Over at Mediaite, Frances Martel seems to be enjoying Freedom Watch on Fox Business Network. Read about today’s panel and watch the video, featuring Vivid’s Savannah Samson and call girl novelist Tracy Quan.
Over at Mediaite, Frances Martel seems to be enjoying Freedom Watch on Fox Business Network. Read about today’s panel and watch the video, featuring Vivid’s Savannah Samson and call girl novelist Tracy Quan.
Sienna Baskin, attorney with the Sex Workers Project, discussing the ways laws against prostitution hurt sex workers on the Alyona Show.
I received this request from a Journalist (below). If anyone can help or perhaps would like to post this request on other lists/forums, please do.
You can email Rachael directly at:
First I would like to commend you on your fantastic work. I found you through Sex Gender Body, where I am a contributor.
I am writing you about a story I am creating, in hopes that you might have some leads. It’s a journalism project about the clientele of sex workers. I am currently looking to interview men, women and people of all genders who have experience visiting sex-workers. I would also like to interview sex worker historians or researchers. I will of course, protect identities. I am hoping you can re-post this call, or direct me in finding interview subjects. I would also like to talk about maybe interviewing one of both of you as experts for this piece as well.
Here are the details about the project. Please, please, feel free to pass this along.
About the Article: Stories about sex-work seems to always focus on the sex
worker. Even in sex-positive circles, talking about “john’s” can elicit a
collective cringe. Is it because we don’t get the sex worker clientele’s side of
the story– how they think and feel, how sex workers help them?
This is the story I want to tell through in depth interviews with some
clientele of sex workers..” I would like to represent as varied an experience as
possible. This is going to be a very in depth article or series of articles
which will run on Alternet.org.
About the Writer: “As a sex-positive, sex-journalist I work to shatter fears,
stereotypes and defenses around sex (kinks included.) I find the veritable
rainbow of consensual sex among adults valuable, and think there is a lot we can
all learn from exploring that spectrum. As a sex-positive person my tone is
never judgmental or snarky. My goal is for the readers to become more accepting
of sexuality and to get curious about the world around them. I’ll be covering
things outside the norm but the idea isn’t to present a novel sex act in order
to entertain or shock. The idea is to challenge the way we think about sex,
intimacy and relationships. To incite thought on the topic of sex.”
Thanks so much.
Rachel Rabbit White
Our Julie, the little madam that she is, has another article in Comment is Free in the Guardian. This time she is complaining that the pro sex lobby are sexing up the numbers of women who buy sex to make the sex industry more palatable.
Well unpalatable though it may be for Julie B and her colleagues the truth is that women do buy sex and in surprisingly large numbers. The fact that women buy sex has been largely ignored, probably because women buy sex differently to men.
Men prefer the anonymity of paying for a sexual service because they do not want any complications. Men really don’t pay for the sex but rather for a sex worker to go away. The sex industry that caters for men is very visible, voyeuristic, simple and in your face and therefore an easy target.
Sex for sale to women is much more subtle, much harder to denigrate in simplistic and emotional terms; but it is still sex for sale.
Few women, as Julie Bindel observe purchase sex as blatantly as men, but just because the language used and the mechanics of the purchase is different does not alter the fact that a financial interaction is taking place.
Perhaps cultural and societal pressure is responsible for the different etiquettes involved when women purchase sex. More research still has to be done.
Anyone who travels abroad however for example must be aware of the large numbers of single women who travel alone or in groups to liaise with younger men. It is an unspoken secret for example that many European women on holiday in Turkey openly expect solicitation from young men. These men accept money and gifts in return for a faux relationship or “arrangement” that almost always involves sex.
These arrangements, either at home or abroad, share the pretence of a romance. This pretence is very much a part of the service offered and expected. Different rules of etiquette involved within the structure of these faux relationships may make them less noticeable, more acceptable but also perhaps a little less honest than a sexual exchange between a female sex worker and a male client.
They are still however a financial exchange where both parties know what is expected.
Women who are perhaps, divorced, widowed or separated and who have financial independence are now able to make choices about their lives which they were once denied. Financial independence facilitates greater sexual freedom and allows women to buy sexual choices.
Financial and sexual independence is no longer the reserve of men or a very few privileged women.
Just as middle aged, married men appear to make up the majority of purchasers of sexual services from female and male sex workers it now seems that it is middle aged women who are flexing their financial muscle and independence by purchasing sexual services from younger men.
Perhaps the fact that younger women are too busy with families or find it easy to pick up men explains their apparent absence from the plane loads of mainly middle aged women heading off for sexual adventures, or among those women who organise regular private sessions at home with their tennis coach; who knows?
Perhaps this seeming anomaly will change as younger women also become increasingly financially independent and flex that financial muscle by buying sexual encounters with different types of men to match their different moods or fantasies.
What is certain is that claims that the sex industry is the preserve of predatory men and evidence of male oppression of women is no longer valid. Women are equally capable of being sexual predators and women do purchase sexual services from other women and men. The market they purchase from may be more subtle, less in your face but it exists and perhaps a little like the ice berg that sank the titanic the more research is carried out the more people will open their eyes to see what is really happening and then; so called feminists like Julie Bindel will have to revaluate their rhetoric and anti sex work groups their research.
The police have issued a report into human trafficking called project acumen which you can read here. It is worth reading but is disappointing in that it fails to report anything really new. Much of what the report tells us is just common sense. For example; it points out that most migrant sex workers are in London and that sex workers, the further you move from London are mostly British. Most trafficking appears to exist within ethnic communities but how trafficking is defined is contentious. Also that trafficking is even less than the governments often quoted 4000 victims. These are facts any sex worker and probably any member of the public could have told the government over a cup of tea and slice of cake which would have been a lot less expensive than project acumen.
Basically the report fails to provide any evidence of human trafficking on the vast scale claimed by anti sex work campaigners. Despite this it does of course do its best to make the numbers sound far more serious, especially in the press release which of course resulted in some sensational head lines.
Sensationalist headlines about sex work are however nothing new and they rarely, if ever stand up to any investigation. The report however, despite failing to report the thousands of victims that anti sex work campaigners wanted also fails to acknowledge that many of the problems faced by sex workers are the cause of negative legislation rather than sex work it self.
The report also talks in terms of sex work being a secretive industry which makes the collation of information difficult. I am sorry but this is hard to accept. When it comes to criminal activity sex work has to rate as the most publicly accessible of any crime imaginable. It seems absurd for the police to claim that the sex industry is hard to access when the newspapers are full of adverts for sex workers. Thousands of clients manage to find sex workers every day through out the UK but the police can’t?
From my own personal experience as a sex worker I know that the police know where sex workers work, who they are and where brothels are; indeed the police often drop in for a chat.
Any sexual abuse and any victim of human trafficking is a tragedy that should be investigated but for anti sex work campaigners to use human trafficking as an excuse to justify huge amounts of expenditure or further negative legislation against the sex industry is wrong and certainly this report fails to supply the justification they so often deamnd.
Stephen Patterson has written an excellent appraisal of the Acumen report here which I recommend reading. Having read both the report and Stephens’s article I left the following comment on Stephens blog:
It is frustrating and worrying that the media in general are unwilling to read reports correctly and to analyse them. It seems that cheap sensationalist headlines that emotionalise arguments rather than rationalise them are preferable. Both genuine trafficked victims and the vast majority of sex workers are; as a result offered no protection by the law but instead suffer because of bad laws.
The anti sex work lobby are very obviously upset over this report because once again an official report fails to provide the evidence that would justify their demands for yet more bad legislation and even more money.
The greatest tragedy of the the whole trafficking debate is that so many careers and reputations depend upon the maintenance of a mostly manufactured hysteria.
Cross-posted from Zed Books
A former prostitute turned anti-AIDS campaigner is making a run for state office in Brazil’s general elections in October.
Gabriela Leite, 59, [head of the NGO Davida which supports sex workers in Brazil], launched her campaign to become a Rio de Janeiro state congresswoman for the Green Party under the slogan “Puta Deputada,” punning a Brazilian term that can mean either “deputy whore” or “hell of a deputy”.
If elected, Leite has vowed to maintain her activism for rights for sex workers, according to her pamphlet published in the newspaper O Globo.
She has gained an international profile for launching a clothing label, Daspu, whose revenues go to providing a sort of pension for aging prostitutes and promoting prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Sex Work Matters – Power and Intimacy in the Sex Industry, Edited by Melissa Ditmore and Alys Willman with Antonia Levy (2010)
Sex at the Margins – Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry, by Laura Maria Agustin
My local radio had a discussion this morning prompted by a disgruntled article in the Telegraph on the use of tax payer’s money by local councils to pay for the services of prostitutes for the disabled in their care. It is a scheme supported by the TLC trust and the Outsiders .
Aside from the usual outrage over the misuse of public funds and of course the now fashionable concerns over the status of the sex workers, ie were they working willingly, had they been trafficked etc I was genuinely dismayed at some of the naive views expressed by some on the panel and some of the public.
Although most calls were supportive; there were some very vocal opinions expressed that sex was not a necessity for anyone, and that disabled people should find a loving partner because, in their opinion, sex should only happen within a loving relationship.
I thought how patronising. Had any of these people actually sat down and spoke to a severely disabled person as a human being and talked to them about their sexual needs. I wonder if the people offering these opinions would ever consider offering sex, sorry; a loving relationship to someone who is severely disabled?
As a sex worker I have worked with many disabled people, some terminally ill and I become very angry when people make moral judgements on the needs of others regardless of disabilities or not.
The sexual libido of an individual is unique to that individual. Some people do live very happy celibate lives, others however need sex regularly. For those with a very low libido having no sex, or very little sex is easy but for those who have a high libido enforced celibacy can lead to physical and emotional stress and severe depression. Differences in libido in able bodied individuals can cause problems; even within loving relationships. So many people confuse sex and love with monogamous, fairy tale happy endings. The reality for many people however is that falling in love is often very different to having a happy, fulfilling sex life. For those who luckily do find the perfect combination of love and sex then life is easy but for others life and relationships can be very problematic and are often a complicated series of frustrations and compromises. Trying to control a high libido and remain faithful to a partner who you may love but who finds sexual contact a chore rather than a pleasure can be difficult. This can also be further complicated by confusions over sexual orientation.
Most of my able bodied clients for example are married men who struggle to control their bisexual tendencies and eventually decide, for their own mental health; that to pay for my company for a discreet hour is a better compromise than perhaps talking to a partner whom they love but who they feel, rightly or wrongly, would not understand their situation. People make compromises through out their lives, not least in how they deal with love and sex and I feel very strongly that it is not for anyone to judge how an individual or couple choose to deal with situations.
If this is the reality for able members of society imagine how life can be for those who suffer disabilities?
I have worked with disabled people who have no sensation except in certain, very limited parts of their bodies. Although these people may be severely disabled, even paralysed they still have active minds and imaginations. Some clients have been disabled since birth, others because of accidents or illness. These people have sexual desires just like anyone else and some have very high libidos but because of their disabilities are unable to act out their fantasies or even to seek physical release. For some even masturbation is impossible. Some disabled people who know that their condition is terminal are also unwilling even to look for a relationship, if they could realistically ever find such a thing.
Disabled people do become very angry and frustrated because of the limitations they suffer because of their physical or mental condition and this can lead to anger and depression. Yes they may want a loving relationship but they also just want sex for its own sake. Often for those so disabled to even perform sexually, just the intimate human touch of another person, or perhaps to watch a naked human being sexual becomes not just a necessity but a real human need. It is a need which most of us take for granted but which some within our society, often for moral, religious reasons, think should be denied to the disabled.
Many sex workers like my self; are happy to offer a sexual service to the disabled just as we do to able bodies individuals. If a disabled person wishes to spend a portion of their income, to which they are entitled; to pay for the services of a sex worker then that should, in a decent society be their right. Those who disapprove have a right to do so, but they do not have a right to tell someone who is angry, frustrated and lonely that they can’t have sex because for them to do so does not fit comfortably within their moral parameters of sexual normality.
It is one thing if a woman performs in pornographic movies if this is truly what she wants to do; after all, it’s a free country, and consenting adults should be allowed to live their lives in their own way. However, women should never be forced to do this against their will – and, of course, they should never be abused in any way.
Here is a link to a blog post written by a lady who used to be a pornographic actress; it contains quotes from other porn actresses documenting physical abuse they endured while performing in these films. Again, I am in no way condemning ladies who perform in pornography (as a hooker, I am certainly no prude!); however, the abuse of women in the sex industry is deeply troubling.
- Marie Brown (Silky)
I am John, Douglas’s partner, I was the one who initiated, created and administered the move to WordPress and I have been astounded to discover how easy it was. I set the blog up as a test site to play around with one quiet weekend but I was able to have it all transferred and working within 2 hours.
Please please please spread the word. Do you know a parlour, sex store, escort agency, independent escort, resource site, in fact anyone in the industry who will do a banner swap with us. Please ask them to email us at email@example.com and we’ll discuss a banner swap with them because we have a new banners page launching soon. We want to get the name out to as many people as possible and get Harlot’s recognised all over the globe. Banner exchanges will be free. I can’t do all the hard work myself, I just don’t have time but next time you’re chatting online, having a coffee or just generally having a bitch with a friend who works in this industry, ask them if they’d like a listing. We’d sure like to have a listing on their site.
A few people have asked Douglas about why the harlotsparlor.com name isn’t the primary web address on WordPress. Yes it’s still harlotsparlour.wordpress.com. As I said earlier, I did this one quiet Saturday morning when the phones in my own business were quiet, after much nagging and winging by Douglas for me to look at alternatives to the god awful blogger legacy site he was left with. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time on my hands since that day. We’re also in the process of moving harlots-parlour.com across to here but we can’t do that for a few more weeks. Harlots Parlour (as it was) will cease to exist as blogger site in the next few weeks. All of the topics have been moved across, shown under this user id, it was only the comments that could not be moved because most people didn’t log in to post comments and just added them adhoc. The dozen or so that did move across were deleted because they didn’t make any sense, as most were replies to comments that could not transfer across to WordPress.
Once we can move harlots-parlour.com to here, we plan to transfer the whole WordPress site onto a private server, divert the old url to here and then make harlotsparlour.com the primary domain for the server rather than have it overlay and re-direct to harlotsparlour.wordpress.com
& Boring Stuff
I hope that explains the state of play. Everyone is donating their own free time to the blog and I hope you can understand that this includes me too. I don’t always have time to update on demand but I have got the very neat WordPress for iPhone app which alerts me on my phone everytime a comment requires authorisation. This is a very handy tool which has allowed me to moderate in seconds because my phone alerts me literally seconds after a comment has been made. I have set comment moderation to a trust status, so email addresses that have been approved once do not need to be moderated. Obviously I want to keep it that way.
I hope this didn’t bore you all. I just wanted everyone to be up to date.
This is an old article which has appeared on other blogs and sites but I thought it deserved to appear here on Harlots…Enjoy
Once upon a time Feminism was the natural bed fellow of the civil rights movement, the gay liberation movement and the human rights movement. As a gay man I felt a natural empathy with feminists and their struggle against the common enemy the patriarchal system that oppressed gay people and women and men equally. I remember the slogans like “Make Love Not war” as capturing and epitomising a moment of idealism that could change the world. Now however instead of all lovers of liberalism and all idealists standing together resolute in the face of growing fundamentalism and radicalism we are divided.
It is a sad realisation that advocates for liberalism in thought and deed today find themselves oppressed by feminists or at least by those who have adopted the feminist mantle as a cloak to hide their true intent. Those comrades have now adopted the very mantle of the patriarchal system that feminism once battled against and have become patriarchal apologists. The patronising and disingenuous war waged by those who have adopted the feminist Cause and who have corrupted it into a radical ideology of oppression is especially obvious in the anti sex work rhetoric of Melissa Farley, Julie Bindel and Cath Elliot. They have perhaps been duped by the system or perhaps they have duped true feminists.
By attacking sex workers and equating sex work with rape and as universal abuse of women they ignore that true feminism is about empowering all individuals, both men and women and supporting all regardless of gender or sexual orientation or choice of labour. The ideal of the feminist struggle was surely a realisation that we are all oppressed by a system that equally traps men as it does women in assuming roles that maintains a status quo which allows a patriarchal hierarchy to flourish and which dismisses individual liberty of thought as dangerous and sexual freedom as decadent.
It is no coincidence that whores and gays equally have historically been the scapegoats for a society that enforced prescribed and rigid gender roles that severely constricted sexuality. Society enforced social conformity through religion and class while punishing by law and social exclusion those who do not easily fit false societal norms.
Whores and gays challenge the hierarchal hegemony that equally stifles individualism while fearing uncontrolled sensuality. Sex is perhaps the strongest human impulse. The patriarchal sex quilt trip and legal penalties imposed on sexual behaviour is because of a realisation that sexual liberation is about more than allowing an unchecked libido free reign. Sexual freedom challenges the rigidly prescribed norms of the patriarchal system that defines men and women equally, imprisoning them in roles that support and perpetuate the oppression of that system. Sex is not always about duty and nor should it always be about confirming societal expectations that effectively produces machines who fornicate only in prescribed socially engineered and unchallenging institutionalised parameters. Love and sex are powerful and wonderful emotions. They are experiences that the patriarchal system fears and has corrupted into structures that are often intrinsically violent.
Men have been traditionally marshalled into harsh and emotionally stifling institutions where they are encouraged to conform and to view sex either as a shameful weakness or as a means of control while women have been corrupted into believing that their sexual impulses are intrinsically morally corrupting and therefore dangerous. Both men and women have equally been duped into making war on themselves and to deny sexual gratification in order to maintain a society that perpetuates sexual oppression as a means of control.
Just as gay sex defines gay men because it is a hedonistic act that is not about reproduction or class but rather a definition of existence and the joy of that existence then whores equally challenge the institutionalising of women as wives, mothers or virgins. Sexual liberation is a rebellion against the rigid prescribed normality of the patriarchal state that produces unthinking and blinkered cannon fodder and is the exact opposite to the free thinking individuality that once feminists and gays and liberals jointly adhered to in order to challenge patriarchy and its assumptions on gender and the roles of men and women in society.
When Julie Bindel and her friends use the feminist label to attack whores and their clients they are not liberating women but rather redefining the patriarchal mantra of conformity to their prescription of narrow gender roles and thus redrawing the stereotyped scapegoat of the pervert and the fallen woman. Is it surprising that so many young women reject any association with feminism when feminism in the hands of some has assumed the role of oppressor?
When radical feminists stereotype all men as oppressive rapists and predators who objectify women while at the same time castigating whores both as victims and accommodators to male aggression they are literally reiterating age old stereotypes that are unjust to men and infantilise women as weak and powerless. The truth is that men are not predatory rapists and whores do not institutionalise the sexual objectification of women. Julie Bindel and her colleagues deliberately confuse and hyper emotionalise societal guilt by reaffirming age old prejudices. When Julie Bindel refers to the vaginas of prostitutes as “Spittoons for male seamen” it seems to me that she is vocalising a deep rooted misogyny with in herself that is alarming for one so vocal in establishing herself as a voice for the feminist movement. Confusing the horrors of modern human trafficking with the wrongs with in an industry as stigmatised and criminalised as the sex industry is not soliciting universal liberation for women but simply re packaging and re branding prejudice and shame and confirming institutionalised intolerance.
Many leading radical feminist have too easily assumed the mantle of “good women” who instruct rather than listen. They rejoice in encouraging the law to infringe on individual liberty and choice and in denying labour rights to men and women who refuse to kneel to their oppressive liturgy of intolerance. True feminists would embrace the whore and understand the power of the whore and understand that far from epitomising male violence the whore challenges social oppression of both men and women by refusing to conform to narrow oppressive role prescriptions.
The radical feminism espoused by those who negate whores and pimps and johns are by their attacks doing nothing radical. What they do is reinforce the prejudice that supports the traffickers and abusive pimps and the degrading conditions often unfairly associated with sex work. When they deny the possibility of alternatives and refuse to listen to sex workers and use negative language that stereotypes sex work they are not liberating women but upholding an abusive legislature and discriminatory culture. When Julie Bindel and friends choose to distort the realities of the experiences of the majority of sex workers they support rather than challenge the patriarchy that also allows the abusers in the sex industry to prosper. Arguing for and encouraging social exclusion and legal abuse against sex workers secures both the radical feminists in their distortion of the truth and allows them to secure arguments by attempting to wipe out the conditions that would allow alternative working conditions for sex workers to flourish. This is the exact opposite to the liberal idealism from which modern feminism was born.
Thus Radical feminism is anything but radical but rather a betrayal.