Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Arguments For and Against Prostitution

Now, I've said that I wouldn't partake of the services of prostitutes. At the moment I can't see myself doing that. It's entirely possible that I might one day be a 65-year old lecher calling up some escort service for a 20-year old vixen, but I don't see it.

That having been said, I don't see prostitution as inherently evil and degrading. Certainly as it manifests itself, I think that in practice it is often evil and degrading. This is due to our love-hate relationship with sex and to the general level of misogyny in our society.

From what some sex-workers have to say though, it isn't always the case. In interviews with sex columnists, I've read that individual prostitutes have reported that anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of their clients express sincere gratitude for their services. The actual number of abusive clients being quite small in comparison.

If it's possible to separate sex from love (and it most certainly is), prostitution can serve as a useful way for inexperienced people to become comfortable with the act, instead of fumbling and embarrassing themselves with a hopeful romantic partner.

It's possible that individuals might have difficulty finding a romantic partner for extended periods of time. Rather than suffer in undesired sexlessness, or entering into a doomed relationship with an incompatible partner, people could relieve the tension by paying for a prostitute.

It seems to be the case that neither men nor women are hard-wired for lifetime monogamy. Unfortunately for us, we arrange our lives in the hopes of having lifetime partners, especially when we have children together.  Rather than have "affairs" and all the messiness that entails, men and women could obtain sexual variety from prostitutes.

Finally (for now) people interested in exploring sexual "kinks" could investigate these desires with specialist prostitutes who can moderate the level of intensity as these newcomers require.

What could go wrong?

Virgins can find their initial sexual experiences to be cold and mechanical. (As opposed to fumbling and embarrassing.)

Difficult people can swear-off ever trying to be emotionally mature enough for a romantic relationship and instead be self-centered assholes to prostitutes.

Married partners can blow the kids' college fund on prostitutes.

Prostitutes can be unwillingly forced to perform unnatural acts for perverted, sadistic employers and clients.

At the back of it all is coercion. Let's not kid ourselves.  If "red-light districts" or brothels and rub-and-tugs didn't exist, there wouldn't be so many human traffickers tricking or coercing so many women (especially from poor countries) into sexual slavery. (Gorgeous women from Eastern Europe don't have an innate desire to fuck all sorts of Western men for money which the end of the Cold War has now made it possible for them to do. Those hot Asian babes in the classified ads don't all consider themselves to be "living the dream.")

On the other hand, there definitely are women for whom (who?) prostitution is freely chosen. NOT because it's the dream job they saw themselves doing ever since they were little girls, but because it's the steadiest work they can find and it pays the best wages they see themselves as being able to command. I don't think this is the same thing as economic and sexual exploitation. Please follow: Sex is not inherently degrading. Prostitution is not inherently degrading. Prostitution is an occupation. The vast majority of their clients are either noticeably grateful and/or repeat customers. It pays the bills far better than any other occupation that they see themselves as able to obtain.

It's these women who have decided that in this world, in this life, at this place and time, that this is what they're going to do. And they saw the laws that prevented them from working from a safe space, able to freely communicate with and screen their clients, and able to employ drivers/bodyguards, have boyfriends, support their children, as violating their rights to freedom of expression and security of the person.

Does legalized prostitution mean that human trafficking is now legal? Did the Supreme Court strike down laws against fraudulently telling Chinese women that they could provide them with modelling jobs in Canada, force them into prostitution, keep their passports from them and threaten them with violence if they try to leave?

It did not.

Did the Supreme Court say that juveniles are free to sell their bodies and to turn the money over to their pimps?

It did not.

Again though: Where is the line separating a respectful, grateful client of an independent individual who has (for all intents and purposes) voluntarily entered into the sex-trade, and the entitled, selfish creep who doesn't care that the young woman he's using is the victim of kidnapping and coercion? Or the men who are having sex with children? I don't know where that line is. I honestly don't.

One constant is the vast over-representation of men as the clients. Why is this?

A lot is said about "male entitlement" and a lot of that is valid. Supposedly men feel entitled to women's bodies and will become resentful and violent when their desires are frustrated. This is true. But in the same way that people cannot see their "privilege" because it seems so natural, some men can't see their sense of "entitlement." To them, it's just "desire." They haven't constructed the world so that women's economic choices are such that so many of them see prostitution as the best of a bad situation. (Albeit sometimes a lucrative best of a bad situation.)

And I want to advance a possibility that I honestly have no idea whether it's valid or not: But might it not be the case that the general lack of a sense of "entitlement" among women is at least partially the result of society denying women's sexual desire? In a culture where little girls are discouraged from burping and farting and otherwise being human, and where sexual women are shamed as "sluts" and "whores," the paucity of female demand for male prostitutes a result of sexual repression? (Or is it also the case that if a woman wants to get laid, she only has to make this information public to be satisfied, which is not always the case for men?)

When I first opened this line of discussion, I mentioned that there are social-cultural-economic reasons why men don't become prostitutes in as great numbers as women. There's a lack of demand, but also a lack of necessity or free choice to do so.

So, the end result of today's post is that I don't know the answers. I'll conclude with a final post about the issue of safety.


greg said...

Since the right can just quote scripture to make their argument, it's about time the left had their own. So let's take your stuff, make it look real old, bury it somewhere and dig it up. We'll pay someone to carbon date it. You wanted to start a mass movement and this is the plan.

thwap said...

Now you're just fucking with me.

Anonymous said...

There are dildos and butt plugs out there older than the bible.

thwap said...