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My reply to Richard Lucas

So, the Bill fell. And I’m getting a lot of responses to my Adultwork profile. Life is good. I might post some of my emails to Kane, the poly dom. I saw them again today and got a bit of a shock. Howl! Seven days to the wolves! (copyright Nightwish – it’s a great song, by the way.) A she-wolf meant a prostitute and of course there’s my Seven Nights stories and fantasy…But before I blog the good stuff, here’s my hilarious (even if I do say so myself) missive to our friend Richard Lucas, a homophobic anti-abortion abolitionist who debated Laura Lee and Douglas Fox. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzgc4PoBfWY I’ve got a reason to dislike -maybe hate – the guy. I don’t usually hate people I’ve never met, but this guy…he’s worse than Ann Widdecombe. And what he said…and my other reason for hating him, which only a couple of people know. This blog would be so much more interesting if I could just tell you. I guess I can say that he made me powerless and uncomfortable, even though I maintained control of the situation. He also defamed people, and I really have a thing about lies.

Anyway, Lucas was giving his usual whorephobia/pro-full criminalisation moralising to Scot-PEP, and Glasgow Sex Worker, who was Facebooking for Scot-Pep at the time, replied. So did Gaye Dalton and Matty King, and Lucas was of course steadfastly maintaining his position and questioning someone’s story of abuse in their childhood. (He also pointed out his views differ from Grant’s – yes, they’re WORSE!)

Here’s my incredibly long reply:

Oh Richard. Truly it is a privelege – nay, an honour – to meet such a uniquely arrogant moralist-driven oppressor as yourself. I bow to an inflated pride far greater than my own. Your sense of entitlement to govern the careers and bodies of your fellow humans is indeed a wonder to behold. Oh Lord Richard, I am so angry right now that I’m aroused and could hatefuck you – but all in its own time. For now, to work:

Okay: So, what you haven’t addressed is what gives you the right to moralise. Yes, you say you evaluate sex work “on its own basis” but you’re candid about your religious beliefs – for which I do genuinely respect you. So, what if Muslims, Jews, Pagans, Wiccans, Hindus and Mormons all got their way with the law? Every religion as a different view. Why is Christianity the chosen superior religion that should rule the masses? In 2013, should Britain turn from a democracy into a theocracy? When laws are based on religion, that is theocracy; so you are prepared to condemn these sceptered isles to a future of theocratic control? And come to that; why is YOUR brand of Christianity the supreme truth over Catholicism, Rastafarianism, Jehovah’s Winess(ism?) and those loonies who cast out demons? You want full criminalisation, and that results in murder, rape, increased trafficking and sex workers being arrested and so unable to exit the industry because employers wont hire criminals.

Their children get stolen by the state just because the mum or dad is working in the sex industry. You have children, oh Richard the Saviour of All the Unsaved. Imagine if social workers snatched your sons just because you’re a minister. Imagine losing custody battles, being imprisoned, being outed in the press, just because of your job. Sex work isn’t my career, unlike other sex workers you’ve debated. I’m not representative. But I still fear being outed. I know 5 people on Twitter who have been outed, as were Laura Lee and Douglas Fox. (I believe LL was outed twice- once in the 1990s and once more recently.) You cannot comprehend how much I wish I could say this with my real name. But so many people get fired for past sex work, even if it was 10 or 20 years ago, that I cannot risk it. Though it’s not my career, my blog’s existence and its explicitness put me at more risk of discrimination than the few other virginity sellers who’ve been documented. So, Oh Prophet Mine, the question is: are you really going to have women and men murdered, raped, mugged, exploited, fired, outed, separated from their children, stigmatised, discriminated against by potential employers, and saddled with criminal records JUST TO SATISFY YOUR MORALISM? Will you do that? If you are against prostitution then criminalisation – whether full crim or criminalising the buyer – works AGAINST you. It stops sex workers finding jobs in other industries and keeps them doing sex work. One woman was fired after her boss found out she acted in a porn film several years ago. She ended up going back to sex work for five years – the very job that her boss hated! Besides, other industries cause much more harm than sex work. We’re killing people in other countries. They are starving right now because we have to have nice clothes and drink at Starbucks and buy cheap jewellery. We’re killing animals. We get fat stuffing ourselves with chocolate and the farmers don’t get a fair price; their kids never get an education or enough food. This laptop was probably made by children working 14 hour shifts, or it’d have cost thousands of pounds.

Richard, if you’d like to buy my virginity, DM me on Twitter (@KalikaGold) Offers over £12,000 considered. I’m a Masters student, young, 22D, 5″6. Photos on request. I’m a bit bi so could do your wife as well or any grown-up children you may have (I could do you a family discount). (My original client went AWOL after I sold sexual services twice for £2,000).

 

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Why sex worker activists should support the decriminalisation of street work

First published on Harlot’s Parlour.

(I’m not a sex worker activist and though I’ve been planning this post for months, I wasn’t sure if I should write it; if I’m not a sex worker activist, or even a representative sex worker, then how can I tell sex worker activists what to think? But after a  brief conversation on Twitter, I decided to finally post this. – K )

If you’re for sex workers’ rights then you have to be for street sex workers’ rights too. Otherwise you’re not standing for ALL sex workers. If you think that your brand of sex work, whatever it is, should be decriminalised and that you deserve rights but that street sex work should remain criminalised, then that’s elitism. You’re saying that you’re “better” than street workers, or that you’re different to them in a way that you aren’t different to other sex workers who work in different areas of the industry but not on the street.

And if you take the view that street sex work is dangerous and therefore should be criminalised – well. Doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s the antis’ argument against the entire sex industry (including the adult entertainment industry). So, basically, you’re an anti – just an anti who wants non-street work decriminalised but is still for the abolition of street work.

Finally, if you believed that street sex workers have agency and can choose to work, how could you deny them human and labour rights? So it’s clear that to be in support of criminalising street sex work, you have to see street workers as having no agency or in need of “rescuing” by sex worker activists. Again, this might sound all too familiar.

And let’s be practical – criminalising street sex work in the UK has been proven to create what academics call the “revolving door” effect: street workers are fined for soliciting and then have to do more sex work to pay off the fine. While working to pay off the fine, they’re arrested again and hit with another fine, and so on. Which actually stops them from “exiting” street work (oh, how I hate that phrase – for all other jobs we say “finding another job”.) So, if you’re eager to rescue street workers, criminalisation actually works against your objectives. Not to mention the fact that a woman or man with several soliciting offences on their criminal record is not going to find it easy to get employment in another industry.

The Merseyside model includes exiting strategies and only uses arrest as a last resort, though unfortunately the use of exiting strategies instead of fines is, in my view, just as intrusive and is also a harassment – not to mention insulting as it implies that street work is unacceptable and that the worker doesn’t have agency. (That’s the one bit of the Merseyside model that I would wish to see changed. I mean, if they’re so obsessed with rescuing, why not rescue street workers into another type of sex work, like indoor work or, if they fit agencies’ preferences (or there are ‘specialising’ agencies nearby), agency work?)) Not that I’m for rescuing anybody anywhere; it’s just an interesting question why the police feel that the entire sex industry is exploitative but other industries are totally fine.

The fact that street sex work is criminalised might be making it more dangerous. Since clients were criminalised for kerb-crawling, maybe the law looks more equal, but it might be having the effect of weeding out the clients who don’t want a criminal record, leaving only those who might already be known to the police. How are the workers and clients supposed to report any violence they witness or experience if they know they’ll get a court appearance and a criminal record? The clients know that the workers might not report violence so they might not be deterred by the possibility of police action. (This could also be true of the sex workers, who might be more prepared to perpetrate crimes against clients because they know the clients won’t report it.) I’m not just talking about violence here, but blackmail or theft as well.

Therefore, the more dangerous you think street sex work is, the more you should be in support of decriminalising it. While there is some evidence (in the Home Office report referred to below) that criminalising clients forces street workers to work indoors in relative safety, that was a small-scale study and it’s obvious that there are still street workers even though street work is criminalised in the UK.

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

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 sex workers in all of Scotland who street walk OR work out of flats – meaning that less than 2,000 are street workers, as the number includes independent indoor workers.  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

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Rape victims get 50% of compensation cut for doing sex work

At the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) event in Glasgow, the ECP revealed that after police failed to deal with a serial rapist, they funded a successful private prosecution. But the two women had their Criminal Injuries Compensation cut by 50% – because they sex workers.

Para 25 p11 of the Ministry of Justice’s Guidelines state that compensation can be cut for “conduct”:

An award may be withheld or reduced where the conduct of the applicant before,during or after the incident giving rise to the criminal injury makes it inappropriate to make an award or a full award.

Sex work was considered “conduct” which provoked the rape. No other job could be so willfully and openly punished, and no other rape victim would have been victim-blamed so much. If anyone was in doubt that sex workers are stigmatised, this is the final proof.

Happily, the problem is easy to remedy. Para 25 goes on to say “For this purpose, conduct does not include intoxication through alcohol or drugs to the extent that such intoxication made the applicant morevulnerable to becoming a victim of a crime of violence.” So all that is needed is for the words “choice of career”, “work”, “sex work” or similar before or after the line about intoxication.

As Irish Law student  @belowcontempt noted, the Irish Criminal Compensation laws are even more far-reaching, though they also do not specify rape or sex work.

Compensation was witheld – for both rape and murder – in Australia in 2006. The judge reportedly made shocking comments like “this wasn’t a woman waiting at home for her husband.”

Women are being reduced to their job – sex work. They aren’t human beings, they’re commodities. This is also insulying to men because it imples that rape is simply a risk of the job, that all clients are potential rapists.

The targetting of sex workers raises a number of philosophical conundrums: would compensation be cut if a sex worker is raped while not doing sex work, for example if she is raped by her husband? What if a man is raped one hour before exiting the sex industry? Or if, an hour after being raped, a woman joins becomes a sex worker (and how would the start time be calculated, anyway? Her first phone call to the escort agency, or when she sees her first client?) Gaye Dalton (@mechanima) raised an interesting question: where would I fit? How would they see my conduct? Are all sex workers equally culpable in their own rapes, or are VirginWhores less fallen so maybe should only have their compensation cut by a third instead of by half? Or is selling virginity even more reprehensible to men who literally reward (with compensation) sexual inexperience in women and punish experience?

This is disgusting. A century ago, rape wasn’t recognised as rape if the victim was not a virgin. And it looks like nowadays, rape isn’t really rape if the victim is not a non-sex worker. The Criminal Compensation Scheme is literally ascribing more value to ‘good women’ than to sex workers.

And even in its misogyny, it fails. Because non-sexworkers can be “sluts” and they won’t even require payment for doing it. At least sex workers only do it for work. And as I pointed out above, it seems to be a lottery of when you get raped – if you haven’t stopped or started sex work yet, you get double the compensation.

Government incentives to keep the women of Britain pure and under control.

Ministry of Justice Criminal Injuries Compensation Guidelines: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/victims-and-witnesses/cic-a/am-i-eligible/criminal-injuries-comp-scheme-2012.pdf

The Irish Department of Justice’s guidelines: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Criminal_Injuries_Compensation_Scheme

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Police Chiefs tell all UK forces to spy on sexworkers, sabotage their ads & stop people entering sex work

While researching for the Merseyside Model campaign, The Slutocrat came across the ACPO (National Association of Chief Police Officers) Guidelines on Policing Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation Strategy (yes, they have tied the two together because obviously sex work and trafficking are all the same thing). I don’t even think exploitation, rape and trafficking are the same thing – they’re all vile, but they’re different and you can be exploited without being raped or trafficked.

I thought tweeting some of the bad stuff would be enough, (I did that yesterday) but the more I read, the more I realised I had to do a blog on it. I’m not going to mention the good stuff that was in it, because The Slutocrat is going to do that (because we’re trying to publicise the Merseyside model and some feminists won’t click into my blog because it has the word ‘whore’ in the title – though apparently having ‘slut’ in the title is fine).

The guidelines themselves do make limited use of the term sex worker, and do acknowledge that sex work has a long tradition in human society. Sadly, the text of the guidelines seem to confuse sex work with exploitation and blur both with trafficking, and use of the term “prostitution” instead of sex work is consistent throughout. The focus on interfering in sex workers’ lives and trying to make them exit the industry is especially worrying, as even if the police do consider someone to be exploited, they could help them find non-exploitative roles in the sex industry. The police are told to treat all migrant sex workers as trafficking victims until they prove they know they haven’t been trafficked (p8) which is nonsensical at best, and ‘othering’ or disscriminatory at worst (from the point of view of migrant sex workers).

The guidelines refer to sex workers’ cards in phone booths and the sight of sex workers and clients as “visual pollution” and claims that the presence of sex workers is risky for “the vulnerable” (p9). It also seems to assume that all (not just some) sex workers are exploited: “People who use the services of sex workers may not consider themselves to be exploiters, but it is the sex workers’ loss of self-esteem (and/or drug dependency, poverty, etc.) that is often being exploited.” (p10)

The Guidelines state “A key aim must be to ensure that individuals donot become involved in prostitution in the first place” (p7) – apparently freedom of choice and the choosing of one’s career are unimportant in modern police-work.

And what about “Creating a bespoke intelligence “picture” for each local area of active sex workers, which includes new sex workers to the area, kerb-crawlers and exploiters/coercers” (p8) and building intelligence on clients, whom they call “users and abusers” (p10)? This might be a good thing to protect vulnerable street workers, but are workers in any other field of employment spied on by the State like this?

The police also admit to colluding with BT to remove sex workers’ cards from phone booths (p10).

Prostitution is victim-centred, not victim-less” they state on p5 – and they obviously mean ALL sex work, not just some…looks like the radfems have sunk their claws into our police now. Which begs the question of what a radfem state would look like.

Remember how the police raided sex work establishments in the run-up to the Olympics, forcing workers to be questioned while still in their work clothes and deporting a few women? (No trafficking victims were found). Well, it seems like all along the police knew that there wasn’t going to be trafficking in the run-up to the Games: “Concerns were raised in a Metropolitan Police Authority report, published in 2009, that sex trafficking may increase in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games. At present there is no intelligence to support that such a trend is occurring. During the run up to the Games, the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command (SCD9) of the Metropolitan Police Service is working to disrupt prostitution [not just trafficking, but all sex work/”prostitution”]and rescue victims, including victims of trafficking [“including victims of trafficking” – what other victims are there? Victims of sex work??], in the five Olympic London boroughs.”

If they knew trafficking wasn’t going on, then stopping trafficking couldn’t have been their motivation for the raids. So- what was their motivation?

On the whole, the use of language is offensive and very stigmatising of the sex industry as a whole, but hopefully we can use these guidelines for a good purpose – to back up the implementation of the Merseyside model.

The ACPO’s Guidelines on Policing Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation Strategy

http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/crime/2011/20111102%20CBA%20Policing%20Prostitution%20and%20%20Sexual%20Exploitation%20Strategy_Website_October%202011.pdf

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Sex work

 

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PHALLACY: The myth that prostitutes are ‘used’ by men

The idea that sex workers are ‘used’ or that their bodies are commodities is a fallacy. But many feminists use this argument to claim that sex work is degrading, anti feminist, commodifies women or is harmful to them. Moralists (who are sometimes indistinguishable from the radical feminists) use the argument to justify looking down on sex workers or pitying them because they’re “degraded”. The radfem myths of ‘false consciousness’ and sexworkers’ lack of agency are also  heavily dependent on seeing them as used bodies, as sex slaves.

But if you think that sex workers are used by clients, that idea is actually made up of several patriarchal ideas about gender and gender rules.

1) It means you think there aren’t male sex workers and that there aren’t female clients. So it’s a world where there are no LGBTQ people to sell sex or buy sex. It’s also a world where only men like sex and therefore pay for it; women are chaste so would never buy sex. They only provide it. They don’t have sex for pleasure. They only have sex for money, just like housewives or women who marry for money. The word “patriarchal” doesn’t quite cover it; words like heterosexist and double standard could be applied here, too. And of course it’s all about rigid gender norms and a non-fluid gender identity – as well as other things. So, this idea is clearly flawed because male sex workers and female buyers do exist. In the Irish Justice committee’s sex work hearing, Quinlan gave evidence that in Sweden twice as many men as women sell sex (to both women and men).

2) It means you believe in the economic model of sex. The economic model is the idea of sex which is the most misogynistic and the most harmful to women. The economic model says that women “give” sex for other things like money/financial security (i.e. housewives and prostitutes) or love. This also means that sex is something women ‘have’ that men “get”. So, a woman will always lose something (an unknown entity) through sex and the man will always gain something (sex) from the woman. This is exactly what radfems believe – that only men by sex, and they buy it from women; and that no woman would really ever choose to be a sexworker. Again, the double standard and rigid gender identities and gender norms are all connected with this, and again LGBTQ people are conspicuosly absent. Other models of sex are less misogynistic. For example the performance model would view women and men as equals, and focus on the act as “doing” rather than as one person “getting” something from the other (which makes absolutely no logical sense, anyway.) The economic model is flawed.

3) It means that you don’t believe women enjoy sex. Radfems think that no woman would choose to be a sex worker and so all sex workers are either trafficked or only doing it because they’ve got no other choice. Not some sex workers – all of them. But if women get pleasure from it, it would follow that some women would choose a job in the sex industry, or at least wouldn’t need rescuing by feminists.

4) It means you believe that women should be pure and that the sanctity of the female body isa real thing, and is precious. Or why else would uneducated women doing sex work to avoid being on benefits be such a tragedy? “Little girls don’t dream about being a prostitute,” they say. But little girls don’t dream about working in Tesco’s or Poundland or McDonald’s. They also don’t dream about doing boring jobs like being a wages clerk or hman resources personnel, but the reality of life is that many jobs are administrative and nonexciting. Most people don’t get to be princesses or astronauts or cowboys or pirates. But radfems act like women working in the sex industry is a tragedy, and seem to prefer women to be on the dole, barely able to eat and stigmatised as unemployed. Wouldn’t you rather be unreasonably stigmatised for working as a sex worker than be unreasonably stigmatised for not being able to work and being the poorest of the poor, while being harassed and bullied by the Jobcentre? Because that’s what Jobseeker’s Allowance amounts to. Radfems also only focuus on sex trafficking and talk about it as if it’s separate from all other labour trafficking/human trafficking, despite labour trafficking being a much bigger problem. So it seems that, for radfems,  if it involves sex – whether it’s a job or a crime – it’s infinitely worse.

5) You think sex is degrading. Or why would radfems think sex work is degrading, but give other jobs where you have to touch peoples’ bodies (doctor, masseuse, carer, midwife, gynecologist etc) a free pass? And lots of people are degraded and dehumanized while working as waitresses, shop assistants or in any kind of employment. Casual workers and low-wage workers are particularly vulnerable. I knew a school girl who worked part-time as a shop assistant who was forced to clean toilets by the boss who hated her. I had to tell my boss whenever I went to the toilet as a waitress; my boss frequently swore and shouted at me and once docked my pay.for telling a customer the wrong price. These stories aren’t unique; my co-workers were paid £3 per hour at one job, and knew a waiter who was only allowed noodles for lunch (he had to eat on the premises). I could tell more stories, and they’re all stuff that happened to me, my friends,acquaintances and co-workers. This was clearly exploitation, but we were too young to know it or too desperate for money to care. Some employers don’t register employees, especially students and pupils, which means that these teens and young people have no rights. You can be fired on a whim, which means you’ll do anything to keep your job, like changing the bins in the toilets or sitting through 20 minutes of yelling and criticism (both of which I have done at two different jobs). Yet radfems think that if it’s not sex, it’s not as bad – even though a sex worker earns £100-£200 per hour and we were paid the minimum wage or under it. So even if sexwork is degrading, at least you’re being paid a lot to be degraded; it’s better than being paid peanuts to be degraded. But again, without sex, it’s just ordinary exploitation and the radfems don’t care.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the myth that sex workers are used by clients does not hold together. It’s based on untrue facts (that sex workers are women and clients are men) and all the other component parts of the myth are flawed or illogical.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Pretty Woman and Belle de Jour: Are they happy hooker myths or the complete opposite?

“It’s not like Pretty woman, you know,” say the abolitionists whenever the issue of sex work (“prostitution”) comes up. They use this one-liner to justify criminalizing sexwork and pushing the Swedish or end demand model (which makes paying for any kind of sexual services a crime) on the rest of the country. At other times, a more 21st-century version of the old gem is used: “It’s not all Belle de Jour”.

But first…THINGS ABOLITIONISTS MISS

1) “It’s not all Pretty Woman” is only a valid and relevant argument if Pretty Woman was designed as a documentary to speak for sex workers. It is meant to be fiction. We all know Hollywood gets it wrong, especially with regard to marginalized groups; they do this all the time.

2) “It’s not all Belle de Jour” also makes no sense; the books do not claim to speak for all sex workers; the blog called itself “Diary of a call girl” – i.e. the diary of a specific individual; the books were called the “intimate adventures” of a call girl; again, a single individual. They were not academic articles or textbooks. Why do abolitionists persevere in thinking that Belle was speaking for anyone other than herself? And with lots of sex worker and sex activists out there, they choose Belle to focus on – feminism, or jealousy because the others aren’t famous? Hmmm…

3) You can’t call a real story unrealistic

4) Pretty Woman represents a street sex worker, not the majority of sex workers

5) Abolitionists and the feminists who side with them use criticism of Pretty Woman and Belle de Jour interchangeably, not realising that they’re not the same or even similar things, and it’s not ethical or logical to think of them as similar. To elaborate: when you say you hate a film, that’s OK. You’re criticizing the scriptwriters, actors, director, producer – everyone and every thing that holds a movie together. (Note that feminists use the title oof the film when they criticise it). But when you say you hate a memoir, you’re saying something againsst the person – not the author (because its not fiction) but the person (because it’s a memoir). Saying a film script isn’t realistic doesn’t hurt anyone; films exist to make big bucks for the studio and they’re multi-person projects as well as completely fictitious. But saying a memoir isn’t realistic is different. (Note that the so-called feminists don’t use the book’s or TV series’ name here, they use the writer’s name). And these two cultural phenomena are totally different: one’s a multi-million dollar project started by studio execs, made by celebrities and created as fiction. The other is the un-funded true story of a year-and-a-bit in the life of a migrant student, as told in her own words.

Am I suggesting the feminists shouldn’t criticise the blog, books or TV series? YES. No. I mean, we dish it to them, too; and free speech for one and all, right? I’m just suggesting that they see Pretty Woman and Secret Diary of A London Call Girl as separate, very different entities, and think more carefully about which of the two to criticise in any argument, and what point they’re trying to make by bringing it up.

6) The other Belle de Jour book and film, which Brooke Magnanti named herself after. (“It’s not all Belle de Jour! I mean the first Belle de Jour!”)

bdj67

PRETTY WOMAN

What they allege – with no evidence – is that Pretty Woman is not an accurate portrayal of sex workers (or, in their lingo, ‘prostituted women’). And actually I agree – but for the opposite reasons. The character in Pretty Woman is a street sex worker. Street workers make up only about 10% of sex workers in the UK, so the film is not relevant to the UK sex industry (and it was made in the USA, not UK). I’d heard all about how the movie unrealistically glamourises sex work, so when I watched it on TV I got a shock. It seemed as if the film had been written and performed to stigmatise sex workers and the sex industry.

And far from glamourising prostitution, the film actually stigmatises and stereotypes sex workers. Vivian dresses in a revealing outfit, has never seen an elevator or been inside a nice hotel, is awed by the size of a small room, is emotional, is unable to even shop for a dress without the help of others, and charges $300 per hour yet is stupid enough to stay an entire week for $3,000 which really would only be the price for 10 hours. I mean, yeah, I get it that if you use more of a service or buy in bulk you get discounts – but that discount seems a bit much.

Vivian also feels upset that her client told his friend she is a sex worker, and decides to leave without taking the payment for the services she has sold. This is stereotyping sex workers as ashamed of their careers, as if all sex workers are slut-shamers and furthermore have internalised that slut-shaming and turned it on themselves.

Vivian is portrayed as uneducated; her friend appears to be struggling with money.

Vivian then falls in love with Edward (after only knowing him for a few days). She decides to leave the sex industry (suggesting sex workers are unhappy and want to leave.)

This quote from Wikipedia says it all:

His leaping from the white limousine, and then climbing the outside ladder and steps, is a visual urban metaphor for the knight on white horse rescuing the “princess” from the tower, a childhood fantasy Vivian told him about. The film ends as the two of them kiss on the fire escape.

The whore has redeemed herself by love and monogamy with the kind of alpha male that would return in two decades’ time in the form of Christian Grey.

Conclusion: Not happy hooker! Instead, its a radfem’s wet dream, and pure hollywood from start to finish.

 

BELLE DE JOUR

I’ve only read a bit of the first book, but it’s obvious that this is more than antis have read, so that’s why I feel qualified enough to comment on it. I will also be using stuff like logic and actual reference to the text instead of huge sweeping statements about Pornstitution or Moral Decay or the State of The Country Today And Why Feminism No Not Your Feminism But My Slut Bashing Feminism Is The One True Way.

There is nothing “glamourising” about the book. In fact, sex bloggers right here on WordPress glamourise sex far more than Belle ever did. Her books are not explicit; they cover many aspects of her life including relationships with family, friends and The Boy. The whole point of the award-winning blog was that the sex work narrative got entangled with everything else – and maybe that’s one reason why the blog/books were successful. A description of one sexual act after another with no exploration of relationships and emotions may not be destined for success except as erotica or porn. I was surprised at the lack of explicit detail in the book, that summer day in 2011 or 2010. I remember reading “..and a bit of (very light) torture” and being slightly irritated with the author (who I only knew as ‘Belle’, unaware her identity had been revealed a year earlier), like, ‘I want the juicy juicy details!!!’

Does Belle de Jour glamourise sex work as much as E.L. James glamourises monogamy or marriage? Brand-names and helicopters don’t feature in Belle’s work. Or, for that matter, does it glamourise sex work as much as James Bond glamourises spying (and murdering)?

When you consider other published memoirs such as Sarah K’s BDSM memoir or the sex blogging of Zoe Margolis, the “glamourising” charge becomes even more problematic.

I’m no literary critic, but I’d say that the theme of Belle de Jour is one person trying to live her life; it has been said that recurring themes are loneliness, self-sufficiency and independence, though personally I’m unconvinced about the loneliness. But this blog – the Diary category – probably ‘glamourises’ sex work even more. I write in a sexually explicit way, being careful not to omit a single detail. Recurring themes are thrills, experience and sexual fantasy. The joy experienced by selling sex is repeatedly stated. My blog is not only memoir, but also (arguably) sex blogging – something Belle de Jour (arguably) never was explicit enough to be.

So why is it okay for sex bloggers to glamourise sex? Because they’re glamourising unpaid sex?

Antis feel sorry for me, and annoy me but they don’t say I’m glamourising prostitution…which may prove that instead of being about feminism or morality, they discredit people based on good old fashioned envy of fame and (in this case, percieved) material wealth.

The TV series was about a sex worker quitting sex work but finding out that it’s not as easy as it seems (this was the series’ tagline) – again, stereotyping sex workers as not enjoying their job. How is this glamourising? It is clearly showing the sex industry in a negative light, and the sex worker as having little agency and control over her own life and being unable to exit the industry.

Another criticism abolitionists and radfems make of the Belle books is that they’re unrealistic. But “Belle” was a real person who had really worked as a sex worker – her testimony is as real as the stories of the few prostitution survivors who are used by abolitionists to speak for their cause.

Abolitionists also haven’t figured out the main difference between Vivian and Belle: one isn’t real, the other is a real person deserving of respect like all human beings. There’s a reason why, when Belle had full editorial control (her blog) sex work was not portrayed negatively (or at least not more so than many other jobs) but in the TV series and in Pretty Woman it was portrayed as an industry the sex worker wanted to leave.

Conclusion: Belle de Jour is realistic because it is a memoir and you don’t get any more realistic than that. It has equal legitimacy with, (and represents the experiences of sexworkers much more closely than) the stories of the women who call themselves survivors. It does not glamourise sex work; it only tells a true story and is less glamourising of sex work than sex bloggers are of sex.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Film, Literature, Sex work

 

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Ruhama Agency ran the Magdalene Laundries: Round 2 of abusing fallen women, or, how sex workers replaced Magdalenes

The government disappointed survivors and Justice For Magdalenes campaigners yesterday by not apologising for being complicit. Perhaps if more people realised that the Ruhama Agency which is currently advising the government on sex work is run by the same people who ran the Magdalene Laundries, they would be even more outraged. The Magdalene Laundries were started for sex workers, then later began preying on unmarried mothers as well, and on women who committed minor crimes like taking a night off work or not paying for a train ticket. Sex workers were abused and died in the laundries, and now those same people are advising the government on policy which directly affects sex workers. And sex workers weren’t allowed into the Dail hearing where Ruhama was giving evidence to the government.

The Ruhama Agency was started in 1989, and its trustees continued to run both Ruhama Agency and the laundries together, until the last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996. Ruhama have refused to meet with Magdalene Laundries survivors and say they can’t pay compensation. Allegedly, they’ve also silenced sex workers online by taking down sex worker rights ads and paying for Ruhama ads that intercept search engine terms used to find sex workers’ activism sites. They also allegedly censored tweets about Ruhama abusing girls from an abolitionist parody Twitter account, which was suspended three times until yesterday when the Magdalene Laundries report came out. On the day when Ruhama feared the parody account would tweet about the report (or that people would be more interested in the parody), the account was suspended for a fourth time. Ruhama also replied to tweets about abuse, saying they were “serious allegations” when we all know – and the Magdalene Laundries survivors know – that it was all too real.

The next sex work hearing will be secret and will not be streamed, according to Pat O’Neary, as reported by individuals who emailed and phoned him. This is wrong – all policy must be made in the open and sex workers must be included as they’re affected most of all.

The Ruhama Agency is still being listened to and valued by the government while survivors are ignored (the Magdalene Laundries investigation was only started because the UN Commiitee Against Torture required it) and sex workers are not allowed to influence policies which affect them the most out of everyone (or even witness the hearing).

Even now amid the Magdalene Laundries controversy, those responsible are still excercising their power over fallen women – just not confining themselves to a few thousand women in the laundries. This time, the whole of Ireland is their playground. There has been little change – this is just Round Two of their state-sponsored attack on fallen women. Only, now sex workers have replaced the mix of sex workers, unmarried mothers and minor criminals who made up the “magdalenes”, and instead of enslaving women in convents, they’re actually lawmakers now.

Ruhama are contributing to making laws about sex workers by advising government. And the law they’re pushing for is the Swedish model which will result in more rape, murder and trafficking in the sex industry and expose sex workers to unsafe working conditions, abuse by police and control by pimps.  And, funded and listened to by a state which excluded its victims from the hearing, they might just succeed.

Interested? Here’s more…

Ruhama won’t meet with survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and claim they can’t pay compensation – even though they’ve recieved over 14 million euros since 2006 from the Health Service Executive alone. http://www.paddydoyle.com/laundry-orders-run-sex-workers-aid-group/

Media reports that Ruhama is run by those who ran the laundries, and is funded by TWO government depts! http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0625/1224299584327.html

A sex worker’s rights blog on how Ruhama are harming sex workers: http://www.stop-the-lights.com/old/times.htm

Ruhama does very little work; last year Ruhama only helped 241 women (some of whom were ongoing cases) and none of which were trafficking victims. (They say a few are “suspected” trafficking victims, but list no figure for women who said they were trafficked). Do they really need all that funding from taxpayers? http://www.thejournal.ie/ruhama-reports-18-per-cent-increase-in-demand-for-support-services-567797-Aug2012/ And last year was already a large increase in the numbers!

Ruhama try to silence sex workers online by taking down sex worker rights ads: http://www.turnoffthebluelight.ie/2011/06/08/ruhama-paying-to-stop-people-seeing-what-sex-workers-have-to-say/

Follow #sexworkhearing, #sexwork and #JusticeForMagdalenesNow on Twitter for live tweets of the hearing and more on Ruhama, the laundries and sex work politics.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Anti prostitution rhetoric is an agenda for mass irresponsibility (especially you, Stella Marr)

This post is not going to deal primarily with the harm that is being caused by criminalization (arrests of sexworkers, which occur even with the Swedish ‘end demand model’, state sexual assault framed as ‘evidence gathering’, civil liberties and police surveillance. I’ve written about this before. Instead, I’m going to focus on the irresponsibility of abolitionist logic and what they’re doing.

Stella Marr

Firstly, abolitionists do not accept responsibility for their own mistakes. Stella Marr is a wonderful example. She chose to enter the sex industry, but instead of admitting it was her own choice, she blames men/the patriarchy/the sex industry. Stella was a high-class escort in Manhattan, who eventually went to cohabit with one of her clients, a British professor, for two years. He gave her “a beautiful condominium across from the Lincoln center” which she sold and then went off to university where she met her life partner, the ‘beloved’ she’d been waiting for. (All this information is from Stella’s own blog).

So, she was actually much more fortunate than the other students. They were living on a tight budget, still relatively inexperienced with the opposite sex, vulnerable to being hurt by breakups and knowing that they have a lot of uni debts to pay back. But Stella had lots of money and was much less vulnerable to being coerced by boys or being hurt by breakups or regretting casual sex. She didn’t have to figure out relationships or worry about debts or what would happen if she didn’t get her degree; she had money so didn’t need a degree. She was living a dream student life – well, actually the life she was living wasn’t a student’s life at all, it was the life a well-off person.

But Stella calls herself a “prostituted” woman as if she was trafficked, instead of choosing to go into sexwork. I feel genuinely bad for her that she regrets her choice of career. But we all make mistakes and we all have to own up to them. We can’t all blame men for that. It also seems ungrateful to her client to imply that he was bad for her. Women get beaten or raped by boyfriends and husbands, yet he was just her punter and he treated her better than many men treat their partners and lived with her like they were married. But no, Stella still thinks all this is legitimately something to whinge about. She should try being a battered wife, or a woman who is used by a man for sex and then dumped. Or me – Roland hasn’t given me a house. Huh.

Also, the fact that she tried to out a fellow sexworker, (@pastachips on Twitter who blogs over at glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com) on SCASE’s (an anti-sexwork group) very public Facebook page, is not very impressive. It is not very nice when the threat to your anonymity comes from a feminist, an ex-whore, who (in theory) should be one of your own. Not a journalist or a conservative, but someone who knows what it’s like to be you. I didn’t think about anonymity back then;  it was just more freeing writing such personal stuff under a pseudonym, and I’d actually thought about writing under my real identity. But I assumed people would respect your wish to remain anonymous unless you were trolling.

Stella Marr has 3 degrees; why can’t she think? She is now a well known abolitionist figure in some circles, and a public speaker; she gets fame and money to say this stuff. It’s incredible. And it looks like sexwork at least now has brought her a degree of fame, so it wasn’t all bad for her. At least she wasn’t outed like other sexworkers and sex bloggers;, or fired for previously being a call girl like American teacher Melissa Petro. She is accepted by society despite being an ex-sexworker because he is repentant; she bolsters the patriarchal ideas of women’s innate modesty by regretting sexwork and by claiming that no woman willingly sells sex. This soothes the fears of many a conservative.

Abolitionist rhetoric

The feminist orgs’ position that sexwork is violence against women is also promoting the refusal to accept responsibility for your own choices, but instead blame it on society and on men for demanding it. Yes, clients are part of the equation, but neither can the provider’s agency be denied. They are silencing sexworkers’ stories, confusing sex with rape and sexwork with trafficking, to the annoyance of real anti human trafficking organisations. They confuse the issue of human trafficking. This is also insulting to human trafficking and rape survivors, who did not consent and whose experiences were traumatic and violent, not just another day at work. They also bolster patriarchal norms of modest women, which promotes rigid gender norms and the sexual double standard.

Rhoda Grant MSP

If ignoring the existence of male sexworkers and female clients isn’t irresponsible, I don’t know what it. She’s a politician. She is prepared to drastically change the law while knowing nothing about the issue. She also presented misleading information in her consultation. Oh, and she’s pushing for a law that is very harmful to sexworkers.

In general

All of this is just holding back feminism. Men won’t take women seriously if we are seen not to admit our own mistakes. Teaching female children and young girls to be irresponsible and give others the blame for their mistakes is not a good example. Confusing sex and rape just plays into the hands of rape apologists and rape culture more generally.

Tackling human trafficking is very important, but by giving a separate designation to ‘sex trafficking’ instead of just leaving it in with human or labour trafficking, they are getting in the way of real human trafficking organisations. By vastly inflating sex trafficking figures, the abolitionist groups get funding which is not needed and which should be going to human trafficking groups who are struggling to raise awareness of labour trafficking which doesn’t involve the sex industry.

The rhetoric also begs the question whether sugar daddy relationships and sites like seekarrangement.com which pair up students with rich older men who give them a monthly allowance in exchange for a sexual relationship will be criminalized. This is clearly sexwork, but the radical feminists seem to define sexwork differently (though Grant’s consultation doesn’t define ‘sex’ or ‘money’, to stop people getting around it.) It also begs the question of whether pro dome, fetish and adult baby service providers are sexworkers and therefore whether their lients should be criminalised. (Grant’s consultation would probably catch all of these as well as anyone haing sex after dinner and a movie). Threatening so many of us with arrest, jail and a criminal record is clearly irresponsible.

British abolitionist groups are funded by right-wing American Christians, giving Americans too much influence over British politics and laws, now culminating in Rhoda Grant’s consultation.

All this leads to increased policing and moralizing attitudes which push sexworkers, especislly street workers, out into dark, secluded areas where they might experience violence. Some died because policing forced them away from well lit areas. In other countries where criminalization holds sway, rape by clients and abuse by police as well as trafficking has increased. It’s very ironic and sad that people are being murdered and raped because of criminalization which is supposed to ‘help’ them – a ‘help’ they never asked for and are doing their best to fight.

Rhoda – misleading information in Consultation: http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/close-reading-rhoda/

Feminists’ tactics to silence sexworkers, by Nine on the Feminist Ire blog. (She’s @supernowescna on Twitter):  http://feministire.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/just-dont-call-it-slut-shaming-a-feminist-guide-to-silencing-sex-workers/

Letter from an Irish sexworker about feminist organizations oppressing sexworkers and lack of representation of sexworkes at a hearing about criminalization: http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/letter-from-an-irish-sex-worker/

A woman died when increased policing forced her to do street sexwork away from the city: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/9750059/Current-laws-do-not-prevent-violence-against-sex-workers.html

These links are sources for what I’ve said in this post, but I’ve left out all the sources about criminalization etc because they are in my other posts here:

Why I think sex trafficking should be  lumped in with labour trafficking, and more sources: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/sex-trafficking-is-labour-trafficking-and-thats-what-we-should-call-it/

My response to Rhoda Grant’s consultation: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/response-to-the-rhoda-grant-consultation-on-criminalising-sexwork/

UPDATE: Stella Marr links (wasn’t going to post these, but understandably you might appreciate some evidence that I’m not just making stuff up):

The Stella Marr v Glasgow Sex Worker fiasco:

They disagreed and had a simple and civil debate —-> http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/dear-stella/ possibly to do with/escalated by this stuff:  http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/further-scase-study/

Then Stella doxed GSW and attempted to out GSW on SCASE’S Facebook page —> http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/so-that-was-weird/

Stella Marr’s blog: http://secretlifeofamanhattancallgirl.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Feminism, Sex work

 

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Why reporting on an Olympian’s sexwork is unethical and bad for society

 

The media should never have published the story about US Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton working as a high-end escort. Reporting on it sends the message that sexwork is somehow “different” from all other work; if Suzy had been working as a teacher, cleaner or data entry clerk, it would not have been worth reporting on. More disturbingly, the message of sexwork being ‘different’ is more often than not a negative one, with connotations of misogyny and associated judgements of being ‘dirty’, ‘slutty’ or (traditionally) ‘immoral’.

And this holier-than-thou thing has got to stop. Even if sexwork is in some way different, and Suzy is ‘dirty’ or ‘immoral’, what are we to say about the morality of the client who outed her for money, or the news corporation who also outed her and exploited her for money? The client who goes to a ‘dirty’ person and contributes to the ‘dirty’ business of sexwork is himself dirty; yet he is not criticised because he’s not a public figure. This whole thing is just disgusting; a tale of money-grabbing at any cost and not caring who is hurt in the process, while pretending to be somehow better than an Olympian who owns a business and works as a sexworker. Like, yeah, I can see how we’re all totally better and more successful and hardworking than Suzy.

At least this article may change people’s perceptions of escorts and show how ridiculous criminalizing sexwork (it is criminalised in America) is. The original and subsequent article state that Suzy is a separated mother who owns a business, thereby debunking the stereotype of drug-addicted sexworkers and showing people that sexworkers can have other jobs too. The Madonna-whore dichotomy is debunked here, too: Suzy is wife, mother and whore. Also, her statement that she contacted the agency to “fulfil a fantasy” and got “hooked” proves that sexworkers are not unhappy  ‘sex slaves’ as abolitionists would have us believe; neither was Suzy forced into sexwork. The subsequent article states that Suzy may, against her will, be forced to tell the FBI details about the agency who made her work possible – proving how criminalization can have upsetting consequences for sexworkers and ruin agencies’ businesses.

And hopefully Suzy will be able to put her prices up now.  Here’s to you, Suzy, and may we all have the courage to fulfil our fantasies as you have done.

 

 

 

 

http://www.inquisitr.com/447951/former-olympian-has-been-working-as-a-600-an-hour-escort/?obref=obinsite

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2012 in Sex work

 

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Reply to a biased Daily Record article on sexwork

This is the article; it won’t let me comment: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/more-mums-selling-sex-in-desperate-1451462#.ULAYQtYr6aw.twitter

I have studied prostitution (actually, it’s called sex work) and am selling virginity, and honestly this is the dumbest, most ill-informed, unreasonable article on the sex industry that I have ever read in a mainstream newspaper. Firstly, you and the Glasgow Support Network assume that these mothers are streetwalking. Streetwalkers make up only less than 10% of sexworkers; most work independently from home doing incalls, outcalls or both, in massage parlours or with escort agencies. And that’s not even including dominatrixes who may work from “dungeons” etc.

Secondly, you assume that these mothers are vulnerable and need you, you brave, honorable saviours of the poor disgusting little prossies, to help them. However though many streetwalkers are drug users or have a history of abuse, this doesn’t go for sexworkers who do not streetwalk. And even streetwalkers still have agency and just because someone was abused, it doesn’t make their career choice nonconsensual.

Thirdly, 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. Criminalising clients has turned out very badly in Sweden, leading to trafficking to Russia as well as increased whorephobia and stigmatisation of sex workers; a university student was thrown out of her uni when a lecturer discovered she was doing sexwork on the side. Also, if these mothers can’t earn money doing sexwork, WHAT ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES? WHAT ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN?? Also, would “prostitution” be okay with you guys if someone was filming (ie pornography)?

And support for Rhoda Grant? How could you? Don’t you journalists know the lies and long-disproved studies she used in her consultation? She wants to criminalise sexwork, don’t you understand what that means? It means that sexworkets would be arrested, that the police would be breaking down doors and pointing guns at you to catch you in the act like in America, Land of the Free. It means that if a sexworker is raped by a client, he or she won’t report it or they’d be jailed for prostitution! And the clients would know this, so they could rape and beat up sexworkers with impunity. And when sexwork is criminalised, it becomes controlled by pimps and a criminal underworld, not the cottage industry it is now. Oh, and nice photo of a scantily-clad streetwalker you’ve chosen for your biased article…otherwise how else would people think all sexworkers are streetwalkers?

Please think about the consequences of your so-called “reporting” and blatant support for Rhoda Grant’s misguided and ignorant attention-seeking. Rape, violence and crime are very serious issues with very serious consequences. I hope that in the future you will understand the need for sensitivity, honesty and responsibility in reporting, for the sake of our society and both male and female sexworkers and their families.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Sex work

 

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BEST post ever on anti-sex work radfems’ tactics in silencing sex workers.

Feminist Ire

The feminist movement really is in a pickle these days. It used to be a given that things like prostitution, pornography and stripping were bad, but nowadays there’s some resistance to these time-honoured notions. Women are increasingly coming out as sex workers and demanding rights. As feminists seek to shut down strip bars and criminalise clients, those women are complaining not just that they’ll lose their livelihood, but that they’ll be at increased risk of abuse and violence if their industries go underground! You can’t let such trivial concerns get in the way of your crusade, so below are some handy tips for discrediting these pesky meddlers. Remember: being an actual sex worker doesn’t entitle her to speak about sex work!

I don’t believe you; you don’t realise the harm you’re doing to yourself

This is generally your starting point. There you are, explaining that no woman…

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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Feminism, Sex work

 

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In Roland’s house

Roland annoys me so much by constantly insinuating I’ll believe I’m in love with him. I still like him though. Sometimes when he’s less ugly, he’s halfway to being cute. And he’s so funny. I admire his independent thought, and how he doesn’t blindly go along with whatever the media or government or society bleat in his ear. He is very interesting.

He’s strong, which is another irritating thing about him; I’ve always taken my strength for granted. I was always in the top three strongest, tallest and smartest kids in the class all through school until about fifth year when the boys suddenly grew taller and got muscles. (And sometimes I actually was the strongest in the class). But Roland can move me really easily, even though I’m heavy for my height/figure. I can still arm-wrestle boys and win, though, so maybe he couldn’t beat me at that. Anyway it’s really irritating that I can’t force him onto the floor and pin him there.

In the studio, we were trying to get the handcuffs on each other; he was lying on the floor and I was sitting on him. I was using my legs and feet to push his arms down but after a few minutes of us wrestling on the floor, he finally got one of my wrists in a cuff. I quickly got it off, but I couldn’t cuff him and after a bit he cuffed my hand again, and later put the other cuff on me.  He was pleased, I could tell. Grinning like a perverted millionaire who’d just handcuffed a naked prostitute.Then he pushed me off him and I rolled onto the floor, my hands cuffed in front of me. I tried to chet and jump back on him but even that attempt ended in failure.

Afterwards we were talking about stuff and I asked him why he’d said he was 42 in reply to my Gumtree ad, when he was 4 years older, and why he’d said “I am 42 and professional but I have an interest in spanking” as if you couldn’t be professional and a spanko. He couldn’t even remember what he’d said or why he’d lied.

I found out that he’d guessed I came to the photoshoot to trial him! He guessed that after I said “ask me why I came here” as he was interrogating and spanking me after the photoshoot. How could he guess?! I could’ve just come for the spanking!! He said that, after he’d spanked me and he was saying that would I want to be spanked for money in his office or a hotel, he could tell that I wanted to but I just wanted the right price. He could tell that, he said, because “I thought you would be shocked. I thought you would say no. You said ‘maybe’, so I thought, ‘she wants to but she wants the right price.’ Your body language didn’t say no. You didn’t even seem surprised. I knew you were smart. So I thought ‘this is a smart girl, she wants a good price’.”

I was totally surprised. “How did you know I was smart? Because I had a degree?”

“Well- yeah.” He giggled. “And I knew from talking to you that you were well-read, so I thought, a well-read educated girl, she wants a good price.”

I couldn’t believe this. Usually others can’t see through my machinations.

“So, you knew I was going to ask you if you wanted to buy virginity!” I said.

“Well, no; not virginity, but I expected to hear from you later naming your price.”

Anyway, we left the studio and he told me what would’ve happened if I’d said my student debts were 12k on the drive – i.e. the same result or actually worse (it’s in the post called ‘studio bondage’).  Wegot to Roland’s house and what it is is a four-bedroom house with a big living room and kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a garage. It’s cosy, nicely decorated with a hint of the exotic – none of that modern or minimalist crap – so I liked it there. It’s not got much furniture in it. There wasn’t a swimming pool like I thought there would be and the TV was just a 42 inch, which was disappointing because ours is a 37 inch so although his is bigger, it’s not a lot bigger than ours. I had thought it would be a 50 incher or maybe cover an entire wall. I had thought he lived in a mansion. I had the printout of one of his bank statements showing over 1.6 million in my bag so I knew he was telling the truth that he was a millionaire. Roland had said, in response to me asking if his house was really big on the drive there, that it was big but not too big and just enough space that was needed, but I still had thouht it might be huge because everyone knows that rich people do not have the same definitions as everybody else. However, Ro is self-made/new money so obviously he’d be a lot more normal because he was once normal.

We were in the kitchen and I said I’d imagined his wife’s name to be Magda, for some weird reason (I thought he’d got a parcel but it was for his wife) and he said “Like Mary Magdalene” a reference I didn’t get till a minute later (his wife had been a gogo dancer and sex worker when he met her as a student).

There were kiddies’ pics all over, drawn by “Magda”‘s child’s kids (she was a lone mother when he met her) and I said “It’s a shame you don’t have a son my age; or I could do you a family deal.”

He burst out laughing. “A family deal?!”

“Yeah, then you could get a discount.”

He thought it was really funny.

He fixed me coffee – it was really good- and showed me this email on his laptop that he hadn’t seen for 12 years but he had accidentally seen just before he picked me up in Buccleuch Place – a huge coincidence, he said.He’d told me about it on the drive over; it was his interpretation of the dichotomy (in its art/literature context); an interpretation that did away with the duality of virgin and whore and introduced a third aspect.   Roland said in the email that the dichotomy is something he thought about, and divides it up into three strands, (virgin, whore and another one I can’t remember but I think it was the curious/adventurous dignified woman) not two (virgin and whore). In the email, he claimed this is his personal interpretation.I wish I could remember all of it and copy it here, but with reference to the dichotomy, I think one of the most powerful lines is a throwaway one – “I’ve been married to a dancer for […] years, amd therein lies a story” – according to the dichotomy, non-virgins (in present times, adventurous women, women who don’t want relationships/just need sex, and sex workers) are not marriage material and no man would want to marry them.  This was interesting to read but I was far more interested in the upcoming (Borat accent) SEXYTIIIIMMMEEE!!

Roland did some work stuff with the speakers on full blast with some of my favourite songs. They were the best computer speakers I ever heard; it was a very real – and loud- sound. It was a nice kitchen, too. He said he’d take me to the hotel later on and I relaxed, because I guessed I wouldn’t have to give him a blowjob until hours later in a different place, so I’d worry about it then.

Then he took me into the livingroom to spank me.

 

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How to not feel sick when prostituting yourself: 15 tips

Someone suggested I write this post. Note: I only had to use these techniques the first time. After that I enjoyed it a lot more and was right there in the moment. So, this knowledge comes from just 45 mins/an hour of experience of doing stuff I didn’t want to do in my buyer’s company office. (When he spanked me, I totally loved it, of course.)

1. The obvious one – imagine it’s someone else. I imagined a friend’s friend, a guy in my class, then a friend.

2. Pretend it isn’t happening. Try not to look and instead focus your attention on something you enjoy, such as a kinky scene or BDSM story (or whatever makes you happy).

3. Talk – make sexy conversation or tell a story to distract yourself. This can totally work – I told Roland a sex story that I was making up as I went along, and he liked it and thought it was really good, plus it also took my mind off what I was doing/calmed me down. It can totally work if you hold your buyer’s gaze and speak in a sexy way while telling the story as if it were true, widening your eyes and doing expressions where appropriate. Tell it as if it amazes you and also saddens you.

4. Keep thinking of the money and reciting the amount in your head. Say, “I’m doing this for £x” in your mind over and over. (This also works for doing a crappy low-paid job; I got through part-time work by saying this mantra over and over in my head.)

5. Try to enjoy it and learn something from it like how to please a man or take the chance to really hone your knowledge of comparative anatomy.

6. Try to distract him by pretending you hear a noise. Note: this doesn’t work if he owns the flipping place.

7. Close your eyes and focus on the sensations – this will please you sexually as you’re biologically programmed to like this. It will also help with imagining your buyer looks more gorgeous/less old or with imagining a surrogate person.

8. Have a drink first.

9. If you have a kink, get him to perform it first so you get turned on and are at least partially ready to perform. I got Roland to smack my bottom which turned me on (it’s like a big, squashy sex drive button!). The female sex drive is an on/off switch and is easily aroused.

10. Pretend you’re somewhere else.

11. Pretend it’s not real, or a dream/fantasy/illusion

12.  Detach yourself completely from what’s happening and let your body take over. Your body, or the minimal amount of your conciousness left in your body, will know what to do through instinct. You might actually perform better without nervousness, embarassment or being self-conscious. As you get acclimatised, you can gradually allow yourself back into your body. (This sounds very hard, but it’s not like astral projection, it is all psychological. I learned this in like 1 second and I don’t have a psychology degree, so it’s not difficult. I suspect it’s some sort of primal defence mechanism.)

13. Focus on how you look to him – the position of your body, your facial expressions. This will help you provide a better service and also take your mind off what you’re doing.

14. Put yourself in a state where you don’t feel anything (emotionally numb). I’m not sure if this ability is unique to me, though – maybe not everyone can do it. I wouldn’t know.

15. And, most important of all: Relax. It might be boring, uncomfortable or just plain nauseating at first, but at some point your sex drive will take over and make it a LOT of fun. And even if your sex drive doesn’t kick in, remember that no matter how horrible it was, once it’s over you’ll be really pleased and proud of yourself and it will become a fond and amusing memory.

 

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Selling virginity: 25 tips

Thinking/fantasising/wondering about selling your virginity? This is the world’s only online guide to selling your virginity. I’m in the process of selling mine. I hope this helps.

First off, I have to say that these won’t be comprehensive tips. This is because the number of known sellers is so low and only Alina Percea ever described her experience; it was a brief description in an interview, so not much can be inferred from it except that she enjoyed it. Her case is also unusual because afterwards they arranged to see each other again without payment; so your experience might not be as fun as hers. Secondly, all the sellers were young students in western/industrialized countries, most did it to fund their education. Their age range was 18-22. This means that the sample is very biased – for tips, we can only look at young, educated western women who didn’t have much money. Although I’m doing it for fantasy fulfillment, I had just turned 22 and was a student in the UK when I made the deal with him, which means I’m in the same category as everyone else who sold their virginity. Thirdly, my buyer Roland and I haven’t yet had vaginal sex, so perhaps it’s too soon for me to offer any meaningful insights of my own; furthermore my experience is unusual because it is dragged out over 4 times – I meet him 4 times and on the 4th time we have sex, then 4 times after that for £8,000. These tips aren’t just for women; it’s perfectly fine for men to sell their virginity too. Or transitioning people or androgynous people.

1. Try to do it by auction, instead of selling it to just anyone. This way, you’ll get more money – yay!  😀 (This is the most common method. It may attract media attention, but not a lot of attention, and the media did not ‘out’ the real identities of the other sellers.) See the list of all known people who sold their virginity here: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/list-of-all-known-people-who-have-sold-virginity/

2. However, if you’re worried about safety or your emotional health or prefer it to be someone you like/not a stranger, sell it to someone you know. This is not good business sense, but if you can get a decent amount out of him and want the money fast, then it might actually be better to do it this way than wait a few weeks for the price to go up to what you want in an auction. This is also an easier and faster way if you can’t be bothered to deal with an auction, or the amount isn’t important to you and you’re not out for the highest amount possible.

3. If you’re doing #2, try to give them a trial-run to see how they measure up in terms of safety etc. Do this by getting them to pay you for a sexual act or sexual voyerism/photography that falls short of sex, and see what they’re like. (I did this).

4. Try to keep it to one night, or failing that, one weekend/a few days. Don’t spread it out over weeks by spreading the days far apart (i.e. don’t do what I’m doing.) It increases the risk of him becoming attached to you and vice versa. I really didn’t want to do it this way, but it’s what my buyer wanted, and to be fair, he did state this before we met to finalise the deal.

5. Go to Google Images and search photos of old fat guys doing porn. This will prepare you.

6. Be prepared that anyone with money to throw at your vagina (or penis) is going to be over forty and therefore look like shit. There are tall, skinny, muscled forty year olds and even fifty year olds, but they’re rare and if you’re out for the highest bidder you can’t expect to strike gold.

7. As a contradiction to #4, if you really want to make sure you get paid, try splitting it into two nights and ask him/her to give you a deposit – or half, or whatever – on the first night. Alternatively, keep it to one night and ask that he pays you a little bit just before you have sex.

8. If you’re under 16/the age of consent in your country, make sure your buyer knows this so s/he won’t get in trouble with the police for something he/she doesn’t know about.

Remember that although in some countries the age of consent is 14, that only applies if the older person is only 2 or 3 years older than you. If they are middle-aged, that’s still a crime – (which actually begs the question of whether it can be called the ‘age of consent’ at all); this is actually the same as UK law where even if one partner is over 16, they won’t be arrested if they’re only a couple of years older.

(This tip probably isn’t applicable if the age of consent is 12 in your country and it is a ‘real’ age of consent and doesn’t only apply if the person is only a couple of years older. However, if you are under 12, it probably isn’t a good idea to do this. I did fantasise about this from the age of 12, but I’m glad I waited till I was older to carry out my fantasy.)

9. Try, if possible, to find someone with similar kinks to yours – it’ll be more fun and make you more relaxed. You could do this by saying that you’re kinky in your auction description or listing your kinks. Selling to someone you know/choosing someone for their kinks might be something you want to consider if the amount isn’t important.

10. Start your auction on Ebay to attract the most attention/bids. Ebay will close your listing eventually, but you can continue on your own site/blog or by email.

11. The obvious one – use a condom/make them get tested. If you don’t have a national health service, you might have to get the morning after pill quite in advance if you are a woman. If you live in certain states in America, your parents may be notified if you get contraception and are under 18; you will need to find ways to work around this or get contraception from a drugstore or a doctor out of state. Or figure out something to tell Mommy and Daddy.

Taking your friends’ pills (the kind that isn’t the morning-after one) may put your health at risk or not protect you properly as there are several different kinds of pill, some of which may be unsuitable for you or only regulate periods and not protect you (there’s a very low chance of this, but I thought I’d better mention it.) So, if you’re going to get pills from friends, get the morning-after pill and not the other one. However really it would be best to be prescribed it by a doctor; you could try going to a doctor who isn’t your family doctor and/or giving fake contact details for your parents.

If you only had abstinence education at school, try reading up on protection online, in your school/college/uni library, etc.

12. Don’t think it’ll be easy. One night stands and NSA (no strings attached) sex sound ‘casual’ and ‘impersonal’ and yes, they most certainly are. BUT you’d still be having sex with some random you WANT, (at that moment) to have sex with (or are too drunk to care). Selling your body means having sex with someone you don’t want.

13. Don’t be put off by your friends’ or “friend”s’ negativity. It’s YOUR body. Don’t listen to people who put you down or call you nasty names. Especially, look out for “friends” who are just jealous of the money you’ll get. Hopefully, the only negativity you’ll get will be from genuinely concerned friends who are there to protect you; that’s a good thing. They will be there for you if anything goes wrong and it will be good to have trusted friends to confide in.

14. If you like writing, start a diary or a blog. It will be a happy memory for you when you’re older and you can relive your experience as you read it. It may also help you emotionally to have a place to vent about doubts, insecurities, negative reactions or irritating/unattractive traits in your buyer.

15. Think about SeekArrangements.com as a place to sell your virginity. It’s a site that pairs up students/graduates with rich men who will give you a monthly allowance of thousands for dating them. Obviously, you’ll have to see the guy more than once, but none of them are available for commitment so it might not be so different from what I’m doing (8 times, maybe more if we want to continue) – unless you advertise your virginity on the site and say you only want a night. It’s possible the site might delete your account if you do this – but that might be enough time to find your buyer!

16. Try to avoid selling or auctioning through an escort agency. Although it appears that girls who sold this way recieved $12,000 to £45,000, don’t be fooled! The media goes for shock value and the price they print is the price the buyer gives to the agency, NOT the amount the seller recieves. Agencies will take up to 50% of your earnings and you will also be taxed; prostitution is usually heavily taxed, and you may have to pay VAT on top of that. Some agencies may even charge you for running the auction for you and other incurred expenses. You could end up worse off if you change your mind during the auction or when you’re with your buyer. You could also end up worse off if the auction doesn’t attract high enough bids.

Furthermore, you will have to negotiate with the agency, so if you’re thinking of taking this route because you don’t want to do an auction yourself, yet don’t want to negotiate with potential buyers, DON’T.

If you sell through an agency, you might not be able to choose who you have sex with; you may have to choose the highest bidder or risk the auction being closed and owing the agency money. You might also not be able to request photos or exchange emails with bidders or with the highest bidder; all communication might have to go through the agency’s site.

Keep in mind that your anonymity or desire for a quick sale (if you need the money fast or find the waiting to be nerve-wracking) are going to take a back seat to the agency’s interviews with the newspapers about advertising a virgin (they are just using your sale to boost client numbers and encourage more escorts to work with them), and the agency’s push for the highest amount possible. This means that the agency may keep the auction going for weeks just for great PR which in turn will attract more/higher bids. So, if waiting around makes you nervous or you want the money within a couple of weeks, an agency is not the best route. “Noelle”‘s auction ran for over two months.

17. If you do decide to sell it through an agency, it will be easy because they will do all the work for you. However, discuss tax, their comission and all the above concerns with them (if they are things that concern you) and VERY CAREFULLY read any contracts they get you to sign. Discuss any “other expenses” “administration expenses” or hidden costs with them; you want to make sure you’re getting the amount you want once they (and possibly tax and VAT) take most of it.

Consider asking a lawyer who specialises in contract law to come along with you and be there when you go to the agency or sign the contract. The lawyer can read the contract for you and/or negotiate with the agency for you. Some lawyers charge just £30 per hour and it’s not like you’ll be using over an hour or two of the lawyer’s time.  If you’re under 18 you may be entitled to Legal Aid so it’ll be free. This option may sound ‘scary’, but paying a lawyer is very, very little compared to what the agency itself will charge you. (If you don’t want to pay a lawyer because you’re worried you won’t get high enough bids to make it worthwhile, you shouldn’t go to an agency in the first place.)

This link will help you avoid the negative consequences of working with an agency: http://redlightchicago.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/avoiding-bad-management-across-the-adult-entertainment-industry/

18. Consider making extra cash by selling your story to the media. To preserve anonymity (if you wish to be anonymous) conduct all interviews via email, instant messaging or a public phone booth. You could get a hushmail.com email address or use Tor or Ghostery to browse the internet to stop journalists hacking your computer. Another good option is to use a computer that isn’t yours, such as your university or school library, an internet cafe or a friend’s laptop.

Tell them to pay you directly into your bank account, or (if anonymity isn’t too important) have them send a cheque to your university’s reception or, if you’re not too worried about being outed, a friend’s address.

Being interviewed face-to-face doesn’t mean they will know your identity, and even if they did know your identity they may not out you. No sellers have been outed so far, although one seller’s identity was known to a tabloid because a reporter posed as a bidder and met her; but the tabloid decided not to reveal her identity. However, some people may not want to risk it. If anonymity is of paramount importance (like if your parents are right-wing ultraconservatives or would honour-kill you) don’t sell your story at all.

19. Forget the myths that you have to be stunningly beautiful or toast-rack skinny to do something like this. Rich guys prefer educational status to beauty, and while Natalie Dylan is very pretty in the professional photos for the brothel auction, she is just okay-looking in normal photos and videos, as is Rosie Reid, and neither of them are supermodel-thin. I’m not trying to insult them, just point out that it’s not a beauty contest. I’m not a tall size 8 with a 22 inch waist and GG breasts, either. (Actually, nobody is – there’s a waist-to-hip ratio for all human beings). I have hyperpigmentation/scars on my calves, frizzy/bushy hair and short eyelashes. Although I like the way I look, I’m well aware that I’m a far cry from the blonde salon-spirals, anorexic stomach and torpedo chest that the corporations tell us we should have; interestingly, while the Hungarian girl who got 200k is a blonde, she doesn’t have really long wavy hair or a Barbie body either. Edit: I’m soooo stupid – people, I forgot to tell you that I actually have trichotillomania, too! Yep. I like plucking from my legs, pubic area, sometimes my arms too. Occassionally I’ll pull from my head. It leaves little dark dots (scars) which fade, and it’s possible that the hyperpigmentation is from constant plucking and not past eczema…anyway, it proves you don’t need flawless skin. I was self-conscious of the blemishes/dark marks which I have a little on my upper back and my sides too (apparently my skin type pigments very easily just from scratching/rubbing, because of my ethnicity and there is no cure according to the doctor who I asked about it). Anyway Roland claims not to notice and have to have them pointed out to him, and he said they were barely noticeable. So, you are not as unattractive as the commercials make you feel.

You also don’t need to be single; Rosie wasn’t.

There’s no such thing as being too old/fat/disabled/tall/short/whatever to sell yourself – think “ampu-porn” “granny porn” “BBW [big beautiful women] porn” and “shemale porn” –  there’s no industry as diverse as the sex industry, and someone somewhere wants your body! You might even get paid more if your body type is difficult to find (certain disabilities or if you’re still in the process of transitioning to your true gender).

20.  While you should think carefully about doing this, remember that you can back out any time you want; nobody can legally be forced to have sex, even if you sign a contract with your buyer or an escort agency. If you do start an auction or even close a deal, it’s not set in stone. Don’t feel too intimidated to even start because you’re worried about how you’ll feel later on – there doesn’t even have to be a later on unless you say so.

21. If you’re unsure about it, try starting an auction as a joke – a la Rosie – or an experiment, and see where it takes you.

22. If you’re still not sure, write down a list of everything you could buy with the money, or everyone you think you would lose your virginity to if you didn’t sell it, e.g. ‘My friend Danny, some random, the guy I’m dating, my future boyfriend…’ You might also want to try writing a list of the pros and cons, or a list of your fears/why you wouldn’t want to do it.

23. As a gay man or lesbian woman, you may feel that you’ve already lost your virginity, which is perfectly valid – it’s wrong that ‘virginity’ refers to penis-vagina penetration. It’s quite a silly distinction, actually. But in this case, it could help you get lots of dosh, so play along! Rosie Reid did, and she got £8,400 so there’s everything to play for. Selling your ‘virginity’ to a heterosexual doesn’t mean you’re accepting that gay sex isn’t ‘real’ sex or that you haven’t ever ‘really’ lost your virginity. It just means you’re great at marketing!

24.  Other sites to advertise on are: sugardaddie.com, adultwork.com, Craigslist, Benaughty.com, and of course Gumtree.co.uk, ineed.com (New Zealand), Ebay, etc. Try Googling prostitution sites, or, (if you’re looking to sell it to a gay or lesbian buyer, sites that specialise in same-sex prostitution and same-sex dating); and appropriate dating sites. Appropriate ones – eHarmony is out.

25. Enjoy yourself! This is your personal experience, unique to you. Enjoy every step from the auction launch/offer to someone you know/visit to the escort agency to the moment after you’ve been paid. This shouldn’t be a stressful, nerve-wracking or harrowing experience. If it is, stop.

And isn’t it more sensible to get money for your virginity instead of giving it to a future ex, a random at a party, or even a friend who may not be your friend in a few years? Selling your virginity means you’re giving it to yourself, and most importantly, you get MONEY!! 😀

 

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List of all known people who have sold virginity

I have decided to compile the World Wide Web’s only list of everyone known to have sold their virginity, along with the amount and outcome. (Does not include people who planned to sell their virginity but have no evidence of a serious attempt to carry on with the sale, or people who traded it for shoes, Justin Bieber tickets, marriage, Apple products, commitment, Blackberrys, or small amounts of money. These all happened – Google it.) As brothels and agencies take large percentages of the amount, it is not known how much some of the sellers recieved, especially if they were taxed.

A 16 year old Irish Girl posted ad/auction on Gumtree.co.uk to fund Art supplies for university -attempted for £6,000 Result not known http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland–teen-selling—virginity-to-highest-bidder-14650532.html

A New Zealand 19 year old student, through action site ineed.com, equivalent to £20,000  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/newzealand/7146187/Poor-New-Zealand-student-sells-virginity-to-stranger-for-20000.html

Noelle, a Belgian 21 year old student through an Amsterdam escort site – £45,000 for 24 hours. Bidding started at £4,200 and after two months of bidding it rose to £45,000. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1383814/Student-sells-virginity-online-45-000-shes-keeping-identity-secret-case-parents-out.html

Australian, Chinese-born schoolgirl through escort agency – $12,000 (whatever that’s equivalent to in GBP) for 2 days or $15,000 for 4 days, depending which story you read. The agency will take up to 50% http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8462671/sydney-escort-agency-selling-schoolgirls-virginity-for-12k

Natalie Dylan (not her real name) , 22 year old American student, through a Nevada legal brothel to fund a postgrad degree, goal of a million USD, sold for 3.7 million (amount never verified, actual transaction never verified). She got the idea from her sister paying for tuition after prostituting herself for 3 weeks.http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,480037,00.html

Alina Percea, German erotic website18 year old student, to help her family in Romania and fund university education -£8,000 but may have lost over half in tax and VAT, leaving her with over £3,000 in the end. She claimed they set up another meeting, and this time she wouldn’t make him pay.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/5363002/Teenager-who-auctioned-virginity-loses-half-the-money-in-tax.html

18 year old Hungarian girl, to pay off family debts and go to medical school,  £200k but knew she will lose half in tax. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3083258/Teen-girl-sells-virginity-to-Brit.html

18 year old British student Rosie Reid, a lesbian in a relationship. Sold through Ebay then through a website she set up after Ebay shut down the bid, £8,400. Sold to a BT engineer to pay for tuition fees. She initially posted it as a joke but then recieved responses and realized people would pay.

 

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Why decriminalization is best for sex workers and society

Illegalization

This is the classic feminist stance – make all sex work a crime. Radical feminists were pushing for this in the 1970s and some feminists, such as SCASE, continue this fight today.

Illegalization is:

Good because it’d stop commercialisation and target all sex workers, not just streetwalkers as decriminalization currently does. It would target clients as well as sex workers so it’d stop the double standard of criminalizing sex workers and not clients.

No prostitution means women will not be objectified (not sure on this one, though – prostitution and objectification of women may not be linked. And what about men who are prostitutes?)

Bad because the police have to use unethical and questionable methods of entrapment to get prosecutions (e.g. America, where privacy and freedoms have been severely threatened, for example police breaking down doors to catch people having sex). This might actually do more harm than good for sex workers, women and society in general. Art 8 ECHR (right to private and family life) and its case law may preclude using these methods in Britain, because they may fail the two-prong test of being a proportionate response and legitimate in a democratic society.

Bad because illegalization stigmatises and criminalizes the already marginalized sex worker

Bad because prostitution would still exist, though there might be less of it. If sex work is a crime, it means that sex workes will not report rape, other violence, the behaviour of pimps, etc to the police. The policies of brothels (which are now called escort agencies/massage parlours etc, but might change in structure and operation after illegalization) could not be subject to scrutiny. Sex work would be invisible and harder for police to investigate. Sex workers would be more likely to experience rape and less able or willing to go to the authorities for help or escape the sex work criminal underworld,  which would likely be controlled by criminal gangs rather than exist as a cottage industry, as it does now (similar to other illegal things like drugs, guns, etc) . Trafficking would be more rife because of said criminals controlling sex work and less British women willing to do risk punishment by doing sex work. Sex workers charged by the police might lie that they were trafficked to avoid punishment or stop their children being taken away by Social Services. This is happening at this very minute across the pond, where it leads to innocent brothel managers being locked up for sex trafficking. The sex workers who can’t bring themselves to get their colleagues injustly imprisoned get their children taken away. Valuable taxpayer’s money and police time are thrown away tracking down and jailing sex workers and clients. This does not benefit sex workers, clients or society at all. Neither does the existence of a criminal-controlled prostitution underworld.

So, we can see that while illegalization does have its good points, ultimately it endangers sex workers and also our general individual freedom from state/police intervention. It gives nothing of benefit to society and harms society by hurting families, generating crime and trafficking, and wasting police resources that could be better used stopping murder, rape, etc.

Legalisation argument

Legalization:

Stops streetwalking, the most dangerous type of sex work, as workers can work in legal brothels (a la Nevada in America, Australia, Netherlands)

Stops the public nuisance aspect of streetwalking with red light districts/zones/designated sex work areas (Netherlands, zones in some Scottish cities such as by the docks in Leith, Edinburgh)

Safer, cleaner, better environment for sex workers because brothels will be registered with the state and subject to inspections. (I like to use the body modification or tattoo industry analogy here – licensing and inspections enforce safety).

Improves their rights

Health checkups to stop disease

Stops stigmatization/criminalization

It’s a useful social service for shy, disabled or lonely men

Can tax sex workers so the state earns money (ILO supports this as its good for poor countries)

Oldest profession/we must learn to accept it

Response to male needs

Just a job

Problems

Some workers prefer streetwalking as they choose their own clients and working hours, or aren’t organised enough to work in brothels, or have HIV and are rejected by brothels

Checkups usually only on sex workers not clients (though not in Australia where the client sticks his thing in the wall and it scans for diseases!)

Diseased or drug addicted women rejected by state brothels

Some people prefer to run illegal brothels so they will still exist

Sex workers who streetwalk or are unregistered/working in illegal brothels are criminalized even more than in the present decriminalized approach in the UK

Workers in illegal brothels or streetwalkers fear to report violence as they would be charged with being a non-registered sex worker (the illegalization problem again)

Sex workers’ rights not always protected

Environments are worse as they cannot choose own clients

Many clients married, not shy or disabled

The oldest profession argument is fatalistic/defeatist (Matthews)

Natural response to male needs argument stops discussion of female needs (McIntosh)

Supports double standard (Jeffreys)

Reinforces patriarchal male dominance (Schoular)

Assumes all laws are bad, ignores the way they protect women from exploitation

Checkups historically only on women and forced, doesn’t protect them from clients

Liberals depict women doing it because they enjoy it or find it empowering however many are coerced into it or forced to do sex work because of poverty (Doezema). The image of the ‘happy hooker’ may be true for educated women such as students (the ‘Belle du Jour’ experience)  – who usually work off the street – but not for working class women especially streetwalkers. Most become sex workers before the age of 18 – are they really magically consenting as soon as they turn 18?

Prostitute identity inseparable from sense of self, unlike other jobs (Phoenix)

Trafficking increases with legalization

Red light zones are bad places for women to live as street harrassment increases a lot and crime tends to thrive once an area is designated.

So, legalization doesn’t protect streetwalkers or workers in illegal brothels and actually victimizes them more, similarly to illegalization. It is also bad for women who aren’t sex workers as they get harassed. Legalization may be good for non-streetwalkers, but it still comes with mixed blessings, such as forced sexual health checkups, mandatory registration of real identity with the state/less privacy and anonymity and being taxed on earnings, which may cause sex workers to increase their prices.

Decriminalisation argument

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

Problems

The relationship may be unequal or coercive, not really consensual

May allow more profits to be made from prostitution/increased commercialization which is bad for sex workers’ rights

Legitimising prostitution only accentuates the double standard/polarised view of gender roles and sex, however not as much as legalizing it would do

Legitimising it increases harassment of women in red light districts and sexual assaults, but again not as much as legalization

So, decriminalization, while not without its problems, is the best for sex workers because it allows them freedom while simultaneously offering exiting help to those who want to leave the industry. Privacy and anonymity are protected and sex workers can choose whether they want to streetwalk, work from home or in a brothel. Although soliciting and kerb-crawling are crimes, this is necessary to stop public nuisance and is not punishable by jail time for either the sex worker or the client. Women are protected from the street harrassment common in legalization, and decriminalization does not support the double standard as much as legalization does.

This doesn’t mean that it all ends here and we can’t make changes within a decriminalization framework.

Roger Matthews argues that we need to move beyond existing approaches to decriminalization and legalization and construct an alternative, radical regulationism. He then outlines some general legislative routes through which this radical regulationism could be realised:

General deterrence – criminalize clients rather than focus on sex worker

Stop commercialization of sex work – allow sex workers to cohabit to a degree, to protect themselves; from dangerous clients or needing the protection of a pimp

Exploitation and corruption: harsher sentencing/longer prison sentence as it is a form of rape; current UK legislation can’t differentiate between friends and parasites or protect women from pimps. However, Matthews doesn’t discuss this or mention evidence, though it is true, it would just have been nice to see some discussion of this.

Disturbance/harassment/nuisance – criminalize and deter clients who are more easily deterred than sex workers (proven by the Home Office report that they are much more easily deterred).

Proof of annoyance should be required for conviction of either,  not just police evidence, treat both client and sex worker equally, respect for  their rights and civil liberties (how, Matthews? If they are not allowed to sell sex, isn’t that already a violation?)

Radical regulationism differs from the Wolfenden approach cos not liberal or focussed on public nuisance or public visibility of prostitution; however, Matthews’ radical regulationism does put a lot of importance on harassment/public nuisance; it is one of its 4 strands. The fact that he doesn’t want to illegalize it is still “liberal” – ie rejects New Right discourse of prostitution as dirty- just he sees commercialization as a bad thing, unlike liberal/libertarian perspectives which are neutral or see it as good, but that’s the only real difference between radical regulationism and the Wolfenden approach/current situation (especially since the 1985 and 2007 acts do criminalize clients).

(This view by an academic is an example of how things could be changed. Doubtless you have your own views. I included this view to show that, even while accepting decriminalization and not pushing for the other two options, real change can still be fought for. Realising the status quo is the best way doesn’t mean we can’t get radical.)

References/stuff you might like to read if you’re interested

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

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

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

For Scottish Government information on the regulation of prostitution in Scotland (including information on recent legislation) see: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Justice/crimes/Response

Home Office (2004) Paying the Price: A Consultation Paper on Prostitution, London: Home Office (just Google it)

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2012 in Feminism, Sex work

 

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