On 28/02/17, the Huffington Post ran a blog piece by Heather Brunskell-Evans on "The contemporary 'cult of the 'sex-worker''". The article adopts an anti-sex worker stance, and broadly criticises changes in public opinion towards sex work as 'fashionable'. Brunskell-Evans also makes several aggressive attacks on a 2014 conference on feminism and sex work, organised by Erin Sanders-McDonagh and Lucy Neville and held at Middlesex University (Feminist Whores? Exploring Feminist Debates Around Violence, Sex Work and Pornography).
Here, Lucy Neville and Erin Sanders-McDonagh address the accusations made in Brunskell-Evans' article.
Dr Lucy Neville is Senior Lecturer-Criminology: Criminology Theory at Middlesex University (@blue_stocking ). Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh is the Director of Studies for the Criminology Undergraduate Programmes in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.at the University of Kent (@erinsandersmcd ).
Dimmie is a queer Kiwi-Australian artist, writer, feminist, and says "fight me" a lot. Has more opinions than she knows what to do with, and writes them down sometimes. You can follow her at @_dimmie_
I can’t remember when I first began identifying as a feminist, but needless to say that it has been quite some time since I began to learn about feminism and social justice. My politics have changed as time has worn on and I’m proud to say that I’ve learned and grown, and no doubt will continue to do so throughout my life. I have always been proud to be a feminist, and been proud to call other feminists my sisters, but in recent years I’ve had experiences that have made me approach other feminists with caution.
"On our own terms: the working conditions of internet-based sex workers in the UK" by Teela Sanders, Laura Connelly, Laura Jarvis-King,
The sex industry is increasingly operated through online technologies, whether this is selling services online through webcam or advertising, marketing and organising sex work through the Internet. Using data from a survey of 240 internet-based sex workers (taken from a specific sample of members of the National Ugly Mugs reporting scheme in the UK), we discuss the working conditions of this type of work experienced by this specific sample of mainly white British female who work as independent escorts. We look at their basic working patterns, trajectories and everyday experiences of doing sex work via an online medium and the impact this has on the lives of sex workers. For instance, we look at levels of control individuals have over their working conditions, prices, clientele and services sold and job satisfaction. The second key finding is the experience of different forms of crimes individuals are exposed to such as harassment and blackmail via the new technologies. We explore the relationship internet-based sex workers have with the police and discuss how current laws in the UK have detrimental effects in terms of safety and access to justice. These findings are placed in the context of the changing landscape of sex markets as the ‘digital turn’ determines the nature of the majority of commercial sex encounters. Although the sample informing this paper is a specific group of people with a set of common characteristics these findings contribute significantly to the populist coercion/choice political debates by demonstrating levels and types of agency and autonomy experienced by some sex workers despite working in a criminalized, precarious and sometimes dangerous context.
Mistress Evilyne is a British, London based professional dominatrix. Originally a pastry chef by profession, Mistress Evilyne left the world of kitchens 4 years ago to throw Herself into a whole new field of work where in a short time, she has thrived and become quite vocal about sex workers' rights. Mistress Evilyne is an advocate for the de-stigmatisation of sex work, and alternative sexuality and relationships in general. You can follow her at @MsEvilyne
Here, Mistress Evilyne asks the question, why are we so scared of answering children's questions about sex?
Robert James King, Ph.D., is a researcher at the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, in Ireland. He has published in the field of human sexual behaviour, as well as other topics. You can follow him at @DrRobertKing
Here, Robert analyses the methodology behind a research paper that claimed women were more likely to abused if they had read E.L. James' novel 50 Shades of Grey, and draws clear delineation between abuse and BDSM.
How can submitting your body and will to another be empowering? How can being spanked make you feel liberated? How can a feminist bow down to a man and allow him to 'own' her? Ms Andry has been a submissive for a number of years and here she writes about the freedom she has found in giving over control to another. As BDSM is becoming more mainstream, and more and more people are wanting to experiment, Ms Andry teases out the difference between abuse and domination. True dominant and submissive experiences cannot be found on Tinder, a starter kit, or in a EL James novel. A BDSM relationship is a deeply powerful and profound connection with another, who is trusted with your body, your mind, your wellbeing and your pleasure. As Ms Andry reminds us, BDSM may indeed be playtime, but it is not a game.
Bee is a 25year old writer from the North West. She mainly can be found curled up with a good book and a big cup of tea (milk, no sugar thanks!).
This is a very powerful piece about Bee's personal experience of an abusive relationship. She exposes the vulnerability of those entering a BDSM relationship, and how an abuser can manipulate the BDSM relationship between the dominant and submissive to justify their abuse. In the wake of the 'Fifty Shades' phenomena, and BDSM (or, at least a version of it) becomming more mainstream, Bee offers an important voice that echoes the concerns of the BDSM community; 'Fifty Shades' is not a BDSM relationship, it is an abusive relationship. Such a dynamic is not romantic, or glamorous; it is dangerous, damaging and painful.
This is a very brave and vulnerable piece. It contains descriptions of abuse. We are extremely grateful to Bee for sharing this.
"Playing with Yourself: How to touch yourself mindfully to grow your capacity for pleasure and connection" by Meredith Reynolds
The Wonderful Meredith Reynolds is a leading London-based Somatic Sex Coach. She works with a wide base of clients to help them become more present in their bodies and connect with their erotic selves.
We could not be more thrilled that she has contributed this remarkable article on the often misprized joys of self-gratification.
To visit Meredith’s Home Page and view her work in more detail visit: http://www.meredith-reynolds.com/
Filomena has been blogging periodically since it was born back in 2013, about topics she feels very passionate about such as health, fitness and beauty. Filomena takes us through her journey of self-imposed celibacy. She talks about her difficulties as well as the benefits that came from abstaining from sex for a year.
Celibacy helped her develop a sense of individuality and discover her self-worth, something she had previously been seeking for elsewhere.
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Dr. Eric Sprankle is an Assistant Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato where he serves on the faculty of the clinical psychology graduate program and the sexuality studies undergraduate program. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Minnesota, and an AASECT-certified sex therapist. Dr. Sprankle received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Xavier University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical School's Program in Human Sexuality. He currently leads the Sexual Health Research Team at MSU examining sex work stigma, the effects of sexually explicit material, older adult sexuality, and the intersections of sexual health and genital piercings.
When not engaged in scholarly pursuits, Dr. Sprankle religiously reads Edgar Allan Poe, watches horror films, and gardens.