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A.V. Flox
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A.V. Flox

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Meet SB 1110, a California bill that would formalize a police officer's ability to determine whether a sex worker should be thrown in jail or be given access to "rehabilitation" programs. (Let's ignore for a moment that a huge percentage of sex workers don't need a talking to or twelve-step program, but stable housing and real employment options with a liveable wage. Let's even pretend that this is what's being offered, even though it isn't.)

This bill would give cops the official power to decide -- without any input from the public, any checks and balances or any transparency whatsoever -- whether a sex worker is thrown in jail or spared.

This is happening in a state where only recently the public has discovered how police pervasively force sex workers to trade sexual favors to avoid criminalization, even sex workers who are underage.

This is a state where most jurisdictions criminalize underage sex workers, who by law are not even considered capable of consenting to sex. (A total of 656 minors were arrested for prostitution in 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That number is undoubtedly higher, since police departments voluntarily submit arrest data and about 20 percent of departments choose not to report. A recent analysis of FBI data found that California arrested the most underage sex trafficking victims of any state in 2013, making 205 arrests.)

This is a state where the Public Safety Officer Bill of Rights Act makes it impossible for the public to access information about instances of excessive use of force and misconduct by police, a state where even those who filed complaints are unable to learn whether anything was done about their abuse at the hands of police.

This is a state where another bill, SB 1286 (the Enhance Community Oversight on Police Misconduct and Serious Uses of Force bill), which would have opened police misconduct records to the public, was defeated.

We have no transparent police misconduct mechanisms. And we are looking to formalize their power over sex workers? Really?!


Sex workers are fighting to do away with parts of a California bill that they say would give law enforcement officers discretion over whether sex workers are arrested or instead referred to social services, and could put sex workers at risk of police exploitation.
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That's a horrible idea. How about, at a bare minimum, try to make it safer for them to work?
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Louisiana has made anyone who works with or helps sex workers between 18 and 20 -- a friend who gives them a ride, escort agency owners, other sex workers, and their clients -- into folks guilty of the crime of human trafficking. And not knowing the age of the "victim" is no defense. 

Those convicted must register as sex offenders and spend aminimum of 15 years in prison. The law, which takes effect August 1, allows for a maximum sentence of up to 50 years. So a 20-year-old woman working in the sex trade independently -- posting her own ads online, running her own website, arranging appointments with clients, keeping any money she makes -- cannot be charged with prostitution, but anyone who books an appointment with her could face a lifetime on the sex-offender registry and a mandatory minimum prison sentence of over a decade. 

The age of consent in Louisiana, by the way, is 17-years-old. Fourteen, 15, and 16-year-olds can legally consent to sex with someone up to age 17. But if a 17-year-old attempts to pay an 19-year-old for sex, they could spend 50 years behind bars. 

Letting sex workers form support networks can reduce the harm they face. Why do we keep insisting that isolating them makes them safer?!
Soliciting anyone under age 21 for sex will now get you 15 to 50 years in prison, as the state has ruled that 18-to-20-year-olds' consent doesn't count.
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+Sordatos Cáceres 😔😔😔😔
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Shocker of the ages, Celeste Guap is not the first Oakland sex worker to be forced to engage in sexual contact with police officers in order to avoid criminalization. Here's the case of another, who was coerced (details may be triggering), and who won a settlement from the department after she was able to obtain evidence. We don't often hear these stories because settlements have gag orders. Fortunately, this one expired.

Between the criminalized status of sex workers and gag orders those who manage to prove abuse have to agree to, we are unable to hear the many ways our police departments are exploiting vulnerable people in our communities. This has to change.
A former Oakland prostitute, who was also abused by police officers, spoke exclusively to KRON about the current sex scandal plaguing Oakland police.
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Attention foreigners! Your social presence may soon be part of the entry process into the U.S.

Yesterday, US Customs and Border Patrol entered a new proposal into the federal register, suggesting a new field in which persons entering the country would declare their various social media accounts and screen names. The information wouldn’t be mandatory, but the proposed field would still provide customs officials with an unprecedented window into the online life of visitors. The process already includes fingerprinting, an in-person interview, and numerous database checks.

The proposal focuses on arrival / departure forms commonly collected from non-citizens at the US border, as well as the electronic form used for anyone entering the country under a visa waiver. Under the proposed changes, those forms would include a new data field prompting visitors to "please enter information associated with your online presence," followed by open fields for specific platforms and screen names.

What could possibly go wrong with this?

Your Twitter handle may soon be part of the US visa process. Yesterday, US Customs and Border Patrol entered a new proposal into the federal register, suggesting a new field in which persons...
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A.V. Flox's profile photoDogmatic Pyrrhonist's profile photoAlex Osias's profile photoMike DeSimone's profile photo
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+Alex Osias Fill in "@realDonaldTrump".
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Regarding our inclination to send cops to "rescue" victims of trafficking:

Oakland is currently in the middle of a sex scandal after investigations by the Express revealed that at least fourteen Oakland Police officers, three Richmond Police officers, and four Alameda County Sheriff's deputies were sexually involved with a sex worker, who traded sexual favors for protection, with at least three of these "relationships" occurring before she was 18: http://m.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/the-real-reason-why-oakland-fired-its-police-chief/Content?oid=4826701#

When police criminalize sex workers, sex workers can't depend on them for their safety. As a result, sex workers are forced to choose between taking their chances in a criminalized environment or doing what they can to curry favor with officers. Due to the limited resources available to street workers, many times the only thing they can give is sex. Because of the number of minors who turn to the streets to work, it's unsurprising that a number of these sexual trades for protection between sex workers and officers occur with under-age sex workers. It's unlikely that this sensational case is the only one.

Until sex workers can depend on police for help and protection like any other resident, this sort of abuse will continue happening, unchecked.

The criminalized status of sex workers (even if they're minors in some jurisdictions) denies them the ability to come forward, but despite this, we've been seeing more and more cases:

Oklahoma officer Daniel Holtzclaw used his access to records to target women with priors (many for sex work), who he then forced to perform sexual services under threat of violence or jail. At least 13 women came forward to testify against him: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/27/oklahoma-officer-daniel-holtzclaw-trial-defense-attacks-credibility-of-vulnerable-black-women

San Antonio police officers Alejandro Chapa, Emmanuel Galindo, and Aaron Alford, lured economically vulnerable women into a sex ring telling them their cooperation was crucial for a sting they were conducting and promising $5,000 per day. They had sex with them, passed them around, never gave them any money: http://m.mysanantonio.com/news/local/crime/article/Former-SAPD-officers-accused-of-tricking-women-7378596.php

West Sacramento officer Sergio Alvarez kidnapped and assaulted sex workers on the strip he patrolled on late-night duty. At least eight came forward to testify at his trial: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/81f32b4c5a29434684b70830bfc1f09b/ap-officer-sex-cases-plagued-lax-supervision-policies

Bakersfield police deputy David Keith Rogers murdered at least two sex workers in Kern County, and perhaps one other, though we'll never know how many ultimately suffered at his hands. The California Supreme Court upheld his death sentence a few years ago: https://johnhartephoto.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/a-deputy-land-on-death-row/

I could go on for days. Instead, there's numbers. In a survey of Chicago sex workers by the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), 25 percent of sex workers identified their rapist as a police officer.

Police are consistently identified as a threat to sex workers across the country. A survey of New York street-based sex workers found 27 percent had suffered violence at the hands of cops.

A paper published in 2010 focusing on sex workers in the Washington D.C. area noted that in 104 interactions between sex workers and law enforcement, almost 10 percent of sex workers involved said they had been assaulted by officers and 17 percent said that cops had requested sexual favors.

The risk of being assaulted for sex workers varies dramatically from country to country, but it has an intimate connection with the legal system. In the U.S., where prostitution is criminalized, sex workers are 40 times more likely to suffer assault than in the United Kingdom where sex work is not criminalized.

The risk of clamping down on prostitution can be significant, with Norway experiencing a rise in assaults against sex workers of 50 percent since the purchase of sex was criminalized (called the "Nordic Model" or "End Demand") in 2009. (Source for all numbers above: http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/30/illegality-cops-and-johns-why-american-prostitutes-are-400-times-more-likely-to-die-on-the-job/)

A year-long Associated Press investigation illuminated the problem of rape and sexual misconduct against all residents, not only sex workers, committed by law officers in the United States, uncovering about 1,000 cops, jail guards, deputies and others who lost their licenses from 2009 through 2014 for such incidents. There are most certainly even more than that, because some states did not provide records and others, including New York and California, said they do not decertify officers for what they classify as "misconduct."

The International Association of Chiefs of Police spotlighted the problem of sex abuse by officers in a 2011 report that said certain conditions of the job may help create opportunities for officers to take advantage of victims -- having authority over others, patrolling alone and late at night, and engaging with vulnerable citizens.

This is why sex workers are such an easy and frequent target. What's happening in Oakland may be sensational enough to make national news but this happens every day, especially with youth engaged in sex work.

The book _Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Beyond Victims and Villains_ by researcher Alexandra Lutnick elaborates on this at some length. Sex work by people under 18 is not criminalized federally, but states and cities all have their own laws about this, so that ends up not being the case in practice. Here in California, only L.A. doesn't treat minors as criminals.

Lutnick's research revealed that it's common for youth in sex work to experience violence more often from law enforcement officials than from any other group of people, including clients and pimps. Her findings reflect surveys done over the years by sex workers rights and youth advocacy organizations in the U.S.

In the worst cases, this violence takes the form of physical and sexual assault. Lutnick reports on one incident in which an underage transgender woman in New Orleans was forced to have oral sex with a police officer in order to avoid arrest, and another in which an underage cisgender worker was forced to fondle an officer.

Kristen DiAngelo, the executive director of the Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) Sacramento has spoken on the pervasiveness of police abuse toward youth in sex work. She worked in a massage parlor when she was in high school in the 1970s and early 1980s. She told the New Republic: “There was this team, two police officers [ ... ] They’d come over and pick me up and they would take turns doing that with all the girls all over town, they'd take you out to the field, have sex with you [ ... ] They’d dump you out in the field, it was surrounded by farmland and you had to figure out a way to hitchhike back in.” 

In 2015, SWOP Sacramento interviewed 44 sex workers in the area. They reported similar police abuses. Nothing has changed. There's still no accountability.

Jenny Heineman, a sociologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas worked with the federally funded Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children program, in collaboration with research teams across the U.S. “More than half of the young people I interviewed stated that they regularly perform sex acts for police officers in exchange for their not being arrested,” she told the New Republic.

The devastating irony of this is that because cops pose such a threat to sex workers, many -- especially youth -- gravitate toward pimps in search of protection. As Lutnick reports in her book, because police are so predatory, actual victims of sexual exploitation seldom have the kind of interactions with them that enable them to leave abusive situations.

Leah Albright-Byrd, a survivor of sex trafficking, told her, "I was exploited from 14 to 18, and in four years I did not have one encounter with law enforcement that could have led to my escape from my exploiter." (Source: https://newrepublic.com/article/128028/child-sex-workers-biggest-threat-police)

Indeed, a 2009 study by the Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago that interviewed youth involved in trading sex concluded, "Police often accuse girls in the sex trade of lying or don't believe them when they turn to the police for help." (Source: https://ywepchicago.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/girls-do-what-they-have-to-do-to-survive-a-study-of-resilience-and-resistance.pdf)

We need to stop throwing cops at this problem. At least until we can create some checks and balances, make the process transparent, and make cops answerable to the public.

The problem is definitely compounded by how badly we've defined "trafficking." At least one state punishes "self-trafficking" as a felony right now (meaning sex workers are slapped with a criminal record that prevents them joining the workforce, effectively locking them into the informal economy of sex work). Other jurisdictions target as traffickers anyone who may be working with a sex worker in some capacity -- a driver, a body guard, another sex worker, making it hard for sex workers to create systems of harm-reduction.

In Alaska, a woman who did safety screening of sex workers' potential clients was convicted of felony trafficking and sent to prison for five and a half years: https://storify.com/avflox/the-sentencing-of-amber-batts

As things are in the U.S., any efforts by sex workers to come together to avoid exploitation by pimps, traffickers, clients and police are subject to criminalization as "trafficking." The takeaway message is that selling sex is so detrimental to the community that harm-reduction efforts by sex workers do not matter. This makes sex workers significantly more vulnerable to predatory clients and traffickers -- especially youth, who are ostracized by adult sex workers, and pushed into more dangerous areas to avoid legal liability.

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I don't think the problem lies at the type of cops, but rather at the paradox of expecting cops to protect criminals rather than exploit them. When sex work is criminalized somehow, you can't expect cop involvement to lead to anything good.
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Arianna Travaglini had used Airbnb for over two years, amassing a number of positive reviews from her hosts, when Airbnb shut her down.

Travaglini, who performs in porn as Andre Shakti, thinks it's because she's a sex worker. Though Airbnb did not respond to a request for comment by press time, Travaglini isn't the first sex worker to get the boot from the company.

In March, Julie Simone, a dominatrix, said her account was suddenly shuttered and she received an email from Airbnb reading, “After a routine review, and given information uncovered pursuant to online public records, we have determined that it is in the best interest of Airbnb, and for the users on our site, to deactivate your account permanently.”

When asked about the incident, the company told Fusion, “As a general matter we constantly review our platform to ensure that the use of listings are in line with what our hosts and guests both expect.”

These cases follow several news stories about Airbnbs being used for sex work. A San Francisco radio station quoted a local sex worker calling Airbnb a “boon” to business and “a simple way for women who don’t have an enormous amount of money to transition into indoor work.” In Stockholm, there were similar reports. There have also been alarmist headlines like, “Pimps and hookers ditching hotels in favor of Airbnb rentals.” In at least one documented case, the porn industry has used an Airbnb rental for a shoot.

Amid all this coverage, Travaglini has heard rumors about sex workers being banned from Airbnb, but she thought of it as an "urban legend." Then it happened to her. 

Arianna Travaglini suspects it's because of her job, but says she's never used the rental app for work
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Independent sex workers should not use selfies taken in hotel rooms on their ads.

A new app called TraffickCam will be aggregating images of hotel rooms around the nation to enable law enforcement to quickly identify what hotels sex workers are working out of.

Though hailed as a tool to save trafficking victims, the app does not discriminate between those who have been coerced and those who are working voluntarily -- and neither does law enforcement, which will be running photos from ads against the database and using image analysis to find sex worker locations based on their advertisements.

Dear tech industry: if you want to help reduce trafficking, target poverty. Target inequality. Target lack of access to resources. Making people less vulnerable is the way to combat this. Sending them to jail or diversion programs that do not offer resources does not. And please don't forget that police are one of the biggest threats sex workers and trafficked persons face -- sending them in often makes them more vulnerable to exploitation, not less.

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+J van Hammerstien, good! 
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A.V. Flox

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Excerpt: A few years ago sex worker advocates tried to report a crime (a felony) against a sex worker without the victim being arrested for prostitution (a misdemeanor). On our third attempt a State Trooper explained that the problem wasn’t with the police -- who were just doing their jobs -- but with the laws governing police behavior.

The officer even agreed that the anti-prostitution law was a cause of crimes against sex workers, saying, “women get in bad situations with prostitution, you know, because prostitution is illegal and that makes it easy to take advantage of women in those situations.”

The relationship between violence against sex workers and the laws they work under has been internationally researched and discussed for decades, if not centuries.

Many are misguided in their belief that slightly modifying criminalization by shifting the crime from sex workers to their clients would help sex workers without encouraging trafficking.

But as we've seen in Sweden, you can't destroy "demand" without significant collateral damage to the most vulnerable sex workers, and even trafficking victims.

Under their model, if a sex worker's landlord finds out they are a prostitute, they must evict them or the landlord could be charged with pimping. Prostitution itself is regarded as a mental illness, leading sex workers and trafficked persons to lose their children and be horribly stigmatized.

Amnesty International’s research agrees with other research that finds this to be a bad scheme for the safety and human rights of sex workers. It leads sex workers to meet clients in locations controlled by the client, rather than establish their own safe work environments. It leads to difficulty accessing public services, and to eviction and police abuse for those who are caught. It has not led to a decrease in prostitution.

A quote by one sex worker working under the End Demand model seemed to summarize much of the findings: “If a customer is bad you need to manage it yourself to the end. You only call the police if you think you are going to die. If you call the police you lose everything.”


A few years ago I and other advocates tried to report a crime (a felony) without the victim being arrested for prostitution (a misdemeanor). On our third attempt a State Trooper explained to us that our problem wasn’t with the police—who were just doing their jobs—but with the laws governing police behavior.
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Excerpt: Most people are not monogamous in the true sense of the word: staying with one partner for life. You only need to look at divorce rates to see that about one-third of us practice what is referred to as “serial monogamy”, where we change partners over time.

Monogamy is also extremely rare in the animal kingdom, even among apparently monogamous animals there are many "extra-pair copulations," or sex with individuals other than the other half of the monogamous pair. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, bonobos and even orangutans all live in highly promiscuous societies, which suggests our common ancestor with chimps did so too.

In this view, “the idea that monogamy is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ in human beings is hard to sustain," says Meg-John Barker of the Open University, who studies polyamory. “As with so many things, there is a lot of diversity in this area."

This all points the fact that just as there’s not one set way for love between individuals to be expressed. What works for one person or society may not work for another. Relationships are eclectic and diverse, and while legal recognition for polyamory may be a long way off, with greater awareness of our differences, love in all its many forms is surely set to change.
Love doesn’t just come in pairs. Is it time that marriage laws recognise the fact?
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+Olivier Malinur​​​, there's an interesting study correlating the expectation of monogamy from females with the testicle size in males. So you have male chimps with huge testicles and female chimps that aren't monogamous, and male gorillas with small testicles and female gorillas that are largely monogamous. In between are human males, whose testicles are in between, and human females that seem to fall all over the scale from promiscuous to monogamous.

It's neither here nor there, honestly.

I'm increasingly of the mind that monogamy and polyamory are ends of a spectrum, wherein preferences can be fixed internally or made dynamic based on external factors. For example, safety and stability in a relationship can contribute to a large decrease in guarding behaviors, enabling the exploration of less traditional configurations. Lack of safety and stability, general insecurity, etc., result in increased guarding behaviors that often make less traditional configurations either untenable or, if these nevertheless manage to occur, unethical.

(And by "unethical," I mean, full of rules where not everyone gets to advocate for their needs, such as the case of a married couple with a third partner who basically has to accept all the couple's boundaries or else leave the relationship, because the marriage is seen as more important than the third person's needs.)
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Black Lives Matter is pulling out of San Francisco Pride weekend celebrations.

“For us, celebrating Pride this year meant choosing between the threat of homophobic vigilante violence and the threat of police violence,” said a joint statement from Black Lives Matter, an organizational grand marshal of this year's Pride event; Janetta Johnson, a community grand marshal; and the sex worker advocacy group St. James Infirmary.

“We had a tough decision to make, and ultimately we chose to keep our people safe by not participating in any event that would leave our communities vulnerable to either.”

This week, SF Pride announced that this year’s events would have a “significant police presence” and that, for the first time in the celebration’s 46-year history, attendees at the festival would be required to pass through security screening. Many LGBT people of color expressed concern with that news, citing the historic targeting and harassment of communities of color by police.

“I’m more afraid of police than terrorists,” Johnson, who is a black transgender woman, told the Guardian.

The ACLU of northern California also criticized the decision, writing in a blog post: “Cops in the clubs won’t make people feel safer. And SF Pride should not be an excuse to over-police the city’s most vulnerable communities.”


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And, from my (trans person of color) friend Elena who was there: "You know, I saw an awful lot of police yesterday show up to 'protect' the march and festival--hell, they lined the outside of the march practically shoulder-to-shoulder on Market--but I never saw a one of them face to watch anyone outside the march. They kept their eyes on us, not on whoever might come running up to hurt us. And they followed after the march with at least three arrest vans and a bomb squad vehicle.

You don't bring three or four arrest vans as a precaution against a murderous gunman. You bring those for something else."

In case people were, oh, wondering about what the police presence was actually like rather than theorizing about it. And what the police apparently thought the threat was.
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Nia Griffith, a member of Parliament who is the Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Wales, came out publicly for the first time earlier this year, disclosing her sexuality at an event for LGBTQ MPs.

She fears what Brexit will mean for LGBTQ rights in two ways: first, that it will weaken the influence that the more LGBTQ-friendly UK has on more socially conservative countries in Eastern Europe, and second, that it will harm LGBTQ Europeans living in Britain.

Currently, only 12 of 28 EU members allow same-sex marriages, and seven countries even ban same-sex marriage in their constitutions. Six don’t even recognize civil partnerships, and gay adoption is legal in only 13 EU states.

Griffith brought up a hypothetical situation. Say there is a gay couple living in the UK. One half of the couple is British, and another is Polish. The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association annually scores European countries on LGBT freedoms - Poland has an 18% score.

If the Polish half of the couple suddenly had to go back home for a long time—say, to take care of a family member—it is now possible they would run into visa difficulties once they sought to return, since the freedom of movement the EU provides to all of its citizens would stop at the UK border. The Pole would suddenly face the prospect of being stuck in a more intolerant country.

Griffith added that having Brexit happen now “is particularly worrying at a time when we are seeing a rise in homophobic rhetoric from political leaders in Eastern Europe, and the UK will no longer be in the EU to help put pressure on them to promote greater respect for their LGBT communities.”

The European Union project has had a strong impact in terms of the diffusion of the types of laws that protect LGBT individuals. 
Currently, only 12 of 28 E.U. members allow same-sex marriages, and seven countries even ban same-sex marriage in their constitutions.
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+Wing Kearns​ I'm still on my first cup of coffee, so the preceding still may not be up to par ;)
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The ultimate response to unsolicited dick pix:
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+Marla Caldwell our advertising profiles will outlive us
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Introduction

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 BlogHer.com, 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.

Bragging rights
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
Work
Occupation
Journalist; columnist; editor
Employment
  • Village Voice Media
    Web Editor, 2010 - 2011
  • BlogHer
    Contributing Editor, 2008 - 2010
  • BlogHer
    Section Editor, 2011 - 2012
Basic Information
Gender
Female
Looking for
Networking
Relationship
Married
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