had decided that religion was an invention; perhaps due to the disastrous example provided by her parents, she had also resolved never to marry.  In her late teens she allowed herself to be “ruined” by the Comte de Coligny so as to ensure her mother could not marry her off, and though she was consigned to a convent because of it she left as soon as her mother died, less than a year later.

Though it is doubtful her father had planned for her to become a courtesan, his example and the education he had afforded her (including mastery of the lute and clavichord) made her perfect for the profession, especially considering that she had also been well-known in Parisian society since childhood.  She frequented all the fashionable salons, and soon established one herself (generally holding them in rented hotel suites rather than her own drawing room); at first only men attended due to her reputation, but she eventually became so popular that even “respectable” women could be found there.  It is difficult to know which of the notable attendees were clients and which just friends, because she kept most of the transactions strictly business.  Though many courtesans of the time preferred long-term semi-romantic arrangements to one-off dates, so great was Ninon’s aversion to matrimony that she avoided anything which even resembled it; though she did take lovers, they never lasted for more than three months and she still accepted paid dates during the term because she refused to be financially dependent on anyone.  Once she grew tired of a lover she would tell him so honestly, and the majority of her exes remained friends or even clients.  She only ever made one exception to the three-month rule:  She lived with the Marquis de Villarceaux at his country estate for three years, pursuing her studies while he hunted and chased other women; she even bore him a son, whom she loved dearly for the rest of her life.  But eventually Paris beckoned and she answered, and when the Marquis followed her and confronted her in a rage, she cut off her hair and handed it to him as a keepsake:  the bob started a fad, and the Marquis cooled down and went back to being just a friend.

In that sexually-saner time, courtesans were in no danger from the law; but while gossip and jealousy were the worst harms Ninon’s libertinism could bring, her outspoken views on organized religion were another matter.  It was not illegal to hold such views (which were not at all uncommon among the intelligentsia of the time), and even most clergy were inclined to be tolerant of them; Cardinal Richelieu had once even tried to hire her, though she had spurned him.  But certainly some of those in power took a dim view of them: one of these was the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria, who as regent for her young son Louis XIV had Ninon imprisoned in the Madelonnettes Convent in 1656.  She passed the time writing a pamphlet entitled “The Coquette Avenged” (in which she argued that it is not necessary to be religious to be moral), but she was not there long; she was visited by Queen Christina of Sweden, an intellectual who had abdicated the Swedish throne to travel about Europe as a patron of arts and letters.  Though without a throne, Christina was still very influential; she wrote to Cardinal Mazarin asking him to release Ninon, and he immediately granted the request.

The above-mentioned pamphlet, released in 1659, is one of the few specimens of the courtesan’s philosophical writing to be published in her lifetime; most of what we know of her thought comes from accounts by friends such as Moliere, and from her extensive correspondence with the Marquis de Sévigné (published half a century after her death).  Like her father, Ninon was an Epicurean; she was a materialist who denied the existence of the soul, and held that ascribing spiritual origins or dimensions to impulses which derived from physical causes was the source of much of the world’s sorrow.  Nowhere was this more true, in her estimation, than in the case of love, which she held to be the greatest of pleasures; by pretending that an amoral, physical passion actually derives from lofty spiritual impulses, people do love a disservice and create conflict where it does not naturally exist.  She also argued that men and women are naturally equal, and more alike than different; she felt that more egalitarian relations between the sexes would result in greater appreciation of each for the other.

Ninon de LenclosAfter she turned forty, she began to invest more time and energy in intellectual and literary activities and less in sex work; she stopped taking new clients entirely about 1667, though she never stopped being sexually active.  By this point in her career, “good” women were no longer as afraid of her as they once were; she even became the close friend of Françoise d’Aubigné, a lady-in-waiting who later become the second (morganatic) wife of Louis XIV (who was himself said to have great respect for the veteran courtesan’s advice).  Her heightened respectability was not due to any softening of her attitude about marriage, however; while it was customary for established, property-owning sex workers to affect the title “Madam” even if they had not entered into marriages of convenience, Ninon defiantly styled herself “Mademoiselle de l’Enclos” in her later years.  After her retirement, she opened a school in which she taught the arts of love, covering such topics as how to woo a woman, how to take care of a wife or mistress and how to properly end an affair.  She also took female students, though she taught them privately rather than in groups; while she charged men tuition, she gave women the benefit of her experience for free.  She was by this time quite wealthy, and often assisted struggling writers; when she died on October 17th, 1705 she bequeathed 2000 livres as a scholarship for the ten-year-old son of her accountant Francois Arouet, a boy who grew up to write under the name Voltaire.

While it’s completely true that Ninon de l’Enclos was an exceptional whore, the difference was mostly one of degree rather than of kind.  For millennia before her and for centuries since her time, intelligent, pragmatic women have chosen to sell sex as a way of supporting ourselves without selling ourselves as so many of our conventional sisters do.  Like Ninon, many of us are freethinkers who are skeptical of society’s sacred cows; like her, many of us are generous with both money and advice in causes we consider important.  And like her, those of us who dare to express our ideas are targeted by prohibitionists who want to lock us away someplace where our voices cannot be heard by the young and open-minded.

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I have not been in many relationships and am still a technical virgin at 25.  In the past that was mostly due to a desire to wait until marriage (inspired by a Catholic upbringing and severe OCD), but more recently a busy grad school/work schedule and a plethora of painful “female problems” have made a healthy, happy sexual relationship an impossibility.  Despite the physical issues, the biggest impediment to physical intimacy is my mind; I allow myself to be on the receiving end, but find myself unable to reciprocate.  I want to be physical and uninhibited, but I find myself frozen and cannot get past it to take an active role in pleasing a man; though my OCD is better it isn’t gone, and I can’t let myself lose control.  I want to be a giving, honest lover, but something in my head just stops me and I feel indifference, if not aversion.  I have a therapist, but I need any advice you can give; chronic pain and no physical intimacy makes you feel dead.

cluttered deskWhen one is trying to deal with a problem, and I mean any problem, it helps to be able to clearly see what you’re working with.  If you were trying to repair something or get your tax papers in order, you’d be wise to clear off the table before putting your work there; extraneous clutter gets in the way of seeing whatever it is you’re trying to focus on, and might even result in some important part or paper being lost among things that have nothing to do with the problem at hand.  Personal problems aren’t any different; trying to focus on one while there are a number of others in the way can make it difficult or even impossible to deal with the main issue.  Unfortunately, clearing away mental and emotional clutter is vastly more difficult than transferring a bunch of junk from the table to the sideboard and wiping the surface down; furthermore, it’s not always possible to tell which bits and pieces are pertinent and which extraneous.  However, it’s vital that you at least make the attempt.  Any one of the issues you have listed could present a barrier to intimacy, and you have several; the first step in solving your main problem is therefore dealing with as many of the underlying ones as possible.

First, you speak of your OCD in the past tense; I’m guessing that most of that is due to therapy, but if you’re taking medication for it please be aware that psychoactive drugs often have sexual side effects.  I am not advising you to go off any meds; what I’m saying is that you need to be aware of the way in which they may help or hinder your quest for intimacy.  Since your issues are “better but not gone”, it goes without saying that you need to keep doing whatever you’ve been doing, so as to continue toward they day when they are largely behind you.

Next, there’s the issue of your schedule.  I understand better than most people that economic realities supersede considerations of what we “want” or what might be convenient, but at the same time you need to realize that work- and school-related stress can be huge barriers to emotional intimacy, even for people without your other problems.  I suggest examining your schedule and trying to find ways in which it can be made less busy so that you have more time for you.  Perhaps you need to take fewer hours; perhaps you need to pace your course work out more; perhaps you need to find an alternative source of income so as to lessen your need to work (obviously, in your case sex work would not be a good idea).  Failing everything else, perhaps you may need to take a sabbatical from relationships until you finish school:  I was largely celibate from early 1995 to late 1997, and avoided sexual relationships until the end of 2000, and it really helped me to discard a lot of the heavy emotional baggage I had been carrying around for the better part of two decades.  Only you can determine which of these approaches is right for you, but I’m sure your therapist and/or trusted friends can help you to think it through.

Then there are the female problems; as I’m sure you’re already aware, two of the three you listed are often (if not usually) of psychosomatic origin, and therefore may not truly be separate from the psychological and emotional issues, especially considering that those issues are related to your aversion to premarital sex.  Though Christian anti-sex propaganda teaches that sex is better for those who wait, this is rarely true and is often a blatant lie:  women who have been afraid of sex and avoided it for their entire adult lives don’t suddenly open up and lose their fear merely because Church and State give them a signed permission slip.  More often, they are unable to relax until days, weeks or even months after the wedding, and as an escort I saw many clients whose wives were still highly sex-averse after decades.  What this means to you is getting a competent gynecologist to determine whether your physical problems are somatic or psychosomatic, and to proceed with whatever therapeutic regimen is indicated for each one.

The Sheik (1921)Finally, there’s the passivity issue.  This is actually less unusual than you might think; every escort has heard things like “my wife gives me sex, but she won’t give head”.  Many women, especially those from Christian backgrounds, view sex as a thing to endure  rather than to participate in; since sex is “sinful” they’re “bad girls” if they initiate any sexual act, but “good girls” if they passively submit to a husband’s desires without actively doing anything themselves.  This is one of the reasons rape and bondage fantasies are so popular:  they allow women with this kind of programming to subconsciously say, “this isn’t my fault; he made me do it”.  It may be that you will need to explore that side of your sexuality; embracing submissive fantasies may let you short-circuit the guilt that comes from active participation, and that can (paradoxically) open the door to full acceptance of yourself as a sexual being.  Think of it as a mental judo move:  rather than trying to take on your inner nun directly, you’re using her own attack against her.  The very impulse to avoid responsibility for sex could be the back door into enjoyment of it.

I used the word “finally” above, but there’s nothing “final” about this discussion; as you begin to sort through the problems, you may find others waiting underneath to jump on your hands.  Don’t let that discourage you; it’s part of the process, like having to pay an overdue bill that you discover while clearing off the table.  It’s going to take you some time, so you must be patient; however, you’re still young so that is to your advantage.  I was 28 before I even began to deal with my issues, so you’ve got a three-year head start on me.  And as you make progress with separating the important issues from the incidental ones and the easily-cured ones from those that will take a lot of work, remember that any advice I can give you is yours for the asking.

(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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