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Sex trafficking is labour trafficking – and that’s what we should call it

Sex trafficking is just one form of labour trafficking. The phrase “sex trafficking” is as redundant as saying “cleaning trafficking”, “personal assistant trafficking” or “farm trafficking” to describe the trafficking of cleaners, servants and farm workers. We don’t call the ancestors of many African Americans “victims of fieldwork trafficking”, do we? The issue of people being trafficked into sex work should be handled in the same way as the issue of people trafficked into any other kind of work. The sex industry isn’t magically different from any other industry; all work requires the use of the body in the same way, whether it’s hitting keys with your fingertips, thrusting your elbow into a shit-filled pipe, gyrating your body (ballet dancer to lapdancer) or touching someone else’s naked body (doctor, sexworker, actor, masseuse).

But they aren’t being treated the same way. Millions of pounds and dollars are poured down the drain in pursuit of traffickers that don’t exist while labour trafficking by comparison is virtually ignored by governments, and police – even though millions more people are victims of labour trafficking than sex trafficking. (See The Sex Myth, which I promised myself I wouldn’t promote again, but it’s the most accessible source for someone who’s just looking to get a bit more info and doesn’t want to end up waist deep in academic articles and politics. You could also try the list of references/further reading below).

The problem with designating sex trafficking as different from labour trafficking is that it creates a very fictional and arbitrary distinction. There is no logic to this distinction. It creates more othering and stigma of sexwork and the sex industry. When the issue of sex trafficking is hijacked by radical feminists or moralists trying to criminalize sexwork under the guise of feminism, the distinction can be used to brand all sexworkers as “trafficked” and create a stereotype of the underage, female trafficked victim and the coerced, unhappy female sexworker. Boys and men are often ignored as if they simply don’t exist or are unworthy of the recognition or protection given to their sisters. And female sexwokers are branded as little different from trafficked women – often leading to laws and policies which criminalize sexwork or sex purchase in the name of feminism and lead to increased trafficking and violence against sexworkers. Male sexworkers and female sex buyers are usually ignored and forgotten during these struggles over criminalization. Sexworkers’ voices are also usually ignored by politicians, NGOs and the general public.

We are clearly unable, as a society, to be trusted to think about anything to do with sex in a calm, mature way. From jailing people for consensual BDSM (the UK Spanner case in the 1990s) to all the 2012 political disasters regarding abortion, abstinence, contraception and rape in both the UK and USA, we clearly seem conditioned to treat anything remotely sex-related (or related to women’s bodies) very differently from issues which do not immediately appear to be sex-related (or women’s body-related). The above issues are of course as much related to men’s bodies – and many other things such as health, culture and the economy for a start- but we perceive them as relating to slutty, slutty women. It’s the same with sex trafficking – control of women’s bodies permeates the whole criminalization agenda.

So, I think we should stop using the phrase “sex trafficking”. We should include sex trafficking in labour trafficking. If we do this:

1) The multimillionaire right-wing Christians in America might stop giving so much funding to dubious organisations in the UK and Ireland which campaign for criminalization on the basis of lies, and by denying real sexworkers’ lived experiences. A major player is the Ruhama Agency which ran Ireland’s Magdalene laundries where unmarried mothers were tortured until 1998. Now that their whole abusing girls thing has collapsed, their interest in ‘fallen women’ is now turned on sexworkers. They, who abused vulnerable, stigmatised young women now want to criminalze sexwork to ‘protect’ sexworkers from their clients and escort agencies. And of course it was conservative attitudes that landed the girls in the laundries in the first place, instead of their unmarried motherhood being accepted by their families.

2) Politicians will not be able to co-opt feminism to trick people into supporting criminalization, because we don’t have a labour trafficking stereotype of the young female.

3)Without the word “sex” in it, governments might actually be able to think more calmly and clearly about the issue and not waste our money hunting for victims and criminals who don’t exist (and arresting or deporting innocent sexworkers in the process.)

4) The sex industry will not be singled out and ‘othered’ and sexworkers will not be stigmatised as ‘the other’ or stereotyped  as sad, helpless  victims with no agency. Sex purchasers won’t be stigmatised as rapists. Rape will not be confused with consensual sex (which is an insult to actual rape victims, rape survivors and trafficked people).

5) We won’t have ridiculous laws which define all migrant sexworkers as “trafficked”, because defining all migrant labourers as trafficked would be seen as stupid. (See how smart we are when the ‘S’ word isn’t there?)

In conclusion, I think we should entirely abandon the phrase “sex trafficking” in favour of “labour trafficking” and/or “human trafficking”. After all, every other industry doesn’t get a trafficking term for itself; why is the sex industry so special?

References/further reading

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/my-response-to-rhoda-grants.html (Dr Magnanti’s response to the Rhoda Grant consultation( the attempt to criminalise sexwork in Scotland). Similar to the last two chapters of her book The Sex Myth, so it’s a good option if you don’t want to buy the book.

http://feministire.wordpress.com/category/sex-work/  Feminist blog (sexwork category)

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/when-help-is-anything-but.html (You can just Google the Magdalen laundries, but here Dr Brooke Magnanti does that for you, in a sexwork/rescue industry context.)

Obviously I could put more sources, but if you’re approaching the issue with no prior knowledge, Brooke’s stuff tends to be the most clear, and I think these dources are the most relevant to the content of this particular post.

Twitter: Don’t feel like reading? Great people to follow on Twitter are: Gaye Dalton, Sarah Woolley, Carol Fenton, Feckn Voters, Maggie McNeill, SexworkIE, Red Umbrella Fund, PastaChips, Laura Agustin, GlasgaeLauraLee, Banjaxed Brehon, Rene Ross, ElrondMiddleEngland, Dave Lohan, Darby Hickey, Madam Becky Adams, Nine, Petite Jasmine, Wendy Lyon, Slutocracy, Thomas Larson and Sex Workers.

Please note that for some of the people I’ve mentioned, I’ve only seen a few of their tweets. I don’t necessarily agree with these people’s views, I’m just mentioning them because they tweet stuff that is relevant to this particular blog post. Also, nearly all of these people have blogs which you can click to from their Twitter profile. I’ve made these suggestions because it seems to me to be a better idea than just listing lots of academic material that is boring reading and that you might have to pay to access. If you would like to see academic material, you can check out my response to the Rhoda Grant’s consultation: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/response-to-the-rhoda-grant-consultation-on-criminalising-sexwork/

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Response to the Rhoda Grant Consultation on Criminalising sexwork

It’s not that good or very well cited, but I know people who are much better at this stuff than me are responding, so hopefully it’s a contribution at least. It took over one and a half hours to write, which is obv a long time but now I wish I’d spent two or three hours on it and made it better or included critique of Rhoda’s consultation paper “statistics”. Well, I can always do another response in my legal name I guess – and I think certain people will have critiqued the statistics, so maybe it doesn’t matter. Anyway, here it is:

Rhoda Grant MSP

Room M1.06

The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

Rhoda.Grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

Dear Rhoda Grant

I am writing to register my objection to your proposals to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland.

Criminalising buyers leads to more trafficking and scares off the educated and safe buyers who would have a lot to lose if they were caught. It just leaves the clients who already have criminal records and don’t care about being caught. This law wouldn’t affect the high-end escorts; they’d just stop sexwork and continue working their other jobs or studying. But it would affect the more vulnerable sexworkers who rely on their earnings, or are drug-addicted. As the safer clients are scared off, they’re forced to take the criminal clients – and put their lives in danger. Clients may also want street sexworkers to get into cars quickly, and may pick up street workers late at night or in remote spots to avoid being caught. This is very dangerous for sexworkers. If you care about vulnerable sexworkers, you cannot support criminalising sexwork.

Criminalising clients has turned out very badly in Sweden, leading to trafficking to Russia, police secretly filming sexworkers having sex (which is a kind of sexual assault), condoms being used as evidence in court, as well as forced evidence-taking from the genitals of any woman suspected of being a sexworker – which of course is state-sanctioned sexual assault.

From the USA to Norway and Sweden, carrying condoms or marijuana can get you suspected by police of being a sexworker. Schools and clinics handing out condoms is seen as encouraging prostitution – which makes it hard for governments, local authorities, universities and schools to fight HIV and promote safe sex.

Other results are increased whorephobia and stigmatisation of sex workers; a university student was thrown out of her uni when a lecturer discovered she was stripping and doing sexwork on the side. This increase in whorephobia can also lead to more similar misogyny, such as slut-shaming and stigmatisation of female lone parents.

Although I’m not a representative sexworker, I have been paid for sex twice in the last 7 months and criminalising my client would have upset me and made me feel guilty. Forcibly taking evidence from me, as mentioned above, would for me have been equivalent to sexual assault/rape. Being forced to attend a court hearing against this person would also have made me very unhappy. This law would have wasted the court’s/police’s time, taxpayer’s money, caused emotional damage to both of us, possibly resulted in our identities being made known in the press, possibly got me fired, possibly destroyed a company and therefore left many employees jobless – in a recession where they will wait some time before being able to find new jobs. My client’s family would also be affected; as he is in an open marriage his wife would not mind him seeing other women, as she has several lovers too. But jailing her husband would have brought misery to all the family. In short, no good thing and many, many bad things would have resulted.

Also, if I could choose, I’d rather be sexually assaulted by my client than by the police. At least that way I could get justice through the courts, but if the police sexually assaulted me it’d be sanctioned by the state as “evidence gathering”!

A few points on why decriminalization is good for sexworkers and other members of the community, much better than either criminalization or legalization:

Decriminalization (the current UK situation) is:

Less hypocritical

Health/control disease by voluntary checkups

Allows welfare provision and exiting strategies as well as allowing freedom to be a sex worker at the same time, thus allowing sex workers to choose their destiny

Avoids stigmatisation by the criminal justice system and social attitudes

Sex work is not harmful/is consensual so law has no right to intervene

Laws protect workers from exploitation, unlike legalization

Sex workers can report violence to police without fear, so they are more safe

Trafficking rates low as British people willing to do sex work as it’s not a crime, they can choose how they work and they don’t have to register their legal name

More detailed points

Yes, some sex workers are recipients of violence or use drugs, but they are in the minority and are usually streetwalkers; exiting strategies and training programmes are helping them quit sex work if they wish to. They are already recieving the help they need – or, if they’re not recieving enough, pehaps we should throw our money at creating more of these programmes instead of at police officers breaking down hotel room doors to arrest people for sex work and jail them. And foster carers to take in children whose parents are jailed for sex work. And prison guards…social services…police monitoring devices…prosecutors…

We live in a democracy, and any action we take on real or percieved problems must be proportionate.  There’s no need for a blanket ban when streamlining exiting programmes and  increasing agency and massage parlour inspections will do. What about a website where sex workers can anonymously name agencies/parlours they think need to be inspected? More clinics and health services solely for sex workers (there are some)? There – a couple of my on-the-spot, half-baked ideas; no doubt the experts and politicians can come up with more. So, maybe we should discuss these and other options before imprisoning consenting adults? Perhaps reasonable, informed debate is more appropriate than moralistic knee-jerk reactions from people who aren’t sex workers?

And what about the other consequences? The cost to the state when released prisoners can’t get jobs and use state benefits? Or perhaps an engineer or solicitor who paid for sex, went to jail and now can’t get a job they’re qualified for after a criminal record, so they work in a bakery or as a waitress/waiter. They won’t make much, so the state has to give them Work Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. And what about their children when they’re in jail? Couples pay sex workers too – as a gift to one of the partners or as a threesome if the sex worker and one of the partners is bisexual. Both male and female sex workers are paid by couples.

The consultation begs these questions: Would you see women paying for sex from men as a problem, given that they’re concerned over men objectifying women? If a woman pays for sex, should she be jailed, or is it perfectly acceptable because she is a woman? What about if both she and her husband have sex with the sex worker? Is that bad, because the husband is objectifying the sex worker? Or is it okay, too, as long as the sex worker is male – because a man objectifying another man is fine?

I believe that you simply cannot formulate policy that covers educated prostitutes who earn hundreds or thousands off each client and may be sex activists and/or doing prostitution part time while studying or working other jobs and that also covers prostitutes earning £10-£30 off each client, who have no other job and use prostitution to pay for drug addictions, bills/rent or pay it to boyfriends or pimps. These women usually have a history of abuse and suffer from illness and sleep deprivation, and according to reports are often barely able to stand up as they negotiate with clients. Most were forced into it or started very young so their agency is doubtful, in contrast with sex activists who form coalitions such as PLAN, COYOTE or the UK Trade Union for sex workers. Streetwalkers usually fall into the second group, while those that work through agencies, from home or from massage parlours usually fall into the first. So you cannot have one policy to cover both situations. In the first category, the problem seems to be victimization by society and the criminal justice system itself; the solution is freedom/nonintervention. In the second category, a laissez-faire approach would be irresponsible.

And this is what we have; related streetwalking offences like soliciting and kerb-crawling are criminalised while buying sex isn’t.

Putting clients’ photos on billboards or jailing them is cruel and disproportionate. Putting them on a sex offenders’ register is only confusing rape and sex, which is a disaster as people will not feel that rape is a very serious crime, since other, harmless fun activities are confused with it. We need to be very, very clear on what is rape and what isn’t. We need to see rape as a big deal. Only then can we prevent it.

The focus on men objectifying women is very confusing and simplistic, as many men are sexworkers selling sex to men or women (sometimes both). And some female sexworkers sell sex to couples or to women.

If you want to criminalise sexwork, it would be more apt to criminalise other careers, as labour trafficking is far more prevalent than sex trafficking. The moral panic and junk stats over sex trafficking are just the lies of long-debunked junk science by Melissa Farley and NGOs such as the Ruhama Agency fuelling moral panics. These NGOs are well funded by Christian organisations – many anti-sexwork NGOS are funded by the same one (Magnanti 2012) and are run by radical feminists who are anti-pornography and anti-sexwork simply on principle, without studying the issues.

Ruhama was the organisation behind the abuse and torture of “fallen” women in the Magdalene laundries as recent as 1996.They shouldn’t be allowed to influence laws on young women or continue their obsession with nonvirginal or fallen women. Ruhama also previously claimed that women in lapdancing clubs were trafficked – this was found to be untrue by the huge Garda operation that followed.

Criminalising sexwork stigmatises it as somehow different from all other work and marginalises sexworkers. Also, if it is criminalised, sexworkers and clients will simply sign up to sexwork-disguised-as-dating sites such as seekarrangement.com (a site which pairs up female students and graduates with rich ‘sugar daddies’ who give a monthly allowance and expensive gifts in exchange for sex).

Criminalising consensual sex between adults is simply moralising and puritanism masquerading as “feminism”. REAL feminists would never ignore international evidence and deliberately endanger sexworkers – most of whom are women. It also creates a “women are pure so would never sell sex willingly; therefore they must be helpless trafficked victims” sort of view. This view only inflames sexual double standards and virgin/whore dichotomies – as well as silencing sexworkers’ own stories and lived experiences. This law leads to a sex-negative society – one even more sex-negative than the society in which we, unfortunately, currently live.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Kalika Gold a.k.a The VirginWhoreTM

 

 

 

References:

R. Matthews (1986) “Beyond Wolfenden? Prostitution, Politics and the Law” in R. Matthews and J. Young (eds) Confronting Crime, London: Sage

R. Matthews (2008) “Prostitution, vulnerability and victimisation” in Prostitution, Politics and Policy, Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish

http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/close-reading-rhoda/ (the flaws and lies in Rhoda’s paper).

The Scottish Executive (2004) Being Outside: A Response to Street Prostitution (about exiting strategies and small red light zones in non-residential areas of cities. Proves that there’s only about 2,000 prostitutes in all of Scotland who streetwalk or work out of flats. However, this isn’t counting call girls and those who work in massage parlours/saunas so is an underestimation.) Available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/30859/0024989.pdf)

J. Phoenix (2000) “Prostitute Identities: Men, Money and Violence” British Journal of Criminology 40 (1) 37-55  (There is violence, but it’s not as bad as some NGO’s make it seem, and it’s hard to see how criminalization would enable these sex workers to report violence to the police or leave violent boyfriends. Oh, and non-sexworkers also experience domestic abuse, even rape.)

R. Matthews (1993) Kerb-Crawling, Prostitution and Multi-Agency Policing”, Police Research Group Paper 43, London: Home Office

The Sex Myth by Dr Brooke Magnanti (proves human trafficking into the UK is almost nonexistent with ALL migrant sex workers legally classified as ‘trafficked’. Two massive operations to find trafficking victims found 0 and 2 cases respectively, if I remember correctly).

http://www.citypages.com/2011-03-23/news/women-s-funding-network-sex-trafficking-study-is-junk-science/

https://t.co/rcUYce34

https://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/our-bodies-our-selves/

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Feminism, Sex work

 

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I meet Dr Magnanti/Belle de Jour, who inspired me to make this blog

My friend Lochlan invited me to a Facebook event to Dr Brooke “Belle de Jour” Magnanti’s talk on sex myths about adult entertainment causing violence. It was really good – well analysed, with irrefutable evidence to back up all her results and claims about previous studies not taking account of crucial factors such as population growth. (You should buy her book, ‘The Sex Myth’. It’s not a feminist book as she doesn’t identify as a feminist; it is a collection of essays which prove that sex trafficking into the UK is almost nonexistent, that women aren’t lees visual or less sexual than men, that teens aren’t more sexualised now than before and a lot of other myths. It’s all true by the way – the decade with the highest rate of teenage pregnancy was the 1950’s!)

I had always thlought that Brooke’s academic credentials are a powerful tool in her quest to spread the truth and get people to focus on the real issues instead of throwing away millions deporting illegal sex workers to stop sex trafficking and shutting down lap dancing clubs to stop rape. I do see her as a feminist; I think she is too generalising to lump all of feminism together; she could be identify as a liberal feminist; it was radical feminism that was/is sex-negative and criticised her for ‘betraying’ women by being a sex worker. But some sex workers are feminists. Actually, Brooke probably knows this but has chosen to drop the feminist label altogether. Anyway, at the Q and A section of the talk I realised that her academic reputation can also get in the way of her activism. I realised this when she ‘fudged’ the second question I asked, and although I usually despise this sort of thing – I once gave an EU Court of Justice Judge a hard time over fudging a question I’d asked which my lecturer then re-asked and he fudged it AGAIN – the lecturer couldn’t keep a straight face as I asked “where in the Treaty does it say that [and so on]” – I understood immediately why Brooke had to do it. She couldn’t risk getting quoted out of context or seeming too radical. If she did, this could make people not like her and not listen to the truth of her research. Then the feminist cause would be hurt by that, as she is a very valuable ‘asset’, if you will, to feminism in this country. And if I have to go without an answer to further the cause(s) that I fight blog/rant for, then I’ll do it gladly (and much more, if need be.)

I’d tried to read her book Secret Diary of a Call-Girl in Tesco’s about a year ago, but I just felt too envious of her to carry on reading, especially when she mentioned she’d firts got into the business as a dominatrix when she was a student – my dream student job. I’d always wanted to be a prostitute. I imagined myself working from a flat independently instead of being a call girl. It was also my dream to sell my virginity. As I read her book, I felt that I wanted to meet her, and also very jealous of her. But I also looked up to her for writing it, for giving this to society and changing stereotypes of STD-ridden working-class streetwalkers, letting us acknowledge educated women who were sex workers. And women with boyfriends who are sex workers. Telling us that prostitutes have parents.

So, I think Lochlan was not far off when he said “Is she your hero?” because, from a political point of view, the answer always had been “yes” even at my most envious moments.

Of course, she was my inspiration for this blog. I told her so.

As I had been jealous of her and simultaneously approved of her writing and saw her as a sort of role model, I was a bit – well, Lochlan referred to it as “starstruck” but nobody could tell, of course, as I can control my emotions. And I was aware that I was ‘starstruck’ because of how I saw her, and not because of who Dr Magnanti really is (i.e. a normal person who was good enough at writing to write an award-winning blog and a bestseller).

Dr Brooke Magananti’s talk summarised:

The belief that lap dancing clubs lead to increase in rape is false – studies that claimed it was true failed to account for population growth – rape actually went down (though Dr Magnanti doesn’t think lap dancing makes rape go down)

Studies showing that lots of children watch porn were not well conducted, using very small samples that were not representative

These issues are very complex and influenced by multiple factors

Policy shouldn’t be influenced by bad studies and shaky data

Sex trafficking is almost nonexistent, but is hyped up by the media

Bad studies are great for shock headlines, which concern the public and NGOs and perpetuate the cycle

I’d kind of been hoping I’d get to talk to her afterwards to get tips on how to raise awareness of certain feminist issues. So, let’s cut to when me and Lochlan are talking to her:

I’d had six drinks – Sangria and WKD (Lochlan had seven) and I was regretting this as we stood in line to talk to her during the break. I wanted to get my sentences in order so I could get tips on feminist activism and ask her some other stuff about the double standard and whatnot. I also wanted to tell her about Roland, because she would understand me. I am not saying my experience is the same as hers – I’ve not even read her memoirs, how can I – but I’m pretty certain judging by her book that she enjoyed selling herself and got pleasure out of it, just like me. I don’t know anyone else who’s ever done it. Actually, I might (you never know who’s done what – I don’t have “I’m Rolanding” taped to my forehead) especially if you count SeekArrangement.com as sex work, but they’re keeping quiet about it.

Lochlan had brought a copy of the old book for her to sign and I picked up ‘The Sex Myth’ right there before the talk. We got her to sign our books. Since I couldn’t count on not being accidentally eavesdropped or photographed by the journalists present, or anyone else, I asked her to make it out to Kalika, which she asked me to write on her hand since she couldn’t spell it. (It always hurts a bit when I write on my hand; does nobody else feel that?). (I knew she wouldn’t out me, as a former sex worker and scientist she’d be the last person in the world to do such a thing, obviously. And what would be in it for her? ‘BELLE DE JOUR EXPOSES GIRL SELLING VIRGINITY FOR 8K’ actually would ruin her far more than me (it would compromise her both as Belle de Jour, as she sold out a fellow sex worker, and also as an academic professional. As Roland would say, I’ve got nothing to lose) and she wouldn’t need the money even if guaranteed anonymity. It wasn’t her I was worried about, it was everyone else milling around that I couldn’t possibly keep an eye on while talking to her. It was the journalists, mainly, that I was worried about. Not only for that moment, but in case I was outed (or outed myself anonymously) in the future. After all, this blog will continue to be updated for months. I will market it. I never promised Roland I wouldn’t anonymously sell my story (I’m not saying I will – I’d rather wait a few years and sell it under my legal name when I’m a known feminist author or blogger (well, if!!!). It would be fun! And of course I’d keep Roland’s identity secret.) But, anyway, it was for the future that I was planning.

I admitted I hadn’t been able to read her first book because I’d been envious of her especially the dominatrix part and she said, “And now that you’ve seen me, you don’t need to be envious!”

“Well, it’s because I’m kind of doing something similar,” I said. It was hard to speak as eloquently as usual with all the drink, and I couldn’t see four sentences ahead like I usually can. “I’m selling my virginity,” I added. I didn’t even lower my voice, because calling myself Kalika was precaution enough. I think seeing her made me not care, too; after all, I’m selling myself to one guy, she is proud that she was selling herself to lots of guys. However, as Lochlan and I discussed later, she’s in a good place because she’s got a PhD and a successful career so it’s hard to criticise her. But I’d better wait till I’ve got a career till I out myself, and even then a teacher who wrote about her call girl experiences in a few articles was fired because she was once a call girl. So Brooke was lucky; maybe she was too well known to b fired as it would be very bad press if they fired her. Or maybe they can’t use the excuse that she’s working with kiddies so could pervert their innocent minds. Or gets on with her boss.

We were only talking for a few minutes but I think she’s very down to earth and not like what you’d expect, she’s very ‘real’ and a good person – not all sugary niceness, because even the most evil people can put that on -I mean ‘good’ as in sincere and dedicated to the truth. I’m not going to quote her anymore because she didn’t consent to her words being put on a blog. I know this post would be more interesting and longer if I just stuck in a transcript of the conversation, but I don’t think it’s fair.

So I’ll just write that Brooke: Thinks 50 Shades of Grey is just porn with no inherent feminist or sexual freedom values; was pleased that she was an inspiration to me for this blog; pointed me in the direction of a sociologist who was present to answer a raising-awareness question I had; and I think I’ll leave it at that.

Lochlan went off twice; he told me later that he bumped into his friend, who is a sex worker and blogs about sex activism. I’d suspected she’d be there; luckily, I was talking to Brooke so didn’t see her, so she’s still anonymous to me, though I must’ve walked right past her when I went to talk to the sociologist.

A few people went over to ask her questions at the end, too. Lochlan and I went to Browns on George square and had 2 cocktails each; I had a cosmo and a strawberry chocolate cocktail, had a grey-coloured drink and I can’t remember the other one. After a short fret to Lochlan over whether texting Roland about this would annoy him/seem needy, I texted Roland that I’d met Belle de Jour and told her about me selling virginity; I thought that would interest him. It must have, because he texted back something along the lines of Wow!!’How did you meet her?’ so we were texting for a little bit and I was reading his texts to Lochlan who of course only knows him by ‘Roland’ so it was hilarious (to me) that Lochlan was calling him ‘Roland’ constantly. I’d rather have called him so I could hear the surprise in his voice as I told him, but it went to voicemail and I was too tipsy to bother leaving a message. Then we went to Lochlan’s, stopping at a bar with live music along the way. I had a chocolate Russian and a Vanilla Russian, he had a White Russian and a Chocolate Russian. Neither of us were drunk though; I need a LOT to get drunk.

We walked on, talking about sex myths, sex work and Brooke and he asked me about Rolanding and I was like, “Well, I can only speak for myself but even if you wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t for the money, you can still get physical pleasure from it, obviously, because we’re biologically programmed to be that way. So even though Roland is really old, it’s still really fun. Like I thought I hated blowjobs but I love doing it. I’ve learned a lot about myself.”

“So you’re not just doing it for the money then? There’s something else?”

“Well, yeah, duh, the sex. I’m doing it for the sex as well, of course.”

“When are you actually going to have vaginal sex?”

“The time after next time, in a brothel. Well, a massage parlour.”

“Is that what you want?”

“I don’t give a shit. As long as I get my £1,000. Whatever makes him happy.”

“Really?”

“Why should I care? I’ll have to close my eyes though and pretend it’s someone who looks good. I’d prefer it if he wore a paper bag over his head, but obviously I wouldn’t be able to talk him into it.”

“Is he really that unattractive?”

“He’s okay, I guess,” I said, “He’s not fat and doesn’t have wrinkles. I think he would look good if he wasn’t old. I mean, he actually looks younger than his age. So I think when he was young, he was hot.”

“Are you afraid of getting old?”

“Well, Asians don’t age and neither do blacks, so…no.”

“Oh that’s good then.”

Then, in his flat, he got me a pillow and sheet on the sofa and I put the sleeping bag on top of it and went to sleep.

Today, Lochlan walked me to the subway. Knowing I was going shopping, he said “Are you going to spend some of Roland’s money?”

“Well, it’s mine now. I worked very hard for it.”

He left me at the subway, as he had to get to class. I pondered the missed opportunity of us making a pun on the word ‘blow’, like blowing money/blowing Roland. Then I remembered I’m scared of subways! But I was okay in the end, it is just waiting for the train that I don’t like, when its silent and then when you hear it coming. I’m okay with subways that have bigger platforms (in other countries) though. I got off in Buchanan Street and headed to H and M, bought denim shorts, black jeggings and a grey denim shirtdress (£54, didn’t even glance at the price tags) then a pair of wedge sandals out of River Island five minutes later. That was £100 gone in twenty minutes, a new record for me, but achieved only by Rolanding or I wouldn’t have splurged like that. I only bought a belt after that, though, so it wasn’t a massive shopping spree. I ended up wearing the wedges in Glasgow, putting my flats in the bag. I touched up my toenail varnish with the nail varnish I keep permanently in my bag for emergencies.

 

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Abstinence clarifications

I have just discovered that the ‘virginity as gift’ discourse is not the only anti-sexual freedom discourse; the movement is more varied than I had suspected. I apologise for this ommission. I really want my blog to be accurate and properly referenced – watch this space for referenced, peer-reviewed articles on lone motherhood and sexual repression in the next few days – and I don’t want to misrepresent anything. I want you all to be able to check out my sources and challenge my assertions on a factual basis, should you wish to do so; and this blog is going to get more political.

Anyway, I have found a blogger here who presents a religious motive for abstinence (ie admittedly religious, not subtly religious like the gift discourse). He actually disagrees with the gift discourse, as his motivation is legal or law-based. Thus, three types of abstinence discourse can be indentified: Pragmatic (to protect from STDs/pregnancy); to give a gift; and to obey God’s law.

Of course, all three types are religious/control motivated, but they range in how openly religious they are – for example, the pragmatic approach is marketed as nonreligious and as such the movement gained much power under the Bush regime when the Government began to control sexuality by making teens abstinent (abstinence education) and later adults with marriage programs which contained abstinence. This type of abstinence education was attempted by Dorries in January and revived in May in America. It also forms part of “comprehensive” sex ed programs in America, unlike the UK where there is no mention of abstinence in sex ed programs in state schools (so nobody has heard of the word “abstinence”.). It appears to be the most dangerous and politically viable type of abstinence movement and discourse in the West. By contrast, the religio-legal ‘God’s law’ basis is the least politically viable, for obvious reasons, and therefore the least dangerous. So don’t worry about it! I will post more on abstinence very soon, but I just wanted to clarify the incompleteness of what I said before. I’ve been researching abstinence for 2 years so I’m sorry for the ommission. The guy’s blog (in which he explains why he disagrees with Lolo Jones’ gift discourse stance in favour of a God’s Law discourse stance) is here, although it is quite offensive; however, I like it and I did get wet reading it. It is also well-written if a bit long-winded: http://revealchristmission.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/open-letter-to-miss-lolo-miss-lori-regarding-a-few-choice-words-i-hope-proves-helpful-to-a-woman-as-so-stated-by-you-in-last-months-news-more-or-less/

I enjoyed reading the above post, although I realise it would be disturbing to most people.

Although Orthodox Jews and Muslims are also abstinent, personally I do not believe their abstinence movements (if any even exist) to be dangerous; they seem to promote abstinence only within their religious communities and have not made attempts at controlling the freedom of non-Muslims/non-Jews. (I do not refer to terrorists as “Muslims” since Muslims do not feel that terrorists are Muslims, because terrorism is a violation of the principles and values of the Qur’an). This is why I’ll be talking about Christian-based abstinence; it is the most prevalent and politically powerful and the abstinence activists, leaders and their followers do not identify as Jew or Muslim.

 
 

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