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Archive for the ‘Perception’ Category

Puritans realized long ago that nobody is buying their “sex is evil” bill of goods any longer, so they’ve broken it up into bite-sized chunks to more easily cram it down the gullets of the Great Unwashed.  These bites include “porn is evil”, “pragmatic sex is evil”, “sex between people more than a few years apart is evil”, “sex a woman later regrets is retroactively evil”, “kink is evil”, “any sex trans people desire is evil”, “any sexual thoughts occurring even one minute before the thinker turns 18 are both evil and unnatural”, “wanting more or different sex than a monogamous partner is evil”, and many others.  And as each of these was accepted into the popular consciousness, the puritans worked to expand it like driving a wedge into a log, until laws and policies nobody would’ve agreed to if presented up front are suddenly a fact, and the conversation is being dominated by people who actually think Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated qualify as “porn” and rather bland sex education materials qualify as “obscene”.  Paradoxically, the anti-sex mob are those most obsessed by sex; they see it even where normal people do not.  Moreover, they reveal their specific fantasies & kinks the second they open their mouths, because as those of us who have studied the psychology of human sexuality understand, taboos, either societal or personal, are the biggest turn-ons.  So when Joe Arpaio goes on and on about bestiality with dogs, and Gail Dines goes on about triple penetration, and when other “feminists” go on and on about semen despite the existence of condoms, what they’re actually doing is revealing the specific nature of the fantasies which simultaneously obsess and bedevil them.

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I’ve mentioned my friend, Dr. David Ley, in this blog many times before, and he wrote a guest essay for me back in ’14.  I recently saw him tweeting about this, and upon my request he expanded those thoughts into this new guest essay.

In 2020, the world saw a tragedy unfold in Atlanta, Georgia, as Robert Aaron Long committed multiple murders at massage parlors.  Long later identified himself as a “sex addict” and claimed that he engaged in these crimes in order to rid himself of temptations.  When arrested, Long was allegedly also on his way to Tampa, Florida, in order to commit similar violent attacks targeted at aspects of the adult film industry.  Long pled guilty to some charges, but still faces trial in Atlanta for other murders.  In September, 2021, a former Marine burst into a Florida family’s home, executing and torturing the family of four.  The assailant identified to police that he believed the family held a kidnapped, sex-trafficked female child, and he was intending to rescue her.  In August 2021, Instagram influencer and former stripper Mercedes Morr was slain by an obsessed male fan, apparently enraged by the idea she had betrayed him to be with another man.  In December, 2016, a North Carolina man fired multiple shots into a Washington, DC pizza restaurant, having come to the restaurant in order to rescue children that he believed were held there for sexual-trafficking and exploitation.  This theory had abounded in conservative media, connecting Democratic politicians and public figures to conspiracy theories alleging rings of pedophiles hid throughout society and government, secretly abusing and exploiting children.

Sexual anxiety and fear is a favorite target of media hyperbole, as it serves as an easy means to create uncertainty and interest in potential consumers.  Suggesting to an audience that their spouse may be unfaithful, or even that the viewer/reader is not a skilled lover, are guaranteed ways to hook an audience, and keep them reading, watching or clicking.  Claims of sex-trafficking, and cries to “save the kids” are remarkably effective ploys to raise money, has been demonstrated numerous times with groups such as Operation Underground Railroad, where daring raids to save children are staged to raise donations, though the activities achieve little and may actually promote children being put at risk.  Unfortunately, while these tactics trigger donations, salacious interest or mild insecurity in many, these tactics can trigger intense panic, even delusions, in persons with severe underlying mental illness.  In the 1990’s, media sex panic over Satanic ritual abuse sex cults led to countless individuals developing false memories that they themselves had been sexually abused by secret cults of brainwashing Satan-worshiping doctors, daycare providers and neighbors.

Earlier this year, I appeared on The Dr. Phil Show, where a woman was interviewed who held beliefs that she had been sex-trafficked, raped, and brainwashed by a host of assailants, ranging from Beto O’Rourke to Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, and even her adult son.  My role on the show was to gently try to invite her to consider that her beliefs might be inaccurate, and less important than her desire to re-establish a relationship with her son.  During the recovered memory movement and the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic, families were destroyed as people developed false memories.  Many later recanted these memories, and had to try to restore their relationships, though sadly, many did not and families remained sundered on the basis of these delusional beliefs.  I found it fascinating how this woman’s beliefs in the men who had abused her reflected the names and headlines of sex scandals, suggesting how these names and stories had infiltrated her vulnerable thinking.

Media sex panics do far more than just sell books and commercials. They destroy lives, families, careers.  They affect the thinking of vulnerable individuals, who act based on those panics, and the degree to which those hyperbolic claims infiltrate their disturbed thinking.  Sadly, some of those individuals act in dangerous, violent ways.  We must begin to discuss ways to hold the media at large responsible for the consequences of their exploitation of sexual anxiety.  Perhaps then we can invite the media to temper their clickbait driven reporting with an understanding of the potential impact of their words on vulnerable minds, and people who become innocent targets of their sensationalism.

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I have a Google alert set up for my name.  Mostly, it returns stuff I’ve written myself, and mentions in articles written by others; on occasion it even returns articles on other women with the same name (or even similar names, because Google is apparently unable to spell).  But every so often it returns something very weird, such as this article which seems to have been (badly) written in some non-Indo-European language and then run through Google translate, with results falling somewhere between “bizarre” and “gobbledygook”.  I’m pretty sure the “Maggie McNeill” it refers to is indeed me, however, because the lady in question is described as “one Seattle-based typically intercourse employee, Maggie McNeill, whom belittled the shutdown of the analysis web pages…” After all, I am indeed based in Seattle and have been known to belittle things on occasion, and “intercourse employee” is probably a ludicrously-incompetent translation of “sex worker”.  I’m not entirely sure of much after that, though it seems this might be an ad for a “hookup” app, marketing itself with “dirty whore” stereotypes; it also seems to have something to say about the TNA website, though I’m not clear on what.  In any case, I invite you to marvel at phrases such as “babes may not be allowed to create evaluations throughout the blokes that witness these people” and “Many happen to be perverts just like we, searching for a intercourse employees to drink them switched off, ride their pogo-stick, or step-on their testicle while phoning them a dirty, soiled kid“, while trying to figure out why the article is illustrated with a picture of what appears to be a Catholic priest.

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Oh look, picket-fence queers from groups like GLAAD are beginning to notice that deliberately ignoring sex workers after they reached the Big Table (and in some cases, actually joining the crusade against us) wasn’t such a good idea.  And I must add again: stop your fucking partisan bullshit.  This wasn’t “Trump’s crusade” or “the GOP’s crusade”; Democrats were equal drivers at every step of the process under the usual banners (“The Children!!!” and “exploitation of women“), so you don’t get to smugly point your fingers at other people and pretend you had nothing to do with it.  This was done by people you elected, in fascist collaboration with companies you support (and who pay for your multi-million dollar “Pride” parades). You stood by while other sexual minorities were persecuted, and you were fine with it because it wasn’t you.  Well, now those pigeons are coming home to roost, just as sex workers told you they would.  Just as you should’ve known they would, but were too wrapped up in partisan bullshit to notice.  “Operation Choke Point“, the government’s program telling big businesses that it was not only OK but encouraged to discriminate against sexual minorities, was an Obama program, not a Trump one.  And don’t try whitewashing your direct involvement in the anti-whore crusades, ’cause Maggie has the receipts. (See all those embedded links?  There are plenty more like them.)  So sit the fuck down unless you’re going to own it and help fix the mess you helped make.

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This is an inherently abusive power that [cops] should not have.  –  Wesley Hottot

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

A woman is suing the Grace Baptist Church in Lansingburgh, [New York, because] its leadership ignored her daily sexual abuse as a [teen from 15-17] at the hands of a youth pastor – then claimed that she had “led him on”…Larry Hallock…sexually abused the victim “on a daily basis” between 2000 and 2002 in the church…Hallock’s wife sent the [victim] several letters acknowledging…the abuse…

No Moss

This time Rolling Stone wasn’t alone in gulping down a load of codswallop:

KFOR, an Oklahoma news channel, reported last week that rural hospitals throughout the state were in danger of becoming overwhelmed by…overdoses of ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug promoted by [anti-]vaccine [cranks] as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  The story went viral…under the headline: “Patients overdosing on ivermectin backing up rural Oklahoma hospitals”…[and] was quickly picked up by…Rolling Stone, Newsweekand the New York Daily Newsin fact, [there’s] little reason to believe a purported strain on Oklahoma hospitals is caused by ivermectin overdoses; one hospital served by the doctor quoted in the KFOR article released a statement saying it has not treated any ivermectin overdoses, nor has it been forced to turn away patients…but…at no point did [the interviewed doctor, Jason] McElyea actually come out and say that ivermectin overdoses were straining hospitals…It was the journalist, Katelyn Ogle, who added that framing…This means, of course, that if the national media outlets had called the doctor or the hospitals, they would have easily uncovered the error.  Instead, they [careless]ly spread it…

Stalkers in Blue

Another cop demonstrating what he is:

A [typical and representative] Arkansas [cop] will spend ten years in prison for stalking a…woman for more than three years…In 2016, Skylar Galloway was working at a family-owned gas station…The owner’s brother was [typical and representative cop] Mark Holland…Galloway eventually moved and switched jobs.  A month later, anonymous emails came [demanding] nude photos…[along with threats] like “If I have to come over there, I’ll take my own pics. I’m going to get what I want.”  Another read, “You are going to scream and moan, but you probably won’t really like it.”  She started filing police reports…but was turned away [because birds of a feather]…So she decided to…start…investigating…[and] after three years of digging. she realized it was Holland in December 2019.  Within five days, he was arrested by his own department and charged with 20 felonies…

Social Distancing (#1046)

Once a government takes more power, it never really relinquishes it again:

[Using the excuse of] coronavirus…Australia’s federal and state governments imposed draconian restrictions on its citizens [that even the] Prime Minister…[admits are far] too heavy…Before 2020, the idea of Australia all but forbidding its citizens from leaving the country, a restriction associated with Communist regimes, was unthinkable.  Today, it is…policy…Intrastate travel within Australia is also severely restricted…The state of Victoria announced a curfew and suspended its Parliament for key parts of the pandemic…In New South Wales…the…military [was deployed] to enforce lockdowns…anti-lockdown protests were banned, and when dissenters gathered anyway, hundreds were arrested and fined…Enduring rules of th[is] sort would certainly render a country a police state…with COVID-19 now thought to be endemic, rather than a temporary emergency the nation could avoid, how much time must pass before we must regard Australia as illiberal and unfree?…

A Broker in Pillage (#1072)

A good argument for refusing to roll over and let yourself be robbed:

Stephen Lara [was pulled over in Nevada by a cop using the common pretext]…that he’d been…following a…truck too closely…the [pigs rooted through]…his…vehicle, [steal]ing nearly $87,000 in a zip-top bag from Lara’s trunk and [pretend]ing a drug-sniffing dog had detected something on the cash…Lara…was charged with no crime.  But [cops]…call[ed] a [DEA spook] to [engineer] an “adoption,” [a scam] which allows [local cops to circumvent state laws curtailing such robbery by enlisting] federal authorities to [pretend that they were the ones who] seize[d] cash or property the[n give most of it back to the local pigs]…It was only after Lara got a lawyer, sued and talked with The Washington Post about his ordeal that the government said it would return his money [due to the bad publicity]…Justice Department [mouthpiece] Joshua Stueve [oinked that] the government “is reviewing existing policy on adoptive forfeitures”…

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

A federal lawsuit accusing Twitter of sex trafficking can move forward, says District Judge Joseph C. Spero, in a decision that could portend a dangerous expansion of how courts define “sex trafficking”…[under] FOSTA…The case…was brought by…Morality in Media, [the Kennedy-era pro-censorship group] that also opposes NetflixAmazon, and Cosmopolitan magazine [and now wants to be called “The National Center on Sexual Exploitation”.  MiM wants the court to rule]…that soliciting a sex video from someone under age 18 amounts to sex trafficking…[and that] unwittingly providing a platform for a third party to post or link to that video makes one part of a sex trafficking enterprise…the teens—who were 13 or 14 years old at the time—recorded themselves engaging in sexual activity and used Snapchat to share these videos with a third party [the]y believed to be a peer.  The recipient turned out to be an adult, who allegedly blackmailed one of the teens…into providing additional sexual content…The perpetrator could have been held individually responsible, since blackmail and soliciting obscenity from minors are both crimes.  Instead, [MiM] is going after a bigger, richer, and much more high-profile target…

To Molest and Rape (#1168)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A Los Angeles Co[p]…has been arrested for…molesting a 16-year-old girl in Rancho Cucamonga.  Antonio Heriberto Galindo…coached girls’ softball teams…[as a means of finding and grooming] victims…

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Price Point

How do escorts decide how much to charge?  I can’t seem to find much correlation between rate and my satisfaction; I’ve seen amazing women charging a third of what I paid for a terrible session with a far less attractive provider.  Do they target a certain number of dollars a month?  A certain number of clients a week?  I’ve definitely known ladies to raise rates if they’re busy but I’ve never seen them lower rates.

Most escorts charge whatever is typical for their area, but some choose to charge a bit less to attract more business or a bit more to work less while still making what they need or want to earn.  It’s interesting that you seek some correlation with quality, when that isn’t true of any business; quality of widely-available goods and services often has very little to do with what one pays for them.  Every person has bills and other financial goals, and anyone not fortunate enough to have a trust fund has to figure out what they need to do to meet those needs and goals; why would you expect pros to differ from amateurs in that respect?  And why in the world would you expect ladies to ever lower their rates, especially in a time of higher-than-normal inflation?  Would you ever go into your boss and ask him to pay you less, or if you have a business would you lower your rates (outside of some kind of marketing ploy)?  Unless your business model is a “cheapest in town” one like Wal-mart, that does nothing but create the appearance of desperation, and in any luxury service that can be severely detrimental to business (not to mention the provider’s mental health).

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

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The only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused…is to never create it.  –  Apple in 2016

See No Evil

Moral panics really spin out of control as they age:

Spencer Elden, the man whose unusual baby portrait was used for…the…cover…of…Nirvana’s Nevermind, filed a lawsuit…[pretend]ing that the nude image constituted child pornography…[despite the fact that] non-sexualized nude photos of infants are…not considered child pornography under law.  [To circumvent this plain fact in order to cash in on “child porn” hysteria], Robert Y. Lewis, Elden’s [shyster, fantasizes]…that the inclusion of currency in the shot makes the baby appear “like a sex worker”…[Lewis demands] at least $150,000 from each of the defendants, who include…the…original Nirvana drummer…even though he had been replaced…before the album was recorded or the cover photography shot.  Elden has repeatedly recreated the pose as a teenager and adult, diving into pools to pose (with swim trunks on) on the occasion of the album’s 10th, 17th, 20th and 25th anniversaries…

“A sex worker”.  Seriously.  I reckon he’s supposed to be one of those hundreds of thousands of infant hookers needed to bring the average debut age down to 13.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#648)

What “legal but heavily regulated” looks like in action:

On August 11, the Nagpur police put [up] a large number of barricades completely sealing the Ganga-Jamuna area….without any prior notice or reason [thu]s drastically affect[ing] the livelihood…of over a thousand sex workers who have been living and working for decades in the area…over 100 [cops] have been [sent to swagger around] the area at all times…Sex workers in India are one of the groups that are consistently at the receiving end of…state-sponsored police brutality…[even though] the profession is not illegal…brothel areas are repeatedly raided and their workers are harassed by the police…A petition by the National Network of Sex Workers, India (NNSW) demanding “Unseal Ganga Jamuna” has been put online and signed by more than 2700 people and organisations…

License to Rape (#720)

“Search” is the most common government euphemism for “molest”:

A Raleigh mother has filed a federal lawsuit against the TSA…a[fter] the[y]…violated her transgender teenager’s rights by [demanding] a strip-search at the airport.  Jamii Erway, 15 at the time, had a valid boarding pass [but] when [t]he [equipment regist]ered a “false positive”…a TSA [goon demanded]…to [leer at] her genitals…[and lied] “that she was not free to leave until she submitted to [the humiliation], in violation of TSA policy, the Fourth Amendment, and…the boundaries of civil and decent society”…the [goon further called the cops on the teenager]…and the[ir threatening] presence…[unsurprisingly] triggered…a…panic…[attack].  Rather than submit to the [molestation]…her mother, Kimberly Erway, rented a car and [they] drove 600 miles.  The Erways seek unspecified damages and an injunction preventing such a scenario from happening again…

Panopticon (#986)

Cops even get their equipment to lie for them:

Michael Williams…was [locked in a cage for almost a year], accused [by cops] of killing a young man from [his] neighborhood who asked him for a ride during a night of unrest over police brutality in May…the [supposed] evidence against Williams didn’t come from an eyewitness or [snitch, but rather]…from a clip of [silent] security video showing a car driving through an intersection, and a loud bang [separately] picked up by a network of surveillance microphones.  Prosecutors [pretende]d…a secret algorithm that analyzed noises detected by the sensors indicated Williams shot and killed the man…ShotSpotter [claims have] increasingly been admitted in court cases…[as evidence despite the fact that] it…can miss live gunfire right under its microphones, or misclassify the sounds of fireworks or cars backfiring as gunshots.  F[antasy stories written]…by ShotSpotter’s employees have been used in court to [lie] that a defendant shot at police, or provide [lies about] the number of shots allegedly fired by defendants…the…system…[i]s a…black box largely inscrutable to the public, jurors and police oversight boards…[but] the company…fully admits that]…employees can and do modify the location or number of shots fired [on their own whims or] at the request of police…in the past, city dispatchers or police themselves could also make some of these changes

Stalkers in Blue (#987)

Once in a while, there are witnesses to the way cops act toward women:

Florida [cop]…Naci Tuzcuoglu…approached a woman singing karaoke at…[a] sports bar…[and] put his hands on her hips.  The woman…t[old] him she was married and not interested [but he kep harassing her, so she]…went outside and spoke to her husband…Tuzcuoglu [followed her]…and punched the man in the face…multiple times…[while] taunt[ing him]…“I’m a cop…What are you gonna do about it?”…

Choke Point (#1150)

“Progressives” are finally deigning to notice financial discrimination vs some sex workers:

OnlyFans…has faced widespread backlash from sex workers after it announced…that it will ban sexually explicit content starting Oct. 1.  Some LGBTQ OnlyFans creators say the changes could jeopardize one of their primary sources of income during the Covid-19 pandemic…

OnlyFans reversed its position the day after this article appeared, but I still featured it because it illustrates a disturbing trend I’ve seen lately: some “progressives” only seem to think sex workers deserve rights if they’re queer (especially trans).  Now, since the majority of sex workers are some flavor of LGBT, fighting for their rights will still help straight, cisgender sex workers as well.  But I think it’s pretty sad that some people don’t think human rights are worth supporting unless they’re the “correct” people’s rights.

I Spy (#1161)

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

Apple’s own employees have been expressing alarm [about its plans to snoop in customers’ phones].  The company [pretend]s reservations about the system are rooted in “misunderstandings.”  We disagree.  We wrote the only peer-reviewed publication on how to build a system like Apple’s — and…we’re not concerned because we misunderstand how Apple’s system works.  The problem is, we understand exactly how it works…Our system could be easily repurposed for surveillance and censorship.  The design wasn’t restricted to a specific category of content; a service could simply swap in any content-matching database, and the person using that service would be none the wiser.  A…government could, for example, compel a service to out people sharing disfavored political speech…WeChat, the popular Chinese messaging app, already uses content matching to identify dissident material.  India enacted rules this year that could require pre-screening content critical of government policy.  Russia recently fined GoogleFacebook and Twitter for not removing pro-democracy protest materials[, and US politicians are pressuring social media companies to censor anything they declare “misinformation”]…We warned against our own system design…[an]d planned to discuss paths forward at an academic conference this month…[but] the week before our presentation, Apple announced it would deploy its nearly identical system…

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Regular readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth, I ask those who aren’t sex workers to stand up for us.  If you’re one of them, you already know the sorts of things I’m going to say; if you aren’t, you can simply go back and read the essay for the previous occurence in November, and the one before that from March 2020.  So this time, as I did on July 4th this year, I’ll content myself with reminding y’all of everything I’ve previously said on previous occurences of this particular day and date combination.

Governments sending brutal thugs to inflict violence upon those who enjoy themselves in ways their overlords dislike is less popular in this country than it has been in a century, so now is the time to push even harder to chip away as much of the edifice of prohibition as possible before the pendulum inevitably begins to swing the other way again.  –  11/13/20

Though many people conceive of sex worker rights as a “special case”, in truth it intersects with many other movements.  –  3/13/20

If our allies get lazy and think we no longer need their help because the politicians are finally giving us lip service, we’re going to lose the ground we’ve worked so hard to win.  –  12/13/19

One of the reasons so many outside the demimonde are afraid to stand up for the obvious fact that the government has no business “regulating” private sexual arrangements is they’re afraid of guilt by association.  –  9/13/19

We need your support more than ever, because now voices calling for sex worker rights are more likely to be taken seriously than ever before.  –  7/13/18

Though the sex trafficking hysteria is dying, moral panics get worse as they collapse, and even after the panic is history the tyrannical laws it engendered will still be there for “authorities” to destroy lives with.  –  10/13/17

It doesn’t so much matter what you do today, as long as you do something to promote sex worker rights.  –  5/13/16

Stupidity, ignorance, prudishness, statism, control-freakishness and bigotry run deep in human society, and it will take vast resources and millions of voices to beat those back into the outer darkness where they belong.  –  11/13/15

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.  –  6/13/14

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.  –  9/13/13

Even though any one person’s influence is small, lots of buckets eventually fill a pool.  –  7/13/12

Sex worker rights are human rights, and there can never be too many voices speaking up for them, nor too many occasions on which to speak.  –  4/13/12

No collective, “authority” or government has the right to tell women what we can and cannot do with our own bodies.  –  1/13/12

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Client-facing

I recently had a wonderful evening with a pro, and I would like to meet them again in the future.  Is it polite to follow them on Twitter to stay informed of their city/availability schedule?  Or do they not want anyone other than fellow workers following them, lest it lead to time-wasting intrusions from the public, or worse, concerns of stalking?

It’s fine to follow sex workers’ Twitter accounts; those the provider advertises with her stage name are nearly always “client-facing” accounts you’re meant to follow.  Accounts they don’t want clients to follow usually have other names they don’t advertise, and may even be set to “private” or otherwise protected from unwanted attention.  And if a sex worker wants to keep time-wasters out of her client-facing account, she can simply set her DMs to disallow messages from accounts she doesn’t herself follow.

(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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