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Comment 1: Every time I take the California Zephyr and go through Reno, the On Board Chief of Services, or one of his minions, never fails to point out the famous Mustang Ranch, located in a secluded valley twenty-some miles out of Sparks, Nevada. If you've ever been curious about what goes on, and why, in Nevada's brothels and the Mustang Ranch, in particular, you will find this a fascinating book. I did. Ms. Albert, a public health specialist, had been interested for years in HIV and STD transmission and condom usage. She was curious to measure the impact of legalized prostitution on these parameters. Her first overtures to George Flint, ordained minister, wedding chapel owner, and executive director for the Nevada Brothel Association, were rebuffed, but she didn' give up. Flint realized she was a serious researcher and paved the way for her to spend several weeks living (not working) at the famous Mustang Ranch in Storey County, near Reno — not in Reno, and that distinction is important and has historical roots. Brothels can only be licensed legally in counties, and Reno and Las Vegas have chosen not to do so. That is itself an interesting story, because one of the staunch opponents of legalized prostitution in Las Vegas has been Steve Wynn, wealthy casino owner, who publicly argues that it tarnishes the image of Las Vegas, gambling and former mob mecca of the world. Privately, many speculate that the real reason is that unlicensed, freelance prostitution, which thrives in Las Vegas, takes place in the hotels that own the casinos and therefore keeps the gamblers in the casinos where they belong. The brothels are all located in remote areas, away from the cities and that takes money away from the casinos. Brothels are prohibited from advertising, yet the freelancers have 140 pages in the Las Vegas Yellow Pages devoted to their activities which are completely unregulated. A brothel can be a very substantial source of revenue for the county (4% of Storey County's total revenue in the case of the Mustang). Annual license fees in the hundreds of thousands are not rare, and the associated employment brings in needed additional tax revenue. Following the federal seizure of the Mustang Ranch for the failure of the owner to pay appropriate income taxes (he was a fugitive in Brazil and hiding the revenue under a false corporation), the brothel has been shut down until the courts can decide on the legality of the appeal of the conviction. The Feds had thought about running the brothel to bring in some revenue to pay the expenses of the prosecution, but that was deemed politically unwise. The author came away from the experience a confirmed advocate of legalized prostitution. Customers and prostitutes are safe and the regulation is intense. Condom usage is mandatory, as are regular health checkups, and in fact no licensed prostitute has ever been diagnosed with HIV, although several applicants, who were refused licenses, had been. It's ironic, but the johns have virtually no control over their experience at the brothel except for the selection of the girl, and even that is often out of their control. If the word gets around that a particular john is impolite, routinely abusive, or just generally obnoxious, the word gets around, and the girls will walk him, i.e., quote impossibly high prices (as independent contractors they set their own prices, returning 50% to the brothel), and soon the john leaves, frustrated to say the least. In any case, the girls remain in complete control of the situation and each customer gets a thorough wash and genital examination to look for any sign of an STD. Many of the women see themselves as providing a valuable public service, and from her interviews with many of the clients, Ms. Albert would agree. For many of the men, it's their only form of social contact, and many even become quite addicted to it, even to the point where they subsidize the girls beyond what happens in the building, giving them extra clothes, helping with moving, the rent, etc. But to the majority of the women, a trick is still a trick, and they can be quite good at manipulating these relationships. Most of them are in it for the money, which can be very good. Some were persuaded by husbands, others by mothers!!, most by financial necessity, but many have worked for many years. Several insisted they can completely separate their professional lives from their personal, insisting they maintain a normal life at home with their husbands and families. But despite its legalization, the life lacks legitimacy, and those who work in the brothels as barkeeps, maids, vendors, and prostitutes develop a sense of community and family that provides structure and support that they often lack elsewhere. The brothel "had provided an income as well as friendship, compassion, trust and hope for countless women and men. In many ways, Mustang Ranch picked up where society had dropped the ball. It had provided a safe, nonjudgmental, economically sound work environment and a fair way for a community of several dozen women and their familles to meet their most basic needs. Whatever you think of prostitution and its legalization, this is an essential and very interesting read.
Comment 1: read somewhere between 1996 and 1999. I remember being really glad someone had the balls to say what they wanted to say about sex. And that they were funny, but that they were not humiliating. I still recommend this book to people. Comment 2: I read this one night while housesitting at Ailecia and Sara/Seren/Matthew's apartment when I couldn't find their porn stash. The writing was good and smart, but didn't quite do what I was hoping it would. Comment 3: I don't agree with susie bright on most things but I enjoy her work and writing... I thought this book was funny and interesting even where I disagreed.
Comment 1: This was an absolutely fascinating and rare view into the world of porn. Kudos to Ms. Akira for her honesty and uncensored view not only of the porn world, but of her own life as well. I found it amazing that she could talk with such ease about so many different topics, which I don’t think I can list here. LOL. A super page turner. Could be shocking to some, but you know what you are getting into so if that kind of thing offends you, try something else. If you're fine with it, fasten your seat b Comment 2: I must admit that I read this book directly after reading autobiography of Lisa Ann. So my review is bit influenced by the fact - I could compare both books. Story of Asa is interesting because again it explains a lot what this mystical world that people don't talk about to much on public - really works. It's a factory and industry as any other. It's very strange world with own set of rules. Number one learning from this book is that many of those girls has a lot issues a lot. Question is if the Comment 3: Funny, honest, optimistic, and a welcome sight inside one of the world's most risque industries. Asa begins her look back on her years in pornography identifying the fact that most porn stars write books to talk about the negative side of the industry, which she never denies does not exist, but that hers is to talk about how much she loves her job. It was great to read a good, open, honest account from someone who legitimately does enjoy porn, who is tapped into their sexuality on a level that m
Comment 1: Coming of age in the '80s you could not have known about TL. Especially, as a teenage boy. She made an impact. Unfortunately, her book does not. She's not a writer and the constant self reflection about her choices is silly and distracting. She, of course, comes from a broken home. Yet another life that could have gone a good route if not for miserable parents. One half the book is about her life growing up, her entry into porn, and the scandal of her age. The rest of the book is about her attem Comment 2: I had heard about the scandal in the media, Traci Lords, underage porn star, the princess of porn, but it hadn't occurred to me that she had entered the world of pornography unwillingly, a victim of sexual abuse, neglect. Being so young and naive, she was greedily exploited, a child of the night. It's no wonder she abused drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. I understood her need to defend herself after all these years with this tell all book, make peace with her past, put it behind her. I'm glad Comment 3: This book was less about the industry and more about a girl who was unfortunate enough to have large breasts at ten and a step-father that noticed. The unusual circumstances that lead a 14-year-old into porn and how it turned her into a coke head...everything is narrated in a fast paced and engaging way. It is not depressing because Traci moved on. I discovered Traci Lords at a record shop. I loved her CD and had NO idea she had been a porn star and couldn't have imagined the worst of it. Worth
Comment 1: Laura Agustin has a remarkable ability to turn things on their head.If you read her blog, you'll be familiar with the narratives that she contests. But the book really brings it all together.The narrative is that all women who do sex work are victims. Nobody would ever chose to do that work. They have been coerced or duped. They need to be rescued. Triple that for migrants. But who is a migrant? Why are some people called migrants while others are called travelers, tourists, expats? A privileged person might go to another country to work a bit and have an adventure. But a poor person is only seen to be pushed out because of conflict or pulled in to earn money and nothing else - as though a worker is the only thing they are. Never do you hear that a poor woman wants to migrate in order to get new experiences or find herself. That's just reserved for the wealthy.Why is sex work treated so differently from other work? Why is it assumed to be worse than housekeeping, nannying, working in a factory, or investment banking at Goldman Sachs? Domestics are exempted from even the most basic employment laws. They are at the beck and call of the family they work for, often 24/7. Most people say that freedom and flexibility are the things they most want from their jobs. Yet we are all blind to that desire when it comes to women who are choosing between sex work and domestic service.It is difficult to find a rational reason for people to look at sex work as so much more exploitative than all the other types of work out there. Why is it so clear to people that sex work is problematic, but so difficult for people to see how dehumanizing other work is? Even more problematically, many of the women who work in the rescue industries are more than happy to use poor women as domestics while they pursue their careers. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me is the history of how the helping industry came to be, how middle class women with few options made careers out of charity work. But charity work requires victims to be saved, whether or not those people want the "help".It is always difficult to find the balance between considering the social circumstances and systemic injustices that limit people's choices while still respecting people. All people, regardless of their constraints, should be seen as full human beings with the ability to make decisions. Too often we see problems as statistics and certain people as acted upon only. This book tips the scales back in the direction of full human being.
Comment 1: Graphic novel that tells the story of a lesbian whore; not for weak sexual appetites. [My ex-boyfriend eyed what I was reading and wisely didn’t day anything, although frequently getting up to walk around and glance down at the illustrations.] Humorously and painfully written, this book both makes you want to get into the sex industry and bless your stars you are not involved right now, at the same time. Great book, I devoured it in a day, unable to put it down; a great book for a day after you’ Comment 2: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. A lot of people have a lot of opinions about Michelle Tea and my opinion is that I like her writing (in this book). I like how she rarely uses contractions. I like the way the dialogue interacts with the narrative. I like her theories and considerations and anger. I like the nonchalant way she introduces the occult and other alternative life choices. I also like the illustrations, although they don't do the same thing illustrations do in comic boo Comment 3: I have such a soft spot for Michelle Tea. Her rambling, stream-of-consciousness prose is always bursting with emotion, she paints such vivid portraits of her physical surroundings and the people in her life, that even while she was making terrible decisions and justifying them badly, I couldn't hold it against her. The subject matter would probably be maudlin in anyone else's hands (I'm broke, I have no prospects, my partner is emotionally manipulative, I work an exploitative job with unstable p
Comment 1: The Happy Hooker is a ground breaking work of sex positive feminism- a book that pushes forward the insane idea that women can actually enjoy sex, and in some cases financially profit from. It's a wild book for even now, but written in the 1970's it must've been full on Ringling Brothers. Scene: Dutch girl is a nymphomaniac (there's all sorts of romps including a cousin and a dog) who travels to America for love, and ends up brokenhearted and on her own. She turns one off encounter with a wealth Comment 2: My father was a psychiatrist & sexologist. He had this paperback somewhat hidden in his massive library of sex-science books. At age 17 I made a beeline to it, and what a slimy trashy delight it was. I learned some valuable lessons: for instance, the first man to take his clothes off at an orgy is always old, fat, and not well-endowed. I haven't been able to verify this info as of yet, but perhaps I will be able to at my future assisted living facility. Thank you, Xaviera Hollander! Comment 3: Part memoir, part erotica, part believable and part questionable. This autobiography of one of New York City's most successful Madames stretches the boundaries of belief and negates the theory that you need a decent copyeditor to get a book published. Xaviera Hollander is well known and continues on as a "Business Woman" in Holland today. It's a train wreck book - you don't want to look but it's hard to turn your eyes away.
Comment 1: When I first read the summary for this book, I thought it was such an interesting concept. A beautiful high-end call girl who gets to travel the world meeting gorgeous and rich men of her choosing? What’s not to like? Add to that the hot and wild sex scenes with previously aforementioned “gorgeous and rich men” and I was immediately sold. I will say that normally I go for romance books that will inevitably provide the elusive HEA ending for the couple in question. However, in this case I’m super Comment 2: I have a problem. I call it series-itis. There seems to be no cure for this issue. If only I was younger, single and just came upon a high end escort madam (give me a moment while I daydream about Cade and Daniel...and she hasn't even left the country yet). Lets face it, some of us know we would jump at the chance just like Morgan did! Looks like I am going to add my growing addiction of series-itis because I can't say no to a man with a Scottish accent. Comment 3: Book 1 in the Around the World in 80 Days series. We meet Morgan who is a single 21y/o gal, who's never had any luck with guys because she seems to go for the one's that are no good for her. She's stood up by one of these said men but while sitting waiting for him to show she is approached by a sophisticated looking woman who has an offer for her that after some deliberation and trials, she can't really refuse. Here begins Morgan's adventures...
Comment 1: boring badly written and French seemed to try to convince the reader that she never actually performed sexual services for money, but rather she is so beautiful ( clearly isn't from her jacket photo) men just threw dollars at her for her 'company' to talk?? Her words left me cold & with out her 'ghost writer' she'd have never gotten a deal.
Comment 1: My initial reaction to reading the first chapter of Jennie’s book can only be described as “stunned”. I’ve read Jennie's blog and she has spoken honestly about her past, but I never imagined it to be as she describes it here. As I read, I could see it, hear it, feel it….even smell it as If I was there watching this happen to her. They say that if an actor can physically make the audience feel what the character is feeling, then they are a great actor…Jennie does this with her writing. From the f Comment 2: This is a painful book to read and I have so much respect for her for writing it. Before the book was released, I had followed her from 'Celebrity Rehab' and her ensuing blog which chronicled the writing of her book, her struggles with sobriety and a new love. Her journey is breathtaking and gives those hope that no matter what their circumstances, they can turn their life around. I believe she is currently engaged and has completed her Bachelor's degree. I read somewhere that she wanted to be a Comment 3: This was a very well written account of one woman's journey to finding her soul and learning how to accept herself. Jennie Ketcham has a courageous spirit that anyone can resonate with whether or not you've ever worked in the sex industry. Her honesty is refreshing and raw. I can only hope that it can serve as inspiration and hope to others who have walked in her shoes and those who wish to make a change in their lives. Jennie Ketcham truly is an inspiration that I know will help her to pay it f
Comment 1: Review posted August 26th on http://a-reader-lives-a-thousand-live...This review will make frequent mentions of sex and sexual activities (as could be expected from the well known book title!)Based on her popular blog, The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl (also known under slightly different names) chronicles the diaries of Belle in her day-to-day life as a call girl, while still traversing her own love life, and of course her sex life too! The book is written in diary format and includes Belle's A to Z of life as a Call Girl.Link to GoodreadsLink to amazonThis is one of those books that I have wanted to read for quite a long time, especially since I watched the TV show a couple of years ago. Despite being an age old profession, prostitution is not something that is widely known about, or at least the ins and outs of it aren't (bad pun fully intended there!).The sex parts of this book (so more or less all of it really!) weren't what I expected, though what that was I'm not too sure! The descriptions just didn't come across as massively sexy, and unless you're a nymphomaniac (unlikely) then I highly doubt that reading this book would be a turn on. Despite the certain level of unsexiness, it was interesting to read, particularly about some of the stranger fantasies of the clients (and of Belle to be fair). Whenever Belle mentions sex (most of the book), she was frank, clear and engaging (easy to see how she was a successful blogger), and it was clear that she was writing about something that she enjoys doing, making the distinction between this autobiographical book and those of erotic fiction.Despite what I have written above, I would not recommend that anyone young or particularly innocent should read this (I'm not naive enough, nor far enough out of my teens, to say that it is strictly 18+ though) and neither should people who are easily freaked out by sex more shocking than oral. There are referances to 'standard' sex, oral, anal, bondage, BDSM, threesomes, girl-on-girl, violence (the 'good' kind apparently), and defecation (that last one is definitely not for the faint hearted, I see myself as fairly open mind out and that one had me slightly disgusted at the description of it), among others.I found that Belle's writing style was incredibly easy to read, she was concise and to the point in all of her entries, and, even more importantly, she was funny. There were moments when I couldn't help but laugh out loud! I'm not normally a fan of autobiographies, or biographies for that matter, but the aforementioned factors, and the interesting subject, meant that I enjoyed reading The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, in a completely non-sexual way I promise!!!!On a side note, and as something I don't usually comment on much, the cover is awesome! It would probably have attracted me even if I didn't know what the book was (unusually I read this book in physical form), it manages to be classy, sexy and sophisticated all at the same time.I'd recommend this book, its is an interesting, enjoyable and funny read!
Mattress Actress is the story of Annika Cleeve's eighteen years as a sex worker. Her troubled childhood in Queensland led to working in a brothel on the Sunshine Coast at the age of fifteen, and from there Annika worked her way up to the high-end parlours, agencies and private work in various parts of Australia and internationally. In this book Annika reveals the truth of a sex worker’s life; the clients, the girls, the parlour bosses, the rip-off merchants, the drug deaths, the white slavery, the discrimination, the corrupt police and politicians, the exotic travel and the money. Mattress Actress is a revealing and gutsy look at someone practising the world’s oldest profession in the late twentieth century. From wide-eyed innocent to experienced and successful professional, Annika’s story is both shocking and highly entertaining.
Comment 1: I read this book before reading Amber Dawn's novel Sub Rosa. It is a mix of excellent essays and poetry that starts in her present life. She has an MFA in poetry and has used poetry to build her life from being a sex worker, thus the title, How Poetry Saved My Life. In the introductory essay she discusses how it took time to take ownership of her writing. Coming out of the sex workers world is the journey of an outsider, and as an advocate making her voice heard has been a challenge, so when she Comment 2: I started on this after finishing Janet Mock's "Redefining Realness." The honesty of that book really shocked me and I wanted to read more about LGBTQ individuals who were willing to share their stories with the world. In this book, Amber Dawn is very open, honest, and creavtive. The topics she address are in my opinion pretty difficult to discuss so openly, yet she manages to do this through full out stories and some of her poetry. I really did like the way she organized her thoughts and left a Comment 3: Good book, a mix of poetry and essays about the writer's life and how she became a writer. She has been a sex workers' advocate, and was eloquent about the need for changes in legislation and attitudes. I especially liked her division of the book into three parts - Outside (referring to her time as a street worker), Inside (referring to her time working in massage parlours and where she got the time and money to go to university and to develop as a writer), and Inward (referring to the way her l
Comment 1: Well, THAT was certainly interesting! The essays in this book certainly introduced some perspectives that I had not previously considered. It was far more political than I anticipated. The parts written by the editors read like a satricical send up of pc language policing... but they are serious. They tie themselves in knots trying to stand for all sex workers everywhere and leave no one out. But the essays by contibutors were really interesting and well written. If you chose to read this book, Comment 2: A great collection for anyone wanting to know anything and everything about the sex industry. The diversity of voices and experiences, honestly and accessibly told, had me reading for hours. Would highly recommend. 10/10
Comment 1: Despite the title, most of this book is about the author's relationship with her father and doesn't even occur in the mansion. But Playground: A Childhood Lost Inside My Father's Malibu Home wouldn't sell as many books.The author's father was Hugh Hefner's personal physician and best friend for decades. When her parents divorced she began spending time at the Playboy Mansion to see her father and eventually moved to her father's house, going to the mansion after school. Playground attempts to analyze the damage her father's attitude towards parenting--and her parents' way of using her as a weapon against one another--has done in her life. The promised titillation is there: pre-teen drugs, wild parties, celebrities in compromising or embarrassing positions, teenage love affair with Hefner's girlfriend, mob hit-men, South American drug runners, and a parade of fashion and music that covers twenty-plus years of L.A. excess. But the book isn't as lurid as the cover copy suggests. Saginor uses the outrageous episodes to plot how she changed from angry at one parent to angry at another, from excited to scared, and from enthused to numb. The story goes from tabloid to insight when Jennifer begins to drift off the trajectory her father is following. She implies that her father was getting more extreme (and in one part--while using injected drugs--he almost certainly was), but this coincides with Jennifer's late teens and we can also see her own maturation in the way she recognizes how out-of-touch her father is with the notion of consequences. We've seen this sort of book before, of course, whether in celebrity tell-alls or Brett Easton Ellis-alike fiction. Saginor's version is interesting for the contrasts she provides. We see her life in the contexts of upper-class families, high school, her serious-minded and loving grandfather, her father's wild friends and their manipulative and dangerous world, and at the mansion, where fun is free-flowing and consequences are handled by each person individually as best they can.The mansion serves as a neutral ground for putting her life with her family into relief. She has friends there (some celebrities, playmates, and staff); she can retreat there to reflect; and no one (at least, no one mentioned in the book) pressures or threatens her there. Towards the end, she comments that Hugh Hefner is the one person who allowed her to be a child. Using the mansion this way is effective, especially as her father's household gets more out of touch with reality and the mansion seems like a safe refuge for normalcy.The writing is passable, although there are a number of sudden jumps in tone or place that made me re-read sections to follow them. I'm not fond of the present tense artifice, but it isn't too bad here. What Saginor does very, very well, though, is to ground the story in a sense of time. People wear clothes that evoke a particular moment in the 80's, they listen to music in one chapter that will be gone in the next, and the fashion designers and labels, as well as the movie or star who popularized a particular look, will revivify the moment for anyone who was alive and in America at the time.This is a really quick read and it's worth it if you're interested in the genre.
Comment 1: I undertook my second e-book experiment when Tara Burns published Whore Diaries. (And I now think much more highly of e-books, tell you what.) I have loved reading her subscription blog for years—she is a great writer and she has a hell of a story to tell—and I can say the same of her first e-book. Her take on escorting is philosophical and unorthodox. The Tao of Tara. She begins with "Conversations With God in the Titty Bar," and ends far, far too soon. Write a longer book next time, huh Tara? Comment 2: Essentially a collection of blog posts about an initial stint selling ass, as its title suggests. There doesn't seem to be any larger literary or political pretense. The tone is one of straight documentation, which is both a gift and a curse. On the one hand, there is a certain gritty authenticity. This must be what's like to be a sad Backpage.com hoo-er for a living. Sometimes it's kinda hot and sometimes it's kinda scary, but mostly it's kinda boring and tedious. On the other hand, this would Comment 3: Quite enjoyable in that it reminded me keenly of the hectic pace and the euphoric discovery of my first two weeks as an escort. (God, I can't believe that occurred a *decade* ago.) I do have some qualms with how she has a bit of a woo woo new age goddess judgement on everyone's kinks, but other than that, she was even subculturally similar enough to me for me to feel a deep and comforting sense of familiarity.
Comment 1: interesting view into a life I don't/won't know. presumably this is true, and if anything feels like it was softened in the telling, though it is very harsh. ultimately goes nowhere, so despite the well told tale I'm left wondering why? she is aware that her stripping and prostitution are symptoms of her dislike/hate/need to distance herself from herself, and she is able to tell this story, but not get out of it. I'm not criticizing her life, but the story bring us, after twenty years, right bac Comment 2: I found this under my Goodreads suggestions, and I'm so glad I did. Crane describes a life spent in sex work, sometimes doing it out of obligation and other times she seems to be charmed by its allure. (Even when she tries to get a normal job she trains to test porn stars for HIV so she can still be around sex workers.) It speaks also to the way the job market and academia today that even after earning her MFA she still depends on giving erotic massages to pay her bills. I wanted a little more p Comment 3: Enjoyed this book immensely, both for its spare, poetic prose, and its no bullshit humanity. Crane refuses to tie her story up with a neat narrative bow, and instead allows her readers the dignity of their own discomfort. This is not your typical recovery/redemption memoir--no one learns a lesson in the end, and Crane has no time for self-pity. Neither, is it a porny sex memoir masquerading as literature. Instead, life is offered as is, without gloss or nostalgic Instagram filter, a montage of i
Comment 1: A real mixed bag. This anthology of feminist scholarship and writing by academics, pornographers, porn performers, and others contributes an important body of knowledge and perspectives, but ultimately is limited by a "pro-sex" or apologist framework. My favorite pieces were those which were most academic, critical, and unapologetically feminist/political. Too many of the pieces felt like marketing blubs for the respective authors' films, and while I understand that feminist pornography often ex Comment 2: Excellent and mostly very accessible collection of essays. A few of them veer into pretty dry or heady academic territory, but those are well balanced by several very direct and personal pieces. The book does a good job of digging into complex issues from several points of view, and raises many essential points for discussion without appearing to harp on any one specific conclusion. The essays are also mostly short, averaging around 8-12 pages, meaning it's easy to pick up and read two or three Comment 3: I love this book, and I would recommend it to anyone struggling to define their feelings on pornography. Even if you have strong feelings either way, there's a lot to be learned from this book. The production of feminist porn, and the essays in this book span queer theory, gender theory, representation politics and so much more. The book is a great introduction to other literature on sex work and pornography, and accessible if you've never read anything about sex work before. It also is a great
Comment 1: This story is relentless, unapologetic, vulgar, and — at the surface — shameless. There are no pulled punches in Girlvert, and I'm glad for it. It wasn't an easy read in terms of content (if you are queasy about, well... anything at all, this is really not the book for you) but it was an undeniably fascinating and terrifying peek behind the scenes of the world of porn and an in-depth look at the human(and blatantly inhumane) side of it all. I admire the boldness of Small for just *saying* everyt Comment 2: I've been putting off reviewing this book for months. It's that... overwhelming? Heart-breaking? Frantic? Devoid of a grand morality argument? I'm grateful that someone like Small, a minor starlet in the pornography industry, managed to write something straight-forward, detailed, and most importantly, realistic to others in her industry. Her book is refreshing in comparison to a powerhouse like Jenna Jameson's autobiography, or the sometimes eye-rolling inducing thinkpieces that the new porn sta Comment 3: Like everything in life, honesty should be the only thing that matters. Unfortunately, life is driven by deceitful, ego laden agendas that do little to better anyone. Girlvert is a honest attempt to explain a freelance gig working in the porn industry. It's the same as mowing the grass or baking cookies. Oriana Small (Ashley Blue) tells a pretty mean tale of the business. And the drugs. Oriana Small paints no pretty pictures. Years of denial won't solve the problem. She did though. She was hones
Comment 1: A book with no real substance. As I progressed through the book, more story line diversions were added on but never really addressed. The main character is a typical manhattan-ite, who has a therapist, goes to art galleries and the opera and just happens to make money on the side selling her body as a high class hooker, which means she sleeps with older men with money and faces no real danger and no kissing on the lips. I kinda hate myself for reading it, but it was an easy enough book to read i Comment 2: I found these books after watching the Showtime Series which is based on/inspired by them: Secret Diary of a Call Girl. I wanted to read them since I liked the tv series quite a bit. I got these books through Paperbackswap.com because they were not at my library in any form. I thought it was more the protagonist's job or perhaps some steamy sex scenes that made them undesirable to the library. Turns out, it probably had more to do with lackluster demand. The books were alright but nothing outsta Comment 3: I finished this book purely because I hate to start a book and not finish it. The main character is a very hard to like. This has nothing to do with her job. She is a self-obsessed narcissist and although the book centres around her trying to maintain a romantic relationship while being a prostitute, there is no warmth or connection with the character. She states her feelings so matter of fact that it feels almost robotic and disconnected. It paints an unfair description of her work too. In one
Comment 1: Are you tired of Ridley Scott recutting Blade Runner every two years, causing you to have to pay for a super-mega 12-disc Special Edition DVD or Blu-Ray set just to get the original 1982 movie, which is all you want to see in the first place?Are you sick of George Lucas monkeying around with Star Wars, adding cheesy CGI just because he only had a budget for rubber foam costumes the first time around?Did it irk you that Steven Spielberg erased the guns out of ET because it was politically correct to do so?Were you indignant when old films were colorized in puke tones just to pander to people who wouldn't appreciate a classic film anyway?Does it make you shake your head when you read about prudish editors who expurgated the Bible through the centuries? Or enrage you that moral crusaders of one stripe or another decide that Huck Finn is too racist to be accessible to young readers or that Judy Blume is too explicit or that any kind of book is deemed just too transgressive for some people therefore it must be for all?Are you, in short, just kind of tired of all the constant changing and editing and rewriting of our cultural history in whatever form? Like when the Bush administration PR people reissued the famous shot of macho flight-jacketed Dubya on the aircraft-carrier deck with the infamous "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him Photoshopped out because--as they knew and hoped that somehow you were too stupid to have remembered--the war was far from over and the mission had failed?Well, if you are like me--curmudgeon as I am--you are irked, and tired, and indignant about all of that.Which brings me to The Happy Hooker, penned in 1971 by the former, notorious New York City brothel madam, Xaviera Hollander (and two "co-authors").Before I get indignant, though, let me state that this book is a classic. A real eye-opener in its day, not just about the workings of a house of prostitution but about all manner of sexual endeavor. Hollander was a textbook nympho, and every page is action-packed with kinky nastiness and tons of wry laughs. It still holds up.Unbeknowst to me, however, I read the so-called "30th Anniversary Edition," which, on the surface, seemed like a good thing. After all, there is a new, updated epilogue in it, written in 2002 by Hollander in which she gauges the long-term impact of the book and the various ebbs of flows of the politics of morality. It's a nice bonus. Nice until you realize that the stuff that comes before it may not quite be the same stuff that was in the book when it was first published in 1972.Unfortunately, it is not the same book. And coming to realize that made me feel like the person who gets to page 599 of a 600-page abridgment of The Count of Monte Cristo before realizing that the novel was supposed to be 1100 pages long and I'd just spent several weeks reading the wrong edition.The reason I know this is because more than one person here on my friends' list on Goodreads mentioned a notorious passage in the book about Hollander's lascivious encounter with a German shepherd. Now, mind you, I DID NOT read this because I had any particular interest in this encounter, but once it was put in my mind I was on the lookout for it, and by the time I'd gotten to the epilogue and realized I hadn't read it anywhere my suspicions were raised of tampering afoot for the sake of salving squeamish PC sensibilities.Max Varazslo's review on Amazon.com best summarizes the changes that have been affected in the edition I read. I quote him here:"This "30th Anniversary Edition" actually tones down a lot of the material found in the original. Xaviera's former "fag" friends, whom she sometimes patronizes, are now "gay," for instance, and her encounter with a German shepherd in South Africa, of which she once wrote, "I'd be a moral fraud if I ignored it," is eliminated completely. One chapter, originally entitled "Biff-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am," has been completely rewritten as "Whipped (S)cream," with its seamier elements considerably softened. Almost ten pages of material have been snipped in all, including much of the moralizing the author once did to justify her lifestyle, which, owing to the occupational hazards she describes in detail, she quickly abandoned after her book became a bestseller. Translated into a dozen languages, "The Happy Hooker" may indeed have changed the way the world regards prostitutes and their trade, and maybe even sex in general, but this expurgated edition proves that our present attitudes toward the subject aren't as liberal as they might have been. The book is thus a window on the past, reframed with modern-day sensibilities. If you can find it, read the original first, to gauge for yourself how far we've come in three decades."I couldn't have said that better myself. Comparing this version of the book to an original version posted online, I located the point on page 37 where the dog passage is missing, and it constitutes 10 paragraphs of excision. It's gross, yes, but not beyond the pale of being *READ about*!So, I'm basically rating an expurgated edition here, which looks to be about 95-percent faithful to the original. It's still a great read, but not the bill of goods I was expecting. And if it hadn't been for my good GR friends here "shepherding" me--ahem--toward looking for the dog thing, I would not have known enough to investigate what appears to be another case of cultural dishonesty.
Comment 1: After reading M. Forbes ‘Strontian Factor’ I decided to pick up his ‘Bitter Sweet’ and I’m so glad I did. Forbes has proven himself as a strong writer already and he has done just as well with this book. This is completely different from the last novel that I had read by him but is amazing nonetheless. As you follow the story of Nina, who is leading two lives; her normal life and her life as an escort, you are given a glimpse into her world which isn’t what it seems. As she rescues two girls fro Comment 2: I found the book to be a bit confusing due to the difference in language - British/English vs. American/English. The story was interesting, and seemed well researched concerning the trafficking of women for sexual purposes. There was a lot of detail in the telling of the chase scenes, which made them more thrilling. The main characters were well developed. I didn't quite understand the relationship between Tina and Mike. It was never really explained. It was a quick read, and I would recommend i Comment 3: After I downloaded this for free from Amazon.com and really read this part "Nina’s double-life as a university student and an escort falls apart when she is drawn into a web of violence, human trafficking and police corruption." I thought OH NO not another book crammed about sex! But it wasn't that way at all. It was a very interesting read and I will be looking for other books by the author!
Comment 1: Such an eye opener for me. This book challenged my thoughts and opinions. I went into this book realizing that I had opinions on sex work that were never mine but pushed on me by society and how I was raised. It was such a freeing feeling to open my eyes and mind to the history of sex work, the problems the people involved in it face, and the stigma that our society constructed around it. Sex workers’s issues are labor issues and as a woman, we must understand the importance of including them in Comment 2: I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the social structures at play in sex work (particularly those who don't know their position on criminalization or abolition of sex work). Melissa Gira Grant makes a very accessible, intersectional case about the criminalization, stigma, and trade of sex work, that is thoughtful and powerful. Her analysis of the social implications surrounding sex work for women of color and transwomen (whether they are sex workers or not) in comparison to the Comment 3: This book is a serious fucking knockout punch to societal stigma towards sex workers. I learned a lot. Sex workers don't want to be pitied. They want to be respected. Most don't need to be rescued. Instead, theyneed to be listened to. Sex workers are almost never at the table when new legislation is being crafted. Their perspective and preferences are ignored by those in power. Above all, my takeaway from this book was that much of the harm being done to sex workers could start to reverse with a
Comment 1: Violet Ivy is a licensed international sex worker in Australia, and in her book she does not hold back and shares the intimate and personal details of her job. Has you would expect the book is for adults only as it does contain graphic stories of sex and sexual exploits, we learn how Violet made the transformation from her ‘normal’ life into the highs and lows working in the world of sex and prostitution.
Comment 1: Historical fiction set in the late 1800's about Storyville, an area of legalized prostitution in New Orleans and Mary Deubler, a common street prostitute who became a madam of one of Storyville's most notorious brothels. This book was very well researched and gives a real feel for the city of New Orleans and the time period in which the events took place. My only complaint is it only goes up to when Mary became a madam. It does not tell what happens afterward nor does it go into the eventual dow Comment 2: Overall I enjoyed this book as a peek into an interesting time in history set in an even more interesting place- the brief-lived legal district of prostitution in New Orleans in the late 1800s. The authors made me want to know more about the characters and the events in the book but never seemed to give me enough within the pages. The characters are based on real people but are a mishmash of more than one person or not quite accurately placed in the timeline. I may have preferred a completely fi Comment 3: I received this book as an Early Reviewer. I have a fascination with New Orleans and its amazing history. Madam is based on the true story of Mary Deubler, also known as Madam Josie Arlington, head of The Arlington House bordello in Storyville. This book tells the mostly-true story of her rise from orphaned 12-year-old to a queen of The District. I wish it were longer, to be honest. I loved getting lost in the streets and traditions of the city- voodoo, political corruption, music, and letting t
Comment 1: Written by Bernie Weisz Historian Pembroke Pines, Florida e mail: [email protected] Title of Reivew: "Doing the Nimitz was like Mardi Gras and a frat party rolled into one"Sex, money, and more sex. And there's plenty of it in Doloris French's 1988 book entitled "Working:My Life As A Prostitute". French made no apologies within the 384 pages of this book whereupon she parlayed her high libido into big bucks in the U.S.,the Caribbean and Europe. French wrote that in 1955 when as a little girl she was watching the TV show "I Love Lucy" with her mother in Louisville, Kentucky, the notion of sex for money first gelled. Watching "Ricky and Fred" fall over a beautiful woman while "Lucy and Ethel" angrily scorned her, French asked her mother why the two woman were being so mean to the men for watching this woman's every move. After her mother explained to young Dolores that the woman was a "call girl", Dolores wrote in her book: "That's what I want to be when I grow up!" French preserved the authenticity of this book beautifully, ensuring the anonymity of her clients, madams and fellow prostitutes by using pseudonyms with the exception of Sydney Biddle Barrows, the "Mayflower Madam" whom French briefly worked for in a brief stint in New York. Another book, written by Sydney B. Barrows is an additional resource to gain insight into what Ms. French epperienced. This book is entitled: "Mayflower Madam: The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows". Before French reached her twenty seventh birthday, she had worked in telephone sales, as an art director and census taker. Working in an unsatisfying job as an administrator and fund raiser for a small Atlanta based radio station, she met the station's general production manager, named Stephanie. French wrote: "I didn't know at first how someone wearing emerald earrings and a diamond engagement ring fit in at our small station". Striking up a friendship, French found out that Stephanie had a second job: she was a prostitute. French was intrigued, and one day, Stephanie had a "date" that she couldn't keep, and asked French to fill in for her. The night before her first experience as a prostitute, French wrote: ""That night, I lay in bed, thinking about what it would be like to walk into a strange room the next day and have sex with a strange man for money. I had already slept with a number of men I hadn't cared for, for the company or the pleasure or as a favor or just because we were both there. What was so difference about this, I wondered. The money, of course, the "great equalizer" as someone called it".Dolores French graphically describes this experience, and many others, embarking on a career choice where men were viewed "as prey" for financial gain. French wrote on this experience: "It was over with quickly, and I got dressed. He was delighted to give me money, nearly half my weekly salary. That man treated me with more respect than I had got in most other occupations, and he paid me a lot closer to what my time and my mind were worth. He paid me with a smile on his face...and I was proud to have been able to help him". Due to propriety, it is impossible to describe French's multitude of experiences as a prostitute, which is extremely graphic in "Working". However, Dolores French makes it very clear throughout the book that if a woman enjoys sex, being a prostitute affords her the opportunity to have a lot of it. And if she doesn't enjoy sex, at least she's being paid, and handsomely at that. Her career takes her from "hooking" at shopping malls in Atlanta to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, taking on all the sailors of the U.S. Warship "Nimitz" in Saint Thomas, and on to Amsterdam, and New York. French also wrote of her appearance on the Phil Donahue show, and explaining to her family the truth of what she did for a living. French also described the tricks of her trade, cataloging her clients as follows: "There seemed to be basically only four kinds of clients-maniacs, druggies, nice guys, and cops". However, there were other clients French also served. French wrote in that regard: "A lot of celebrities call escort agencies. What their looking for is anonymity. A rock star or tennis star or a famous author or politician or athlete wants sexual services but is worried that the person they meet might talk afterward and want more from them, either personally or financially". Mentioning the famed "Polly Adler" as a trailblazer in the legitimacy of society's need for prostitution, French became "the most public prostitute in America". Although tiring at being asked questions such as how many times she contracted VD or if she felt dirty and degraded, French talked to police officials about prostitutes rights, announcing to the world that a prostitute who was a rape victim should press charges against anyone who committed a crime against her, including her customers. Furthermore, French wrote: "Prostitutes do have some unique problems. like being arrested, and dealing with fear, and dealing with stigmatization, and worrying that their children might be taken away from them". Although never doing "hard time" like other women in her field did, she does have a minor scrape with the law, which she escapes due to fancy legal footwork of her attorney's, one of whom she marries at the end of this book. Whether you are turned off by the vulgarity in "Working", are for or against the legitimacy of prostitution or what side of the fence you sit on in terms of society's "need" for sexual release via prostitution, "Working" makes a very interesting read in a field very few talk about.
In post-World War II Brooklyn, Gerda, a hardened prostitute who claims to have been the mistress of both Adolf Eichmann and Raoul Wallenberg, and Jack, a former pastry chef for the Nazis and a prisoner of the Russians, both retreat into their safe houses: for Gerda, an ego-serving agoraphobia, and for Jack, amnesia and madness. (Nancy Pearl)
Comment 1: Whip Smart, Melissa Febos’s memoir about heroin addiction, being a dominatrix, and eventually, recovery, describes how a normal college student was persuaded into a less-than normal lifestyle. Independent to a fault, Melissa, who chooses as her dominatrix name Justine, finds herself craving more money than she cares to ask for from her parents and decides to get a part-time job. Her curiosity piqued by a neighbor who has been pointed out as a dominatrix, she questions the woman and decides that Comment 2: I listened to an interview with the author by Teri Gross and enjoyed it very much. Made me curious to read the book but it was not available in the library. So when I got my Ipad, I dowloaded it. I was interested in the author's life progression and the changes she made, which were significant and difficult. Her honesty is impressive. Life in the dungeon was interesting and the author went into detail, which was necessary but sort of horrifying and sad and very difficult not to judge. Had to ski Comment 3: This is an interesting book about a young girl that moves to NYC and decides to become a dominatrix. It was definitely an eye opening in many parts, but rather vulgar in others. I likes parts of the book when she decides to quit and get out of the industry and quits drinking and drugging. Overall pretty good but some of the torture and dominatrix sessions are a bit too much for me. I felt dirty like I shouldn't be reading it. I neaerly stopped about 30 pages in but because it was on a list of "t
When Joan Kelly took a weekend job as a professional submissive in a private dungeon, it seemed she'd finally found a perfect outlet for her pent-up desires. Suddenly, Joan was being paid to do things she'd only fantasized about. Having spent several years scouring the Internet unsuccessfully for a man who would dominate her in the bedroom without getting on her nerves outside of it, Joan had nearly lost hope of satisfying her sexually submissive urges. Now, using her professional name, "Marnie," she was being paid to do only what she felt like with kinky men who didn't even expect to have any real sex in their sessions. To Joan, it almost felt like being paid to practice the art of self-centeredness---except for the part where she had to kneel and address strangers as "Master." The Pleasure's All Mine offers the reader a rare, intimate, often amusing, sometimes disturbing look into the life of a professional submissive---one whose drive for self-acceptance and respect is as relentless as her sexual need for the services she provides. Readers will experience many humorous, bizarre, frightening, and utterly entertaining events through the perceptive and insightful eyes of this writer.
Comment 1: This 1957 memoir follows the early life of Ellen June Hovick a.k.a. Rose Louise Hovick, alias Gypsy Rose Lee, who became a legend in her lifetime.The author was older sister of later Hollywood actress June Havoc. The pair began in Vaudeville as toddlers, managed under the tutelage of their mother. Baby June was the cute headliner with gawky Rose in the line up, the latter often in boys' clothes or a pantomime cow's rear end. When the maturing June deserted the act, Rose stepped out of the cow's behind and into the spotlight, becoming Gypsy. She became an icon of big time burlesque, as vaudeville outran its course and the options narrowed – she had to do something, with mouths to feed and a mother who had kept her from any schooling. Showbiz was all Rose had ever known when she made this fatalistic transition.She was a self-made lady, a raconteur, an entertainer of the highest order. Of the many (purportedly self-generated) myths about this original queen of reinvention, the greatest was that generated by the mists of time – that she was just a stripper. No such thing, she instead tastefully removed and discarded the odd glove, stocking or feather, shifting emphasis onto the 'tease' in striptease.Also an actress, author, playwright and radio talk host, Gypsy turned her talents in many directions. She was a formidable intellect, admired collector of rare objets d'art and antiques, widely read, conversant on a glorious array of cultural topics and one of the best dressed women in the public eye. A renowned philanthropist, she gave generously to and supported a vast range of worthy causes.Herein lies the inspiration behind Sondheim's blockbuster stage and screen musical Gypsy, considered by many the greatest American musical ever. Adaptations famously showcased a gorgeous young Natalie Wood in the 1962 movie's title role. As Gypsy's archetypal overbearing stage mother, Mama Rose, starred the wondrous Rosalind Russell, scoring the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Russell's role, earlier created onstage by 'brass diva' Ethel Merman, who won the 1959 Tony Award, became one of theatre's most coveted. Stage revivals have seen subsequent 'Mamas' Angela Lansbury, Patti Lapone and Bernadette Peters reap award after award.This is a gorgeously written, marvellously entertaining read from a woman with a heart of gold and the sheer, glittering class of showbiz royalty. I adored reading her anecdotes in this delicious memoir, never wanting to put it down and making excuses for early nights with her.Someone threw away the mold when this fabulous lady was made.
Comment 1: Where do you draw the line, I wonder, between objectification and admiration? Is it a matter of manners? Intent? Money? I can pass off a casual leer as maintaining my competitive edge, so I don't need to worry about what anyone thinks of my girl-watching. Maybe it's a matter of time and place, of when it's appropriate. Or maybe it's just a matter of respect, or knowing that there's a complicated girl behind the glassy facade that's caught your eye, one whose wishes and desires may have nothing to do with yours.-Lily Burana, p. 174Burana, a retired stripper who got back in the business one last time for a year (either as a gimmick to write a book or to ponder unresolved issues and questions weighing on her mind about her profession, or both) penned this often insightful and vivid account of exotic dance on the North American continent a decade ago and her place in it. It's the Eat, Pray, Love of stripper lit, with plenty of eating, praying, loving and also a bit of the whining that marks Elizabeth Gilbert's treacle. But Burana is not nearly that annoying, she writes with elan, and is (or was) a stripper, which gives the thing inherent page-turning gravitas, or prurient interest, take your pick.Along the way she meets strippers who've come out on the good and bad sides of the business, addresses some of the seamier sides and venues of the trade (she started out working as a peepshow booth girl in New York), gives voice to the testimonies of women who worked in the wilder days of the '70s and the moderately more elegant days of the '50s. She attends a stripper pageant of oldsters and youngsters at the cheesy Exotic World Museum in California (and interviews its fascinating old grand dame, a stripper from the Rat Pack era), hits the still-crazy Wild West strip clubs in Montana and Alaska, tries out for Miss Topless Wyoming (and comes in second place), and even becomes mired in a tussle with the Mitchell Brothers in San Francisco over labor and wage issues. And she gets in a dig at Bob Hope (who once pointed to the crotch of a 14-year-old doing a cartwheel at one of his USO shows with an aside to the cheering troops: "Now that's what we're fighting for..."--thus reducing the poor girl to tears), which is always welcome, since it seems almost everyone (including someone I know) has a personal story about what a jerk ol' Bob was.It's a glorious hotch-potch (yes, she uses that phrase rather than the now more standard "hodgepodge", which earns her extra points from me) of mixed messages, personal memoir, oral history and fascinating archaeological detail that helped me better understand a subculture of which I've never been a part. To date, I have never been to a strip club and really have no strong desire to do so.In the Eat Pray Love vein, Burana finds her dream man and makes peace with an estranged sister (yes, they pray together), but the book, and Burana, are always self-aware and she never lets the thing become too sappy. Perhaps the stripper side of herself knows how to work the crowd, or at least knows what a savvy reader expects. In any case, this has to be one of the better books on this subject out there.
Comment 1: This book is a memoir wrote by a Boston professor, and it reflects this in the way it is wrote. It shows how a call girl business is run, but I found it slightly emotionally detached and that she glamorizes prostitution and drug use. However it is an interesting read, full of stories of the clients she sees and her job as a lecturer. She teaches a class on prostitution and I couldn't help thinking that the class might be more interesting than this book! It didn't stop me buying the follow up on Comment 2: Extremely disappointed in the quality of the writing given that it was written by a former college professor who uses every chance she gets to tell the reader how intelligent, educated and talented she is. What I expected to be an interesting read ended up being boring and I had to force myself to finish it. I didn't find anything insightful about her book, and find that the subject has been explored far more successfully, ironically, by authors who didn't actually live the life of a call girl. Comment 3: "I've always made the assumption that life is easier if one is stupid. I stand by that assessment." This is a quote near the end of the book, when the author is examining whether or not to continue working as a call girl. The context is that she COULD keep using her body, but the shame is, she's too full of thoughts. Yikes. I think this sums up the attitude and tone of this book. Condescending, really heteronormative and privileged in its dismissal of other women - I just didn't enjoy it.
Comment 1: Pros(e) Issue 1 is an ambitious and fulfilling project. "A collection of writings by individuals with experiences in the sex trade," as it's subheader proclaims, it is a tight, well-edited compilation of lyrical short nonfictional stories and prose poetry. Contributors range from those with decades-long experience as sex workers, to those who stripped for a few months in school, with the underlying and provocatively political subtext: everyone is welcome, nothing is forbidden.
Comment 1: I loved this book. It's hot! Some really good essays asking some really good questions about sex and feminism. When I read this, I really needed to read something that was inspiring and open minded to sex and the various forms it takes. (Being really ambiguous here.) I guess it reaffirmed for me that sex, kinky sex, and sex work are self-defining and empowering aspects for not only the folks who wrote about their experiences within the anthology, but all individuals who think beyond monogamy, pr Comment 2: Jane Sexes It UP has many essays by self-proclaimed third-wave feminists, but was written in the 90's and early 2000's. It seems dated and it deals with issues that, frankly, aren't real issues for me as a feminist. Is it wrong to masturbate to fantasies of being a man and cumming on a woman's face? Um, no. Is it wrong to jill it to the violence of "Fight Club"? No again. I commend the book for trying to enlist men into the ranks of feminism, but the book is written primarily by upper-middle cla Comment 3: A pretty interesting book of third-wave feminist essays on sexuality and self-expression. I think the real value in it was not that these essays are the most well-written or insightful I've ever read, but that they really did make me think about things in a different way. There's this horrible screeching problem with feminism and female desire, especially now in the third wave, and these essays do a fair amount of exploring in that territory, while also--most importantly--facilitating the start
Comment 1: Yes. This book showed up in my recommended readings when I was shopping for the required texts for my TransFeminism class and I fell in love after the first few essays. It offers personal experiences, fictional accounts, and academic analysis of the sex industry and the women who work in it, from their feelings on the work to the way that they're treated to the overall public perception of sex workers. There are feminist accounts, lesbian accounts, poetic accounts, fictionalized accounts, research accounts, and more. I thought this book was absolutely fascinating and I had a very difficult time putting it down, something that isn't always true of collections like this one. Comment 2: one of three great books i read for my Deviance class. this is half creative writing, half theory, which i think is a great idea. the book presents a wide spectrum of feelings on the sex industry. the creative writing (short stories and poems) are written by sex industry workers, from street-corner hookers to more "legitimate" escorts to no-contact strippers. there are sound arguments for and against sex as an industry, and "the oldest profession" as a... well, profession. makes you think. Comment 3: It's been awhile since I read this book so I may be fuzzy on the details. I do remember finding it refreshing that women, in their own words, told their stories about working in the sex industry whether by circumstance or by choice. Mostly it was the idea that there were (are) women who not only have chosen to work in the sex industry but who are satisfied and enjoy the work they do.
Comment 1: this book was alright... I guess I just didn't understand this girl. she says she's a feminist, says she loves the sex industry, and hates all her customers. I don't understand how you can be a feminist and totally exploit yourself. I understand the whole "it's my body thing" but the things she allows her customers to do to her just is disgusting. by the end of the book shes been a stripper, a masseuse, a porn star and everything in between for the last ten years and has nothing... no family, no Comment 2: The author freely admitted in a LJ interview that the publisher cut hundreds of pages of material from the original draft, including critical analysis of the author's mindset and motivations for sex work, as well as a feminist critique of the whore-john relationship. Reading this book gave me the feeling that the author's narrative voice was as much of a persona for her readers as Emma, Holiday, or Lily were for her customers. That being said, this is still an enormously entertaining and open ac Comment 3: This book was fantastic and I'm not just saying that because I was LJ friends with Sarah-Katherine for several years. A warning, this book is not for the squeamish, nor is it for anyone who wants to maintain illusions about the sex industry. Actually, it probably is for the latter (like, all you dudes who go to strip clubs and think the girls are just dying to let you poke them in the vajays with your grubby fngers), if only because S-K tells it like it is. The book is great, and I look forward
Global Sex Workers presents the personal experiences of sex workers around the world. Drawing on their individual narratives, it explores international struggles to uphold the rights of this often marginalized group.
A new analysis which challenges the idea of prostitution as sexual liberation.The idea that this book explores is that of men's entitlement to abuse and profit from the abuse of women in prostitution. The Idea of Prostitution shows how this idea, central to male supremacist ideology, has been bolstered by masculine systems of thought such as sexology, sociology, historiography and queer theory. The feminist challenge to this idea has become more difficult in recent times because sexual liberalism, economic individualism and free choice ideas have persuaded even some feminists that prostitution should be seen as "just a job like any other". Jeffreys argues that it is important to recognize men's abuse of women in prostitution as a variety of male sexual violence and a violation of women's human rights.
Comment 1: Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, 1989Wendy McElroy, XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography, 1995It's difficult to talk about porn. It's hard not to speculate on the hidden motives of the people involved in any discussion, I find. Those arguing against it tend to come across as though they merely find it distasteful on a personal level. Those arguing for it are presumed to be avid consumers.Then again, you often see people defend it on free-speech grounds while, as it were, holding their own nose: ‘Censorship is bad – though of course I would never look at that stuff.’ I find these arguments unsatisfactory, so if I begin now by saying that I really like porn, it's not to make everyone uncomfortable but to connect cards with table and also to establish my own set of dubious credentials in this area.I like it, but I've never viewed it uncritically. I find a lot of things about it problematic – though, admittedly, not usually at the time. In fact I've spent a ludicrous, quite unjustifiable amount of time analysing how exactly I feel about porn. Perhaps, I suppose, this is because I'm looking for some kind of intellectual absolution, but also I think it's because it concerns so many areas – free expression, gender relations, sexual psychology – that I have always found utterly fascinating.In some cases the argument about porn is framed in terms of raw legality. Just last month, British MPs banned a whole load of ‘extreme’ pornography (including – bizarrely – depictions of face-sitting, an amendment which led to protesters' gathering in front of parliament for a joint singalong of Monty Python's ‘Sit on my Face and Tell Me that You Love Me’). Andrea Dworkin herself famously drafted a set of anti-porn laws with Catharine MacKinnon, ordinance that was enacted in certain US jurisdictions and also written in part into Canadian law; though it's usually considered to have been a disaster for women and minority groups.Anyway, this debate is still live in many places, but for me it's tangential. I consider it too easy to argue that porn should not be against the law. What interests me far more is whether it can be considered moral and ethical in feminist terms, and I'm open to the idea that the answer might be ‘no’. In fact that's exactly the line taken by some famous porn fans like David Baddiel, who said (I'm quoting from memory here), ‘I know porn is revolting and misogynistic. The point is, so am I.’ Which is disarming, but I'm not sure I'm prepared to surrender that much ground.Criticism of porn generally takes two forms: the argument that it is fundamentally abusive in its production (a manipulative industry run by men, coercing women with damaged backgrounds into humiliating sex acts); and the argument that, no matter how ‘free-range’ its production, it is damaging in its effects on society (promoting a grossly unhealthy image of women, sexualising violence, distorting young people's sexual education).One of the things I wanted from Andrea Dworkin's Pornography (as opposed to Andrea Dworkin's pornography, which is something else entirely) was an elaboration of these anti-porn arguments. So I was disappointed to see that she spends really very little time on either of those lines, instead using the bulk of the book to describe what she sees as the male psychological context from which pornography arises.For Dworkin, ‘[m]en are distinguished from women by their commitment to do violence rather than to be victimized by it’, and therefore – in all cases – ‘male sexuality is expressed as force or violence’. ‘The penis must embody the violence of the male in order for him to be male. Violence is male; the male is the penis; violence is the penis’ – on such simple (or facile) equations she builds her argument. Rape, on this view, is not an anomaly but ‘the defining paradigm of sexuality’, and Sade (whose excesses of cruelty I consider to be different in kind, not just degree, from modern pornography) is taken to embody ‘the common values and desires of men’. Indeed Sade's central evil is that he is ‘utterly and unredeemably male’.I suppose it makes sense, if you subscribe to this outlook, that you would spend little time examining the actual circumstances of making porn, or the people involved in it. Dworkin dismisses the women on screen in a couple of lines; she considers them to be rape victims and certainly doesn't bother talking to any. Wendy McElroy, in XXX, is more hands-on: one of the most interesting parts of her book (which is less well-written than Dworkin's but just as heartfelt) is a chapter consisting of extended interviews with several actresses in the adult industry.McElroy wanted to know primarily whether any had been coerced into anything, or seen evidence of coercion in the industry (all said they hadn't, though some spoke about seeing on-set ‘peer pressure’ on certain low-budget productions). She was also interested in what they got out of it personally, and here the responses varied widely from financial to sexual reasons. Nina Hartley (something of a legend, she's still involved in the industry twenty years after this book was written) observed that – as with many careers – those who enjoy their work tend to do better than those who are driven solely by the paycheck. Her own philosophy: ‘Sex isn't something men do to you. It isn't something men get out of you. Sex is something you dive into with gusto and like it every bit as much as he does.’This is one aspect of the porn industry that has changed a lot even since McElroy was writing in 1995. As porn has become more mainstream, especially in the US, the route into the business has shifted; in the past, actresses mainly drifted into it from other kinds of sex work like dancing or modelling. Though this still happens, they've been supplemented by a growing number of women who set their sights on the business from the beginning. I think perhaps Jennas Jameson and Haze were a turning-point (though I'm no expert); certainly more modern stars like Asia Carrera and later Sasha Grey or Stoya have been very vocal about how much they enjoyed, and wanted to work in, the industry.Now…I feel very cautious when I make this argument, because part of Dworkin's case is that men believe that all women ‘want it really’. In no way am I arguing – nor would it ever occur to me to think – that working in porn is something most women would want to do or enjoy doing. I am simply making the banal observation that some do, and they do not consider themselves victims of rape or anything else.Dworkin can't accept that anyone could take part in porn of their own free will – or if they do, it must be a free will corrupted by male-supremacist society to the point where it can no longer be taken as their own. That means she's forced into what seems to me to be the absurd and antifeminist position of denying their agency completely: less sophisticated women may think they know what they want, but Andrea Dworkin knows better. Stoya or Sasha Grey might see themselves as intelligent and articulate businesswomen with a lot of sexual curiosity; Andrea Dworkin sees only ‘the dummy forced by the pimp-ventriloquist’.Who's objectifying who now?As for porn's effect on society and all of us, for Dworkin it couldn't be worse. She links it directly to rape, violence, incest, murder, and an assortment of related evils. Indeed to make her point, no comparison is too outrageous:The Jews didn’t do it to themselves and they didn’t orgasm. In contemporary American pornography, of course, the Jews do do it to themselves—they, usually female, seek out the Nazis, go voluntarily to concentration camps, beg a domineering Nazi to hurt them, cut them, burn them—and they do climax, stupendously, to both sadism and death. But in life, the Jews didn’t orgasm. Of course, neither do women; not in life. But no one, not even Goebbels, said the Jews liked it.No, that's true…it's almost as though porn isn't quite the same thing as the fucking Holocaust.So a certain amount of bluster has to be picked through in order to reach the actual arguments. Her book opens by describing in detail several horrific cases of rape and sexual abuse, whose perpetrators Dworkin characterises as ‘acting out pornography’; the victims therefore are – follow the sleight-of-hand! – ‘women who have been hurt by pornography’.I thought this was an astonishing way to describe victims of sexual abuse. Not only does this argument ignore the obvious fact that, even if a correlation could be shown between sexual abuse and porn consumption (unproven after several studies), that would in no way establish any causality – but also, as McElroy points out, it only serves to diminish the responsibility of the abusers themselves. (Indeed there have already been cases where defence lawyers have asked for a convicted rapist's exposure to pornography to be taken into account as mitigation.)One of the things I liked about McElroy's book was that, unlike many defences of porn, she doesn't just defend against anti-porn arguments, she actually makes a case for its positive benefits. Porn and feminism are, she claims, natural bedfellows that share a common interest in exploding traditionalist views of women as wives and mothers with rigidly controlled sexual freedom. Pleasure – entirely absent from Dworkin's account – becomes a key concept. Far from corrupting women's idea of sex, porn can be, McElroy argues, a way for women to explore and expand sexuality in a safe and controlled environment:Pornography presents women with their wildest fantasies – from voyeurism to wearing Bo Peep costumes to mock rape. This cornucopia is served up in the privacy of a woman's own bedroom, on a television set that can be turned off whenever she has had enough. She does not have to defend herself against persistent advances, or "give in" rather than be hurt by a man who will not take no. She is in absolute control of the timing, the content, the duration, the climax.What remains in question here is the nature of pornographic depictions of women (and men), and what animates them. Dworkin is explicit: porn is ‘the elucidation of what men insist is the secret, hidden, true carnality of women, free women’. Perhaps more accurate, I'd suggest, is that it expresses a fantasy of women's ‘carnality’, rather than a secret belief – but implicit in both those descriptions is the problematic idea that women don't in fact have a hidden carnality that society has done its best to suppress, and many women have been trying to say exactly the reverse.What I see at work underneath the contrasting porn theories of Dworkin and McElroy is a vast, raging argument over the nature of libido, an argument that's still just as fierce now. Do men simply want sex more than women? Some studies reckon they do, on average, and various dubious biological reasons have been suggested. Still, in my opinion it's a stupid question, because there is no ‘men’ and no ‘women’, only individuals, and averages tell you very little about a given man and a given woman.McElroy wants to argue that many women have an interest in sex just as pressing and valid as that of men, though patriarchal society has worked to suppress it, and porn for her is both a symbol and a tool of this interest. Dworkin – though she doesn't exactly challenge this directly – has a more adversarial view of sex in general, and so she prefers instead to defend women's right to a so-called low libido:For centuries, female reluctance to “have sex,” female dislike of “sex,” female frigidity, female avoidance of “sex,” have been legendary. This has been the silent rebellion of women against the force of the penis, generations of women as one with their bodies, chanting in a secret language, unintelligible even to themselves, a contemporary song of freedom: I will not be moved. The aversion of women to the penis and to sex as men define it, overcome only when survival and/or ideology demand it, must be seen not as puritanism (which is a male strategy to keep the penis hidden, taboo, and sacred), but as women’s refusal to pay homage to the primary purveyor of male aggression, one on one, against women. In this way, women have defied men and subverted male power.I consider this paragraph to be, essentially, bollocks – but nevertheless I kind of agree with both of them, to the extent that I think every person has the right to whatever high or low drive they like. The reason I favour McElroy's argument is not just that I'd prefer her to be right (which, if I'm honest, I would) but also that she does not consider all women to be a monolithic class with unified desires in the way that Dworkin tends to, and I am at heart an individualist.Libido aside, then, isn't porn just fundamentally degrading? For McElroy, degradation is in the eye of the beholder:Usually, the term sex objects means that women are shown as "body parts"; they are reduced to being physical objects. What is wrong with this? Women are as much their bodies as they are their minds or souls. No one gets upset if you present a women as a brain or as a spiritual being. Yet those portrayals ignore women as physical beings. To get upset by an image that focuses on the human body is merely to demonstrate a bad attitude toward what is physical. If I concentrated on a woman's sense of humor to the exclusion of her other characteristics, would this be degrading? Why is it degrading to focus on her sexuality? Underlying this attitude is the view that sex must be somehow ennobled to be proper. And, for that matter, why is a naked female body more of an "object" than a clothed one?All reasonable points, though a little disingenuous – I think it's unarguable that at least some porn is deliberately intended to be degrading, and sought out for that reason. This is something that's become both more marked and, conversely, more balanced over the last decade or so: while one part of the industry has become increasingly gonzo and extreme, at the same time there has been a rise in big-budget, high-production-value ‘couples porn’ like the wildly successful X-Art. Nor is it easy in practice to make out a gender divide in consumers for each type; women have become actively engaged with all areas of the porn industry in a way that mirrors, perhaps, the explosion of written genres like erotic romance which are overwhelmingly written and read by women.For Dworkin, though, it is not enough to have a greater representation of female sexuality. Male sexuality needs to be excised entirely. Male sexuality is poison; it is violence, it is rape. And porn is just one means by which male society teaches men how to abuse and tyrannise women.I find it hard to believe I'm the only man that does not relate to her idea of how men watch porn. My main feeling when I'm watching it, apart from the obvious arousal (assuming it's any good), is some kind of diffuse astonished gratitude, like I'm being given some disproportionate gift from a stranger. And I think even if you stopped me in the middle of watching the most degrading porn imaginable, I wouldn't see the slightest link between what was on the screen and the idea that women shouldn't also be high court judges and CEOs.But for Dworkin, it is axiomatic that men take what they are seeing absolutely seriously: ‘Women do not believe that men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. From the worst to the best of them, they do.’ And I know she must be right sometimes, because I see the way some men talk about women and I have to accept that a lot of porn reinforces their ideas. For instance. When I was trying to work out what I was going to say about all this I watched a video where Sasha Grey talks about how she got into the business (this is a YouTube link, totally safe for work). I found it vaguely cheering in the sense that she's obviously a smart and balanced and articulate person; but then I saw one of the highest-rated comments underneath it was: ‘How did she get into porn? She sucked some dick. Because that's what whores do.’ And I have to reassess every time I read chilling things like this. I like to think that there's a distortion effect from the internet, and that people like this are in a minority, but I would be insane to pretend they're not out there.For me it comes down to a distinction between how male and female sexuality is seen in theory and in practice. In theory, female sexuality is great and male sexuality is revolting: so erotica good, porn bad; a woman with a sextoy is strong and independent, a man with a sextoy – ew. But in practice, things are reversed. Men who actually have a lot of sex are celebrated, whereas we all know what happens when it's the other way around. Sucks to be all of us!I wondered if my own attitude to porn would change when I had a daughter. It didn't, really (except obviously for the fact that the amount of free time anyone had to look at porn, or anything else, disappeared). What has become more acutely obvious to me is how the exercise of female sexuality is derided from some quarters. After we watched the documentary After Porn, Hannah and I had a conversation about what we'd do if our daughter ever went into porn. I can't say I'd be enthusiastic about it, but I know for sure I wouldn't think any less of her, and I would be furious about the way some people talk about these women. In this regard Dworkin's arguments don't help at all, because ultimately she still considers everything to do with (male) sexuality disgusting and corrupting.Perhaps it's true, in the end, that you can't consider porn to be exactly a boon for feminism. To me, McElroy is straining a touch too hard to make her case. Still, I think her instincts cut to the heart of the division in feminism to this day:As a teenager, I struggled with who I was sexually. (This, despite the fact that my sexual preferences fall well within statistical norms.) I turned to feminism for encouragement and enlightenment. I was lucky. Back then, feminism still offered a vision of sexual liberation, not of sexual oppression and bitterness. Feminism still had a sense of rollick and raunch, which was invigorating. I met women who were as confused as I was by sex, men, and their responses to both. We had late-night sessions over wine during which we hashed it out.I worry about the younger generation of women who have to go through the same sexual angst that confronts us all. If they turn to feminism, will they find a sense of joy and adventure? Or will they find only anger and a theory of victimization? Will antiporn feminists call their deepest desires "degrading"? Will their fantasies of rape or being dominated be labeled in political terms as "the eroticization of oppression"? How much of themselves will they have to disown in order to be sexually correct?And there's the essential problem. Porn is fantasy enacted: if much of it is sexist or politically incorrect, that's because it comes from your subconscious, which, as I've said before, could not care less about your social or political convictions. This goes for men and women equally. Indeed people often fantasise about things precisely because they're socially unacceptable. If you start by objecting to the expression, you end up by objecting to the thought-crime – and it's hard to see a way to square that circle.
Comment 1: This was an enlightening introduction to prostitution in the United States during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Using New York as the extreme example of prostitution in the United States, Gilfoyle examines how prostitution contributed to and fed off of the growth of the largest city in the United States. Prostitution expanded from small enterprises at the periphery of society into an industry that took up significant amounts of real estate in New York and generated large profits fo Comment 2: What I really loved about this book is the focus and resources it pulled to deliver a VERY insightful view of prostitution in historical New York City and how it dud into every facet of society that went beyond the morality of prostitution. Fascinating and worth reading if you truly want to look at the grittier side of history that is usually brushed aside. Comment 3: This history of prostitution was too dry and could have used more connecting narrative. Claims about cause and effect of commodification of the human body are oversold. Could have used more economic analysis. Comment 4: If you met Tim Gilfoyle, I would venture a guess that your first thought wouldn't be, "I bet this guy wrote the definitive book on the commercialization and later regulation of sex." And yet, here we are.
Comment 1: Rechy seems to me to be unappreciated in our time, perhaps because of his frank use of sex. He has some good ideas in this book but I don’t know that they were all fully explored or that they necessarily stand up over time.The book is a valuable piece of history, one that I think will stand up for generations, showing the pursuit of sex and interaction with police over a period in the seventies. There’s always been the idea, are gay men so promiscuous because they’re men, because they’re gay, because they’re oppressed, why? This book attempts to answer some of those questions and I think it would be interesting to take these ideas and re-work them against modern concepts. For example I think with liberation a lot of anonymous cruising areas have disappeared. Or have they just moved to the internet?There are several incidents described which almost defy belief in our time: A youngman cruising: “The judge threatens to hold you incommunicado for three months—for ‘psychiatric examination,’ insisting that all homosexuals are insane.”“A man is cruising. Two men drive by and call him a ‘fucking queer.’ Through their window, you swing at one angrily. They turn out to be vice cops, and you’re charged with assaulting an officer.”The piece on the slave auction in particular stands out.The last twenty percent of the book delves into S & M, or what Rechy would I think call then the problem of S & M. With the recent release of the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer, you can’t call S & M exclusively for self-hating gays looking to act out the experiences of their tormentors. I will acknowledge that there is some of that, I think all oppressed people take on characteristics of their oppressors. But Rechy is not always reasoned in his arguments:“I heard, increasingly, intellectualized defenses of Manson, even of Hitler. From there the defense of S & M is easy.”Comparing things to Hitler is a guaranteed way to bring the conversation to a stop.On Fisting: “this activity has already resulted in death and permanent crippling.”Let’s check this with Google. I had never heard this idea before that people who want to be fisted are really looking for ways to die. Silly. Especially when Rechy himself uses this at the end of his book The Coming of the Night, published in 1999, so perhaps his attitude has evolved. I checked Google, I don’t see evidence of fisting making someone crippled, there are a very few cases documented of people dying, but it doesn’t seem to be any different from other large items that could be inserted.He is more reasoned in his depiction of a specific S & M scene:“In effect, the ‘S’ says, ‘You are the queer now, not me, and I’ll punish you for it, just as I was punished for it—and I’ll call you the names others would call me, and have called me.”But I don’t think you can generalize it like that. I think in our society there is still an element of punishment and self-abuse for wanting sex period, not just gay sex. Also I think there’s a larger element of self-hating gays that Rechy touches on with older gay men and transsexuals being excluded from the community that I think goes deeper to the root of the problem than the S & M theory does and could have been explored more.The main value of the book is the time being described. A time when you would call the police for help after being attacked and:“A cold voice accuses from the telephone: ‘What were you doing in a queer park at midnight?’”
Comment 1: Vancouver writer Amber Dawn’s Sub Rosa, published in 2010 by the radical and remarkable publishing house Arsenal Pulp Press, is a fantasy novel that is both familiar and fantastic. It deals with (what should be) a recognized reality in its depiction of gutsy, gritty, strong women doing sex work in Vancouver’s East end. But Dawn—a writer gutsy, gritty, and strong like her characters—has imagined a world that is a glittery yet tough fable twist on the story of a teenage runaway turned sex worker.. Comment 2: A woman becomes a prostitute on the magical street Sub Rosa. Somewhere between magical realism, stark realism, and allegory, the depiction of prostitution as something that is sometimes awful and sometimes fulfilling in some ways and sometimes simply banal reminds me a lot of Michelle Tea’s writing, in a good way (and I notice she is thanked in the acknowledgements.) I’m still mulling this one over in some ways, and it's good when books have you still thinking about them after you put them down. Comment 3: Really torn on this one. There's a lot to love, but it never quite comes together. The front 1/3 of the book is good world building, and the back 1/3 is the story that the whole thing should have been. The middle 1/3 is a complete mess and I almost quit reading during it; even the writing style (good in the other parts) falls apart in a way that feels unedited and unrevised. (And in a minor grammatical quibble, some editor really needs to figure out 'to' vs 'too'.)
Comment 1: Susie Bright tells her life story in the memoir, Big Sex Little Death. Big Sex Little Death details the events of Bright’s life well but provides very little insight into the motivation behind her actions. Often it reads as if Brigh just became involved in whatever cause happened to come her way. Even her passion for her causes seems muted and a bit fleeting throughout the book. The book is written to leave the impression of a girl longing to belong but never actually explores this with any emot Comment 2: I wanted to like this book more - Susie Bright writes well, and her early years as a socialist labor organizer and radical lesbian pornographer are fascinating, filled with big characters and dangerous incidents. But Bright omits key moments in her life - how and when she lost her virginity, for one, and how her work moved from being banned at feminist bookstores to best-seller status, and overall, jumps from one high-voltage moment to another without much in either the way of transitions, or an Comment 3: I picked this up because of its intriguing title, and in complete ignorance of Bright's history in North American sexual politics. Unfortunately, she is not a good enough writer to engage a stranger like me and although she's clearly led a colourful life and has known many remarkable people, she could not bring most of them to life for me. In fact the book gives little or no sense of Bright herself as a person, or (except for the early chapters describing life with her unstable mother) of the pe
Comment 1: this book is seriously good! and amazingly researched. probably the best thing/most comprehensive book i have read about sex work I really appreciate the social context this author has given this book, it goes back over thousands of years and I have found it really inspiring reading about centuries of resistance and organizing of sex workers (we seem to be fighting the same issues of stupid government control from ancient greece to 18th century france til now) The author also positions sex work really well within analysis of class and women's status and as labour. I just think if you're going to read one book on sex work to get a better perspective on the ongoing issues with how society treats women's labour and sex work you should read THIS BOOK! Its fucking awesome! It easily debunks lots of feminist rhetoric that has been written without sex worker voices by showing the clear failings of attempts of state regulation or criminalization...and just has heaps of amazing quotes and research and little stories in it about people's lives. Its just interesting reading these histories that we don't learn about in the mainstream- that taxes charged by the church in medieval times formed a large part of building funds to build their churches, how the shift happened from holding up sex workers and respecting them to seeing them as criminals as protestant reforms and a growing middle class set down ideals about women and sex- and how poorer class women and sex workers were implicated in this... that women came to cities at the beginning of industrial revolution in europe and sold sex and were able to support themselves and campaign for women's rights and the abolition of slavery! That there are sex workers in the early 1700s who fought back against police crackdowns trying to arrest and kill sex workers- some sex workers resisted arrest and stabbed the cops to death! Hell Yeah Hookers!
Comment 1: There is nothing more difficult than finding out what goes on in the mind of a prostitute, even when one is genuinely curious and not afflicted by sanctimony. She won't give men an honest answer, since they are potential customers, and will claim she earns less than she actually does to gain sympathy. She won't give women an honest answer, since they are potential competitors or worse - moralists. Academics and sociologists have no better luck trying to interview the prostitute, even when offeri Comment 2: This book is really sad. Despite its titillating title, I found myself so disgusted at times. Not disgusted about what the prostitutes did (not much details there) but with their lives in general. It was just too sad and desperate that I had to take a break from it from time to time and resuming it was very unappealing.
Comment 1: Shawn Kenny writes a nuts-and-bolts autobiography of her early life. It's unusual story because she worked her way through college as a dominatrix. This is suppose to be an honest look back at her experience. It's not really about being a dominatrix but more specifically one woman's experience as a dominatrix.After leaving home and a falling out with her family she turned to exotic dancing to pay the bills. Pretty quickly, she decided she needed a college education to become successful and she turned to sexual domination for better pay. To her, being a dominatrix was easier and more lucrative than exotic dancing, waitressing, or just about anything else. (Being a dominatrix is easier?)But unlike several other Dominatrixes who've written their biographies, Shawna says she didn't enjoy BDSM, nor did she practice it in her personal life. She never “Got-in-to-it”. Some BDSM activities disgusted her and describes several scenes that actually made her physically sick. (Yet she was the Golden Shower Queen ?) It was actually this disgust that made it easier for her to dominate and humiliate some clients.That's what really set this book apart: She claims she isn't a lifestyle BDSM player. She did it just for the money - It was just a job: a short period of her life, no big deal. This is not erotica, this is real life. She doesn't try to sugar coat BDSM or try to make it sound glamorous or more titillating, because to her: it wasn't.One of the first things I noticed about the book is how impersonal her story is. She has few friends and doesn't share much personal information with us. She spanked and studied, nothing else. I find this to be unbelievable. Either she had no life or didn't feel the need to share it with her readers. At one point she was interviewed and told the reporter she wasn't abused as a child and had nothing unusual about her life. This seems dishonest to me because it ignores several important aspects of her story. What about her rebellious childhood? Or her break-up with her family? Or being shunned by her friends? That's normal? She said she wasn't ashamed of anything she'd done: Yet she didn't tell her parents or most of her friends what she did to pay for college.My biggest critique about this book is that I don't understand her motivation: How could she be a dominatrix? You don't work for years as a Dominatrix without enjoying it. I've heard many professional dominatrixes say that it's not something the average person could do for any long period of time, “You have to be in-to-it,” you can't fake it for very long. This really confuses me: How could Shawna fake it for so long? And it seems absurd that she hated stripping but could do BDSM sessions?After discussing it with her (via E-mail), I realize she doesn't understand it herself. That's not meant to be critical -- Very few of us really understand how and why we do some of the things we do. But I feel she wasn't being honest we herself or her readers and this is where the book lost me. What's is also contradictory is that, after ending her career as a dominatrix, Shawna has continued her career as a writer and photographer for BDSM and other erotic publications (like Whap! Magazine. I have to conclude she's not telling us something.In her E-mail she said there were several clients that she really liked and that there were aspects she liked about being a dom (like carrying over the teasing she'd done in real life, and “Reforming” bad behavior, and especially her friendship with Miranda). I was really glad to hear that extra bit of information. It filled in some of the gaps for me.The bottom line it that this was an okay book. She's not a lifestyle BDSMer and makes that very clear: She doesn't need to be. If her clients got what they wanted, and she got what she wanted, and we (as readers) got an interesting book, then everyone should be happy. She knew what she wanted and did what she had to to get it. She also had to face the consequences of her decisions. We can all learn from her story.If, after reading the book, you're left with questions or comments, visit her website and let her know. She seems like a reasonable and intelligent person. Don't criticize her for not being a lifestyle BDSM person and don't ask her advise about BDSM, but do check out her other work.Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting and easy to read, but there's nothing really Earth-shaking about it. Personally, I felt something was missing from the story. Either intentionally or subconsciously she left some critical details out.
Comment 1: It's not easy for a Westerner to get inside many of Japan’s sex clubs so this book provides many with a taste of an infamous subject. The photos are varied, showing workers and client alike in different settings. It takes you through love hotels, host clubs and many other aspects of Japan's sex industry. For the most part it lets you make up your mind on the subject, testimonies from clients and women sprinkled throughout. One thing I’ve always found alluring about this subject is the sheer amou Comment 2: Interesting. I've always been interested in Japanese culture, fueled by watching anime during my formative years, and more by the people I met during college (my org catered to foreign students specifically, taking them on tours around the country, teaching them English, etc) and random things my friends and I would find on the internet. Once, a friend and I stumbled on pictures of themed Love Hotels in Japan and were amazed at the intricate and detailed rooms--Hello Kitty themed, Christmas them Comment 3: I love cities that are paradoxes. In the case of Japan it is an entire country. Prostitution is illegal in Japan, which is what makes their entire fuzoku industry immensely fascinating. Mainly because it is well structured, with lots of rules and specificity on respect and control of desire, and the array of different desire scenarios is dizzying. This is not like America's prostitution, where so many women are coerced and addicts doing things against their will or better more clear judgement. I
Comment 1: In this book, every essay was written by a woman who has been involved in the sex industry, and many are very positive about their experiences. While it's good to hear that they are not traumatized, there is a difference between being ok with your past and promoting the sex industry as the road to gender equality. In most cases, I do think prostitution is inherently degrading to women, and I was unconvinced by these essays to believe otherwise. If this is a topic of interest, I recommend the boo Comment 2: It almost seemed pro-sex worker oriented. Which is cool, I respect the fact that in many cultures they are outside the whole sexual wars. Not as subjugated to the rules, yet still put through exile by men and by women due to the fact they don't follow a certain rule. Men ashamed by what they mean, particularly in correlation to them. Women dislike them due to what they mean in correlation to their husbands. It makes for a good starter book in regards to sexuality and what it means to be female, Comment 3: I appreciate the perspective of this book and think it's important for these voices to be heard, a lot of it just reads too much like a textbook for my taste. I especially liked the essay by the female ex-cop turned prostitute, it was a very eye-opening account of how these ladies are often abused not by their career choice, but by the policemen who arrest them.
Comment 1: A very good book, very well written and very interesting. However some parts were disgusting but some others were amazing. This book is probably more fictional than realistic, but it was a good read. I really appreciate the part when she was in South Africa because she perfectly describe Boers men and their hypocrisy.
Comment 1: Well this one was a fluke. I found it at a local Goodwill store and an older gentleman who was looking through the books told me I should read it. It is about the life of Norma Almodovar, a LAPD officer who worked for several years with the force and having had enough of what she refers to as the "Blue Mafia", turned to the escorts business. She quadrupled her salary as a cop and lived a very unusual and interesting life. This details Sunset Boulevard near LaBrea Avenje, where the few streets th Comment 2: A lot of what's written is hard to believe; but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Some parts of Norma Jean's life are very disturbing.
Comment 1: I learned two things from this book, and neither of them were about the sex industry.The first one is this:Jeannette Angell (or the character she plays in this book) thinks -- no, scratch that, she KNOWS -- that she is smarter than you. Than me. Than everyone who's going to pick up this book. She constantly mentions how educated she is (two masters and a difficult PhD!), name drops lecturing at places like MIT and Harvard, and never misses a chance to mention what an AMAZING teacher she is. It's all summed up in this one sentence. To give context, she's describing her madam, and how her madam, Peach, isn't exactly what most people would picture. She says:"She knew more about the classics of literature than I (and, I'll venture to guess, you) ever will."In other words, if Peach is smarter than Ms. Angell, then clearly Peach is smarter than you as well. Because there's no way you're as smart as Jeannette.The second thing I learned is that the author (or, again, the character she plays) absolutely needs to feel, to be, special. Whether it's because Mario the client will tell her things he doesn't tell anyone else, or because she's impacting her students' lives so profoundly, or because SHE's the only employee of Peach that Peach wanted to hang out with, the overwhelming need to feel special and important is clearly the author's driving force.Needless to say, I found the author's tone and style of writing to be unbelievably grating.On top of that, I'm not exactly sure what the theme or point of the book was. To help us shed our myths about sex workers? Well, such as what? That sex workers are nymphos just trying to get as much sex as they can? Sorry, I do sex and rape research for a living, I pretty much knew that already. That it's not necessarily degrading, that it can in fact be empowering? Frankly, that was definitely one of those "show, not tell" circumstances, because she mentions more than once how angry she gets when people use the word "degrading" to refer to prostitution, and while I agree that SHAMING prostitutes is horrible and evil and wrong wrong wrong, the fact is several of the incidents she describes in her book I WOULD have found 100% degrading. Ultimately, I think her goal was to show how the stereotype of sex workers is inaccurate, but she was so busy also explaining why she was so very different than most other sex workers that it ultimately has the opposite effect.Also of note is that apparently this so-called memoir is very much fictionalized to be more juicy or perhaps to sell more copies? For example, she actually taught high school, not college. What's hilarious is she claims she kept some of the fictionalized stuff in her memoir to make herself "look better." But the fact is, she didn't. She just...didn't look better AT ALL. She should have gone either full-on autobiography or full on fiction. But this strange mishmash of insanity just served to make her look bad, the sex industry as a whole look bad (which she claims was the opposite of her intention) and me really frusrated and annoyed with this book.EDIT: And you'll be interested to know that on Angell's own website, this book is listed under "novels." Despite the fact that the book itself clearly tries to pass itself off as a memoir. Not a Gaston Leroux "The Opera Ghost really existed," let's play with the line between fiction and journalism as a literary gimmick type thing, but a serious, no tongue in cheek, memoir. As in, the inside of the book has itself categorized as "20th century -- Biography." So basically it's A Million Little Pieces for the sex industry.
Comment 1: In a country where women are equated with honor, there is a well-known “secret” mohalla where love and sex are openly sold. Louise Brown’s “The dancing girls of Lahore” is an insight of the life in the Shahi Mohalla and Tibbi Gali of Lahore, also famously known as the Heera Mandi of Lahore – famous for being home to Lahore’s courtesans. A while back I read a similar book about Lahore’s Red Light District by Fouzia Saeed titled “Taboo”. Although “Taboo” was more involved in the study of how the Heera Mandi business was losing the ancient culture of singing, dancing and courtship, and turning more obviously into a brothel. Saeed’s book was more focused on the feminist aspects of the mohalla and how the mohalla had more of a reverse culture compared to that of the outside society, where women were in power and responsible for making money and the birth of boy children was looked upon sadly. The mohalla was described as home to women that men liked to spend time with but never honor, whilst their women at home were kept for honor and producing children but never truly loved. Where Saeed’s book was very insightful regarding the cultural and feminist aspects of the life at the mohalla, Brown’s book is more of a general overview. She gives as a hawk-eye view of the life of various people she met and spent time with in the mohalla, during her research. I felt that Brown was more involved in the people and her book was more engaging due to this involvement. However, for the same reason it also lacked objectivity, which was so profound in Saeed’s writing. Brown evokes emotion in the reader regarding both the glamor and the horror of a life in Lahore’s Shahi Mohalla; however, it does not do justice to the causes of this social predicament. It could be, perhaps, that Saeed being a part of the Pakistani community experienced the differences more vividly; while Brown compared it to her previous research locations like Japan and India as well as to the Western setting. Nevertheless, there are two main ideas that are consistent throughout the two works: These women almost never have a choice, due to social pressures and sometimes due to the people who are responsible for them. Sometimes, these people include their mothers. Sometimes, they include pimps. But almost always they include the passive outside society, which turns a blind eye and looks the other way. These women are usually uneducated, know nothing about the transmission of sexual diseases and have no clue how and why one should use protection. Their children are doomed to the same fates that they have endured and the vicious cycle never breaks. Society does not accept them and in doing so they do accept them but only as dirty prostitutes, “gandi kanjari”, that they never want to imagine near their vicinity or their children. Secondly, there is a sustained demand from that same society that refuses to accept these women. These women may be considered dishonorable and horrible, but the men who visit them are both honorable and respectable in the society. They are, as both authors describe them, “shareef.” Saeed gives a reason for this. In Pakistan, men’s honor is the honor of the women in his family. Their ‘izzat –honor’ is marred if the women of the family do something dishonorable. The men have no honor of their own so no matter how dishonorable their deeds are, they still maintain their ‘izzat’ as long as their women are safe and secure in their house. Only the women have the ability to be dishonored personally, not the men. Brown’s book finds evidence of Saeed’s idea by suggesting that where jails are filled with women who have committed ‘zinna – fornication’, there is not an equal amount of men incarcerated for the same crime, even though the law should be aware that it takes two to commit the crime. I felt that these two books go hand in hand and should be read together. I found Louise Brown’s narration very engaging. She tells the story as it is meant to be told: with involvement and compassion. However, Fouzia Saeed hits the nail on the head with her commentary giving insight into the sociological causes and the mindset that results in the sustained exploitation of these women in a country where their business is a crime, sometimes punishable by death!
Comment 1: I was disappointed as I thought I would read some eye-opening accounts from different women in the industry. It was a lot of what I already knew though it was interesting to read about these women as individuals. Still, it's depressing that I have my master's degree and I make less money than a woman who is taking off her clothes for a living. It shows how much a woman's body is still valued more over her brain in our society. Comment 2: I've always thought that stripping as a profession is more damaging to women than empowering, as some people claim. The author interviews women who strip for a living to get to the bottom of the damaging vs. empowering debate. Guess what? I'm right. Comment 3: Pretty good. A mostly thoughtful narrative that aims to explain the attraction to stripping for women and the costs most regularly associated with it. Not anti-stripping, but realistic and institutionally situated. Good solid sociology.
This is the true story of transsexual adult film superstar Meghan Chavalier as told by Meghan herself. Meghan will take you through her years as a stage performer, a dancer, and ultimately how she became the most famous transsexual adult film star in the world. It hasn't all been all fame and fortune, in fact, Meghan will walk you through the tumultuous steps in her life, growing up with an alcoholic abusive father, drug abuse, prostitution, the adult film industry, the failed relationships, the love she finally found that changed her life and a lifelong struggle with Bipolar Disorder and Manic Depression. You'll finally learn everything you wanted to know about Meghan Chavalier including. *The transsexual film industries ups and downs *The truth about two of Hollywood's most famous male celebrities. *What really goes on behind closed doors in those strip clubs in New Orleans, Louisiana. *Drugs, sex, prostitution, legal trouble and married men *The nervous breakdown that almost destroyed her life Confessions of a Transsexual Porn Star will bring you into the life of Meghan Chavalier and show you how a small town kid went on to become a world famous transsexual star.
A FRANK, FUNNY, EXPLICIT, AND INSPIRING MEMOIR ABOUT HOW DANCING NAKED IN GAY CLUBS IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL HELPED A COLLEGE PROFESSOR DISCOVER HIS TRUE SELF."I felt that I'd made a transformation as surely as Superman slipping out of a phone booth or Wonder Woman doing a sunburst spin. I was bare-ass in a room of paying strangers, a stripper. After years of wondering what it would be like, I had done it -- faced a fear, defied expectation, embraced a taboo self. It was only the beginning...." "All I Could Bare" is the story of a mild-mannered graduate student who "took the road less clothed" -- a decision that was life changing. Seymour embarked on his journey in the 1990s, when Washington, D.C.'s gay club scene was notoriously no-holds-barred, all the while trying to keep his newfound vocation a secret from his parents and maintain a relation-ship with his boyfriend, Seth. Along the way he met some unforgettable characters -- the fifty-year-old divorce who's obsessed with a twenty-one-year-old dancer, the celebrated drag diva who hailed from a small town in rural Virginia, and the many straight guys who were "gay for pay." Seymour gives us both the highs (money, adoration, camaraderie) and the lows (an ill-fated attempt at prostitution, a humiliating porn audition). Ultimately coming clean about his secret identity, Seymour breaks through taboos and makes his way from booty-baring stripper to Ph.D.-bearing academic, taking a detour into celebrity journalism and memorably crossing paths with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige along the way. Hilarious, insight-ful, and touching, "All I Could Bare" proves that sometimes the "wrong decision" can lead to the right place.
Comment 1: This is an interesting story structured well and told with a surprisingly honest level of self-reflection. McClear has a great ear for dialogue and works hard to put her experiences -- as a white, middle-class girl dealing with depression and hiding from adult life by working in the peep shows -- into the context of the larger peep show world, where many people she worked with were dealing with much bigger challenges. She doesn't see herself as "special," nor does she see herself as extraordinar Comment 2: Not particularly well-written or edited - there's a weird chronology to the book, it jumps back and forward in time without reason - and McClear's experiences as a peep-show girl aren't nearly as interesting as she thinks they are. Also, as others have pointed out better than me, I don't really care about a skinny white college-educated girl working in the sex industry, sorry. Definitely disappointed in this one. Comment 3: A memoir of Sheila McClear's time in the peep shows of NYC, and a little about how she left them to become a writer. Often sad, she works her way through a few establishments, meeting a diverse cast of characters - customers and other peep show girls alike. Comment 4: Interesting topic (that's an understatement) and observant writing, but the editing was so poor that I was often re-reading sentences looking for the noun or trying to figure out the meaning when words were missing or repeated.
Comment 1: From the age of nine Geena Leigh's home life was tough and at times extremely hard. Living with her mother, father, two sisters and two brothers in Auckland, New Zealand. Geena recalls getting unwanted attention from her father when no one was around. He would visit her bedroom and touch her in places where no father should. Geena only being young just thought that this was what fathers did although she felt uncomfortable she never said anything to anyone. As well as dealing with this she also h Comment 2: The book does not take into consideration the interpersonal relationships of sex workers. Personal details being used is a violation of trust and privacy and it causes damage to the individuals involved. Did you get a release? permission of those in the book? it is a subjective piece that only argues the worst. Was Geena that depressed that she used the industry as an scapegoat for the reason why it took her so long to transition? It's called choice and personal responsibility. After all, the ab Comment 3: A super easy read although, despite the 'secret confessions' I felt there was so much more she could have explored. Seemed to elude to some things and never follow up. And then brush over others that I would have thought were quite significant. Overall an easy, enjoyable book.
Tyler Smith's fascinating and sometimes truly astonishing tales of streetwalkers, call girls, madams, pimps and rent boys are fundamentally true (a few, as he recognizes, fall into the category of cultural myths), and are not only interesting but also funny--often hilarious. Have you ever wondered how Heidi Fleiss came to be the face of upscale prostitution or if Casanova really was the world's greatest lover? How about why Latin playboy Rubi Rubirosa got the nickname "The Ding Dong Daddy"? While you may think that you know everything about this occupation, Whore Stories includes plenty of details and even celebrities, such as Maya Angelou and Bob Dylan, that will leave you in awe. From private sex schools and Snoop Dogg, to child preachers, mime fantasies and unfortunate amputations, Whore Stories offers a fascinating, hilarious and often times shocking look at the world's oldest profession.
Comment 1: Having recently read both Belle De Jour's "Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl" and David Henry Sterry's "Chicken", it seemed that Tracy Quan's "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" was the next natural step. Especially having seen it advertised all over the London Underground. I was hoping it would prove to be yet another look into the world of prostitution from the point of view of the prostitute and would have the same effect of making it seem like they are simply normal people with a slightly abnormal job.That said, knowing that the book had a predominantly pink cover with a drawing of a woman in her panties prominent on it did make me wonder what kinds of looks I'd get from the other passengers on the Tube. Even more so having got some sideways glances when I was reading nothing more risqué than "Bridget Jones's Diary".Nancy leads something of a double life. In one life, she is a call girl in New York, who seems to have very few friends or acquaintances who she hasn't met through her work. In the other, she is a supposedly respectable fiancée to Matt and, as far as he and his sisters are concerned, works in a far more respectable job."Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" is four months in Nancy's life. She leads us through her working days and nights and the time she spends with Matt and her friends. We get to find out how she juggles both sides of her existence and the trials she faces keeping them apart. We hear her conversations at work, at the gym and with her therapist.As with "Belle De Jour", this is written in a diary format and, again similar to that book, some of the entries are pretty long. Unlike that, however, this does not deviate from that format. Indeed, there is no variation of style here and the only real break from the present is the small bit of back story where Nancy explains how she first became a call girl and what she did before she became a call girl in Manhattan.Before I had even started reading the story, I had my misgivings. With the previous books I'd read on the subject, the covers were a little more discreet, whereas this shouts out to everyone what you're reading with the colour scheme and the cover picture. The way the book is divided into chapters and the slightly corny titles some of them have been given suggests this isn't taking itself as seriously as "Belle De Jour" did and the way the type on some of the pages is shaped like a woman's body suggests it's trying a little too hard to impress.Sadly, it does seem that this book is a victory of style over substance. Although it's worth noting that this book is marketed as a work of fiction, whereas both "Chicken" and "Belle De Jour" claimed to be true stories, it is really only the subject matter than links the three books. "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" has none of the gritty realism and the shocking impact of those earlier books. It's really a watered down version of the genre, perhaps falling part way between "Belle De Jour" and "Bridget Jones's Diary".Worst of all is the ending of the book. Having built up to an unresolved situation, Quan commits the cardinal sin of dodging the issue at the end. Had you actually succeeded in building up a relationship with Nancy through these pages, this would be a huge let down. Fortunately, I was never that involved in the story, so I didn't find it much more than a disappointment, albeit a pretty massive one.This is a book for someone who enjoyed "Bridget Jones's Diary" and wants something with a slight edge to it. This would also be suitable reading for someone who was disgusted or shocked by "Belle De Jour". I saw a lady on a train recently reading that book with an expression on her face that covered both shock and disgust. She would probably have felt more at home with this book. For me, personally, having loved the on the edge feel of "Belle De Jour", this felt horribly watered down and not quite real.I suspect that anyone reading this as their first foray into the subject may not be as disappointed as I was. The stories of call girls and the like seem to be coming more into the mainstream than ever before, with "Belle De Jour" seemingly leading the way. Sadly, this book proves that bandwagon jumping isn't always (or, indeed, often) a good thing and that Quan isn't fit to lace Belle De Jour's knee high boots.This review may also appear under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
Comment 1: Confidante: The Brothel was all about Angelien’s time working in a brothel. Angelien was a strong and confidant woman and she was the favourite of lots of clients at the brothel. The is a lot of sex in the book obviously. Angelien is a likeable woman and it is a great shame she had to do this just to support her family but it is very understandable as it was very good pay. Comment 2: I expected this book to talk more about the mother in the law as a person rather than all sex .. Yes the title is the brothel but got to be more than just sex sex sex and more sex. I read a book not to long ago about a woman that ends up being owner & headmistress to a brothel , and it has lots more to it than just the sexual aspect. Comment 3: Wow, this has changed a lot from the first 4 volume set that I read. And it's changed for the better! It's much more of a story now and when I downloaded it and started reading, I couldn't stop! I just had to know what kind of client Angelien/Diana came across next. I was disappointed when it ended though, I wanted to read more. Comment 4: I am not sure what I expected. The book is an easy read but I guess I am shocked it is only about her first month. I mean she embraced it all so quickly. I wish the book was a little longer and delved a little deeper. I know it is a trilogy I guess I was just wishing it was a longer read instead of a trilogy.
Comment 1: Overall an entertaining and educational read. There were some really amazing stories, and some mediocre ones, as is the case with most anthologies. Some perspectives interested me more than others. My main problems with this book was the fact that it seemed to be heavily skewed towards the 'gay rent boy' and 'poor street hooker' perspectives - I would've liked to see more stories from straight male prostitutes and higher class call girls to even out the ratio - and the introductions written by S Comment 2: The difficulty with a book like this is, since there are dozens of writers with varying stories, some of them I loved and some of them I couldn't stand. However, I felt the need to finish the book because I was worried if I didn't, I would miss my favorite story! I love what Sterry did, putting this compilation together and giving a voice to so many different sex workers. It really does run the gamut and challenge some stereotypes. I admire his attempt to uncover the different worlds of sex work Comment 3: I picked up this book because, 1. I was shocked it was on the shelves of the public library and 2. the lovely Audacia Ray is a contributor. I have had a hard time putting it down for the other books I HAVE to read. The stories are almost all excellent, with the section on relationships with family my favorite by far. What I love most about this book is that there is a third-wave feminist, sex positive vibe that refuses to sugar coat anything - which is what sex positive feminism *should* be but
A L.A. cop-turned-call girl recounts her career on the force, her disillusionment with the hypocrisy and corruption of it all, and her exploits as a glamorous call girl with rich and famous clients. 50,000 first printing. National ad/promo.
Comment 1: This is a book that is self indulgent, at times boring, often thought provoking, at times exciting and always rather self admiring. The main points of interest for me were:- The celebration of sexual diversity, difference and a rejection of the straitjacket of heterosexual monogamous as the only acceptable way to be. Queen revels in being different from the mainstream and not being what others expect her to be.- The idea that embracing sex and what gives us sexual pleasure is nothing to be ashamed of; instead a society that is sex positive and doesn't constrain our sexual expression is something to strive for.- The idea that pornography and prostitution aren't inherently harmful and women can engage in both in a way that is liberating. Clearly, this is the most controversial argument she puts forward and she doesn't address her critics head on. The notion that mainstream pornography depicts women as subservient to men and frequently includes acts which are physically painful and humiliating to women is not acknowledged. Queen only focuses on her personal vantage point - she enjoys porn and those who criticise it are constrained by their own moral conservatism.Her argument around prostitution is even more flawed. Again because she personally has found prostitution enjoyable it is argued that prostitutes can be empowered by selling sex. What goes unacknowledged is the chain of human misery associated with human trafficking, illegal immigration, sex slavery and drug addiction and crime, all of which are intertwined with prostitution. Queen writes from the point of view of a privileged white woman who can be a prostitute by choice, many are not so lucky.On the whole I found this an interesting and challenging book but some of her arguments were found wanting.
Comment 1: A big surprise as to who Alexandra Highcrest really was. I hate spoilers so that is as much as I am going to say about that... :)
Comment 1: An honest account by a london call girl of her life. On the one hand Q (the call girl) says that she is happy in her work, that she relishes the power that comes from working as an escort. However on the other hand she bemoans the fact that men see her merely as a prostitute and even males she meets while out socialising simply want sex rather than a loving relationship. Q started off working on the streets which entailed seeing upto 20 clients a day. She graduated to working as an out-call esco Comment 2: I don't know if I am allowed to review my own book, however, the words are not mine. They are the words of Q, the woman I video interviewed for my research on prostitution in the late 1990s. I only transcribed her words, completely unedited, including every broken sentence and pause, so that her words are presented as honestly and boldly as she spoke them. Comment 3: Have you ever watched / read 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' by Belle de Jour? How about Tracy Quan's '...Call Girl' series of books? Did they make you laugh? Did their lives sound exciting and liberating? Did prostitution begin to sound like a viable, safe way to make extra money? Well, it's not. Comment 4: I do not think I've read something so fast or ever been so engaged. I read it all in one sitting, which I rarely find myself capable of sitting still for any period of time! It is a short book, but it is one that needs to be read.
Comment 1: This collection of essays focuses on those in the pornography industry whose families and friends are aware of their pornographic association, either through discussing it themselves or being outed by others. The authors are no longer sexual characters, but people with families, friends, lovers, and lives outside of the industry. The people of the porn community are there for each other when no one else is, offering support to those who need it when they are cast out. People of all walks of life Comment 2: This is an excellent collection of experiences. I felt that this book equipped me with better tools to see the world. Each essay is the perfect length, I never felt like I was dragged into anything too academic, which is a useful lens but tends to use language that doesn't resonate with a large amount of readers. The essays are accessible and direct, going right to the heart of things. What I found most valuable was getting first-hand accounts of experiences so far from my own, yet similar in th Comment 3: It's not just about "coming out", especially as- not like- a porn star. These essays cover a lot more ground, mostly about how people engaged in sex work- very marginalized and/or stigmatized by mainstream society- deal with the intersection of their work and their other relationships, all the way from being very forthcoming about it to everyone, and to ways to keep one's porn and legal identities separate- and the problems with both approaches.
Comment 1: It was one of the best accounts of sex work I have read so far. Not only Bernstein has done a great fieldwork and collected enormous amount of data, she has also presented a very neat and insightful analysis, situating sexual commerce in a broader social and economic context, and reflected on her own position in the field as a woman and a feminist researcher. Bravo. Comment 2: I was bothered by how she presented the startling different experience of middle class sex workers, who where all but exclusively white, and the street walker prostitutes but then moved on without exploring race/ethnicity and privilege at all. Comment 3: I read this when in University for a module on sexwork, detailed in literally every possible aspect I can think of, if need idea on s work and questions on structure etc. This is the Book. Comment 4: An analysis of sex work in San Francisco, the Netherlands, and Sweden as placed into a socio-economic context.
Comment 1: This was a pretty interesting book. Scarlot Harlot has been an activist for longer than I've been alive and there's a lot of history documented in here. That said, the writing was a bit scattered and hard to follow at times. There are long chatty interviews typed up verbatim (for page after page after page) but then there would also be an excerpt just long enough to see what S.H. had to say without any of the other relevant conversation. Still, overall I did enjoy this one and I want to track do Comment 2: This really is a collected works. I think you might be disapointed if you had never heard of Scarlot Harlot and were expecting maybe essays or something. It's really a grab bag, good and bad of some essays, columns, poems, plays, photos, interviews with her and others she's conducted etc. Sort of a retrospective of her work.
Like a prism, prostitution dynamics reflect and magnify pervasive social patterns. These essays examine those patterns both inside and outside the context of explicit sex commerce. The author elaborates a cross-cultural critique of the categories "prostitute" and "prostitution" as constructed in science, policy and society. At every level of analysis, terms and social categories prove to be slippery, consequential and reflective of an underlying political logic that subordinates women to men. Key to that logic is the whore stigma, an official and traditional mechanism of social control inextricable from issues as diverse as migration, health care, sexual autonomy, employment and freedom of speech.
In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft, in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, made a plea for basic human rights and equality for women -a radical demand for the time. Now, 200 years later, prostitutes are calling for similar rights and equality. The need o speak out for the rights of sex workers became clear to Margo St. James, a former prostitute, in the early 1970s. She founded Coyote (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) in 1973 and went on to establish a network of prostitutes, social workers and politicians. The book consists of the voices of a diverse group of prostitutes, sex worker's rights activists and feminist scholars from around the world, discussing their lives and their concerns. It includes the complete text of the World Charter for Prostitutes' Rights; unedited transcripts of workshop arranged by topic from the First World Whores' Congress held in Amsterdam in February 1985 and Second World Whores' Congress at the European Parliament held in Brussels in October 1986; position papers; as well as interviews with various participants.
Comment 1: With Wanderlust, I wasn't sure how I felt about the author (or much of the story), but the book appealed to the part of me that idealises rootlessness. With Bare...well, partly it was engrossing and partly it was frustrating and my three stars are fairly tepid.He thought emotional frigidity was admirable. That, at root, is why I think I chose [him]. He wanted the smoke and mirrors that I had to give (206).Eaves's foray into stripping was partly boundary-pushing and partly defiance, I think. The title refers to stripping, of course—to being bared physically/literally—but could easily also refer to her style of writing: that she is stripping herself bare, no holds barred. And yet I think that, just as stripping involves smoke and mirrors, so does Eaves's storytelling.I'm not sure she knew, writing this book, just what conclusions to draw. Early on, she talks of stripping as something representing a great deal of freedom: My natural inclination had been to wear sex on my sleeve. To an extent, thorough high school and college, I did—I had sex, talked about sex, sometimes wore sexy clothes, and tried to seduce people I didn't even want to have sex with, just to see if I could. But I was always aware of the stifling pressure to conform that I had felt from my parents, my peers, and my sorority's rules. The only women who seemed to be free of the rules were prostitutes and strippers (32).As time goes on, though, she starts to be more conscious of the judgement strippers face; she also starts to draw a distinction between those women who are in the business for a finite, usually short, period of time and those women who are in it for years and years, or who have fewer or less defined boundaries. She starts to feel disdain for the men who choose to frequent strip clubs (e.g., 202). She starts to resent men in general, to focus on their roles in her dissatisfactions. I had never thought of myself as someone who hated men. I had spent much of my adult life with one boyfriend or another, and my relationships often looked, at least superficially, as though they were happy, stable, or both. But I remembered how with Erik I had chafed, almost from the beginning, against a feeling of being trapped. By agreeing to get married and by buying a house, I had accepted being tied down, but at the same time I hated him, as though he had forced me. When I finally left, I felt as though I had escaped a prison (208).And...then she draws some odd conclusions, like this: To some the term "feminist stripper" is ironic, but it's not an oxymoron—it's just that one has to become a very extreme feminist to remain a stripper. When men don't matter at all, stripping makes perfect sense. It's the natural result of combining sexual freedom with a hostile, anti-male feminism. If men are seen as something to control or ignore, what they think of women is beside the point. This is why there are so many lesbian strippers—men are simply less relevant to a lesbian's personal and sexual world than they are to a straight woman's. A stripper can be a feminist, if she is one who wants either revenge on men or their total exclusion from her life (288). She seems, also, to conclude that only strippers (and only those strippers who 'get out' sooner rather than later), are really in control of their sexuality. This is based in part on the experiences of other women she knew (more on that in a moment), but mostly, it seems, on Eaves's own experience, and...it seems like she makes some pretty big leaps. It reads to me as though Eaves didn't really know what to make of her experience and was still trying to work through some of her feelings/conclusions about it and...hadn't quite found the right level of nuance yet. (It struck me, the closer I got to the end, that for all the navel-gazing she was doing, I wasn't convinced of her self-awareness. Smoke and mirrors?)The first chunk of the book is really her story, but midway in she starts including big chunks of other women's stories. Perhaps this is in part because they gave her a broader range of experiences to work with (i.e., her sample size grew to greater than one), but I wished she'd been able to work those parts in more gradually; at one point I had to check myself with a reminder that this was a memoir, not an attempt at journalistic nonfiction. It also felt, by the end, that she simply hadn't spent enough time working as a stripper to write a full book based solely on her experience.Interesting and dissatisfying. I do think she grew as a writer between this and Wanderlust, and I'd pretty readily pick up a new book by Eaves, should she write one...although perhaps with tempered expectations.
Comment 1: One of the books I read last week = Working Sex: Sex Workers Write about a Changing Industry, edited by Annie Oakley. The collection of essays are from women, men, transgenders, and any other categorization you can think of and their involvement in sex work includes pornographic films, websites, exotic dancing, escorts, and more. Just as the work is varied, so are the people and the ways in which they express themselves. Some essays read very scholarly and others are like stream of consciousness Comment 2: I've been to over 6 Sex Worker Art Shows, and this book feels like that, except for that you can take it home, keep it forever, and visit that mental place whenever you want to or need to. Some of the best SWAS performers, as well as others you never made it into that fateful van, provide a wonderful, dramaticly varied, collection of stories. Also, I must say that it's quite fun to open a book and say to myself, "I know that girl! I'm so happy she's published!" ;) Comment 3: I'd recommend reading this book alongside something else (perhaps alongside several other books) as opposed to using it as your daily subway reading. Because this is a collection of vignettes and poems rather than a whole story, reading snippets about sex workers' lives became somewhat tedious ... which is probably not the goal of this collection.
Comment 1: This was a fair read. I was disappointed that the scope was wide but not too deep--I would have liked less of a survey and more depth from all of the women interviewed. I was also a little disappointed that there were so few men interviewed/quoted. There are good reason for the fact that Ray mostly talks about *women* naked on the internet, but I would have liked to have at least some information on how men deal with Hookups, downloads, and cashing in on internet sexploration...there was virtual Comment 2: Audacia Ray, staying true to herself as a sex-positive blogger with a casual, interested tone when it comes to sexuality and the internet, presents this book with a wit often absent in women's studies books. She covers a basic history of sex on the internet, beginning with the earliest listservs to camgirl blogs and support groups (with a full index of terminology and URLs, which thankfully there is no need to flip back and forth between as you read). Comment 3: this book has me interested in sex work. with all of the recent conversations with the internet altering social landscapes, it is awesome to hear how the internet (though it can be dangerous - it's like having sex without a condom or not knowing how to properly handle a firearm) is being used as a tool of liberation and to connect with people. though this book concentrates on sexually connecting with 'generous men.'
Comment 1: I received this book from Goodreads First Reads. Thanks!Chicken is a slice of sparkling, sizzling, up-and-down nightmare of an adventure. Perhaps the best thing about it is that it is very well told. I like that there is a common childhood, some usual 17-year-old hormones pumping, and nothing really too drastic, other than the first encounter the author finds himself in when he goes to Hollywood for college. It is, I do agree, a bit unbelievable that with $27 in his pocket, and a relatively normal family, he finds that he is "homeless." Either the definition of homeless needs to be revised, or, most likely, there was much more going on than the author is allowing himself to tell. I like that there are no sweeping judgements about any group of people (perhaps other than the fact that all rich women like to see their hunky boyman naked (well, and who can blame them?). I like that though he may not love being a "sex technician," the author enjoys sex and most of the sexual encounters, though this doesn't mean he loves it all.As for the encounters (tricks) described, none of them seemed too weird or unusual or freaky or fringe to me. All pretty in line with the human condition. I am not sure if it was meant to be shocking. Perhaps will be shocking to those who thought Fifty Shades of Gray was groundbreaking; I doubt it will seem shocking or freaky to anyone who is remotely familiar with the realities of human sexuality and everything related to it.Recommended to those who like well-written memoirs, fast-paced accounts, fried chicken, nuns, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
There are as many truths about the sex trade as there are people who participate in it. In this new collection of creative nonfiction, people who’ve tangled with the sex industry write about the complications that arise in the mix of sex and money. From the accounts of love and loss, occupational hazards and tricks of the trade to personal stories of hope, resistance and survival, Prose & Lore is a fiery collection of narratives by people who have walked the walk, and are now telling their tales. The contributions in the book were written by the participants of the Red Umbrella Project’s first memoir writing workshop, which took place in Fall 2012.
Comment 1: a combination of interviews, essays, photos and performance texts. it is little book about whorepower. what if instead of the workers taking to the streets, the street-workers took to the presses? veronica vera is quoted as saying, "sex workers are the new sex experts. what we do is political. sex is political." labor organizers often overlook sex workers, so much of the activism in this business comes from the rank and file. bell explores the business end of sex work (pornography, hustling, str Comment 2: Shannon Bell interviews Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle, and other founding femmes of the post-porn era, who share their experiences and views on professional sexwork and the porn industry.
Every day thousands of ordinary people go to work in an industry whose busines is sex. Red Light showcases the work of photographer Sylvia Plachy and journalist James Ridgeway, who uncover this world through the eyes of the people who work in it, revealing a story of "sex in America" from a new and honest point of view. Photos.
Comment 1: Portland is, by its own profession, the strip club capital of the world and Viva casts a long shadow on that stage. Picking up her tips she always says, "Thank you for supporting the arts tonight." And she's dead serious. She's a musician, author, and actress as well as a stripper. Her memoir provides a unique perspective on the art of stripping, Portland, and what it means as an artist, and just beyond the boundaries of the mainstream. She's a Portland treasure and the book is a good read. Comment 2: This girl has so much moxie that it oozes off the pages of her book. She alternately comes across as vivacious, intelligent, depressive, articulate, compulsive and compassionate. She also comes across as an incorrigible vixen and maneatress. Woe betide the harmless Portlandian fellow who falls into this web. Comment 3: Stripper's memoir and love-letter to Portland. Well done. Of interest to those seeking a defense of stripping, Portland scene history, or if you wanna know what she wore...
Comment 1: This was such a fascinating book. I was expecting an historical account of prostitution during the era but this was so much more. It was an engrossing and often upsetting sociological account of gender and class struggles. I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone with an interest in these subjects, woman studies and of course, the specific subject of sex work. Comment 2: This was an enlightening book about what most people won't discuss or try to hide now days. It provides deep insight into how and why the women got into, lived and died and some were able to leave the profession. I thought it was a remarkable read as I love history. Comment 3: Interesting and helpful for researching for my book, "The Secret Life of Anna Blanc," an homage to old Los Angeles inspired by Alice Stebin Wells, an LAPD police matron, who in 1910, became the first woman in the Western world to be granted police powers. Comment 4: A fascinating study of prostitution during the Progressive Era in the United States. It's interesting and also saddening that some of the same reasoning women used for entering the trade then is similar now.
In Cooking in Heels, Ceyenne Doroshow offers up 40 Southern-style favorites with a Caribbean twist. As a transgender woman who was inspired to write her book while serving prison time for a prostitution conviction, Ceyenne might not seem like the most likely representative of home cooked family values. But her book, which is peppered with good humor and begins with the story of her life, shows that food and love are the ties that bind, and family is what you make it.
Comment 1: In the world of sex work memoirs, both in print and on blogs, Prose & Lore stands out as an illustration of the complexities and contradictions of the sex industries. Dynamic and visceral, each piece feels almost like experiencing an author's memory through a pensieve. Comment 2: Won this in a First Reads giveaway. What a fascinating read. Sometimes I think that the people doing sex work get lost behind negative headlines or Law & Order reruns. These stories put very human faces on sex work. Absolutely incredible.
Comment 1: These stories, these perspectives, deserve to be read, understood, and deeply felt. For an industry and a practice so profoundly -- often willfully -- misunderstood by so many people, these are the stories and experiences that need to be read and shared. To say nothing of the writing here, so sharp, so compelling and honest. This is essential reading.
Comment 1: Loved the insight and it started well, but it got less interesting as it went along and it's a shame because I'm pretty sure the author had a lot more to tell. Comment 2: The book had an interesting concept, unfortunately it did not live up to my expectation. Some chapters were good and others not so much, which left me bored.
Comment 1: This is very insightful to an escorts life. You seem like a cool escort too. You dont look just to the cash; looking at your clients like a chore. You're intimate. You allow yourself to enjoy it. At least it seems so. Its hard to believe so many men are ready to play the sub-bitch role. Also, whatever you use to look up clients, the escorts take, I want. Comment 2: I wrote another book! This time about independent escorting (rather than agency escorting like my last book) AND with professional editing! Check it out! Comment 3: More slightly interesting stories about prostitution. Best fact: she paid for her land/cabin via hooking & now owns it free and clear!
Comment 1: "Let me pause ... to tell you that I love anal sex. I love getting heavy fucked by a beautiful stranger or held and made love to by the man of my dreams. And I will never forget the first time I fucked someone, a good two years after I started having sex. What an all-consuming feeling of passion and power, to have a man beneath me, submitting, releasing himself as the ecstasy cojoins and envelops us completely. This was not such an experience. There were no writhing bodies, no orgiastic moans or heated bites and kisses. No fingers and toes grabbing and curling in the overwhelming pleasure of pleasure. In the silence of our suite, all I could hear was the squish-squish of my dick as it dunked repeatedly into John's soggy asshole. I could feel nothing. There was no pleasure, no pain. I thought I could get off in any circumstance, a little pressure on my cock and off I go. No. All I could visualize was the tail end of John's intestines, rashed and shitty, wrapped around my sheathed dick as he lay lifelessly beneath me." So writes one contributor regarding his first hook-up with a john (named John), he's been stringing along in order to get a trip to London. Great book. Lots of diversity - women, men, trannies (though mostly male hustlers are featured). Even an essay by a sperm donor describing himself as a sex worker, and the effects of sperm donation on his sex life. Good writing, interesting stories.
Prose & Lore is the Red Umbrella Project’s literary journal, which collects memoir stories about sex work in two issues per year (Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer). The stories are original to Prose & Lore, and about 75% of the authors in each issue are previously unpublished. Many of the contributors participate in our memoir workshops and drop-in writing sessions.
Packed with sex workers — strippers, protitutes, dommes, film stars, phone sex operators, internet models, and more — Sex Worker Art Show shows the real people at work in the sex industry. Moving beyond stereotypes and positive/negative evaluations, True Blue presents sex workers as the complex, conflicted people they really are and provides an authentic look at their work and their lives. Based around a series of individual stories, the book presents people like Bruce LaBruce, who writes on why he's a reluctant pornographer. Then there's Jessica Melusine, looking back on those years as a "Campus Slut" at "Large Midwestern Univ." Not to be outdone, Stephen Elliott talks about his "heroin year," Lucy Vulgar explains "Whoreanomics 101," and Aiden Shaw makes a "House Call." Full of not just racy tales, but also critical insight into class, gender, labor, and sexuality, Sex Worker Art Show is a dignified, exciting look at sex workers.
Comment 1: A frank behind the scenes look at what it's like to be an escort, specifically one that offers the 'Girlfriend Experience'. The GFE entails more than just sleeping with a client, it includes a dinner date, maybe a walk or a show, and acting more like a couple. The book's chapters alternate between memorable clients/stories and her life outside of escorting, with regards to relationships with family, boyfriends and friends.
What really goes on ... inside the mysterious VIP Room?Find out first-hand, as career stripper Lacey Lane unlocks the doors to the secret sanctums at the center of the action in gentlemen’s clubs across America.Confessions of a Stripper puts you in the middle of the VIP Room, where freaks, fetishists, scammers, and even normal guys match wits with the dancers. Here, outlandish fantasies are bought and sold, and almost nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.This sizzling memoir also offers instruction on tipping, finessing the bouncers, negotiating for services, avoiding sucker traps, and—yes—even scoring a date with a dancer.
Comment 1: Wonderfully written, perfectly paced, terrifically truthful and a book every Canadian must read. Prostitutes, Kedeshas, sin-eaters, and any other women who (historically and currently) provide deeply necessary services to (mostly) men have always been scorned in "civilized society"; it's time to not only provide equal rights and respect, but reverence for women like Terri-Jean Bedford.
Kristin Davis, a.k.a. The Manhattan Madam, owned New York's most successful prostitution ring, with over $5 million in annual sales and a roster of 10,000 rich, powerful, and famous clients. In 2008, Kristin closed her business--and spent four months in prison--and now she's ready to tell her story. In The Manhattan Madam, Kristin takes readers on a whirlwind trip through the sex industry and reveals many exciting and surprising facts. You'll learn her compelling life story, from her stint working for Heidi Fleiss to her rise to success in hedge funds, to her domination of the New York City prostitution business. You will be amazed by her intelligent use of technology to build a truly 21st century brothel, applying the latest innovations to "the world's oldest profession." And you'll learn the secrets behind why she had the most loyal clientele in the business. Just a few of her 10,000 clients: An internationally best-selling author who closed Kristin's business for a night so he could have all the girls to himself. An Oscar-winning actor who engaged in hot tub hijinks. Wall Street titans who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on hookers. From sex to drugs to corporate espionage, this riveting book has all the elements of a classic page-turner. Kristin's breaking her silence--and the prostitution business will never be the same.
Comment 1: If you don’t know Dita you just don’t know! Learn about Burly Q from the reigning 21st century queen! The photos are to die for and it’s full of info ranging from the construction of a good seamed stocking to the broads that built the empire Page, West, and more! I wanted it for burlesque but the book is flipped upside down halfway through and dedicated to Fetish and the Art of the Teese which turned out to be kind of interesting as well for someone previously unfamiliar. The pictures in the sec Comment 2: I heard of Dita Von Teese years ago, when she was famous for being Marilyn Manson's girlfriend and exposing her boobs a lot. There is a whole lot more to her than that. More recently, she has attracted me for her retro style and her meticulously perfect looks. Judging from this book, she's totally dedicated and passionate about her art. Burlesque isn't something to be looked down upon. It's an art form and the pictures themselves left me very impressed. Dita has a true devotion to her art. The t Comment 3: After having known about Lily st Cyr ever since those red lips sang about her (those lips of course belonging to the intro for Rocky Horror Picture show) I have had a passing interest in burlesque / clothing as a fetish for a very long time (why else would Frank n furter have adorned himself that corset and pearl set?) I had some prior knowledge of such things for nearly 10 years (I have also previously designed gothic clothing for a college fashion/textiles project) I first read the book when i
Jeannette Angell was born in France, received the French baccalaureat A and a bachelor's degree from the Universite Catholique de L'ouest. She came to the United States at age 21, where she earned four additional degrees, including a bachelor's in history from Fitchburg State, a Master of Divinity from Yale and a doctorate in anthropology from Boston University, following which she explored a career in teaching.She lectured and gave courses and workshops in sociology, history, religion, and anthropology at some of the most prestigious universities in American and England, including Harvard, M.I.T., and the London School of Economics. When she was 34, a live-in boyfriend vanished, wiping out her savings account and leaving her in a precarious financial situation. Coming across an advertisement seeking women to work as escorts, she thought this might offer a way out of penury. Answering the ad led her to a dual career for three years: a college lecturer by day and a callgirl by night.This book is her story of those years, written largely because of the misconceptions Jeannette has observed about the profession, and because she was touched by - and wanted to give something back to - the many women she met in that world who are invisible to the rest of us.
Comment 1: I really enjoyed this book's examination of black women sex workers. The complexity of sex work and black women's reliance on it for survival adds much needed complexity to narratives of the Great Migrations that focus on other types of labor and political issues. Comment 2: Groundbreaking historical analysis of black sex working cis women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in Chicago. Very thorough with lots of careful citations. And a very interesting compliment to Timothy Gilfoyle's
Comment 1: she's fascinating. it's basically a whole bunch of people commenting on her body of work, from collaborators, to critics to academic types. based on that, the sections are of variable interest and some are a little impenetrable. Comment 2: An absolute must-read. This is quickly becoming one of my favourite books. Nina Arsenault's body of work is incomparable. <3
Reissued with a new foreword and introduction by the authorTraditional explanations of why pornography must be defended from would-be censors have concentrated on censorship's adverse impacts on free speech and sexual autonomy. In contrast, Nadine Strossen focuses on the women's rights-centered rationale for "defending" pornography.
A provocative history that reveals how sex workers have been at the vanguard of social justice movements for the past fifty years while building a movement of their own that challenges our ideas about labor, sexuality, feminism, and freedom Documenting five decades of sex-worker activism, Sex Workers Unite is a fresh history that places prostitutes, hustlers, escorts, call girls, strippers, and porn stars in the center of America’s major civil rights struggles. Although their presence has largely been ignored and obscured, in this provocative history Melinda Chateauvert recasts sex workers as savvy political organizers—not as helpless victims in need of rescue. Even before transgender sex worker Sylvia Rivera threw a brick and sparked the Stonewall Riot in 1969, these trailblazing activists and allies challenged criminal sex laws and “whorephobia,” and were active in struggles for gay liberation, women’s rights, reproductive justice, union organizing, and prison abolition. Although the multibillion-dollar international sex industry thrives, the United States remains one of the few industrialized nations that continues to criminalize prostitution, and these discriminatory laws put workers at risk. In response, sex workers have organized to improve their working conditions and to challenge police and structural violence. Through individual confrontations and collective campaigns, they have pushed the boundaries of conventional organizing, called for decriminalization, and have reframed sex workers’ rights as human rights. Telling stories of sex workers, from the frontlines of the 1970s sex wars to the modern-day streets of SlutWalk, Chateauvert illuminates an underrepresented movement, introducing skilled activists who have organized a global campaign for self-determination and sexual freedom that is as multifaceted as the sex industry and as diverse as human sexuality. From the Hardcover edition.
Comment 1: This book is written by a female journalist who did not initially have much of a problem with pornography, but whose research brought her to question if we have allowed our society to become far too “pornified” and what kind of action we can take to at least stem the tide. The book is subtitled “How pornography is transforming our lives, relationships, and families,” but I don't think she spends enough time discussing those things; there’s a great deal of time spent discussing how much pornography (both in terms of accessibility and degree---what was once hard core, for instance, has become soft core) has changed over the past forty years and why people (do or do not) consume it. I wish she had expanded the chapters on relationships and families and had used more statistical information. The book is very highly anecdotal, taking us through the stories of several individuals, some of whom are extreme cases. Although she does draw in several studies and polls and did conduct a massive joint poll of her own, we don’t get much information about sample, methodology, or even detailed results; rather, a statistic is thrown in here and there throughout the commentary and anecdotes. So, for instance, she might say that for many men, pornography usage leads to sexual performance issues, but then she will use a single story as a support rather than drawing in any kind of statistical evidence about what percentage of pornography users suffer these problems, and how frequently they consume pornography. If you are trying to persuade anybody of anything, it helps not to refer to Joe Smith’s personal experience but instead to present an accumulation of evidence. When she does bring in statistics, sometimes they are a little confusing. For instance, she will say 50% of women X, and 1/4th of women not X. Well, what happened to the other 1/4th, given the only choices appear to be X and not X? Did 1/4th say “I don’t know”? The book is essentially rather depressing, especially if one is raising a son or daughter in today’s “pornified” culture. The accessibility and degree means that early exposure is likely, and how does that affect the forming conscious of a young girl or boy, and how will they see sex in the future? Her leanings are clear enough, but she doesn’t take extreme positions and she doesn’t omit the counter arguments. And the argument against pornography, she concludes, ultimately need not be either religious or feminist, but simply practical. Pornography “has a corrosive effect on men’s relationships with women and a negative impact on male sexual performance and satisfaction.” Interestingly, the percentage of liberals and conservatives who are in favor of regulating pornography are about equal, although they often have different motives. And of course you have your anti-porn feminists and your pro-porn feminists. One interesting “solution” is to propose criminalizing the giving and receiving of payment to perform sexual acts, which would make the laws against many forms of pornography (and of course strip clubs) consistent with the prostitution laws. It’s an interesting theory; after all, the line that divides a strip club from a brothel is at least somewhat arbitrary (you may go this far legally and no farther; you may touch here but not here; you may be touched here in this way but not there in that way; you must wear this much clothing but may take off this much clothing while touching…the government becomes the arbiter of baselines and the definer of what is not too sexual and what is too sexual, and often society’s mores follow). The author, however, ultimately favors a censure and not a censor solution. Fighting supply is ultimately futile as long as there is a large demand for something. Changing people’s demand is a cultural (and ultimately a spiritual) issue, not a legal one. You can’t legislate the desires of the heart, but cultures can (and do) vary on which behaviors they deem acceptable and which they deem dishonorable and/or disgusting, and the messages a culture sends affects the way people behave. When it comes to sexual behavior, our own culture, over the last forty years, has greatly expanded what it considers acceptable and greatly reduced what it considers dishonorable, and there have certainly been negative consquences to this. The trick is finding a happy middle ground between oppression and libertinism, and it's a difficult trick. One warning: be aware that some of this book is quite graphic, with transcripts from chat rooms.
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