Fornicate, Rate, Review: The Controversy Behind Sex Worker Review Forums
While there is little debate as to the unsavory risks that many online boards harbor, Canadian sex worker review forums have elicited a polarizing response from the sex worker community.
Littered with explicit and derogatory language, these forums offer a platform where clients rate and review sex workers. Largely hosted outside of Canada, they offer alternative ways to partake of the sex industry while circumventing Canadian prostitution laws that criminalize both purchasing sexual acts and advertising prostitution. While some note the positive attributes, such as providing a venue to legally advertise the trade and exchange potentially vital information about clients, others condemn the forums for creating safety hazards and producing a new breed of clientele.
According to Libertine [a Chicago-based sex workers’ rights advocate], the fear of negative reviews that can push women to eschew safety measures or to perform acts they’re not comfortable doing. “It really encourages people to take more risks, because these clients are now communicating with each other about who does what,” she says. For instance, she says some men take to the boards to complain about women who use condoms. “You can’t get a ten unless you provide BBBJ (the industry acronym for unprotected blowjob), anal, or if you’re really bi.”
The women say this situation is made worse by the fact that many board administrators offer clients financial incentives to make reviews as explicit as possible, rewarding popular contributors with free membership and even rejecting posts deemed too reasonable.
Libertine says this has spawned a new and polarizing type of client, commonly referred to as a “hobbyist,” who gets a kick out of constantly “trying out” and reviewing new girls. “That term did not come around until these message boards came around,” Libertine says. “These guys, it’s kind of like a flavor of the month thing, they see who is getting a lot of reviews, who’s new.”
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