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STRUGGLE SESSION: You Get What You Get, You Aren’t What You Eat, You’re Free To Go and More!

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There was a lively debate in the comment thread on Episode 911 about the gay man in Canada — subject of the intro — who tricked two straight men into using a glory hole that he was on the other side of and is going to prison for essentially rape-by-deception. Says ThingAMaJig

I don’t want to minimize, but isn’t sticking your dick into a hole a bit of a caveat emptor situation?

I think so. I mean,...

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...or essentially rape-by-deception. Says ThingAMaJig… I don’t want to minimize, but isn’t sticking your dick into a hole a bit of a caveat emptor situation? I think so. I mean, stick your dick through a glory hole — a hole in a sheet, a hole in a wall — and you get what you get. You might get a blowjob, but you’re not gonna get one from a woman. I assumed that was common knowledge. Says Mathis & Lea… On discovery of the truth [the victims] should have been mature enough to accept it as being, for them, a weird experience and moved on. I do not think this deception equates to rape. Rape is when you can’t leave because you have emotionally frozen up due the shock at that moment of what is happening to you. Rape is when you have been subjugated to prolonged emotional and/or sexual battery. Rape is when you are unable to fight back and escape because your assailant is stronger. Rape is against your will…. The plaintiffs’s penises were not fellated by the fellator against their will. The defendant just lied. The man sent to prison for a lie needs a better attorney and to be more circumspect in pursuing his kink. The men who wanted to come anonymously into another human’s mouth might want to enquire the next time before putting their penises in a hole as to who is on the other side. Though I suspect that would defeat the whole purpose of anonymous sex for both parties. The judge’s decision I think should be challenged. I believe there’s going to be an appeal. And while rape by deception is not a crime in Canada — hence my editorializing/qualifying “essentially” when I described what the conviction — it appears to have been a crime prior to 1983. On the same subject: JohnH offers some interesting thoughts about what should and shouldn’t “count” as rape by deception here. And speaking of what is and isn’t legal in Canada: VIV, the first LW in this week’s Savage Love, wrote in about her boyfriend wanting to see sex workers on business trips to Canada “where it’s legal and supposedly safer.” Alexander Cheves addressed that “supposedly” (sex work is safer where sex work is legal) but I failed to fact-check the sex-work-is-legal-in-Canada part. Says HedonistYEG… Sex work isn’t legal in Canada. It may overlooked to some extent (especially in Quebec, which shares a border with Vermont), but not legal. “The selling of sex in Canada is legal,” Fubar jumped into add, “but the purchasing of sex is illegal.” This sex work regime — legal to sell, illegal to purchase — is known as the “Nordic Model.” Essentially, the Nordic Model is an unworkable “middle ground” between criminalization and decriminalization premised upon the assumption that anyone selling sex is a victim and anyone buying sex is a monster. Neither assumption is correct and the Nordic Model not only doesn’t make sex work safer, it makes sex work more dangerous: The Nordic model worsens conditions for sex workers by scaring away good, law-abiding clients, while clients who are already more likely to break the law remain, increasing the risk of violence against workers.Under the climate of fear created by the Nordic model, sex workers are forced to accept more dangerous clients in order to earn enough money to survive. The World Health Organization, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and UNAIDS all support decriminalizing sex work. Says Amnesty: Amnesty International has a responsibility to assess how best to prevent human rights violations. As such, it is right and fitting that we should look at one of the most disadvantaged groups of people in the world, often forced to live outside the law and denied their most basic human rights: sex workers. We have chosen to advocate for the decriminalization of all aspects of consensual adult sex — sex work that does not involve coercion, exploitation, or abuse. This is based on evidence and the real-life experience of sex workers themselves that criminalization makes them less safe. More on the subject of VIV‘s dilemma: Says Tom Brinton… Man, that first letter. FTR, if I’m already not getting my needs met and a new partner is all, Yeah, I need to be having sex with someone who isn’t you, we’re done and probably not staying friends. What a slap in the face. I cut a paragraph from my response to VIV — because that column was really long — that addressed this issue (VIV wants more sex than she’s getting) along with a paragraph that addressed VIV’s suggestion that “no self-respecting woman” would ever sex work. Since VIV flagged “no self-respecting woman” as a personal hang-up and not a fact, I let it go. As for the point Tom raised… VIV didn’t say her needs weren’t getting met. VIV and her BF, according to VIV, are having sex, it’s good sex, and she enjoys it. She just wishes there was more of it. Quantity and variety are different issues — quantity being VIV’s issue, variety being her boyfriend’s issue — and unpacking and unravelling them would take time. But VIV’s problem wasn’t as simple simple as, “Needs not met. DTMFA.” There could be a way for VIV to get her needs met (upping the amount of sex they have) while accommodating her boyfriend’s need for variety (some allowance for sex outside the relationship). VIV wrote hoping to get some advice about making it work — she was hoping the relationship wasn’t doomed — and I tried to sketch that out. BiDanFan actually has some great and very practical suggestions for VIV on how they might make it work… I read VIV’s letter slightly different to you, Dan: VIV is interested in threesomes and sex parties, but doesn’t have the energy for “non-monogamy,” which I think from the context obviously means maintaining separate sexual relationships with more than one person. That’s definitely a different kind of energy than, I dunno, being spit-roasted. I think there is room for compromise here, and if she is willing to prove she’s down for monogamish (defined by her, as Mathis and Lea would say, as “always together, never apart”), he should give her a chance to prove that. Besides which, he’s not giving her as much sex as she wants, but he wants to cross the border to fuck sex workers? What about compromising by seeing one of these sex workers with her boyfriend? Then she can speak to this woman, and learn more about sex work and what the workers themselves get out of it. That might help to dispel some of her “moral” stigma against it. Speaking of paying for sex — seeing sex workers, shelling out for OnlyFans — and romantic partners who object to it… MikeSquared says the real issue the economy, stupid: The elephant in the room is the money. Sex workers aren’t cheap. I’ve never been on OnlyFans, but I suppose it’s not cheap, and the guy says it’s only a few accounts he goes to which means it’s really a lot in man speak. It’s money that isn’t spent on vacations, it’s money that isn’t put into retirement, it’s money isn’t put into that little surprise he picks up for her and brings home from his business trip. And even if they have separate money, if he spending all his money on sex, when she wants to go out for a nice dinner and he’s broke, bingo! In response to MikeSquared’s comment, Andrew cites and expands on my “zone of erotic autonomy” concept…. Neither letter brought up the financial impact of the act, so I don’t think either one is at risk of not having money for dinner. This way of thinking is dangerous to good relationships. In addition to a zone of erotic autonomy, you need a zone of financial autonomy. A couple can agree on making proportional contributions to vacations, retirement, home, etc. But you can’t begrudge your partner every time they spend from their own funds on something that doesn’t interest you, whether it’s streaming subscriptions, spa/salon services, hobby collections, whatever. Hard agree with Andrew. And while making a monogamous commitment — making and honoring a monogamous commitment — would obviously preclude spending money on sex workers, blowing a little money on an OnlyFans subscriptions in 2024, like buying a copy of Penthouse Forum back in 1978, falls within the overlapping zones of erotic and financial autonomy. (And it’s not cheating FFS!) Inspired Desires with an inspired comment about my conversation with Rob Henderson… Your comment on Luxury Beliefs really hit a point that I was thinking about the whole podcast. There are absolutely luxury beliefs that the wealthy push that are actively harmful to the poor, but it’s definitely not the ones he was talking about. Things like “hard work and loyalty will get you ahead” in an era where companies have zero loyalty to their employees and the best way to get a raise is to move to another company. Things like “Everyone should pay their debts” to weaken bankruptcy laws. Things like “everyone should be free to make any deals they want” to weaken regulations and allow loans with ruinous interest rates that destroy the middle class and keep people in poverty. I wonder, does his book cover those luxury beliefs? It does not. I cited an article about rich and skinny food influencers taking money from big food companies to promote sugary breakfast cereals and high-fat ice creams to their followers as a possible example of the kind of luxury beliefs Rob condemns in his book. Not say fast, says JW… Dan, you’re so close and yet so far in your assessment of the Washington Post diet article. [Gift link.] If you’re willing, I recommend reading Virginia Sole-Smith’s analysis of it on her substack “The Burnt Toast.” But the TL;DR is that Washington Post didn’t give intuitive eating a fair shake, and that’s because the people writing it were writing in support of a perspective still saturated with diet culture. There’s a lot of well-sourced information on The Burnt Toast, as well as in Sole-Smith’s recent book Fat Talk. Thanks for pointing me towards Virginia Sole-Smith’s critique of the article, JW. Sole-Smith makes valid points and shares some facts about influencers pimping for the dieting industry that definitely complicates the story: If we are going to come down on anti-diet dietitians for working with big food brands, then let’s at least come down equally hard on diet influencers and pro-weight-loss dietitians for doing the same thing…. Should the field of dietetics be as fully enmeshed with the food industry as it has always been? Arguably not. But if that’s how the profession’s main organizing body has set it up, let’s not be mad that anti-diet folks are getting in that game. Some of the exact same companies that have just started paying anti-weight-loss food influencers to promote sugary cereals, as Sole-Smith points out, have long paid pro-dieting food influencers to promote low-calorie “diet” foods. The anti-diet folks, Sole-Smith argues, have been on the take longer, they’ve raked in way more money, and they’ve done way more damage. I’ll concede that, for sake of argument. But arguing that pro-weight-loss food influencers and dietitians have long been on the take and that somehow makes it okay for anti-diet food influencers to get in on the action — or somehow make it non-story when they do — doesn’t any of this okay. But Sole-Smith is correct: the Washington Post should come equally hard on pro-diet influencers and dietitians who are on the take from Big Shitty Food— but they haven’t written that story and the reason, at least to Sole-Smith, is obvious. (Mike Pesca had Sole-Smith on The Gist and they had a fascinating conversation. It’s here.) Also and for the record: “intuitive eating” is not about — or it’s not supposed to be about — eating whatever you want, whenever you want. Whatever/whenever does seem to be how critics and many practitioners understand the concept. The actual practice of intuitive eating requires a degree of thoughtfulness and intentionality about food that will come as a surprise to many people. From a NYT profile of the “dietitian-nutritionist duo” who came up with it: Intuitive eating, as conceived by the dietitian-nutritionist duo, is the practice of renouncing restrictive diets and the goal of weight loss and encouraging people to tune into the intuition that governed their eating as toddlers. This includes satiating hunger rather than trying to suppress or outsmart it; feeling your fullness (and pausing mid-meal to assess it); and savoring, even seeking pleasure from, food. Among the other principles are addressing emotional eating, emphasizing movement over “militant exercise” and practicing “gentle nutrition” — minding moderation and balance in one’s diet, but not too harshly. And finally… So, right after I recorded the intro to week’s Lovecast: a Trumped-up Republican senator — Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee — went on the teevee to argue that Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court decision that legalized contraception was “wrongly decided;” the GOP’s Trump-endorsed Senate in Michigan went on the teevee to argue for banning birth control and same-sex marriage; and yet another rightwing talking head came out in favor of repealing the 19th Amendment. The Republican agenda for American women: husbands you can’t leave, pregnancies you can’t terminate or prevent, and politicians you can’t vote out. Please vote Democratic in November. Okay, that’s it for this week’s Struggle Session! Just one more thing to do before we go. Our Muppet-Faced Man of the Week is… actor and model jwlexander!

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