In 1879, Mark Twain, unafraid of scandal, said the following;

Homer in the second book of the Iliad says, with fine enthusiasm is worth, “Give me masturbation or give me death!” Caesar, in his commentaries, says, “To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor; they that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion.” In another place this experienced observer has said, “There are time when I prefer it to sodomy.” Robinson Crusoe says, “I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art.” Queen Elizabeth said, “It is the bulwark of Virginity.” Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, “A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The immortal Franklin has said, “Masturbation is the mother of invention.” He also said, “Masturbation is the best policy.” Michelangelo and all the other old masters–Old Masters, I will remark, is an abbreviation, a contraction–have used similar language. Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II, self-negation is noble, self-culture is beneficial, self-possession is manly, but to the truly grand and inspiring soul they are poor and tame compared to self-abuse.”

Twain’s humor is not ill-placed. Masturbation has been proven to be a healthy behavior.

So, if you’re going to celebrate his birthday …

Note; I obtained this quote from the very first Sexology book I read, several years ago. Sexual Interactions by Elizabeth and Albert Allgeier.

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine directed me towards a reality TV series called “Hookers: Saved on the Strip.” The show revolves around someone I have heard of before: Annie Lobert. Annie runs an organization called “Hookers for Jesus” and a place called “Destiny House” where she brings hookers to Jesus and pretends that they’ve all escaped from slavery. If you go to her website, you’ll find that ‘about page’ starts out with this:

Hookers for Jesus is faith based organization that addresses the realitiesannie-lobert of human sex trafficking, sexual violence and exploitation linked to pornography and the sex industry. We are committed to reaching out to children/teens/women that need assistance/escape from sex slavery.

One problem with Hookers for Jesus and the shelter she runs, Destiny House, is that Lobert uses misleading information and ideas in order to promote her organization. Based on her website, you’ll find that she seems to assume that women in the industry are somehow slaves. Obviously, anything people think is really bad should be compared to slavery or internment camps, right? The Facts page at the Destiny House website also promotes a lot of things that aren’t even true.

12-14 – Average age of first involvement in prostitution.

I’ve debunked this before. So I’ll just quote myself to save time:

That’s a lie that has been repeated for a long time, all over the place. Someone did a study on children who were forced into prostitution and then assumed that the numbers in the study on children applied to the industry as a whole. Obviously, that’s really bad reporting. It is really bad science and it is a horribly damaging myth to spread. It is sad that it is such a widespread myth. It is one of those myths that people believe because it is scary, not because there’s a rational reason to believe in it. A quick meta analysis of the information gained from this study on women detained for prostitution, you know, an actual study that collected data on the actual group we’re talking about, the average age the participants started prostituting themselves appears to be 20. Of course, we need far more information and this study has a natural bias because the people conducting the study were after other information. However, applying that data to the question of what the average age people enter prostitution is would certainly be far more accurate than using a study that was only about children entering prostitution.

Other aspects of Lobert’s site are misleading as well. For one thing, she focuses a lot on ‘facts’ related to child sex trafficking. However, there is no evidence, anywhere that I have seen thus far, that Lobert interacts with children who have been sex trafficked. In fact, where most of the ‘facts’ are related to children, on the Destiny House website, it seems unlikely that Lobert deals with children very much at all. Because when a child is found in the sex trade, it is usually a case of child sex slavery and the case gets turned over to Child Protective Services. Unless Lobert has some sort of license that allows her to foster such a child, and a suitable location for the child (which the Destiny House does not appear to be), then she can’t do the things for those children that she lists as her services on her organization websites. In other words, Annie Lobert is lying.

Furthermore, the issues facing children forced into the sex industry are dramatically different than those facing adults in the sex industry. So making a big deal out of children she’s not helping doesn’t tell anyone much at all about what she does for the women she’s supposedly helping and spouting off information that is completely unrelated to the women in her shelter is, at best, not helpful and, at worst, deceptive. I don’t think I can stress this, enough; children are incapable of giving informed consent like these women were. Children who are forced into this industry face much bigger problems than adults in the industry. They’re more vulnerable and more prone to long-term problems because of their own situations. Lumping them together with the women is demeaning to the experiences of each group.

So, I watched the first episode of Hookers, because I felt I really needed to know what was being said about the sex industry, if anything at all. Annie kicks off the show with this little gem:

Each year, more than 100,000 women and children are sex trafficked in America. They’re bought, sold, beaten, raped and killed every day. No one hears their cries for help. For over a decade, I was one of them. I sold my body and I almost lost my soul. My name is Annie Lobert, and I’m the founder of Hookers for Jesus. The Las Vegas strip is my office and my job is to get women off the streets.

Does that statistic sound suspicious? It did to me. So, I turned to Google. On google, I found no study that stated anything like this. Yes, people are sex trafficked in America. There are such things as people being forced into slavery where they are expected to do sexual things. That is a very, very serious matter, but as far as I have seen, thus far, Annie isn’t working with sex slaves and she pretty much pulled that statistic out of her ass. Also, based on the implied definition she uses on her website of ‘sex trafficking,’ that should be a bigger number. If sex worker is the same as sex trafficked, as she implies, then she’s got a lot more counting to do if she’s to find out how many there are. The sex industry is a very large industry. It is also ethically icky to imply that you’re saving sex slaves when you’re actually helping people who voluntarily entered an industry. Shame on you, Annie Lobert!

Also, while the instance of domestic violence is higher per capita for people in the sex industry, implying that all in the sex industry experience this is misleading and saying that the solution to the problem is getting them out is kind of like saying the solution to people drowning is no longer allowing anyone to play in the water. People will, very likely, always like to play in the water and people will always be inclined to do sex work. The solution to the problem of violence against people in the sex industry is to make the sex industry safer, just like the way to prevent drowning is to teach people to swim and navigate water.

I want to reinforce something about this show, really quick, because I think it is important. Nobody featured in the first episode of Hookers: Saved on the strip was forced into the sex trade. All who are featured, including Annie, herself, describe their situations and it is clear that their entry into sex work is a choice that they made. Slaves don’t get to choose. It is evil to take advantage of real slavery and child exploitation in order to benefit Hookers For Jesus and to claim that people who were free to do something were slaves or related to those two horrific experiences. Annie Lobert was never a slave. It is sickening that she attempts to imply that she and, others who have made choices in their lives, that they decided they didn’t like, are slaves.

All that being said, I’m not against an organization that helps women leave the sex industry, if they want to. I am against treating the sex industry as if it is a ‘bad thing,’ itself and I’m against this organization using religion in order to accomplish its goals. What happens when someone wants to leave the sex trade because they just want a change and they have some other religious affiliation? Adding guilt and a natural bias against them for their choices and their lack of being a jesusphile is not going to be useful to them at all.

The first episode of Hookers focuses, partly, on a girl named Regina. Regina has a few good points to make in the show, even though they try to make her story side with Lobert’s point of view. For one, Regina has stripped before and says, multiple times, that she doesn’t think stripping is the same as selling sex. She’s right! Lobert seems to assume that, because she met her pimp while she was stripping, that selling sex and stripping go hand in hand. She actually claims that stripping is a gateway to prostitution. This is misleading. Some strippers might sell sex, but many do not. In fact, some of the highest paid strippers that I know of don’t sell sex because if you sell sex, then the guy cums and he goes home and stops paying you. Selling sex, for strippers, is bad for business. Most strippers are also aware of the dangers of selling sex and so they object to it based on a variety of other reasons, such as they don’t want to go to jail or they don’t want a disease or they’re loyal to their spouse or boyfriend. In fact, other than the potential to go to jail and not wanting to lose money, the reasons for not selling sex for strippers pretty much mirrors why most other people might not have sex with a random person. Strippers, as it turns out, are quite capable of making appropriate sexual decisions for themselves.

bio_page_regina_400An interesting element of this episode is that Regina and Annie share the screen time devoted to telling Regina’s story. I’m not sure entirely why, because there doesn’t seem to be a problem with Regina telling her own story. To further make this element of the show odd, to say the least, the story told by Regina about herself and the story told by Annie about Regina don’t seem to be entirely congruent. Annie assumes that Regina was kicked out of her home situation and, while Regina doesn’t completely contradict that, the way the story is cut up for film, Regina makes comments about calling her dad to tell him she entered the Navy and it doesn’t seem to flow with the story about a kid being kicked out. I could be wrong about this, but the story seems to be broken, here, at a critical point in the story. Regina met her pimp in the Navy, but saying she was kicked out of her house makes her story more dramatic, I guess.

Another element of Regina’s story that is worth considering are her comments about money.

The last paycheck I got, I could have made that in an hour.

That comment leads to another scene where Lobert says, “The money is definitely what keeps girls in the business.”

That’s only partly true. Money is a great motivator, I have no doubt about that, and Regina is wise to miss that money. Money gets you food and shelter and Internet access and Darth Tater, the Mr. Potatohead version of Darth Vader. Money is a nice thing to have and when it comes to making decisions based on if you have spare cash for a spudly Sith Lord or you can barely afford Ramen Noodles, many people will opt for the option to fork out the dough for Master Tater. That being said, there are other reasons why the adult industry is an appealing place to be. For example, a job based on pleasure is a hell of a lot better than a job based on removing grease from a fast food service grill. Also, being able to have control over your schedule, not having an actual boss to report to and having the freedom to say and do things that you want to and get paid for it, is a really awesome work situation to have.

I will soon watch the second episode of Hookers, and if I deem it necessary, I may write a response to it, as well. For now, I’d like to see Annie’s take on her spreading misleading information around and offering such biased services through her organization.

Note: It was really difficult to not make fun of Annie for mistaking the Squirrel’s penis for an umbilical cord. And the one thing that made the whole show worth watching was hearing the lady at the stable say, “we’re going to learn some things with these horses and shre what they have to offer. The outside of a horse is what’s good for the inside of a woman!” Hilarious!

I just came up with this in a conversation with a friend in a chat room, I thought I would share with all my zombiephile friends:

Zombie Waltz

(sung to the tune of ‘the Tennessee Waltz)

I was dancin’ with my darlin’ to the zombie waltz
when an old friend, I happened to see.
I introduced her to my loved one
and while they were dancin’
my friend stole my sweetheart from me

I remember the night and the zombie waltz,
now I know just how much she has lost
yes I killed my sweet darlin the night he was dancing
with my friend to the zombie waltz

I was dancin with a new darlin
to the zombie waltz when my old friend,
she tried to eat me
I saw her stagger with my loved one
and while they were lurchin
My friend stole my brains from me

I remember the night and the zombie waltz
now I know just how much she has lost
yes I killed my sweet darlin the night he was dancing
with my friend to the zombie waltz
the beautiful zombie waltz

girlstogether

I found interracial bunny porn on the internet.

I have been sitting on this article, in half-written form, for ages. I think I announced to people that I would write it … um, two months ago-ish? The problem is this topic is a tough one to tackle. Even though I’m surrounded by the problem, it is a huge, complicated problem and trying to decide what’s relevant and what isn’t and what should be mentioned and what shouldn’t and how I can use it to benefit the reader is like extracting wax from your ear canal through your anus. It is hard. BUT it NEEDS TO BE DONE! So, for the two-dozenth-or-more time, I’m re-working this article for you, to fill you up with information and hope that it saves the motherfucking planet with all its motherfucking insights.

One of the big problems with writing about racism is that people have trouble even understanding racism. Racism is a sensitive subject because our history of racist thinking is horrific and we still see crappy racist things happen all the time. I was raised in an environment where racist thinking was the norm. I was taught that blacks and whites shouldn’t marry and that Mexican men were prone to violence (and Mexican women were prone to victimization). The Chinese made good servants, according to grandma, but were oppressed because they chose to be and the Indians (from India) were all taking our jobs and the Indians (from the U. S.) were all taking our jobs and drunken, whiney people who the government shouldn’t be responsible for. Did it matter we were part Lakota Sioux? Apparently not. I wasn’t taught to be violent as a result of the racism, but I was taught to be bigoted and I had to de-program that part of my upbringing along with all the other nonsense I was taught.

Few people ever want to think that those who loved them and raised them were wrong or bad or evil. It is tough to wrestle with the idea that you might have been taught wrongly by those who should have given you your foundation for your life. But I had to deal with that. I concluded that it wasn’t that my parents were necessarily evil. I think they were wrong and that their ways of thinking were bad and evil. My dad taught me to be charitable and kind to everyone, regardless of status, race or religion. But being kind and charitable doesn’t eliminate the racism. Apparently, what we do and what we are happen to be two different things, my friend, who I will refer to here as ‘Red Zorah,’ posted this today on her facebook:

What we do and what we are extends beyond that, though. When my dad forbade me to date a black guy, that was bad. When my father provided transportation to the needy and stopped to change a tire for a stranger who had a flat, that was good. So was my father a good person or a bad person? I think that when he was charitable, he was good; when he was racist, he was bad.

This is not supposed to be about my family life about racism, though, that’s just there to give you a background to my experience. Instead, this is about racism within my work. I think we need some definitions here so that this whole debate can be both simultaneously more clear and more confusing at the same time. For my definitions, I’m turning to a sociology book* for a guideline, because credible sources are the cream in my coffee. My definitions are a little paraphrased, though.

Racism (racial prejudice): A set of judgments as hard-set as an iron ass and usually as hostile as a diarrhea outbreak about a race based on their ancestral (who their mamas and papas are related to) history and that usually doesn’t change when shown how stupid the idea is or when a few dozen swirlies are administered by the Hulk.

Outgroup: A bunch of people that peeps in an ingroup disassociate themselves with; feel they can’t be groupies with; don’t invite to their circle-jerks; are opposed to and hate for what usually amounts to dickish reasons.

Ingroup: A group of peeps who identify with each other; hang out together with, and find common ground with, often based on who they hate or don’t want to send their chain letters to.

Stereotypes: Generalizations about members of an outgroupflatearthturtle that are overstated more than a male porn star’s penis size and often as inaccurate as Flat Earth Theory.

More important big words to help us get by, paraphrased from the same book, who took them from Robert K. Merton:

Discrimination: Treating a peep or peeps differently, either on purpose or accidentally, for reasons not related to how awesometacular they’ve demonstrated themselves to be or not to be.

Nonprejudiced nondiscriminators: Non-haters who believe that we’re all deserving of equal treatment and who act like we’re all equal in our equalness.

Unprejudiced discriminators: People who think like non-haters but who act like haters. These people believe we should have equal opportunities, but do prejudicially-driven bleeding-crotch-ulcer type things, either because it helps them or because they don’t know they’re being douchy.

Prejudiced nondiscriminators: These people don’t think we’re all deserving of equal treatment, but they avoid being crotch-kickers because they don’t like people to hate them, send them to jail or beat them up for being a douche.

Prejudiced discriminators: These festering anal fistulas think that people don’t deserve to be treated equally and that they are free to discriminate or should discriminate any time their genital crabs are biting them.

All of these things being considered, I think that the most important element of examining racist/prejudiced thinking and behavior is to measure the harm that may be done by it. So, while the prejudiced nondiscriminator may be a dumbass, he’s not as big of a problem for our society as the nonprejudiced discriminator is. The same is true for things that are race-related in the sex industry.

In the sex industry, racism is everywhere. When I asked people what they thought should be addressed in an article about racism in the sex industry, many mentioned things like the clear lack of people from certain ancestral backgrounds and the use of racist comments in porn. Other suggestions included the tendency for the industry to count interracial sex amongst its ‘taboo’ genres and for the industry to reinforce stereotypes about penis size and ethnic backgrounds. Some of these things can be a pretty big problem for people to deal with.

everything-is-not-relative

Note: This is not about the scientific theory of Relativism. It is about Moral Relativism. Relativism is a valid scientific theory and Moral Relativism is an excuse for people to to be dicks.

Penile relativism. About a year ago, I made a comic that caused a little accidental controversy. The comic was supposed to show how moral relativism was something I considered to be a bad idea using the example of penis sizes. Because I wanted to make the penis in the last panel stand out, I went for a high-contrast and made it brown. Some of my readers at the time took this as me trying to reinforce the stereotype that black men have big dicks. That hadn’t been my intention, but it was too late to really explain myself to the people who had already decided I was a racist bitch. This was an example of unprejudiced discrimination and I had to leave the experience learning something new about color sensitivity.

I think unprejudiced discrimination is probably the most common race-related form of discrimination in the sex industry. When people reinforce the idea that black men have a big dick, they don’t usually stop to consider that the black guy who has a normal penis size may feel inadequate because of this stereotype or that the white guy who sees this may feel like it presents him as less manly (something that is common in porn featuring the ‘big black dick’ stereotype).

Cashing in on bigotry. Since porn is created and sold based on what appeals to the consumer the most, the industry has been quite skilled at releasing porn with other racist elements as well. Presenting porn in which women refer to the men they’re having sex with as “nigger” and making comments about slavery and some distorted view of history has become a common feature of interracial porn, where the practice is more the product of prejudiced discrimination. The lines are somewhat blurred in cases where the porn attempts to make fun of racism by making jokes about racist tendencies or parodying famous incidents of racist acts or crimes or stereotypes.

The consumers of this type of porn seems to vary considerably from men who want to see their mate have sex with someone from a specific ethnic background to people from those backgrounds wanting to fantasize that they’re the one being treated that way. In my work as a performer, I often get to see my clients and when I talk with them about their fantasies, I can often see where they have been influenced by the reinforcement of interracial porn as a taboo subject. I have talked to clients who not only were into cuckolding, but who also liked the guy their girlfriend had sex with to be black, specifically, and to have a cock above a certain size. I also have talked to black men who, like many men from nearly every background, liked to imagine their penis to be much larger and who added conversation about their ethnic background simply because they associated it with their penis size based on common stereotypes. Some of these men even would use words often considered offensive, like the word ‘nigger’, as a part of their sexual identity within their fantasy, telling me that they wanted me to fuck their ‘big, black, nigger, cock.’ When working for a contract that I had about two years ago, approximately one in four of the men who claimed to be black would ask me to use the word ‘nigger’ (based on my notes and data from October 2008).

I wrote in the margins of my notes one day:

I’m having trouble using the word ‘nigger’. I’ve mastered the use of profanities of many types very rapidly and easily over the last few years, but I still hesitate when clients request that I say that one word. It makes me feel bad, even when I don’t see a way that it could be damaging my clients.

Apparently, my own reconditioning of my behavior in an attempt to reduce the amount of prejudice in my life worked so well that I had a tough time doing my job.

America’s history with the African slave trade is not the only part of history that has an influence on porn, though. Many of the patterns that are found in modern American porn has roots in our history. From porn featuring Asian women (and ignoring many Asian men) to the under representation of Native American, Indian and Middle Eastern men. This form of discrimination in employment in the industry is also mostly due to unprejudiced discrimination, but the consequences seem to be far-reaching. Men from the under-represented groups who are looking for porn with characters that they can identify with have a smaller selection of things to choose from. People who are already in minority groups are sometimes even more marginalized when their group is downplayed in the erotic entertainment that they seek out.

Within the sex industry, as well as with many other aspects of life, doing things that are considered ‘taboo’ can carry its own reinforcing quality. As a result, the sex industry tends to continue to promote taboo ideas that might make their products sell better. Putting race-thinking into their products and suggesting that it is taboo helps those products sell. Out of all the taboos found in porn, interracial porn is one of the easiest to create. It requires few props and no specific type of location.

To make the problem even more complicated, many porn actors and actresses will avoid doing porn themed around race or will refuse to do anything interracial. Sometimes this is because of their own biases and sometimes this is because they simply want to avoid association with racist ideas. Regardless, most actors and actresses that do this are noticed by consumers and are sometimes labeled as racist, no matter if the label is justified or not. Then, every once in a while, (some consider this a part of the porn-graduation system that I will explain on another day), an actress that previously didn’t do interracial porn will finally agree to do so and the product will be marketed not only as her first inter-racial, but her previous aversion will be highlighted in order to make bigger sales.

Ultimately, the conflicts that exist over racism in porn should be addressed from the viewpoint of what harm is done. Some racism in porn is more about allowing a consumer to identify with the characters they see, while some of it is based on a history of bigotry and reinforces problematic behaviors in society and even individuals. Trying to alter society’s issues with racism is difficult enough, but changing sexual preferences and ideas related to race appears to be an even bigger challenge.

from cum shot monster dot com (I didn't want to link to them, but wanted to give a source for the picture)

from cum shot monster dot com (I didn't want to link to them, but wanted to give a source for the picture)

*I minored in Sociology, Anthropology, History and Health Education. I have a ton of books on Sociology, most are supposed to be much more advanced than Joan Ferrante’s introductory book. However, it covered the topic of prejudice far better than any other sociology book I own.

sexucationI remember back in the day when life was so much simpler. When my younger  brother and I would walk down the halls of our school and sing various back and forth duets like the Cookie Jar song and Anything You Can Do. He is a year and a half younger than me and is the only one of my many siblings who I have ever consistently gotten along with. He knows more of my secrets than my other siblings do, he knows about more of the jobs that I’ve had and he has never judged me. That has always been the case. We have always been very close. Back in High School, that meant that when I was doing Teacher’s Assistant work in my brother’s Special Ed class, where he was placed only because he’s Dyslexic and the teachers hadn’t come up with a better plan for him, yet, we were able to distract the kids in class at times by singing back and forth through the class room. I could start off with, “Hey, J___, Anything you can do, I can do better! I can do anything better than you!” His reply was often more enthusiastic than my singing as he replied, “No, you can’t!” And the duet would continue, with us singing it again afterward in switched roles.

But this post really isn’t about my younger brother and his relationship with me so much as it is about a very controversial topic. I mention my brother only because my relationship with him led me to an interaction with a girl who  once offered me a little insight into this debate (though, unintentionally). Once upon a time, my brother, J___, had a girlfriend who was more than just a little crazy. You couldn’t really trust most things that she said and, even though she was crazy, my brother worshiped her as if she was the reason flowers bloom in the spring and ladybugs have spots and cow poo makes good fertilizer. J___’s girlfriend happened to also be honest only when she was drunk, sometimes. This was the only time I could tolerate her and this was also the time she usually picked to tell me everything she couldn’t tell anyone else. It was at one such moment that I got to hear what she said was her deepest secret. She had, according to her, had four abortions.

I have been pro-choice for a long time and I have done my part in advocating a 14241_101554679872905_100000551216820_39146_675293_nwoman’s right to choose. T’s stories made me even more so. T had two babies before she had her first abortion. Both babies were given up to the state because T had a substance abuse problem that led to her neglecting her children. T’s first abortion was something she wasn’t entirely coherent for. She was addicted to meth (by the time I had met her, it had rotted her teeth out) and she was high when she checked in for the procedure. For her second abortion, the details are less clear, but T had stated that her ex-boyfriend had pressured her into it, him not wanting to have a baby and for some reason, she remembered no other details. Her third abortion was something she said she was sober for and was done because she felt she couldn’t handle having another baby. Then, at a time when she had finally cleaned up and was off drugs and alcohol for a while, she had a baby with my brother. After that pregnancy, she decided she didn’t want any more children and wanted to be sterilized. This led to the last abortion. An accident by a careless doctor who neglected to test if she was pregnant before the sterilization procedure.

I don’t tell T’s extremely paraphrased story to give the reader something to base a stereotype on. I tell it, instead, because T’s story contains several stories that get encountered frequently in the great abortion debate. It is not uncommon for people to mention the girl who gets an abortion unwillingly and for that to be used as a scare story in the debate. It is also not uncommon for stories of people making the decision to abort because it is the responsible thing to do. And, every once in a while, there is a story of someone who experiences an accident and ties it (irrationally) to the abortion debate. There is more to T’s stories, though. T was not entirely pro-choice. Sometimes, she claimed to be pro-life because that’s what her god wanted and sometimes she claimed to be pro-choice. Furthermore, T was a story teller and it makes it difficult to know which of her stories were true and which were not. T could very well have been telling me these stories because she knew about my work with other feminists and because my family seem to perceive me as a militant, man-hating feminazi* and T liked to be important.

Regardless of where T’s story comes from, it allows us to ask some questions about abortion to test our own limits on what we accept and what is rational to accept in the abortion debate. I should mention here, for the sake of complete honesty, that I’m 100% pro-choice. I have a bias. I’m not opposed to people trying to alter my position, but they would have to give me a pretty damned convincing argument and I’m doubtful that such a thing will happen. That admission being out of the way, I still think my stance is the most rational one to have and I’m going to use some of T’s experiences to back it up. For this particular post, I’m going to argue against the pro-life arguments on this about.com list. I know there is already a set of pro-choice arguments on the same page, but I feel that those points don’t really do justice to the claims that are made. Please do make note of them, though, if you’re particularly serious about this subject. I’m also using it because it appears to be the least biased presentation that I’ve found and I like to give the opposing side a fair shake.

1. Since life begins at conception, abortion is akin to murder as it is the act of taking human life. Abortion is in direct defiance of the commonly accepted idea of the sanctity of human life

murder_sceneFirstly, life begins (began) long before conception. Life began billions of years ago. The creation of sperm is not a stopping point for life and neither is the development of an egg. By definition, these are elements of life. There is no magical point at conception where the egg and sperm suddenly begin life again after previously having been not alive. There is also no point in which an egg or a sperm produced naturally by a human’s sex organs is not human. So modern human life, having begun some 85-150,000 years ago, does not begin again every time a sperm and egg dance the dirty chicken in a pelvic theater. That being said, something being killed while existing as a human life doesn’t mean that a murder has been committed. There are lots of instances where human life is terminated and it is accepted and not murder. If I get gangrene in my finger, for example, there is no ethical problem in me having a doctor cut it off and essentially kill that part of me. If I get cancer, which would share my DNA and would likely kill me, there’s not an ethical problem with me having that removed and killed, either.

The definition of murder tends to be related to law and killing of a human, but it can also mean to kill inhumanely. While the above quote from about.com is careful in its wording, it is not uncommon to hear pro-life arguments that claim directly that abortion is murder. So, I’m going to quickly examine that as well. Because the word murder is a reference to law, an abortion can’t logically be murder unless the law specifies that. This means that the argument equating abortion to murder is already logically flawed unless they are constantly using the verb ‘murder’ to describe a barbaric act. This is also problematic because if they were using that definition, they would be using it in a grammatically incorrect manner, at least. Instead, they are actually using what is known as the fallacy of the Ambiguous Middle. The term ‘murder,’ in this case has more than one possible meaning which can carry the connotation of one meaning while being used as the other. This fallacy is also being coupled with an emotional language fallacy. I’m assuming the arguers want the two to mate and have baby fallacies to abort, but I digress.

The problem that people have with the sperm and egg version of human life is that they separate it, conceptually, from other parts of our body. They consider it another entity. This is not unjustified as, for some time (not very long, really) the blastocyst created by the sperm and egg really is a separate entity. But even though it is genetically not the same as its host and it spends a little time floating about in a flow of host-slime, it also fast becomes a part of its host again. It doesn’t stay a separate entity.

Sometimes this entity is unwelcome. Based on the above idea, this unwelcome entity should be protected based on what they consider a commonly accepted sanctity of human life. As mentioned above, though, not all human life is worthy of protection. Instead, we have to select, hopefully through some logical means, what human life is worthy of protection and what human life is not. The above argument doesn’t do that.

So what about T’s situation? T believed in the sanctity of life according to her religion and her position on abortion varied by situation. Sometimes, she expressed remorse when discussing her abortions because her religion said that she did something wrong. Sometimes, though, she considered her situations to justify at least two of her abortions. The time when she made the most sense, though, was when she said that the two abortions that mattered the most to her were the two where she clearly didn’t make the decision. The two cases where she didn’t even get to make the decisions for herself, when her ex boyfriend pressured her into an abortion and when the doctor accidentally aborted her pregnancy, she felt sadness. This was mostly because she didn’t get to make the decision and in the case of the accidental abortion, she said she would have liked to have carried out that pregnancy, had she known about it.

Recently, intention to maintain a pregnancy has become a matter of courtroom debate,

For someone who's holding a sign that highlights the fact that he's condemned to life in prison, he sure doesn't look terribly unhappy about it.

For someone who's holding a sign that highlights the fact that he's condemned to life in prison, he sure doesn't look terribly unhappy about it.

redefining what is murder and what is not. These cases are loosely related to what happened after T’s accidental abortion. After the doctor’s big mistake, T was able to sue him for malpractice, which they settled out of court for a few thousand dollars (I don’t know how much it was, exactly, as T broke up with my brother shortly before the settlement). In her case, her possible intention to maintain the pregnancy played a major role in her argument that she had suffered a loss. So she lost a pregnancy that she didn’t know existed, but may have wanted and it had an actual monetary value for her. This happened not long after the trial of Scott Peterson, who was convicted of the murder of his wife and their unborn child. The intention of keeping the baby played a role in Peterson being convicted for second-degree murder of the fetus. T’s stance on her pregnancy had to be considered, according to her lawyer, as an unknown. They could prove a potential loss, but could not really prove that there was a certain loss because she was unable to make a decision. This also meant that while the doctor accidentally killed a fetus that she might have wanted to keep, there was no potential for a murder trial, especially since it happened as a result of sterilization. T’s case was not murder, it was simply malpractice.

So, while abortion can be murder, it is not, by definition, murder.

2. No civilized society permits one human to intentionally harm or take the life of another human without punishment, and abortion is no different.

No human society except every society that has ever existed, you mean.

As I recall, a civilized society did this.

As I recall, a civilized society did this.

There has yet to exist any society that protects us all from harm from others. There has yet to be a society that has existed that didn’t have rules about circumstances when they thought it was perfectly ok to destroy a human life. Be it a matter of war or punishment; ethnic cleansing or sacrifice, humans have made it a habit to kill human life in the context of every civilization ever known. To claim otherwise is simply a blatant lie.

T’s position in the abortion debate was pretty unstable. However, whenever she took the stance that abortion was absolutely wrong, she would often justify her own situations. The one where she was the most defensive were the cases where she felt she simply couldn’t be a parent at that time. She had already lost the children that she had and she felt that the pregnancies were badly timed and she simply didn’t want them. At times, she told me, she even felt like they were a punishment. She was irresponsible, had already suffered the consequences of that irresponsibility and two children had already been forced to suffer with her for at least a few years. T felt she was an exception to the rule because she didn’t feel that other women were facing the same problems as she. Selfishly, she could not extend her realm of understanding beyond what happened to her and she certainly couldn’t reconcile the actions of others with her religious belief when her own battle existed. Even in her most dogmatic mindset, though, alongside using herself as an exception, T also felt that there were instances where abortion was justified, like in cases of rape and incest. Societies have exceptions for when they feel it is ok to kill humans and T had exceptions for when she thought abortion was ok.

I will note that this particular set of points doesn’t really make a statement as to if abortion is or is not ethical, it simply highlights that the about.com argument is, at least, wrong. Other points on this page will discuss ethics further.

3. Adoption is a viable alternative to abortion and accomplishes the same result. And with 1.5 million American families wanting to adopt a child, there is no such thing as an unwanted child.

Adoption does not accomplish the same thing as abortion. There is a big difference between finishing a pregnancy and ending it before it shows. Furthermore, just wanting to adopt a child doesn’t mean that a person is capable of taking care of that child or that the family who adopts a child is particularly skilled as a parent or that the child will have a wonderful life. Adoption guarantees nothing. Furthermore, in the cases where abortion involves a problem with the fetus, such as a deformity, the chances that child will be adopted are significantly low. Adoption rates also vary considerably when one considers issues such as race, appearance and location. So, while people wanting to adopt a baby may be common, that doesn’t mean that every stopped abortion can result in a child being adopted out to a healthy, loving family. There are already plenty of unwanted and uncared for children out there that serve as ample evidence that adoption has already failed to eliminate the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

T, again, has an experience that relates to this argument. T’s first two pregnancies happened when she was just a teenager. Young, naive and already dabbling in the use of drugs and alcohol, her children were taken from her, as babies, and turned over to foster care. I have nothing negative to say about the parents in this foster home, I simply don’t have any information about them. However, T’s babies were both very pretty children with blond hair and blue eyes. In other words, the matched what is the easiest phenotype to adopt out in the United States. Looking like little, big-eyed elves with shiny-blond hair, they are the very stereotype of what this culture prefers in children. Other children, sadly, don’t always see such a bright future. Non-Caucasian infants and children in the U. S. have to wait to be placed with families and some end up never finding a home. In fact, the older the child gets and the farther away they are from Caucasian, the less likely they seem to be to find a home. Adoption may have been a good option for the two older children that T had, but it certainly isn’t always a fairytale ending.

4. An abortion can result in medical complications later in life; the risk of ectopic pregnancies doubles, and the chance of a miscarriage and pelvic inflammatory disease also increase.

Complications from abortion in a safe and legal clinic are actually pretty rare. Complications from pregnancy are actually significantly higher. From bleeding to blood pressure issues, Pregnancy is not a pretty thing for a woman’s overall health as compared to abortion. Also, do you know what the highest risk factor for ectopic pregnancies is? Pregnancy.

Let me note, for those of you who may be hyperventilating at my highlighting the risks that are involved with pregnancy, I’m not anti-pregnant, I’m anti-deception. It is deceptive to portray abortion as so dangerous when the thing that abortion stops is far more dangerous. By the way, if you want to know about just the minor side effects of pregnancy, see this skepchick post (seriously).

I would use T as an example here, but her pregnancies were pretty much uneventful. Her three abortions prior to having my niece didn’t seem to affect her pregnancy when she had my niece and she seems to suffer no health problems from either her abortions or her pregnancies. She did, however, lose all her teeth due to meth rot. So, drugs are bad, mmmkay?

5. In the instance of rape and incest, proper medical care can ensure that a woman will not get pregnant. Abortion punishes the unborn child who committed no crime; instead, it is the perpetrator who should be punished.

Firstly, there’s not a way to ensure that a woman doesn’t get pregnant by rape or incest. You can reduce the risk tremendously, but it can still happen. Furthermore, in cases where pregnancy is the reason that the rape or incest is revealed, that usually means the pregnancy is already there and is, therefore, not something you can ensure won’t happen. Funny how things like that work. Unless you can travel through time and force the person too-evil-to-even-be-worthy-of-a-clever-insult-from-me to not do what they did, you can’t really ensure no pregnancy will occur. So, until Robocop can turn up and shoot all potential rapists in the crotch like he did in that one scene, in whichever Robocop movie it was, pregnancy will happen sometimes as a result of rape. In fact, in one controversial study, rape seemed to result in pregnancy more often than in instances of consensual sex. This finding was so controversial, though, researchers have hesitated to study the possibility more because of the possible implications.

While I agree that the person who rapes or sexually harms any non-consenting individual should face the consequences for their actions, to claim that aborting a pregnancy is somehow harming a “baby” that doesn’t even posses the capacity for pain or the ability to even conceptualize cause and effect in a way that could lead to them taking the experience of an abortion as a “punishment” is absurd. This is another case of the appeal to emotion fallacy I mentioned earlier. It may be persuasive to use words like “baby” and “punishment” when arguing about abortion, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve made a case that the fetus is a baby, that it has a value that means it should be saved or that it is being punished by the abortion procedure.

6. Abortion should not be used as another form of contraception.

Another version of this argument that I have seen is “Abortion should not be used as birth control.” I’ll address the concept of abortion as contraception, first. By definition, contraception means to prevent conception and implantation. In other words, contraception means either preventing the sperm from entering the egg or preventing the embryo from implanting in the lining of the uterus. These things happen long before an abortion can even be considered! It is logically impossible for abortion to be a contraceptive.

By definition, Birth Control is a way of preventing the birth of a baby. As a result, every abortion is a form of birth control. It does not matter if it happens once or twice or a hundred times. Every time a person has an abortion, it is birth control.

Usually, the abortion as birth control argument crops up when someone makes a claim that some lady had multiple abortions. The usual presentation of this problem implies that the woman was irresponsible and, so, should not be allowed to abort every time she gets into trouble and gets pregnant. I know it is not the best way for me to present my argument, but I’m going to say it anyway. The concept that a woman should have a limit on abortions because she’s irresponsible is a theory that I like to call fucking stupid. Even if a woman is that irresponsible with her girl parts, why the hell would someone want to force someone that irresponsible to be responsible for another human life? If she was so forgetful regarding taking her pill or using a condom, what makes anyone think she’s responsible enough not to forget to take her child out of a shopping cart and bring him home after a day at the grocery store? Clearly, while the girl may have been irresponsible with the pill or condoms, she’s taking a responsible action in understanding that her faults mean that she’d make a shitty parent, and who are we to disagree with that?

Furthermore, just based on what we know about probability, some poor lady could very likely be on the pill and use condoms every time she has sex and still end up getting pregnant four times in a row and needing an abortion. Because when it comes to sperm and eggs starting their pelvic parties, they don’t stop to count how often a girl has had similar such parties in her before.

If a girl is going to have an abortion, her previous abortions shouldn’t matter anyway. If someone has the right to do something, why would the number of times they do it make a difference in later times that they want to do that thing, anyway? If I have the right to breathe, does the number of breaths I take matter in if I should be allowed to take the next breath? How about my other rights? Does the amount of time I spend practicing free speech somehow count against me so that I someday won’t have that right?

T had four abortions, one of which was certainly not her choice and another which she was pressured into. She is an example like those that often are used in support of the ‘abortion as birth control’ argument. Right now, she has had all three of her children taken from her. She’s not allowed to be a parent to her children because she’s not responsible enough. If she somehow managed to get pregnant again and wanted an abortion, it seems like she should have it.

7. For women who demand complete control of their body, control should include preventing the risk of unwanted pregnancy through the responsible use of contraception or, if that is not possible, through abstinence.

Control and responsibility are two different things. Even then, sometimes birth control fails. It isn’t terribly common, but it does happen. In the case of T, one attempt at birth control resulted in an accidental abortion. I’m not going to talk about abstinence other than to say that some studies a few years ago found that even abstinence-only approaches to birth control were not 100% effective in preventing pregnancies or the spreading of STIs. Surprising? Yes. The biggest concern in these studies revolves around non-consensual sex, but other factors include contact with genitals in non-sexual encounters or in erotic play that doesn’t lead to actual sex and sometimes, people’s willpower is simply just not that strong (innate drives are simply difficult to turn off).

By the way, T was raised in a family that promoted the abstinence-only plan. She said she didn’t start taking birth control until after her first pregnancy.

8. Many Americans who pay taxes are opposed to abortion, therefore it’s morally wrong to use tax dollars to fund abortion.

Many Americans who pay taxes are opposed to eating vegetables, NASCAR, immigration, universal health care, welfare, the government, taxes and wearing white after labor day! Just because people are against something doesn’t mean it is immoral or that tax dollars shouldn’t pay for it. I wonder how many white dresses Michelle Obama has in her closet.

By the way, T is anti-interracial marriage, to the point that she and my younger sister ruined my chances of dating a guy that I was once interested in, who happened to be black. I’m glad that I’m now far enough away from them that they can’t do that now, and that their votes are unlikely to prevent the people from marrying outside of their own race.

9. Those who choose abortions are often minors or young women with insufficient life experience to understand fully what they are doing. Many have lifelong regrets afterwards.

According to Guttmacher, the age group with the most abortions is aged 20-24. They’re not minors, at all. In fact, they are women who are old enough to live on their own, make their own life decisions and build careers. Not children. 33% of abortions are performed on this age group. That being said, even if these were irresponsible young women who didn’t understand what they were doing, do you think that they have the life experience to understand fully what they are doing as a parent?

As for regrets, there aren’t many studies on this other than case studies. Of the case studies, most of the regrets that women claimed to have were related to religious ideas and changed opinions in the abortion debate. There isn’t, however, a study showing that there are greater regrets with abortions than pregnancies. That information simply doesn’t seem to exist (yet). So, while you may be able to find people that experience regret over abortions, there’s nothing that shows us that this is a significant problem in women who obtain abortions or that it happens more often than regrets surrounding pregnancy (which also happens, but not in significant numbers).

T did express that she regretted two of her abortions, but what she claimed to regret seemed to be the lack of power she had in the decision-making process. She also experienced regret in association with her religious beliefs, which added an element of guilt. When she wasn’t feeling particularly religious, she didn’t seem to have regrets and claimed she made the right decisions.

10. Abortion frequently causes intense psychological pain and stress.

So does pregnancy.

Abortion is a sensitive topic for most people on either side of the debate. I am 100% pro-choice, but the reason has to do with our rights to our bodies. How can one say that we own our bodies if we do not have the option of removing something unwelcome like we can have someone removed from our homes who is not welcome?  While I may not like that some people have abortions in certain situations, that doesn’t mean that I, or anyone else, should have a say over their actions regarding their own bodies.

There is so much more to be said on this subject, so feel free to comment and I will try to address the topic again in the future.

Note: My brother has custody of the child, S,  that he fathered with T. She is an adorable child, with the same blond hair and blue eyes that her siblings and mother have. My brother is an excellent father and his wife and he are quite happy with their family. My brother’s wife had two children when they got married, so S has two siblings that she gets along with quite well. My brother has made it a point to sing songs with them whenever it seems like a good distraction.

*With a few exceptions, my family doesn’t really know me well.

I just had a little impromptu singing session with a client. I had to make up a song that related to his particular fetishes. I based it on the song, “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon. I was so greatly amused by my creativity (and impressed with myself) I thought I would share the results with you:

A man walks down the street
He says “why is my penis so little now?
why is my penis so little?
When people laugh it gets hard
I need a photo opportunity
I want a shot at submission
Don’t want to lack expression
in an expression grave yard”
bonesucker, bonesucker,
puss in the moonlight
far away, my well-lit door
Mr. Lubejelly Lubejelly
Get this vaj away from me.
You know I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.

If you be my pussy-boy
I can be your long-lost pal
I can call you ‘Betty’
And Betty when you call me,
you can call me Mal

A man walks down the street
He says “why is it short in dimension?
Got a short, little, penile dimension
And so many nights are so long
Where’s my life and dignity?
what if I die here?
Who’ll be my role-model
Now that my role-model is
Gone Gone”
He ducked back down the alley
with some roly-poly bossy girl
All Along Along
There were dress events and girl presents
There were hints and strange relations

If you’ll be my pussy-boy
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
and Betty when you call me
you can call me Mal

A man walks down the street
It’s a street in a strange world
maybe its a hot world
Maybe its his first trick out
He learns to speak the language
He dresses all fancy
He is a foreign man
He is confounded by the pound
the pound
of lovers in the marketplace
chains, leather things and ball cages
He looks around, around
He sees bondage in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!

If you’ll be my pussy-boy
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me,
You can call me Mal.

So today I landed on my happy internet-land with a few of my pals on twitter buzzing about some June Cleaver wannabe whining about what she wants in a marriage. Normally, the June Cleavers of the world don’t really interest me that much, but this one does. Why? Because she wrote for Oprah.com. In fact, it is the same reason that my friends don’t want to bother with her that I would like to shake her world up some (if I could). The fact is, when Oprah or her peons say something, it shakes our world up. People listen to her and they need a hundred voices arguing back at her before they’re going to listen to us. As a result, I’m going to eat this woman’s marriage. Or, shall we say, her marriage that apparently didn’t happen.

Apparently, our June Cleaver (or, in this episode, named Karen) is a good little Jewish girl who also had pre-marital sex. She uses her religious upbringing as a cornerstone in her arguments against what our dear Ward Cleaver would ask of her, but apparently didn’t care enough about them to use them when he and she decided to sex it up like a couple of wild bonobos:

Steve made his request after he and I were intimately involved — catching me totally off guard. I’m a nice Jewish girl from Philadelphia who grew up in a cul de sac where we played kickball and said “darn” instead of “damn” when we missed a kick.

Of course, the implication is that “intimately” means they fucked, right? When did the Jews start teaching that premarital fucking was OK, but suddenly the ages old practice of having multiple partners was not? As I recall, Jewish religious texts include stories of non-monogamous relationships. Which, by the way, is what our Ward Cleaver (in this episode, Steve) asked for.

The problem with June’s article is that she is one of many people who are incapable of separating the concepts of “love,” “marriage,” “relationships,” and “sex” and she expects that her own trouble with defining them should be a problem for everyone else as well. All of those concepts are related, but they aren’t the same thing. Many people, however, are incapable of disconnecting them. I won’t fault June for her own desires, that’s not something she deserves to be attacked for. Being able to draw a line to define one’s own boundaries is extremely important. The problem is when one draws one’s own boundaries and then expects others to draw their boundaries in the same way.

June says:

Flings are simply superficial sensory delights. There’s no difference between your partner enjoying a pizza with anchovies without you and your partner enjoying a blonde with blue eyes without you.

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I read that as “Snark, snark, snark, snort, snark!”

This honesty enables couples to avoid the emotional downward spiral of hidden affairs because the need for secrecy is removed.

If someone is in an open relationship to avoid an affair, they’re doing it wrong! Affairs are not the product of lack of openness or lack of honesty and dishonesty can still happen in open relationships. Open relationships, ideally, should be about getting the needs met of those involved. Of course, the ideal doesn’t always happen, but the ideal doesn’t happen for all the June Cleavers of the world, either.

On a side note: Karen Salmansohn’s (June Cleaver’s) article does something really odd. It claims to be presented as an article listing “good” and “bad” elements of a concept (pros and cons?) and then in the “good” section, argues against itself, listing “bad” under the “good” label. I could be wrong, but that seemed like some under-handed writing, didn’t it?

Moving herself into her description of the “bad” elements of an open relationship, June completely fails to mention if Ward ever gave an explanation as to why he felt he needed an open relationship in her “good” or “bad” section. Further, instead of listing any pragmatic concepts in her “bad” section, June describes her own definition of a healthy relationship and uses that as a guideline to exclude the possibility of an open relationship from her idea of healthy. It is a nice trick, but I’m not falling for it. Essentially, her own insecurities that she voices as her own opinion then become her basis for defining all open marriages as unhealthy and even potentially hazardous relationships to be in. The thing is, while June is welcome to have her own insecurities, her assumption that they are hang-ups for others is a tremendous problem. June doesn’t want an open marriage, essentially, because she sees her marriage as too closely tied to sex. Other people, however, don’t see marriage that way. In fact, marriage has a longer history of being more about property rights and social ties than it has being about primarily sex. Confining monogamous marriage and sexual behavior to the same shackles is a recent development in Western History and is certainly not a universal stance, even from June’s own Jewish background.

One major beef that I have with Karen’s complaints (I’ll stop calling her “June,” now, it is becoming less entertaining to me and that childish part of me is moving on to more adult things) is that she’s equating open marriage with, as she puts it, “rules for cheating.” In other words, she has already redefined a term in order to fit her own paradigm. The fact is, a healthy open relationship isn’t about “cheating.” It isn’t cheating when it is allowed.

Steve’s desire to have three days of ‘alone’ time morphed into some concept of four-sevenths of a marriage to Karen. The average employed person spends about a quarter of their lives working. Does this mean that if Steve kept a full time job during their marriage, that Karen was only getting three-quarters of a marriage? Is Karen only married when her spouse is with her? What happens if Steve works overtime or two jobs? I think that at some point in her article, Karen went from not wanting to share Steve with another woman to suddenly wanting a set percentage of Steve’s time and attention. I’m not going to say that desire is right or wrong, but just want to mention that the statements were incongruent with their context and what seemed to be her intent.

Karen clearly hasn’t studied open relationships enough, or, Karen’s interest in selling her book outweighed anything she might have learned from studying open relationships. See, Karen also makes it clear that her feelings about open marriages are tied to how she defines what’s healthy in a relationship. In her article, then, she refers to her book, Prince Harming Syndrome which, based on this article, refers to conditions she deems harmful in relationships with men:

Prince Harming is someone who does not make his partner feel safe, calm, secure, confident — and the idea of an open marriage does not leave me feeling that way.

Aside from using a pun to discriminate against any man who may not fit her tidy outline of perfection, the above quote brings up some entirely different issues. Since when should a woman, independent and strong (one would hope) need a man to make her feel “safe, calm, secure” and “confident?” If one’s self-esteem has all of those riding on the back of one man, one’s marriage is going to suck no matter if it is open or not. In a healthy world, our self-esteems are our own responsibility! No other person in the world is accountable for how wonderful any given person is than themselves. You may gain power from your loved ones, your friends and your peers, but your main power source should be you. If you are not your main source of mental support; if your ego lies in a basket on someone’s head, then when those that you have put under yourself as your pillars trip or fall, you have nothing to land on. Our responsibility to ourselves is to be our main pillar. Our responsibility to our friends and loved ones is to share a truss system which will hold us up when any one of us trips, but which we aren’t using as our only weight-bearer.

So what is the difference between love, relationships, marriage, and sex? Love is an emotional response that we can have with nearly anyone. It is a chemical reaction in our brains that we often need and are addicted to. Love feeds our social brains so that we can build unifying relationships that help protect us within our social groups. Relationships are our connections to other people. The deeper the connection, the greater the chance that person will be someone for whom we are willing to sacrifice or who is willing to sacrifice something for us, usually for the good of the (forgive me for being so dry) social unit or family. Marriage is a social contract. I know a great number of people wish it to be more than that, and for many, it is, but marriage usually exists outside of love or as a marker for love, but primarily shows the world where property belongs. Marriage is historically our civilized way of peeing on our lover’s insurance, retirement plan and even their offspring; much like a dog pissing on a bitch’s burrow. I’m not saying marriage can’t have more meaning, people define it to suit their current needs. Because of this, Karen’s idea of marriage works. Marriage is also an incredibly ambiguous term that designates a social standing. At the root of it, though, in our society, it is simply a polite alternative to dumping urea on our lover’s lazyboy. As for sex, sex is an innate desire. Sex is evolution’s answer to how we are to keep our genes alive. Sex is how we roll our dice to attempt to win the genetic lottery. We don’t have to love to do this, we don’t need social bonds for it and we don’t have to pee on a lazyboy first. Sex is evolution’s genetic insurance and our bodies are evolution’s willing puppets. (And with the way natural selection so nicely provided us with an orgasm, who are we to complain?)

I sincerely hope that Karen finds her monogamous man and her picket fence and a cul de sac for her children to pretend they didn’t say ‘damn’ in. I hope that Steve (Ward) also finds his happy, open relationship that suits whatever needs he was looking to satisfy. I hope that Karen learns a little, someday, and stops trying to make her boundaries fit the rest of the world. Finally, I hope she looks up every marital arrangement mentioned in the Torah. I don’t usually suggest people read religious texts, but I think that quest may enlighten her some.

Note: This isn’t to say that cheating can’t happen in an open or polyamorous relationship, it can. I’ve had a partner manage that one. It sucked. The cheating, though, is different and has a different set of rules and norms that accompany it, usually ones that are built by the couple. As an example, my experience involved a problem of neglect. The sex didn’t matter; I didn’t care. Instead, my emotional and mental well-being were suddenly placed on the back burner while my partner’s attention was elsewhere and that’s where everything broke apart. I don’t hold anything against that person, either. Because in all of my experiences, I’ve also learned that sometimes we build rules that people simply can’t follow. That person’s unique situation in their life led to such a problem and they, for whatever reason, could not have predicted what ended up happening. Thus, they’re still my friend, we just recognized an incompatibility and moved on. Aside from that one bad experience, my other experiences with open and polyamorous life have been good and I still consider myself to be an open-poly-flexible person. This basically means that I build relationships based on the needs of those involved. It also means that my future can hold anything from monogamy to polyamory to open relationships and I won’t know until I get there.

Just the other day, Bubbles Burbujas gave excellent advice over on The Frisky. Sadly, many people didn’t happily take it and, instead, gave the same complaints, in the comments section, about strippers (and others in this industry) that I’ve heard for years. I have heard them when I was stripping, camming, doing phone sex and even showing people my pictures. I think we should talk about a few of them (I paraphrased comments made from Bubbles’ articles, they aren’t direct quotes):

1) “My boyfriend still can’t go to strip clubs!”/”My boyfriend doesn’t need it!”/”I give my boyfriend all he needs.”

I think the moment a person assumes that they are the only thing someone else needs, they need an ego check. People aren’t puzzle pieces and we can’t fill every void left behind in others’ lives by their experiences and biology. It is no secret of nature that men have tremendous sex drives and that women can’t always provide what they want. That being said, it should ultimately be his decision if he wants to go to a club or watch porn or play with a shower head every once in a while. His sexuality is still his to own, no matter who you are! It is also much better to acknowledge this and be open about the possibility of him seeking erotic entertainment than forcing him into a position where he has to hide a part of his sexuality just because he’s afraid of losing you, the one he loves. He knows, like nearly all other men do, that his sexuality is not going to be hinged only on you and what you have to offer. It would help him tremendously if you acknowledged this.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t take it personally. Your sexuality doesn’t hinge on him, either. Your sexuality is as much for you to own as his is for him to own. As a result, if you’re not in the mood, why put yourself in a position where you are obligated to meet his needs?

All that being said, there is room for you and your boyfriend to make agreements on what is OK and what is not. If you two reach an agreement over what is acceptable, that’s an reasonable thing to do as long as one of you isn’t forcing your own idea of what is appropriate onto the other.

P. S. In the wake of announcing that you don’t own another person’s sexuality, I also want to point out that you don’t own his wallet, either.

2) “Complaints? But you’re a stripper!”/”You’re not real so you shouldn’t complain!”

It is a sad reality of the world of anyone in the sex industry that other people in our society seem to think we are on some other rung of the social ladder. As a result, they seem to think that the issues we get to face are acceptable and that we should simply accept them and suck it up. Interestingly, similar arguments were used before the 1920s, when women, housewives, were seen more as property. If their husband beat them, they were sometimes told that they should expect that. Afterall, they were housewives! How can the same argument appear out of such different contexts? Because, it is based on bigotry and a lack of consideration for another human being.

It doesn’t matter what job I have, Entertainer or not. I still deserve my basic human rights. It doesn’t matter if I’m clothed or naked, I still deserve my basic human rights. It doesn’t matter if people give me money to show them my nipples, I STILL deserve my basic human rights! I have the right to tell you that I don’t want you to touch me; I have the right to tell you where you can touch and I have the right to tell you to “fuck off” when you’re being a complete festering anal cyst.

The kind of bigotry that tries to teach an underclass that they deserve to be mistreated is the same kind of bigotry that fuels what hurts us. This bigotry is what lets our abusers get away with beating us; it lets the police overlook crimes against us and it allows us our peers to feel ok about discriminating against us. Our world isn’t innately hellish and our work is not, itself, bad for us. It is when we are thrown into a society in which people exist who think we deserve whatever we find in life because of our jobs that is bad for us and that forces us into a world where more suffering exists than really has to. My work is a great place to get lost in for a while, but the bigots can sometimes make it hell.

If you think that a person being there for you gives you special rights or that the fantasy involved with my work means you can cross boundaries, you’re wrong. That’s just you making excuses. Do you go to Disneyland and grope Cinderella, too? How about the Pirates of the Carribean? After all, they’re entertainers, giving you a fantasy! Obviously, you probably don’t (unless you really are a disrespectful schmuck). They’re people and you recognize that. If you think that way, the chances are your desire to alter the rules for people in strip clubs is not really because we’re entertainers and getting naked, it is because you want an excuse to misbehave because you know that if you don’t have that excuse then there’s something wrong with you.

Thus, if your excuse for society’s behavior–for people’s misbehavior in a strip club (or anywhere else they encounter a sex worker)–is that I’m a stripper or a camgirl or a phone sex actress, Fuck off, you festering anal cyst.*

3) “I don’t see the point of strip clubs!”

That’s nice, I don’t see the point of turtle races, but I don’t make it a point to tell everyone about it. I just don’t go. Clearly, turtle racing wasn’t meant for people like me just as strip clubs weren’t meant for people like you. It seems a little silly to make a big deal out of how pointless you seem to think it is, though.

4) “Strippers are expensive, ergo, they’re bad!”

Cars, houses, phones, utilities and food are expensive, too, and we still pay for them. In fact, most strippers have some of those things to pay for. We are here to entertain you, that’s our job. If stripping didn’t pay, we wouldn’t be here. I may have talent and I may have an ass that some people like to see, but I won’t do it for free for a bunch of random strangers when I need to spend the time on a way to pay my bills. Stripping is expensive work to do. A stripper is typically expected to pay a stage fee, plus tip the bouncer and the DJ (both of whom don’t get to work the floor and get tips-their income relies on us). We’re not bad or evil just because we ask you to pay for our services. We’re just doing our job. The men who are so grateful for what we do that they simply pay up are our favorite people, too. Afterall, it is nice to be appreciated for a job well done, don’t you think?

5) “You don’t deserve respect because you take off your clothes for money.”/”Get a “real” job.”

Firstly, stripping is not just about getting naked. It is a hell of a lot of work. Not only does a stripper have to always look damn good, but strippers spend the better part of an 8+ hour shift just dancing. How many people do you know of are able to do that? In reality, though, how I spend my energy in order to earn my money shouldn’t matter. If you have some hang up over nudity, that’s your problem, not mine. Taking off my clothes for money is a far better job than working as a clerk at Wal-Mart or mopping the floors at McDonald’s. My work as an erotic entertainer involves me being told, all day, that I’m beautiful, smart, funny and awesome. It is esteem-building. Does yours do that for you?

Stripping is a real job. Just because it involves elements that your work doesn’t or just because you disapprove of it doesn’t make it not a real job.

Typically, the person who looks down on people in the sex industry does so for one (or more) of four main reasons: Resentment, jealousy, social conditioning or offense. Pick one and work on it, examine it. Figure out what is threatening or scary about it and then make yourself better, because those feelings shouldn’t be blamed on another person, they are yours to own. Such judgements are unwanted, unnecessary and promote hatred.

*I really just wanted to call someone a “festering anal cyst.” Ad hominems are not valid arguments but for the type of person described, it is certainly an accurate description, don’t you think?

A few years ago, back when I was stripping, I met this guy who presented himself as basically less redneck than the rest of the people in the community I lived in. He had his sights on me for a while, having asked my sister about me. Now, my sister is someone I raised and who wants, very desperately, for me to find a partner, but also a partner that keeps me close to her. She’s very aware of how much I don’t fit in with people in my home town, the undereducated, working class. So she told this guy that I was into science. She told him about the two things that I talk about the most: The stars and sexology. This man, being himself not even close to the class of people I was looking for, decided to create a very clumsy facade because he had a goal to have sex with a stripper. Any particular stripper probably would have helped him accomplish his goals, but he didn’t really know very many and so he probably thought his options were limited. With this goal in mind, and with the prospect of sex glittering in the distance, like a far-off firefly with a broken wing, flopping painfully around in the sky, he decided to class himself up.

I grew up in a world where things were oddly dichotomized. There were the “haves” and the “have nots” and the people with power and their subordinates and the educated and the uneducated. I come from a family of “have nots” who were under educated and subordinate (with the exception of my mother, who was educated, but with a myopic world view). Needless to say, I didn’t fit in and it was obvious to everybody, throughout my life. It was also obvious to Mr. Wannafuckastripper. So he, being himself in from the anti-education, have-not world, started cleaning himself up a little more, he obtained a very superficial understanding of stars and also learned that there was a meteor shower that I wanted to see that would happen very soon. Thus, he asked me out on a date to see it. Me, thinking it was at least sweet that he had considered it and still having never met someone, in person, even remotely like me, accepted. But I knew beforehand what was really going on, so I accepted while knowing that his real intention was just to have sex

In order to watch the vast sky, we went out to the edge of town, near a tiny river, and laid on the hood of his jacked-up Suburban. After the show of light and me rambling on for an hour about meteors and how they weren’t really falling into us (the Earth, that is) so much as we were passing through the debris left behind from a comet and it was probably more accurate to say that we were falling through it, forcing some to fall into us, it became time that my companion decided to make his move. I, of course, stopped him. This was not enough for me to think he valued me very much. Not that I’m opposed to casual sex or anything, but there’s a difference between casual sex with someone who respects you and casual sex with someone who thinks they gain status points from boinking you. I explained to him that I wasn’t just another notch in his stick and that I didn’t want to be that for him. If he wanted to fuck this particular stripper, he was going to have to show me that he valued me somehow

So, he sent me sweet text messages. He invited me over for movies and we hung out with his niece and his mom and for quite a while, he got to know me and I got to know him. I don’t know how to paint his personality for anyone other than to say, he voiced an interest in what I had to say, but would clearly be happier shooting a brand-new yeild sign with a shotgun. Knowing this, and still frustrated at the world for not sending someone I could identify with in my direction, I continued to date him and finally decided, with the help of my hormones, that he’d shown enough interest in me that I would have sex with him. The first attempt was when we went swimming at a resevoir, we left early so that we could beat the sun (so it wouldn’t damage my sensitive skin) and so we could beat the others that wanted to join us. I spent a long time nearly bathing myself in sunscreen before we went out into the water and being alone, we began kissing heavily. He picked me up and I wrapped my legs around him and we began grinding, gently, until he screamed out in absolute agony

Have you ever heard a cow bellow in agony? I have. When I was ten, I used to go to my grandma’s neighbor’s house to hang out and see their animals. They had a cow that had a calf who somehow stepped on her nipple as she was standing up. The nipple was ripped off and the cow let out the most un-cow-like sound I have ever heard. It was an odd merging of sounds that might come from something that was a mix of a braying donkey, a trumpeting elephant and a roaring cougar. It was a terrifying sound. That moment, in the water, as I was anticipating having sex for the first time in nearly a year, a sound that was somehow related to the sound uttered (punnily enough) by that de-nipple-ated cow, somehow sprung forth from the lungs and throat of my potential mate. I was scared

Without explanation, without telling me what went wrong, he put me down in the water and walked back to the shore. I followed, asking him a hundred questions, trying to find out what hurt or what happened. Did I have an iron pelvis or something? Did I break him? He wouldn’t tell me. All I knew was that his dick was broken. Our friends and my sister arrived right about then and he sat on the beach, with his testicles just resting in the cool water, while my sister and I swam for a short time, until I had to go hide under an umbrella because the Sun was making my skin hurt

A week or two later, I was invited on another date. There was some discussion about sex and our last experience had left me tremendously frustrated but also worried. I still had no idea what had happened and he wouldn’t tell me. He just told me that everything would be ok and that he was fine. So I went to see him. This time, he made some effort, but the effort was not nearly as cool as his past efforts to impress. The plan was dinner and a movie. Cheap TV dinners (the $1 banquet meals) and the movie, “Jackass.” Trying to get laid with a movie date with the movie “Jackass” is kind of like trying to show a university admissions panel that you’re intelligent by offering a synopsis of “See Spot Run.” That being said, my sex drive, for some reason, would betray me and turn off the part of my brain responsible for better judgement. I made him turn off the damned movie after a few minutes and suggested we get right into playing

Things got hot very fast. He played with my breasts and few things turn me on faster than someone playing with my breasts. My breasts are part of my communcations interface provided to anyone that I sex up, free of charge. If one is given access to my breasts, to stimulate them, the odds are pretty high that they will have access to other things. I can’t possibly stress it enough how sensitive my breasts are and how happy I was to have someone touching them. Him touching my breasts, of course, led to grinding. Once again, submerged in a sea of pleasure, kissing, fondling, groping, grinding, I thought I was finally going get a little satisfaction. I didn’t just think this, I assumed it would happen, that is, until he uttered the mutant-cow-screech again and threw me off of him as if I was a pillow he’d been casually humping that just produced some very sharp teeth.

It was somewhere around this point that I began to think that either my date was crazy or I had clitora dentata (he never got to the vagina, so it couldn’t be a problem there). This time, he was hopping around his bedroom and begging for ice as he bellowed. I, being very shocked and wanting to at least stop the pain that I wasn’t sure if I caused, went ahead and got some ice. Again, he stopped saying much. he pressed the ice firmly into his crotch, whined, and sat there. I had no other choice but to walk home; leaving him with a broken dick, again.

A couple days later, I heard from a mutual friend of ours. This friend brought three bits of news to me: 1) My would-be fuck partner was going back to his girlfriend who doesn’t like sex, 2) He no longer wants to fuck anybody, much less a stripper, and 3) his friend kicked him in the crotch about four days before he went on his first date with me, causing a severe hernia that left him unable to maintain an erection for very long, much less put any pressure on it. The injury was not my fault, but he had somehow assumed that he could endure the pain in order to have sex with me. He couldn’t bear the humilation of telling me this himself because what guy wants to admit to a girl that his penis is broken? That doesn’t get anyone laid.

Note to potential partners: I had it checked by a doctor, and I don’t have an iron crotch. You’re safe, but it dashed all hopes I may have had of having the first Vagina of Borg.

If you are not into posts with TMI (too much information), don’t go any farther. This post is graphic. This post is also a story, not really educational. If you like a good story and you don’t mind the extra information, please read ahead.

Once upon a time, I had a really cheap, but pretty awesome pen. This pen was about four inches long and big and fat and could write in ten different colors. It had a hard, green case and a nice, smooth shape. You could see the colors that it offered you by the color of the sliders on the end that you could push down in order for that particular pen tip to come out of the end. I liked this pen, but I had a friend that liked this pen way too much.

After I got my divorce, times were pretty tough as far as my sex life went. My sex life hadn’t been great before, but I could tell that I clearly didn’t like lacking any sexual stimulation at all. Of course, the cure for this is masturbation. I had never masturbated before. I was educated, I knew more about sex than most of my peers and yet I hadn’t ever progressed that far sexually. I had been taught as a child that masturbation was wrong and that horrible things would happen to me if I did it. So I never did (I was a horribly obedient child). So it was that at the age of 25, I needed to learn to masturbate. At this point, though, I didn’t have any masturbatory toys and I was afraid to buy any because there were too many people that would hang around my house that I didn’t want discovering a random dildo or something.

My sex drive is the true queen of invention. I had to become a MacGuyver of toys. I was the gadget-woman and I was my own super-heroine. I could make temporary toys and use them safely and then dismantle them and/or throw them away without anyone figuring out what I was doing. It was wonderful. My favorite material was clay. The thing about clay, though, is that it is a long process in order to make it toy-worthy. Also, you can either have a soft toy or a hard toy using clay, but if you want a hard one, you have to find something that will safely serve as a base. Typically, I could just use a fat dowel.

Around this time in my life, I also had a very odd friend (someone who was more odd than myself). Like my family and the rest of my immediate peers, she was somewhat under educated and she was very redneck. Unlike my family and the rest of my peers, though, she was quite liberal and open about anything sexual. And so it happened one day that my friend and I had a conversation about my problem and how I had solved it. Wanting an example of how this whole thing works, I mistakenly told my friend that, for example, I could “wrap clay around something like that pen and it would serve to support the toy.” I soon would learn that it is rarely a good idea to tell someone you might do something that you wouldn’t actually do. My friend, apparently not completely understanding the context of what I had said, immediately became fascinated by my pen. Right at that moment, I had a guest come to the door. It was the Schwan’s man. Ice cream! I conveniently had a freezer on my porch, too (it was my dad’s freezer and I didn’t have a choice about it being there, don’t make fun of it), and so I took the time to make my order, leaving my friend inside to do whatever it was she liked. This was my second mistake for the evening.

I couldn’t have been talking to the Schwan’s guy for longer than ten minutes and putting stuff into my freezer wasn’t exactly a difficult task, but all kinds of things can apparently happen in ten minutes. Once finished, I went back in to my living room to talk to my friend more and I discovered her squatting over a mirror, her panties down, with a horrified look on her face and the bottom half of my pen in her hand, the innards of the pen sticking out of it like so many stripped bones.

This situation was unprecedented territory. I know that people walk in on people they know doing unexpected things all the time, but it isn’t like there’s a social etiquette about how you handle those times when it is you doing the walking in. So we sat there for a while, staring at each other, the shocked look on her face frozen in time for several moments, not moving or even adjusting her obviously uncomfortable position, even her breath was shallow and almost still, until she finally broke the silence by saying, “I’ve got to get it out.”

That, of course, was the moment when it all came together and I really knew what had happened. The part of my pen that was missing was lodged in her vagina. Perhaps this was my fault, having told her about my own masturbatory adventures and forgetting, for a moment, that she wasn’t operating at the same level that I was. I wasn’t really sure what to do at that point. There is a huge difference between knowing human anatomy and knowing how to dislodge a pen casing from someone’s vagina. On top of that problem, I wasn’t ‘out’ as a bisexual yet and didn’t really want my first experience sticking my fingers into someone’s vagina to be in search of a non masturbatory device. So, instead of sticking my fingers into her, I instructed her on what to do.

This took an unexpectedly long time and I ended up learning way too much about my friend’s anatomy than I cared to know, without even touching her. Her vaginal canal was crooked and the pen had become lodged just behind her pubic bone on a ridge that was in her crooked vagina. The walls of the barrel of the pen were so thin that there wasn’t really a way to maneuver it in a convenient direction unless she pressed the inside of it against the back of her vagina and then pulled downward. That sounds easier than it was for her to do, as the whole time she was crouched down over my mirror with her body hunched forward as she tried to get it out. Sometimes, out of frustration, she would bounce up and down, apparently expecting the force to bring the object down further. It had the opposite effect. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that we should go to the Emergency Room at least five times during the whole process, but my friend didn’t want to explain the situation to the hospital staff. I didn’t blame her. At some point, complaints in a hospital stop becoming complaints about a health issue and start becoming a confession that whatever got you there was the stupidest thing anyone on the planet was doing in that moment. Right about the time I was calling a cab to take us to the emergency room anyway, my friend finally yelped, “ouch!” and the barrel of the pen tinked down on the mirror, covered in girl goo, with a tiny amount of blood. After giving birth to my pen, my friend scooped up the its parts, pulled up her panties and left, without saying anything more. She left the mirror for me to clean.

I don’t buy multicolored pens anymore.

© 2014 Sex and Science Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha