Donna M. Hughes is lying to you about sex and slavery.

arvan's picture

Donna M. Hughes has a message for you: Kinky sex is sex trafficking.

It is a lie.  She may or may not mean to lie to you, but it is a lie because it is not true.

There are a faulty number of assumptions here, all of which are pure conjecture.

First, that she is authorized to speak categorically, on behalf of the human race on issues of what is and is not healthy sexual behavior.  I don't care what her definition of proper sex nor improper sex is.  Frankly, I don't have any interest.  It does not affect me nor anyone I know.

Second, she conflates trafficking with slavery.  Trafficking is a broader and perhaps more modern word for slavery.  Let's be clear, slavery is slavery.  Forced labor of any kind is slavery.  Slavery exists today and people are forced to do many things as slaves.  Manual labor, warfare, sex, domestic labor and many other things.  As words go, however the two words are different.  Slavery is understood clearly.  Trafficking is not only less well understood or less often heard, but it is used in many contexts. 

Sex sells and Sex Trafficking sells, too.

The term sex trafficking is one that we read and hear a lot these days.  To be clear, not all human trafficking, is sex trafficking.  But, a lot of people get all freaked out about sex.  So, the term sex trafficking is used wherever possible by people to garner support, attention and funding. 

Slavery has a clear meaning.  Trafficking is more malleable or ambiguous and that ambiguity can be twisted to manipulate people into thinking they are supporting a drive against slavery when they are supporting something else - like personal aggrandizement, revenue from speaking engagements, access to government power and position, attention, the promotion of a personal religious belief or alleged morality, to name only a few abuses of power. 

Donna M. Hughes seems to believe that kinky sex is sex slavery.  There is a difference between an opinion and a fact

She recently posted an article stating that because a man locked a sex slave in his mother's basement, all BDSM is sex slavery.  That is a mighty small sample size to base a categorical declartion of human sexuality upon.  In clear terms, it is declaring that because this one criminal liked sex and slavery, all kink is slavery.  Let's be clear, the kidnapper is a kidnapper, whether he feeds, fucks or even acknowledges his captive.  What if he cooked a filet mignon for her?  Would that then mean that French epicure is slavery?  Please.  This is only the worst kind of pseudo analysis.

Donna M. Hughes may just hate sex.  She may love it and want it all to herself.  Fine.  I can live with that.  She may believe any number of things about sex, but no matter what she believes, she is neither qualified nor authorized to dictate categorically what is or is not acceptable sexual behavior among consenting adults. 

Another point to clarify is that consent is as a great a personal liberty as freedom from slavery.  It is imperative that people live free from slavery - of any kind and equally important that people be allowed to choose their sexual partners, sex acts together of their own mutual, expressed volition and agreement.

Kink is not slavery.   That's why there are two different words. 

I don't want someone to tell me my morality and neither do you.  Holy rollers and morality police are, by definition, trying to shove their beliefs onto everyone else.  They seek to alter other people's behavior in order to satisfy their own beliefs.  This is selfish, delusional and a violation of personal freedom. 

Want to stop slavery?  Me too.  Go here. 

Want to dress up your alleged morality in the trappings of fighting slavery?  Go here.

I will choose and defend my own morality, as will the rest of us.  I was going to ask when was the last time that someone claiming the mantle of morality was not abusing power and ultimately doing much more harm than good for a great many people.  Really, I should ask about when the first time that it actually wasn't that.

Religions, governments, educators have all failed to define and mandate exactly what healthy sexual activity is and is not for the entire population.  It's not because they didn't try hard enough - it's because none of us can ever dictate what feels good to another person, much less an entire planet of humanity.

The greatest failing of this specious conflation of slavery and sex is that it distracts from addressing slavery head-on with no distractions.  While people get their panties in a bunch about the horrors of sex that they don't understand, approve of or feel comfortable with - time, energy and intellectual power are wasted on talking about sex instead of fighting slavery.

Fighting slavery means fighting Military Corporatism, Capitalism, Sexism, Misogyny, Organized crime Religion and all other instruments of bullying.  Address those things and we address trafficking.  If we really, genuinely want to end slavery, then talking about who we think people should be fucking and how - is a waste of time.

If you want to learn about sex, visit Kinsey or the National Sexuality Research Center

If you want to learn about the effects of forced morality and the abuse of power, read about the Spanish Inquisition, Joe McCarthy or the Salem Witch Trials.

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Donna M. Hughes' crusade harms & victimizes, not protects, women

maymay's picture

 The greatest failing of this specious conflation of slavery and sex is that it distracts from addressing slavery head-on with no distractions.  While people get their panties in a bunch about the horrors of sex that they don't understand, approve of or feel comfortable with - time, energy and intellectual power are wasted on talking about sex instead of fighting slavery.

Arvan, I could not agree more with this sentiment. Real slavery needs to be eradicated, and it is unfortunate that Donna M. Hughes is concentrating on attacking sexual freedom instead of forced sex labor. I feel that it is nothing short of a tragedy that people who ostensibly want to do such good in the world, such as Donna M. Hughes and her affiliates at the so-called Citizens Against "Trafficking" organization she founded, but which former allies of theirs now call "Citizens Against Pleasure and Health," are actually doing so much damage to the well-being of the very same people they claim to be "rescuing."

This is endemic to ideologies that fail to acknowledge the agency of women, and as a result many of these anti-kink crusaders lazily treat women as abuse-recepticles. I think it is unfortunate that so-called "feminists" like Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks would mount personal attacks on community-based public sex education initiatives like KinkForAll and the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health without doing basic research about what these things are or do, like showing up in person to talk to the people who organized them.

The inappropriate conflations Donna M. Hughes has drawn is actively dangerous, for exactly the reason you cited: consensual sex is not abuse. And, moreover, by actively attacking efforts to simply TALK about this distinction openly, Donna M. Hughes, Margaret Brooks, and others reify fearfulness that furthers the disenfranchisement of women, young people, and anyone with whom they view as a sexual minority, notably sex workers.

For more information about this important topic, I encourage readers to read Laura Augustin's "What's wrong with the trafficking crusade".

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