How To Search Your Adult Tumblr Blog: The full implications of Tumblr making adult-flagged porn Tumblr blogs non-searchable, and hiding their content from the search engines, are only just starting to sink in for people.
Craftypants Carol's insight:
"Your next logical question is “But how do I do that? How do I back up a Tumblr blog?”
It’s not a simple question. The answer isn’t simple either. But, it can be done. So, that’s my next post."
Yahoo To Buy Tumblr?: As Tumblr users leave comments on my Thou Shalt Not Search Adult Tumblr Blogs post, it’s becoming clearer that the new robots.txt that prohibits search engines from indexing adult Tumblrs is quite new.
Sex on Wheels will follow sex worker Laura Lee as she speaks candidly about her work helping disabled clients achieve satisfaction.
The cameras follow Laura from Belfast when she travels to Yorkshire to meet John, who has learning difficulties, after being hired by his mum Tracy.
Tracy says: “I’m very uncomfortable with it, but I have this need to make sure that John is happy, that he is not restricted, that this disability does not steal away my son’s right to lead a normal life.”
Sex workers have become much more visible in politics and culture over the last couple of decades. Thanks to a surge of activism starting in the 1990s, memoirs and essays about sex work have become their own subgenre. Even in liberal circles, a lot of stigma still remains, but publicly admitting that you're an escort, stripper, or porn star is a lot more likely to be accepted as a valid choice.
But while the workers have been able to edge ever so slightly into the daylight, the clients have remained securely and silently in the shadows. With their new anthology, Johns, Marks, Tricks, and Chicken Hawks: Professionals and Clients Writing About Each Other,co-editors David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin, Jr. are trying to shift the conversation to include both sides of the transaction. Sterry, and Martin will be reading at The Booksmith on Haight Street tonight along with several contributors. Sterry, who worked as a rent boy when he was 17, talked to us about sex, money, and how to be a good client.
SF Weekly: Why did you take the approach of doing a book about clients?
Well, the first book that we put together [Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys] was all sex workers. I just felt like it would be cool to see what people who are buying sex are thinking about it as opposed to people who are just selling it. People buy and sell sex for such different reasons, depending on who they are and what their circumstances are. People who are buying sex -- they're not heard from. It's this billion-dollar industry with no customers. So, I really wanted to find people who would write articulately about what the experience is like for them.
Who are some of the people you got to write for you?
I tried so hard to get so many people to write about buying sex, but it was very, very difficult. Much more difficult than I thought. Somehow, at this point in our culture, it's easier to say "I'm a prostitute," than "I'm a John." I have all these sort of liberal, arty friends, and none of them would write about it.
I found much more accessibility in the gay community. The only people I could get who were heterosexual wanted to use a fake name. There's only one person in the book who would use their real name when it came to buying sex. I posted stuff in hundreds and hundreds of places, and I have enormous networks of people. It was shockingly difficult to get people just to write about it, but then to get them to use their real names was almost impossible.
Of the people you got to write about buying sex, what did they have to say about their reasons and what they got from it?
It was interesting. There's a guy who calls himself a "captain of industry," who writes about having sex with a transgendered person and this guy has a high-powered job where he makes these very important life-and-death decisions. And he talks about how he wants someone else to be in charge of him. But he can't do it in his real life, so he pays this transgendered person to take control of him. I saw that myself when I worked, as well. ... People pay sex workers to give them stuff that they can't ask for from people they know.
And then there's Chester Brown, the cartoonist. There's the one guy who's really so out about paying for sex. He has such a different view than the rest of society does about this whole thing. I was talking to him, and I said, "A lot of men say 'I don't pay for sex, I pay so I can just walk away.'" And he said, "Well, I couldn't really walk away, I'm in a relationship with this woman. She's obviously not my girlfriend, and she does have sex with other men for money, but I'm in a long-term relationship with this woman that just happens to involve me paying money to her for sex." And he says that for him, he doesn't like the idea of having a traditional girlfriend, or a wife, or a partnership. ... The whole idea of domesticity kind of puts a damper on the sexual spark that was there.
When you were a sex worker, what were your feelings about your clients?
Well, I wanted to please them. I wanted to do well. I was 17, I was young, you know. The people that I worked for were a very high-end agency, and it was made very clear to me, "If you fuck this up, you're going to get hurt." So there was kind of a pressure from above to perform well.
But for myself, also, I wanted to please these people, these clients of mine. Some of them were really nice to me, and some of them were really mean to me. I'd say about 40 or 50 percent of them, these women who'd hire me didn't even really seem to want sex, which was so weird to me. Like, they just wanted to talk and be listened to. A lot of them wanted to talk about sex, but a lot of them just wanted to bitch and moan about their horrible husbands and their ungrateful children.
Some of them were just great. This one woman who was a yogini, she was so nice to me. She asked me "Would you like to take your clothes off?" Like, no one ever asked me that, as if I mattered. As if what I felt had any importance at all. But she did. That just made me like her so much.
What do the other sex workers have to say about their clients?
Oh, it's the whole realm, you know. The story that starts off the book is by this woman that I just love. Her name's Jessica, and she describes this relationship she had with this guy. He was just another guy, but they've known each other for a decade now, and he's helped her out. When she's in a terrible situation with no one to turn to, she can call this guy who started out as a client and now is almost like family to her.
So, that's on one end of the bell curve, and on the other, this woman was working the streets, and a guy picked her up and pretended to be a cop to try to get free sex out of her. But she called him on his shit: it's really a funny story. Clearly he's not a cop; he's clearly a thief and a bully, and someone who's trying to weasel sex out of her for free. So that's at the other end of the bell curve: people who are violent and abusive and have no respect for other human beings. Probably not much respect for themselves, either.
If someone was going to become a client, what would your advice be on how to be a good client?
My advice would be make sure you're with someone who is very comfortable doing what you want to do. Don't try to force someone to do something that they might not want. Be very respectful. Show up on time. Smell good -- that's very important. It may not seem that important, but smelling good is a very important thing when you want to become a good client.
Give them the money up front, as quick as possible. In an envelope. On the dresser. That's very, very important. And you know, a lot of clients, they agree on something and they keep wanting more stuff. "A little bit longer," "Oh, but you could do this, you could do that." I think that's very bad behavior from a client. If you want other things, arrange it beforehand, and if something comes up, you pay for it. People want stuff for free, and it really annoys me so much.
Try to, if you can, put yourself in the mindset of what needs this person has, and if you can satisfy any of those needs. Put yourself in the other person's stiletto heels, as it were.
The Pornocalypse Comes For Us All: Recently I’ve been seeing lots of tweets and headlines suggesting that Amazon is going through another round of cracking down on porn ebooks, generally burying them deeper and making them harder to f...
Arrangement Finders, a dating website for 'mutually beneficial arrangements,' is causing controversy with two provocative billboards promoting dating a 'sugar daddy' and giving oral sex as aspirational jobs for students.
The billboards, one in Los Angeles and the other in Chicago, which was promptly taken down, are accompanied by an image of porn star Bree Olsen - the a spokesperson for the site.
'Hey Students, Need a Summer Job? Date a Sugar Daddy,' one reads, while the another states: 'Because the best job is a b**w job.'
Arrangement Finders, owned by the same company that runs the $90million cheating website, Ashley Madison, which helps married people have affairs, describes itself as 'an exclusive service that connects men and women looking for mutually beneficial arrangements'.
Marketing director, AJ Perkins, explained that the website, which launched in 2009, chose Chicago as a site for one of the billboards because the area has the 'most registered users than any other city in the country.'
The dating site said it had paid for the Chicago billboard, which went up on February 13 near the intersection of Ontario and Clark streets, to be up for one month.
But It only took days for the controversial billboard to be taken down - voluntarily by outdoor advertising company, Urban Core.
The neighborhood's alderman, Brendan Reilly, told the Chicago tribune: 'I just told [Urban Core] it was causing some headaches, that there were some families who were upset about it -- families with young children -- because of its proximity to some of the attractions in that area.'
One commenter, who supported the removal of the billboard, said: 'I'm not against prostitution (I believe it's their choice, it's never going away, sex trafficking is awful, they need to protect sex workers etc.), but this is an awfully trashy ad.'
Mr Perkins, who said Arrangement Finders were 'disturbed' by the billboard's removal after only one week, decided to erect a similar one in Los Angeles instead.
'We are not surprised that some people don't agree with the billboard, but as they have a right to complain, the first amendment gives us the right to keep it up.'
Noel and Amanda Biderman, the monogamous couple behind Ashley Madison and Arrangement Finders, defended their sites as a public service, insisting it can help save marriages.
Speaking about Ashley Madison specifically, Mr Biderman said last month on ABC's The View: '(Cheating provides) people with an alternative to divorce.
'They find themselves in a sexless marriage, they're caught between a rock and a hard place. For many, infidelity becomes that life preserver. It allows them to stay in a marriage, and focus on raising kids together, while pursuing something on the side.'
Ashley Madison, founded in 2002 with the tagline Life is short. Have an affair,' has 3.5million members.
Mrs Biderman explained she hopes the ads enable couples to talk more easily about cheating.
'All I'm saying is that if you bring the conversation front and center, then maybe it's not as big. It can be broken down and you can know how to address it.'
But she admitted she would 'be devastated' if her husband cheated on her.
'But I would not blame a website,' she said. 'Ashley Madison is not creating cheaters. It is servicing a need out there. And unfortunately, it exists. It's sad.'
Leave it to the British tabloid The Sun, which in the past has brought us such considered coverage as "FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER", to approach the topics of sex work and relationship advice with all the subtlety of a neon-painted brick: last month they ran a piece with the screaming headline, "I had sex with 1,000 men as £700-a-time hooker ... now I'm an infidelity counsellor."
Take a moment to get the sighs out of your system and it turns out the piece contains fairly straightforward - and even considerate - advice from former sex worker Rebecca Dakin, such as, "I just want to help people stay in relationships. My knowledge comes from experience. When I was an escort about 60 per cent of my clients were married, and that gives me a pretty unique insight into how men work and what they want."
That didn't stop website Salon from weeping and wailing about the piece, with Tracy Clark Florey unloading on the topic, playing into the tired notion of "bad sex workers versus good sex workers" by saying, of another piece by Kitty Stryker, "Her advice boils down to this: talk with your partner.
Rather than giving out grudging blow jobs like doggie treats, communicate openly, honestly and without judgment about your mutual needs and desires. What a concept."
But boiling the particular sort of relationship advice espoused by Dakin down to "have more sex with your husband", it is certainly not exclusive to "racy" editorial; Bettina Arndt has been doling out similar rhetoric for years. So why characterise it as specific to sex work?
What sets The Sun editorial and the Salon piece apart is that The Sun actually allowed a sex worker to speak for herself, and in an era where much of the dialogue about sex work is dominated by non-sex workers, that's becoming increasingly rare.
If there's a titillative or click-baiting side to magazines and sites running "relationship advice from sex workers" pieces - and there's no doubt that in the never-ending quest for traffic, similar articles are commissioned from a rather mercenary stance rather than an egalitarian one - there may also be a positive spin.
"Articles, books and workshops that provide a greater understanding of the relationship between clients and sex workers reduce the power of many of the misconceptions about our work," says Janelle Fawkes, CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Australia's peak sex worker organisation.
"It's clear that much of the moral panic that frames sex workers as women exploited by clients who are men is based on misunderstanding the level of negotiation and boundary setting that takes place in many sex work interactions and how diverse our communities are."
It's a fair assumption to say that many people wouldn't consider talking with clients - a kind of casual counselling - as part and parcel of sex work, which is perhaps why articles such as Dakin's strike a raw nerve with some.
"There is a plethora of literature around the spiritual, healing and counselling aspects of sex work," says Scarlet Alliance policy officer Zahra Stardust.
"Sex work provides an opportunity to share unique intimacies with strangers - which sometimes also act as opportunities for political activism, social work and friendship. But sex work does not need 'counselling' or emotional connection to make it legitimate. This is just one aspect of a very diverse industry."
Indeed, as you might have noticed if you've been unfortunate to read the comments on any article about sex work or, especially, written by a sex worker, everybody has an opinion about the profession. Stardust's concern is that even well-intentioned editorial coverage can be injurious to sex workers.
"The danger can be that sex workers are expected to give up significant amounts of our personal time to convince non-sex workers that our work is legitimate," she says. "Social media forums and the speed of digital information sharing means that sex workers' lives are often seen as public property, open for dissection and discussion - by journalists, policymakers and organisations with specific agendas.
"Expecting sex workers to give our expertise for free for ill-informed, well-intending research projects, or a fascination with the 'titillating' parts of our work but disinterest in supporting our rights campaigns, is a consistent pattern. These patterns means that many sex workers feel exploited by media."
Perhaps, then, diverting the conversation away from tales of woe and exploitation (articles that are, in a bitter irony, exploitative themselves) to relationship and sex advice can be considered a more positive dialogue about sex work.
"It's important to support the general community to recognise that sex work is skilled work," Fawkes says. "One way of doing this is by sharing with non-sex workers the tips, tricks and skills that we use in our work as sex workers. There will be some who overlook the value of these opportunities [for] sharing skill and knowledge and who are blinded by their own 'whorephobia'. I think they miss out on a valuable insight."
Stardust agrees, adding, "As sex workers we also negotiate space, love, sex, family, friendships, communities and work commitments in our personal lives and in our own relationships - there are skills here to be shared as well."
While Dakin's relationship advice - for example - might not suit some, despite society's best efforts to cram all sex work into a narrow stereotype, there is a wealth of knowledge being shared by sex workers who engage in a diverse range of work.
Fawkes encourages casual readers to keep an open mind when reading pieces written by sex workers.
"I hope that what sex workers offer to the community - understandings of sexual expression and exploration, skills and strategies for negotiation and boundary setting, an insight into another person's life - will be recognised and accepted as the extremely valuable gift that it is. An offering to allow others to enrich their understandings of humanity, sexuality and diversity."
Crucially, both Fawkes and Stardust are adamant that if the mainstream media wants to call upon the wisdom and experience of sex workers, more needs to be done to support the very work that provides advice that fuels articles such as Dakin and Stryker's in the first place.
"This intrigue into the experiences by media must go further than curiosity, fascination or just acceptance... We need anti-discrimination protection. We need law reform and funding that supports our organising, advocacy, health promotion. These are urgent issues for sex workers," they say.
"If non-sex workers want access to our expertise, cultural histories and personal stories, they should support the recognition and protection of our human rights."
The Nu Project is a no-glamor honest look at beauty and image in our world.
Female nudity isn’t hard to come by in the media, but the bodies we see usually represent a fairly limited scope of sizes and shapes. The Nu Project, a collection of nude photographs shot by Minneapolis photographer Matt Blum, seeks to add some variety to the mix. Blum started The Nu Project in 2005 but said it really took off when his wife, Katy Kessler, became the project’s editor.
I was recently on WeHeartIt and I came across a post that said: “Twinkle, twinkle little whore Close your legs, they’re not a door.” I was shocked, but also embarrassed about the language because this was another example of slut-shaming, which I...