This link (the Invisible Men Project) makes for some really upsetting reading. The Newstateman’s piece (also linked) mentions that research on, and discussion of, sex work has often been criticised for omitting the voices of the workers themselves. The Invisible Men Project does nothing to redress that imbalance. Yes, it is illuminating and “valuable data” and all the rest of it but its very existence as a piece of work (complete with artistic presentation) suggests that the perspectives of punters are still more important than those of the women about whom they speak so callously. That’s patriarchy, if I’m not mistaken.
The Invisible Men Project is gathering a selection of posts from Punternet to ask a simple question: never mind the debates about the ethics of sex workers themselves, what do you think of the men who pay them? As the site puts it: “Without seeking to prove, disprove or debate choice on the part of the women described, we invite you to consider: what do you think of his choice?”
The reports do not make for easy (or safe for work) reading, but if you are interested in the debates about prostitution, both moral and legal, then you should look through them. It’s utterly crippling that in this debate – as in the ones over online abuse, or about teenagers and porn – “polite society” can’t talk about what people actually think and say on a daily basis.
The most recent post is particularly shocking: a sex worker reveals that she now prefers to offer clients anal sex, because she is so small-framed that “some idiots bang her pussy so hard it bruises her cervix, which is really painful for her”. (I’ve checked on Punternet, and this comes from a genuine review, quoted fairly.)
A second reviewer describes choking a woman during oral sex, while another says that he “found her ‘disinterest’ a real turn on”. “She kept herself propped up on her elbows with her back twisted to the right as if she were on guard against some possible dangerous act and needed to be able to escape quickly,” reports another, adding petulantly: “This defensive posturing prevented me from properly enjoying the experience of massaging her.” [Rest.]