Oi! What\’s wrong with British women?

This story of a woman putting her virginity up for sale sparks a memory.

Showgirl and men\’s magazine model Raffella Fico, 20, told an Italian magazine: "I can\’t wait to see who\’s going to pull out the money to have me."

Miss Fico, who appeared in the Italian version of Big Brother earlier this year, said she would use the cash to buy a house in Rome and pay for acting classes.

"I don\’t know what it\’s like to have sex," she told the magazine, Chi, adding that if the man who bought her virginity was ugly then she would quickly get over it.

"If I don\’t like him I\’ll just have a glass of wine and forget about it," said the aspiring actress from Naples – hometown of screen siren Sophia Loren.

Her family insisted that despite her good looks and sexy image, she remained a virgin.

"She\’s never had a boyfriend. I swear on my mother\’s grave. She\’s a devout Catholic and prays to Padre Pio every night," her brother told the magazine.

She is the not the first woman to auction her virginity for a large sum. An 18-year-old US student in San Diego, Natalie Dylan, recently told the Howard Stern show she would have sex for the first time for $1 million to pay her college fees.

In 2005 a Peruvian model, also 18, put herself up for sale to help pay her family\’s medical bills but ended up having second thoughts and turning down $1.5 million.

Large sums being offered indeed. Most strangely really, for one of those things better aquired second hand.

But there\’s something scratching away at the back of my mind. Some British bird did this a couple of years ago. Got a bit of attention as she said she was doing it to pay for the horrors of university fees as I recall.

I also seem to remember that she was offered….and I think the deal was consummated (sorry, couldn\’t resist)….some £8,000.

Is this simply another example of the way in which we Brits invent ideas but never manage to take proper financial advantage of them? Do we need a task force, an OfVirgin, to coordinate our approach to the international markets?

Or was it that our plucky British entrant was in a committed lesbian relationship at the time?

Or even that she was ginger?

More research required here I fear.


Trafficking in Prostitution

I was reading the Poppy report on the sex industry in London and found myself being referred to another report to get the definition of trafficking. So here it is.

For the purposes of this report, trafficking will be defined using the United Nations Protocol To Prevent, Suppress And Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women And Children, Supplementing The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (2000), commonly known as the Palermo Protocol. Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol states that : (a) \’Trafficking in persons\’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs, (b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used.

Now I\’m not all that good at bureaucratese but "the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person" sounds to me like "go and sell your body in London, you\’ll make lots of money" is defined as trafficking. And that even if somone agrees to do so, this consent doesn\’t count.

Hmm, wonder how many people actually would include that in their own definition of trafficking?

Big Brothel II

Prostitution helps to construct and maintain gender inequality. To achieve gender equality we need to start from the understanding that these differences are social, not biological, constructions. We need to develop diverse kinds of interventions to challenge and change these perceived, artificial differences. Nowhere is the inequality more stark than in the case of prostitution, where the roles of women and men are constructed as fundamentally different, in ways that support and maintain gender inequality. For example:

• Buyer/bought

• Sex drive/sexual object

• Hunter/prey

Well, just so we know where this report is coming from I guess.

Julie Bindel on Trafficking

There\’s a lot of getting hot under the collar here. But not much actual information.

The men were undertaking research for Big Brothel: a Survey of the Off-Street Sex Industry in London, the most comprehensive study ever conducted into brothels in the UK. The project, which gathered information from 921 brothels in the capital, was commissioned by the Poppy Project, the only British organisation that offers support for women trafficked into prostitution.

OK, look forward to the results. How many women are indeed trafficked as opposed to entering the trade voluntarily?

They were to telephone brothels, posing as potential punters, with a list of questions including "What nationalities are on offer tonight?",

Hmm, is nationality proof of trafficking? I think not really….as has been pointed out the move into prostitution rather destroys social capital. Thus people tend to do it away from home rather than at home. In a more globalised world we\’d expect more people to be doing it in the country one or two over rather than just the village over, wouldn\’t we?

Further, given the economic divides between countries….especially here in Europe, where there are no immigration problems….we\’d also expect to see foreigners plying their trade.

We primed the telephone researchers to look for evidence of trafficking. There was plenty. Brothels offered women of 77 different nationalities and ethnicities, including many from known-source countries for trafficking. One researcher was told by a brothel owner, "For no condom and anal, call tomorrow. Eastern Europeans promised later in the week."

Erm and that\’s it. That\’s all the evidence of trafficking given.

That there are foreigners doing the work.

It\’s not the most convincing of evidence, is it?

Cash and Sex

There\’s an implication or two here.

In Russia good grades are traded for cash, in Iowa for sex.

Implication 1): cash is more valuable than sex in Russia, sex than cash in Iowa.

Implication 2) there\’s not enough cash in Russia and not enough sex in Iowa.

Implication 3) There\’s sufficient cash in Iowa and sufficient sex in Russia.

Presumably then one\’s preference for which country to live in will change over time. As youthful abandon gives way to pension worries, one will become miore desirous of moving from Russia to Iowa.

Or would it work the other way around? As sex with young women becomes more difficult to achieve as one becomes richer in maturity, would one become more desirous of moving from Iowa to Russia?



Lies, damned lies and Government Ministers

So Harry Harperson is still plugging away at making the purchase of sex illegal.

Harriet Harman will today step up her drive to make buying sex illegal when she releases new figures showing that more than half of men and women support the move if it will reduce people-trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Labour\’s deputy leader, the minister for women and equality, will also highlight cultural double standards after some respondents, particularly older men, condoned buying sex but condemned those who sell it.

A Home Office-led review into the demand for prostitution, due to report this year, is looking at whether ministers should make it illegal to pay for sex. The review is looking at a range of options to curb demand, but the Home Office minister, Vernon Coaker, has given a broad hint he will back criminalising the purchase of sex if there is a sign of a national consensus on the issue.

OK, so they\’ll do it if there\’s public support. And they\’ve got that public support if it will reduce people trafficking.

Hmm….but is there actually any people trafficking?

I\’m sure there is, yes….but a great deal less of it than the general public seems to think.

Yes, people do indeed travel to the UK in order to sell sex. People are also smuggled into the country to do so.

That\’s the number of people that we are told are "victims of people trafficking". But the vast majority are not in fact victims at all. They\’re people making a rational choice: they wish to come to the UK in order to sell sex and so they break whichever laws might stop them from doing so.

As I say, there are indeed people who are forced into it, people who are indeed "victims", but that\’s a tiny number. Certainly nothing like the tens of thousands numbers that are thrown around. That number is the number who do it voluntarily.

But apparently that\’s how you get your pet laws passed these days. Scare the pants off the public by telling them that there are tens of thousands trafficked, knowing full well that you mean something very different from what people are hearing, then manufacture support for your own grossly illiberal proposal on the back of that misunderstanding.

Statistics, statistics

Bryony love?

while the average age to lose your virginity in the 1980s was 17, today a quarter of young people are sexually active before they turn 16.

Averages are just that, averages. It\’s entirely possible that when the average age of virginity loss was 17 that 25% of people lost their cherry before they turned 16. Some lose their virginity after they\’re 18 you see, and it, umm, averages out.

Swedish Sex Toys

OK, so this is good for a giggle.

Sweden is famous for breaking sexual taboos, so barely an eyebrow was raised when state-run pharmacies began to sell over-the-counter sex toys this summer, alongside the more conventional headache pills and hot water bottles.

Now the shops are being hauled before the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, the government referee on sexual discrimination, after two men complained that the erotic toys – the bestselling are vibrators and vagina love eggs — are all for females and these toys discriminate against males.

The pharmacy chain, Apoteket, had a “misguided and untrue view of sexuality whereby a woman with a dildo is seen as liberated, strong and independent, while a man with a blow-up plastic vagina is viewed as disgusting and perverted”, said one of the petitioners.

However the discrimination laws do lead to some entirely ludicrous results:

Dating services also have to charge the same for males and females.

There are always vastly more men than women on such sites. It\’s thus entirely rational to charge men more and women less.

Bravo! Bravo!

Kids these days… They need to understand that hardcore internet gangbang porno videos are merely for light entertainment, and are not step-by-step instruction manuals for the making of sweet love to young ladies.

This had to be researched?

"Beer goggles" really do work, according to researchers who claim to have proved for the first time that people look more attractive after a drink.

I\’m sure that this says something about the researchers more than the real world. Anyone who had a mildly adventurous youth (whether interms of booze or sex) would confirm this, surely? Only those who didn\’t would even want to test it.

Or perhaps I\’m being unfair about science students. Perhaps it\’s actually evidence of a real thirst for science itself…..yes, everyone knows it but finding out why is important?

John Edwards and Rielle Hunter

Yup, it was all true.

Well, maybe and maybe not. Now the two things are, is he the father of the child? Further, do we actually believe this about the payoffs?

He insisted he had "not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby".

A televised confession by Mr Edwards taped by ABC News, which had been investigating the affair, was due to be broadcast late on Friday night.

Fred Baron, the chief fundraiser for Mr Edwards, indicated that money had been given to Ms Hunter and Andrew Young, the former Edwards aide, who is married with children, who has said he is the father.

"I decided independently to help two friends and former colleagues rebuild their lives when harassment by supermarket tabloids made it impossible for them to conduct a normal life," said Mr Baron, a Dallas trial lawyer.

Up to you really.

One thing that is really going to grate amongst the more po-faced American journos is that once again it was the National Enquirer the broke the story while they all looked the other way as if someone had just farted at the dinner table.

Sex Advice

I do wonder sometimes. Here\’s a piece on sex and childbirth.

OK, the set up is that the woman has gone off sex a bit after having the child. Nothing unusual there at all. The bloke\’s a bit miffed by this, nothing unusual there at all either.

The advice? Get him to care for the baby a bit.


Look, \’e\’s not miffed because there\’s now three of them, he\’s miffed because he\’s not getting any. Why not tell her to lie back and think of England occasionally to keep him happy?

After all, we all do things in a relationship that we\’re not all that keen on, just to keep the relationship going, don\’t we? I\’ve been clothes shopping for example…..


1. Men do not like tits because they buy Zoo. Men buy Zoo because they like tits.

We can demonstrate this by means of a simple thought experiment. Zoo was launched in 2004. Hands up if you ever thought about tits before then. Yes, one hand will do.


Oooh, Dear

Not sure about this you know:

In a keynote speech Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, condemns the so-called "lads magazines" for encouraging men to view women as mere sex objects.

"Our strategies for dealing with teenage pregnancy need to be focused more on young men and their responsibilities," he will say.

"That\’s why I believe we need to ask tough questions about the instant-hit hedonism celebrated by the modern men\’s magazines targeted at younger males.

"Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available."

We know that newspapers chase the prejudices of their readers rather than create them. It would seem therefore to be logically at least likely that magazines do the same. So it\’s not that these offerings cause lads to think of women in such terms, rather that they do and are willing to pay to have such prejudices pandered to.

All of which rather means that once again a politician has got confused between causes and effects.