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A.V. Flox
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A.V. Flox

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Content warning for descriptions of sexual violence.

The police wouldn't help her, so she took matters into her own hands. The resulting convictions are a first for the pick-up artist community.

“But for your detective work, we wouldn’t be here, I don’t think. I think that they would still be preying on people either here or in Vegas or San Francisco or somewhere,” Judge Fraser told the survivor. “But not for you, this would not have stopped. And because of you, he will be punished.”

(Via +God Emperor Lionel Lauer​)
A San Diego woman discovered details of her rape on a pickup-artist blog—and three men are now going away for a very long time.
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+A.V. Flox I would love to see rehabilitation within communities. And there are so many alternative communities in which it's the only option, because the culture is opposed to calling in cops. But psychopaths target those communities for exactly that reason, and choose as their targets people who are on the fringes of the communities and don't have a lot of friends, yet. Do you have any ideas on how to combat the popularity contest that follows accusations? 
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This one will give you the warm-fuzzies. ❤

Excerpt: A decade after I left sex work, I decided to tell my story. And I told everyone. I bothered people at bars, on planes, on dates. I wrote an article. I did podcasts. I couldn't stop talking about it. Nothing bad happened. The angry mob I had envisioned so clearly in my nightmares never materialized.

The only people I didn't tell were my parents. I didn't exactly know how. I knew my mother would both willfully misunderstand my choices but ultimately be fine. But I was convinced the revelation would kill my father. Eventually, of course, they found out because... the internet.

My father is a Green Beret. He served in the Dominican Republic, two tours in Vietnam, and in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the Middle East. He's seen a lot of combat. He calls himself an independent despite believing most of what Fox News tells him -- he's difficult to label. He's principled. He wants to do what's right, even if it's inconvenient, even if it's unpopular. So do I. We have similar values that way, although they were forged by radically different life experiences.

I was afraid to tell him about my having been a prostitute because he was a great dad. I didn't want him to think one had anything to do with the other. I didn't want to burden him with this indulgent, selfish secret because I feared the images that "your daughter was a prostitute" would conjure might break him, even when his various tours of duty didn't.

I almost believed he would have an easier time accepting me as a murderer than a whore.
"I almost believed he would have an easier time accepting me as a murderer than a whore."
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Yeah warm fuzzies right until I reached the comments. Then I wanted to puke. What is wrong with people these days? 
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"Mooning" has acquired a new meaning -- basically, it's that thing we do when put our phones on silent so no notification can intrude on our aion. According to EJ Dickson, as we continue to grapple with the demands of a world in which we're permanently available to everyone from our friends to our boss, an increasing number of people are remembering that we have the power to choose when (or if) a message gets our attention.

I started silencing my phone over a decade (!) ago. I want to say that before then people were polite and appropriate and would never unleash an avalanche of texts at four in the morning, and that my behavior was a reaction to the loss of decency that technological advances invariably leave in their wake.

But that's nonsense. Before smartphones and all the awesome messaging apps we enjoy today, there were texts, there were pages, there were calls -- and people were just as likely to reach out at some ungodly hour. Or when we were busy. Or when we didn't want to talk. What changed wasn't so much the human need to connect with someone right away, but my willingness to do that much emotional labor.

I spent hours on the phone as a teenager. I'm not entirely sure this was because I liked doing emotional labor much more than I do now. I suspect it had something to do with having a great deal more energy. Back then, I could pull off skipping sleep for two or three days at a time, too. Youth is amazing. I remember having surgery at 13 -- being cut open and having bits removed -- and getting up on the third day, impatient to get back to life.

We age. Spraining my ankle a few years ago took me almost a year to set right, plus physical therapy. As time passes, the ability to regenerate slows down along with our metabolisms. I can no longer pull off a day without a full night's rest, much less without any sleep at all.

I think our emotional supplies are similar to our physical resilience. Just as committing to managing my time better so I could get enough sleep revolutionized my life, so too did setting my phone on silent mode. It's not that I want to deny people access to me or that I don't care about what people in my life are going through -- it's that I value being able to choose how I use my emotional resources.

It's tempting to tsk-tsk Millennials for being unable or unwilling to set boundaries in their relationships, but adulthood is a time when -- sometimes for the first time -- stuff starts to really pile up on people's plates. It's hard to set boundaries around things that we've never encountered before -- how do we know if it'll be cool in a day or two, or a month? How do we manage the emotional labor of explaining it's not them, it's us, everything is fine but we need some "me time" for the foreseeable future, when we don't even have the energy reserves to have a quick friendly catch-up?

The "Do not disturb" mode is the lowest-impact solution. And it's a good one. So good for you, Millennials. Don't let anyone give you shit. You guys have this. 👍👍👍
Is someone texting you too much? Just moon them.
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I'm fairly happy with my current work arrangement. Every N weeks (where N is pretty much the size of your team) you go "oncall" for a week. You take a pager. All callouts start with a page, no phone call harassment. While oncall, there's a general "annoyance factor" allowance for lugging around the kit. I'd love to add that we have a minimum callout time, but we only have one if we need to physically attend site, which is about 0.0001% of callouts. But paid overtime while answering issues, etc. And if a night's overtime exceeds 2 hours, then there's paid fatigue leave from your normal start time until 10 hours have passed from ending your callout. Which stops the zombie factor a bit.
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A.V. Flox

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Hackers call on sex toy manufacturers to embrace basic standards of privacy and security: 
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jesse s
+A.V. Flox actually [sarcasm]
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Excerpt: Here are a few questions that might help you decide when you’re being sex-positive and when you’re just being inappropriate:

1. Am I saying this to push the envelope, or would I want to say it even if it were socially acceptable to talk about?

2. Would I talk to this person this way if they were of a different gender? (This can work multiple ways. For example, we may not respect women’s boundaries, and we may assume men don’t even have boundaries. Further, we often think of trans and gender non-conforming folks as sexual curiosities.)

3. Did something this person has said or done just happen to turn me on, or did I go out of my way to obtain sexual pleasure through this interaction? If so, does the other person want me to?

4. Would I speak to a friend I had no romantic interest in this way, or am I trying to initiate romantic or sexual contact? If so, is it welcome?

5. Have I taken this person’s desires into consideration, or am I just thinking about my own?

6. Do the other person and I share the same goal for this conversation, or am I using them for a purpose they did not consent to?

7. Am I saying anything about another person’s body, sexuality, or personal life, or am I solely speaking for myself?

8. Has this person ever expressed discomfort with talking about sex in this way, or are they okay with it as far as I know?

9. Would people still be offended by my behavior if I were a man, or are they judging me unnecessarily harshly due to sexism?

10. Would people still be offended if I were discussing straight, cisgender people, or are there elements of homophobia or cissexism in their reaction?
10 questions to tease out what's sex positive . . . and what's a violation.
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+A.V. Flox not to worry- that is so far from where my head is at that is the least of my concerns
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A.V. Flox

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While you were busy with Melania's immigration status...

Excerpt: It’s true that Donald Trump has had a steep learning curve on issues about which he probably hasn’t ever thought much. But now’s he’s the presidential nominee of a party that has every year become more driven by the mission to cut off American women from access to legal health care; he’s trying to win an election that will determine the shape of the Supreme Court for the next half-century. He’s been brought up to speed.

So this is what he is promising if he becomes president: a court stacked with “pro-life justices” that will make abortion — and judging by the direction of his party, possibly several forms of contraception — illegal; the concretization of a law that makes full access to health care and control over reproduction unavailable to poor Americans; a 20-week rule that would make abortion illegal before the point in gestation at which many fetal abnormalities are diagnosed.

This cannot safely be considered electoral posturing or some wacky new skirmish in a culture war. If Donald Trump is elected president, it will likely be with a Republican congress and Supreme Court seats to fill. He could do every single one of the things he’s promising anti-abortion activists he will do. And those things would return women, in a very real way — in a way that is already happening in state and local jurisdictions around the country — to their secondary status: unable to exert full control over their bodies; barred from making choices about whether or when to bear children based on their health, their economic, or familial status, or the condition of the fetuses they carry. 
He wants to return women to secondary status, unable to exert control over their own bodies.
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Ladies and gentlemen, the trafficking panic at work. 😕

Excerpt: This past spring I was cornered in the parking lot of the Whole Foods on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie by two police officers. They said they’d received a 911 call from an anonymous caller who -- after observing my father and me eating breakfast biscuits at the Chick-fil-A up the street and then watching as I was dropped off in front of the Whole Foods several miles down the road (yeah, he had followed us) -- somehow surmised I was a part of a prostitution/sex-trafficking ring.

The less-than-perceptive stalker ... I mean, caller ... had also identified my father and some guy parked nearby, whose license plates he had taken time to record, as a part of the suspected ring. (I’m thinking my father was supposed to be the “john” because I really don’t think his dad jeans screamed “pimp.”)

Consequently, the three of us spent the next 20 to 30 minutes standing in the parking lot with the police officers (and, may I add, their five surrounding police cars) waiting to be cleared from any salacious, solicitous, unwholesome “ho-dom,” all the while wondering how three people grocery shopping at Whole Foods could have induced such an “unsolicited,” inconvenient misunderstanding.

Carmen Barika went to the store in high heels and tight jeans, which resulted in her being cornered and questioned about her involvement in sex work. After the incident, she has questioned many things, including why "shopping while sexy," warrants five police cars and an investigation.
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Having a hard time talking to a partner about breaking the routine in the bedroom? This map of human sexuality lays out fetishes and sexual interests over a landmass, allowing you to stick a pin on the places you've been, places you'd like to live and places you're keen to visit -- and maybe even cross out places you never want to think about again!

A clever way to turn a fraught conversation into a fun activity. Oh -- and the map comes with a glossary, just in case you don't know all the lingo (don't feel bad! I didn't know a lot of it the first time I used the map, either! Also, people are fascinating. It's a lot less weird to bring up your sexual interests when the map has at least 80 far, far weirder things on it 👌👌👌).
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There needs to be an Oglaf RPG that uses this as a map. :)
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A.V. Flox

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#StillBisexual is a social media and video campaign that aims to dispel misconceptions about bisexuality. The hashtag and campaign name "Still Bisexual" are reference to the belief that bisexuals are on the fence about their orientation, dabbling, that it's a phase, that they'll figure out if they're straight or gay eventually.

"Whether single or in a relationship, regardless of our partners’ gender, our orientation persists," write campaign organizers. "Being bisexual is lifelong for most of us. We are still bisexual — no matter how many times folks may ask!"

Here are a few other misconceptions that bisexual folks encounter:

"But, you’ve chosen to be straight or gay once you commit to a partner, right?" Um…no. Sexual orientation is about attraction not behavior. Bisexuals in committed relationships are still attracted to more than one gender -- they just have chosen to be with that particular partner.

"How can that be? Don’t bisexuals need both to be happy?" Nope. Bisexuality is the ability to be attracted to more than one gender; however, the individual experience of being bisexual varies considerably. Preferred relationship styles -- such as monogamy and polyamory/non-monogamy -- are separate from sexual orientation.

You can contribute to this campaign by telling your story as a bisexual person on social media! Here are some options:

Posting a tweet or status about your bisexuality on your social network of choice, followed by the hashtag #StillBisexual (If you're on Twitter, you can follow and shout out @StillBisexual).

Taking a selfie holding a handwritten sign that says #StillBisexual and posting it to your social network of choice with the hashtag. (The campaign has a Facebook page you can link on posts.)

Filming a #StillBisexual video telling your bisexual story through voice, by flipping hand-written cards on-screen, or some other means and sharing it on your networks of choice, using the hashtag.

Watching or making a #StillBisexual media can help bisexuals embrace and accept their orientation despite often not knowing any bisexuals in-person or being a part of the local bisexual community (if they have one). If you can do your part this #BiVisilityDay, you should do so!

About the campaign · News · Memes · Pics · Making your video · Events · Materials · Merch · #StillBisexual – Robyn Ochs · Continue Reading · #StillBisexual – Andrew · Continue Reading · #StillBisexual – Ellyn Ruthstrom · Continue Reading · #StillBisexual – Olivia · Continue Reading ...
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I like oral as well as regular sex, if that is what you mean, although I have never forced it on anyone.
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Kink as an act of political resistance. Are you ready?

Excerpt: “Rolequeer” was initially conceived of as an identity within the context of the BDSM subculture, but it ultimately extends beyond that scene’s narrow bounds and describes the experience of many people who have little or no association with BDSM.

At its most fundamental level rolequeerness is about “queering” -- or disrupting binary notions of -- human relationships to power.

There is a widely held belief in both BDSM and mainstream culture that the erotic is dependent on a power differential, on the tension between and ultimate overpowering of a “passive” participant by an “active” participant. 

Radical feminism rejects this notion of the erotic as fundamentally rooted in oppressive hierarchy. And rolequeerness begins by drawing on that rejection, but it goes further, theorizing possibilities for complex, agentic, and ultimately liberating erotic interface with various positional orientations towards power (as opposed to the suggestion by contemporary radfems that we should simply somehow eliminate power dynamics from our play).

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Yes huge ummm hunging it out power can correct me
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Excerpt: The Malleus Maleficarum -- a 15th century witch hunting manual written by Heinrich Kramer -- is rife with obvious anxieties about female sexual desire. Folklorist Moira Smith notes, "Many of the crimes (maleficia) attributed to witches concerned sexuality: copulation with incubus devils, procuring abortions, causing sterility and stillbirth, and impeding sexual relations between husbands and wives."

In the Middle Ages, witches were thought to have various magical dick-ruining capabilities, the most sinister of which is the ability to make the sex organ vanish entirely. According to Smith, the Malleus Maleficarum details three specific case studies in which witches were said to have magically deprived men of their penises. The first two simply involve men having their genitals hidden by some magical illusion -- witches "can take away the male organ," Heinrich Kramer writes, "not indeed by despoiling the human body of it, but by concealing it with some glamour."

The third account notoriously mentions the phenomenon of witches keeping disembodied penises as pets. (Via +Kitty Stryker​)
According to a 15th century guide to detecting and eradicating witchcraft, witches were capable of making penises vanish—and some even kept them in nests and fed them oats.
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I have a dick as a pet; they're the worst. Always needy, in the way, peeing on things, getting into trouble, waking you up in the middle of the night and so on.
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Excerpt: Because single women often put friendship at the center of our lives, it can be hard for us to be friends with people who see friendship as peripheral, as many partnered people do. A close friend once told me that her priorities were her kid, her partner, her work, her friends, in that order, like suits in a deck of cards. In her life, a kid thing would always trump a partner thing; a work thing would always trump a friend thing. This was the best way she knew of trying to impose some order on life’s complexity, but to me it seemed like a terribly reductive way to think about human relationships — plus, it was no fun to know that I would always be the lowest priority in her life. Our friendship didn’t last.

Even when both people make the relationship a priority, friendship across the lines of marital status takes work. One of my closest friends, Jean, married the love of her life the exact same month that I was dumped by the love of mine, and over the past decade our paths have continued to diverge. She’s steadily ticked off all the socially sanctioned boxes of “adulthood” — getting married, having kids, getting a “real job,” buying a house. She even wrote a book. Meanwhile, I’ve done none of these things. At times our differences have stretched us both to our limit, but our friendship has lasted because of our refusal to project the stereotypes of smug married motherhood or carefree/pathetic single childlessness onto each other. We’re both allowed to complain about our lives; we’re both allowed to revel in them. Fourteen years in, our friendship is as stable and precious as anything in my life, but we’re both aware of the ways it could become fraught

For single women, friendship is romantic and hard and scary.
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A.V.'s Collections
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Journalist; columnist; editor
  • Village Voice Media
    Web Editor, 2010 - 2011
  • BlogHer
    Contributing Editor, 2008 - 2010
  • BlogHer
    Section Editor, 2011 - 2012
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Velocitus delectibus.

I'm AV -- that's pronounced like the letters A and V. Most people call me that, but a few prefer the less familiar Flox, which is pronounced like you would if you were talking about various flocks of birds (see? it only looks complicated). You may call me either of these things. 

I'm a writer. I've written for a variety of publications, including the Village Voice, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Gizmodo, and Vice. My main focus is sex -- the norms around it, the organs we use, the health issues that affect it or are a consequence of it, the way governments and private companies want to control it and the way we express ourselves around it, the markets that exist to cater to it and the labor issues within them, and so on. Sex touches everything. You would be amazed how many incredible disciplines I get to explore writing about sex. Not too long ago, I was buried under a stack of papers about 16S rRNA and metagenomic sequencing! (Why? Because vagina. You can read the piece on Vice.).

Besides writing, I have edited blogs about relationships and science for the Village Voice and, a women's network that was reaching 90 million monthly visitors by the time it was acquired by SheKnows Media last year for a reported $35 million -- more than AOL paid for TechCrunch just four years prior. 

My content here on Plus will reflect my beat, but please note that in general, my posts and shares involve more analysis than titillation. I have analytics, I can see how many of you browse on the clock! No judgment -- I'm honored, actually. But because of this, as a rule, I do not publish images or articles that contain preview images that are not "safe for work" (that is, anything that may make a colleague feel uncomfortable in a workplace) and I strive to let you know when a link I have shared contains this type of imagery so you don't click it without knowledge.  

I am not opposed to pornography, but I do believe in consent -- I do not want to expose anyone to visually sexual content unless they explicitly opt-in to see it. So if sexy imagery is the sort of thing you're looking for, you won't find it here. However, feel free to visit my NSFW love letter to desire on Tumblr. It is overflowing with various degrees of graphic depictions of cisgender, heterosexual sex that I find pleasing. (If cis/het isn't you, try a Tumblr-wide search for a keyword that better speaks to you. Some of the best gay yiff I've ever seen is on Tumblr. And if you do not know what that is, don't look it up at work!)

I also use content warnings, since some of the things I share touch on things that you may not want to read about right then (assault, unsettling health conditions and accidents, etc.), and spoiler alerts. 

A lot of people follow me as a resource on issues of sexuality, so I try to keep my social media channels focused, but people are multidimensional and I am no different. Google Plus is where I am most focused. If you want a slightly more varied feed with more snippets from my life, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter

My Instagram has first publishing rights to much of my life's imagery, so if you like pix, I strongly recommend you find me there. (My Instagram account does not disseminate sexual imagery, but I do post images from events I attend and sometimes these events are adult industry conferences. Don't follow me just for that, though -- I am not all work and no play, so, yeah, you may get to see awesome candids of porn stars, but you'll also have to suffer through, like, a million videos and pictures of an octopus trying to make an escape from its tank at the California Academy of Sciences, or the bacula collection at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Also, bugs. I love bugs.)

Pinterest is where I put cool stuff that I find online. A number of my boards are dedicated to cool products -- and, yes, one of them is devoted entirely to sex products. Go take a look and see if there is anything worth following. (I also have a community here on Plus called The Desire that I hope to develop into a destination that combines relationship resources and awesome products. If you are interested in that, go ahead and request to join.)

I maintain a complete list of my profiles across the social networks I use on About.Me. If you need to reach me, though, your best bet is to mention @avflox on Twitter. I only receive messages from people in my extended circles here and on most other social platforms, so I may not even see that you tried to reach me if you private message me. On Twitter, though, I see everything -- and it's more reliable than taking your chances with an e-mail web form. But if you don't tweet or you want to stay on the DL, you'll probably want to take your chances with that web form or the e-mail option on About.Me (you don't need to create an account to use it).

I never thought I'd have to mention this, but seeing how many users on this network believe the existence of my profile indicates my sexual availability, allow me to clarify: I am not here to sexy chat with you. I don't usually flirt, even with people I like. I consider joking around an intimate thing so unless we have interacted a few times, I may not respond to your joke. Or at least, I may not respond well. I hate compliments. I reserve the right to delete comments that veer off topic or otherwise blemish my stream. Repeat offenders are blocked and immediately forgotten.

Regarding the many nude photos of me that exist and are said to cause so much "confusion" -- I took them, had them taken, sent them to someone, or posted them myself for my jollies. Personally I think that they represent a woman who is comfortable in her skin, in touch with her body, unashamed of her femaleness, and unwilling to censor it. I am flattered if you have derived some pleasure from their existence, but please note that their existence has nothing to do with you. I did not take them for you. I did not post them for you. I probably don't even know you! They're not for you even if I do know you! (Except you, Grandma, because you made me read Simone de Beauvoir when I was, like, seven and I owe you everything.)

So please -- do not wander onto my spaces online and expect that behaving in an overly familiar fashion is going to endear you to me. We do not have a deep meaningful connection because you saw me naked. Everyone has seen me naked. You are a unique snowflake, but it is not for this reason. 

Nothing I wear or don't wear is license for anyone to treat me like I am a thing that exists solely for their personal entertainment. I am a living organism -- I exist for myself. Just like you. And like you, when I post about something, I want people to comment on that something, not wax poetic about what they want from me. 

I mean, look, I get it. We all have urges. I understand this. I too have seen a picture and thought, "OMGWOULDBANG!!!1!" You are not damaged or monstrous for this. What I am saying is that writing this out as a comment on a person's social stream is not a successful strategy, and doing it when that's not even the topic is outright maladaptive. As someone who writes about getting laid, I feel I am uniquely positioned to speak on this topic, so you should pay attention.

Anyway, if for some incomprehensible reason you should wish to seduce me: go for my brain. Flattery is boring. Negs are like little gnats. The biggest compliment you could pay me, the most disarming level attention you could bestow upon me, requires that you only take the time to read something I've posted and have a brilliant conversation about it.

You don't need to be witty or "alpha" or otherwise a perfect specimen of the gender you identify with. You just need to share your views and tell your stories. Treat me like a human and show me your human. Hottest thing ever.

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Some muses inspire artists. I prefer scientists. "You know what you are? You're an idea Hydra. Discuss one idea, and two more grow." -- Fraser Cain
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