Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Liking sex” was the preferred euphemism for making or consuming porn

I read something in the NYTimes today which reminded me of our buddy Antonia Crane because it's about attitudes of people in the wonderful world of commercial sex. The writer is at a porn convention:
Instead, over the next few days I found myself absorbing one unrelenting, expertly media-trained “celebratory” paean to commodified sex-positivity after another, and feeling more and more depressed by the hour. The conference’s best-known attendants seemed to respond to all but the most ingratiating questions by swiftly shaming the interlocutor. The porn stars stuck to their talking points and stayed on message. “Liking sex” was the preferred euphemism for making or consuming porn. Conversely, harboring even the slightest ambivalence about porn meant that you categorically “hated sex” and were out to ruin it for everyone else. 
A dominant narrative soon emerged at the conference, in which pornography — and not the Victorian kind with the bloomers and the spankings or whatever — was presented as a bastion of orgiastic disinhibition; a filthy fun-times Arcadia from which sprang nothing but joy and empowerment and marriage and children and unicorns. 
Like all good stories, this one had a villain: “the girlfriend.” A sex-hating, man-foiling human barricade whose cruel, withholding ways sent armies of disconsolate men into the tender embrace of their “favorite” porn stars daily. I was taken aback. I was a girlfriend! I mean, I wasn’t that girlfriend. But the more this version of reality was reified throughout the event, the sadder, the more isolated, the more diminished I became. The worst thing about it was how overwhelming the experience was, and how deviant it made me feel.
It's clear that Antonia Crane has the same attitude, with the slick way she tried to conflate protestations about using sex slaves with disapproval of prostitution. Her message is the same: if you have complaints about any sexual scenario, it means you are anti-sex.

Now I'm sure that Antonia Crane believes she's against rape. But it is clear from her response to commenters in this article that as far as she's concerned, what Max did - having sex with a sex slave, knowing that as a sex slave she couldn't give consent - was a regrettable minor indiscretion.

Now unfortunately Max will never be caught and punished for rape, but what he did was in fact, rape, and he should be punished for it. And it doesn't matter how "remorseful" he is. Instead Crane tells him - and any other rapists - that what they did was understandable human weakness, and it isn't really rape if you pay someone for it.

Antonia Crane makes her living as a dispenser of commercial sex, or more recently as a raconteur of the glories of dispensing commercial sex. And she is vigilant about protecting her product - if she acknowledged that people who use sex slaves are guilty of rape, she'd just ruin the good times for some people, who, like Max either have had sex with sex slaves, or just don't care if the prostitute they are using is a sex slave. You don't want to kill any potential customer's woody with guilt or concern for other human beings' welfare. The attitude that Crane is promoting is that anybody who isn't cool enough to simply brush away concerns about sex trafficking must hate sex.