This Week in Sex: 8.13.99

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This Week in Sex   
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August 7–13, 1999

This Week in Birth Control

The Pill or the Patch? Millions of women may be weighing that question, now that Johnson & Johnson — the world’s biggest producer of the Pill — has announced the first new birth control method in six years: the adhesive patch. The company plans to seek government approval early next year for Evra, a half-dollar sized patch that J&J claims works just as well as the celebrated oral contraceptive. The Patch, which can be worn on the arm or (when discretion dictates) on the butt, stays on for a week at a time, thus eliminating the need to remember the Pill on a daily basis.


Then again, if remembering is an issue, there’s more good news for Pill-users: the nation’s most popular birth control carrying case has undergone a makeover that affects both its form and its function. Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical has announced that the familiar Ortho Dialpak has been re-worked to look more like a makeup compact, and changes have been implemented to limit mistakes: the dial now only turns in one direction, and each pill is numbered.


Other upcoming advances in contraception include a disposable diaphragm, a
flexible contraceptive ring that slowly releases hormones, a highly effective monthly injection — and the return of the Today Sponge. Which eliminates at least one nagging question for the discerning modern woman: Is he sponge-worthy?

Mustang Sadly

On Monday of this week, the federal government shut down Nevada’s first and best-known legal brothel, ending one hell of a swinging forty-year era. The mighty Mustang Ranch has closed its gates for good, a victim of its owner’s inattention to detail — specifically, to the details of the tax code. Joe Conforte, who bought the bordello in the early ’60s and led it to legitimacy in 1971, has been in and out of trouble with the IRS for decades. After the ranch went Chapter Eleven in 1982, Conforte bought it back on the cheap — using associates as fronts — during a public auction. But that’s a no-no, and when the government finally figured it out — and proved it in court — U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben ordered the brothel closed. This, despite the fact that Conforte is known for his generosity and charity: he reportedly donates 1,000 turkeys to the poor each Christmas and hosted free nights of sex for Desert Storm soldiers.

    The judge’s decision will put seventy-five prostitutes out of work — legal work, that is. Prostitution may be condoned in Storey County, home of the Mustang, but not in nearby Reno, where many of the women are likely to end up.

Sex and the Single Senior

Challenging the adage that “seniors always come early,” some 5,000 oldsters gathered last weekend at Kutemajarvi, a romantic Finnish lake about 150 miles north of Helsinki, for a three-day festival of peace, love and public eldersex. Yep, local villagers were asked to help celebrate the UN’s Year of the Older Persons, so they designed a weekend party including exhibitions of sex toys, erotic-statue-carving contests and nature walks lined with lingerie and haystacks (in which revelers were invited to iron out a few wrinkles, as it were). Nearby, in the town of Kangasniemi, the old-timers were treated to lectures on such titles as “Use It Or Lose It” and “Love Takes It All.” One fair adviser told the Associated Press, referring to the popular sex toys exhibit, “A part of the visitors didn’t even know these kinds of thingamajigs existed in the real world.” At least, we think she was talking about the sex toys.

Ranch Undressing

One South African rancher’s noble effort to recreate the timeless hunt
for amore on his estate fired blanks last weekend when just a fraction of
the anticipated participants showed up for what had been billed as an
actual love hunt. The proposition was this: Johan Marie, owner of the JP
Game Ranch in the country’s Northern Province, invited some 10,000 bikers
to participate in a paint-ball hunt for live, loinclothed women. The
“prey” — prostitutes and strippers hired by Marie — were instructed to have sex with any mighty warrior who managed to splatter them with paint.
But for some reason — this writer is hard pressed to narrow it down to just one — the intended quarry soured on the idea, and only four women actually showed up on game day. And when just 300 horny bikers showed, the event’s caterers turned on Marie, calling the woman-hunt “crazy” and threatening to file suit for misleading them and causing them “disastrous losses.” And it seemed like such a sure thing.

Bring Me Your Tired, Your Weary, Your Hustling Masses

Even when they’re not being chased by lusty South African bikers with paint guns, sex workers live notoriously dangerous lives, with few open avenues for legitimate health care. Which is why the founders of America’s first prostitutes’ rights group founded St. James Infirmary, one of the nation’s first occupational health and safety clinics for sex workers. The clinic, which stands on the edge of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, is run by the creators of COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), many of whom have first-hand experience in the sex industry. The idea is to develop a nonjudgmental approach to caring for sex workers, according to Jeffrey Klausner, director of the city public health department. “What people do in their private lives or on their own time is not relevant to their health care or social needs. If someone is driving under the influence and crashes their car, are we not going to take care of them?” Carol Stuart, one of the clinic’s founders, says the plan is to “cast a much wider net,” to expand the definition of job-related hazards when it comes to sex work.

Quotes of the Week

“A lot of guys say, Barry White’s our buddy. He finds and gets women for us.”

Barry White, on his lasting appeal. The fifty-four-year-old crooner just released a new album called Staying Power.

“After ten years in the business, I myself have had maybe three really gross
women. Other than that the women who come to me are really health conscious. They do aerobics. They are hot women and they are looking for a hot man.”

Tony, a thirty-two-year-old gigolo at Johannesburg’s House of Sparticus, believed to be the world’s first brothel for straight women.

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©1999 Dan Reines and