July 3, 2011

"If you don’t ever have 'bad' sex, then you probably haven’t been looking hard enough for the really great sex."

Writes Annie Sprinkle, reviewing Chester Brown's graphic novel "Paying For It" (the purportedly true story of his giving up romantic sex for sex with prostitutes):
Brown documents his sad, curious and disappointing paid encounters — always amusing — along with his abundance of sweet, satisfying and successful ones. He appears to be relatively nonjudgmental, like a person who can equally relish both junk food and a gourmet feast....

At the end of “Paying for It,” Brown provides 23 meticulously drawn appendixes, most of which are devoted to deconstructing just about every argument you can think of against prostitution. He presents the typical objections (e.g., “Prostitution is wrong because it gives a man sexual power over a woman”) and counters with utterly rational and incisive responses (“Prostitutes aren’t passive puppets, and most johns aren’t dictators”), backing up many of his points with observations from sex workers themselves. In the process he makes as convincing a case for the decriminalization and destigmatization of prostitution as anyone I’ve ever come across in the prostitutes’ rights movement.
Sprinkle is "the author of 'Dr. Sprinkle’s Spectacular Sex,' is an artist, activist and ecosex educator. She worked as a prostitute for 20 years." Ecosex educator? That jumped out at me as a dubious occupation... from a list that includes prostitute!

I'm going to buy "Paying For It," because I like Chester Brown. (I've read "The Playboy.") The page you can click to enlarge (over at the first link) looks excellent. I used to consume a lot of these graphic novel things, back in the time period between the publication date of "Maus" and the publication date of "Understanding Comics." I had to look up the dates to figure out when that actually was. It was to 1986 to 1993. I was interested in zines then too. Pre-internet.


Humperdink said...

New and improved diseases anyone?

That would be my fear.

The Drill SGT said...

"Ecosex educator"

It's what you call yourself if you have been a porn star and have a PhD from :) The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality Clearly a tier One Sex school

I looked at her CV and it peddles soft porn videos on "The History of Porn" and "Annie Sprinkle's Amazing World Of Orgasm"

Ecosex is apparently sex in the woods using non-petroleum lubes (you know, none of that oil company stuff that destroys the planet)

traditionalguy said...

When Sex is used as a recreation it abandons its devotees into an unsafe world where no protective boundaries exist. Acting all intellectual is not going to reverse the facts of life. Recreation sex among strangers opens people to diseases of the body and of the mind that quickly become a plague. It submits one to Death Panels that could easily have been avoided. Lifestyles matter.

Shouting Thomas said...

Annie Sprinkle is one of those tedious feminists who, first deconstructed sex to discover it was awful, and then reconstructed it to be "sex positive."

Ideology applied to sex is a drag.

If you've ever lived in an urban area where prostitution and drug use are going on in the open, you quickly realize that these discussions of legality and morality have nothing to do with why residents don't want this shit going on outside their door.

It has nothing to do with prim morality.

I lived in a couple of those neighborhoods, and I quickly lost my liberal belief that prostitution and drug use should be legal and open. I don't know what you do with these activities. I'm not in favor of putting people in jail. But, people raising kids don't want to see or encounter this stuff on their doorstep. And, they don't want the subsidiary criminal activity that always tags along with prostitution and drug dealing.

Solution, not so easy. Giuliani arrested everybody and pushed them off the street. It worked. Where he put the culprits, I don't know.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, ironically, in your post below about Christopher Street, Althouse, you notice the negative effects of open and tacitly legal prostitution and drug use.

Ron said...

My interpretation of "Ecosex educator" is one who teaches you to have sex only with endangered species...to save the planet!

Matthew Noto said...


If you want to get technical about it, Men pay for sex all the time. It's just not alway a cash transaction.

Ask any guy who's still paying alimony to an ex-wife someone else is banging.

Henry said...

Happy Vice Day!

Shouting Thomas said...

Sprinkle is so deliriously stupid.

So for the Canadian comic artist Chester Brown to announce in his graphic memoir, “Paying for It,” that he is a john is truly groundbreaking.

The dumb broad must never have heard of Henry Miller.

When you're an old fart like me, you immediately suspect that anybody who talks about "groundbreaking," "edgy" or "avant garde" is a self-promoting idiot.

Doesn't mean I wouldn't like the book.

Althouse, maybe you should take a trek back in time and read "The Rosy Crucifixion." Or even "Tropic of Cancer."

Shouting Thomas said...

And, I can't help but continue.

Feminists in the 60s and 70s labeled Henry Miller male chauvinist pig enemy #1.

Miller moved to Paris in the 1930 (I believe), and lived on Rue St. Denis. His best known writings are an ongoing diary of his daily visits to the whores.

This is certainly new, ground breaking stuff.

And, Althouse, does this mean that Miller is no longer a public enemy preaching vile pig filth?

ricpic said...

Since leftists are hot to trot to take the spirit out of everything it follows that sex in their brave new world be a pecuniary transaction and nothing but.

F said...


"Ecosex" dubious? You clearly are forgetting Al Gore.

The Drill SGT said...

Solution, not so easy. Giuliani arrested everybody and pushed them off the street. It worked. Where he put the culprits, I don't know.

By the enforcement, he encourged them to move to Philly or Boston :)

rhhardin said...

Writer seeks audience, end of story.

Saint Croix said...

Prostitution is wrong because there's no love involved. And that's bad because when there is a baby--and sex often leads to a baby, what we refer to as a "mistake"--we are going to have another single mom raising a baby. Or a dead baby.

Hence, Judeo-Christian opposition to prostitution, which has been the stance for over 2000 years now.

By the way, the ancient pagans were way more "progressive" about sex than we are today. Killed a lot of babies, too.

Birth control has opened the door to what is, in essence, pagan behavior. We think we can control it. We think we won't even any "accidents." And when we have an accident, we "clean it up" using that quiet procedure that we don't like to talk about.

And of course men (a.k.a. the clients) have no knowledge of the abortion and no bad feelings at all.

Clyde said...

Ecosex? Well, it IS a renewable resource, evergreen... Well, everpink.

The Crack Emcee said...

Annie Sprinkle is a San Francisco whore and I wonder why anyone would listen to her.

Every time I run across a link to "The Frisky" at Glenn's site, I also wonder what's up with that?

Like dealing with liberal judges in Wisconsin, there's this bubble of nonsense that few seem willing to break through or give up, when that's the answer to many of our problems.

Get rid of the crazy plotters who leak information, stop listening to whores, etc. - what's so difficult?

Shouting Thomas said...

Speaking of whoring, Althouse, you've been resolutely ignoring the DSK thing ever since The New York Post outed the maid as a hooker.

What gives?

I was right on the money on this one from the start. For a reward, I'll take half of your next paycheck. Or, I'll settle for a nice posting at the time of your blog for three days acknowledging that, when it comes to the gutter, I know what I'm talking about.

As I said, your postings today indicate a certain horniness. Where's the maid/hooker story? Let 'er rip!

Anonymous said...

Zines are very awesome. I started looking at comics on the internet, and that evolved to underground comics, pulp magazines from decades ago, weird zines and off the wall books. I use the term "comics" loosely, because a lot of information can be transferred to the reader in such a format that is not held back by reality or even words. I really look forward to what my generation will do when our age comes. The information available, and the subcultures that can be experienced, even retroactively, on the internet today is deeply satisfying. My only regret is breaking into the san fransicko underground comic culture when looking at comics. The of material that can be found in that period is the worst sexual perversion I've ever seen, ever.

Carol_Herman said...

Just another zone where things are unequal.

Women have eggs. Once a month, an egg is shot out of its capsule. And, a woman wants babies.

Men, on the other hand, are primed to provide sex every day. And, all the time.

This system has worked since "chaos was turned into night and day."

When Frank Sinatra came along, he added voice and song. So that even if a woman's egg wasn't quite prepared ... he could just hum softly ... with the sound coming out of a radio. And, BINGO. Lots of females would get in the mood.

From this, I have learned that all of us know what was before the BIG BANG. Foreplay.

Whores are in the action for the money. With them, foreplay is a waste of time. They probably don't want deep tongue kisses, either.

90% of the population spends 90% of its time ... trying to be attractive to 10% of the population.

That's because "eggs are choosy."

Ya know, Philip Wylie. One of my favorite authors. Was once talking to his niece. He said lots of marriages are just prostitution. The woman doesn't enjoy the sex. But she does it. So she can stay married.

While prostitution would be the better choice. Because you take the money right away. And, you don't have to make any commitments. Unfortunately, he added, the drawback to prostitution was disease.

While in Europe, during WW2, there was starvation. American soldiers had Hershey Bars. And, stockings. So, having sex offered, wasn't always a cash deal.

Philip Wylie said unless you're in those shoes, and starving, American women shouldn't judge.

Anonymous said...

It's a very good thing that I don't go around looking for hookers, as it's an absolute certainty I'd never find any who meet my, ahem, specifications.


edutcher said...

And here I thought we'd get shout's personal sex history, but he gives us a very good synopsis of why we shouldn't give this guy our time or, for that matter, our money.

And he's dead on about Annie Sprinkle.

Also, what rick said. The Blonde spent about 5 years working Communicable Disease and she has some swell horror stories.

Renee said...

What happens to a child conceived from prostitution? Should prostitutes obtain ID and maintain a register? Because you're paying for it, doesn't mean you're excused from paternal obligations. The guy is a slime ball, nothing of value.

Shouting Thomas said...

And here I thought we'd get shout's personal sex history...

When I write that one, I will only write it for the money.

Fen said...

I don't get it. People who claim to be sophisticated about sex keep making it a big deal.

Fen said...

Althouse, you've been resolutely ignoring the DSK thing

No. Look down page. There's a thread on it.

Fen said...

C.S. Lewis: "Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the Christian rule is, ‘Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.’ Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong. But I have other reasons for thinking so.

The biological purpose of sex is children, just as the biological purpose of eating is to repair the body. Now if we eat whenever we feel inclined and just as much as we want, it is quite true most of us will eat too much: but not terrifically too much. One man may eat enough for two, but he does not eat enough for ten. The appetite goes a little beyond its biological purpose, but not enormously. But if a healthy young man indulged his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then in ten years he might easily populate a small village. This appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function.

Or take it another way. You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act – that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?"

Luther said...

"Ya know, Philip Wylie."

Didn't think anyone else remembered him.

It's always been around, it will continue to be around. How we manage it is the issue.

Luther said...

It's = Its. Early yet.

Kirby Olson said...

Licentious nitwitism repackaged as art. I'm slowly getting the sanction against graven images.

Paco Wové said...

"This appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function."

Sounds like a man who could use a biology course or two. Not having the reference handy, what did Lewis consider a proportional appetite?

(Not disagreeing with him w.r.t. modern Western societies, but that's not how evolution works.)

Saint Croix said...

I'm sorry, but comparing prostitution to marriage is idiotic. Yes, people marry for money (sometimes). So what? They are also married, which means there is a public statement of love, a goal that the two people are striving to obey.

Married people love their babies a lot more than hookers. And even if you want to argue hookers are just as good at raising children as wives, I daresay there is no father to help the hooker raise her baby.

I'm convinced the left likes to attack marriage (and encourage homosexuality, and birth control, and abortion) because the left is obsessed with limiting reproduction as much as possible. Scratch a leftist, find a Malthusian asshole.

William said...

In the annals of bad sex, the story of DSK will be long remembered....I don't say this is the scenario, but here is one of many possible. DSK, who acts brutish even with women of his own class, buys and pays for the chambermaid. The imbalance of power inflames his libido, and he becomes even more brutish. The chambermaid. who thought she had contracted for a standard act of sex, finds herself being handled in a contemptuous and physically painful way. She is angered by the harshness of her treatment and decides to call the police on the sob......I don't say that's the probable scenario, but it's possible. At any rate, it's a story that many prostitutes can tell. I'm pretty sure that you can't work as a prostitute for a month without having a few scary experiences. And, of course, every john should know that if the prostitute has the choice between accepting his c-note or informing him of her current std, she will invariably opt for the c-note. Prostitution is a bad business for all concerned and will continue for as long as forever is.

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jose_K said...

i guess everybody here know that in Europe and most Latinamerica prostituion is legal.In Sweeden is ollegal to pay for one and in all countries proxenetism

chickelit said...

Althouse wrote: I was interested in zines then too. Pre-internet.

Mission Creep was the first 'zine I became aware of in the mid-80's, belonging to fellow named Mike Walsh. It went online sometime in the late 90's I believe. Still going strong I see.

PatCA said...

I don't think he gave up romantic sex at all. I think he had an edgy idea for a non-fiction book. Fame and riches...

ken in tx said...

I used to visit prostitutes in the Philippines, before I met my wife. One of them, offhandedly mentioned one night that she had had an abortion. I am sure she had many clients, but the idea that she may have killed my baby haunted me. I guess it still does because I still remember it.

Anonymous said...

Ecosex is apparently sex in the woods using non-petroleum lubes (you know, none of that oil company stuff that destroys the planet)

But what happens when you make the Earth move? Doesn't that shake up the environment?

AlanKH said...


The way the food fascists are going, C. S. Lewis' food burlesque might become a reality some day.

Saint Croix said...

I used to visit prostitutes in the Philippines, before I met my wife. One of them, offhandedly mentioned one night that she had had an abortion. I am sure she had many clients, but the idea that she may have killed my baby haunted me. I guess it still does because I still remember it.

Well, prostitutes have a lot of sex. But on the positive side, they're probably sober.

I used to have one-night stands when I was younger. Alcohol was usually involved. No condoms. I would ask about birth control and they would say it was cool.

Drunk people are notoriously bad at birth control.

I didn't do this too many times, thank goodness. But more than once. One girl, I swear, I had love in my heart. If she got pregnant I'd be like, "let's move in together." Most beautiful ass I've ever seen in my life. St. Simon's golf course, middle of the night.

I remember the sex. It was only years later that I actually thought, "what if she got pregnant?"

You just don't think about it as much if you're a guy. It's like if Pussy Galore shows up and tells James Bond she's pregnant.

Surprise. We're always surprised.

Saint Croix said...

And of course the problem with the one-night stand, or the prostitute, is that you doubt that you're the father.

Knocked Up is a sweet story, but I imagine that's not the way it goes down for most people.