chapter  4
18 Pages

Sex cards in Tel Aviv

Mood work, recreational sexuality and urban atmospheres
ByDana Kaplan

This chapter is about business card sized sex cards that advertise heterosexual prostitution in Tel Aviv and the creative urban atmosphere they help to create. The sex cards, depicting erotic images of half-naked women, are either attached to parked cars' windshields, or scattered on sidewalks. The sexualization of cities according to middle-class sensibilities is realized through various zoning and clustering tactics that separate gay-friendly, hip, and consumerist "cool" spaces, from sexually "perverse" spaces of paid sex. Scholars who study the dominance of immaterial and affective labor in contemporary capitalism assume that productive work is no longer bound to the traditional workplace but has expanded to include life itself. Most studies on recreational sexuality have analyzed either the "upper", glamorous, fun, and consumerist sex culture, or the "lower", clearly exploitative circuits of sex in global capitalism.