two conversations about rape

I’ve been trying to fit these two conversations into some sort of context since they occurred but there really isn’t one. What I’m about to relate isn’t going to be news to any female readers and likely will echo sentiments that some male readers believe. All I can say is that both of these conversations made an impression. Not always a good thing.

Read more

cliches and wrong ideas

I subscribed to The Nation for a couple of years, long ago, and generally liked Katha Pollitt. But, like many otherwise intelligent people, she goes sideways when the topic of sex work comes up. Her essay, mostly taking issue with Melissa Gira’s book Playing the Whore, has a lot of juicy bits I want to chew on. Heather Berg has a completely different, and very valid, view of Pollitt’s article here.

It doesn’t matter to Pollitt that sex workers are not a monolithic group, nor does she recognize that some sex work writers might actually be leftists themselves. She is highly offended that the ideology of the sex worker rights movement doesn’t follow what she thinks it should follow. She gets downright insulting when she attacks the term “sex work.”

sex work is work

“The ‘sex work is work’ cliché is that prostitution is much like any other service job—being a waitress is the usual example. I dunno how many waitresses would agree with that…” First, I love how the extremely important statement that “sex work is work” is relegated to a cliche. Is it? I don’t think so, not until everyone in the current culture agrees that sex work is work, all sex workers are working hard at a respectable job, they’ve heard it all before, let’s move onto something new. We’re not there yet. Not even close.

Read more

reactions iii

fun with language

From Laura Agustin’s Twitter: “You are living in the kind of world in which there are digital harems of prostitutes, available and pushed upon every single population”

It wouldn’t be much fun to push unavailable prostitutes on every single population, now would it? “Every single population” is not defined and I wish it were. There are so many populations that prostitutes aren’t interested in (children, prison inmates, the sick, the homeless, Congress).

Laura has a series of Tweets exploring the zealous anti-prostitution rhetoric and its very creative usage of language. I would have never come up “digital harems” no matter how long I write about sex work (yes, I’m jealous). Even better, the sermon she quotes was delivered by a preacher in Ft. Worth! Eros Dallas has a new slogan in the bag.

ban freebies

I missed this on Twitter but really enjoyed the recap. Sex workers discuss the concept of giving it away with the same arguments tossed at us because we charge for it. While people can always say “It’s smart to charge for it,” when have you ever heard someone say “It’s smart to give it away.” An entire self-help genre is built on the very idea of not giving it away! These books encourage women to hold out for something, whether it’s a wedding ring, gifts or whatever. But the end result is always offering sex in exchange for something the woman wants. Technically, that’s not giving it away! Which begs the question, is there anyone who really gives it away? Or are they just deluded? Is “giving it away” actually part of the old joke to which the punchline is “Now we’re just negotiating on price.”

Read more

porn vs brothels

Two porn actors have recently tested positive for HIV. There is lots of talk about mandatory condom use on set. Most porn actors who have spoken to the media are against it.

The only other legal sex-for-money system in the US are the Nevada brothels. Like porn, they regularly test for STIs, though the brothel I worked for did not test for herpes and Hepatitis C. Porn does not test for herpes and Hep C. Porn is ramping up to a 2-week testing cycle, brothel testing is weekly. Brothels have mandatory condom use. Porn’s condom usage is all over the place. Condoms are a regular sight in gay porn but not mandatory. In heterosexual porn, some companies require condom usage, some leave it to the discretion of the performer and some seem not to give the performer a choice. Unlike porn, where the actors go home after work, about half of NV’s brothels are lockdown.

Why are legal prostitutes regulated to the nth degree but legal porn actors are not?

Read more

reactions ii

anti-porn parenting tips

A porn actress found Jesus and now finds Jesus for others. She provides helpful hints for parents as to why their little girls might become a porn actress. She and I agree that bad parenting (especially abuse), contributes to problems. She almost gets it in #4, except she decides to define prostitution vs pornography (in order to let everyone know she’s not a prostitute), instead of focusing on the fact that juvenile prostitution is nearly always caused by abusive parents or parents who have kicked their children out of their home. I’ve said it for years: underage prostitution could be eradicated almost entirely by focusing the law on abusive parents and having more readily available resources for abused or homeless children. (This would also remove underage trafficking and lots of people would be out of well-paying jobs and grant money.)

Read more