Final exam info – stickied to the top.

Time and location:
December 4th, 7:00 PM ESB 1013

The final exam will be the same format as the midterm (same question break-down).

You will be expected to know:

Love, Attraction, and Relationships
Chapter 5: 131-­144
Chapter 7: 202-­230

Sexual Identity and Orientation
Chapter 12
including Asexuality

Sexual Variations
Chapter 13

Commercial Sex
Chapter 17
Sex Work Panel
* You will not be expected to know the slides on prostitution

If you have any questions about the exam, or any of the material, please post them in the reply section (Reply) so that the responses can be shared with the entire class. I’ll keep this post at the top of the front page.

Letters from Working Girls.

Another of Susannah Breslin’s projects about sex work.

A sample from a letter:

I am also, as always, conflicted. As a women with radical feminist politics, this is the one area where I diverge from the dominant opinions of that group. I am constantly evaluating how I can be a truly feminist sex worker. For me that question of feminist integrity matters more than how to be a safe sex worker, a high paid sex worker, or anything else. My integrity is the most important thing, and I never do anything with a john that I wouldn’t do by my own choice.

I turn down the piss requests, the “will you let my dog fuck you?” guys, the ones who try to bargain for more time and less money. I do not turn down the ugly ones, the lonely ones, the very hairy and sexually confused ones. There is something in me that loves them and their small perversions, loves the taboo of sex work and the incredibly novel situations that I find myself in. As an Ivy league masters candidate, this is not my last resort. I’ve lived with the love of my life for years and am satisfied in every way by our love/sex/friendship. I’m educated and well adjusted, yet I am also a working girl. We tend to defy your expectations, don’t we?

The rest of the letter, and many more, here.

Letters from Johns.

One of Susannah Breslin’s projects: Letters from Johns. The project provided (it wrapped in 2009) an opportunity for men who’ve used the services of sex providers to share their stories, motivations, and experiences.

A sample from a letter:

I was a thirty four year old virgin when I first visited a prostitute.

I’ve always been shy and a bit of a computer geek, and somehow I missed out on opportunities at college and university that might have got my sex life off to a start. Once I graduated I ended up in an IT job, full of other single male geeks. None of us had much in the way of a social life, but I was furthering my career so it didn’t seem to matter much. It was only when I hit thirty that I started to worry about the other things missing from my life. At that point, my age and lack of experience were a major worry. I was tempted by online dating, but knew that anyone I might meet would be more sexually experienced than me, and this became a major stumbling block.

At one point, I seriously considered sexual surrogate therapy, but in the end the price put me off. It did, however, make me start thinking about paying for sex, but at a different level. Websites and forums are what I do, and mostly how I interact with other people, so it didn’t take me long to find forums devoted to escort work. I researched diligently, read up on the pros and cons, and the dangers, health and otherwise, of seeing escorts. The forums were an eye opener. The escorts posting sounded genuine, even relatively normal, and not the junkies I’d expected. I made up my mind to go for it.

The rest of the letter, and many more, here.

One of the original letter writers sent an update letter, two years after he sent his first letter. Link here.

Vice documentary: The Japanese Love Industry.

From Vice:

Japan is a country that is dying—literally. A nation that was once considered the strongest economical powerhouse in the world, rivaling the US, has now slipped to second best. Japan has more people over the age of 65 and the smallest number of people under the age of 15 in the world. It is the fastest growing negative population in the world, and that’s because hardly anyone is having babies. In these difficult times, the Japanese are putting marriage and families on the back burner and seeking recreational love and affection as a form of cheap escape with no strings attached. We sent Ryan Duffy to investigate this phenomenon, which led him to Tokyo’s cuddle cafes and Yakuza-sponsored prostitution.

Some have pointed out that documentaries like this are simply capitalizing on the whole Japan is super weird stereotype. The content of this documentary is not representative of the Japanese culture in general – Vice tends to focus on experiences that are outside of the norm (i.e., cuddle cafes and the Yakuza), as that’s what they find most interesting.

Somewhat NSFW (you can also watch a way more NSFW version on link):