This is what it's like to have sex for money when you're sick from heroin withdrawal [Content warning: graphic depictions of sex acts, drug use, and other topics which may be uncomfortable to some readers]
Emily Bazelon writes for the New York Times about sex worker rights and decriminalization in the US and abroad (featuring photography of sex workers across the US).
"Is what we offer love? It is when our clients don’t know the difference. And, in this emotional economy, I’m not sure I know the difference either. I don’t come to Showgirls just for the money, though it might have started that way. I come to be held and hotly desired, comforted and supported. I come to be needed too."
The Can Do bar came about because sex workers had been advocating for [workers' rights] and working under shitty conditions for years...One day a group of sex workers here in Chiang Mai said, 'Actually the government doesn't get it, nobody understands what we're talking about, we're going to have to build it ourselves, we can't wait anymore.' And so they pooled their money and raised a million baht [almost $30,000] between them all and created the bar. Charlotte England at Vice writes about the only bar in Thailand, and maybe anywhere, owned and run by a sex workers' collective.
Robot ethicists have launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots, seeking a ban on the development of robotic sexytimes. Robot ethicists Kathleen Richardson of De Montfort University and Erik Billing from University of Skövde are the co-creators of the Campaign Against Sex Robots, which seeks to bring awareness to the issue and proposes a robot sex ban. They compare it to similar campaigns that seek to limit development of “killer” robots.
Felix Salmon reports on the continuing saga of Cooper Union (previously on MetaFilter). With NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's recent intervention, the school appears ready to stop digging its financial grave, but blocks away, faculty, staff, and students believe a similar story is playing out with New York University's NYU 2031 initiative. The plan, described as "a real estate deal" in a private conversation with an NYU trustee, is the brainchild of controversial NYU president John Sexton. [more inside]
The entirety of Greene Street in SoHo is pretty short, as New York City streets go -- just five blocks long. Walk along it today between Houston and Prince Streets and you’ll pass an Apple Store, a Ralph Lauren store, and a variety of other high-end retailers. A hundred and forty years ago, you’d be walking by brothels. A new website, The Greene Street Project: A Long History of a Short Block, covers more than four hundred years of that one block section -- just 486 feet long -- illustrated with photographs, maps, newspaper clippings, survey data, and charts. [more inside]
The Guardian view on Amnesty International’s call to decriminalise sex work: divisive and distracting - "Obviously, Amnesty is right to say that sex workers have human rights and that these should be respected. But many Amnesty supporters believe that the trade itself tends to corrupt or to violate these rights, except for a lucky few participants. The broadest coalitions unite around the narrowest agendas. A call to decriminalise sex work is a distraction from Amnesty’s core mission, and dangerous to it too."
“This show, these people, it’s a disaster in my life,” said Kamylla, who spent weeks waiting for the promised assistance, quickly running out of money to support herself, her husband, and her children. They gave her a $200 fee and then did not follow through on promises of medical, dental, housing, and employment assistance, she told BuzzFeed News. “I kept on calling them, and nothing happened.”-- Sex workers who were filmed for A&E’s 8 Minutes, which says it provides resources for women who want to get out of sex work, allege that the production lied to them.
Most debates around sex and disabled people in the mainstream press mirror those of medical ethicists, by focusing on whether disabled people have the ‘right’ to pay for sex. But this is just one small part of the overall picture. Disabled academics and activists paint on a much larger canvas, writing about issues such as consent around mental capacity, the forced sterilisation of disabled people, the rights of disabled people in institutions to have sex and be free from sexual abuse, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) disabled people."Sex, Lives, and Disability", from Mosaic Science, covers a lot of ground on many issues relating to including history of disability rights movements, what role sex workers may play in the lives of some people with disabilities, barriers often faced by LGBT people with disabilities, rethinking definitions of sex, and consent when verbal consent may not be possible. In sidebar videos, journalist and disability activist Mik Scarlet tackles Ten Myths about Sex and Disability and Alternate Erogenous Zones. Mik also co-authors The Love Lounge, an advice column focusing on love, sex, and relationship advice for people with disabilities. (Links contain possibly nsfw images and video, depending on your workplace. Clicker beware.)
Despite the claims of reformers like Judge Lippman, [Human Trafficking Intervention Courts] are as controlling as any other court. Prostitutes might be called victims, but they're still arrested, still handcuffed, and still held in cages. The only difference is that they're now in a system that doesn't distinguish between workers and trafficked people. To the courts, anyone who's been arrested for sex work is raw material, incapable of making his or her own choices. Those like Love, who did sex work out of financial necessity, before leaving of her own volition, might as well not exist.Molly Crabapple: Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of 'Rescuing' Sex Workers.
"In my experience, the reminder that the sexual fantasy isn’t real, that the women who perform availability aren’t ACTUALLY available, that we aren’t ACTUALLY clamouring to be sexualized by men, that we control when the fantasy starts and stops, and that our performance is just that, a performance that requires compensation… well, some men find that hard to swallow." [more inside]
Mey from Autostraddle interviews actress and advocate Laverne Cox on her Emmy nomination, the epidemic of violence against trans women of color, and how to create a more supportive and loving community. [more inside]
It's not exactly news that Somaly Mam, head of the anti-trafficking non-profit The Somaly Mam Foundation, has been accused of fabricating her own story of sexual slavery and abuse. But today, the story made it all the way to Newsweek. Respected former call girl Maggie McNeill blogged about the issue in 2013 and 2011, and in 2012 wrote about the psychological self-deception that might be at play. Dr. Laura Agustin wrote this piece attacking Somaly Mam's idea of sex worker empowerment over a decade ago, and in this 2011 blog post criticizes a live-tweeted brothel raid carried out by Mam and Nicholas Kristof. Previously. Previously. Previously.
This indignant map exposes the seamy underbelly of 1890s Washington, D.C., naming and locating “saloons” and “bawdy-houses” in the so-called Murder Bay neighborhood, located east of the White House. The Library of Congress, which holds the map, tells us that it’s a newspaper clipping from the 1890s, without a known author or publisher. (Slate.com)
A sex worker has been awarded $25,000 as compensation for sexual harassment from her manager. [more inside]
"In August 2013, a bunch of performers in adult entertainment got together to talk about our industry and said: "Shit's fucked up. The shit in question is more fucked up than it was a few years ago. Someone ought to do something." Rather than wait for someone to become an actual person who will fix things, we collectively pulled on our grown-up pants and decided to do something ourselves. Thus began the organisation called the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee." Porn actor Stoya writes about APAC and her personal guidelines for sexual consent in New Statesman; APAC has also filmed a video wherein working porn professionals explain the need-to-knows for people interested in entering the industry.
The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down Canada's prostitution laws saying that bans on street soliciting, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution are arbitrary and create severe dangers for vulnerable women. [more inside]
Don't believe France's reputation as a country where sexual peccadillos are always overlooked. After a vote by the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, it has just joined a growing group of European nations where buying sex is now illegal. France is not alone in its fresh efforts to curb prostitution. The move follows similar bans in Sweden and Norway, while other European countries are also scaling back laissez-faire prostitution policies. Germany is poised to change its liberal sex trade laws, while Ireland is also debating a measure similar to France's. Is the end of legal prostitution in Europe in sight?
(Don't miss the deep and interesting links found within the article.)[more inside]
BRBXOXO "searches online sexcam sites and only broadcasts feeds when the performers are absent." [more inside]
“I don’t think you’re gay,” he said. He then went through the same litany as Dr. F.—he didn’t believe I was a pervert, he just felt I was lost and confused and needed to be set on the right path. Dr. K. believed in behavioral modification. He told me to place a rubber band around my wrist. Every time I had “gay thoughts,” I was to snap the rubber band, causing pain. Eventually I would associate the thoughts with the pain. - Gene Stone on growing up gay, struggling with sex, anti-gay conversion therapy, and the doctor-mandated sex surrogate that finally helped him.
How Joe Redner Invented The Lap Dance, Built A Strip-Club Empire, Became A Model Citizen, Fought For Your Rights, And Beat Cancer
In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer ( 2 3 4 5 ), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
In a quiet cafe outside San Francisco, "Josephine" -- a local prostitute -- arranges a collection of t-shirts across the table. They're emblazoned with phrases like "Winter is Coming" and "Geeks Make Better Lovers." She wears them in her online ads to catch the eye of the area's well-off engineers and programmers.
A Nation Of Sex Workers: An Interview With Tracy Quan
We had some incredible meetings at the Harmony Theatre in Tribeca. When we met at GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis), it was like a civics class. If we met at the Harmony, which was a lap-dancing club, there was a charismatic feeling. We often met at Annie Sprinkle’s apartment, and we actually sat around stuffing envelopes once a month, to announce our meetings. This might sound like a nuisance, but it was an opportunity to meet in someone’s home and create a community by doing something practical. I’m really grateful for the internet, don’t get me wrong – but the paper-era movement had its high points. I remember seeing these charming handwritten notes addressed to PONY with an Olympia, WA postmark… something to do with the Riot Grrls..[more inside]
If you think cam girls—those flirty naked characters that plague porn site pop-up ads—are raking in easy money, you're right. If you think cam girls are bleakly stripping online out of desperation, you're also right. Peel away the sex and pixels and money and you're left with the cloudy truth about the Internet's relationship status with these on-demand entertainers: it's complicated..
"Seeing women for money, made me a little less sad. It was a brief respite from loneliness, from my skin being hungry for human touch the way a drowning person is starving for oxygen." Paying to Play: Interview with a John
My Hard-Core Obsession (NSFW Text). Writer and frequent This American Life contributor Shalom Auslander for GQ on hardcore pornography, obsession, shame, self-loathing and the subjectivism of thinking too much.
“For a good blow job, a man will do just about anything. What can I do with that knowledge? I have no idea.”
How Tech Tools Transformed New York's Sex Trade is an article by Sudhir Venkatesh demonstrating the results from a survey of 290 sex workers in New York about financial matters. Venkatesh and Stephen Leavitt did a similar study in Chicago, posted to Metafilter previously. More information about Venkatesh's research on sex work on his website.
Three hokey lingerie shots on my bed would take all of five minutes to shoot and upload to Erotic Services, and whenever I had enough business, I could take the ad down. It would be like I—or “Sarah,” the kinky temp who loved to blow off work early and meet men for anonymous “encounters”—had never existed. (NSFW)
On Failing To Make Bad Porn from Sex Worker Literati - Matthew Lawrence talks about being a rent boy who never shaved or worked out and his camera-obsessed client. Audio NSFW.
An interview with the first male gigolo of the Shady Lady Ranch:
I think for a male, if you want to be successful in this type of venture, you're not a prostitute. You're a surrogate lover. You encompass everything that's required of you—not only emotionally, physically—but psychologically. Because women are wired differently. They're much more sensitive creatures. You actually have to enjoy what you do. You can't necessarily say, "Oh, it's just a job." You actually have to say it's a passion.Background: Nevada has legalized male prostitution (LATimes)