If you’ve done any reading on the Internet about the business of sex work, chances are you’ve come across Melissa Gira Grant. She’s written about sex, politics, labor and tech everywhere from the UK’s Guardian to The Atlantic to Jezebel and Valleywag, making her one of the top intellectuals to turn to when America needs an explanation about why we’re so weird about sex.
A former “web cam girl,” Grant just published her latest book, Playing The Whore: The Work Of Sex Work, which is unlike any book about sex work or feminism that I’ve ever read. In it, she critiques law enforcement’s treatment of actual or perceived sex workers; labor issues surrounding sex work; and the tendency for governments and some outreach workers to treat all sex workers as “victims” in need of being “rescued.” However complicated you might have thought issues pertaining to sex work were before, Grant’s excellent book is extraordinarily illuminating.
Grant recently spoke to me about “whore stigma,” feminism, police, and the media’s struggle to accurately cover sex workers. Our Q&A begins after the jump: Keep reading »
Grossness: some douchebag anonymously mailed semi-nude modeling photos of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, elementary school special needs assistant Kaitlin Pearson to her employer and local newspaper. And now the 23-year-old’s side-career of modeling may cost her her job. Keep reading »
Another adult film actor has tested HIV-positive, making this anonymous person the fifth case in the industry this year. Filming has shut down for a third time since this summer as doctors trace the outbreak. The Free Speech Coalition, which is a trade group for the porn industry, announced the halt on filming on Friday.
“We are taking every precaution while we do research to determine if there’s been any threat to the performer pool,” said Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke. “We take the health of our performers very seriously, and felt that it was better to err on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed.” All coworkers this anonymous person has come in contact with on and off set have been notified so they can be tested as well. Keep reading »
After only three weeks in existence, the Snuggle House in Madison, Wisconsin, where cuddling professionals hugged, spooned and cuddled their clients for $60 an hour, has shut down. The cuddling business was accused of being a front for prostitution, a lawyer for the Snuggle House owner confirmed to the AP today. A comment on the business’ Facebook page confirmed, “The pushback and harassment is not worth it, honestly.”
Paying for sex, nudity, drugs and alcohol were forbidden during snuggling sessions. Customers signed a two-page waiver before a session began and security cameras and panic buttons were located in each bedroom. However, attorneys for the city of Madison were were skeptical of “therapeutic cuddling” and had delayed its opening several times.
According to The Times-Picayune, prior to the closing, the city had planned to draft an ordinance to regulate snuggling even further. City attorneys claimed they want to protect the cuddling professionals — three women and one man — from sexual assault. While safety is surely a worthy cause (and one that the cameras, panic buttons and waivers suggest the Snuggle House were aware of), the city’s explanation for their concern left something to be desired. According to one city attorney, cuddling leads to sex, always, ergo the employees must be getting sexually assaulted if they are not actually prostitutes. Keep reading »