Sex Industry

Susan Elizabeth Shepard started stripping shortly after her eighteenth birthday. She continued to dance during university and after receiving her bachelor’s degree in English, decided to forego the newsroom in favor of the more lucrative opportunity offered by stripping. Over the summer, she chronicled her experience chasing the best returns in modern American boomtowns. It’s an incredible piece about what it means to take such chances, about this country, and about what it’s like, sometimes, for strippers.

If the Zurich sex boxes are too difficult to get to, sex workers will not come. A lot of people don’t realize that while creating a sex zone seems like a good idea, doing so often takes sex workers out of the city to remote areas where they may be even more vulnerable. And access isn’t simply a question of transportation. Things like medical insurance, a permit to use the premises, and a nightly “house” fee, all pose obstructions.

Theresa May, home secretary in the United Kingdom, is disturbed that prosecution rates are low given estimates about the number of trafficked persons in the UK. May and supporters believe this is due in part to uncertainty among law enforcement agencies. To this end, there is now a bill on the table that will create the office of the modern slavery commissioner, as well as toughen existing anti-trafficking legislation.

The story here isn’t a cautionary tale about the dangers of sexual appetites. Nanula isn’t a bad guy because he likes sex or wants to sleep with a lot of women, some of whom are sex workers. Nanula is a bad guy because he knew that some of these women wouldn’t consent to a specific sort of act with him so he deceived them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think there is a difference between porn and prostitution. At least two of the women involved do see a difference. They ended up doing something they didn’t want to do. Richard Nanula lied to them. That’s why he’s a bad guy.

Think AVNs — with all the adult talent, porn flicks and products you’ve come to know and love — only instead of being a bystander in the destiny of the adult industry, you’re at the wheel. That’s the Sex Awards, a ceremony that will award stars, films and products based on what the fans love. Crowdsourcing is the way of the web and AVN Media, has teamed up with cable network X3Sixty and online on-demand site HotMovies to bring it to porn. Come play!

This fear of losing everything because, on their way up the ladder, a person used the sex industry as a rung is very, very real. When you’re living day to day on a visa of peace that could expire at any time because some asshole walked into your club with a pair of Glass and put your set on YouTube, you’re not going to sit around worrying about how much this country is starting to resemble the Soviet Union. This isn’t because you’re petty. This is because when you’re this afraid, this vulnerable, when you have so little recourse, you pretty much already live in the Soviet Union.

In California, a woman cuts off her husband’s penis in what prosecutors are describing as a jealous rage. Meanwhile, across the country in a suburb of Pittsburgh, a fearless police officer makes a date with a Backpage escort, gets some head and then arrests her. Never mind that his corner of the world has much bigger problems — and why shouldn’t a person take pleasure in their work, right?

George Takei, who returned to relevance with a deeply moving campaign to support stigmatized gay youth in 2011 has shown us that humanity and kindness apparently have limits. You see, it’s OK to be Takei — as long as you’re not a sex worker. If you’re a sex worker, then you’re damaged. But you’re good entertainment anyway. Or something.

The bachelor party has turned the strip club into a requirement. Some embrace it as a good reason as any to let lose, but a percentage seem to enter with shame, embarrassment, resentment, irritation, and — the worst — that breed of “understanding” that is closer to pity than anything a guy might have picked up in a gender studies class at some point during their undergrad years.

Men have followed me down the street poking me in what one can only assume is an attempt to get my attention. Men have grabbed the cord to my headphones and ripped them out of my ears. Multiple times. Men have grabbed parts of my body, or my coat or purse strap. They ask if they can get my number, they ask where I live, why I’m not smiling, why my boyfriend lets me walk around by myself.