There was an article in Sunday’s Washington Post about the Five Myths of Prostitution. Well worth the time to read it and educate oneself on a subject for too many people their primary reference point for information about play for pay is a Pretty Woman rerun.
Whenever there is a discussion about legalizing prostitution the usual counter-argument is how it will lead to sexual slavery and unwilling women exploited by pimps, how children will be exploited and how streetwalkers will be serving up blow jobs in the bushes of churches and public schools.
This is nothing but nonsense and scare tactics. There are no mythical horde of sex-crazed prostitutes about to descend upon innocent men, tearing off their zippers with yellowed teeth and demanding $50 for French lessons without a translator.
Nobody is in favor of allowing women and children to be coerced into sexual slavery. Nobody is in favor of underage and teen prostitution. Nobody is in favor of women being exploited by pimps, madams and agencies.
That said, what consenting adults do in private is not the business of the state, politicians, moral crusaders and busy bodies. Prostitution should be decriminalized and the dollars and hours wasted by the Sex Police would be better spent elsewhere going after real criminals and protecting real victims.
There are literally thousands of women who with a clear and rational mind make for themselves the decision to use their bodies how they see fit to use them and if they should make a profit while doing so, that’s just gravy on the biscuit. Boxers, basketball players and other athletes employ their bodies as a means to an end. Why so much drama when a woman uses hers to give another person pleasure instead beating each other into bloody pulps as fighters routinely do?
Personally, if I have to choose between keeping a drunk driver who has wiped out a car full of kids in jail or letting him out so I can lock up a woman who gave some slob seven minutes of pleasure in the back seat of a SUV, I know which one I would consider the greater menace to society.
The last thing the cops need to be worried about is being pressured to enforce another series of stupid laws. Just like medical marijuana, those who choose to partake of the services of a sex worker are engaged in a “crime” without a victim.
Haven’t we learned by now from the failure of Prohibition and the unwinnable War on Drugs (aka The War on the Poor, the Black, the Brown and Those Without a Good Lobbyist in Washington) that you can only limit the access to the vices a person wishes to pursue? You can never eradicate it completely and certainly not by dubious laws dreamt up by zealots and moralists.
The possible benefit of legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution is permitting the police to stop wasting time, money and resources for a consensual sex act between adults. Of course nobody wants to see their daughter having sex with strangers for money. However, nobody wants to see their daughter working in a non-union clothing sweatshop, busing tables while horny men check out her legs or otherwise being exploited by some pig.
Decriminalizing prostitution is not the same thing as legalizing it. Legalizing prostitution is sanctioning the practice and opens it up for the regulation of prostitution. The unintended consequence is to turn government regulators into pimps. It is not the want of sex workers to have government bureaucrats knock at their door to see if they have properly disinfected their sex toys after every usage or to inspect their underwear drawer to make sure they aren’t buying lacy little things made in Chinese sweat shops.
Sexwork is not the first option most women would choose for themselves, but why should a woman who chooses to put a price tag on her sexual favors be scorned while another who gives it away is not? There’s some inconsistency here.
Camille Paglia said it well: The most successful prostitutes are invisible, because the sign of a prostitute’s success is her absolute blending with the environment. She’s so shrewd, she never becomes visible. She never gets in trouble. She has command of her life, and her clients. The ones who get into the surveys have drug problems or psychological problems. They’re the ones who were sexually abused. Feminists are using amateurs to condemn a whole profession.
One of the ten smartest people I’ve met (in the virtual world since we’ve never laid eyes on each other face-to-face) is Amanda Brooks, the author of The Internet Escort’s Handbook. Miss Brooks is a college educated escort and activist and we’ve been swapping e-mails and mutual admiration for several years now. I don’t see her as some sort of a Internet leper, a disease-ridden degenerate, an over-priced floozy or some sort of freak show that runs around seducing men for fun and profit. Amanda is simply a woman who makes her living in a way society generally looks down its nose by day while eagerly compensating her for services rendered by night.
We can wring our hands and cluck our tongues and wag our crooked little fingers at these fallen women and their tawdry profession. But there is a certain fact a late friend touched upon during a discussion about prostitution that can no more be challenged than gravity.
SEX IS A COMMODITY (And It Always Has Been).