I get a lot of e-mail from people who need advice or have questions, and I don’t usually mind answering them. I know my way around the Dutch BDSM scene, I can point people to the right websites, and questions about sexuality don’t bother me.
Dear Marijke, my name is Mike and I have a question. I’m really into women’s underwear. I sometimes borrow my sister’s panties, it just really turns me on wearing them. Is this normal or is there something wrong with me?
See, no problem. I let Mike know there’s nothing wrong with him, it’s not necessarily normal to enjoy wearing women’s underwear but it’s a harmless fetish. And really, Mike, buy your own and don’t steal your sister’s panties, that’s not nice.
But then there’s the eh, other type of e-mail..
Dear Marijke, my name is Edward and I have a question. I’m really into women’s underwear. I sometimes borrow my sister’s panties, it just really turns my on wearing them, feeling the soft fabric on my hard, pre-cum dripping cock, smearing it all over, and the tight feeling over my balls, the softness just barely cupping them feels so hot. It this normal?
Right. Yuck. It’s obvious Edward is getting off on telling me about his fetish, he’s involving me in his sexual experience without my consent. Sometimes it seems these people actually get off on the fact that I don’t consent, like a virtual ‘flasher’. I call it the ew-factor, the feeling that a certain boundary has been crossed, something’s not right here and it’s just.. ew.
Prostitution in the Netherlands is legal but regulated. The human trafficking myth is used to further regulate sex work, laws have been proposed to make registration of sex workers mandatory and allegations of trafficking are currently used to close down red light districts. For example, the Zandpad area in Utrecht was closed because of supposed human trafficking and will not be opened untill at least 2016 (despite sex workers‘ protests). I disagree with these developments, but then there’s also… the ew factor.
“ICT project manager prevents human trafficking. Expert in ICT? Turn it into police work” it says on the advertisement above. You can find these posters in train stations and other public places, and it seems so voyeuristic to me. Bare legs, skimpy clothes, the suggestion of sexual violence, stereotypical image of street prostitution (actually one of the less prevalent forms of prostitution, but apparently it’s a good image).
The human trafficking myth is not just incorrect, not just used to oppress women and sex workers, it’s also very sexual. Thirteen year old girls being forced to read pornographic stories so their owners get more money, sex workers displayed against their will for abolitionists’ enjoyment and very explicit, violent and pornographic stories about horrors that might actually have occurred. It’s like they’re getting off on it. Ew factor.
It’s not right to use women and girls for your own sexual gratification without their consent. I don’t care how much of a hero you think you are, it’s not acceptable.
By the way, the Dutch are making a habit of harassing adults engaged in consensual behaviour. Recreational use of cannabis is tolerated in the Netherlands, but as you can see on the left: “Software engineer rounds up marijuana grow room. Expert in ICT?”