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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:34 pm 
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Penthouse magazine axes print edition
by Mark Sweney
Wednesday, 20 January 2016

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Penthouse magazine is to scrap its print magazine and go online-only.

Adult magazine Penthouse is to end its print edition after 50 years and go online-only.

The closure of the print edition of the magazine, which was founded in 1965 by Bob Guccione, follows the announcement last year by Hugh Hefner’s rival Playboy that it will no longer feature naked women.

FriendFinder Networks, the magazine’s parent company, said that subscribers to the print edition will be converted to digital. “This will be a new way for its readers to experience the world’s best adult magazine,” said FriendFinder chief executive Jonathan Buckheit in a statement. “Reimagined for the preferred consumption of content today by consumers, the digital version of Penthouse magazine will combine and convert everything readers know and love about the print magazine experience to the power of a digital experience – giving people an open-ended reading experience, available anytime, anywhere.” The magazine will also relocate its New York operations to the Los Angeles offices of FriendFinder Networks.

The rise of freely available content on the internet forced a string of magazines to close. In November, FHM and Zoo followed Loaded and Nuts in folding marking the end of the lads’ magazine era as men turn to mobile phones and social media.

Besides publishing Penthouse, FriendFinder Networks operates a number of adult-oriented social networking sites including AdultFriendFinder.com, Amigos.com, AsiaFriendFinder.com and SeniorFriendFinder.com. The company has faced financial difficulties in recent years. FriendFinder Networks filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013. The company was cleared to exit bankruptcy later that year.

Source: Guardian UK.

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:34 pm 
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Californians reject condoms in porn ballot measure Proposition 60
By Matt Pressberg
November 9, 2016

California voters decided not to get the state involved in enforcing the use of condoms on porn shoots, rejecting Proposition 60, according to adult industry trade organization Free Speech Coalition.

The ballot measure, which would have mandated the use of condoms on adult films shot in the state, was defeated by a 46-54 percentage vote. The proposition, introduced and backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its president, Michael Weinstein, would have required porn actors to wear condoms during scenes filmed in California. To help enforce it, the proposed law contained a provision in which any California citizen could sue if he observed a film shot without visible latex. That whistleblower would be entitled to a share of the damages if he prevailed in court – even if he did not suffer any harm.

Adult performers such as Chanel Preston, the president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, believe that provision would have only incentivized people looking for a reason to harass porn actors. “This leaves us open to crazy anti-porn zealots,” she said in an interview earlier this year. “People trying to shut down the industry.”

The proposition received a yes vote in only four California counties, all in the southern part of the state. It holds a 3 percent lead in Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous – and home to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation – with 80 percent of the vote counted. Proposition 60’s defeat was a big victory for Preston and others in the adult film industry who traveled to hearings and organized in opposition to the ballot measure.

Source: The Wrap via SFGate

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:21 am 
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Japan's silver-tongued Lotharios sell dreams to lonely women
By Alastair Himmer
21 February 2017

Cigarette smoke hangs thick in the air of a Tokyo nightspot as Aki Nitta sips champagne with a trio of sweet-talking Lotharios peddling fake love at premium rates.

In a country which has lost its mojo, many wealthy Japanese women spend eye-watering sums on male hosts in return for an evening of sweet talk, flirting -- and often sex. "I want my heart to flutter," Nitta told AFP at a popular club in the Kabukicho red-light district lined with chrome and mirrors. "Japanese men aren't very attentive and don't show their feelings, but hosts treat you like a princess. I want to be pampered and I don't care how much it costs," she adds.

The 27-year-old businesswoman from Nagoya spends around $10,000 a month on the object of her desire -- a faintly androgynous beau with bleached hair and a boyish grin. But some big-spenders splurge over $100,000 in a single night to have their egos stroked by smooth-talking rental Romeos who themselves can earn five times that amount in a good month.

There are a growing number of wealthy and successful Japanese women that have become frustrated with traditional dating and instead prefer to focus their romantic energies somewhere they are guaranteed to be treated well. "I'm paying for time, rather than men," explained Nitta. "Time is more important to me so I want to live for now, without any regrets."

Many women -- ranging from 20-somethings to those in their sixties -- lavish expensive gifts on their favourite hosts, buying them diamond watches, luxury cars, even apartments. "When I was 20 a customer bought me a Porsche," said former host Sho Takami, who owns a chain of clubs and likens a host's role to that of a psychiatrist, with benefits. "It's a 24-hour job," insisted the 43-year-old after arriving for work in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce.

"Our real work starts after hours -- going for drinks with customers, crawling into bed at 9am, meeting another one for lunch," added Takami, who is set to open a host club in Las Vegas next year. "It's important the customer believes there's a chance of love. After all that's how you get her to come to the club and spend money," Takami explained.

Host clubs are a $10 billion industry in Japan with some 800 venues nationwide. Around 260 of those are located in Tokyo, most squeezed into Kabukicho's narrow streets where flickering neon signs display the air-brushed faces of hosts outside clubs with names such as Romeo, Gatsby and Avalon.

Hosts have been compared to male geishas and Takami believes the culture, which began in the early 1970s, empowers women. "A host's job is to support a lady's heart," he said. "We're here to encourage women's social advancement. It used to be considered a bit vulgar to party with hosts. But times have changed. These days being able to let your hair down at a host club is a mark of status or success," he added.

Japan's hosts, denizens of the night instantly recognisable by their spray tans, crimped long hair and tight-fitting suits, are often accused of preying on women's emotions. "The customers are buying affection," shrugged ex-host Ken Ichijo on the terrace of his penthouse flat. "We're selling them dreams, so you lie about loving them in return for serious money," added the 38-year-old club manager, freshly blow-dried and shirt open to reveal a medallion. "That leaves a bad taste for some people who think we're just ripping girls off."

Ichijo argues that it is simply a case of supply and demand. "Hosts exist to fill a void in someone's life," he said. "In this business, the host is the product. We pamper to a woman's every need -- listen to her problems, tell her she's beautiful, act out her fantasies."

With harsher restrictions on opening hours, regular police checks and far less 'yakuza' gangster involvement, the host business has cleaned up its shady image in recent years. But the promise of sex is still dangled as bait in a cutthroat industry, admits Ichijo, whose plush apartment screams bling. "Sex is not necessarily part of a host club's service," he said. "But it is part of trying to satisfy the customer's needs."

Japan's shrinking birthrate has been blamed in part on a growing social trend known as 'herbivore men' -- those who shun carnal pleasures and machismo in favour of the quiet life. But libidos rage among the coiffured gigolos at the Top Dandy club, where sex worker Megumi Suzuki is a regular.

"Hosts are charming and they understand a woman's feelings," purred the 27-year-old as a snake-hipped host in leather pants and winklepicker shoes lit her cigarette. "I come here to blow off steam. The men are like sparkly things -- I could come every day and never tire of them."

Source: Yahoo! AFP

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:53 pm 
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Thai 'Sin City' finds abstaining from sex hard
17 April 2017

PATTAYA, Thailand (AFP) -- In a daring nautical themed outfit, sex worker May confidently predicts the survival of Thai sleaze town Pattaya despite a junta attempt to tame the kingdom's "Sin City".

She is bullish because she, like tens of thousands of others in the industry, have no plans to give up their jobs. And there are no signs the hordes of foreign sex tourists are abating. Two hours east of Bangkok, Pattaya's bawdy reputation hails from the Vietnam War era when American GIs partied in their downtime. Today it spins money off its no-holds-barred reputation and its most successful sex workers earn anywhere between 70-150,000 baht (US$2,000-US$4,400) a month, as much as ten times the national average wage.

"I make good money here, for me and my family," May told AFP as she touted for clients near 'Walking Street' –- a mile-long drag festooned with bars and clubs pouring out ear-crushing EDM music.

But concerns about the impact on Thailand’s reputation have spurred authorities to act, while frequent reports of underage sex workers, drug abuse and mafia operations further muddy Pattaya’s name. May, who is transgender, said the strip has felt more subdued in recent weeks as police and soldiers conduct frequent patrols as part of a clean-up ordered by the censorious ruling junta.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Sulasak Kalokwilas is one of those tasked with what many might deem the ultimate Sisyphean task: weaning Pattaya off sex. "We are suppressing obscene and dirty shows. We're trying to make those bars disappear," he explained. As he spoke, lines of women stood behind him in revealing outfits enticing punters into bars with names like Taboo and G-Spot as well as Fahrenheit -- a nightspot boasting "The Hottest Girls in Pattaya".

"The lady boys and women working there, they are not involved in the sex trade," said Pattaya's police chief Colonel Apichai Kroppeth, echoing the kind of Thai police rhetoric commonly divorced from reality. "They work as waitresses, sit and chat with customers, some dance in shows," he said.

For many residents of the city the latest moral outrage fits a familiar pattern: negative overseas headlines prompt authorities to launch high-visibility -- yet limited -- crackdowns on an industry that pays the bills for everyone. "You're expecting the poachers to be the gamekeepers?" said one westerner who has made Pattaya his home, when asked if the latest clean-up will work.

The sex trade is a cash cow for the bar owners, girls, massage parlours, hotels, taxis, mafia and, many have long alleged, the cops charged with policing. Thais call it "pon prayote", says British journalist Andrew Drummond who reported on crime in Thailand for two decades. "It means everyone benefits... it brings in massive amounts of money and simply couldn't happen without police connivance." Apichai insisted there was "no bribery for sure" in his force.

Prostitution is illegal in conservative Thailand. Yet it remains ubiquitous for local and foreign customers alike. Businesses use a well worn loophole to avoid prosecution, hiring sex workers inside the bars merely to entertain and talk to patrons. A small "bar fine", usually around 500 baht (US$14), secures private "short time" away from the bar where any deal struck for sex is purely between the punter and prostitute.

While authorities have vowed to shutter the trade, there is little discussion on what happens to the sex workers -- who often support large families with their earnings. There are no exact numbers, but a 2014 UNAIDS report suggested some 140,000 females are employed by sex work across Thailand. Tens of thousands are thought to operate in Pattaya alone.

Tourism officials are optimistic for change, citing the increasing number of families coming to the town's resorts and its popularity for sports, such as jet-skiing and golf. "In terms of facilities I think we are already there," said Suladda Sarutilavan, Pattaya's director of tourism. Last year some 12 million tourists -- seventy percent foreigners -- visited a city which now boasts over 100,000 rooms across 2,000 hotels, from cheap backpackers to swanky golf courses and family apartments.

While not everyone who comes is a sex tourist, she admits the city's seedy image and crime headlines are a problem. "It makes us feel a little bit uncomfortable," she said.

Two recent killings have renewed the spotlight on the city's reputation as a bolthole for foreign criminals. In January, British businessman Tony Kenway was gunned down as he left the gym, a hit police linked to "boiler room" scams. In 2015 an Australian former Hells Angel was kidnapped in broad daylight and murdered.

Foreigners who have made Pattaya home lament the killings, but say they fail to tell the wider picture of a largely safe, affordable city. "Every night I went out in Coventry there was always one or two fights. I feel completely safe here," said Briton Bryan Flowers, who moved to Pattaya a decade ago and now owns a dozen bars.

Others argue fancy hotels, malls and golf courses can flourish in step with the town's party reputation. "It's why a lot of people come here," Simon Peatfield, another Brit who owns restaurants and sports bars, said. "There's only so much golf you can play."

Source: AFP via Channel NewsAsia

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 11:25 am 
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No flak from the law for floating Alaska strip club
May 19, 2017

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- An Alaska man says he didn't have problems with authorities after he reopened a strip club on his converted crabbing boat as a way to protest his conviction on federal charges.

Darren Byler launched the first nightly protest Thursday in a harbor near the island town of Kodiak. He says about 35 people showed up to watch eight exotic dancers aboard the 94-foot Wild Alaskan.

Byler was fined and sentenced to probation in January for disposing human waste off the same vessel. He says the federal "poop" charges were retaliation from authorities and others who disapprove of the exotic-dancer business. He's not serving alcohol or charging admission, but people have to pay $25 for a round-trip water-taxi ride.

Coast Guard and Kodiak police didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:44 pm 
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Britain to make porn sites check that users are at least 18
17 July 2017

LONDON (AP) -- The British government says that starting next year pornography websites will have to verify that their users are at least 18.

The government says that from April 2018 websites will have to show they are blocking access by minors, possibly by making users supply credit-card details. A regulator will have the power to fine those that fail to comply. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children says the move will protect young people from "deeply damaging" imagery.

But the Open Rights Group says the rule may let websites build up databases of users' personal information and porn habits. Executive director Jim Killick said Monday that the information "could be vulnerable to Ashley Madison-style hacks." In 2015, hackers stole details of millions of users of the infidelity website.

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:46 pm 
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https://www.thelocal.ch/20161102/geneva ... ex-workers

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:47 pm 
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https://www.thelocal.ch/20160623/geneva ... nd-of-year

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:56 am 
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Bikini baristas sue Washington city over dress code law
By GENE JOHNSON
September 11, 2017

SEATTLE (AP) -- Seven bikini baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands called "Hillbilly Hotties" sued the city of Everett, Washington, on Monday, saying two recently passed ordinances banning bare skin violate their right to free expression.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, says the ordinances passed by the Everett City Council deny bikini-stand employees the ability to communicate through their attire, are vague and confusing, and unlawfully target women. "Just like Starbucks with green aprons, UPS with brown trucks and outfits, and Hooter's with short-orange shorts, the baristas' attire evokes a message at work," the lawsuit says, adding that such messages include "freedom, empowerment, openness, acceptance, approachability, vulnerability and individuality."

One of Everett's new laws requires the workers to wear a minimum of tank tops and shorts. It specifically applies to employees at "quick service" restaurants, which also include fast food and food trucks. The other redefined the city's lewd conduct ordinance and created a new crime of facilitating lewd conduct. Both ordinances took effect early this month.

The city cited "a proliferation of crimes of a sexual nature occurring at bikini barista stands throughout the city" in adopting the measures. "Employees and owners of barista stands where this conduct occurs are making large sums of money from overtly sexual, lewd conduct, and prostitution," the city declared in one of the measures. A spokeswoman said the city had no comment on the lawsuit.

Everett and Snohomish County, where it's located north of Seattle, have had a troubled history with the shops, which in some cases have operated as drive-thru strip clubs or even brothels. A former Snohomish County sheriff's sergeant pleaded guilty to helping launder money from a prostitution operation run out of some of the roadside stands and was sentenced to one year in jail. The proprietor of another chain, the Grab-N-Go espresso huts, was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor after he employed a 16-year-old girl at his stands. Prosecutors said his business model relied on the baristas performing lewd shows.

But Jovanna Edge, who runs five Hillbilly Hotties stands, including two in Everett, said the city's new laws are unnecessary. A few years ago, she said, she gave Everett police permission to log in and view surveillance video of her stands so they can observe what's happening in real time. "I don't want to hide anything from them," Edge said Monday. "Everybody needs to follow the rules, to not step out of the box and take their clothes off for people. That's a way to keep them honest." Since the laws took effect, she said, "I have people who are threatening to quit because they're not making any money."

Among the allegations in the lawsuit is that the laws' definitions of what skin must be covered up are confusing. The dress code for baristas refers to the "upper and lower body," stomach, and back below the shoulder blades, among other areas. "The length of a common woman's shirt is often short enough that stretching or bending would reveal part of her back or stomach," the lawsuit says.

The other measure bans "an exposure of more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola." "To properly enforce the citywide ordinance, a police officer must determine the location of the 'top of a woman's areola,' which can only be seen by exposing the breast," the complaint says. "This would subject women to humiliating and offensive searches."

Source: AP

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:25 am 
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By Venus O'Hara
27 October 2017

In 2009, I decided to leave my job in luxury property in Barcelona and set up my own sex blog. At the time, I was doing some fetish modelling at weekends, directing my own shoots with a body-positive message. I had accumulated a lot of imagery and wanted to share it with the world, to turn my hobby into an online business.

It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but it was a bad time to be in real estate. I had a rat infestation in my flat and having to buy rat poison instead of food was torturous. So, when the commission for my final two sales came through, I left my job, got rid of the rats and venusohara.org was born.

I told only a few close friends and family. Most thought I was chasing an impossible dream, making a living from my art, but when it started working, they were pleased for me. My blog grew gradually in the beginning – on a good day, I had 300 visits – so I gradually got used to online attention. It was when I started getting interviewed in the Spanish media that it exploded. And then I was asked to become a sex columnist for Spanish GQ.

By 2013, I was hailed as Spain’s most influential sex blogger, and adult novelty companies started sending me sex toys to include in my column. So I put my growing pleasure stash to good use and made a business out of it. My first review was a jelly vibrator – I wouldn’t review it now, because I know jelly is too porous to be cleaned properly.

I now produce video reviews for my Sex Toy Laboratory on YouTube, and also work in the development side of the industry; I have even designed my own clitoral stimulator. Lying on my unmade bed and having orgasms is an obvious perk of the job, but it’s only a very small part of the process. Most of it is writing reviews, then recording and editing videos. I’m a one-woman orchestra and work almost every day, but I love what I do.

I want to raise orgasmic awareness among women. It seems that despite progress in female sexual liberation, many women still don’t realise that having a clitoris means we have more orgasmic potential. Apart from the obvious sexual benefits, being able to pleasure yourself can have a positive effect on other aspects of your life, especially your relationships and body confidence. Orgasm can be a great insomnia cure and muscle relaxant, and it can boost your mood.

When you work online, you can never really know the true extent of your influence. It’s only when I meet my female followers at book signings that I realise my work is having an effect. I’ve met several women who have been inspired to buy their first sex toy after reading one of my reviews. The glow on their faces when they tell me about their first orgasm encourages me to work harder.

I’ve only ever bought one sex toy – my first – a battery-operated rabbit vibrator, but I have acquired hundreds of pleasure devices that have been sent to me. I only test luxury products made from body-safe materials. I keep them all in a big cupboard and store them according to their category: so, there’s the ben-wah balls drawer, the rabbit drawer… You can even buy app-controlled toys that can be controlled by a partner on the other side of the world. The most expensive toy I’ve reviewed was a laser device to facilitate female arousal. It cost €1,700 and all I can say is it was like female Viagra. The best toys are in the “repeat” drawer, which is next to my bed. One day, I hope I can exhibit them all.

Explaining what I do for a living is never dull. Some men find it intimidating, others intriguing. It’s a good filter to see who can truly handle me. It can be annoying if people don’t take me seriously or laugh as though it’s frivolous or scandalous. More often, it encourages people to tell me things they wouldn’t dare admit to their partners or friends. When this happens, I know my job is fulfilling a genuine need.

Many women ask me, “How can I have an orgasm?” It really isn’t about the toy; it’s more about letting go and connecting your erotic imagination to your body. When you finally do, there really is nothing quite like it.

Source: Guardian UK

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 Post subject: Re: The Business of Sex
PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:39 pm 
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Politics killing the mood at Barcelona's storied sex club
by Alfons LUNA
11 November 2017

BARCELONA (AFP) - The sequined curtains of Barcelona's Bagdad nightclub have seen a few sights in their 40 years -- from red-lit sex shows to burlesque troupers hauling gas canisters with their genitals.

But the legendary nightspot, opened in the 1970s during Spain's swinging return to democracy, is now feeling the pinch from a new sideshow -- Catalonia's drive to declare independence. "It's because of the political crisis, all these images broadcast abroad," says Bagdad owner Juani De Lucia. "People are scared to come to Barcelona and I hope that changes fast."

The maitre d' reckons business has slumped 70 percent since Catalonia organised a banned referendum on independence on October 1, plunging Spain into a constitutional crisis. Normally a favourite haunt of tourists, businessmen and bachelor parties on the hunt for titillation, the mirror-lined club one recent day had just two sole punters on its cherry red seats, taking in an x-rated show that often requires audience participation.

Down the road, an avenue lined with theatres and cinemas is similarly bereft of visitors. In a reminder of the region's tumult, the face of a pro-independence actor, Quim Masferrer, appears on a poster for one show. "If we want a normal country, we need to have a normal life," he told local radio station Rac1.

De Lucia feels much the same. "When you live in Barcelona, you know you can come and go as you please, but people outside of the city don't realise this," she says. "Here many foreign women are getting frantic phone calls from their families."

Catalonia, home to 7.5 million people, Mediterranean beaches and world-renowned architecture, is Spain's most-visited region, attracting more than 18 million foreign tourists in 2016. But in just two weeks following the October 1 vote, tourism saw a 15 percent year-on-year drop off, according to employers' federation Exceltur.

The Bagdad, named to evoke the tales in "1001 Nights", was founded in December 1975, a month after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. The country's return to democracy hailed an era of sexual liberation in traditionally conservative Spain, including a surge in pornographic and erotic art, particularly in the film world.

It was during a trip to Hamburg's red light district -- around the lurid, buzzing Reeperbahn once home to The Beatles -- that De Lucia came up with the idea of her own hommage to hedonism. "I was super young. Just seeing all these amazing halls, the sex shops, the peep shows, I felt I was on another planet," she recalls. "Everything was open 24 hours, everything was legal."

With her husband she decided to let an old flamenco cabaret near Barcelona's Las Ramblas Boulevard owned by local screen luminary La Bella Dorita. She says it turned out a wise move. "There were lines of people waiting down the street. Back then you had to travel to France just to see 'Last Tango in Paris', so it was an impressive success."

The club has produced its share of legends, including famed porn actors Nacho Vidal and Marco Banderas and performers Kumar and Tiger Man, who perfected the improbable feat of lifting a 30-kilogramme bell and a gas canister by their penises.

Banderas admits he's "never seen such a slump" in clientele, but De Lucia is defiant. "Bagdad is over 40 years old, it's a solid business," she says. "It will still be here, you can't erase 40 years overnight."

Source: AFP

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