Sex Tech: Tech-savvy sex work in Silicon Valley

A collection of notable new sex and technology news items. Covers innovation, legal issues, IP, privacy, controversies, business and more.

Sex workers in Silicon Valley use social media for effective marketing, while YouTube stays mum on the grey areas of its adult content guidelines.

Silicon Valley's tech-savvy sex workers

silicon valley sex work

Today Gawker tells us that Square (the revolutionary payment processor for small businesses) is facilitating a booming business among successful Bay Area prostitutes.

But this unsubstantiated claim is only a thread pulled from CNN Money's report on Silicon Valley's sex workers published earlier today.

CNN tells us that the Bay Area's reputed combination of men and money has made doing work in the area a lucrative proposition for straight female sex workers (the report did not include or acknowledge the Bay Area's plentiful male sex workers).

This may be true for a population of female sex workers known for their self-awareness, open mindedness and sex-positive activism - whose workers and clients I investigated in 2008.

But what CNN finds sensational is that sex workers are using social media for marketing their services to tech executives like any other independent contractor or small business entrepreneur.

This isn't new news - not by a long shot. But it's still interesting to read that local sex worker Kitty Stryker told CNN that she finds Twitter and Tumblr to be especially helpful. She said, "everything I know about social media marketing I learned doing sex work."

Survey: 1 in 10 Americans would do a robot

As a society, we've been contemplating robot sex at least since Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis introduced the idea of a sexy fembot.

So it should come as no surprise that a recent survey conducted by HuffPo and YouGov offered stats saying that roughly 1 in 10 Americans would totally get down with Pris if they had the chance.

Perhaps what's surprising is that the number wasn't higher - or that some of the respondents may already be having sex with a robot and not even know it.

Favorite sci-fi blog io9 thought the poll was "fairly legit." They wrote,

YouGov surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults from February 20th to 21st, and the sample group factored in demographic characteristics like age, race, gender, education, income, interest in politics, and religion.

(...) Sex with a robot raises some thorny ethical questions — including whether a married person who hooked up with a robot would be guilty of infidelity. What did the poll find? Forty-two percent of Americans indicated that such a dalliance would constitute cheating.

YouTube won't divulge how it determines a video is pornographic

As more and more people inadvertently run afoul of unclear content guidelines on social and sharing sites, learning to play by any given website's rules regarding mature content has become a guessing game of frustration mixed with blind luck.

As for YouTube, any video that's "intended to be sexually provocative" is probably going to be taken down - though how YouTube determines a video's fate is in the hands of whoever decides the video has sexual intent, and YouTube won't disclose how that ruling is made.

Gizmodo found out,

That flagged video is then reviewed by actual humans in different YouTube offices in different countries around the clock. There's no algorithm that determines whether the artistic context outweighs the sexual context.

In other words, the nudity's intent must be artistic rather than sexually provocative. And that decision is made be people sitting in an office. YouTube would not divulge what exactly "crosses the line" to result in any given video's removal.

So, how can we play by the rules when no one will tell us what they are? 

I'm sure YouTube doesn't have any comment on that matter, either. 

Strip clubs: no Google Glass allowed

In case you missed this item last week, Las Vegas strip clubs are already classifying Google Glass as any other surveillance or recording device, and will be enacting a zero tolerance policy on allowing the elite toys into adult establishments.

NBC News talked to Peter Feinstein, managing partner of Sapphire Gentlemen's Club in Las Vegas. Feinstein explained,

We've been dealing with the cellphone videoing and the picture taking over the years and we are quick to make sure that that doesn't happen in the club. As the sale of [Google Glass] spreads, there'll be more people using them and wanting to use them at places such as a gentlemen's club.

If we see those in the club, we would do the same thing that we do to people who bring cameras into the club.

Main post image via Wikimedia Commons: photo by Drew Jacksich.