Last week, the Village Voice ran an interview with Allen Stein, the inventor of the first internet-controlled fucking machine, "Thethrillhammer", essentially a dildo on a piston attached to a chair on which a performer sits (or squats). Stein's newest venture involves allowing viewers of the performers to control the machines for the low-low price of $5.99/minute — though viewers can choose to watch another person control the machine fucking the performer for about $2/minute. Confusing? Yes. Creepy? Very, for one very specific reason.While Stein uses webcam performers and porn actresses at his studios in New York and L.A., he had this to say about his studios in the Dominican Republic:
"We also have one down in the Dominican Republic, where they have lots of problems with sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS. We think it's a good idea to go to these countries where we can pull the girls off the street, give them a safe place to come work, where they don't have to interact with people on a one-on-one basis, but can do it virtually."
It's one thing to watch porn knowing that the women and men involved have made their choice to be in it. It's another thing to watch porn starring female sex workers (or women avoiding prostitution) from a developing nation with few economic opportunities for women that might or might not be avoiding prostitution for fear of contracting HIV or because they already have. It seems 10 times more exploitative, and then given the probability that Stein isn't paying them as much as his U.S.-based performers (despite charging the same to his customers) ratchets that exploitative feeling up another few notches. Anyway, in the end, I'm not sure that Stein's business model is that much different than the average webcam business model, except that the consumer need not type coherently one-handed under Stein's plan. As far as Stein's concerned, that makes him an "orgasm broker." Luckily for me, my orgasms aren't a commodity and they and the ones I happily to give to other people of my choosing aren't monetized — and, even better, I don't need a matchmaker for my G-spot. Interview With an Orgasm Broker [Village Voice]