Category Archives: sex work

Are all men potential rapists? No.

victim

Prostitution should be legal to stop men turning into hormone-fuelled rapists. That’s not my opinion, but Dr Catherine Hakim’s. Hakim is a “social scientist” — using the term loosely — who argues that the sex industry could reduce sex crimes because men want sex more often than women.

“The male demand for sexual activity is going to manifest itself in some way or another and decriminalising prostitution would make it easier for men to go to prostitutes,” she told Pat Kenny on Newstalk.

There are a couple of things we need to discuss here, but to begin let’s deal with Hakim’s outrageous assertion that the average man will turn to rape if he doesn’t get enough sex.

First off, and most importantly, it’s not true. Not even a little bit. But she is not the first one to suggest it. You may remember the SlutWalk movement from a few years ago. This was sparked by Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto Police officer, who argued that if women wanted to prevent themselves getting raped then they should “avoid dressing like sluts.” Hakim and Sanguinetti both see male sexuality as dangerous, uncontrollable and prone to violence. But if sexual frustration, or short skirts, turned generally decent men into sexual predators, then a whole lot more men would be rapists.

Here’s the important thing to remember: rape is common; rapists are not.

An 2002 American study found that only 6 percent of men in the US have committed rape. However most rapists have multiple victims and will continue raping until they are caught and jailed. Unfortunately very few are. In the US, 98 percent never spend any time in jail.The States has a population of over 320 million people. If roughly half of the country is male, then that 6 percent translates into approximately 9,600,000 rapists.

Unfortunately we don’t have figures for Ireland and so I am forced to extrapolate from international data, which is definitely less than ideal as the cultural context makes a huge difference. But bearing this in mind, in 2013 the UN published a study on sexual violence which surveyed over 10,000 men in Asia. Nearly half of the rapists they interviewed had multiple victims. Interestingly enough, these rapists would agree with Hakim — The UN study found that rapists justified their behaviour by claiming that men can’t help themselves and that because of that, they are entitled to women’s bodies.

The idea that men are slaves to their hormones and think with their dicks is not a new one — but it is not very old either. In the Middle Ages it was generally believed that women had insatiable sexual appetites, which made them akin to animals, while men were more cerebral and less prone to carnal thoughts. At some point this changed. Social historians have traced the flipping of this script to the influences of Victorian ‘idealism’ in England and evangelical Protestantism in the United States during the 19th century. By arguing that women were not that sexual after all, women could claim some sort of moral and intellectual equality with men.

Hakim argues that men are twice as interested in sex as women and that this is true across all ages and cultures. She sees this as biological, instead of cultural. However, it is impossible to divorce culture from our sexual attitudes. People in liberal cultures are more likely to have liberal attitudes to sex; people in conservative countries generally hold conservative attitudes to sex. The way we think about sex influences our sexual behaviour. It also influences what we are prepared to admit to researchers.

A 2013 study found that men and women routinely lie to researchers about their sexual behaviour, even in anonymous studies. When they are hooked up to a lie detector, men report fewer partners and women more. Since Western culture tells men they ought to be studs, and tells women we shouldn’t be “sluts” we tend to lie, to ourselves and others, that our sexual behaviour is in line with dominant cultural attitudes. If men are more interested in sex, well, that’s because Western culture “allows” them to be. This is true of much of the world, especially when you consider that the English speaking world, and Europe, are generally more sexually liberal than the Middle and Far East and much of Africa.

Let’s talk a bit about Hakim. Essentially she is Katie Hopkins with a vaguely academic twist — prone to making controversial claims, which she tries to justify with references to academic research. You could say her views on men are downright misandrist, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But Hakim has about as much respect for women too.

You might have heard of Hakim when her book Honey Money was released in 2011. In it Hakim claimed that women should use their “erotic capital” to snag a rich man while young, and because of that, women would be better off going to the gym than college. Hakim listed all kinds of studies to back up her assertion that this was in a woman’s best interest — and she argued that most women would prefer being a trophy wife to having a career. Hakim doesn’t do any original research herself and she was criticised for her sloppy understanding of statistics, for misinterpreting scholarly research, for a poorly argued and contradictory theory and for misrepresenting her affiliation with the London School of Economics. In other words, you’d want to take anything she says with a large dose of salt.

As I am sure you’re aware, Amnesty International has recently been debating the merits of decriminalising the global sex industry and has said that the right to sell sex is a human right. This has set off a firestorm of opinions. Many sex workers and advocates praised Amnesty for this stance; others, including former sex workers, academics, advocates and even Hollywood stars condemned the proposal as one which will empower pimps and exploiters instead of the men and women in the sex industry.

There are many arguments to support the legalisation of the sex industry; and many arguments against it, but that’s a topic for a different column. However you feel about legalising sex work, claiming that it will prevent rape is nonsense. For one thing, even in countries where prostitution is illegal, it is not hard to find sex workers. What’s more, except in the handful of countries where buying sex is illegal, it is the sex worker, not the client, who is at the mercy of the law. By and large across the world men have access to prostitutes if they want them.

Rape is rarely about sexual need, desire or pleasure. It’s about power, control and sexual entitlement. The UN study found that more than 70 percent of the rapists they interviewed claimed they raped because they were entitled to women’s bodies; 40 percent said they were angry or wanted to punish the woman; and around half of them said they did not feel guilty about their actions.

Whatever benefits or disadvantages there are to legalising prostitution, it is not going to have any effect on rape. In fact sex workers are at a greater risk of rape than other women. It is estimated that they have a 45 to 75 percent chance of being a victim of sexual violence at some point.

Hakim, like Katie Hopkins, has become rich and famous by making contentious statements. They both love the glare of media attention and will do, or say, anything to make sure we give it to them. I wish I didn’t have to give her any. But unlike Hopkins, Hakim claims to be an authority and expert. Her latest assertions are false, dangerous, and hugely insulting to men. Ignoring her is not really an option.

Sex at the XMas Party

JENNA’S BACK

Jenna Jameson quit the adult entertainment industry in a blaze of glory in 2008. She was the world’s most famous porn star with a number of top-grossing adult films, a best-selling novel, and a website that racked in millions. Five years after pledging that she would never return to porn and that she’d “rather live under a bridge”, Jameson has returned to work as a cam girl. Now a mother of two, with a string of financial and legal troubles, including complaints of domestic violence and drunk driving, it seems Jameson’s life after porn was not the happily-ever-after she’d hoped.

SEX AT THE XMAS PARTY

A third of Irish people have had sex with a co-worker during their annual Christmas bash. That’s according to a survey by the website, GiftsDirect – so not very scientific. But if you are hankering after the hot marketing dude or lovely lady in the IT department, it’s good to know that your Christmas dreams may come true… attentions is fond of completing online surveys.

COERCED SEX IN THE UK

This is truly troubling. The UK’s National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) has found that one in ten women living in Britain has been coerced into sex against her will. Forty percent of those were with a current or former partner, and 83 percent of incidents involved a perpetrator who was known to the victim. The average age of the victim was just 18 years old. Wendy Macdowall, the lead Natsal author, has argued that the issue needs to be addressed at an early age and that coercion had become “normalised… with rape at the extreme end of the spectrum.” The Natsal study also found that one in 71 men have experienced coerced sex as well.

SEXTON’S MISCELLANY:  YOUR FANTASIES COME TO LIFE

If you’ve ever wished you could find a porn fi lm that fulfilled your particular fantasy, help is at hand. Erika Lust is an author and filmmaker as well as a four time winner of the Feminist Porn Awards and her new project, XConfessions, turns real life fantasies into beautifully shot short erotic films. To take part, log onto xconfessions.com and submit your fantasy. Make it an interesting one though – Lust has received several hundred and has promised that each month she’ll choose her two favourites to get the filmic treatment.

Bad Sex Awards

FRENCH TO OUTLAW SEX WORK?

France’s ruling Socialist Party has tabled new legislation aimed at criminalising paying for sex. If the legislation goes through, anyone found guilty could face a fine of €1,500 and be required to attend an “awareness” course on prostitution. The magazine Causeur has started a protest campaign called “Touche pas a ma Pute!” (Hands off my Tart/Bitch!), led by writer Frederic Beigbeder. Beigbeder condemned the government for trying to “decree norms for desire and pleasure” and the campaign has claimed that the proposed law seeks to control women, not liberate them. The Socialist Party has hit back, claiming the campaign’s real aim is the preservation of “male domination and female submission”.

Many who work with prostitutes also oppose the bill; they fear that the law will drive the sex trade further underground making workers more vulnerable to exploitation. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of France’s 20,000 prostitutes are foreign nationals and one of the aims of the new legislation is to ‘tackle sex trafficking’ – for which many will read ‘oppose immigration’ – and forced prostitution.

SURVEY SAYS BISEXUALITY NOT REAL

This one will anger many and rightly so. A study by the University Of Pittsburgh found that heterosexual men and women have serious doubts about the legitimacy of bisexuality as a sexual orientation. Researchers administered a 33-question survey to an online sample of 1,500 adults and found that heterosexual men were the most likely to cast doubt on the existence of bisexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation – but straight women, gay men and lesbians had similar negative feelings. According to the authors, the study confirms the “prejudice, stigma and discrimination” faced by the bisexual community.

ASHLEY MADISON SUED

Ashley Madison, the website specialising in promoting extramarital affairs, is being sued by a former employee for work related injuries. Doriana Silva has claimed that typing up hundreds of fake female profiles for the site has left her with permanent damage to her wrists. She is seeking a whopping $20 million claiming that the company unjustly enriched themselves at her expense and another $1 million in punitive and general damages. Ashley Madison charges men to access the site but women join for free (can this be legal??) The fact that the company uses fake profiles to separate men from their money is not at all surprising.

SEXTON’S MISCELLANY BAD SEX AWARDS

The shortlist for the Literary Review’s 22nd Annual Bad Sex In Fiction has been announced and there are indeed some (cringe)-worthy entrants this year. Past winners have included famed writers including Sebastian Faulk, Norman Mailer and AA Gill. The purpose of the prize is “to draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it” – but it doesn’t seem to be working.

There is some terrible literary sex going on. This extract from Jonathan Grimwood’s The Last Banquet is the cheesiest (ho ho) sex scene you’re ever likely to read: “In my mouth her nipple turned from strawberry to deep raspberry but the taste I wanted was missing. I had sweat and what had to be soap from washing her dress or herself. Reaching behind me, I found the Brie and broke off a fragment, sucking her nipple through it.”

Here is the full shortlist:

House of Earth by Woody Guthrie

Motherland by William Nicholson

The City of Devi by Manil Suri

Secrecy by Rupert Thomson

The World Was All Before Them by Matthew

Reynolds

My Education by Susan Choi

The Victoria System by Eric Reinhardt

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood

Womens Top Five Sexual Fantasies

CALIFORNIA TO OUTLAW REVENGE PORN

The Californian state assembly is considering making it illegal to post “revenge porn”. If passed, the law will make it a crime to post a video or photo of someone who is partially or fully undressed without their permission. A law already exists to protect those who were secretly filmed and the new law would apply to images where the subject had originally given consent to being photographed or filmed. Revenge porn has become increasingly prevalent in the last few years, as more and more people share naked images with partners – and it is possible to save or recover images that are supposed to self-destruct using apps like Snapchat.

 

SWISS SEX CHALETS

This may not be the most architecturally exciting update of the classic Swiss chalet, but authorities in Zurich have unveiled drive-in sex chalets to improve security for sex workers and their clients. The chalets are located on a former industrial estate (sexy!) and are equipped with panic alarms and reminders to practise safe sex. The scheme has the support of residents and similar initiatives have been launched in Germany. Next stop, Limerick!

 

JOE FRANCIS JAILED

Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis has been sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years’ probation for assaulting a woman in his Los Angeles home in 2011. Francis was found guilty of choking his victim and repeatedly slamming her head to the ground. Francis has also been ordered to complete an anger management course and attend therapy. Francis is maintaining his innocence and will remain free until the outcome of his appeal. After receiving his sentence Francis complained to the press that the members of the jury were “retarded” and said that, “they should all be lined up and shot.” He later apologized for these remarks.

 

SEXTON’S MISCELLANY CHRISTIAN SWINGERS

You love the Lord and your partner – but, hell, the sexual boredom has set in. No bother – log on to ChristianSwingers.com and get your freak on with other God-fearing horny people or as the site puts it “devout Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with another, in good faith!” I thought this site was an elaborate hoax, but it seems to be genuine – my mind is officially blown.

 

WOMEN’S TOP FIVE  SEXUAL FANTASIES

What are women’s favourite sexual fantasies? Emily Dubberley investigated our contemporary fantasies and her book Garden of Desires explores them. Here is the top five:

1. Submissive fantasies: these cover a wide range of fantasies, from BDSM sex play to giving up control or being emotionally or sexually obedient.

2. Dominant fantasies: as the name suggests here, the fantasy is one of being in control and being sexually assertive.

3. Exhibitionist and voyeuristic fantasies: fantasies involving watching or being watched in the act of having sex.

4. Group sex fantasies: these may have dominant, submissive or exhibitionist streaks to them but the main feature of these fantasies is the idea of multiple partners.

5. Partner fantasies: sex with a particular person, which could be a lover, a friend, a famous person or the local petrol-pump attendant.

Calling all singing porn stars!

If you ever dreamt about singing in an adult movie (well, who hasn’t?), now is your chance!

Hustler Video is making an adult parody of Glee and is looking for singing porn stars. If you happen to be California on Tuesday, March 9 or Wednesday, March 10 you can pop along and audition.

Here’s the full press release:

CALLING ALL SINGING PORN STARS!!
HUSTLER VIDEO ANNOUNCES CASTING CALL FOR “THIS AIN’T GLEE XXX” PARODY

You’ve impressed us with your expert oral skills so far…but can you sing?!

“This Ain’t” like porn star karaoke, folks! Hustler Video is casting for This Ain’t Glee XXX, the latest XXX video in its “This Ain’t” parody series.

For this upcoming blockbuster parody/musical feature, casting agents are seeking adult performers who have a background in vocal performance or who possess excellent (and genuine!) singing abilities.

Hustler Video will hold open casting calls at LFP Studios for all interested porn stars who sing on Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10. Please arrive at 10:30 am.

To audition for This Ain’t Glee XXX, please prepare a rock ’n’ roll song that will be sung a cappella for the director, the producers and the talent coordinator.

Auditions will be held on a first-come, first-served basis, starting promptly at 10:30 am.

For additional information, please contact Drew Rosenfeld, Creative Director, at drosenfeld@lfp.com or Jennifer Larsen, Talent Coordinator, at talent@lfp.com.

LFP Studios is located at 20932 Osborne St., Canoga Park, CA 91304.

Would you sell your virginity?

Ah yes, another year and yet another story about a college girl auctioning off her virginity to pay for university. The latest one is a Kiwi known only as Unigirl who accepted an offer of over NZD45,000 (around 22,000 euro) for hers, which is a paltry sum compared to Natalie Dylan, an American who picked up a cool USD3.8 million for hers.

The whole cash for hymen thing makes me feel a little queasy. Prostitution, it is said, is the oldest profession, and there are plenty of women who swap sex for financial gain in relationships or marriage. But I thought feminism was supposed to free women from this – firstly by allowing us to go to college and have careers and by stressing the importance of female pleasure in sex. Selling your virginity seems a step backwards to a murkier period when the only commodity of value a woman had was her body and where female virginity was prized.

What’s more, you never forget your first sexual experience. While mine may not have been ‘perfect’ in any way, shape or form, at least I can look back on it and smile. Natalie Dylan and Unigirl, well, I very much doubt they’ll be able to do that. And I can’t help but wonder (getting all Carrie Bradshaw here) how the fact that their first sexual experience was a commercial transaction will affect their ability to enjoy sex and to connect with another person on an intimate level.

Or perhaps I’m just jealous! Hmmm… I wonder if I missed a trick (no pun intended) back when I was at university. When I wasn’t at class, I slaved away in a crappy office, little realising I was sitting, quite literally, on a goldmine. Oh well…

Crazy 2 condom limit in NY, DC and San Fran

The mind boggles…

Carrying more than two condoms in your handbag in New York, Washington DC or San Francisco means police can arrest you as a possible sex worker. Which means, if as a responsible adult, you stop on the way home and buy a small pack of condoms, you’re risking arrest.

Crazy!

It also means that actual sex workers will be forced to work without protection, spread disease. Madness…

Read about it here.

Male prostitutes legal in Nevada

For the first time, male sex workers are now legal in Nevada. Don’t know why they weren’t before – seems a bit strange considering brothels have been legal there for such a long time.

Don’t think I’d be tempted myself. My flirting skills have yet to let me down, thankfully! But it does give me an excuse to post a pic of a shirtless man! Even if he isn’t for sale…
freddieljungberg1uq

Growing up with Prostitutes, sex work and danger

Interesting piece here about growing up with sex workers in the same building:
What it feels like to grow up with prostitutes

I have a similar experience…
My first apartment was in a dodgy part of town. The was a large escort agency around the corner and the city’s first strip club were just up the road. The streetwalkers were a few blocks down and the rent boys had a patch just beyond the shopping centre.

The sex workers themselves were friendly and there was never any hassle with them. When the director of the agency stopped me on the street and said he thought I’d be “perfect” for a job, I didn’t know whether to be insulted or pleased. I was eighteen and very innocent at the time (hard to believe but true…).

However, the johns were a constant source of annoyance. They seemed to think every woman in the area was involved in the sex trade. I got followed on a number of occasions by drunk men offering me money; shouted at; and generally verbally abused. I hate to think how they must have behaved with the women whose time they had ‘bought’ if they were that awful to me.

Recently, an Irish escort service has added a ‘dangerous customers’ section to its website. Read about that here: Prostitution website to identify dangerous punters

I wonder how much of our moral condemnation of sex work gives some people the belief that dehumanising these men and women is their right? I’m not saying that selling sex is a good idea – sex between freely consenting adults is what I promote – but surely we should be doing more to protect those marginalised by society and at risk from danger and abuse every day?

Opinions please! Is all prostituition bad?

I was reading an article the other day by The Guardian’s Josh Freedman Berthoud which argues that there’s no real difference between sex traffickers, pimps, brothel keepers and rapists. Here’s a quote:

“The separation of good prostitution and bad prostitution; an evil rapist and just a regular guy who’s looking for a good time, must not be allowed to stand.”

IMHO surely likening a rape victim or a trafficked sex slave to someone who choses to sell sex of his or her own violition is downgrading the seriousness of these crimes? Whether or not selling sex is a wise choice is an argument for a different day, but surely the fact that choice is involved is a mitigating factor.

I’m curious to hear what you think… and if anyone here has ever used a prostitute or worked as one, it’d be great to hear from you especially