Dennis Hof

(Photo by Pierre Galin via Flickr)

Yes, I saw the coverage earlier this month on pregnant Nevada brothel worker Summer Sebastian blogging about enjoying a few months at work at the Bunny Ranch while her (former) millionaire partner watches their beautiful twins at home.

No, I didn’t get the promised message of empowerment and normalization or a real heart-to-heart on what it’s like to be a mother and a sex worker.

This woman lives in a fantasy world where she’s the personal star of her own little reality show. She has safeguards, privileges, incentives, and motivations that even the most successful of us more marginalized sex workers lack.

I’m not going to applaud her for working full-service during her pregnancy and sharing it with the world, because she isn’t sharing it for me.

We don’t even need to talk about any risks posed to her baby because, let’s be real, she has the security of open access to medical care, stable housing and food, security personnel protecting her at her legal brothel, virtually no risk of being blackmailed or arrested, andmost invaluable to every pregnant personshe has a solid system of support in other workers. Sex work is lonely and isolating by nature and having a tribe physically present is a vital resource that we should all have access to.

This woman has access to literally anything in the world that a pregnant hooker could ever need.  

Including a platform. [READ MORE]

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This is a burner. (Picture via Flickr user Peter Wells and the Creative Commons. )

This is a burner. Skip the burner app and just get a burner phone. Bonus: Dick pics will barely be recognizable. (Picture via Flickr user Peter Wells and the Creative Commons. )

Sex workers in Cape Town protested to emphasize the five murders in two months and demonstrate against police harassment, pointing out the vulnerability caused by their illicit status and calling for decriminalization of sex work in South Africa.  The trial of Zwelethu Mthethwa for the murder of 23-year-old sex worker begins in November.

The Atlantic shoots down that oft-cited and inflammatory statistic “the average age of entrance into the sex industry is 13,”:

Average age of first intercourse for the children we interviewed [210 children total] was 12 years for the boys (N=63) and 13 years for the girls (N=107). The age range of entry into prostitution for the boys, including gay and transgender boys, was somewhat younger than that of the girls, i.e., 11-13 years vs. 12-14 years, respectively. The average age of first intercourse among minority boys and girls was younger than that of the non-minority youth we interviewed, i.e., 10-11 years of age for minority boys and 11-12 years of age for minority girls.

(emphasis added)

Tits and Sass issued a correction earlier this week about the authorship of “Sex Work And Partner Violence: How We’re Forced To Negotiate Our Own Abuse“: the piece was written by our new contributor Ruby Rue, not by Victoria Joy.

The potential influx of clients attending different conventions at Nova Scotia’s new, as-yet-unbuilt, convention center is causing the traditional speculation about a boom season for sex workers, though also acknowledging that the construction phase and first ten years of operation will “create almost $190 million in tax revenues and nearly 30,000 ‘person years’ of employment” which should in itself be a plus for local sex workers.

Disregarding the findings that big sports events may not be the client draw that newspaper headlines always assume they are, Dennis Hof plans to open a brothel in Glendale, AZ  in time for the Superbowl. Check out the link for the inexplicable accompanying illustration: are those cleats popping out of her backseam?

Warning!  Burner apps recycle phone numbers, which presents some problems for sex workers who use them. A researcher inspecting features of a VOIP burner app got the former number of an escort, whose clients hadn’t been updated with her new number. [READ MORE]

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A poster for stripper Jeff Tetreault's movie about, er, an anthropomorphized, detachable penis (Image via Vulture)

A poster for stripper Jeff Tetreault’s movie about, er, an anthropomorphized, detachable penis (Image via Vulture)

HuffPo set up an interview with two student sex workers through Student Sex Worker Outreach Project coordinator Adrienne Graf, whom we featured in a post the other week. One of the workers interviewed was Tits and Sass’ very own contributor Red, who valiantly resisted all of the interviewer’s efforts to sensationalize stripping.

Screenwriter and go go dancer Jeff Tetreault“Sometimes you have a good dick day, and sometimes you have a bad dick day. It’s like a good hair day and a bad hair day: Sometimes the blood just settles down there and it’s sweet — it’s an awesome dick day. And sometimes, I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ ”

John Turturro gives sex workers his vote of confidence in an interview on “Fading Gigolo,” a film he directed and starred in about a laid off bookstore employee turned escort for lonely ladies. Our only quibble is that perhaps Turturro should’ve done a bit more research first–we find it highly doubtful that a middle aged guy sex worker in most heterosexual markets would be netting “$1k for each hour of his time, plus a $500 tip.”

OK, so this guy’s thesis is that the development of sexbots will somehow lead to the adoption of basic income, once the state is inundated with a bunch of human hookers put out of work by robots. Right, because the government obviously gives a shit if sex workers go the way of cottage weavers.

Nearly 65,000 sex workers and their family members across Bengal have decided not to vote for any candidates this year, planning to press the NOTA (None of the Above) button instead. Bhurati Dey, sex workers’ rights organization Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee secretary, stated: “None of the political parties have ever looked into our demands. So it is our conscious decision to opt for the NOTA option.” In Forbesganj, Dehli, and Kolkata, Mumbai based federation of sex workers Aastha Parivaar and nonprofit organization Apne Aap Women Worldwide have also taken action on the eve of the election, collecting demands from regional sex workers for politicians. 

What is it really like to work in a brothel? This Buzzfeed piece won’t really tell you much about that, but it will let you know all about Dennis Hof’s ego.

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Bryan Saunders' "Extreme Makeover: Fuck Mattress Edition" (inadvertently?) improved labor conditions for street sex workers while it lasted (Photo via the Daily Dot)

Bryan Saunders’ “Extreme Makeover: Fuck Mattress Edition” (inadvertently?) improved labor conditions for street sex workers while it lasted (Photo via the Daily Dot)

Myanmar began a debate around decriminalizing sex work. The founder of the Sex Workers in Myanmar network (SWIM), Thuza Win, hopes the law will be changed before the 2015 general elections.

Research by University of Michigan economics professor Raj Arunachalam conducted among Mexican and Ecuadoran brothel workers and street sex workers found that beautiful sex workers make more money.  In others news, the sky is blue. (The interesting thing about the study, though, is that each subject’s beauty was measured by other sex workers.)

Tennessee artist Bryan Saunders revamped the decrepit mattress street sex workers used to entertain clients at a local park. He called the project EXTREME MAKEOVER: FUCK MATTRESS EDITION, and provided new sheets, a comforter, an array of condoms, new panties, and a trash can for the location. Slixa points out that the project’s value as a harm reduction and workplace safety measure outweighs its artistic merits. Apparently, after seven days, some of the panties were missing, all of the chocolate flavored condoms were.gone, and the flowers placed on the site were trampled on. It’d be great if someone had the bright idea to replenish the supplies and extend this undertaking to other outdoor sex trade venues.

Acclaimed queer sex worker author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore reviews Mindy Chateauvert’s new book, Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk for SFGate. (Stay tuned for Tits and Sass’ own review of Sex Workers Unite as soon as we get our review copy in the mail.)

Chinese gay rights groups are calling for Southern Television Guangdong to publicly apologize for using hidden camera footage of an undercover reporter meeting with a male sex worker.

Strip club owners unite to fight sex trafficking? We’d rather hear more about strippers fighting trafficking, thanks. Remember, sex workers themselves are most effective at combating this problem. Anyway, the strip club owners’ tactics sounds like more of the same: further surveillance of their employees.

“Feminist” hashtag #realjobsnotblowjobs made its debut on twitter this week. @ThatSabineGirl said it best when she tweeted in response, “bcos it’s feminist to slut shame women while you’re saying they’re forced into sex work against their will, apparently.” Hurray for consistently whorephobic internet feminism and its discontents.

A trans sex worker, Marco Noé López Castillo, was found strangled to death in San Pedro Sula, a Honduran red light district, recently. Nine killings of sex workers have occurred in the district since early December.

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Incredible Edible Akynos stars in "Whore Logic" at the San Francisco Sex Workers' Film and Arts Festival (Photo by PJ Starr)

Incredible Edible Akynos stars in “Whore Logic” at the San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival (Photo by PJ Starr)

The San Francisco Bay Guardian profiles this year’s Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival, focusing on contributions by festival co-founder Carol Leigh/Scarlot Harlot, Mariko Passion, James Darling, Siouxsie Q,  Juba Kalamka, Courtney Trouble, Amber Dawn, and Rhiannon Argo.

Toro Hashimoto, mayor of Osaka, outraged pretty much everyone this Monday when he stated publicly that the sexual services of enslaved Chinese and Korean ‘comfort women’ during WWII were a wartime necessity for the Japanese army. He also told reporters that there was no clear evidence that the Japanese military coerced women into service, which any historian can tell you is blatantly false. “Anyone can understand that the system of comfort women was necessary to provide respite for a group of high-strung, rough and tumble crowd of men braving their lives under a storm of bullets,” Hashimoto said. Oh, well, boys will be boys and rape will be rape, right?  Mr. Hashimoto then went on to suggest that U.S. servicemen in Okinawa should “make more use” of the local sex industry to “relieve the sexual energy of the Marines,” which may or may not be a good idea but is unlikely to be taken seriously considering the source. Local Okinawan women’s orgs have demanded an apology from the mayor, feeling that his comments express the misogynist racism mainlanders harbor against Okinawans.

Even anti-trafficking activists oppose using condoms as evidence of prostitution.

A Virginia woman answering what she believed to be an online dating ad was recently arrested for prostitution: “She says he [the undercover police officer] shoved a fistful of cash in front of her face and issued a command: ‘TAKE IT!'”

The Human Rights Watch reports that police in China frequently beat, torture and arbitrarily detain suspected sex workers, often with little or no evidence that they engaged in prostitution.  Condoms as evidence of prostitution are a favored tactic of the Chinese police, and sex workers are often arrested with no evidence against them besides the fact that they were carrying condoms.  Raids on brothels are timed, often occurring a few days ahead of politically sensitive events or whenever someone in government orders an anti-pornography campaign to please the leadership, and it’s during these periods that police officers demand steep bribes or sex, torture sex workers to coerce confessions, or lock them up for as long as two years without trial. Those who wish to see if their eyes can remain dry after reading the Human Rights Watch study on this can find it here.

The New Zealand Herald profiled one such Chinese crackdown on the notoriously thriving sex trade in the city of  Dongguan.

A North Queensland motel has won a legal battle against a sex worker who successfully sued for discrimination after being told she could not work as a prostitute on the premises.

Career focused social media site LinkedIn has forbidden escort and massage advertisements, even in countries in which prostitution is legal. Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof is quoted retorting: ““If it’s OK to do that, is it OK to drop Dairy Queen too because it serves too much fat and calories? Is LinkedIn going to be the moral arbiter, and drop Coca-Cola or anybody who works for a cigarette company?” Dr. Brooke Magnanti also takes issue with the site’s policy in her column in the Telegraph. She points out that “escorts who want to use LinkedIn as a business opportunity will continue to do so. They will just employ code words and careful screening – as they already do on virtually every other social network in the world.”

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