CraigsList: Future Thinking

Assuming that CraigsList Adult Services stay down, where will everyone go? Granted, the majority of those in the business in the US aren’t advertising on CL anymore. But now civilians are enjoying the thrill of discovering what’s been online for the past 10-15 years and are publicly speculating what sites advertisers will flock to.

On the one hand, other advertising sites have been obvious all this time if you know how to use Google. The current public attention might help some girls get a little extra business in what I know is a sagging economy and a seasonally slow time of year (beginning of school). On the other hand, I’m very worried by the attention thrown at other sites. The motivation for this current state of affairs goes far beyond the usual cat-and-mouse game played by local cops. The anti-trafficking Nazis have one possible victory with CraigsList and probably feel ready to go stomping on any other site adult sex workers use.

Because it’s about ending prostitution. It’s not about helping victims.

Continue reading

4th Desiree Alliance Conference Working Sex: Power, Practice, and Politics

July 25-30, 2010
Las Vegas, NV

Conference to Unify and Educate in the areas of: Academics & Policy; Activism;
Arts, Entertainment & Media; Business Development; and Harm Reduction &
Outreach!

REGISTER NOW!
Space is limited and WE WANT YOU!
No on-site registration will be permitted so ACT NOW!
Don’t forget to book your hotel…conference participants pay $25!!

Who is Desiree Alliance?
The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of
organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm
reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex
workers.

How do I fit in?
Desiree Alliance is a forum for people who have experience of sex work (this
could mean working as an escort, sex worker, prostitute, street worker, massage
worker, exotic dancer, hustler, living with the support of a sugar-daddy or a
sugar-mama, having sex for housing / food / clothing, drugs, or having sex to
get the money needed to survive) and allies of sex workers. Desiree Alliance is
committed to support for representation and inclusiveness of people from varied
backgrounds including different cultural, racial, economic, age, size/figure,
sexual orientation and gender identities.

How do I sign up?
You are required to send an introductory email to
desiree2010@desireealliance.org with “Introduction for Registration” as the
subject. Please include the following:
• Name, email address and contact phone number (including best time to call);

o You may use any name or pronoun that you identify with when applying for
the conference and while attending.
• How you found out about the conference;
• Why you would like to come;
• If you are a student (you will be required to provide 2009-2010 student ID)

What are the conference fees?
NOW – July 15, 2010
Registration Fee: $250
Student Fee**: $200
Group Fee*: -$10

*Group fee: When 10 or more registrations are made and paid for from the same
source
**Student fee: Must provide proof of enrollment for school (student ID)

Registration fees for the conference include: Attendance at any or all of the
workshops, presentations and sessions; name badge and registration packet;
Welcome Reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (July 25, 6pm); Continental
breakfast (July 26-29); Lunch (July 27 & 29); Farewell Brunch with keynote
speaker (July 30); and a significant discount on lodging (please note that this
location will not be disclosed until registration is complete);

Registration fees do NOT include (though we wish it could): Transportation;
lodging; lunch on July 26 and 28, dinner; Fundraiser After Party (you will have
the option of purchasing a ticket during registration); dinners, souvenirs,
extra-curricular activities or personal expenses

Who can I contact for…?
Program Advertising / Tabling / Vending (click link for details):
http://www.desireealliance.org/conference/tabling.htm#Program_Advertising

Media: Please direct all inquiries to serpentlibertine@gmail.com

General Inquiries: info@desireealliance.org or 866-525-7967 (Toll Free)

Desiree Conference 2010!!

Desiree Alliance

In conjunction with BAYSWAN, Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP), Center for Sex and Culture (CSC), International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education (ISWFACE), St. James Infirmary, SWOP USA, SWOP Tucson, SWOP LV, SWOP Chicago, SWOP NorCal, SWOP Santa Cruz, Harm Reduction Coalition, Sex Work Awareness, and $pread Magazine

Presents

Working Sex: Power, Practice, and Politics

July 25 thru 30, 2010 in Sunny Las Vegas, NV!!

Join us for the Academic and Policy track. Network with established and developing scholars who are engaged with research, theory, and methods that impact the formation of policy and applied practices concerning sex work and sex workers. Academics have the opportunity to give back to the communities they study and create careers upon by participating in this dynamic space of diverse sex work scholar colleagues and diverse sex workers. Sex workers will have opportunities to interact with scholars who concern themselves with our issues while also sharing your own—and needed—perspective regarding where sex work scholarship has been and where it should be going.

We understand that within the Activism and Advocacy of Sex Work, there is such a huge range, from organizing national marches, decriminalization propositions, to organizing you and one other Sex Worker to come together and talk about your rights and safety. All are forms of activism. Coming out to a friend, meeting a fellow Sex Worker and being able to talk about your work can be a HUGE form of activism for some that have been hiding in the closet so long! Join other activists in a safe space to discuss and learn about activism and activist leadership in the sex work community!

Arts, Entertainment, and Media: From beautiful burlesque, to majestic music, to powerful poetry, various art forms have been important parts of sex worker justice advocacy, and art is also a great way to highlight the diversity of talents so many sex workers have. Sex worker artists have in fact had a vibrant face on this movement and have been a unifying element in resistance campaigns across the globe. Join us at the Desiree Alliance 2010 Conference to explore, learn about, experience, and create sex worker art, media, and entertainment!

Business Development: Increase your confidence and your bottom line by attending workshops taught by people who excel in their fields! Learn new techniques for increasing your earnings, using the tools of your trade, and improving your business model. You will find valuable tips to improve your business regardless of the area you work! From workshops on web design, advertising, and networking to health and safety, and tax-saving tips especially relevant to cash-based earners just like you, this conference will be an opportunity for you to improve your business and your cash flow!

Harm Reduction and Outreach: Whether your expertise is the street corner, the classroom, or the clinic we are looking for you to show us what’s wrong, what’s right, and what can come to be the future of Harm Reduction and Outreach Services for Sex Workers. Come share your innovative ideas or learn how to provide outreach services. Be a part of an event that will inspire and pioneer a fresh perspective on how harm reduction and outreach services can be fine tuned to the ones that need it the most. Enjoy workshops and presentations from the best and brightest giving their unique take on harm reduction and outreach services to sex workers.

Registration is open!
We are accepting Proposals for Presentations! Hurry- deadline for submissions is March 1st.

To get involved, go to http://www.DesireeAlliance.org/conference.htm or email: Desiree2010@desireealliance.org

We’ll See You in Sin City!!

Profiles of male escorts

Men for men

Men for women

Memory Lane

I have a book shelf that has old notebooks from school, day planners and such. I recently decided that it’s time for a major purge so I’m sorting through all of it and throwing out what I don’t need.

Going through the pages of one of the day planners I came across one of my first web-based sex work experiences. Scribbled on the back of a printed email is the name of a store and cross streets in San Francisco. That was where I met him at- across the street from his apartment. And his phone number, just seven digits, because everybody in SF has a 415 area code.

He had posted an ad on craigslist.org seeking a student who’d be interested in mutual masturbation. I was about 20 or 21 years old. At the time I lived outside of San Francisco. I had been a dancer, but there weren’t many dancing opportunities in the town I’d moved to. So I sought out sex work opportunities in the Bay Area because it was the nearest city where the sex industry was easily accessible, but it certainly is not the only city where the sex industry is easily accessible.

So I replied to his ad. Sincerely able to say “I’ve never done this sort of thing before.”

The idea of going to a man’s house and letting him watch me masturbate really turned me on. Getting paid for it was even better. But obviously, I had safety concerns. Was he really going to respect my boundaries and not touch me? What if he was psycho? I didn’t really know what to expect, but how would I know if I didn’t just drive into the city and find out?

He asked me what sort of porn I like to watch. I told him girl-girl porn because I was mostly into girls around that time. I took all of the safety measures that I could think of. I gave the address and his phone number to a friend and promised to call her when I left his house and when I got back to my place. I did call her when I left, but I forgot to call her when I got home. I was so tired I just fell asleep. A mistake that I will never make again. It’s not fair to leave people who care about you to worry. Especially when they’re being supportive of your choices and helping you be safe.

So after many emails and phone calls I finally felt safe about going to SF for the meeting. I was excited all the way there. It was one of the most outrageous decisions I’d ever made. But I felt prepared and equipped to make that decision. I felt very safe after some investigation and planning with friends. If I had been driving into the city with nobody looking out for me I may not have been so confident. Having a friend who knows what you’re doing is so valuable.

I didn’t even have a cell phone at the time. When I arrived at the store he was there to show me where to park. He was in his mid-30’s, balding a little bit, about 5’10”. A little over-weight, but not obese. I could tell he was nervous, which somehow made me feel relieved because I wasn’t nervous at all. I think in that moment I understood that I was the one with the power, even if I couldn’t articulate that feeling at the time.

So we went up to his apartment. It was a typical one-bedroom in San Francisco: wood floors, tiny kitchen with tiny bathroom that hadn’t been updated in at least ten years, a decent sized bedroom and a living room. He was a bachelor working for some tech company that was probably later bought out by Microsoft or Oracle.

When we got into his apartment $200 was sitting on the counter. He just sort of waved toward it then offered me a drink. I asked for water and slipped the cash into my purse. Then I used his phone quickly to check in with my friend.

I was happy and enthusiastic. It was obvious that nothing was going to happen if I didn’t initiate it. So I jumped right in.

“Let me check out the movies you got!”

“Oh, they’re in the bedroom,” he said in a mumble. Now I was starting to have sympathy for him. He was so nervous! I wondered how long it had been since he’d had a girl in his apartment.

I went into the bedroom and chose from three videos. I opted for a dvd with a three-girl scene. Why not? He put in the video and then said, “Uh, I got you some toys too.”

“Yay!” I was genuinely pleased about that.

He handed me a package that had a little mini-vibe plus additional attachments. Perfect.

I didn’t see any reason for making conversation. It would have just put more stress on this socially awkward guy. He wanted to hang out for a while with an adventurous woman who would show him a good time. So I did.

The girls in the movie were hot and it had some elements of kink with boots and riding crops. I liked having the movie there for both of us to look at in order to avoid awkward interactions with each other. But what I really got off on was being watched, and knowing that he was getting off on watching.

So we masturbated for each other while watching porn. Nothing too kinky or unusual. He was very respectful. He didn’t make any unwelcome advances. He seemed to understand that if I felt comfortable that I would take the experience to a fun place that was pleasing to both of us.

As we watched the movie and played with ourselves I got more and more excited. I took one of his hands and placed it on my right breast. I turned so that he was directly in front of me and placed one foot on each side of his body so that I was straddling him, spread eagle with a clear view of my pussy while I massaged my clit with the mini-vibe and fingered myself to climax. I felt him squeeze my tit harder as he moaned and came into his own hand.

“Wow! That was fun!” I wanted us both to feel good about the experience. I knew that his pleasure was reflected in my pleasure. And I genuinely enjoyed myself.

He was shy, but clearly happy. He offered me a clean towel if I’d like to have a shower. I accepted and quickly rinsed off, sure to take my purse and all of my clothes into the bathroom with me. He seemed nice, but I was still protective of myself and the money I’d just earned.

When I came out he had a bottle of water for me and smile. He thanked me for coming with a shy giggle. He was sweet and I was happy to have shared the experience with him. I used his phone quickly to say I was heading out the door. And I left.

On the way home I stopped for gas and realized that I was standing at the pump with a huge grin on my face the entire time. It was kinky and fun, and I’d just made in one evening what I was used to making in a week. Suddenly, so many options were available to me that I’d never had access to before…

We Must Interrupt This Scandal To Announce…

Registration for Pulling Back the Sheets: Sex, Work and Social Justice is officially open!

Wondering if you should attend the conference? Check out Red Light Radio Podcast #2

In this podcast SerpentLibertine interviews kittenINFINITE about her introduction into the sex industry and sex work activism, we discuss the meaning of the term “sex worker”, the difference between whores and sluts, the formation of SWOP Chicago, how to get involved in sex work politics, the 2008 Desiree Alliance sex work convergence, and the importance of properly screening clients.

If you would like to submit a proposal to present a workshop or an academic presentation or any other suggestions for activities and programming for the conference in Chicago, the deadline is this Friday! March 21st!

We want to see you in Chicago and we want to hear what you have to say and what you care about hearing at this conference!

Prostitution 2.0

A very interesting article on a techie website describes for laymen how to find an escort online:

A Girlfriend Experience Is Just A Click Away

The controversy surrounding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has shed light (a red light) on a number of underground activities. Besides government corruption and the sex trade in general, Spitzer’s use of the Internet to connect with prostitutes is exposing a huge industry with which people may not be familiar.

Or even know exists.

The online escort/call girl/”model”/prostitute scene isn’t so hard to find, though. Just use Google. If the organic results don’t fit what you’re looking for, AdWords can help, too.

The truth is, investigating this scene is much like investigating the adult entertainment scene. The breadth, depth, and scope of prostitution available via online booking is staggering, indicating that just like the online porn industry, sex trade is not just a huge industry, but one that employs cutting edge marketing techniques, and one that apparently is thriving.

……………….

An Open Sex Market

It would be impossible to explore every website offering some kind of escort service, and many of them seem to have shut down since the revelation about Governor Eliot, including the Emperor’s Club website he used. But perusing some of them reveals details that would be mundane if talking about any other business.

When people think of prostitution, they generally think of street-walkers with cash-only policies. The 21st Century, though, brings change to the world’s oldest profession, too. Visitations can be booked with cash or credit. There is often a registration process for potential clients, or a requirement that the client participate in a screening process.

…………………

A Virtual Smorgasbord

Call Girls SmorgasbordGovernor Spitzer obviously had a certain taste: prostitutes he could take to Washington on important visits that didn’t look like a prostitute and could provide him confidence that she would exercise her right to remain silent. There are more expensive women than $4,300 for two hours, but he is a government employee at the end of the day.

If money is no object, a fat-walleted client can choose from a menu of women on sites similar to the Emperor’s Club, some with the same diamond-rating system. A seven-diamond lady, if paying by credit card, will run about $3,600 per hour. If paying by cash, a client can get a $600 per hour discount. If he wants to weed out the less expensive, less exclusive women, he can run a more specific search for [high class call girls] or [high class escorts] and Google will bring him back what he is looking for, thanks to some good SEO and SEM.

Interestingly, he notes that many sites have shut down since the scandal broke. I have been hearing through the grapevine that many women have taken their sites down until the dust settles. I tend to think they are wise in doing so, as there has been a veritable media feeding frenzy on working ladies.

I wonder what the projected implications are for the online advertisers?

Even more interesting than the article itself are the comments that follow.

Some choice bits:

From a guest

We use the internet as an alternative to walking the streets or turning over a huge percentage of our earnings to agencies and pimps. For the most part, it is safe. Every once in a while you hear of a girl getting hurt by a john, but not very often. A threat that is much more real is that of a pimp posing as a customer, making an appointment, then coming to rob and rape you. So most of us working girls (the smart ones anyway) refuse to see black guys….. seeing that this is the most reliable way of avoiding pimps. And yes, it works. Maybe we are losing out on the “good” black guys out there, but with such a disproportionate ratio of good vs bad, it’s an acceptable loss.

……………..

No girl grows up thinking she wants to be a prostitute. We end up here because we have no other (viable) way to earn a living. We have no education and no skills…. so what else are we going to do? We use our bodies instead of our minds. We all have secondary reasons as well. Some girls have kids to support, some have drug addictions, some are co-dependant on an abusive boyfriend. But NO girl does this because she likes it.

……………..

There is much much more to say about internet prostitution, but I could go on and on. In closing, I may be a prostitute…. but judge not lest ye be judged. Just as you are more than your job, I too am more than mine.

From the author of the article, Jason Lee Miller:

I saw on Discovery Channel a few years back researchers studying the brain via imaging and via the chemicals that were released. They concluded something kind of astonishing: creativity, sexuality, and spirituality all seemed to come from the same area of the brain…or that while one of these three things were active, the same area of the brain lit up.

……………………

All that, and my conspiratorial side doesn’t buy it that the feds targeted Spitzer by accident. Of all the dirty politicians and all the call-girls around Washington, why Spitzer? Probably b/c he was gumming up the works with all that justice…

But you didn’t hear that from me. 🙂 And I can’t prove a word of it. Just riffing, like I said.

Update 10:17 PM Funny I said that there at the end…read this before something mysterious and tragic happens to this guy:

http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/  

Maybe there’s more to this than the press is letting us know.

[SWOP-LV’s comment: very interesting article by Greg Palast]

From another guest:

Keep it stigmatized.  Keep it illegal.  The whole mess is degrading to women as well as society as a whole.