“What do sex workers want?”

Switching gears tonight…

“What do sex workers want? | Toni Mac | TEDxEastEnd”:

Excellent talk there! Decriminalization is truly the only humane route to go in, I agree wholeheartedly. This has been my position for many years, and I will continue to stand by that ’til the day that I die. Guaranteed.

A person’s body is their own domain. Period. We as individuals are obviously going to do with ours as we see fit, whether you agree or not, whether you like it or not. Doesn’t matter what your religions say. Just a fact of life, and you can either make this harder on people for no better reasons than your drive to control what is not up to you (or your false beliefs about what keeps people safe — listen to that woman right there, she explains it very well) or you can help make it actually safer. Your politicians lie to you. Your fear of trafficking isn’t substantiated, not when all ideas being legally put forth do nothing to improve the situation.

Fuck your prohibition. Fuck your legalization schemes and controlling methods. Fuck your Nordic/Swedish model. Fuck your Nevada brothels. Period. That remains my stance. Unwaveringly.

That lady in the video demonstrates the nice and courteous face to this sort of dialogue. I admittedly and unapologetically am the bulldog.

Yes, he is a human being. And so am I. And so are you.

Happened to stumble across this video clip this morning:

He is a human being. Very humbling to listen to his words and to take time to consider how close any one of us is to experiencing that same fate. Many are only a couple paychecks away from possibly losing everything…

Homeless persons have always pulled at my heartstrings, as I’m sure is true for many others out here. They remind us of our shared humanity as well as how rapidly luck can turn, how bad circumstances can spiral and snowball into desperate situations. Puts into clearer perspective one’s own pains and problems.

Might sound cliche, but I’m going somewhere with this.

Ya know, one thing that always comes to mind when I’m confronted with a homeless person, as occurred again yesterday, is what tools are at my disposal to ward off such a fate. Not all have access to the same tools though. It might displease some people to hear it, but I’m going to be blunt here. I got lucky by being born a reasonably attractive female in this day and time. Why? Because I could always trade my sexuality in order to access what I needed, primarily money. Hence why I worked as an escort throughout much of my 20s. Does that come with its own downside and psychological baggage? Of course it does, but I never went homeless for more than a night. Been mistreated and put up with more than I cared to, but I was luckily savvy enough to steer clear of most druggies and dangerous individuals, and there I’m referring to my teenage years, prior to becoming an escort, which I believe the education provided during those years conditioned me to handle. It’s tough out here for young people who don’t have protective families to provide for their needs and to keep them safe, and some of us had to learn many things the hard way. Some of us got luckier than others, if we’re to make that crude comparison.

But that realization can’t help but humble me, knowing I possessed something naturally bestowed that could be honed and used to attract what I needed to get by. And not just tens of dollars but hundreds of dollars per client. And like a lot of inexperienced youths, I took that for granted at the time, not realizing yet how time would take its toll eventually. Though, luckily, another business opportunity presented itself to my imagination and so I transitioned that direction and have remained there ever since, leaving behind that old lifestyle, though carrying forward its lessons, as well as its psychic scars.

Those scars came primarily as a result of how people label you, the words they call you, how they look at and judge you…how some come to see you as less than human (“lower than a dog” is one insult that stayed in my mind over the years). In that respect, I can relate to that man in the video and others like him, though our paths were very different. Words do hurt, absolutely they do. They have power. We can pretend they don’t, but when one’s humanity is denied and you realize some people see you as completely disposable, as irrelevant, as something different from themselves to either be used or avoided, it can’t help but mess with a person’s mind and damage the soul. Thankfully better people exist who do not view others in that narrow of a way, and I was fortunate to have known plenty who treated me fairly decently and noted the potential within me. Not everybody receives such a fair shake as that though, particularly when they’ve grown old and appear physically worn out or belong to a race that some others choose to disdain.

That’s a sad truth in this life. Everybody needs a helping hand from time to time. Every single one of us. And everybody deserves to have their humanity recognized, setting aside all the labeling garbage.

I can be in my worst hours, feeling like I don’t know where to go from here, feeling that rock bottom isn’t terribly far off, and then I come across someone in a worse situation who’s humbled and sad and in need. A look in my wallet tells me I have something that they could benefit from more than I likely will. In my life, money has generally been easy come, easy go. So I share it with others who might hopefully be able to put it to better use. Figure I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to attract enough to cover what I need, so the rest is just a gift, an extraneous offering intended to be shared when paths cross and needs are going unmet. Feels like the right thing to do, ever since I was a young teenager and first confronted on the streets by a homeless elderly woman in Gulfport, Mississippi. We share, because we are human. What else is money for than to provide what we need to survive?

Material desires feel trifling as time moves on. Don’t need so many fancy gadgets or designer brands or decorative furnishings. They don’t bring much pleasure, not usually, not unless received as gifts from people who cared. My life has simplified tremendously since around 2007. I am largely content wearing the same garments until they become too tattered to restore. Have shoes I haven’t tried on in years. Appreciate the jewelry received as gifts along the way, but there’s no real desire for more. All of the art on my walls was either painted by me or received as gifts. Most books I purchase used for cheap, and some of them belong among my prized possessions. Clothing and lingerie hang in my closets that haven’t been worn in years, awaiting the day I might fit into them again. Sometimes I go through phases of buying makeup, but mostly it sits unused, causing me to feel guilty for wasting money on petty indulgences. During daytime hours I ceased wearing makeup anyway.

Most flowers I receive these days are clipped out of people’s gardens, and it really brightens my day when someone makes the offer and asks me to bring by a vase for them to fill. The homegrown peonies on my counter currently mean more than store-bought roses ever could. Because it came from their own garden, which is a product of their own skills and effort and time spent. Same for when people offer to share with me vegetables they’ve grown.

Very thankful that my vehicle is paid off, though it requires repairs soon. Still sad that someone who knew how to fix it led me on and never did so, but that’s on him now, considering I did try to do right by him by buying him nice things and making sure he had some of what he needed to get by, like snow tires for his car this past winter. But we shouldn’t think about that right now. A friend has offered to help me with that instead. And that’s been a harsh lesson right there — expending energy on someone who didn’t truly appreciate it while depriving myself in the process. But whatever. We live and we learn…

And now, lately, I’ve been frequenting bars more often than I probably ought to, wasting money on drinks that only contribute empty calories, in an effort to numb some of the feelings I have inside. Pacing the cage, yes. Using these outings as opportunities to meet and converse with new people, some of whom are in more troubled spaces themselves, others who have wisdom to offer up, while keeping an eye out for those who just wish to exploit and take advantage since those types are everywhere. But it beats sitting at home drinking alone as I have been doing too much of these last two years. Can’t bear doing that anymore. Not even allowing myself to purchase alcohol for home consumption anymore. Because it got to feeling like a slow death. The opposite of living. Isolating myself away from others and our shared human concerns and the ways in which we might help one another. When I’m out I see people, including those in unfortunate circumstances, and a part of me feels guilty for wasting as much as I do and not contributing more. Though I suppose it’s impossible to live within a consumption-based economy without participating to whatever extent as a consumer. Either way, I choose to share. I’d probably just drink that money away anyway. And if that individual chooses to do so, maybe it was their turn. What do I care? If it brings them a little peace for the evening, then isn’t that worthwhile?

We all hurt and we all go through rough times in whatever form it may take. Pain is pain. Sometimes just sitting with a person and listening to them is more valuable than anything else you can provide. Sharing meals is the simplest and most meaningful form of communion. The more greedy I behave as, the more miserable I become…that’s something life’s been teaching me over time as well. My things don’t bring me as much pleasure as interaction with good people does. My day feels purposeful when I am able to offer useful assistance of some kind. And I think that points to what it truly means to be human.

Some say that I am selfish woman. They are correct, but that’s not all I am. Never claimed to be a good person, though I’d like to think I’m not the worst, troubled as I obviously am. But when I share what I do have, my burdens feel a little lighter and my outlook appears a little less gloomy. Because I’m reminded that we’re all in this together, and it can be no other way.

How do I, as a former escort, live with myself, he asks?

Thinking about what was written to me yesterday (as was showcased in my last post)…

When someone asks me something like “how did you live with yourself?” for working as an escort in my 20s, it’s a bit perplexing. It causes me to wonder how others can be so blind to human nature (as well as animal nature) that they view our sexuality as some sort of unique sin within human life. It’s really not about money specifically so much as an exchange of resources and companionship, yet others try to make it out to be so ugly and dirty and with their words strip it down into something it needn’t be. That innocence they all claim to care about is tainted by their own imaginations and words oftentimes more so than the reality of the situation itself. It doesn’t help that most people out in the public get their education about sex work from HBO or the bible.

Human sexuality can be very complicated, but it also can be very simple. When someone looks at sex work as the opposite of anything having to do with love, I think it depends entirely on the situation and the persons involved. It’s not automatically the opposite of a labor of love. Work in general can and does itself go either way depending on the situation and the people involved. I happened to like my job and most of the people I chose to spend time with while in it. Many of my clients were very sweet and accommodating, as I tried to be toward them as well. Bonds developed between some of us that lasted years. True friendships even developed in some cases, a couple even that transcended sex work and continue on to this day even when the offer of sex was taken off the table years ago.

Involving money doesn’t automatically preclude genuine care and concern. And money isn’t sufficient all unto itself to make a person debase herself. Just because money is offered didn’t mean I had to take up any and every offer, and it didn’t mean I felt obligated to do anything and everything somebody wanted. No. Nor did I. I was very selective about my clients, and rightfully so.

What people seem to envision is so far from the reality most of the time. We’d typically meet and then go to dinner, sometimes at very fine places I otherwise might never have had access to on my own. And we’d talk and get to know one another, with the emphasis placed on me getting to know them, working toward getting the man to feel comfortable in my presence. We might enjoy a couple glasses of wine, but that’d be it — rarely more than that since it’s important to stay on track and focused. Then we’d go back to the hotel room and lounge and chat until it came time for me to slip into a gown and light the candles and turn on some music. We tended to like to rub and massage one another. We kissed and embraced. And cuddling was a big part of our time together oftentimes. A date lasted several hours, sex being only one aspect of it. I used to say that sex might be 10% of a date overall, albeit a very important 10% of it. But still…just 10%. The rest of the time was spent talking and petting and snuggling. So it’s not uncommon that bonds could arise, even if they didn’t rise to the level of love the way some think sexual encounters properly should. But there was affection and intrigue and compassion…which people out in the public prefer to ignore or dismiss when they discuss sex work.

My goal was to make the experience as mutually enjoyable as possible. Though I was there to tend to their needs primarily, since that was my job — to make these men feel better for a while. To give them someone to talk to who wouldn’t betray their trust, and I’ve kept my end of the bargain ever since.

The money was exchanged not just for sexual access but to establish boundaries. An important boundary was for me to let them go back to their lives without further interruption until we met again. And admittedly, providing for people in such a way can prove a bit draining on one’s soul over time, because life can be lonely and that sort of arrangement can underscore that feeling. It’s not exactly easy pouring your care into someone for a temporary amount of time, only to release them and then to go back to one’s own empty apartment. And it’s not easy when members of the general public deride you as a whore for doing what you do and say god-awful things to try to make you feel cheap and disposable. They know not what they speak. They just stand in judgment, unable to comprehend that there are people out there who appreciate you for taking up time with them in such a way and making them feel special for an evening.

Not everyone can or wishes to go out to bars or to play the dating game or to risk forming major attachments that may interfere with their jobs or lifestyles. Some men are married and are dealing with the passion fading in their marriages after having raised a family. Some men are nearing retirement age and just wanted to enjoy the company of a lady a good bit younger than themselves whom they learned about and interacted with online and found interesting. Some men are disabled and ashamed of their disabilities and have therefore had no success in the dating circuit. Some men are reclusive and going through hard times and just wanted someone to sit with them and hug them and breathe some playfulness back into their lives. Some men work long hours and didn’t have the time or energy to devote to an ongoing love affair with anybody. Some men were depressed after divorces and just wanted a no-hassle encounter where the conditions were understood upfront.

And I enjoyed providing that to them, so long as they were kind to me. Those who weren’t kind I walked away from, because no amount of money is worth scarring one’s psyche. Those wounds linger, so I was very careful to protect my interests as well as theirs. And a lot of us had fun. Enough so that many of the same men came back to see me again and again over the years, sometimes setting up regular arrangements from month to month.

I kept my fees very reasonable (comparably speaking in terms of the length of the date), because I understood the external costs the man bore for the evening, like the hotel room and dinner and perhaps also his travel expenses if he was from out of area. Because I preferred lengthier dates that allowed enough time for us to relax and feel comfortable with one another, I set it up that way and let it be known on my site. Because I wanted to be choosy too, I didn’t vie for top dollar for overnight dates (even when encouraged to do so). I strove to be reasonable and fair there, which allowed for more selection to choose from and made the dates affordable enough to where a man could visit me regularly. But it was enough that I got by just fine and was free to book usually only about 7-8 dates per month (a number of them being repeat clients, as mentioned already). This allowed me to focus the majority of my time on my school studies and reduced the sense of burnout that tends to come with a profession like that.

We had some really nice times. Lots of worthwhile memories. But then the naysayers on the outside looking in, plus my own sense of loneliness, eventually got to me…

What do people really want from you? They want everything. Too much. Sometimes clients get overly attached. Too often supposed friends and members of the public cast harsh judgments. But I learned long before ever becoming an escort that people are fickle and that they judge and condemn without much provocation or warrant. People like to call someone out of their name for anything and everything — for doing what they want or for not doing what they want or for doing with someone else what they themselves wanted. Or simply for entertainment, it seemed in some cases. And by this I’m referring to my teenage years too when it’s all-too-common for others (peers and adults alike) to harshly judge budding female sexuality — just automatically, without even anything to go off of other than perhaps their own sexual interest in you. I’ve listened to being called a “whore” since I was 13 or 14 years old, loooong before anyone could justifiably say such things about me. My initial crime was hitting puberty and attracting male attention.

We like to think that words do no harm, but they can get into a person’s psyche and become embedded. That’s proven true for me — the so-called whore. I’ve tried to embrace the term to lessen its stigma, but it always burns. Because it says to me that no matter what I do I cannot escape this word, this designation. Not unless I lived a life up on a shelf or perhaps if I proved to be tomboyish enough to erase my femininity (in which case they like to denounce you as a lesbian, so you can’t win for losing). But that is not who I am, and I always reveled in the exploration of my sexuality.

Intimacy is a beautiful thing — like a bird that has to remain free to land where it so chooses. You try to cage it, and there will be unforeseen consequences. You cannot trap and contain all of nature, much as people try. You have to let the spirit be free to interact and connect as it needs to. Love is the same way. You cannot force it, cannot coerce it — it is spontaneous in origin. Money cannot buy it, but nor does money automatically eradicate the possibility of it blooming. Humans do not seem to understand this.

I don’t know what my purpose in this life is. But I never regretted my time working as an escort and actually for a while there felt connected to something beyond myself in catering to my people. It felt right and undeserving of the cruel lashings the outside world likes to put upon it. It felt very much more innocent than half of anything that ever arises from the bar-scene, that much is for certain. By and large, it felt like human beings finding one another and taking comfort in each other’s presence. We each were searching for something and took refuge together when our paths crossed.

Not all clients were like that. Some came in with more mechanical interests. Some watched too much porn and thereby hindered their own abilities to experience intimacy in a mutually fulfilling way. Some clients belonged among online “hobbyist” groups where they bonded with other men over the sharing of (typically trumped-up) stories of their sexual exploits. Those clients wore me down and turned me off. I dealt with them as little as possible. Our agendas did not align. I had (and have) no love for so-called “hobbyists.”

And there were risks. It’s a risky profession. You take chances, even when you screen someone properly. I was very fortunate overall though. But there are some men who will hold you down and take what they want without concern for you or your comfort and safety. My experience has shown me you can meet those types of men anywhere, and through screening I rarely dealt with them during my time working as an escort. Much more likely to run across them at a bar or tavern, IME. I found that it was “civie” men (in other words, non-clients) who found out I worked as an escort who’d try to give me the hardest time, because they thought they could get away with it. They tried devaluing me far more than my clients ever did or would have dreamt of. Because in their twisted minds, that’s what I was there for. But no. That’s not what I was put here for, to be treated in an inhumane fashion by some stranger with a chip on his shoulder. No. And I continue to resent those memories. But they were not the fault of the industry and, as stated before, debuted in my life before I ever became an escort. Because that’s how some men are — always seeking a reason to see someone else as a toy they can use and abuse and discard. That points to something contained within human nature that is conveniently blamed off on the so-called whore because such men refuse to stand accountable for their own actions and choices and because they lack any real moral compass and only care about what they might legally get away with.

My disdain for men who act like that is a bottomless pit. They have earned my wrath, not only from what I know of them but also what I hear my loved ones suffered being put through by these types as well. If one wants to talk about evil, look there. They are the possessors and the controllers and the destroyers of innocence, because they care not. And yet they aim to conflate their dehumanizing ambitions with all of sex and all of love and all of intimacy that anyone else might be capable of experiencing. That‘s sick. It really is. But there it is, plain as day for anyone who cares to look at it.

I take issue with what we like to refer to as evil for this reason in particular, especially if the offense is done against a child. And it is this sort of shit that led me into studying the dark side of human nature and social dynamics, which I’ve spent the last decade or more learning about. As recommended before, the books of Erich Fromm help illuminate what I am pointing to here.

Some people are incapable of experiencing love, for whatever reasons, and yet they speak as though they are experts. And they denigrate the experiences of others by trying to make them out to appear pathetic and unworthy, when they themselves wouldn’t know a damned thing about something truly worthy. They live in their egos and are not interested in seeking truth. Reality appears to terrify them, for whatever reasons, so they try to construct their own. And they then preach from their pulpits to others, trying to poison the minds of the young and naive and downtrodden so that they too might turn out as miserable and thereby help validate the sick preacher’s distorted worldview.

I want nothing to do with that other than to study it.  But I am familiar and it’s THAT which ever made me feel dirty and low.

So, how do I live with myself? By walking on, placing one foot in front of the other, like so many out here. I’ve been living and learning. There are moral concerns with attaching “price tags” to sexual encounters, I would not dispute that. And there are moral concerns when it comes to dealing with married men, especially considering how popular it is in society to blame the “other” woman. I carry the weight of those concerns and have for over a decade. They undoubtedly will accompany me to my grave someday. I am not perfect and I never claimed to be a saint. Life is tricky and there is no purity here, not among adults. Everything’s a tradeoff. Pain and pleasure are not wholly separated. Love can be complex, and monogamy is much harder for some to stick with than others. And now we live in the era of full-blown decadence and temptation, which only further compounds these matters. Morality at this stage of the game is an interesting inquiry and one I take up a lot of time pondering in recent years. But I won’t claim to have the answers, especially not some universal answer applicable to all others.

Life tosses opportunities your way and you do with them what you can. All in all, when I look back, I am not ashamed of those life choices. It was a very human and humane occupation. Why must I regret that? Why have so many people pressured me to regret that? I cannot and I will not. It provided me with useful perspective on a lot of things, plenty of which might not even seem directly correlated in any way. We have this one life to live, and to spend it tucked safely away and above all scrutiny from others was never my ambition. I preferred to live my life and to do so on terms I established. If that’s wrong, then I apparently am incapable of being right in accordance with the ideals of others.

Thoughts to be continued another time…

[Updated the next day for greater clarity and to correct typos.]

Prostitution: You don’t have to like it, but it’s still not going anywhere.

Why are prostitutes noteworthy all unto themselves? What really differentiates them from the rest of the herd?

I keep getting into occasional disputes with people, mostly online, about the topic of prostitution and their desire to eradicate it. For the record, I personally support decriminalization and am not much of a fan of legalized schemes, not unless they somehow operated in conjunction with a decriminalized scheme that allowed independents to do what they do without being subject to police harassment and arrest. That’s a pretty radical attitude, I’m sure, and it’s been my stance for over a decade now, as a former independent escort (2003-2009).

Now, what I find mildly amusing is how many folks out here view prostitutes as the worst of the worst, as people needing to be intervened on more and more, as if prostitution is going away anytime soon. I’m full of sneers on this topic, because I see it as perfect hypocrisy that so many folks concern themselves with what others do even (especially) when it doesn’t directly affect them.

People say exchanging sex for money is a crime. But I ask what if a person is exchanging sex for access to resources and money from one individual? Do we not call that a relationship or marriage? That’s not to belittle marriage, seeing as how it can also involve child-rearing and love, but it needn’t involve those things is the point here. What if a person exchanges sex for money from 2 people or 3 people or 5 people on an ongoing, exclusive basis? Is that still somehow a crime needing to be punished by society? I’m asking where is the defining line.

People say a prostitute has multiple clients. Okay, she might. She doesn’t have to though. But folks like to squall about how a prostitute seeing dozens if not hundreds of men is a major problem for all of society. To which I say: Do you feel the same way about people who sleep around with high numbers of partners without accepting money directly in exchange? It remains perfectly legal to go to a bar or a club and to pick up a new sexual partner every night. You can even go out and trade sex in exchange for dinners, drinks, gifts, a place to stay, to enhance one’s professional connections, etc., and who can make a legal argument against that? Some may try to make an ethical argument against it, but that’s outside of the scope of criminality, which is what sex workers are being forced to contend with.

I find it irritatingly bizarre how people refuse to comprehend how blurred the lines are when it comes to human sexuality. Humans exchange sex, according to supply and demand, for all sorts of perks and benefits. Sometimes it’s simply for attention, but it can also be utilized to secure one’s place in an ongoing arrangement that indeed does involve money but is not exchanged transactionally in a tit-for-tat way. Yet people have little to say about that. But is it not prostitution essentially? If I chose to marry a man for money and granted him exclusive access to me sexually, is that eerily similar to prostitution? In fact, what would be the real difference?

If a woman chooses to see a handful of men fairly regularly and exchange sex for money, an agreement all involved are on board with, why is this deemed a crime? Or is it only a criminal concern in the minds of most when the individual takes it to the streets? Well, either way, in the eyes of the Law both are viewed as prostitution and cops indeed do waste time and resources going after under-the-radar escorts who arguably don’t pose a big problem for the rest of society.

I’ve always found that irritating and just this morning conducted a search online and found a blog of some vigilante from a city I used to work and live in who posts up information he dug up on the local working girls, claiming we’re destroying families and marriages and that we’re disease-ridden.

Can’t speak for the rest of you, but I was STD tested FAR more than ANY CIVILIAN I EVER MET. Period. And I never contracted an STD from a client, nor spread one. Why? Because condom use is the norm in that industry, for one, and because I wasn’t jumping in bed with just anybody and everybody who waved money in my face. Imagine that. There are screening requirements in order to stay safe and to reduce the chances of dealing with drug-addicted and/or dangerous men. BUT…on the topic of STDS…

Anyone can go out and contract an STD, no money need be involved. Of the two men I’ve known who contracted HIV, both did so in their personal lives. One was a gay man, one was hetero. Neither case involved them paying a prostitute (though one did in fact involve a personal relationship with a, come to find out, knowingly infected street-walker — pisses me off to no end — tragic fucking case). Of the females I’ve known who’ve contracted STDs, none were prostitutes. They met men at bars and slept with them for free. The one time I contracted an STI (one and only, in 2008. luck has been on my side there) was from a jerk (truly turned out to be the case) I casually met at a bar, wearing a suit (vouched for by the bartender even — and I had been going in to that wine bar from time to time for a few years by then, bringing clients even), who readily acknowledged and claimed to appreciate upfront that I stated I would go with him to listen to music but wasn’t interested that evening in sex. Tough titty said the kitty…  Not a good memory of a randomly met guy I seemed to jibe with while out at a bar. Luckily Trichomoniasis is easily and quickly curable and I was treated ASAP through Planned Parenthood.

I point that out since people love to blame escorts/prostitutes for STD transmission when it’s plain as day that people are spreading diseases just through sex alone, regardless of whether money is involved. And in fact, there are statistics that claim in the U.S. prostitutes have a 30% lower STD rate than the general population due to much stricter condom usage. That was reported in a book titled Prostitution: On Whores, Hustlers, and Johns by James E. Elias (Ph.D.), et al. (which included a forward written by former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders). So put that in your pipe and smoke it.  [Update: Been years since I read that book. Need to find a used copy and quote the actual stats mentioned. Will eventually do so, or someone else can post up the relevant portion of the book if they have access to a copy. I’m going on personal recollection here, having read the book back in 2003. Would like to quote it accurately and thoroughly and will do so and make mention of it here.]

As for wrecking family values… What family values? A man who wants to remain a family man and not part with his money or engage in sex with someone outside of his marriage is free to do so. No one is forcing him to go visit a sex worker. Hell, I’m on board with the notion that people who agree to be exclusive with one another probably ought to uphold those vows. But how do you stop them? By removing all temptations?  lol  Good luck with that. Plenty of people engage in affairs that, once again, have nothing to do with exchanging money directly for sex. So what can be done about that? Should all women be put on lock-down and made to wear burkas and not allowed outside of the house without a male family member escorting her?  tongue_out

It seems to me when it comes to so-called “family values” that the only people capable of maintaining such values are those who willfully do so. Can’t force it. Can’t legally sanction it (beyond what’s already on the books relating to divorce law in some states). People possess a measure of free will to decide how to conduct themselves, right or wrong, so if we’re going to talk about the problems our society faces it would help to place responsibility on all involved rather than to see it simply as these poor men being taken advantage of by advertisements on the internet luring them into driving to hotels and parting with their money. As if they don’t possess choice. As if they aren’t grown men capable of comprehending the risks they take, not only with their bodily health but also the well-being of their marriages. So give credit where it’s due.

I’m damned tired of human beings and all the excuses we drum up for why this class of people deserves to be vilified while that class over there is nothing but a bunch of helpless victims of circumstance because they happen to be men with families. And I’m damned tired of people acting like everybody else’s sex lives is somehow their business. Look, if you don’t agree with prostitution, fine, but this dream of eradicating it isn’t realistic. Sex can be and is exchanged for all sorts of things and always has been. Always. Look back through history, especially getting back to primitive relations. None of this is new. The only thing new in the equation today is the capitalist economy, which does add a special type of burden since we’re all in need of money and yet not all are constituted equally. Supply and demand. You don’t have to like it, and in some ways I don’t even like it, but it is what it is.

To regulate the sex of sex workers would require the regulation of sex for ALL CITIZENS. And since that is impossible, all we’re left with is this cat-and-mouse game. Some play it for years and are never caught. Thanks to the internet it’s much more easy for sex workers to conceal what they’re up to, and since it keeps the activity off the streets and confined to apartments and hotels it’s not exactly presenting a public nuisance. And yet some folks can’t be content with that either. Why? I guess some folks seek out something to hunt down and track and expose to the light. Why? I’m of the assumption that they take great issue with humanity at its core, that they can’t stand the “dirty underbelly” of human nature and economics, and some I think just want to feel like better humans than others. Well, have at it, assholes. You still won’t ever win. There’s too much demand and too many people to try to keep up with.

This is indeed more unwinnable than the drug war.

But you can’t convince people of anything when they’re convinced they’re morally in the right.

I’ve tired of humans in a major way throughout this whole learning and living process. I’ve tired of so many of your laws and your drive to micromanage one another and your righteous indignation in the face of something that truly isn’t your business. There’s plenty in this life I don’t like either, but who cares? Nobody. So I went about earning a living and taking care of myself in a way I knew how, and I still don’t regret it, though I don’t necessarily recommend it either. Everything comes with tradeoffs and life isn’t peachy for plenty of people. Isn’t so simple and sweet and innocent. I’m sorry, folks, but life is complicated, and we can’t live up in a society together without transgressing on one another’s ideas of how society should rightly function.

Hell, I took supreme issue with the corporate bailouts and saw that as a far worse crime than any prostitute could manage. But do others see it that way? Apparently not. Yet they want me to care about their feelings when it comes to my getting by in this world? Get the fuck out of here with that.

Here we stand, a herd of cat-like individuals doing our own things, pissing each other off non-stop. Some like to imagine if they keep fighting “the good fight” they’ll eventually triumph over that which they deem to be “bad,” but in reality it’s going to go on and on and on. Because that’s how humans operate. Criminalize something and you wind up with a game of whack-a-mole. Try to legalize something and you’ll still find outliers who say “fuck your scheme, it’s not for me.” Always. I see no way around that.

These thoughts were generated this morning thanks to a fairly brief exchange with a user who goes by the screenname “MRAsExposed” on Divinity33372’s latest video’s comment section: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6mks484h6E&google_comment_id=z12at1fqlmyvdbtj504cgf35evbfuduo1jw  [I noticed since posting this that MRAsExposed deleted at least one of his/her comments on that thread, for the record. Namely the last one where he or she told me to not reply to him/her again.]

But it’s the same argument I’ve had with people for years. Nothing really new. No minds wind up changed. Just is what it is, and on and on it goes. I don’t claim to have the answers, just observing life unfolding…

Ted Bundy spoke in his final hours (plus my thoughts on pornography and violent programming)

“Serial Killer Ted Bundy: Final Interview – Only Hours Before Execution – Full”:

[Dammit. Just figured out that second clip begins repeating the whole interview around the 8-minute mark. (And the first of these was cropped in an annoying fashion.) The original video of the full interview I’d found and posted up has since been removed from youtube, so we’ll have to work with this until a better version is uploaded.]

Ted Bundy has interested me since I was about 18 and first read Ann Rule’s book on him titled Stranger Beside Me. She actually knew Ted personally from way back when and struggled to accept the allegations against him were true even while writing that book. But his own admissions soon thereafter erased all of her doubts.

He’s the kind of man the death penalty remains in existence for. Because, as should be obvious to anyone, he did not possess self-control and was psychologically demented on such a level that rehabilitation and re-entrance into society would have never been possible. Though I am glad that in his later years he took time and effort to explore why he had done what he did to all those people and then came out pointing to factors that contributed to his depravity (while clearly stating his family life had not expressly been the culprit).

But I didn’t post this up just to lambast this man any more than has been done already. Actually, I share this interview because a part of me has always been fascinated with this man’s thought process and actions for reasons that make me more than a little uncomfortable in my own skin. In short, on some level I get how and why he became a monster, and I share his stated view that coming up exposed to extreme forms of violence and hardcore pornography does unarguably impact and damage our imaginations and psyche, whether we’re conscious of it or not.

I say that as someone who watched anything and everything violent and grotesque out of curiosity, beginning when I was too young and continuing on until fairly recent times. My own imagination has been darkened and distorted on account of such exposure as well, and perhaps this is partly due to underlying personality traits that make some of us more receptive to entertaining destructive fantasies, as Bundy pondered on as well. He had the benefit of a pretty good family and home life and had access to quality educational opportunities that he took advantage of — and yet, even those ‘safety nets’ proved insufficient in his case.

Now, in my own case, I do not harbor fantasies anywhere near as destructive as those he carried out, nor have I ever behaved violent on a scale even remotely similar to what he was convicted of. BUT, I have nevertheless been impacted, partly even by learning of this man’s story. Back when I first began studying up on Ted Bundy during my young marriage, I grew extremely paranoid of men in general and opportunistic attackers particularly. My first response was to draw drastic contrast between myself and men of his ilk, wishing to clearly demarcate between a psychology such as he possessed versus my own. But in the more than a decade since beginning this inquiry, honestly the lines have become more blurred. Continue reading