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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

I’m a virgin who will soon be 40, and I’ve been wanting to engage the services of an escort.  I read your piece on the topic in Reason, but I don’t know if going the sex worker route would make me feel any better.  I realize she wouldn’t be hot for me, but I dread the thought that she’d just not want to be there at all.  Sensing that I’m just a chore to get through would make me feel worse. I don’t want to rent a living sex doll, I want…I don’t know how to articulate what I want out of the experience.  I know I want a woman to have sex with me for free, just because she wants to, but it isn’t happening.

The concept of “free sex” is largely a male fantasy.  As Billy Crystal once humorously expressed it, “Women need a reason to have sex.  Men just need a place.”  Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but waiting for a woman that you personally find attractive who just wants sex with you because she’s “hot for you” to come along is kinda like refusing to demolish that old barn on your property because you figure that that sooner or later it’ll be struck by lightning and burn down.  The great majority of women are going to want something else other than the mere physical act, partly because we’re wired that way and partly because it’s so easy for most women to get sex from men that the chances of one picking you in particular, without any effort on your part, resemble those of winning the lottery.  For the typical woman, the “something else” is likely to be some kind of romantic relationship; for the more pragmatic sort, it’s likely to be money or some other means of support.  And women who are specifically looking for a husband rather than a mere boyfriend combine the two.  You haven’t given me enough to determine why you’ve never stumbled into a romantic relationship over the past two decades, so I’m going to guess you’re shy and lack the self-confidence to ask girls out on traditional dates.  And I further suspect (unless there’s something you aren’t telling me) that the origin of your fear that an escort would view seeing you as especially laborious is that same lack of self-confidence.  Truly professional escorts, women who view sex work as a career and proceed accordingly, have professional ethics and standards; they are no more “living sex dolls” than boxers are “living punching bags”, and the only reason you believe otherwise is all the anti-sexwork propaganda permeating American culture.  Given that, I think you need to adjust your thinking a bit if you’re to correct your problem.  I suggest you peruse my column “From the Top”, which includes links to a number of columns for newbies; also this essay from a guy in a similar position to yours.  If you don’t find anything to help you there, I suggest buying my book Ask Maggie (both volumes) and reading all the essays whose leading questions speak to you (there are probably more of them than you think).  And once you do stop making up excuses to avoid seeing a professional (because that is what you’re doing, honestly), I think you may find the mystique around sex will start to evaporate, and your problem with it.

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

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Quarter Century

After my first husband left me on January 2nd, 1995, it took me almost two years to climb out of depression.  Beside the fact that I’ve never been good with breakups, there were a number of other traumas for about six months on either side (follow the link above if you’ve never heard the long, sad tale), including one that still tends to upset me every Memorial Day.  I have no interest in rehashing any of that stuff; I’ve written about it all before, and I don’t need to dig up those skeletons to be sure that they’re still there.  But today is an anniversary I may not have mentioned before, and though it followed those other awful events it marks the day I finally got back on course.  1996 wasn’t nearly as bad as 1995, and in the autumn I finally started thinking about the future again.  In the last week of November I sold my house; it was a seller’s market then, and I was able to get a good deal with very little time or effort (which is good, because I had none of either to spare).  Then I called an apartment finder service and told the guy I was willing to pay a year of rent in advance if the landlord was willing to forego the usual bureaucracy and let me sign a pseudonym on the lease; I told him truthfully that I didn’t want my ex-husband or his lawyer to be able to find me.  I know that practically sounds like science fiction now, but September 11th and the police state it spawned were still five years in the future, and back then even regular businesspeople were often willing to do things under the table, especially for attractive, well-spoken young women with cash.  Anyhow, the deal was done and after a difficult downsizing (including the loss of half of my library), I rented a moving truck, and 25 years ago today I moved into the shitty-but-discreet little apartment where I was still living when I started stripping almost a year later.  But on that very first night, after my friends had gone, I walked over to the nearby shopping mall just to kill some time, and got my nails done on a whim.  That’s why I’m so particular about getting them done regularly ever since; for me, it’s not merely an act of self-care but the visible sign of a covenant with myself, a promise never to let things get that out of control again.  And as you can see, I’ve never broken it.

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Prostitution is normal.  –  Carmen Kleingeris

Dutch Threat (#349)

Every few years, Utrecht thinks of a new way to harass sex workers:

Utrecht’s…Tippelzone…[has been] clos[ed by prohibitionist politicians.  Activist] Carmen Kleingeris…said…”Politicians are now actually saying by closing the tolerance zone: ‘sex workers do not belong’…this mentality…legitimize[s]…rape”…[The politicians specifically] decided to close the Tippelzone in 2018 [in order to gentrify the area]…

Monsters (#616) 

“Gender-critical feminists” are also virtually always prohibitionists:

The [UK] High Court has rejected claims that housing trans women who’ve committed sexual or violent offences against women in female prison facilities is discriminatory to cis women…The landmark case was brought by an unnamed cis female inmate…who…argued that her human rights were violated by having to be in the same prison as trans women prisoners who have convictions for sexual or violent offences against women, [but not by having to be in prison with]…cis women [who committed similar crimes]…The…case was supported by several so-called “gender-critical” groups…

Going After the Pimps

Your periodic reminder of what “going after the pimps” actually means:

A nurse accused of living off the earnings of the prostitution of his wife…in 2018…was fined €600 and did not appeal the decision.  [But now a busybody h]as [complained] to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland…and [David] Navarro is now facing an allegation of misconduct for allegedly bringing the nursing profession into disrepute [by failing to stop his wife from having a job]…

Between the Ears (#966)

Any internet-connected device can and will be used to spy on you:

Google Assistant records your conversations even when not in use, the company…admitted to an Indian government panel…even without saying the word “OK Google,” the AI Assistant still listens to your conversations…[even though] Google has…previously…cl[aimed otherwise]…Google [further] admitted…that their employees listen to such recordings…[but claims] it is not being done in a creepy way, [as if there is some non-creepy way to eavesdrop on strangers]…

Remember, Google has a long history of complying with surveillance and other police-statery.

R.I.P. Margo St. James

A “Celebration of Margo’s Life”:

Margo St. James…fought for sex workers at a time when the mainstream U.S. feminist movement was hostile to them and leftist organizers mostly wanted to portray them as victims…St. James still helped position the sex worker rights movement as a broad and classical liberal battle for civil rights, sexual freedom, economic liberty, and bodily autonomy, while advancing the idea that decriminalization would be good for women and good for sex worker safety.  In May, a group of COYOTE’s 21st century descendants released a video memorial to St. James, who died in January 2021.  Celebration of Life for Margo St. James features archival footage, photos, and interviews plus new commentary on and paeans to her life and work from an international and intergenerational squad of admirers. You can find the whole thing at margostjames.com

The Course of a Disease (#1118)

When a politician does the right thing, it’s usually for the wrong reason:

Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed legislation that would have made the state the first in the nation to [impose Swedish-style]…criminaliz[ation because]…she wasn’t convinced that the bill [taught dirty whores a lesson and she shared her masturbatory fantasies about how]…the state is a trafficking hub where victims are recruited and sent to major cities…such as New York and Boston…

As usual, the ignorant fuckwads who infest US journalism swallowed prohibitionist vomit about the Swedish model being “partial decriminalization” instead of consulting actual experts on the subject.

Property of the State (#1149)

Women with young children should avoid Alabama if at all possible:

Erika…Prock’s husband was smoking a cigarette outside the[ir] car…[when] an [Alabama cop pretended he] smelled marijuana on his breath.  Todd Prock [foolishly] told police he had [legal] marijuana [from their home in Michigan] in the trunk of the car.  The…[pigs therefore] arrested both adults and [abducted] the[ir toddler]…Weeks [later] the…Prock[s]…were charged with felony chemical endangerment, a law originally [represented to useful idiots as necessary] to target parents whose children were near meth labs…Instead of returning to Michigan, Prock and her husband moved into a tent behind her in-laws’ trailer while they fight a[ccus]ations in [both] criminal and [so-called] family court.  Her child has been [given away to] an Alabama foster family…Alabama courts have ruled that drug use can’t be the sole reason for [abducting people’s] child[ren], but [that doesn’t stop cops and prosecutors from maliciously attempting to destroy their lives for months or years until a court finally dismisses the charges]…

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We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound…our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color…we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star!
–  Endora (Agnes Moorehead)

A couple of years ago I rewatched Bewitched, a show I always enjoyed in my youth but hadn’t seen since the early ’80s.  I’ve always thought Elizabeth Montgomery was an excellent actress, but this time the magic of cannabis (which slows down my hyperactive nervous system so that I can really watch these shows in a way I’ve never been able to before) opened my eyes to just how talented she really was; she could convey so much with just her facial expressions and vocal manner, and her comedic timing was brilliant.  But beyond that, I saw aspects of the show itself that were previously opaque to me.  I’ve always recognized that many of the episodes are veiled commentaries on racism and other forms of bigotry; that was typical of the 1960s, when fantasy and science fiction shows could sneak controversial issues past uptight sponsors and network censors by disguising them as the stuff of alien worlds or magical happenings.  When Samantha angrily denounced ugly witch stereotypes or mortals’ fear of those who are different, the perceptive viewer understood what the show was really saying.  As I grew older, I realized that there was also a more-deeply-buried queer subtext which was too radical even for most contemporary viewers who thought of themselves as liberal:  beside the fact that several of the principals were played by gay men, Samantha had to hide her true nature in order to exist in the judgmental mortal world, and only in the company of other witches could she really be herself.  Furthermore, those mortals were willing to hunt, persecute and even burn those like her merely because they were different.  But queer people weren’t the only sexual minority violently persecuted and actively hunted by 20th-century puritans; while I’m sure it was unintentional, sex workers can also see ourselves reflected in this magic mirror.

When I last watched the show, in my late teens or very early twenties, I naturally identified most with Samantha.  But on this rewatch, I found myself identifying with her mother, Endora, due in part to her age, in part to her unique personal style, and in part to her attitude toward her daughter’s marriage.  I’m old enough to have a daughter in her twenties or early thirties, and I can certainly understand how I’d feel if she married a man I thought wasn’t good enough for her.  But it goes beyond that: the association between sex work and witchcraft is a very old one, and even today many sex workers metaphorically describe our work as “magic” (not to mention the many sex workers who actually do specifically practice witchcraft, though obviously not the fantasy TV variety).  Endora’s chief gripe with her son-in-law isn’t really that he’s mortal; it’s that he wants to rob her beloved daughter of her birthright by forcing her to eschew magic and submit to mortal drudgery.  And every time I heard her say this to Samantha (in quite a few episodes), I imagined how I would feel if my beautiful daughter gave up a successful career in sex work to marry a “dumbo” who demanded she renounce her heritage, shun her whore friends, and work a shitty square job when she could make far more with far less effort by doing what she’s good at instead of letting herself be limited to behavior that doesn’t make dreary, unimaginative authoritarians uncomfortable.

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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Why are you in my home?  –  Kawaski Trawick, last words

Though there are rarely any decent holiday videos on YouTube any more (and when there are, they appear only a few days in advance), Christmas has long been a time for celebrating via mind-altering substances.  I therefore present this video, provided by Jesse Walker, who also supplied “corpse” and both obits.  The other links above the video are from Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Mistress Matisse, Phoenix Calida, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
  –  John Greenleaf Whittier

On looking back at my life and pondering the various forks in the road when I might have chosen another path than the one I actually did, I have realized that I cannot agree with Whittier’s famous lines.  While might-have-beens are indeed often sad on the surface, I find that (in my own life, at least) deeper reflection usually reveals that what actually happened was really better in the long run than what might have.  Nor does it matter whether the choice I made was a free one, a constrained one, or a forced one; over and over again, the place I ended up was really better for me (and often for others) than the alternative.  The most obvious example was the chain of events which led me to sex work; though I hadn’t originally planned on making it my full-time profession, none of the others I considered would have given me all the blessings sex work has, nor allowed me to do as much good in the world.  Another is childlessness; though I was unable to have kids rather than unwilling, it’s still for the best that I didn’t.  Some of the rough spots in the past 30 years would have been dramatically more difficult with a child to worry about instead of just myself, and it’s a virtual certainty the government (and possibly even my own family) would have weaponized my children against me.  Though I still feel sad when I think about losing all the work I did building my ranch in Oklahoma, it’s clear that my current situation is much better for me, for Grace, and for too many others to list.  Though my parting from Matt left a wound that will never completely heal, both of us are probably better off as friends than as spouses.  And though I could never have recognized or admitted it when I was younger, it’s really for the best that I avoid romantic partnerships entirely.  My lacking the wherewithal to hire an agent and endure the ordinary publishing process so my books would have better distribution than via self-publishing?  Yeah, that was probably for the best, too.  Even my abstaining from intoxicants until six years ago produced the best possible outcome; though some people might regret losing all those years of possible exploration, I realize that sobriety was much better for me both emotionally and economically until I reached a level of maturity conducive to wise, responsible use.  I’m sure I could think of a dozen other examples, but I think you get the point; though I am far too cynical to believe that I live in the best of all possible worlds, I have of late been forced to grudgingly admit that, whether by chance or fate, I have somehow managed to play the best possible game with the hand I was dealt.

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Pleasure can never be free.  –  Moroccan saying

Surplus Women

Your regular reminder: this isn’t confined to the US:

On 9 April, sex worker and activist Robyn Montsumi was arrested on a drug charge…in Cape Town.  A few days later she died in [what cops claim was]…suicide by hanging…artist Clinton Osbourn…created a life-size portrait of Montsumi…laminated it and put it up on a pole near the Mowbray police station…

Osbourn is hopelessly naive if he thinks cops will be “haunted” by a portrait of one of their victims; if they had consciences, they wouldn’t commit the crimes they regularly revel in committing.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Police closed off the Longport area of Canterbury for several hours…following a report of…a woman [o]n the property…armed [thugs] were s[ent in while]…a police helicopter hover[ed] overhead…a woman in her 50s [w]as [th]en arrested on suspicion of immigration offences…[cops claim] the address may have been used as a brothel…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Raymond Rodio III…was [sentenced to 9.5 years for]…charges including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.  After he completes his prison sentence, Rodio must register as a sex offender…“sex dungeon…sex slavery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini [drooled, claiming that]…Rodio recruited women through social media, got them hooked on heroin or crack cocaine and forced them to have sex with men in the basement…Rodio operated the ring for about four years, victimized more than 20 women and forced some to use a bucket instead of a toilet…Rodio’s parents may have known “something untoward” was going on, but not necessarily that their son was running a prostitution ring…They were not charged with a crime…

A “ring” with only one member?  Were the 20 “victims” in one basement, or did he only have one “slave” at a time (and if they could quit, how were they “slaves”?)  And the parents somehow had no idea?  Reeeeeeeeeeally now.

Lower Education (#778)

California seems determined to completely eliminate due process in rape cases:

[California] Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed…[a law] to ensure California colleges and universities [deny due]…process [to] all students [accused of] sexual assault…in direct response to the Trump administrations’ attempts [to roll back the due-process-banning “guidelines” set forth in the infamous “Dear Collague” letter of 2011]…SB 493 will require state-funded colleges and universities to [refuse the protections enshrined in] common [law for centuries, despite the fact that minority students are disproportionately the subjects of rape allegations which lack the evidence to be supported in actual court]…On May 6…Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new federal Title IX regulations that require schools to allow direct cross-examination of [accusers as in any other US criminal case], and would…raise the standard of evidence [back] from…preponderance of the evidence…to “clear and convincing” evidence, which is [still much lower than the burden of proof in other criminal cases.  Many]…lawsuits have already been filed challenging [expulsions and other punishments obtained under] the [Obama-era] Title IX regulations, including [75 in California alone and] a [class-action] lawsuit [against Michigan State University]

Naked Truth (#956)

Despite attempts to infantilize them as “victims”, Moroccan women know better:

…one of th[e] things that girls learn in Moroccan society…is [to]…enforce [a cost] when establishing almost any love and/or sexual bond with boys, and something that…married and divorced women tend to hold…[arranged] marriages…coexist…with the criminalization of [any] sexual relations outside of marriage…Consequently, there is a market for intimacy in which enjoyment is negotiated…the French-Moroccan anthropologist Mériam Cheikh has dedicated a doctoral thesis…[to] “the girls who go out”…the elegant euphemism [used] to designate prostitution practices, both professional and [casual]…the audacity in Cheikh’s research…is to…conclude that, in reality, the negotiations of sexuality are nothing more than a scale in the continuum of the bond between men and women that also includes marriage

Social Distancing (#1035)

Some of us have been saying this since March:

On 23 March, Boris Johnson locked down the [UK]…It would last for three weeks, he said, and it had one simple aim: to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by Covid cases.  Six months on…A quarter of the population is still under lockdown.  The rest of us are living under the most stringent social rules in living memory…Riot police are violently shutting down anyone who protests against this new authoritarianism…And…we are heading for the largest recession on record, with millions of jobs on the line…arbitrary rules are introduced by government decree…people can be fined for visiting loved ones…ministers make statements about who we can hug…there is serious talk of Christmas being cancelled…why did we shift from temporarily protecting the NHS from a spike in Covid to protecting all people from ever catching the virus?…how come you can gather in groups larger than six at work but not in a pub?…those of us…who have taken a critical approach…are often caricatured as not taking Covid-19 seriously…but…one of the key problems with a society-wide lockdown was precisely that it distracted society’s focus from the more targeted policies required to protect…the elderly and the vulnerable…It increasingly seems that the…freezing of economic life, the tight control of social life, and the halting of certain health services…could prove more harmful than the disease itself…

Social Distancing (#1045)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

Brussels’ sex workers are angry that they were not consulted before the City…sprung a prostitution ban on them on [September 28th, using the excuse]…of the coronavirus…the ban not only concerns street prostitution…but also sex work in…rendez-vous hotels…Maxime Maes of sex worker union UTSOPI [said]…“The virus is just an excuse.  This is not about the coronavirus, but about longstanding issues with the people living in those districts”…referring to how neighbourhood committees have repeatedly attempted to have several hotels in the Alhambra district closed…

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[Therapists’] preconceptions about sex work…do more damage rather than help.  –  Teela Sanders

Follow the Leader

Costumed hooligans regularly abduct and torture people in ways that would be charged as crimes for anyone else:

…Dallas police [arrested]…Esmeralda Lira…and Jose Balderas…[and] charged [them] with child endangerment after…someone [claimed]…that Lira had three children tied up at the home with no food…[cops] found two children asleep in a bedroom…[and] the third…locked [in a] shed…the 6-year-old boy [was] standing alone inside the pitch-black shed.  His hands were tied behind his back with shoelaces…The child [said] that Lira, his grandmother, tied him him up in the shed [overnight] when he is bad…the boy…[said] Lira bathed [him] outside by spraying him with water…[and gave him] a plastic bag when he needed to relieve himself…

Compare this treatment with that in “Torture Chamber” below, in the same state.

The Real World

Anti-whore stigma even harms sex workers who are therapists:

Some years ago…I sought mental health support.  I noticed that during the initial assessment the therapist increased my risk score when I told him what I did for a living.  I am a trained therapist, so I understood the…form…When I asked him why he had increased my risk factor, he said, “Because you’re an escort.”  I said, “But you haven’t asked me how I work, where I work, with whom I work.  That doesn’t make sense”…He looked at me with a vacant glaze…[and] said, “Okay, well, it’s sex work, so I still have to increase the risk score.”  This is stigma against sex work, or “whorephobia” in action, and it is the opposite of what is needed to support sex workers effectively.  Sex-work stigma…has been identified as the leading cause of mental health problems for sex workers…

Skin To Skin (#958)

Another step forward for disabled Australians:

People with disabilities can use [Australian] disability insurance scheme funds to access specialised sex worker services, the federal court has ruled…unanimously in a favour of a woman who lives with multiple sclerosis and sought to include the services in her NDIS plan.  Despite the agency’s [claim] that it “does not fund participation in sexual activity”, the federal court said the NDIS Act “does not expressly exclude such activities…nor has any exclusion been made under the NDIS rules…there is no implied exclusion of such activities either, and indeed in our opinion the better view is that they are intended to be included”…the NDIS minister, Stuart Robert, [had bloviated that] funding…sexual therapy services was not in line with community expectations…

The Monsters Are Due (#969)

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

A sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina is facing criminal charges after…he led a[n]…armed [mob of non-cops] to the wrong home in a search for a missing girl [because only cops are allowed to attack wrong houses with armed mobs]…Jordan Kita[‘s mob trespassed at] the home of Dameon Shepard, a [black high school] senior…the all-white [mob] tried unsuccessfully to force its way into the…home…Kita was looking for Lekayda Kempisty, a 15-year-old girl who[se present whereabouts he didn’t know]…She was [not actually missing but]…Kita…was searching for someone named Josiah who used to live next door…There was believed to be some sort of familial relationship between Kita and…Lekayda…

Though the word isn’t used here, we all know what “missing girl” means, don’t we?

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#998) 

Puritans especially hate people enjoying themselves while their “leaders” have sent them to their rooms:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter US attorney general William Barr on April 30, calling on the Trump administration to “confront the ongoing harms wrought by the pornography industry”, especially as use of porn sites has spiked during the coronavirus pandemic

Pyrrhic Victory (#1007) 

Still think this djinni can be stuffed back into its bottle?

…in the coronavirus era, when everyone is advised to wear a mask, exposed faces are increasingly rare.  That’s breaking facial recognition systems everywhere, from iPhones to public surveillance…[but a] company [named] Rank One…[has] released a new form of facial recognition called periocular recognition, which can supposedly identify individuals by just their eyes and eyebrows…and is specifically meant for masked individuals.  Rank One says it will ship the technology to all of its active customers for free.  It’s difficult to pinpoint how many companies and government organizations in the United States use Rank One…[because] its technology is resold by companies with connections to [cop shops] and [spook houses]…like DataWorks Plus and Secure Planet…

Uncharted Seas (#1018)

Too bad politicians can’t recognize that criminalization of consensual acts is always harmful:

…a new [Utah] law decriminalizing polygamy among consenting adults [has] take[n] effect…plural marriages are now considered an infraction…less than some traffic tickets…Deidre Henderson, the bill’s sponsor, has said she hopes it will make victims of abuse and fraud less afraid to come forward in the future…[by] remov[ing] the fear for otherwise law-abiding residents that they could be jailed and their children taken from them because of their religious practices.  And she notes that there are still penalties under the new law for polygamy in conjunction with crimes such as fraud, abuse, domestic violence and human smuggling…

Reawakening

Expect a lot more of these before this is over:

The longer COVID-19 lockdowns last, Texas Supreme Court Justice James Blacklock suggested last week, the more legally vulnerable they may be.  “As more becomes known about the threat and about the less restrictive, more targeted ways to respond to it…continued burdens on constitutional liberties may not survive judicial scrutiny.”  Lockdown resisters are testing that hypothesis in state courts, arguing that the public health emergencies governors cited when they ordered businesses to close and told people to stay at home no longer exist.  An Illinois lawsuit made that case based on a statute that limits the length of a governor’s emergency declarations—an argument that last month persuaded a judge to issue a temporary restraining order.  A New Hampshire lawsuit filed this week claims new circumstances have eliminated the statutory rationale for that state’s lockdown…In Michigan…a…barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s business closure order will get a chance to challenge the state’s claim that he poses “an imminent danger to public health”…[even though] he was taking precautions such as wearing a mask…and sanitizing his tools with ultraviolet light…

Torture Chamber (#1038)

From the same monsters who think it’s reasonable to lock people in cages for not “socially distancing”:

Prison food is notoriously bad, even in the best of times.  This isn’t the best of times, especially in the 40-plus Texas prisons where people are locked in their cells all the time [under the excuse] of coronavirus.  Their food now arrives at odd hours in paper bags, cold, mushy and without a hint of green…except…for…[the] mystery meat…the milk comes in powdered form [not reconstituted] and…even though it doesn’t look like food you or your dog would want to eat, prisoners and their families say they’re not getting enough of it…A [screw mouthpiece]…denied [everything despite photos]…every time [a prisoner] tests positive for coronavirus, the entire prison goes on lockdown for at least two weeks and…[prisoners are] banned from buying food from the commissary because prison brass are treating the lockdowns like a punishment…[since] early May, thousands…[have] only had sporadic access to phones, mail and showers…a former [Texas] prison official [described the so-called]…johnny sacks…[with the statement] “They’re shitty”…

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People who haven’t had an online presence aren’t gonna make money right away.  –  Arabelle Raphael

Welcome To Our World

I hope you amateurs enjoy being hunted like animals by armed thugs:

[Cops are gleefully using violence to force peaceful] people [to] comply with the shelter in place orders across North Texas…[Pigs] have [been granted imaginary] authority to [harass] people to make sure they are…workers [the state has declared “essential”] and not [free citizens] out and about…“We did hear some complaints…of people being stopped going to work.  Let me be clear, [fuck you and we’ll keep doing it]” [oinked a pig] of the DeSoto [cop shop.  In addition, cops]…across the region are trying to…fill up the jails with people committing nonviolent or misdemeanor crimes [just as usual.  In fact, prosecutors]…will enhance crimes co[ps accuse people of] during this period [which means]…more jail time and higher fines…

But hey, I’m sure y’all won’t mind because politicians have declared that giving violent thugs permission to harass you just for existing, and robbing you of money you can’t afford to lose, is “for your own good”.

Maggie in the Media

I appeared last week on the All In A Day’s (Sex) Work podcast, speaking on (among other topics) how sex workers have often been blamed for epidemics.  Despite the grim topic, I think you’ll enjoy listening.

Property of the State 

The power to declare something “non-essential” is the power to ban it:

The Texas Attorney General’s office…ordered all clinics that provide abortion to immediately stop providing the procedure in order to comply with the state’s temporary suspension of surgeries that are not deemed “medically necessary” [by politicians]…Those in violation will face “penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time”…

The Cult of Coupling

Too much “togetherness”, y’all?

Divorce filings are skyrocketing from quarantine-weary and financially stressed couples…matrimonial attorneys…are experiencing a 50 percent rise in inquiries from potential clients…[some] Manhattan family-law experts…[say] couples forced to spend time together while quarantined…haven’t fared well…[and] dramatic sways in the financial markets will further spur a wave of wealthy divorces, because richer spouses may decide they want out while their net worth dips…

Top Cop (#995)

This psychopath is still far too close to power for comfort:

Joe Biden is in the process of narrowing down his list of potential running mates, and his allies in the business community are weighing in with their favorite choices.  Since Biden announced earlier this month that he plans to pick a woman as his nominee for vice president, leaders of…industries have been reaching out to him and his presidential campaign about whom they think should join him on the ticket…The names being floated and pushed to Biden by this group include Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar…

Social Distancing

As always, sex workers take care of our own:

…workers…and…professionals whose livelihoods are tied to in-person meetings…are currently suffering from coronavirus-related job cuts….37 million jobs are vulnerable to layoffs due to social distancing measures…one group facing particularly acute challenges are sex workers, whose work is often illegal…or not covered by unemployment laws…many come from marginalized communities and have trouble accessing other forms of employment…the advocacy organization Bay Area Workers Support (BAWS)…launched a microgrant program that gives out payments of $50–$200 to sex workers in need…Similar efforts are taking place across the country: the Sex Worker Outreach Project…is organizing mutual aid fundraisers for sex workers in places like Los AngelesAustin and New York, and sex workers in Las Vegas have been fundraising via crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe …Taking their work online through photos, videos, phone sex and videoconferencing is one way sex workers have [adapted]…But changing how one does business is not as easy as starting an account…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1023)

“Sponsored content” means content a paper was paid to publish; it’s an ad, not journalism:

Over the past few months, several articles and editorials with a distinct War On Porn propaganda slant have been appearing under the banner of The Guardian, the influential transatlantic news organization…These articles look almost exactly like the rest of The Guardian online content, with the same font, design, artwork, layout and out-links to other stories…Recent articles…[gave] a platform to…Exodus Cry founder Laila Mickelwait…the “Exploitation in Focus” series is “supported, in part, through a grant…[from] Humanity United, a U.S.-based [prohibitionist] foundation…with [a] very vague name…and mission…[which] respond[s] to a billionaire p[rohibition]ist couple…who were embroiled in a labor human trafficking scandal of their own around the time they founded Humanity United…

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