News: Join Flashmob to Fight Sex Work Stigma

On the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, sex worker Hege Grostad, and writer and activist, Anders Solli Sal, both from Norway, are asking the whole globe to flash their red umbrellas in solidarity with the sex worker’s rights cause. They are encouraging women, and men, all over the world to organize in groups, meet

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Valentine’s Day

Most Christian holidays are based on older pagan ones, and Valentine’s Day is no exception; like Christmas, the modern celebration of love has much darker origins in a very ancient Greek festival which involved human sacrifice and cannibalism.  The original reason for the festival of Lykaia is unknown, but it was held in Arcadia sometime

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Objectification Is The Cause Of Slut Shaming- Why Don’t We Recognise This?

  “Objectification.” It’s a word we hear all too often. The charge of “objectification” is levelled at films, the news media, lyrics, art, and of course porn. Sometimes we intersectional or sex positive feminists might feel like it’s a catch-all term which silences those who have sex industry careers- especially since it is used to

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Event: Moral Panic Film Club

Join us in an evening of disgust and moral panic to raise funds to support Backlash UK’s academic, legal and campaigning resources defending freedom of sexual expression and the right to personal privacy. Did you know that you could potentially be prosecuted for taking consensual, private pictures of yourself or your partner, if the government

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Comment: Savages in Suits

I find it fascinating (albeit in a sad and terrifying sort of way) to see how oblivious modern Westerners are to the fact that our “leaders” are nothing but tribal chieftains who hide their naked barbarism behind fine talk, fancy titles, ersatz philosophy and elaborate rituals.  The “rule of law” is absolutely meaningless when society

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Comment: Not Good Enough

Modern feminists expend considerable time and energy criticizing societal pressures for women’s bodies to conform to certain sexual norms.  While I reject asinine assertions like “clothes, cosmetics, diets, gym membership, trips to the hair salon, the waxing salon and the nail salon [are indicators of women’s] self-loathing” and mercilessly ridicule those who spend their time

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Comment: Drawing Lines

For most of human history, nobody thought of taking money for sex as a defining activity.  This is not to say that there were no whores, because of course there were; it isn’t called “the world’s oldest profession” for nothing.  But it wasn’t the fact that a woman took money for sex which defined her

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Not Your Rescue Project

Until the advent of the internet, those who suffer from the sick need to control other people’s sexuality (or use sex as an excuse to hurt people) must have felt that, though they were beginning to lose their grip on gay people, they would always be able to suppress sex workers.  In the 1980s and

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Comment: Devil’s Advocate

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.  –  H.L. Mencken Oppressions always start with those nobody is willing

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Year’s End

I’ve been writing for Cliterati for a year now, and have covered a plethora of topics.  In my own blog, I always do a year’s-end retrospective of the top stories, but since I only do one column per week here versus seven for mine (and none of these are multiple-item news columns), I think I

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6000 Years of Christmas

Holidays are protean things; not only do the rituals by which we celebrate them change, but also their rationales and even their names.  Over the course of millennia a celebration may eventually change so much that it no longer appears to be anything like it was to start with, yet there are always similarities and

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Honoring Our Dead

I know who held the knife, but they might as well have put it in his hands.  –  the mother of murdered sex worker Petite Jasmine Several days a year sex workers and our allies get together, either in person or in spirit, to observe certain occasions.  On March 3rd, we agitate for our rights and

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Case Study

In the process of writing my blog and these essays for Cliterati, I read and scan a tremendous number of news stories every week, from websites based all over the world.  I get many of them from links on Twitter, and my readers send many others; some of them I stumble onto by chance while

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News:University of Manchester Announces ‘Queer Now and Then’ Seminar

The third and final event in the ‘Queer Now and Then’ seminar series (overseen by Professor Laura Doan) will be held on Tuesday 10 December at the University of Manchester: Earlier this year, newspapers and other media reported the founding of a new scholarly journal, Porn Studies-setting off, predictably, a flurry of responses ranging from

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Is it possible to be a tomboy in your twenties?

This article is the first in a series about “tomboy” and was originally posted as a blog on Straight Out Of Crompton. Use the #tomboy to follow and join the discussion on Twitter.  Over the last few months I’ve been thinking a lot about the definition of “tomboy”. It started as a dinner conversation with some girlfriends, each

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News: Soho Sex Workers Raided by Police

Over 25 sex workers’ flats in Soho, Central London were raided by police last night (4 December). Police broke down doors, slapped closure notices on the doors of premises and threw women out onto the street. Some immigrant women were taken into custody on the pretext that they may be victims of trafficking, despite their

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Bell, Hook and Kettle

The profession of a prostitute is the only career in which the maximum income is paid to the newest apprentice.  It is the one calling in which at the beginning the only exertion is that of self-indulgence; all the prizes are at the commencement.  It is the ever-new embodiment of the old fable of the

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Caveat Emptor

Advertisers are sneaky, unscrupulous creatures, and though their techniques have improved dramatically since the days when hucksters hawked snake oil, wonder soaps and electric corsets their adherence to factuality has not.  In fact, it’s not at all unusual these days to see adverts posing as news items:  companies like Ashley Madison have grown very adept

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Cops and Robbers

The great mythologist Joseph Campbell once told the legend of a samurai whose lord had been murdered; he was given the duty to seek the man out and execute him.  The quest took some time, but at long last the samurai cornered his quarry; the man knew that he could not escape, so in one

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Event Preview: Bike Smut: ‘Back in the Saddle’ Tour

Bike Smut is an international touring film festival celebrating human-powered transportation and sex-positive culture. Each year we ask the public to make short films expressing their ideas on bikes and sex. We then gather these films a share them at live screenings. Over the past seven years, we have shared these ideas in 24 countries and in

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Remembrance

Four things greater than all things are, — Women and Horses and Power and War.  –  Rudyard Kipling, “The King’s Jest” Ninety-five years ago tomorrow, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the armistice that ended the First World War went into effect; the anniversary was immediately established as Armistice Day among all the Allied nations. 

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News: Garden of Desires Explores Female Sexual Fantasy

Cliterati founder, Emily Dubberley, has a new book out, Garden of Desires: The Evolution of Women’s Sexual Fantasies. Featuring fantasies from over 400 women/people who identify towards female in the gender spectrum, it explores how women’s fantasies have changed over the last 40 years, and what women are fantasising about today. Garden of Desires: The

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Cleansing Fire

I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violence “democracy”, and the other, “tyranny”.  –  Karl Popper The casual reader can be forgiven for arriving at the erroneous conclusion that I become dreadfully morbid in autumn.  It starts subtly with my meditation on the dying year every autumnal equinox, increases through

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Catastrophic Consequences

Nearly three years ago I wrote an essay entitled “Social Autoimmune Disorder”, in which I compared modern society’s persecution of sex workers to a disease “in which the body’s protective systems turn from attacking pathogens and other invaders to attack some portion of its own tissues instead”: The bodies of societies sometimes also develop such

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