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Monday, March 18, 2019

I’m in Favor of Prostitution

Recently New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with a misdemeanor for two counts of soliciting prostitutes when he visited the “Orchids of Asia” massage parlor in Florida.  This is a big scandal!  How dare this man seek out sex with prostitutes, actually paying money for sex!

Hmm.  Well, Kraft’s wife died eight years ago.  He’s 77.  He has sexual urges.  What is the man to do?  Masturbate for the rest of his life?  Try sleeping around with friends in Palm Beach?  That is a major hassle, and at his age is an iffy proposition taking much time and effort, as any bachelor knows.  All the poor guy wants is a sexual encounter without complications and for a remuneration he can well afford.  For this Robert Kraft faces public humiliation, a criminal record, and possible jail time.

Ah, but you say, these were poor Asian girls, likely victims of forced sex work, not willing participants in a commercial transaction.  If that’s true it does make them victims of a crime.  But the criminals are the evil people who brought them to this country and forced them into a life they would never have chosen on their own.  Such scumbags should be in jail and the girls freed from their terrible circumstances. 

If Kraft knew or should have suspected that these women were caught in such a trap then he too is involved in criminal activity.  Note carefully, however, that there is no evidence of this that I know of. 

What he’s charged with is paying money for sex.  He’s guilty of that, of course, but the point of this blog post is that it shouldn’t be a crime at all.  Drag people into court and threaten them with jail because they have a sex drive and figure out ways to satisfy it that hurt no one?  Well, that might upset moralists who think that people should only have sex when married, one man to one woman (and then only when trying to conceive), but I can’t imagine we’d happily let these modern-day puritans dictate our penal laws. 

There was an experiment with capuchin monkeys some years ago where the scientists wanted to know if they could teach monkeys the concept of money.  They slowly introduced tokens as rewards when the monkeys did something that pleased the scientists, and when the monkeys—puzzled—handed the tokens back gave them even greater rewards that the capuchins valued highly.  This system worked as planned.  Soon the little community was abuzz with tokens being swapped for all sorts of things.  At one point a researcher was astounded when he observed a male capuchin hand one to a female in return for a “Slam-bam-thank you, Ma’am” copulation, and, jaw opened wide, reported, “I’m pretty sure I just witnessed the first act ever of simian prostitution.”

Don’t misconstrue what I say.  I’m not in favor of the sex trade in innocent people.  I’m not in favor of taking advantage of young people, forced on to the street and using their bodies as their only means to survive.  I’m not in favor of girls, boys, or adults of any age being tricked or forced by circumstances into selling themselves unwillingly.  All of that is criminal and should be punished as such.

But when people of any age willingly decide that it would be a good idea to make money for a trade of sexual favors they should be able to do that without fear of criminal prosecution.  Years ago in The Advocate (long the leading magazine of the gay community) there was a letter to the editor from a man explaining that when he was seventeen in NYC he’d wander around the city in search of sex with older men, which is what he fantasized about having.  He’d find some man he was attracted to who was attracted to him as well, and after the two of them had sex the older gentleman would give him money (which he didn’t ask for).  They would insist he take it even when he protested.  This happened over and over and he didn’t know what to do with these “earnings.”  He couldn’t spend it because he was living with his parents and they would notice any undue increase in his wealth.  So every month he would bundle the bills up and drop the package off as an anonymous gift to the Museum of Modern Art. 

The Freakonomics writers have a segment in their canon about how some women are like Santa Claus.  They are ordinary citizens much of the year but as the holidays approach they go online and earn needed yuletide money by selling their sexual services to men in search of same.

At various points, between partners and when on vacation, I myself have hired the services of male “escorts” with whom I had a very good time, providing me with memories I cherish with a smile as I write this.  These gentlemen were independent contractors, not part of a brothel or any sort of coerced labor force.  They enjoyed what they did and were good at it.  Often, over dinner afterwards and when we were just becoming new friends and swapping stories, I would hear from them how rewarding it was to service men who couldn’t otherwise have sex at all: too fat, in a wheelchair, very old, ugly as sin.  They were fulfilling a need: not just sex but sex with a dream man!

Yes, there are problems with all of this.  The devil, as always, is in the details.  There should be regulations, laws, or perhaps (hmm) licenses.  It will involve rethinking what is going on and making as sure as we can that everyone is playing fair and no one is being subjugated.  Mistakes will be made and we’ll have to work out the kinks in the system. 

But that is much better than putting people in jail because they have a sex drive and others are willing to help them fulfill it. That should not be a crime.  It should be a commercial enterprise no more controversial than restaurants, yoga classes, or hair salons. 

Related Posts:

"Rape, Biology, and Tricks of the Mind," January 8, 2015,
The Magic and Power of a Wink,” August 24, 2011;
“Good Sex, Bad Sex: Advice on Making Love,” November 9, 2011;

“The Thrill of a Touch,” August 14, 2012;

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Two Gay Men Watch the Superbowl

I was reared in a sports family, played some sports myself, and follow the Chicago Cubs, and the basketball and football teams from Ohio State, Maryland, and Texas (all schools where I either work or which gave me a degree).  My husband, David Vargo, is the opposite.  When we first got together over six years ago he knew nothing about sports and wasn’t keen to learn.  But he joined the chosen family I have here in Columbus, Ohio, and they are all sports fans (a little nuts for the Buckeyes) so David gamely learned something about baseball, basketball, and, most importantly in Columbus, Ohio, football.  We have the chosen family over for lots of the games.

Our Chosen Family Celebrates a Buckeye Victory

David and I at the Blackout Game

The first year he was here we went to the famous “Black Out” game at the Horseshoe in Columbus when the Buckeyes had the crowd dress all in black to defeat Penn State in a freezing night game.  So, now in our seventh year, David knows quite a bit about football, understanding the rules and not infrequently sitting through the Buckeye games with me or the entire family.  It’s not his favorite thing to do, but he’s adapted.

I’m on top of college football annually.  When it comes to professional football I quit paying attention many years ago, but I do watch the Superbowl each year.  I remember the first one and I am pretty sure I’ve seen them all.  But I can’t work up any enthusiasm for watching any sport unless I care who wins so I artificially pick one of the Superbowl teams and root for it.

Ever since Deflategate in 2014 I’ve had a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to Tom Brady, the very talented quarterback for the New England Patriots with a fondness for pliable footballs, so this year I once again cheered for the Patriot’s opponent in the Superbowl, the Los Angeles Rams (even though there was a serious argument that a botched referee non-call was a major reason they made it into the big game).  David decided to watch at least the beginning of the game with me and, to my annoyance, announced he was rooting for the Patriots.  “Why?” I asked.  “Because my family came from New England and I think Tom Brady is sexy,” he replied.  Hmm.

The game itself was the lowest scoring Superbowl ever and neither team did much in the first half.  But right away I started noticing the terrific performance of Julian Edelman, wide receiver, of the Patriots whose pass catches and broken field running were superb.  Not only that, he appeared to be something of a hunk himself.  I said as much to David, and, ever the internet researcher, David promptly made some clicks on his phone to produce a picture of Edelman.

“Good looking,” I commented.  As a joke I threw in “Can you find any photos of him nude,” which immediately resulted in this:

It turns out that Edelman (who was named the MVP for this Superbowl, probably a blow to Tom Brady) has a record of being very LGBT friendly.  He has never married but he does have daughter (born in 2016) from a relationship with an ex-girlfriend.  He has had a long-standing bromance with  Brady and with former Patriot star Danny Amendola, with whom he had a filmed vacation in Mexico [You Tube].  Hmm, again.

Edelman, Brady, and Amendola

David actually watched the whole game with me, which pleased me a lot.  There wasn’t a touchdown until late in the game when the Patriots finally made one, but the most exciting moment came on the very next drive by the Rams.  It looked like they were about to complete a long pass down near the goal line when Stephon Gilmore of the Patriots made a leaping interception of the ball.  I slumped in my chair.

But that’s the same moment when something amazing happened in our living room.  David, like Patriots fans all over the country, jumped to his feet, throwing his arms in the air, and yelling in delight!  I was thunderstruck.  David had fully appreciated what was going on, become invested in the Patriot’s success, and just like that joined the ranks of a real football fandom.  What an amazing change from the sports challenged Floridian I married years ago!

Now if he could only give up rooting for Tom Brady and those damn Patriots life would be ideal.  Surely the Patriots won’t be in the 2020 Superbowl and this same debacle happen all over again. 


Related Posts:

“On Being a Gay Sports Fan,” March 9, 2012,

“Put-Out at Home Plate,” February 14, 2010;

“The Duckball Team Goes to London,” January 29, 2011;

“My Sad Tale of Being a Chicago Cubs Fan,” May 27, 2015;