If prostitution isn't about lonely, undersexed men, what is it about? (Or, Justin Bieber doesn't need to pay for sex)

Justin Bieber was photographed leaving a Brazilian brothel last weekend. He was covered in bedsheets, which leads us to believe that buying sex still isn’t seen as a completely acceptable pass time (though our friends on team “sex work is work” are doing their very best to change that).

It’s not as though the Biebs has a shortage of options in the lady department. In fact, the very next evening, he left the club at 3am with a van load of 30 girls. Whatever. I know you don’t care what Justin Bieber does on weekends. My point is this: Why are we still pretending as though prostitution exists for lonely, socially awkward, undersexed men?

The media is in love with the “sex surrogate” story these days. Last year the idea of sex as a kind of therapeutic service for the disabled was mainstreamed when The Sessions, a film about a man who was paralyzed from the neck down and hired a sex surrogate in order to lose his virginity, came out.

We want to pity johns more than we want to shame them. The sad men and their sad penises. But I don’t think Justin Bieber’s penis is very sad… And I don’t think loneliness or disability is a reasonable defense for male power.

The notion that prostitutes exist as an “outlet” for men isn’t new. Over a century ago we believed prostitutes were necessary in order to prevent men from raping (non-prostituted women) and to preserve marriages. Prostitution was seen as a “social service.” Prostitutes were essentially there to take shit from men, so they wouldn’t take it out on the “good women.” You don’t want to be in the position of being an “outlet” for male aggression (something that was seen as natural and is still seen, by many, as innate). Naturalizing male sexuality as uncontrollable or violent isn’t going to help anyone and making a certain, marginalized, class of women responsible for protecting the other, more privileged women is abhorrent. The Romans viewed prostitutes as sexually insatiable deviants, a notion that conveniently erases any abuses those women suffered at the hands of the men who pay to do with them what they will. We cling to all these notions today, repackaging them over and over again in a continual effort to convince the world that this industry is both necessary and deserving of permanence.

The discourse surrounding prostitution has changed in that we’ve tried to sanitize the industry. “A job like any other” makes prostituted women into service providers, no different than a hair dresser or a physiotherapist. What stays the same is the notion that prostitution is necessary because of the poor, sex-deprived men who “need” women as “outlets.” Some women are lucky enough to have other choices besides dick-receptacle. The poor, the abused, the racialized — not so much.

Today, we like to imagine prostitution as a service for the lonesome. We are to pity these men — What, are they supposed to just masturbate? The horror! But examples like that of Mr. Bieber (and the countless other wealthy men and celebrities who pay for sex) show us that prostitution isn’t just about sex. There is no shortage of sex in Justin Bieber’s life — he has access to plenty of vagina, not to worry. Prostitution, it’s clear, is about power. Male power, specifically.

We can recycle as many of these centuries-old defenses as we like. Take your pick:

– Men are naturally violent and rapey and need to ejaculate into or onto women’s bodies in order to remain sane.

– Men are naturally promiscuous and need different vag to keep things spicy. Their wives, after all, have real feelings and personalities which can be annoying and tiresome.

– Prostitutes just loooove sex! You can bet all those johns are really generous in the sack. Really, really skilled in the art of pleasing a woman. They can’t tell the difference between real pleasure and acting, but hey, that’s why they pay. So they can imagine themselves to be the most virile of lovers. It’s no wonder they (supposedly) can’t get laid for free.

We have, after all, been defending men’s right to women’s bodies since the invention of patriarchy. Why stop now?

The Biebs isn’t lonely, desperate, disabled, or socially awkward. So how does one explain his visit to the brothel? I’m going to pass on what I learned about johns from survivor and author, Rachel Moran here: Men buy sex because they think they can treat prostitutes differently than they can treat their wives, girlfriends, and dates. They buy sex in order to project what Moran called “evil arousal” onto a human being, guilt and consequence-free. They buy sex to experience dominance and to make rape and abuse “consensual” (as we’ve convinced ourselves that payment = consent). Indeed, most johns derive sadistic pleasure from that power imbalance, Moran says.

Prostitution isn’t about sexuality. It’s about male power, plain and simple. And if you’re a feminist, a humanitarian, or a person who believes, in any way at all, in equality and human rights, it’s time to stop regurgitating defenses of the industry. They are old — so old — and they are incredibly destructive, deadly even.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Great post. One of my very favorite comebacks to the defenders of the necessity of prostitution was along the lines of “Well, if this is just a necessary thing to have available, maybe we should make it like national service, where everyone has to do a stint as a prostitute when young. You good with doing that? How about your children, if you have any…do you look forward to their performing this national service?”

    • Meghan Murphy

      Sure, yeah! Good plan. If men are going to, like, die without prostitution, everyone should chip in to help. SAVE THE MEN!

    • Uh well, obviously different men (and women) hire prostitutes (of both genders) for different reasons. I’ve hired one, when as an extremely anxious and shy virgin just out of college I was getting stressed about not being able to ask any lady out. Sex was ONLY one of my hang-ups, but hiring and having sex with a hooker did actually entirely moot that as one of the hang-ups. Started dating a lady later that year.

      My having sex with that prostitute was in no way at all about “power”. I mean, wow. It was about my own psychological problems and fears about relationships. My own 10 years prior of chronic depression and anxiety. One day in college when walking to class on the train tracks I was considering not jumping out of them if a train would come. Sex with a prostitute obviously didn’t magically solve all of that.

      But it did take one heavy psychological chip off my shoulder. It HELPED me. And it was in NO way about “power”. Unless by “power” it means “power to be, finally after a decade, proactive in finding ways to solve one’s own issues”.

      [whether it’s moral to ever hire a hooker (or gigolo, males are also prostitutes) isn’t the issue I’m trying to get at. I may have been immoral in doing so. But that still doesn’t mean that it didn’t help me.]

      • Meghan Murphy

        1) It’s “woman,” not “lady,” thx
        2) Just because you don’t see that it’s about power doesn’t mean it’s not. Why do you think you think it’s ok to pay a woman to compensate for your supposed insecurities or anxieties? Why do you think you should be able to use a woman’s body to make you feel like more of a man (which is what you’re doing, fyi)? How do you think that’s not about power?

        • 1) I’m so sorry to have offended you.

          2)Well, why would I pay a woman to give me a massage if I have back pain? Why would I pay a male therapist to give me relationship advice? Because it helps me.

          You have a very broad definition of “power”. I guess when I’d train for wrestling with a male partner in order to get better at wrestling, I was using that man’s body, and the reason I was doing so was about power?

          You wrote in reference from Moran: “Men buy sex because they think they can treat prostitutes differently than they can treat their wives, girlfriends, and dates. They buy sex in order to project what Moran called “evil arousal” onto a human being, guilt and consequence-free. They buy sex to experience dominance and to make rape and abuse “consensual” (as we’ve convinced ourselves that payment = consent). Indeed, most johns derive sadistic pleasure from that power imbalance,”

          My attempt to get over a severe psychological hang-up was actually “evil arousal”? I bought sex not to ameliorate my condition but rather to experience dominance and make rape consensual? I derived sadistic pleasure from power balance? This is so bizarrely different than the actual reasons I did so. I’d think if the above were accurate I would’ve bought more than one hooker after that first one, 23 years ago. Could it, could it possibly be that different men have different reason for buying hookers? Just like different women have different reasons for hooking? The thought boggles the mind!

          By the way, I assume you think if women buy sex from gigolos, or males from other males/females from other females, it’s because they can derive sadistic pleasure from power imbalance, claim that the rape of them was actually “consensual”, etc, right?

          • Meghan Murphy

            “By the way, I assume you think if women buy sex from gigolos, or males from other males/females from other females, it’s because they can derive sadistic pleasure from power imbalance, claim that the rape of them was actually “consensual”, etc, right?”

            This is a derail. Men buy sex — mostly from women. If you continue to make irrelevant points, I will consider you a troll and stop approving your comments. Thanks.

          • “You have a very broad definition of “power”. I guess when I’d train for wrestling with a male partner in order to get better at wrestling, I was using that man’s body, and the reason I was doing so was about power? ”

            Are you seriously comparing two wrestlers training, with a man buying the use of another woman’s sexual organs? Seriously?

            No, training to become a wrestler does not give you more or less power. It does not in itself give you more ability to order people around. Money, however, does.

          • Lo

            “Well, why would I pay a woman to give me a massage if I have back pain? Why would I pay a male therapist to give me relationship advice? Because it helps me.”

            Translation: ” Why Would I pay a woman for a blowjob and not a therapist? Because therapists don’t want to. I want to use women as sex objects for my personnal satisfaction whenever I want. It helps me a lot to consider women as sex objects. “

          • Keila

            I do not judge you or anyone else on here for the things that have been said and done. I have read through all of these posts and I am truly saddened. I’m sure that you are not a bad or “power crazed” individual. I am a female and I still believe that no one should ever be disrespected the way you have been on this site. Female or male we all deserve respect, especially after sharing something very personal like this and yeah maybe its immoral, but you obviously came here to be open and understand this situation from different points of view. There should be no one telling you that you felt a certain way when you did these things. You are your own person. I think that we all need to get along and instead of fighting, we need to make things better or nothing will ever change. Male or female we are the human race and we have to work together. This is coming from a 20 year old women who has lost both her parents, watched her mother being abused by men and women, but also watching her never hate those who hurt her. Hate and anger will be our demise, but only if we let these inferior emotions get in the way of what we are truly trying to accomplish. Thank you. Best of luck to all. My prayers go out for everyone who has ever been hurt. ♡

          • Meghan Murphy

            What you frame as “fighting” and “hateful” is actually “fighting” for women’s human rights, which doesn’t strike me as particularly “hateful” and is most certainly worth “fighting” for.

        • 740TAO

          Wow, is this man for real? Maybe he should hear about how I’ve had 10 years of depression, anxiety, ptsd, bpd, two suicide hospitalizations, and trauma-induced fms/cfs/ibs/auto-immune issues that prevent me from working. I should get to take that out on a man, if I pay him, right?

          • “take it out on a man”? I don’t know exactly what that means.

            Okay, maybe I did come here expecting something else: namely that some here and the OP may think that even a very small % of prostitutes and sex surrogates have agency in what they do. If that idea isn’t true, then my buying the hooker’s services was completely immoral.

            However if it is true, and you thought seeing a male sex surrogate would greatly help a lot of those problems, then of course you should pay him and give it a shot. And if like with me it actually did solve some of the issues, then fantastic!

            Again, if the common view is that anyone paying for sex is also just doing so due to power, and/or anyone being paid for sex is incapable of willingly, uncoercively able to do so, then yep, I shouldn’t have said a word because there are fundamental disagreements.

          • “even a very small % of prostitutes and sex surrogates have agency in what they do”

            They do not have agency. They also do not have porbly, marmats or zorglubs.

          • 740TAO

            Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. My trauma comes from being a formerly prostituted woman. It is always about power. Hear me? ALWAYS. The only question is what type, and by what means.

            To understand the arguments here, I suggest you look into Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’. You presume the people on this forum have no experience or study of prostitution, historical or current. Many of the abolitionists have degrees in relevant fields, publish in academic journals, and spend a lifetime working with ‘sex workers’. I strongly doubt any experience you have as a john/consumer is reflective of the industry and what it is like for the majority of providers/slaves. Escorts merely capitalize on this power imbalance, for their own competitive advantage and profit. Their participation actively reinforces the injustices, because they lobby to sweep the experiences of exploited women under the carpet, so that their earning potential is not affected by the criminalization of pimps and johns.

          • Richard

            Now this kind of detailed rebuttal is easier to grasp than some of the more vague ones posted prior.

            The comment about escorts is interesting. My thought has always been that if it was legalized, prices charged would likely drop as they did for alcohol once prohibition ended.

            Though I guess the elimination of the threat of pimps or corrupt police officials and perhaps more customers might offset it. *shrug*

            I have no philosophical concerns for never legalizing pimping or the like. Forced sex is just another flavor of rape even if the John does not realize that he is an active participant.

            I do have to wonder about the escort type though. Those women who are true independent agents that have chosen this route because they consider it an easier way to get what they want and they do not consider sex to be substantially different from any other form of physical labor.

            I think it’s safe to say that there are few here that would say it is wrong for a woman to go out on a date and then have sex if she choose to do so. (Assuming we are talking 2 consenting unattached adults.)
            And it would not matter whether or not she was in a relationship or just the met the person either.

            Why does her demanding money make a difference?
            Again, assuming that she is taking the money for herself, not a 3rd party.

            If you can explain that to those of us that have zero experience in this area, it would be enlightening.

          • You seriously don’t understand the difference between a date and prostitution?
            You have many more problems than “having zero experience in this area.”

          • Richard

            No, I’m quite aware of the difference. You either fail to grasp the point or are dodging it.

            You presumably accept that a woman can, under the circumstances described above, choose to have sex. She can choose to do it know matter how well she knows the person. What you object to is her requesting money as opposed to being bought a series of drinks or taken out to a movie/dinner and given sweet talk.

            The question remain. Why?

      • 740TAO

        Prostituted men are hardly relevant here, because they are an extreme minority contrasted to the number of female escorts, and even more disparate from trafficked/exploited women. Besides, they are two sides of the same problem coin, reinforced by patriarchal values, and existing mostly in the third world. You can’t make a hasty generalization and pretend it’s equivalent.

        • “Prostituted men are hardly relevant here, because…”

          The opposite of “hardly” is “somewhat”, not “not”.

          I’ll do everyone a favor though and stop posting. I wasn’t expecting positions to be so absolutely binary. With zero exceptions, ever. And even with exceptions, they don’t really count. Best wishes everyone (not sarcasm or anything).

          • Yes, please stop posting. You had NO reason to post here in the first place, dudebro.

          • 740TAO

            If the only time you enter feminist blogs is to comment in favor of womens’ “right” to sell you sex, perhaps you should rethink your involvement. This bias already makes anything you say overwhelmingly suspect. It is your “right” to sexual access of women’s bodies that you are really defending. No amount of postmodern libertarian spin can obscure your motive here. Sexism exists, wake up and smell the coffee. Women are enduring REAL suffering, both domestically and remotely. No one cares about your poor sad penis, dood. Fuck off already.

        • Not very widely discussed fact is that large portion ( almost half) of underage prostitutes in US are boys. Many are run aways who live and work in urban area, most are US citizens working on the street for survival type of sex work and majority boys and girls were introduced to prostitution by their friends. As for the adult demographics, nothing that is really reliable are out there since this is illegal in the US and the clients are mostly closetted but the number of male prostitutes are not extreme minorities.

          http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/874756-129/story.html

          There are growing number of mature women who participate in sex tourism to destinations like Jamaica, Hawaii and Thailand.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_sex_tourism

          Right now I agree that domestic female clients to prostitution are still a minority. But who is to say women will not use the service more in future as many women will take on leadership position in our work force with higher income and may not have time or energy for romantic relationships.

          • Meghan Murphy

            70-90% of prostitutes are women. Something like 90% (at least) of buyers are men. Boys who are prostituted are bought by men also.

      • Either you are extremely deluded, or you really expect any other human being to swallow this bullshit.

        But most importantly, I have to ask, why in the actual fuck are you here? What reason could you possibly have to post this? What brain disjunction is causing you to do this?

        • “But most importantly, I have to ask, why in the actual fuck are you here? What reason could you possibly have to post this? What brain disjunction is causing you to do this?”

          I happened upon this article via searching feminist views on sexual surrogacy via another random thing I’d read, as I was interested in views/stats/studies/laws, including those of feminists. I found this absolutist claim wrong due to my own experience:

          “Prostitution isn’t about sexuality. It’s about male power, plain and simple. ”

          I gave my anecdote. Ironically regarding your above insult; my brain dysfunction was a fear of inadequacy/ignorance about sex, and it was cured. I didn’t feel any sense of power as any sort of reason to do that. I’m pretty well sick of you telling me I’m a fucking liar by the way.

          Dismiss me all you want. I got better from hiring a hooker due to my mental problems, because of prior fears of sex, not because of “male power”. Prior to it I didn’t try to have a relationship, as sexual performance was a major hang-up. After, it wasn’t. Jesus. If “male power” means “trying to get past a psychological problem that has crushed you for a decade”, then there I am, guilty. I “male powered” myself into being able to be stable and confident and enter loving, longlasting, monogamous relationships with females. Goodbye.

          • You’re not answering my actual question, instead deciding to answer another question you could answer. Good job, moron. Get out of here.

      • Lo

        “obviously different men (and women) hire prostitutes (of both genders) for different reasons.”

        Translation: “I am the one who buy prostitutes but I don’t want to be responsible of anything”

  • Lady Vengeance

    My least favorite of this crew are the nurses and caregivers who say sex is a health requirement for their patients but who can’t explain why administering handjobs and blowjobs shouldn’t become a routine part of their nursing responsibilities instead of outsourced to prostituted women.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Totally. Similar point in that, if it’s a “health treatment,” then why won’t you do it. Why.

    • lizor

      “the nurses and caregivers who say sex is a health requirement for their patients ” – and I am guessing it’s male patients, right? I have never witnessed hand-wringing concern for the health of women who are not getting sexually serviced.

      • Ash

        exactly. of course, it’s men.

      • Richard

        Actually, before men (and frankly women) understood what a woman’s
        orgasm was, it was not unusual for a woman to go to a doctor to receive
        a massage of her privates to gain a “release”.

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201303/hysteria-and-the-strange-history-vibrators

        And most men are, like most women, able to obtain a release without
        the assistance of another individual.

        • Are you seriously trying to give a women’s history lesson on a radical feminist site? You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that. Too bad you’re about as fast on the uptake as a sloth on a falling tree.

          Also, hysteria wasn’t supposed to have anything to do with giving women orgasms.

          • Me

            Writing in the year 2013, “San Francisco journalist Michael Castleman, M.A., [who] has written about sexuality for 36 years”, says:

            “[Hysteria is] easily recognizable today as sexual frustration.”

            “Until the 20th century … [men] believed that women were simply fleshy receptacles for male lust and that intercourse culminating in male ejaculation fulfilled women’s erotic needs…. Not surprisingly, these beliefs left an enormous number or women sexually frustrated.”

            “In the 16th century, physicians told married hysterics to encourage their husbands’ lust. Unfortunately, that probably didn’t help too many wives because modern sexuality research clearly shows that only about 25 percent of women experience orgasm consistently from intercourse.”

            I may go out on a limb here, but given that according to Freud, “hysteria” in the women he studied was predominantly caused by premature sexual experience, i.e. incest and rape, how can there be anything wrong with prescribing more dick as the cure! I am sure the problem with marital rape and treating women as fleshy receptacles for male lust is, equally, that the women don’t orgasm and are left sexually frustrated.

          • billy bob

            “Are you seriously trying to give a women’s history lesson on a radical feminist site?”

            Yes he is, there’s nothing wrong with that and his point was reasonable. How many thousands of years do you need to have a safe space to radically agree with each other?

          • What do you mean, “each other”? I don’t know anything about Richard and as far as I’m concerned he’s got no connection to this space.

          • billy bob

            I was referring to the ‘rad fem’ community not to “you and Richard”. I was disappointed that your response to what seemed like a reasonable and respectful post was needlessly aggressive and seemingly designed to keep an outsider in line. I am also someone who has ‘no connection to this space’ if by that you mean membership of the rad-fem community but why should that matter? In the 70s and 80s it was perhaps understandable if feminists may have felt the need for a safe and protected space to avoid being shouted down by nasty men. But there is no such need now is there? No such need here – where the site admin can moderate any comment at any time if need be.

            What disappoints is that this page is one of the few where you actually see some difference of opinion. This is a rad fem site, but if all the contributors are rad fems, and must express rad fem opinions then all you will get is what I referred to: radical agreement with each other. Perhaps that is all what you want.

          • Then the answer to your question is forever. I want this space to exist for as long as possible. As long as you dudebros keep coming, I’ll keep bashing you. 🙂

          • Me

            Condescension and derailing coming from a member of the oppressor class is so respectful and reasonable of course. Not that it ever has anything to do with trying to keep the oppressed in line and centering the discussion back on the oppressors’ experience of it. /sarc

            There is nothing anyone could say to make you care. Go away already.

          • marv

            @billy bob.
            You have the rash and belligerent idea that polite differences of opinion are indispensable to reach a truer grasp of reality. Such propaganda has been driven into our heads throughout our lives and is based on liberal fundamentalism. Its conceptual framework rests on the presupposition of the “rule of the individual”, where every person supposedly makes up their own values and beliefs. In fact they don’t. They are avid social conformists to patriarchal inequality. Rad-fems offer an alternative analytical paradigm to decipher the world not out of abstract decontextualized male objectivity or impartiality. Rad-fems want to establish anti-class (sex, race, economic, abilities….) societies rooted in collective concepts in order to overcome the vast inequalities throughout the world. These concepts are integral to global institution building and deconstructing patriarchal structures. We will never have a socially just society without them.

            Your preconceptions are akin to white Aryan supremacists arguing for more freedom of opinion against racial equality, or Bill Gates defending market economics among impoverished peoples. Elitist, privileged citizens have no right to publicize their discriminatory convictions anywhere including here. “What disappoints is that” you can’t see that a rad-fem site is one of the few places where you actually have liberating views. “Radical agreement” in the profoundly egalitarian and caring sense of the term, is what we need, not more simple minded liberal drivel. Your hatred of rad-fem is evident in your presumptions. You express yourself as a man who espouses sexual inequality in a nice way. You are a dime a dozen clone.

          • billy bob

            Dear Marv

            “You have the rash and belligerent idea that polite differences of opinion are indispensable to reach a truer grasp of reality”

            I am not ordinarily quite so polite. I am aware that I am here under sufferance and am moderating how I express myself.

            “You express yourself as a man who espouses sexual inequality in a nice way”

            Thank you. That’s very sweet of you. But I do wonder somewhat if in your heart of hearts you really would like me and my clones who spout “simple minded liberal drivel” to achieve rad fem enlightenment (your post suggests that logically you must) or whether in that very secret place you quite like doing battle against a member of the oppressor class. Middle Earth just wouldn’t be the same without the orcs now would it

            “Such propaganda has been driven into our heads throughout our lives and is based on liberal fundamentalism. Its conceptual framework rests on the presupposition of the “rule of the individual”, where every person supposedly makes up their own values and beliefs. In fact they don’t.”

            I am familiar with vygotsky & Bahktin and the more social takes on the spuriousness of individuality etc. How does that affect the value of debate? The substance of my criticism in all my posts is that the purpose of so much discussion on these boards seems to be about rad fems trying to agree with each other even more fervently than they already do. You have responded to this, with refreshing honesty, by defending the value of a collective belief system and by attacking the bourgeois and common-sense ideologies that you believe underlie the individualist belief in “differences of opinion”. No doubt false consciousness exists, but isn’t it more likely that such an errant state of mind will arise amongst those who believing their collectivist thinking to be ‘critical’ or ‘radical’ seek only to reinforce their commitment to that way of thinking. Why critique ideology in order replace it with another? That is my problem with so much critical or radical thinking. Not the analysis necessarily, which may often be profound, but the idea that one should replace one ideological totality with another? Has it never occurred to you as rad fems that your existence simply mirrors “the patriarchy” even as you struggle to be free?

            “Rad-fems want to establish anti-class (sex, race, economic, abilities….) societies rooted in collective concepts in order to overcome the vast inequalities throughout the world. These concepts are integral to global institution building and deconstructing patriarchal structures. We will never have a socially just society without them.”

            Perhaps, but you are investing rather a lot in a very narrow analysis. Its not so much that you are necessarily wrong – much of the analysis might be sound. It is your singular commitment to that analysis that can only serve to do violence to a world that is growing more complex by the day, including through the agency of a supposedly universally oppressed class. You do yourself and your gender a disservice when you celebrate your chains. It is you who chooses to live in the language of victimhood and enslavement, and you who focuses upon only that part of reality which confirms that choice.

          • billy bob

            Dear Marv

            Such a shame you are no longer in my headspace.

            It is indeed a charity on your part to assume a lack of consciousness on the part of those doing all the oppressing. If “we” oppressors are not conscious of what we are doing how can we be held accountable?

            You compare my thinking to that of a slaver trader at the time of abolition. Perhaps elsewhere you explain this further, but in this post you don’t say whether you mean all women are slaves under patriarchy or whether – given the article is about prostitution – you are saying all prostitution is trafficking and therefore a form of ‘modern slavery’. I haven’t actually commented on the substance of the article itself, or on prostitution, but you would be right in thinking that I am against abolition per se, but only to the extent that I do not believe all prostitution is trafficking.

            In the UK there is currently a ‘modern slavery bill’ in the pipeline. As the name of the bill implies this is a piece of legislation designed specifically to address the issue of modern slavery, particularly the trafficking of people, and would of course target anyone forcing people to work as escorts or effectively treating them like slaves. It is a pretty uncontroversial piece of legislation, which hopefully will be all the more effective for being uncontroversial. Bu it is uncontroversial because it reflects the fact that where slavery is demonstrably slavery, everyone opposes it, even those who you consider to lack consciousness and to be sleepwalking through life.

            So within the world of the bourgeois you have consensus that slavery is wrong, but that slavery still exists, and that where it can be demonstrated to exist it should be opposed.

            But outside of this world of bourgeois patriarchy rad fems would have us believe that all prostitution is slavery, and that all (or most) women’s labour sexual or otherwise is a question of slavery or at least exploitation, by the class of men, who stand in the same position to women as a slavers do to their slaves, as exploiters do to the exploited. Half the world subjugated to the other half. If that logic is followed through then patriarchy itself is as illegal as slavery, and since some rad fems have considered heterosexuality to be inherently patriarchal….well you can see where this might be leading.

            When I referred to rad feminism as one ideological totality replacing another (patriarchal) one it is this type of thinking I had in mind and which seems to be fairly evident on this site. Rad Fems choose to live within the mindset of a slave permanently in revolt. The mindset of a slave in revolt is unfortunately still that of a slave; someone who while ‘crying freedom’ chooses to believe only in violation, abuse and exploitation. Someone who can never really get past that point, and consequently doesn’t really believe in freedom, or agency or self-determination at all.

            As for your not being female, I have noticed that many names on this site are gender neutral, masculinized or ambiguous. I presumed nothing about your gender or identity although I might point out that you seem to have presumed a great deal about mine.

          • billy bob

            Dear Me, by which of course I mean you.

            Thank you for your reply. It is a wonderful thing to be able to debate with people who live in such a completely different world to one’s own.

            “Condescension and derailing coming from a member of the oppressor class is so respectful and reasonable of course. Not that it ever has anything to do with trying to keep the oppressed in line ”

            Condescension? Maybe. Derailing? Well I suppose that would depend on what your definition of derailing might be. If indeed you want to keep your discourse ideologically pure then I am indeed walther mathau in Pelham 123 (or whoever the equivalent was in the remake)

            “Oppressor class” ….. Isn’t that the sort of phrase Kim Jong Un might use?

            “There is nothing anyone could say to make you care”

            I have no glib answer to that. I’ll keep my answer to myself

          • marv

            As a patriarchal rationalist you remind me of the old decrepit masters of the black slave period who admonished abolitionists for being antagonistic and judgemental towards the white rulers (even some of the slaves bought into it). The anti-abolitionists saw themselves as the voice of reason. By their logic the agitated slaves didn’t really want to be free; the disgruntled just loved to tilt at windmills and to “agree with each other” in order to promote their cult. They were fools who critiqued ideology for the purpose of replacing it with another one called racial equality, mirroring patriarchy even as they struggled to be liberated. They chose “to live in the language of victimhood and enslavement” as do racialized people and rad-fems do today – celebrating their chains.

            Btw, I am not a female. In addition, I know you don’t have false consciousness; you have no consciousness (sleep walking through life). You are not here out of “sufferance” either. You are insufferable with self-elevated visions filling your head. Your sex, race and class advantages have made you define reality in a way that confirms that indoctrination. I used to be in the same head space but am learning to see the errors of my ways. You on the other hand are a hopeless case. Begone!!

        • Quinn

          *Actually,* women’s orgasms were not suddenly discovered in the 20th century. There are references to women’s orgasms in nearly every society that has been studied, even if not everyone in those societies knew about them.

          Furthermore, women have been regarded as the more lustful sex at many times and in many places, from Ancient Greece to Colonial America.

          Finally, the story of masturbation and vibrators as cures for women’s hysteria lacks empirical support. The practice, if it occurred at all, was certainly not common.

          • You’ve got any evidence for any of this?

          • Quinn

            Is there anything specific you’d like evidence for? I acknowledge that my first two claims were quite broad, having been cobbled together from many things I have read over the past two decades.

            The story about doctors masturbating patients to orgasm and vibrators having been invented as a result is usually traceable to a book written 15 years ago by Rachel Maines, but her sources don’t support her arguments.

          • The three claims here:

            1. “There are references to women’s orgasms in nearly every society that has been studied”

            2. “Furthermore, women have been regarded as the more lustful sex at many times and in many places, from Ancient Greece to Colonial America.”

            3. “Finally, the story of masturbation and vibrators as cures for women’s hysteria lacks empirical support.”

  • Maryanna

    I tire of being told by the “I choose my choice” feminists that wanting to end prostitution is slut-shaming. This was refreshing.

    • Meghan Murphy

      If anything, calling the abolitionist position ‘slut-shaming’ is ‘slut-shaming’. Who, exactly, are the ‘sluts’ in this scenario?? It’s that idea that prostitutes are in it for the sex/that prostitution is about female sexuality — which is a load of bunko.

  • Greg Boxsell

    I had a friend in that business and I always considered that as a job it was a job that involved working with a kind of emotional asbestos. It was her choice and I suppose it was how she could look after her child as a single mum and maintain her drug habit at the same time. She was a smart girl, but I never thought she made good choices, but that’s easy for me to say. Whatever the case I think it’s a toxic industry

    • Luna

      emotional asbestos – phew, you said it

    • Patrice

      “it was how she could look after her child as a single mum and maintain her drug habit at the same time” — There are few, if any, choices to women in these circumstances. This is part of the mythology of the modern prostitution, that it is a choice that women exercise. Just as many poor people cannot choose a salmon benedict for breakfast, so it goes for economic choices. There is heavy pressure and coercion (be it emotional, psychological, or physical) employed on women who struggle with childcare, habits, and abuse to enter the sex industry.

    • When economic hardship is the reason why a woman “chooses” to be a prostitute, then the word “chooses” is the wrong word. The class of the very wealthy (who do not produce the wealth of society) force everybody else (the people who do produce the wealth of society) into economic hardship (by claiming to own as their personal private property the land and other means of production that are rightfully owned by all of society) and then tell them, “I’ll pay you money you need to survive and feed your children, but only if you do such and such for me. Do you choose to do it?” And when the woman “chooses” to do it, some people have the gall (or is it just plain ignorance?) to say, “Look, she CHOSE to do it of her own volition. We need to abolish the class inequality that coerces women into prostitution. When there is no longer any coercion on women to have sex with somebody, then women can genuinely choose who they wish to have sex with. If a woman wants to be promiscuous as a genuinely free choice with no economic or other coercion involved, then that is her right; but it is nobody’s right to impose the economic class inequality that coerces so many women today into prostitution. Whether or not there is a woman somewhere who really wants to be a prostitute, the fact is that the vast majority of prostitutes are coerced by economic hardship into prostitution; it is by no means a free “choice.”

      Making prostitution illegal while leaving in place the economic hardship that forces women into prostitution doesn’t solve the root problem, which is the class inequality causing the economic hardship. The ruling elite know this, which is why they offer “making prostitution illegal” as an alternative to people who rightly abhor the evil of prostitution. The ruling class is skilled at letting people “choose their poison.” The rulers offer poison #1: letting prostitution be legal and poison #2: making prostitution illegal. Women forced into prostitution tend to favor poison #1 because they believe (probably correctly) that if prostitution is illegal and everything else remains the same then their lives will be worse, since the rulers provide them no other way to make a living. Other people favor poison #2 because they think (probably wrongly) that if prostitution were illegal and everything else remains the same then the lives of the prostitutes will improve.

      We need to reject both poisons, and abolish the economic class inequality.
      To see how some people are trying to do that, visit http://www.PDRBoston.org .

      • Meghan Murphy

        I agree, John. That’s what’s great about the Nordic model — in the places that have adopted this law, they also have social safety nets that prevent people from ending up in abject poverty. We could easily do this in Canada too, if we wanted to.

      • 740TAO

        Manufacturing Consent, anyone? 🙂

  • I hate this “sex surrogate” propaganda. If we only just acknowledged that old people have sex lives, we wouldn’t need to even talk about this bullshit. It’s sickening, a symptom of a sick society where we hate young children and old people because they don’t conform to our standards of worth.

    Why does Bieber go to prostitutes? Because Bieber is a fucking idiot who doesn’t respect women. Fuck Bieber and fuck anyone who fuels the star system.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Right?? Like, old guys NEED prostitutes because they have no other choice or it’s a health issue or something. Please. Lots of seniors have sex. Nobody ‘needs’ a prostitute.

      • Lou

        True.
        Also I really hate that some people say it would be good for disabled folks to have a sex surrogate, because I think it is actually degrading, both for the prostitute (of course!) and the disabled person, because it means we can’t imagine a world where disability is accepted.

        • Meghan Murphy

          It is completely insulting and condescending. Lots of people with disabilities have great sex lives (just like, um, nondisabled people!) — it reinforces the idea that disabled people are undesirable.

          • Lou

            You expressed better than I did!
            Also people who say they are in favor of sex surrogates tend to “forget” that it will only benefit disabled men, as women are not raised to believe they have a right to have sex.

          • 740TAO

            I had a quadriplegic friend who passed a few years ago. I wondered what his sex life was like, if he had one. That’s obviously a difficult and possibly insensitive subject to approach, so I never asked. As an abolitionist, his situation made the strongest ‘disabled’ case I could imagine. Some are now defining ‘sexual needs’ as ‘human rights’. Always is implicit that men must, at all times, be entitled to women accessible with currency. However, what is always ignored in this discussion is that male orgasm does not require a vagina, or even a female body part.

  • Sergio@questiono.com

    Hmmmm…. lots of words but no evidence. You’ve expressed your opinion eloquently but given no facts to back it up. You think prostitution is bad. Some people think it is good. You’ve failed to convince me as you’ve just given your opinion with no factual support.

    There are many women who defend and promote professional sex work. Why are they wrong and you right?

    • Meghan Murphy

      What kind of facts would you like? That women in prostitution are subjected to violence and abuse in an inordinate way and are murdered on the regular? Would you listen to the testimonies of survivors? Or do their experiences not count as ‘fact’? How many ‘facts’ would you like to ‘prove’ that patriarchy is a thing that exists? The ‘fact’ is that, for centuries, men have bought sex from women. Because of gendered power relations. That is the fact.

      • Ash

        I love men and their positivist demands when they question women, “i need evidence, facts…” “i don’t care about experiences, i need testable information for my awesome science brain” = mansplaining 101

        • Meghan Murphy

          WHERE IS THE SCIENCE BEHIND MALE DOMINANCE.

          • 740TAO

            You mean scientific research done largely by men, paid for by universities, which are largely owned and operated by men, published by journals, that are largely men, making headlines in the media, that is largely men, to market to 18-35 males? And you want me to find it for a man who is not convinced that my oppression is real, and thinks that the buying and selling of women as sperm receptacles is not inherently anti-feminist? K. TTYS.

        • ProudlySexCritical

          ” “i don’t care about experiences, i need testable information for my awesome science brain” = mansplaining 101″

          Of course, when the “experience” is from some former “sex-worker” turned pimp talking about how empowerful it is to be a prostitute, then they listen.

          That said, I’m a huge fan of this tendency within the feminist movement to downgrade the importance of science in favour of “feminine ways of knowing”. I feel that this further reinforces gender roles, by suggesting that women are not smart enough to understand science and therefore they shouldn’t even try and should just rely on personal experience.

          Of course we need to listen to women’s experiences of prostitution, but not everyone who is prostituted has the opportunity to tell their heartstring-tugging personal story. If we only listen to personal stories, we’ll mostly hear the stories of those prostituted women who are better off, relative to others in prostitution. This is part of the reason why the view that we should rely on people’s personal experiences to learn about the world fails and benefits who fun feminists who wanna argue that prostitution empowers women.

          Women have been excluded from science for a long time and this has contributed to our lack of power. We should be trying to access the world of science and combatting the notion that men have sciency brains and we don’t, rather than claiming that our own “feminine” way of knowing is better. Afterall, femininity is a set of behavioural norms designed to keep us in our place as women.

          • “I’m a huge fan of this tendency within the feminist movement to downgrade the importance of science in favour of “feminine ways of knowing”. ”

            Can you point out where this form of argument is happening on this blog? I’m not at all sure I understand what you are talking about.

          • Canaduck

            “If we only listen to personal stories, we’ll mostly hear the stories of those prostituted women who are better off, relative to others in prostitution.”

            Exactly.

      • Missfit

        You failed Meghan, you failed to convince Sergio with this post (despite your eloquence!). And with all the other posts you wrote on the subject reporting studies, research, testimonies, arguments (I’d call all that evidence), you failed to convince Sergio. Because apparently, there are other people out there who disagree with you. Sergio is not convinced. I guess we should just give up then and stop caring about women and feminism.

        • Meghan Murphy

          There aren’t enough facts to support the need for gender equality and ending male dominance. I mean, where’s the science behind that?

    • This is a radfem blog, so why exactly do you expect every post to repeat the same basic principles? Of course we’re against prostitution. Yes there are a lot of pimps who form organization that seek to defend prostitution as a form of work. So what?

    • Maria de Lourdes

      hey,boy,why don´t you prostitute yourself and check it out? why not recommending it to women from your family?
      It´s easy for men to defend prostitution,you just reforced what the text said,genius!”opinion” is always used to silence us,as if prostitution was nt real violence applayed to real women.
      the women who “promote” this sexual violence: have you never stopped to think about the manances they received from pimps? are them real prostituted women or actresses contracted by the sex trade? if they are in the web,are they really women?
      sexist men are patetic…we do must stop pity them and fight them more fiercily,tehy habve no empathy for us.

  • Steph

    Thank you – I enjoyed every minute of this!

  • Laur

    Donchya know, buying sex from prostituted women is a right of male passage??! At least for men that can afford it. It certainly has become that way for men of high status. I’d like to see a headline about a man who doesn’t use the sex industry for a change.

    • Richard

      Odd how I missed that rite of male passage.
      I guess it might be because my parents actually love and care about each other
      and the fact my father figured I should probably, shockers, actually know and like
      the women I share certain special moments with. I know, how weird.

  • Eva Dickson

    I’ve been a sex worker for 3 years working in a (legal) brothel in Melbourne, Australia. I pay my taxes, I don’t have a drug problem, I don’t drink, I’m single with no children and have two degrees (Science/Nursing)and am considering a Masters in Science. I’m a sex worker because it allows me to work one night a week and earn enough to a) pay for uni, b) pay living expenses and c) go on holidays a few times a year.

    I love my job. Granted I don’t love it all the time but I suppose nobody loves their job all the time. As for men visiting sex workers for the power trip, I can’t say what the industry is like in Canada but in a legal brothel in Australia it is the woman who controls the man. Before every booking the client and myself have a chat about what is acceptable/where you can touch/what’s out of bounds etc. I have a one second chance policy – try to touch me somewhere more than once after I’ve said no and the booking is over with no refund.

    If prostitution is illegal such as in the States you get an unregulated and lawless industry where women are far more likely to be exploited, pimps have control and women are extremely vulnerable, not just to the dangers of pimps and johns but also from police and authorities who ideally should be protecting these women.

    I am a woman like any other and I deserve the same respect. By painting every sex worker with the same brush (druggie/exploited/vulnerable etc.) you are stripping us of our individual identities and our right to choose our form of employment. Women can be anything they want to be! We live in the age of female CEO’s, astronauts, surgeons, authors, prime ministers…oh but a sex worker?? Shame! How dare she?? How dare she do what she wants with her own body in order to make a living.

    I call bollocks. Spend a week in my workplace and you’ll realise it’s full of lovely women, great receptionists, compliant and respectful johns (9 times out of 10 – but you’re going to asshole customers no matter where you work).

    My job has given me financial freedom from the burden of student poverty, my body confidence is higher than it has ever been (being complimented every shift by men (and sometimes *gasp* women) who are willing to pay $300 for 45 minutes with me. I have plenty of free time to volunteer which I do every Monday and Thursday. My studies can continue without the fear of debt.

    Yep. I have a pretty good life.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I’m very happy that you enjoy your job. That is great to hear. That doesn’t mean we throw the tens of thousands of women and girls who haven’t had the same experience as you under the bus.

      In any case, the fact that you enjoy your work does not contradict my point, which is that prostitution exists because of male power.

      Tell me why you think it’s so important to preserve an industry that supports male power and hurts so many women? And your reasons can’t simply be about your individual experience…

    • tati hare

      Eva
      Just because you are lucky enough to work in the sex industry safely and lucratively, doesn’t justify it. This isn’t all about you. It’s not about your individual liberty and happiness.
      It’s about the fact that worldwide, women and girls are defined, almost exclusively, as sexual booty and are subject to horrific levels of violence and abuse in the name of sex; and that the existence of the sex industry is one element which prolongs and promotes this. Legalising (or allowing by laissez faire) the sex industry to continue, and ensuring women continue to provide the meat, is based on our international and unspoken acceptance that ‘men must have sex’, and ‘if men don’t have sex they may rape’ (and all the other myriad justifications). Once that premise is set up then it is used to justify any type of behaviour in the name of sex. Most of the time justification isn’t even required because the behaviour is seen as natural, and is tacitly accepted as ‘the way men are’. It’s why women in parts of Africa can be raped up to 10 times a day; it’s why adult men travel from all over the world to rape children in the far east; it’s why a woman in the UK is raped roughly every 9 minutes, and the reason all women in UK are still at risk, in the street, in work, at home and in social situations, of sexual harrassment and assault

      If you do have a genuine choice about your work, then frankly you are part of the problem and are using this rip in the fabric to profit from the acceptance of a culture of exploitation. By taking ‘the patriarchal bargain’ your work upholds the status quo; and your version of liberty and self-determination is at the expense of millions of your sisters worldwide.

      • Johanna

        I think your response to Eva is unfair. She simply stated how her personal experience is different. She agreed with the blog in that, places where prostitution is illegal and unregulated there are all sorts of abuses occurring both from pimps & johns, and also from the legal side who should be protecting the women/girls and who do not. She also stated that it was unfair to paint all Sex Workers with the same Brush as she is working in a legalized place that is regulated where she has choices. She is pursuing her degrees and using prostitution to advance herself to where she wants to go. She is not letting it push her down.

        Yes this may not be the same experience that most workers have. I do not think that her having this job makes her any less of a person or less of a fighter for women’s rights. We all fight in our own ways. I do not see her as part of the problem. I see her as a very brave woman who is embracing a highly unorthodox solution to propel her life forward.

        Eva is not malicious acting or sounding. She seemed sincere and truthful about who and what she was. I would hope that we could all be that honest with ourselves. I for one applaud her and wish her luck in her future.

        Johanna

        • Meghan Murphy

          What are you talking about? Who are you arguing with? No one thinks Eva is “less of a person” (except for the johns who buy her, I suppose) or “less of a fighter.” Please say something relevant to this post/conversation. Thanks.

      • Noshin

        Well said, Tati Hare. I agree with you on this.

    • María luisa Latorre

      Prostitution may work for you (although I think you are deluding yourself), but this is not about the handful of women for whom prostitution may be a viable economic choice. The fact that so many men choose to interact sexually with women in this way (the control issue) is what is so bad for all womenkind.

      • Henke

        I get the feeling that in our culture sex is seen as some male univeral right which is total bullshit.

    • Maria de Lourdes

      ok,nice joke! in internet we can be anyone,fellow! who garantee me you are a real prostituted woman?? and come on,girls,wake up! are you so naivy that trully belive anyone in the web that says “I have chosen it!! I love doing it!” are genuine prostituted women instead of johns and trolls in disguise??
      Repair on how “she” discribes her “job”…it´s clear like water!!It is 100% john´s speech:
      “I call bollocks. Spend a week in my workplace and you’ll realise it’s full of lovely women, great receptionists, compliant and respectful johns (9 times out of 10 – but you’re going to asshole customers no matter where you work).”

      bad joke indeed!! be more smart next time girls,and don´t feed johns´fancy speech!

      • copleycat

        I’m inclined to think you’re right because on closer reading most women don’t make it 3 years

      • Felicity Maera-Wallace

        Actually, what she said is true experience for many women, men and trans people who choose to work in the sex industry. To say she must automatically be a lying troll is simply rude. I live in NZ where the sex industry is legal. I worked in it for over 20 years both pre and post legalisation. I also had careers in interpreting, nursing and disability advocacy. I’ve known hundreds of women in the industry so I don’t just speak about my own lived experience-since you insist it can’t just be about individuals experience. Though I don’t see you denying Rachel Moran’s experience on the basis she is only one voice.

        A legal industry is a safer one for people who choose sex work. There has been no increase in trafficking here in NZ since sex work was decriminalised. I have yet to meet a trafficked worker and that includes via contacts in the NZPC.

        It is insulting in the extreme to say we support a corrupt system simply by paticipating in it. We choose to do a job that we are very good at, that pays excellent money and we enjoy it. Just because you deny that experience it doesn’t make our and many other peoples jobs a bad thing. Sex work is work.

        I’m a feminist too. I suggest you quit with the whorephobia and find a way to include our valid experince in your wish to change tue bad parts of the industry.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I think I’m banning the term “whorephobia” from my site as of today. Thanks for the push.

          “A legal industry is a safer one for people who choose sex work.”
          There is zero research to back up this statement.

          “There has been no increase in trafficking here in NZ since sex work was decriminalised.”

          Yes there has. Trafficking in general has increased and, it’s believed, child trafficking. Organized crime and illegal prostitution is far more common in places that have legalized than than legal prostitution. Where do you think all these women and girls are coming from? They’re just happy white, middle class ladies who love sex, yeah? Convenient!

        • Anne

          Felicity: Lets look at New Zealand. 6 murdered prostitutes and one attempted murder at prostituted persons in the period 2003 – 2013. It don’t sounds very safe to me.

          It doesn’t sound very healthy with the organized syndicates controlling the brothels and SOOBs with own import of asian women, child prostitution, the violence, the rapes, the dumping of prices, street prostitution.

          And then you mentioned trafficking. Well, when a country adopts a law against trafficking, that makes it nearly impossible for a victim to be recognized as a trafficking victim then of course there are no human trafficking in that specific country. And that is exactly whats wrong with NZ.

          You have trafficking in NZ – this one was for example in your own news paper in 2010 – a classic example of a trafficking case.

          “The women, mainly from Malaysia, are recruited by agents who offer cash up front of up to $10,000 plus air tickets to come to New Zealand.

          But once here, the women are handed to brothel owners, who take their passports and make them work up to 18 hours a day to repay the “loan””

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10658178

          So when you read the next article where the Immigration NZ hasn’t found any indication of trafficking, in spite of what we have seen described here (I presume that it isn’t normal workinghours with 18 hours a day at the brothels), everybody should be worried. Especially when trafficking victims are served right in front of Immigrations own nose.

          But you aren’t. Instead you stubbornly continuing in saying the same mantra over and over again: We don’t see any increase in trafficking..we don’t see any increase in trafficking.
          Well, to that I can only say: You can’t find anything if you don’t want to look for it, and recognize it as a trafficking victim.

          NZHerald writes in the article ‘NZ’s sex-slave cases ‘slip under radar”

          “No one has been prosecuted in New Zealand for human trafficking but critics say that is only because a difference in definition is allowing cases to slip under the radar.

          A recent example is the case of a Malaysian sex worker who needed police help to retrieve her passport from her brothel owner.

          Immigration New Zealand has ruled this does not constitute trafficking.

          Agency head Nigel Bickle said his officials had visited the central Auckland brothel and spoken to its manager and sex workers, and are “satisfied there were no indications of exploitation”.”

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10663446

          The rest of the world see the trafficking victims in NZ.

    • Ash

      I don’t think Meghan said anything here about sex workers being drug-addicted or abused?

      • Meghan Murphy

        People often comment on these issues/articles by making assumptions, rather than reading thoroughly, unfortunately…

    • Ash

      Ps. The idea that we need men to improve our self esteem by their approval of our bodies is fucking misogynistic and sexist.

    • tonelise

      good on you! legalise it and stop mixing up street prostitution with sex work.get workplace standards into brothels and proper security, and give sex workers rights. that would be progress!

      • Meghan Murphy

        Legalization has been an abject failure, increasing prostitution (street prostitution included) trafficking and organized crime.

        Empowering men with the legal right to access women’s bodies on a whim is not progress and if you believe that it is you have no place in this conversation.

      • Sue H

        Legalisation just sends the very clear message that it’s ok to commodify, use and abuse women’s bodies. Hence the increases in the illegal trade and in violence against prostituted women where it’s been attempted.

        The only real solution is the Swedish Model, where the pimps and johns are prosecuted but the prostituted women are not. Instead there are programmes to help women and children (most prostitutes enter the ‘trade’ before adulthood) to exit and to deal with the ptsd they usually suffer from.

        It can’t ever be ‘just a job’ when more ex-prostitutes suffer from post traumatic stress disorder than soldiers who’ve been involved in combat.

      • Laur

        I will never understand why prostitution advocates think street prostitution is so horrible but moving it indoors is not. It may be safer for the men, because they are less likely to be arrested (not that they are too likely to be arrested in the U.S., anyway) and no one can see the violence they’re doing. And no one has to know they’re soliciting prostitution.

        It almost seems like racism to me…lower class, men of color solicit from cars in the cities, but women will be safer if wealthy men pay to sexually abuse women indoors. Lovely.

        Check out Rebecca Mott’s blog for a survivor’s view of what indoor prostitution really is (her newest post is on the subject): rmott62.wordpress.com

        • Richard

          If it legal than there would be ZERO chance the men,
          and women, purchasing such services would
          be arrested.

          It is logically safer for a woman, or man, working as a
          prostitute to do so in a safe secure environment. As a
          legal service they would then be able to readily access
          the police in the event they encounter a customer that
          is deranged and not have to deal with the speeches
          from those in authority judging them, etc.

          I don’t consider it “abuse” if a woman or man chooses
          to rent access to their body to be accompanied with
          whatever displays of enthusiasm they may display as
          part of their performance. If a woman or man grants
          “favors” as they choose after going out on a date and
          being wined and dined is not to be judged, why should
          one who does so for cash be judged? It’s their body
          after all.

          This is no way should be confused with someone being
          forced or pimped, nor do I think that such activity should
          ever be combined with any other job.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “It is logically safer for a woman, or man, working as a prostitute to do so in a safe secure environment.”

            That isn’t a real thing that exists.

            “This is no way should be confused with someone being forced or pimped”

            Despite the fact that you don’t WANT it to be ‘confused’, it is. Meaning that trafficking and exploitation and inextricable from prostitution. It’s all correlated. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

          • Richard

            Perhaps you should reread what I wrote. I’m not an advocate for legalization, rather I’m addressing the question as stated. You asked why do they think moving it indoors is better and I provided some logical arguments as to why it would be.

            Additionally, you are breaking apart my statement regarding “confused”. It most certainly would not be “better” for women if pimps were allowed either in or out of doors and I’m explicitly stating that any attempt at legalization must include provisions to prevent sex work being something can be attached to other work because then it most certainly would be much, much worse.

            And you still do not address the underlying question. Why is it consider a woman’s/man’s “right” to sleep with whomever she wants for “free” but they are denied the ability to charge for it? It’s still their body.

          • “Why is it consider a woman’s/man’s “right” to sleep with whomever she wants ”
            HINT: it’s not.

          • Richard

            Since when?

            Granted, sleeping around does theoretically expose you civil liability or divorce if you or the person you sleep with happen to be married, but consenting adults in this country most certainly do have the legal right to sleep with whom they choose.

            You have had women demanding they have their birth control paid for in front of congress for heaven’s sake, and not one person says she did not have the right to sleep around, only that she should pay for it herself.

          • “Since when?”
            For as long as there’s been rules or laws against homosexuality, rape, adultery, pedophilia, sodomy, interracial relations, etc etc.

          • Richard

            There “were” laws, but many of those are no longer in play.

            Pedophilia is not “consenting adults”, neither is rape.

            You are still dodging the point an looking at exceptions rather than dealing with the majority.

            Using the laws as enforced in the state of California as a template, what is your legitimate argument against a transaction committed by an independent “seller” who is not coerced to do so? We are talking adults with other adults. I’ll even allow for the conceptual restriction that both parties must be unmarried to avoid the civil law aspects.

          • “If it legal than there would be ZERO chance the men,
            and women, purchasing such services would
            be arrested.”
            See, we WANT them to be arrested. That’s the whole point.

          • Richard

            I again ask.

            Why is it consider a woman’s/man’s “right” to sleep with whomever they want for “free” but they are denied the ability to charge for it? It’s still their body.

            Why do you insist on the right to deny these women/men that option?

            I’m 100% behind the concept that no one should be allowed to pimp someone. It makes sense that you should not allow someone else to control someone’s body.

            But for those that make a choice to do so because they can receive a better level of compensation than they would doing something else, why do you insist you have the right to deny them that choice?

          • “Why is it consider a woman’s/man’s “right” to sleep with whomever they want for “free””
            Nope, still completely false.

            “Why do you insist on the right to deny these women/men that option?”
            I do not claim to have the right to dictate social policies, no. Another false statement.

            “I’m 100% behind the concept that no one should be allowed to pimp someone.”
            At least we agree on that.

            “But for those that make a choice to do so because they can receive a better level of compensation than they would doing something else, why do you insist you have the right to deny them that choice?”
            Your question is false. I have never said I have the right to deny people “choice,” especially since I don’t believe in choice to begin with.

            In conclusion, you are a dumbass. Sincerely yours,

            Francois Tremblay

          • calabasa

            Richard, I know this is two years later, but I want you to imagine this: knowing, as we know, that women usually prostitute out of desperation, and knowing, as we know, that over 90 percent of them experience it as a human rights abuse (and suffer PTSD as a rresult of routine acts of prostitution), and knowing, as we know, that women make the majority of the poor in the world and are systematically denied the financial opportunities offered to men, what if men who wanted to use a prostitute instead donated that money *every single time* to a women’s shelter, or to another charitable organization that helped women? Or just *gave* the woman the money directly, and then left? (I’m talking about of course those that really need it, not those who just want to avoid working other jobs, who are in the minority and can simply go do something else). What if men were to do that? After all, sex is neither a biological necessity like food nor a human right like the right to liberty and shelter, so these men are not being deprived of their rights by helping to ensure the women are not being deprived of theirs, and evening out of the world a little by shifting money from the pockets of privileged males into the pockets of underprivileged females. Men can use that disposable income to do something good for the world and for women–who are so shafted by the world and particularly by men–rather than contributing to their ongoing exploitation and feeling good about it because cash changes hands (like the forced dick-sucking is canceled out by the 20 dollar bill she got for it so she can buy her kid some groceries that night). Men who spend upwards of 150 to “vet” a “free” “sex worker,” that person can do something else and doesn’t need your “help;” give that money to a woman in need rather than spending it on your selfish “needs.” We are asking you to be good people. We are asking you to help make the world right, and safe, and to help ensure basic rights–of liberty and safety (including safety from your unwanted dick)–for all women.

          • “Pedophilia is not “consenting adults”, neither is rape.”
            Excuse me? This is what you said:
            “Why is it consider a woman’s/man’s “right” to sleep with whomever she wants”
            You didn’t say anything about “consenting adults.” Stop moving the goalposts.

            “You are still dodging the point an looking at exceptions rather than dealing with the majority.”
            How ironic, since you are the one who is dodging the point I raised. Projecting much?

            “what is your legitimate argument against a transaction committed by an independent “seller” who is not coerced to do so?”
            Non-coercion is not a sufficient standard of ethics. You could have at least said “consensual,” but I guess you’re not even at that low of a level yet. Pathetic.

          • Richard

            I assumed were talking about normal adults and did not think I had to point out the exceptions.

            I use non-coercion to try to add details that you seem to demand. I consider coercion to be rape even if threats of violence are not involved. And when I say consensual, then another poster claims I should use willing, followed by enthusiastic.

            The point you keep dodging is that you believe you should be allowed to tell people that they may not charge for having sex with someone else and I don’t agree, provided certain safety protocols are in place to ensure that this a vocation that they actually wish to be involved in.

            You just can’t seem to deal with the fact you are imposing your morals on others and in fact are restricting the freedoms of other (mostly) women in the process.

            I personally have zero desire to purchase such services, but I neither drink nor smoke either. I don’t believe I have the right interfere with smoking or drinking until they start to impose directly on me.

            So deal with the truth and simply admit you happen to find it “icky” and therefore you believe you have a right to “put a stop to it”.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “I consider coercion to be rape even if threats of violence are not involved.”

            Economic coercion is also a real thing. I think you’re oversimplifying the meaning of “coercion” in order to defend your own preferred beliefs/to comfort yourself.

          • The immorality of prostitution is not the sex, but the coercion. And the coercion is not just by traffickers and pimps; it is also by the entire upper class in general who enforce the enormous economic class inequality that cause the economic hardship that forces most prostitutes into prostitution. Yes, there may be a tiny minority of prostitutes who would do it even if they were independently wealthy just for the fun of it, but citing them to divert attention from the coercion of the great majority of prostitutes would be like citing a “happy slave” to justify slavery.

            Most prostitutes are coerced into doing it, and they hate it. More importantly, most feel deeply humiliated and deeply shamed by it, in contrast to the far less amount of humiliation and shame that people experience in “regular” jobs like factory work (which is not to justify the class inequality that makes even “regular” jobs profoundly exploitative and oppressive and indeed also a source of shame and humiliation, just not nearly as much as in prostitution.)

            Except for the case of direct violent coercion by a pimp or trafficker, the coercion in prostitution is by the upper class as a whole, who defend the class inequality with their wealth and power in order to defend their wealth and privileged status. The upper class is the ruling class. (As disgusting as are the attitudes and practices of some johns, johns–other than those who are members of the ruling class–are not the ones who cause the coercion of prostitutes; they merely take advantage of that coercion.) The ruling class will never enact or permit to be enacted any reform in the laws related to prostitution (or otherwise) that will abolish the economic class inequality that causes the coercion that is the wrongfulness of prostitution. Making the buying or selling of sex legal or illegal, or one legal and the other illegal (either way) won’t end the coercion. Focusing on whether this or that should be legal or illegal distracts from focusing on how to end the coercion.

            Ending the coercion requires ending economic class inequality (and the political class inequality that goes along with it.) This is obvious. But people don’t want to confront this fact. Why not? I think the reason is that most people dismiss the very possibility of ending class inequality as impossible, hence not worth even thinking or talking about.

            And the reason, in turn, whyt people feel hopeless about ending class inequality is because they think that except for themselves, personally, and an extremely small number of other people, nobody else wants to end class inequality.

            And the reason people feel alone this way in wanting to end class inequality is because the ruling class goes to great lengths to persuade us that we are all alone in this aspiration. In fact, the #1 propaganda Big Lie of the ruling class is that if you want to abolish class inequality then you are all alone.

            To see how untrue this big lie is, I suggest going to http://www.PDRBoston.org. Also, try doing yourself what that website advocates. You’ll see that in wanting to abolish class inequality, we are actually the majority! This means that it can be done. The first step is to talk with each other about the necessity and the possibility of doing it. Let’s not avoid this crucial subject by playing in the “sandbox” that the ruling class wants us to play in, where one is not allowed to talk about solving problems at their root, and only allowed to debate which poison we prefer taking (such as making the buying or the selling of sex legal or illegal, with people remaining coerced into prostitution no matter what.)

          • Richard

            I guess this all going to come down to what you define as economic coercion.
            People work in all sorts of disagreeable jobs for money all the time.

            There is type of prostitution that goes on in Japan where young women perform sex in exchange for “gifts” of expensive purses or the like.

            The only type of economic coercion I can visualize is one where every other form of labor is forbidden to someone but payments of some kind are still required. If you just want spout the haves vs the have nots we are not going to reach a meeting of the minds here.

          • “I assumed were talking about normal adults and did not think I had to point out the exceptions.”

            And I assumed we were having a CONVERSATION, i.e. a series of statements where prior statements provide a context for the later ones. Apparently I was mistaken: you are apparently engaged in twittering. What a waste of time.

            “And when I say consensual, then another poster claims I should use willing, followed by enthusiastic.”

            But you DIDN’T say “consensual.” At least not to me. So don’t even bring that up. Or is this more twittering?

            “The point you keep dodging is that you believe you should be allowed to tell people that they may not charge for having sex with someone else”

            Funny story: I don’t. I am against johns, not prostitutes. Your straw man of our position (the radfem position) is not my problem, ignorant dudebro.

            “You just can’t seem to deal with the fact you are imposing your morals on others”

            Oh really? Pray tell, what is the nature of my imposition? Do you also think it’s an imposition to prevent someone from committing murder? If so, this conversation is over.

            “and in fact are restricting the freedoms of other (mostly) women in the process.”

            Can you name or designate one woman whose freedoms I am restricting?
            (HINT: I have a friend who has done prostitution of her own volition and doesn’t regret it, and I’ve got nothing against what she did- so stuff your ridiculous straw men up your…)

            “So deal with the truth and simply admit you happen to find it “icky” and therefore you believe you have a right to “put a stop to it”. ”

            Prostitution is not “icky.” It is daily suffering, disease and death for more than thirty million women. And you are a real fucking asshole for even trying to pull such a disgusting straw man off.

            YOU are an “icky” asshole. PROSTITUTION is gynocide against tens of millions of women. See the difference?

          • Richard

            And again with the name calling. As well as new emotionally laid words like “gynocide”.

            Possibly if we were having this discussion in person things would have flowed more naturally, context maintained, and your choice to use vulgarities more constrained.

            Prostitution is illegal.
            The fact that it is illegal AIDS the enslavement of women. Because it is criminal it is underground.

            Consider alcohol and the effects on society while it was illegal. Once it was legal, no one bought the illegal stuff anymore.

            Prostitution in effect states that a sexual act that would otherwise be legal is illegal because money is changing hands.
            Legalizing prostitution would allow for someone involved in what is normally a legal sex to receive compensation for it.

            It is my belief that legalizing it could allow for a situation which PREVENTS violence and rape by creating an environment where the prostitute could have security readily available as well as better legal recourse.

            I do not NOT advocate the preservation of pimps or madams, but rather allowing those men and women who wish to prostitute themselves to do so. They would need to be licensed and checked in the manner done in parts of Nevada. Nor could such services be a requirement for any other job.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “The fact that it is illegal AIDS the enslavement of women. Because it is criminal it is underground.”

            How do you, then, explain the fact that illegal/underground prostitution thrives under legalization?

          • Anne

            Richard:In every other aspect it is the client/buyer/ (whatever) that is responsible for representing a valid medical report when required. So why is it, that in the prostitution industry is the seller who must prove that she is non-infectious.

            I don’t understand it. Unless it’s all about not having to explain a visit to the doctor every 3.week for the wife/partner.

            Nevadas sexlaws are so inhuman and humiliating towards the prostitutes that they should be reported to human rights courts.
            It is certainly only brothel owners and sex buyers that could praise these laws.

            And then the everlasting question about the legal brothels and the buyers. No, men do NOT prefer legal brothels rather than illegal. They prefer brothels where the prices are low and where they can buy the kind of sex (unprotected, cheap, violent and so on) they prefer.

            In every country with legal prostitution there is a uncontrolled illegal sex industry – even in New Zealand. That is a fact. And that illegal sex industry only exists because men buy sex at the illegal brothels.

          • Richard

            I have no objections to mandating condom usage or the like. If you can come up with a rapid method of clearing potential “clients” of STD’s so much the better. The reason why the prostitute is the one checked is because of the multiple number of partners and the fact they are more likely to be a vector of spreading disease.

            I’m unaware of the specifics of the laws where it is legal. If they appear to be inhumane, by all means fix the laws.

            I simply want individuals to be given the rights over the own bodies. If the actions performed are legal when there is no compensation then the actions should still be legal if they are paid.

            Those individuals that want to indulge in violent sex, presumably non-consensual, are not the ones I give a damn about. They deserve to be punished and those being victimized aided.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Giving men the right to fuck women and girls who have little alternative does not give “individuals…rights over the own bodies.”

          • “And again with the name calling. As well as new emotionally laid words like “gynocide”.”

            All language is emotionally loaded. Fuck you for trying to tone police me.

            “Possibly if we were having this discussion in person things would have flowed more naturally”

            No, I think you should be pretty happy this is not happening in real life. The only way this could possibly happen would be if I was forced for some reason to listen to you, and it wouldn’t have ended well (for you). If you think this is mistreatment, you haven’t seen anything yet. I have screamed at anti-gay-marriage bigots and I would have no compulsion against screaming at pro-prostitution bigots.

            “Consider alcohol and the effects on society while it was illegal.”

            I’m also for Prohibition, so I’m not really the person to use that analogy on. I think it was mismanaged, but the idea was good.

            “It is my belief that legalizing it could allow for a situation which PREVENTS violence and rape by creating an environment where the prostitute could have security readily available as well as better legal recourse.”

            Apparently you have a better system in mind than the ones that already exist then. Why don’t you write about it on your blog or whatever and stop bothering feminists about it.

          • Richard

            Well for one thing, I’m a feminist. By which I mean women should have the right to be whatever they can/want to be by merit of their talents and abilities. I think they should be encouraged to explore their limits and try thing that may be outside the traditions they may have been exposed to.

            I don’t believe in the concept that the lack of equal results means that something is necessarily wrong. The reality is, while the fastest woman runner is certainly faster than I ever will be, the fastest runners happen to be men.

            And apparently you consider screaming and cursing to be your way of getting your point across. That’s as idiotic as allowing a man to slap you down physically and declare himself the “winner”.

            Use adult concepts of logic to persuade or be a child. Your choice.

            You are for prohibition which means you are for inflicting your “morals” on others. That kind of mentality is what helps keep women in Burkas.

            Let me disabuse you of one thing. I’m not “pro prostitution” and more than I’m “pro abortion”. What I am is a believer of individual rights and responsibilities. I would be just as happy if no person ever decided to sell sexual services as not. It’s their body and their business, not yours.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “Well for one thing, I’m a feminist. By which I mean women should have the right to be whatever they can/want to be by merit of their talents and abilities. I think they should be encouraged to explore their limits and try thing that may be outside the traditions they may have been exposed to.”

            Nobody cares what you think women ‘should be encouraged’ to do. Nor do they care how you define feminism. Simply because you identify as a feminist, doesn’t make it so.

          • Me

            How conveniently @Richard disappears the exploitative industries in plain sight.

          • Prohibition – beuurrrkkk. Very bizarre from a Francophone.

            Cheers! et bonne année.

          • Je ne vois pas vraiment le rapport entre être un Francophone et être pour ou contre la prohibition…

            I am French-Canadian, but I am socialist also… I don’t think there’s any contradiction in that.

          • “Well for one thing, I’m a feminist.”

            No. No you’re not. If you’re a feminist, then I’m a capitalist pig.

            “By which I mean women should have the right to be whatever they can/want to be by merit of their talents and abilities.”

            Funnily enough, that’s not anywhere near the definition of “feminist.” That’s called “being a decent human being.”

            “the fastest runners happen to be men.”

            And how the fuck would you know? The fact that men run faster under the current system of things doesn’t mean that’s the natural order of things. Sports, like all other domain of society, is subject to stereotype threat and double standards.

            “And apparently you consider screaming and cursing to be your way of getting your point across. That’s as idiotic as allowing a man to slap you down physically and declare himself the “winner”.”

            I don’t understand the analogy here. Me screaming at an anti-gay-marriage bigot is the same as someone slapping me down? What the fuck are you going on about.

            “Use adult concepts of logic to persuade or be a child. Your choice.”

            Apparently you think I must either hold a deluded view of myself as being able to persuade bigots by sheer force of logic, or I must be childish. What a false dilemma if there ever was one. No, I don’t expect to persuade assholes like you. You are not open to facts.

            “You are for prohibition which means you are for inflicting your “morals” on others.”

            How exactly is having an opinion on social policy inflicting my morals on others?

            “That kind of mentality is what helps keep women in Burkas.”

            Okay, that’s it. I am done with you. How dare you say that to me, you motherfucking scumbag. What gives you the right to say that to me, you disgusting asswipe?

            If you’re a feminist, then I’m a Venusian.

          • Sue H

            There is no logic at all in placing prostitution indoors. That simply gives the johns greater freedom for abuse and rape without consequences. The abuse can’t be seen and so it can be far far worse. You really should read Rebecca Mott’s blog as an earlier poster mentioned:

            http://rmott62.wordpress.com/

            Take a look at some of her previous blog posts while you’re at it.

            Your entire premise of indoors prostitution meaning safety is false. Rebecca was an indoors prostitute and she suffered every kind of sick, evil, twisted abuse that could possibly be done to a human being. She was regularly close to death.

            What’s all this nonsense about ‘granting favours’ because someone has bought you dinner? Seriously, are you from the 19th century or something? Pre-First World War maybe? Some men decades ago thought that women should ‘pay’ for their dinner by having sex with them but that idea went out with hotpants in the sixties. What kind of consent would it be if someone felt they ought to have sex with you? I hope you answered ‘none at all’ there. If not please seek help immediately.

            No-one ever has the ‘right’ to have sex with anyone else, no matter what the circumstances. Consent is also a false premise since consent implies that someone wants to have sex and the other person has let them. That’s not what sex should be about. Rather not ‘consenting adults’ but ‘willing adults’. If you’re not both enthusiastically into it why bother?

          • Richard

            Moving it indoors is not sufficient if it is still ILLEGAL, and just tolerated.

            Let’s look at a tangent example. If a woman/man hired to perform a massage is raped the person doing the raping can/should be charged with the crime.
            A prostitute can of course be raped.
            Granted, it might be a bit harder to prove given the circumstances, but having access to a panic button or even something as a scream possibly being able to summon nearby help would certainly be an improvement.

            And the woman does not “pay” the man for having bought her dinner with sex, though one might reasonably, crudely, conclude she is bribing/rewarding him with sex in hopes of continuing the relationship.

            Certainly courtship has altered far from the traditional progressions of the past. It is reasonable for a party of the relationship to find a lack of progression as an indicator that interest is not being returned. That is assuming that this is not a pure romantic relationship.

            As to the motives behind consenting adults, I’ve never considered that my concern. If a person does it because they are “bored” rather than “enthusiastic” it’s not really my business unless I’m a party in the relationship.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “Let’s look at a tangent example. If a woman/man hired to perform a massage is raped the person doing the raping can/should be charged with the crime.
            A prostitute can of course be raped.
            Granted, it might be a bit harder to prove given the circumstances, but having access to a panic button or even something as a scream possibly being able to summon nearby help would certainly be an improvement.”

            But you can’t charge someone with rape if that rape is viewed as “consensual” because the man paid to rape her. Under the Nordic model, prostitutes can go to the police if a john violates her, tries not to pay, is violent, etc. She has the power in the situation. If johns are doing something legal, it’s more difficult to charge them. Obviously.

            “Moving it indoors is not sufficient if it is still ILLEGAL, and just tolerated.”

            Indoors has NEVER been safer. In Amsterdam, where prostitution is legal, women are abused and murdered in the shop windows, ffs.

          • Richard

            How can someone pay for rape?

            Either an act is consensual or its not. If you agree to one act, but another forced on you, its still rape.

            And women, sadly, can and are raped in all environments. Having an environment where a degree of control and protection exists reduces the likelihood of this occurring.

            The environments you are describing are obviously not providing sufficient protection nor offering a sufficient degree of control to those in it.

          • Meghan Murphy

            What if a person consents under duress? Or because they have no other choice?

          • Ye gods, is this dudebro for real? “How can someone pay for rape?”

          • sporenda

            Oh darn, I bought dinner for men friends when they were low on cash, I should have demanded sex in exchange.

    • copleycat

      It’s nice to be lucky isn’t it? I got the hell out of stripping after a co-worker was brutally raped and murdered. The week after this woman was killed the club was flooded with large groups of men who kept joking about it and telling other women that they were going to do the same to them. Up until that point it hadn’t seemed like such a bad gig, plenty of money, plenty of free time. Starting over in the world outside was damn scary, I had gotten very accostumed to doing the strangest things, behaving coyly with men – whether I wanted to flirt or not it was just an auto-pilot thing, swaying ever so slightly when talking with men, not saying you’re standing too close when men were. My residual work habits worked against my personal integrity.

      Acclamating to life outside a prostitution was shockingly difficult, but then having men come and joke about killing you and your co-workers after a grisly rape/murder is one hell of a motivator. All those habits I was developing as a stripper were undermining my sense that I could be any other way – that I could do anything else.

      Which brings up the question, if your education was/is worth so much to you then why aren’t you working as a nurse/scientist?
      P.S. I don’t think people here are going to be gasping that women have complimented you on your body. It seems odd you would assume that.

    • annika

      I’m sure that’s why brothels have panic buttons in their bedrooms, so empowered women like yourself can sound the celebration trumpets when a John treats you like a human being worthy of respect.

    • ProudlySexCritical

      “….my body confidence is higher than it has ever been (being complimented every shift by men (and sometimes *gasp* women) who are willing to pay $300 for 45 minutes with me.”

      I’d rather be complimented by men for my intelligence, kindness, willingness to stand up for what I believe in and other traits that make me human, rather than for some random genetic traits* that have nothing to do with who I am as a person. Any random object can be pretty. Women are humans and ought to be valued for their humanity. Prettiness is not an aspect of humanity. A human can be pretty, but being pretty is not a uniquely human thing. I’d rather live in a world where people didn’t need “body confidence” because society wasn’t so fucking obsessed with what people looked like.

      And as for being happy about the fact that people are paying 300 dollars to fuck you, that just proves that you see yourself as a commodity, as the property of men. You can’t imagine being seen as a real human being so you’re just happy that you’re viewed as a valuable commodity, as opposed to all those less attractive women who are seen as less valuable commodities. Well some women are tired of being seen commmoditites and we don’t like the thought of having men stick price tags on us. Even if its a 300 million dollar price tag. Human beings and human qualities are worth way more than 300 million dollars and I dare say you’re worth more than that also.

      Start thinking of yourself as a human, not a good quality product.

      *Or did you have to get multiple boob jobs and starve yourself in order to get that man-pleasing body you value so much?

      • “You can’t imagine being seen as a real human being so you’re just happy that you’re viewed as a valuable commodity, as opposed to all those less attractive women who are seen as less valuable commodities.”

        This kind of “happiness” and “self-esteem” are so corrosive, isn’t it? It’s heartbreaking what this evil shit does to all of us women and how extremely difficult it is to break free from it, given that the grooming/messaging is everywhere, even in the heads of people who “love” us.

      • TylerP

        I wholeheartedly agree with you about it being totally fucked up and wrong that modern society places such high value on physical appearance and that women who are lucky enough to fit the current ideal can have ‘high self esteem’ based on their looks while everyone else gets to either drop-out from mainstream society or find strength and self worth from elsewhere.

        What you have to remember is that people who place their entire self esteem upon their looks-based-value are doomed. Once the looks fade, what have they left? They have to revisit their entire sense of self worth or fade into depression or worse. Eva who wrote this states that she feels so confident as men routinely pay her $300 and compliment her body… what happens when her body starts to lose shape, to naturally age? Where will her self worth come from then? When she has to reduce the rate to compensate for her less than perfect body and skin?

        I am a man… as a teenager I was often told how ‘handsome’ I was and how many women will be ‘falling at my feet’ when I get older (always by older women, friends of my Mother). Although this was nice to receive compliments, I never really took it that seriously and had niggling self doubts anyway through constantly comparing myself to famously attractive men and models in magazines… just like women do. But I did have that sense of inner belief that one day, I’m going to be special because I am good looking… and when I become a man the world will be my oyster, I can have all that beauty I yearn for. I was used to girls smiling at me in the street and older women flirting with me and congratulating my mother on having such a charming handsome boy.

        When I reached 20 I got acne and everything changed. I lost all sense of self worth. People pitied me instead of admiring me. I even had an accident and broke my nose and teeth which ultimately made me less good looking. I noticed those same women who complimented me as a teenager, suddenly being less amazed my me… I felt like a disappointment to everyone… I didn’t turn out the way they expected me to. Where once I could feel alive walking down the street as electrifying eye contact and smiles would regularly occur with the opposite sex, now I walk around invisible. When I meet my Mum’s friends they barely recognize me. I’ve become shy, reserved and often depressed, where I used to be the life and soul of the party.

        When I go out with my better looking friends, I notice how women’s eyes light up upon introduction… whilst they only politely acknowledge my presence and go back to laughing and flirting with the better looking ones. I get to feel awkward and go home at night alone, hearing my housemates enjoy encounters with the opposite sex while I cry into my diary thinking, what the hell happened?

        And that’s why I see prostitutes now and again.

        At least they give me a chance.

        So next time you suggest only women are affected my looks-based-esteem issues, think again. And also, that women judge men on their looks just as much, if not even more than men judge women. At least men talk to friends of girls they find attractive, where girls tend to just ignore the less attractive members of a group they meet on nights out.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Do you know how many people who aren’t typically “beautiful” have great sex and are loved? Lots. You don’t need to pay for it. It’s lazy and selfish. And if you can’t get laid whenever you feel like it for free who cares. Deal with it. You won’t die.

        • Wow. I thought this was going to be an awesome post with a man supporting the idea of how getting self esteem from your looks will only end in self-hatred, ergo any validation a woman gets from a high price tag in prostitution is the same.

          But no, straight up John apologism.

          Will all the ex prostitutes who aren’t sexy anymore now start paying men for sex to boost their self esteem?

        • Shalom

          To TylerP :

          I do not know if your post is legitimate. But instead of paying money to use a women’s body, I suggest that you use that money to see a counselor or a life coach. They can help you build real confidence in yourself, and real relationships. I have struggled with low self esteem (and acne) as well, and I know those self-depreciating thoughts can be addictive. There is a way out, but you have to want to change.
          If you still have issues with acne, I suggest that you check out the blog The Love Vitamin. The author explores many ways to reduce acne and scarring, as well as combating issues of negative self worth.
          The power to change is in your hands!
          Shalom

          • Shalom

            Of course, which of these men will give up their power and what they think are “their rights” willingly?

      • Noshin

        This is a great perspective to see the situation in. There needs to be more value put into qualities like intelligence, wit, and other characteristics that sets us apart from just being “good-to-look-at things.” We have so much more to offer the world than our “looks” or “body-services.” Anyone can achieve this, it isn’t necessarily a tough skill. Human beings shouldn’t have any “price” on them… We are priceless.

      • David J Parry

        ‘I’d rather be complimented by men for my intelligence, kindness, willingness to stand up for what I believe in and other traits that make me human, rather than for some random genetic traits* that have nothing to do with who I am as a person.’

        What’s wrong with men appreciating your physical attractiveness? Why do you assume that appreciation of sexiness and admiration of character, personality, intelligence, etc are mutually exclusive? Also, you do know that intelligence, like physical attractiveness, is at least partly genetically rooted, right?

    • Missfit

      I noticed that all the women who come here to defend prostitution, commenting on their job as sex workers, follow approximately the same scripts, which I do not find representative of the industry. They are either empowered dominatrix or loving their job making, what, 300$ for 45 minutes?? This is surely not the norm; I never saw that. Are they paying you this high because you look like a top model? Aren’t women pretty objects to buy, aren’t they?

      I have to say that for me, this story looks more like an ad for the sex industry than a real story. Lovely women, compliant and respectful johns? I saw tired, sad, exhausted, depressed women. I saw plenty of scary johns. Controlling the men? This is faux empowering again. No matter how you turn it, it always comes down to women sexually servicing men. You decide where the man can touch you? Many women don’t have the luxury of making those kinds of decisions; from my experience, the man can touch you everywhere, because that is exactly what he’s paying for! Even when the rule is no kissing, I’ve found myself repeatedly having to resist (gently, of course!) forced kissing, sometimes I just gave in.

      We’ve heard plenty of times the ‘me and my choice’ mantra. If you are not interested about what prostitution is saying about sexuality and gender relations, about how women and girls are routinely exploited by the sex industry (because ‘you and your choice’ are not), okay then, but this is not feminism.

    • sheela

      Glad, as others have said, that the sex industry works for you. Being an educated, articulate non-substance using childless woman puts you in a demographic of the top %5 who *can* work part time and have some choice over terms and conditions. But nothing you’ve said will convince feminists that we should stop fighting and advocating on behalf of the other 95%.

      The abolitionist position comes for many of us from being exited from the industry and not having had such jolly experiences as you

  • dena

    i liked this piece.

    here’s what i want to know: why is “slut shaming” even a concept, but not john shaming? why does all the judgement, all the consequences, and all the law come down on women? i’m all for women making the best choices they are able to make. i think it would be a different world, and women would/could make different choices, if it were illegal to be a john. i mean, if it were REALLY illegal, if there were actual consequences. prostitution will end when men stop participating. i think it is the job of feminists to make prostitution untenable for men.

    • Ash

      John-shaming = sexist and shaming of men, slut-shaming = liberation and fun feminist awesomeness

      this is the logic of third wave feminism right now. it’s very sad.

  • María luisa Latorre

    I would like to know what people, who justify prostitution, think is going to happen to men’s penises if they don’t fuck right away..combustion? It will shrivel up and fall off? What will it happen that is must be avoided at all costs by raping women for money…is it that serious that can’t be fixed by…I don’t know, masturbating?

    • PKRT

      Some dude told me once that they would start killing themselves. The sad thing: he was serious. Men will say anything to hold on to their power and privileges…

      • lizor

        If certain men are going to off themselves because they can’t access a female body to use for masturbation ….

        well…

        let’s just say the whole idea makes me warm to Darwinism. 🙂

      • copleycat

        I’m with Lizor on this. It would go very much like when a four year old gets mad and declares that they’re going to hold their breath till they get what they want.

  • Franky W

    Grey areas, grey areas, GREY AREAS. I’m not going to deny that a lot of really awful stuff happens to prostitutes and as a result of the sex industry, or that there a lot of men on another power trip involved. But you all seem to be missing a lot of important points. Not every argument for the sex industry is calling it a ‘necessity’ I definitely think its a luxury and should be treated as such, as Eva’s experience suggests legalising it (and it being run mainly by women?) solves a lot issues, so much of the sex industry is run by men, taking the power away from the women again. So no, it shouldn’t be a national service, it should be done by people who actually enjoy it and want to do it, and are comfortable with it, and being treated fairly, not someone being forced to on any level.
    A lot of men visiting sex workers are on power trips yes, a lot of them are lonely and can’t get it any other way, and a lot of them may well be able to get it whenever they want, but maybe they have a fetish they don’t really want to discuss with their wife/girlfriend/one night stand, I’m not defending them or saying that makes it an absolute necessity, but there are always grey areas. Maybe a man feels powerless in his own life (a powerless man?? :O SURELY NOT) and because of societies ideals and assumptions about men has developed a fetish of feeling powerful over women, again i’m not really defending any of this, only to say there are faults coming from a lot of sources, but if a sex worker is happy to be his fantasy then I don’t see the problem with him paying her to act it out, I don’t find it to be disempowering if there is consent. A lot of women feel sexually submissive, probably as a result of societies expectations, should they be shamed for not wanting to dominate all men?
    I don’t know, I’m don’t have all the answers. There’s a lot I don’t agree with in regards to sex work, a lot in mens attitudes that makes me really sad and angry, but I don’t think (somehow?) abolishing prostitutes/sex workers will solve these issues, there needs to be a complete shift in consciousness on all sides, and discussing it will help, but not if we’re not looking at things from all angles, and not if we’re shaming each other and acting sanctimonious on all fronts.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “Eva’s experience suggests legalising it (and it being run mainly by women?) solves a lot issues, so much of the sex industry is run by men, taking the power away from the women again.”

      That is simply not true. Legalizing has kept power in the hands of pimps, johns, and traffickers. The only successful model, in terms of reducing violence, giving power to women, reducing trafficking and illegal prostitution (as well as prostitution in general), has been the Nordic model.

      Under legalizing the violence and exploitation continues, never mind the fact that it creates a hugely sexist society wherein women are things to be bought and used by men. Is that the world you want to live in? Does that sound like progress?

      • Felicity Maera-Wallace

        That is simply not true. Legalisation in NZ has been very successful. The Nordic model simply drives sex work underground, demonises the women who choose to do it and fails to support the women who do need help. It also santions removing children if sex workers simply because of their job choice.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Felicity: Everything you have stated here is false.

          Also, define “successful.” If your definition of “successful” has nothing to do with ending patriarchy and creating a feminist world, then it isn’t of interest to us.

        • And your evidence for this is…?

          Meghan Murphy has posted an entry on this very subject:
          http://feministcurrent.com/7038/new-research-shows-violence-decreases-under-nordic-model-why-the-radio-silence/

          Why did you not comment there instead of here? What is your motive? Do you really think we’re that stupid?

        • Anne

          Felicity:It is very funny indeed, that we are represented by this claim again and again “The Nordic model simply drives sex work underground, demonises the women who choose to do it and fails to support the women who do need help.” but no one in the Nordic countries can find any proof of it or find any evidence – not the police, not the social workers, who is in daily contact with the prostitutes, not the prostitutes own network PRIS – Prostitutes’ Revenge In Society.

          So will you be so kind and publish the proof of that claim. “The Nordic model simply drives sex work underground, demonises the women who choose to do it and fails to support the women who do need help.” because I would really like to see it. And when I mean proof I don’t mean the propaganda speak from the sexlobby but real evidence.

        • Actually according to this article prostitution laws have failed in NZ, just like in Vic, Australia where legalisation has created more problems
          Sources:
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9428778/Ex-prostitutes-call-for-law-change

          and

          http://www.catwinternational.org/content/images/article/95/attachment.pdf

          • Anne

            Oh yes – and this one – the best. read it.

            http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0001816248

            “The Brothels System Facilitate
             The Operators Certificate system enables a legal way for the brotherl owner or
            management to by pass the operators certificate
             No employment contracts for workers by employing contractors
             No records of premise locations.
             Lack of Since Health and Safety inspections are not routinely carried out.
             A legal base to provide facilities for the production of porn.
             The ability of what were criminal activities to make fortunes using the sellers and drug
            supply and connections.

            Street Prostitution
            This has not declined as the PRA predicted, and due to sellers being decriminalised and
            the sex industry being set up as a respectable profession, a great deal of public
            nuisance is occurring.

            Underage Workers
            o Police have great difficulty in checking sellers age.
            o Underage street workers are encouraged because they cannot be prosecuted, this
            deterrent has been removed.

            Legal Regulations and Requirements
            o Such things as IRD and the usual controls and constraints of other businesses are
            ignored.
            o OSH requirements can be completely ignored. The NZPC have received some $8.6 m
            over 10 years with no disclosed accountability.
            o The PRA has reduced police powers to control the sex industry.

            Final Comment
            While we believe that this submission provides sufficient motivation for our proposals to be
            given serious consideration, we take this opportunity to endorse every proposal made in the:
            Prostitution Reform (Control of Street Prostitution) Amendment Draft Bill proposed by
            the Rt Honerable Mrs Lole Taylor MPMember’s Bill.
            However this Bill does not target the demand that fuels prostitution. It does not send a clear
            message to society that women, men, girls and boys are not for sale”

    • copleycat

      ” Maybe a man feels powerless in his own life (a powerless man?? :O SURELY NOT) and because of societies ideals and assumptions about men has developed a fetish of feeling powerful over women, again i’m not really defending any of this, only to say there are faults coming from a lot of sources, but if a sex worker is happy to be his fantasy then I don’t see the problem with him paying her to act it out,”

      Ok let’s take the poor, powerless, hypothetical man into consideration. If you have a fetish then you’ve developed a compulsion. Compulsions are unhealthy, fultile attempts to compensate for a security that can’t be attained. In this case it can’t be attained because hey maybe the dude has this nagging sense that these people he’s been taught to think of as less than human are strangely enough showing all kinds of signs of being human. And the closer he gets to them the more human they seem. The healthy thing to do would be to try to recover from masculinity but you’re suggesting that if instead he can go into a sort of ramped up operant conditioning program to increase his sense of superiority then that’s just fine. Forget that it turns on treating another human being like an object. Forget that it takes him further out of touch with reality and makes him more isolated, which makes him more anxious, which makes him more of a compulsive f#cker, needing more assertions that he’s superior and powerful. Right? If such a man wants to boldly blaze down the slope of solipsism into a nilhilistic implosion let him do it alone.

      • Franky W

        Yes, obviously this hypothetical man (of which i know there are many) should deal with it in the healthy way, but um, i’m not sure of the likelihood of that, and i’d rather he’d exert his power issues over someone consenting than not, there are a million ways this could be dealt with and i’m not saying this makes prostitution an awesome thing for all, i personally just don’t have a problem if the woman is genuinely fine with it. As I said I’m not defending him, my argument wasn’t ever ‘wooooo prostitution, two thumbs up!’ or lets do everything we can to help mens sexual needs, my main issue is with the article and subsequent comments making a lot of sweeping generalisations about sex workers and those paying them. Obviously it all stems from patriarchy making it all very terrible, and due to all the grey areas my stance on sex work is fuzzy, i could go into all my thoughts and internal arguments but I don’t think we’d get anywhere, I just really don’t see that its helpful when women tell other women what they should and shouldn’t do.

        • Meghan Murphy

          “I just really don’t see that its helpful when women tell other women what they should and shouldn’t do.”

          Um, what??? How on earth have you come to the conclusion that arguing against male power, violence against women, inequality, and exploitation is about ‘women telling other women what they should and shouldn’t do.’

          Prostitution is not female liberation, it’s the opposite.

        • Laur

          The idea that some women just love having sex with any available man is a male fantasy. It’s one that’s forced on all women, in a myriad of ways, and some women more than others, from birth onward. (I really do mean from birth onward as I have heard remarks men say to their babies about their future fuckability). I’ts so nice you, franky, have a chance to intellectualize about being a sex seller. Not all of us have that privilege.

          • Franky W

            Men say that to their own babies? That is disgusting… I’m aware of the ridiculous male fantasy, there’s a subtle difference between enjoying your job as a sex seller and loving having sex with all men, there are some people who are happy in their jobs, and choose to do it, and a lot more who don’t, who I agree should be our main focus of trying to figure out how to help.
            I’m not really sure what your point is, aren’t we all intellectualising about sex work? Not enough sex sellers have the privilege of being able to give their opinion on the internet, so yes, its a great privilege.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “there’s a subtle difference between enjoying your job as a sex seller and loving having sex with all men”

            Um, no… Not “subtle.” Huge. Prostitution has nothing to do with ‘loving sex with men.’

          • Laur

            No, we are not all looking at the sex trade from some sort of “objective” standpoint where we are making guessing games about what it’s like for women in the sex trade. Many posters here are survivors of what they call the “paid rape industry”.

          • Me

            @Franky, You come across very naive, and while that may not be so much your fault, you shouldn’t fault radical feminist analysis for pointing out the atrocities and the men as perpetrators either.

            Men do say these things to their own babies and much worse. Men who would not sexually assault and abuse their female children say it, men who would “only” abuse women in prostitution and through pornography, and of course many do abuse their children and partners too. There was just a post going around where a woman had complained that her husband was excusing himself from changing their female infant’s diapers lest he become sexually aroused by her infant vagina and assault her, and apparently a lot of women chimed in saying they’d had the same thing happen with their husbands. If in that you only find benign excuse-making to avoid the work of changing diapers, instead of a realization of how thoroughly fucked up rape culture is, I don’t know what to tell you except wake up.

            For all of this to clear up in your mind, you need to focus on men as perpetrators of sexual violence, battery and sadism. Once it becomes clear to you that these are commonplace traits of masculinity–that men really do these things so much that it colors women’s and girls’ lives through and through–it becomes much clearer to take on your responsibility as a man for stopping it. Don’t focus on the prostitutes’ choices, focus on the clearly, unmistakably wrong and horrific choices of the johns and the pimps and the traffickers, who need to be stopped.

        • lizor

          “i’d rather he’d exert his power issues over someone consenting than not,”

          Sorry, what was that again??? Someone consenting to someone else acting out their mental illness on them? Are you seriously proposing this as a real-life event that is not seriously problematic?

          How about this proposition: I have a pal who loaths, LOATHS dudes named Franky and he has a pathological need to express that by defecating on them. You up for consenting to that Franky? If another Franky, who happens to have very few other economic options is willing to endure my friend’s deep contempt and desecration of him for some money to buy food, you see that as free consent?

        • copleycat

          “i’d rather he’d exert his power issues over someone consenting than not, ”

          You’re not getting the point of this are you? Nor are you actually listening to what I just said. If he deals with his “power issues” this way they get worse not better.

          As for the I don’t think it’s good for women to tell other women what to do bit – trying to invoke the image of the mean, domineering, mommy archtype huh? Don’t worry plenty of pro-prostitution women already have her in their heads. It’s probably rare that she isn’t on their minds.

      • Obrien

        “If you have a fetish then you’ve developed a compulsion” I’ve enjoyed reading the article and the comments but the quote above is not wholely accurate. They can be nurture based but they can be nature based, as in having a biological origin. Fetishes are not gender specific either. Biological origin fetishes are usually to do with cross wiring in the brain and these types simply cannot be “cured” any more than you could cure someones sexuality. Nurture based ones do respond to aversion therapy.

        • copleycat

          “Nuture based ones respond to aversion therapy” so the argument to not reinforce fetishes is null because of you’re citing that not all fetishes are the result of nurture? And then we could get into the interactions between nature and nurture and how when you say “cross-wiring” it doesn’t mean it’s set in stone when neuro-plasticity is taken into consideration. Yet that really gets a bit far from the important issue here – oh that was your intention.

          • Obrien

            Not trying to take away from the argument at all, simply to pointing out it’s inaccurate to state ” “If you have a fetish then you’ve developed a compulsion” – it’s far more complex than “developed a compulsion”.
            I enjoy coming back to keep reading the continuing discussion related to the original blog post, I have read every comment and learned a lot from the article and the comments section.

    • “it should be done by people who actually enjoy it and want to do it, and are comfortable with it, and being treated fairly, not someone being forced to on any level.”

      Okay, I can agree with that. Now how the fuck can prostitution ever be “fair” and not “forced” in any way? Can you explain that one?

      • Franky W

        Well… there are currently people who are prostitutes who enjoy their job and choose to do it. Thats mainly what I meant, in an ideal world the patriarchy wouldn’t have tricked them into thinking it was a good idea, and I’m not sure what the best way of taking the power away from the pimps/stopping trafiking/ forced prostitution and all the other problems is, but there are definitely ways of making things fairer and definitely people who aren’t being forced into it.

        • lizor

          “there are currently people who are prostitutes who enjoy their job and choose to do it. Thats mainly what I meant, in an ideal world the patriarchy wouldn’t have tricked them into thinking it was a good idea, and I’m not sure what the best way of taking the power away from the pimps/stopping trafiking/ forced prostitution ”

          Franky, the only grey areas are in your brain. Your ideas are foggy, muddled and simply un-thought. I don’t know if you have thought really hard about this and are limited by capacity to empathize or simply to process information or if, alternately, you are yet another dude who feel entitled to express opinions to which he has given little or no consideration – because it’s only a lady thing so not worthy of the mental effort.

    • Ash

      men love their grey areas. that’s why they defend sadomasochism, pornography, prostitution etc…it’s all grey areas and us crazy feminists are just too ‘black and white’ in our thinking. same old bs.

  • Kittenhasawhip

    Ugh, the “I choose my choice” feminists crawl out of the wood work, completely deluding themselves into thinking that choosing a profession enforced and created by patriarchy is..uhm, liberating? And this decision apparently occurs in some sterile societal vacuum where women *aren’t* only valued as sex objects?

    Surely people recognize that socialization affect their decisions (in the form of things like implicit bias)? That the “choice” to be a sex worker is completely fueled by [patriarchal] assumptions regarding humanity’s sexual “instincts,” a person’s professional potential, a John’s sexual preferences and tastes? This isn’t a hyper abstract argument in favor of false consciousness. This is sociology 101.

  • Ash

    I was WAITING for you to write about this story. All i could think of when i heard was, “This guy, who is loved by so many young women is buying 20+ women for sex from a brothel?” Something doesn’t fit right with the narrative of “lonely sad dudes who can’t get laid” are the ones who visit these places. I was most repulsed, however, by the non-reaction of tabloid celeb magazines that cast this off as “boys will be boys” – i mean, DUH…it’s typical BOY behavior to buy women for sex, right? You hit the nail on the head when you said it’s about power…straight up. Biebs has no lack of women lining up to have sex with him he just wants us all to think he’s a powerful macho dude who has disposable income to spend on purchasing women during his tours.

    This sex surrogacy thing is really something else though…the idea that disabled people are sexless and no one wants to have sex with them so they need to hire “surrogate” women to sexually “service” them? Pretty fucking insulting on several levels…but as long as a woman is fulfilling her role as a subservient sex bot, then everything is great and nothing is critiqued.

  • vicki diaz

    I love the idea that there should be no more prostitution. As I love the idea that there should be no more violence, poverty and pollution. But it’s never going to happen. Anyone can pay for anything and I don’t see that changing. Again, I would love it to, but, really? Something more attainable could be legalizing and protecting those in prostitution. Blaming “Eva” for benefiting from prostitution is like blaming those who cash in on picking the cans out of the garbage for pollution… she found something that works for her in a safe-ish way in an industry that will continue to provide fake sex and fake power to men (whoever is willing to pay for it). Eliminating human trafficking, diseases and violence in prostitution is possible, eliminating prostitution? Don’t hold our collective breath.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Heard of the Nordic model? It’s been very successful:
      http://feministcurrent.com/tag/the-nordic-model/
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/a-prostitution-solution-outlaw-the-customers-not-the-hookers/article12306020/
      http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/04/11/Nordic-Prostitution-Laws/

      Decriminalizing the prostituted and criminalizing the pimps and johns significantly reduces demand and gives the women more power over the exchange, when it does happen.

      Prostitution and trafficking are inseparable.

      No one has “blamed Eva for benefiting from prostitution.” If you continue to make statements that are untrue in order to derail the conversation, I won’t publish your comments.

      Thanks.

    • What does whether something is “never going to happen” have to do with it being true?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Also, murder is never going to go away. We should legalize and regulate it. Rape and incest too.

        • Stan

          Isn’t that already the case? Several states of the US have legalized and regulated murder (especially of black people), rape (in some countries it’s called “marriage” in some “prostitution”, and there may be some where both rape for money and rape within marriage are legal).
          And in some countries, incest is legal enough so that a girl is not allowed to abort the rape-pregnancy her own father caused.

          Oh sure, they don’t call it murder, and they don’t call it rape, but if you look at the facts …

  • Rye

    There has been something that has bothered me about radical feminist arguments against prostitution, which I haven’t been able to fully identify until recently. The problem is that they, if I correctly understand them, are logically invalid: the conclusions do not follow from the evidence.

    So, the claims including:

    1. Male sexuality is constructed in such a way, which has varied based on time and place, to justify men’s sexual access to women
    2. There are systemic inequalities in place that perpetuate men’s dominance over women and sexual access to women
    2. The great majority of sex buyers are men
    3. The great majority of sex buyers are not undersexed
    4. The great majority of sex buyers use prostitutes to experience dominance and sadistic pleasure
    5. The great majority of prostitutes are women
    6. The great majority of prostitutes are coerced by economic necessity, and often also coerced by pimp violence

    Do not lead to conclusions like:
    1. Prostitution is violence against women
    2. Prostitution is about male power over women

    Because the conclusions say something about all prostitution, but the premises/evidence say something about some prostitution, and that’s logically invalid reasoning.

    I suspect that this is why sex-industry advocates argue against claims like “prostitution is violence against women” by giving a counter-example. Logically, if there is at least one prostitute woman who does not experience violence in prostitution, then the claim, understood as “all prostitution is violent, particularly against women”, is false.

    Of course, even if these radfem conclusions are invalid, the evidence is still very relevant to the debate. Even if some women are prostitutes voluntarily and have good economic alternatives available to them, if some men buy sex for reasons unrelated to domination, and if the balance of power is sometimes equal between prostitute and buyer, it doesn’t justify legal prostitution. To justify its legality, another question must be asked: can prostitution be regulated to make it widely non-violent, voluntary and absent of male power? Since the answer is clearly “no”, the obvious legal solution is one that reduces demand and offers exit options.

    However, that isn’t the argument radfems are making, and two possibilities are left apparent to me:

    1. I do not understand what radfem conclusions actually mean
    2. Radfems are making logically invalid conclusions

    Could someone please clarify for me? Thanks.

    • Add 2, the other 2 which you mislabeled, 5 and 6 together and you get 1. So how is that an invalid conclusion?

      And what gives you the right to crow victory? You haven’t demonstrated anything.

      • Me

        Amazing LOGIC there though! Ha! 🙂 🙂

        “Logically, if there is at least one [person] who does not experience violence in [war], then the claim, understood as “all [war] is violent”, is false.”

        • I didn’t even want to address that part because I’m hoping he’s not that stupid. But I may be overoptimistic on that count.

    • What bothers you about the radical feminist arguments, Rye, is that you cannot afford to apprehend the simple fact of prostitution as patriarchy-enforcing exploitation.

      You apparently (as evidenced by your repeated posts here) want to imagine yourself a thoughtful and ethical person. If you were to quit with all of this twisted solipsistic rationalization and look honestly at the social implications of the industry that you justify, then facing what an exploitive creep you are being just might ruin the fun the next time you use a woman’s body as a receptacle for your dick and your toxic masculinity.

      You don’t get the anti-john argument because you can’t deal with what it says about the kind of human being you are.

    • Laur

      Yes all us women should run and giving this male sex predator attention because after all he states he has social issues and gives the women he buys sexual pleasure.

      Paid sex is not sex between social equals. The fact that women are defined as being always sexually available to men, is violence. According to you, there are some women who are just natural whores and so voluntarily want to have “do what I say” sex with hundreds of strangers. The actions of males like you rye, who come up with excuses to justify your actions of yourself and other men is despicable. I could go on, but for men who are interested on learning, there are plenty of blogs, here and elsewhere, that men who actually give a damn could read.

    • Rye

      Francois Tremblay,

      Considering this argument:

      1. There are systemic inequalities in place that perpetuate men’s dominance over women and sexual access to women
      2. The great majority of sex buyers are men
      3. The great majority of prostitutes are women
      4. The great majority of prostitutes are coerced by economic necessity, and often also coerced by pimp violence
      ___
      Prostitution is violence against women

      Is still invalid because you can’t conclude that all prostitution is violent against women from premises showing that some prostitution is violent against women.

      However, I am willing to agree that violence against a woman, directly or indirectly, is usually a part of any given transaction in the sex-trade.

      @Me

      Eh, prostitution can’t be compared to war in that way. Of course all war is violent, because every war involves violence by the armed forces of states.

      On the other hand, prostitution might be a case where a woman reaches an agreement with a man to engage in PIV with him in exchange for x amount of money. Unlike war, this situation does not need to include any physical violence, and nor does it need to include economic coercion. Moreover, there is nothing inherently violent with either PIV or trade. Thus, it would seem that violence is a contingent factor in prostitution.

      • “Considering this argument:

        1. There are systemic inequalities in place that perpetuate men’s dominance over women and sexual access to women
        2. The great majority of sex buyers are men
        3. The great majority of prostitutes are women
        4. The great majority of prostitutes are coerced by economic necessity, and often also coerced by pimp violence
        ___
        Prostitution is violence against women

        Is still invalid because you can’t conclude that all prostitution is violent against women from premises showing that some prostitution is violent against women.”

        Where in the argument does it say that “some prostitution is violent against women”? Because it seems like you just made that up.

      • “Eh, prostitution can’t be compared to war in that way. Of course all war is violent, because every war involves violence by the armed forces of states.”

        Dude, that doesn’t mean that everybody involved in a war directly experiences violence, and yet you think it is fair to say all war is violent. In refusing to see the flaws in your own logic, you once again make it painfully clear that you are just trying to justify the fact that you are a john. Nothing you have said comes close to being an argument. You actually took the time to write a lengthy comment that basically amounts to “there are exceptions”. Please see Meghan repeating over and over: the exception doesn’t make the rule.

        Can you let the illogical radfems get back to discussing prostitution in a useful way now (ie with the basic understanding of the role of patriarchy in the equation)?

      • Rye

        @Francois Tremblay

        I said the premises show us that some prostitution is violence against women. This is because none of the premises exclude the possibility of non-violent prostitution: “The great majority of prostitutes are coerced by…” does not imply that all prostitutes are coerced.

        On the other hand, “Prostitution is violence against women” does exclude the possibility of non-violent prostitution. For example, “Swans are white” excludes the possibility of black swans. Consequently, and this has been my whole point, it seems the radical feminist argument against prostitution follows this logical form:

        Some
        Some…
        ___
        All

        And that’s invalid.

        Which is why it appears to me that either radfems are making invalid arguments or I misunderstand something.

        @waittheysaidwhat

        My point was that Me’s counter-example fails to show that my argument is flawed, because war and prostitution are not analogous in this way. A good analogy to “Prostitution is violence against women” is “Swans are white”, because both these statements imply a corollary that excludes an analogous possibility. For example, “Swans are white” excludes the possibility of a black swan, and “Prostitution is violence against women” excludes the possibility of non-violent prostitution. Consequently, it is valid to undermine “Swans are white” by pointing to a black swan. Likewise, it is valid to undermine “Prostitution is violence against women” by pointing to a woman who does not experience violence from selling sex.

        By contrast, “War is violence” does not imply a corollary excluding the possibility that some individuals living within the political boundaries of the warring parties won’t be unharmed by the conflict. So like I said, not analogous.

        Having said all that, yes, “there are exceptions” is exactly what I am saying. In fact, that is the only concession I want from radfems. Yet, if radfems are honestly willing to concede that non-violent prostitution is a real exception, then why do they use language that excludes the possibility of such an exception? Moreover, Andrea Dworkin clearly stated that prostitution is intrinsically abusive.

        “And so, many of us are saying that prostitution is intrinsically abusive. Let me be clear. I am talking to you about prostitution per se, without more violence, without extra violence, without a woman being hit, without a woman being pushed. Prostitution in and of itself is an abuse of a woman’s body.” – Andrea Dworkin http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/MichLawJourI.html

        It is this strong view that I am arguing against.

        • annika

          Context is key here. Prostitution was socially constructed under a patriarchy, a system in which women are lesser than and the Other, making it the fruit of a poisonous tree. Even though they are women who are high end call girls who are happy and healthy, that doesn’t erase the fact that prostitution as an institution is founded on the idea that women aren’t fully human. So yes, prostitution is abuse, plain and simple. Is that too radical for you? Well then suck it up, because radical feminism is not going to change just because you see yourself as a nice guy.

        • “I said the premises show us that some prostitution is violence against women. This is because none of the premises exclude the possibility of non-violent prostitution”

          False. I already pointed out to you that nowhere in the premises is this the case. Yet you still persist in this misrepresentation. I am not going to keep arguing with you because you’re not even trying.

          Stop defending the pro-prostitution position with straw men arguments.

  • Rob

    aren’t there women who pay men for sex too?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Like, two. The exception doesn’t make the rule.
      Warning #1 for derail.

    • “aren’t there women who pay men for sex too?”

      Aren’t there serial killers too?

    • Stan

      Interestingly, the only ‘mass phenomenon’ (I doubt it even comes close to male sex tourism in numbers) of women paying men for fake-relationships (not sex as such) is wealthy European women paying poor African men. Interesting, isn’t it? And they mostly don’t pay for service, they give their poor, young lovers money as gift, and delude themselves into thinking there’s a real romance going on. I.e. what sex acts take place is still decided by the men.

  • Harry

    By legalising prostitution, the prostitute has more power and control. In Sydney Australia, prostitution is the only profession where a worker is legally allowed to discriminate against a client and refuse to give service without having to justify a reason why. If a taxi driver on the other hand refuses to stop for a black man for example, he is liable to be sued. A prostitute has the ability to say no and never be accountable. And that’s a good thing.

    There was an American sailor afew years ago who forced a prostitute here in Sydney to have sex with him without a condom. Because prostitution is legal that woman was able to go to police and that sailor was charged with rape. If prostitution was illegal going to the police would see her be in trouble too

    • Meghan Murphy

      Harry. You are either lying or you simply don’t know the fact. Even in places where prostitution is legalized, the vast majority of prostitutes are not registered, i.e. they are prostituting illegally. This is, in part, because of organized crime running the industry, an increase in trafficking (which is illegal), and because the notion that it is criminalization that stigmatizes prostitutes is a lie and most women still don’t want to be on record as working as prostitutes… BECAUSE THEY HOPE TO EXIT THE INDUSTRY SOME DAY and don’t want that part of their lives documented.

      Your points around the prostitute being able to go to the police is actually the situation in Sweden, where they implemented the Nordic/Swedish model over ten years ago. Because prostitutes are decriminalized and johns are criminalized, they have all the power in the exchange because they can go to the cops.

      In places where it’s legal to buy sex, the men have all the power because they are always within their rights — they paid to rape and abuse a woman, therefore it isn’t rape and abuse — it’s consensual.

      • Laur

        I don’t think “Harry” gives a damn about women if he’s seriously going to compare giving blowjobs to hundreds of strangers to driving a taxi.

    • Because obviously the #1 problem with prostitution is prostitutes’ inability to choose their customers. Obviously.

    • “There was an American sailor afew years ago who forced a prostitute here in Sydney to have sex with him without a condom. Because prostitution is legal that woman was able to go to police and that sailor was charged with rape.”

      What a heartwarming and inspirational story! Now I can see how sex work really is like other work! Maybe I will take it up after all, now that I know I can talk to the cops after my client rapes me!

      • Meghan Murphy

        Wonderful. Feminism has arrived!

    • By legalising prostitution, the prostitute has more power and control. In Sydney Australia, prostitution is the only profession where a worker is legally allowed to discriminate against a client and refuse to give service without having to justify a reason why.

      This legislation exists in Germany, too, and was enacted to protect prostitutes from abusive johns. It is one of the points – next to prostitution not being promoted by employment agencies – which make abundantly clear that “having sex” for money is not a job like any other.

      • I’d like to add that power to discriminate might also include refusing to give service after having received payment. This way, johns are not able to drag prostitutes before a court to sue for bad service.

        But, you know, this does not actually mean shit. Most women need the money and would not choose to take advantage of these “privileges” (which only exist because johns are a potential threat), especially when the police is involved and the press might show an interest.

  • Bob C

    I don’t know the little Bieber-boy, or his character – but I don’t think the author is far ahead of me on that one. However, she takes the liberty to make assumptions about him and his sexual preferences – solely based on the fact that he has allegedly paid for sex.

    The fact that he has “no shortage of options” does not mean that he can sleep around with anyone without any consequences. Having a lot of potential lovers to choose from does not equate having to avoid the consequences that may or may not follow.

    Those who are married/famous/politicians/soldiers – people who either have a lot to lose/hide, or who don’t have the opportunity/time to engage in a working relationship, and just want a one night stand without any consequences.

    In some cases, those Johns may do what they do to avoid feeling lonely (see Vice’s documentary on “Japan’s Love Industry”), in other cases it may have to do with society’s take on divorce. As in, it may simply be too economically and/or culturally costly to not act like you are keeping the family together.

    More often than not, the sex industry does not feed on honest people. The workers pay tax in very few places in the world, and the johns would not like to have their experiences recorded on their credit card statements.

    However, I think the sick men the author is referring to, most often are those who pay to sleep with imprisoned women/men/children. If that was what the Bieber-boy had done, she could make the assumptions she is making. But to call out someone’s sick sexual preferences, and to assert that he derives sadistic pleasure from the power imbalance between women and men – solely on the basis that he has been caught coming out of a brothel… well, it’s a little over the top.

    I agree that prostitution is indeed mostly a business run for men. But sex workers are not just women, there are also men. While it indeed may have much to do with power imbalances between men and women, I think it has much, much more to do with imbalances between the rich and the poor, as well as our views on sex and marriage.

    If everyone had access to free childcare, education, and healthcare, here would be much less workers in this industry.

    And if getting out of marriage wasn’t so culturally, and economically costly (I’m not just talking alimonies, I’m talking the cost of raising your children, and housing), and we didn’t give rats ass about people’s encounters with whoever they want (think tabloids) – we’d have less johns too.

    • Meghan Murphy

      What on earth does the “cost” of “getting out of marriage” have to do with johns? Men in unhappy marriages are somehow “forced” to see prostitutes? God. You guys really are a bunch of spoiled little babies, aren’t you.

      • Bob C

        Dear Meghan,

        I never said or implied that men are forced to see prostitutes. I have zero interest in excusing them. I just disagree with your assessment of why it happens… always, without exception.

        I’m not a john, have never been a john, and will never be a john. Neither am I interested in making excuses for johns. I’m simply disputing your argument that it’s all about “deriving sadistic pleasure from that power imbalance”. In some cases, definitely not. In other cases, absolutely:

        “One 2006 study conducted in Sweden and published in the journal Sexologies reviewed research on why men frequent prostitutes and found that the answers fell in five categories. Some men had what the researcher called a “whore fantasy,” marked by excitement tinged by a little bit of contempt, the “dirtiness” of the prostitute making the encounter more exciting. Others went for new sex, things they couldn’t or wouldn’t ask of their wives or girlfriends. A third motivation painted sex as a consumer product — men could go in, get what they wanted and get out with little fuss. Other men saw sex with prostitutes as a balm against loneliness. Many of these men were older, shy or physically handicapped and saw prostitutes as their only outlet for sex and female companionship.

        Finally, the power dynamic of prostitution appealed to some men, who reported that sex workers treated them “like a man,” and would do what they were told.”

        That’s a whole array of reasons right there. None of them flattering, of course. And I’d argue that they all have to do with consumer mentality, and not necessarily always sick male dominance.

        And then there are the anecdotes, as told by sex workers (you’ve included one), as told by johns (TylerP’s post is a pretty insightful one). That is, if you care for why a john might do what he does.

        Beating another person is wrong, but you also have to understand why it happens. If you have no interest in understanding why someone may beat another person, then why would you accuse all assailants of having the exact same motives as [insert recent celebrity assault case here], which you are just theorizing anyway?

        Furthermore, I am personally against legalization and/or normalization of prostitution. I believe in the Swedish/Norwegian model (often wrongly labelled the “Nordic” model. Denmark and Finland are doing pretty poorly when it comes to prostitution, and Iceland I believe censors depictions of sex, which I also think is wrong). However, there is a reason why that particular model works (on some levels).

        Citizens of those countries, and legal residents receive access to free education, free/cheap childcare (depending on your income level), and free/cheap healthcare, as well as an overall high standard of living. No one really needs to sell their body, in order to pay their bills. The conservatives are in power in Sweden now though. Watch as prostitution levels will rise, as the standards of living decline, xenophobia escalates further and refugees go even deeper into hiding.

        I further advocate for another point on the Norwegian model, which says that any person holding a Norwegian citizenship is prohibited from purchasing sexual services, even on international soil. The law hasn’t really been effective in practice, but it sends a message. Swedish men are often in Thailand purchasing sex instead of their home country. So yes, legal residents on Swedish soil are indeed protected, but “illegals” (especially refugees) and women/gay-for-pay-men on international soil are not. Still better than most other countries.

        Nonetheless, I’d further like to reiterate, there’s a reason why the Swedish-Norwegian model “works”. Which was why I was listing all the above arguments in the post you bashed as excusing johns. The struggle for equality (not just between men and women, but also, and mainly between the poor and the rich) has progressed much more than that of any English-speaking country (which I’m suspecting you are from).

        To my original point, if you do not try to understand someone’s motives and base a theory of their thoughts solely on your own opinions, you are just bashing them. And it comes off as unprofessional and immature. Which is fine, this is not a university paper, it’s a blog. And it’s your blog post. Do as you wish. But I think there is much more to feminism than bashing based on anecdotes rather than research, when there is so much out there. Unless, you have no interest in changing opinions, but just want to preach to the choir and enjoy the applause.

        • Meghan Murphy

          “I’m simply disputing your argument that it’s all about “deriving sadistic pleasure from that power imbalance”. In some cases, definitely not.”

          That point was made by an exited woman, who experienced that sadistic pleasure first hand. Whether or not every single individual man specifically feels or acknowledges that sadistic pleasure is less relevant than the fact that the phenomenon that is prostitution exists because of that power imbalance. If not for that power imbalance, prostitution simply would not exist. Yes, there are a variety of reasons a man might buy sex, but at the end of the day, that power imbalance is always present and that man is turned on by that imbalance, otherwise he wouldn’t be participating in the exchange and he wouldn’t have an erection/orgasm.

        • Lady Vengeance

          “And I’d argue that they all have to do with consumer mentality, and not necessarily always sick male dominance.”

          That all these men view women as consumable fuckthings is the part about “male dominance” you’re needlessly splitting hairs about.

          I’m sure black slavery fulfilled various emotional desires for white slave owners on top of the economic benefits, but an instilled belief in white supremacy remains the underlying cause of the racism.

          • Bob C

            I must say, I stand corrected. Thank you for your responses, both of you!

            The comparison to black slavery really made it for me. Thanks for your patience with me, and for actually taking the time to convince me! While not all whites perhaps thought of themselves as the supreme race, the fact that it was dominant in society meant that it slavery was possible. I’m convinced.

            All the best

          • Henke

            mm.. a huge problem with white supremacy for example is that not all whites have to be on board with white supremacy or even think of it to act out the privileges that such a culture gives them and now days, when this ideology has been around for so long, for so many generations, it has become normalized over time and renders invisible to most people living in that culture, unless they are people of colour of course.

            Another example is hate. Hate felt long enough no longer feels like hate. It feels like economics, religions, science or simply the way things are.

          • “Another example is hate. Hate felt long enough no longer feels like hate. It feels like economics, religions, science or simply the way things are.”
            That’s fucking quotable.

          • Meghan Murphy

            @Henke – Yes!

    • Catherine

      “Those who are married/famous/politicians/soldiers – people who either have a lot to lose/hide, or who don’t have the opportunity/time to engage in a working relationship, and just want a one night stand without any consequences.”

      I read every comment. This one compelled me to respond. Firstly, to answer the question “why does beiber pay for sex” is because HE can.
      Secondly, a one night stand with a prostitute has plenty of consequences for “the person” aka MAN that has much to “lose”. His entitlement creates a long, painful snowball effect that entitled men never seem to grasp. He fuels the notion that women are commodities for HIS pleasure. And that women are valued only on looks, body parts and on being cum receptacles. This hurts self esteem of women and girls. This sexual gratification men seek from prostitutes perpetuates the fact that men are entitled to use and lust after the ideal woman they choose like one would choose the best apple in the produce section. It is the same way in pornography, media TV , movies and commercials printed or video. Girls start hating themselves by age 11. What once was a happy, innocent childhood, becomes riddled with self doubt and insecurity. Ironically, the average age boys begin to discover porn and how women are viewed by men is 11. Women aren’t taken seriously (those like me who want to be) by men in the workplace, school, and many relationships because they are not considered important or smart. But if we have a good set of cans and can blow you like a pornstar, then maybe, just maybe we will feel adequate…until we get older and our looks fade and when our husbands or boyfriends feel the need to gaze upon the strippers and release their entitlements into the vagina of the girl with no name. Why not? She might not be the girl who is there for your pleasure because her child is starving, or because she was forced into prostitution, ripped away from her country and from her family. She might just be that one out of a million girl who wants nothing more than to have harmless sex with you. And because of the john, women hate men. They are animals who lack control. But we will forever coyly purr up against you and pretend we need your approval. Your wife won’t get hurt if she finds out. Right? That girl at school in the bathroom throwing up to get thinner while all the boys eat what they want don’t really need exist as a result of male shallowness. Right? No consequences at all huh?

  • sporenda

    “So no, it shouldn’t be a national service, it should be done by people who actually enjoy it and want to do it, and are comfortable with it, and being treated fairly, not someone being forced to on any level.”

    There are very few women who enjoy it and are comfortable with it, in any case not enough to satisfy the demand.
    So that’s where trafficking comes in: the criminal networks’ job is to make sure that there are enough women on the market for the johns.
    The women they provide are either tricked into prostitution, or forced into it by violence and threats.

    So trafficking is not just peripheral to prostitution, it’s at the very core of it; without trafficking, the number of prostitutes would dwindle to nearly nothing: 80/90% of the women in prostitution must be coerced into it, one way or another.
    And roughly the same percentage are “imported” illegally from poor countries: Eastern Europe, Nigeria, China etc.

    What’s supremely irritating is that pro-prostitution advocates always posit the white, Western, “free”, happy hooker escort as the norm whereas the statistical reality of prostitution is the trafficked non white/non Western prostitute.
    And their whole justification of prostitution as a system is based on this gross misrepresentation.

  • TylerP

    Very well written article.

    I don’t really understand why Justin Beiber would go to a prostitute house but I doubt it was about power. It was probably more to do with wanting no-strings sex… because someone as famous as him will find that too many girls want him so he cannot go for one without upsetting another or causing general rifts. He is definitely not representative of a typical reason why men see prostitutes.

    Would prostitution still exist if we did not live in a capitalist world? Are there any studies on prostitution in communist societies or tribal communities? I propose that as long as capitalist-money-is-power-is-everything society exists, prostitution will exist. The best we can do in this current system is to is eliminate forced prostitution using multiple active methods and make it as safe of possible for those who choose to do it. Or make it so risky for the buyers of the service that it ruins their life if they are caught – I hope you don’t go for this one.

    As someone who has paid for this ‘service’ in the past, I would like to propose that it’s not always about ‘male power’ as you suggest. In my case it was about being utterly desperate for the female touch… and being frustrated that whenever you go out to meet girls, time and time again you are reminded that girls seem to only be attracted to confident, outgoing men who are above average looking or in some way provide value via being publicly successful at a skill ( such as musicians ), they simply do not go for just a nice, interesting person who is reasonably physically attractive but struggles with self confidence. You could argue I should just accept that and make do with not experiencing being physically intimate with a girl and just masturbate myself to death over destructive porn (which I think is FAR more harmful to both men and women than prostitution is, but that’s another story).

    So I have 3 choices… learn to be falsely confident (which works occasionally but only for short time) be fabulously successful at something or accept being frustrated that despite being supposedly attractive and reasonably successful, I cannot easily meet potential partners.

    Eventually the time between girlfriends becomes too much, you feel you will forget what it feels like to be with a woman… You just want to be reminded what it’s like to feel her skin against yours, to smell her hair as it sweeps across your nose… to make a connection through the eyes, conversation and touch which puts you both in a state of heightened arousal ( there are some things a woman cannot fake ) and have the ultimate finale which leaves you with a smile for days on end. Unfortunately it doesn’t often work out like this, but when it does, you’re reminded as to why paying for sex is not bad at all. And when it does work out like that, it is because you have genuinely connected with this woman. Once the money is out of the way it is still a human experience between 2 consenting adults. She has the power to say no and every right to. I know many who openly say what type of men they will or will not see. It’s the ones who are in control of what’s going on, who are doing this on their own terms and probably seeing less than 5 clients per week.

    There is no gratification for me in sex without connection. If I feel this happening, I walk out of the appointment and leave her the money. This has happened a few times and I’m ok with this. If it was all about power I’d be happy to go through with the sex anyway, enjoying it knowing she isn’t… I cannot do that.

    • Catherine

      Keep kidding yourself. Wow. And if you ever do land that cum receptacle of a girlfriend you desperately need, hope she can measure up to the phony porn thing you got going on there. Probably shouldn’t mention your dirty little secret. Kind of a turnoff. I sorta like men who have self control and don’t abuse their god given right of entitlement. Wait. Guys like you remind me daily they don’t exist.

  • Alexia

    Meghan,

    Thank you for this post, it was really informative. I just want to give some feedback in terms of addressing people in the forum. I am not a student of women’s studies or sociology. I have begun to enjoy reading these sorts of articles (usually posted by someone else on facebook) because they open my eyes to the many issues that are prevalent in our culture that I, like many others, take for granted on a daily basis. I really appreciate all the discussion around and deconstruction of societal norms. I also appreciate your passion for the issues. My only concern is that when addressing someone that posts a ‘common opinion’ or opinion that ‘derails the conversation’ you are quick to shut them down in an almost threatening way. It’s fine that you don’t agree with them, but I would expect to see a response of education surrounding why their views/comments are in fact not justified or beneficial to society, rather than threatening to not post their comments. You do educate in your responses, there is just also that tone that they don’t have a place on your blog. I just noticed that because personally, I don’t have the background in these issues that you do and that’s why I have started to read this stuff. I am deconstructing my own upbringing and belief systems. For that reason, I feel that the tone ought to come from a place of education and not bullying someone who is asking “what about…?” Therein lies an opportunity to change someone’s beliefs.

    I’m also sure that you have to put up with a lot of shit, and a lot of trolls, and sift through these comments, so take this feedback for what it’s worth, just one girl’s impression – and I don’t care if you post this or not, I just wanted to offer my feelings since some of those old paradigms are raised in my mind, and I would feel really hesitant to post a comment for fear of being ‘wrong’, and maybe miss a good learning opportunity because of it. Overall, thanks for a great article and discussion.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “My only concern is that when addressing someone that posts a ‘common opinion’ or opinion that ‘derails the conversation’ you are quick to shut them down in an almost threatening way. It’s fine that you don’t agree with them, but I would expect to see a response of education surrounding why their views/comments are in fact not justified or beneficial to society, rather than threatening to not post their comments. You do educate in your responses, there is just also that tone that they don’t have a place on your blog.”

      Alexia, we’ve been having these same conversations for years. It’s not fair to readers and to feminists who have been exploring, studying, and discussing these issues actively for years to have to engage in the same conversations, over and over again, with people who haven’t bothered to read up on the subject. It’s boring, tiresome, and pointless. The conversations almost always go nowhere.

      It is not my obligation to provide a forum here for people to spread misinformation or anti-feminist views.

      Sorry if I sound short or impatient, but this isn’t a full time job. I don’t get paid for this work. I do this because I think it’s important. I value my commenters here and try my best not force them to have to respond to the same old tired arguments over and over again (though of course it’s unavoidable to some degree).

      Try having the same, pointless, circular argument, with uninformed people, day in and day out for years and see how much enthusiasm you have for those “discussions” — see how your polite and accommodating your tone is.

      Sorry, but if people don’t care about the feminist movement I don’t really care to protect their feelings or sensitivities.

    • Alexia:

      If you ever do decide to study sociology or women’s studies, will you enrol in graduate level courses and then demand that the professor cover off the fundamental theories for you while everyone else sits around waiting for you to catch up?

      It’s frustrating to read commenters demanding someone spell out information and reiterate arguments that have been unpacked in detail on this very blog, let alone multiple other feminist spaces. I can’t imagine how tiresome it must become for Meghan. Further, this demand for attentive re-explanation ad nauseum is a classic masculist derailing tactic.

  • Rob

    Meghan, when i pointed out that there are male prostitutes, you correctly pointed that there are “like two”, but i don’t believe i was trying to derail the debate. If more women purchased sex from men, or watched female oriented pornography, wouldn’t that inherently be more inclusive?

    • Meghan Murphy

      No. That’s ridiculous. “Equal” objectification/degradation is not the goal of feminism.

      • Rob

        OK, so if i decide to become a male stripper/sex-worker that caters to the sexual desires of women i’m degrading myself? So from a radical feminist perspective there’s no problem with sex, but rather sexual objectification? Is it actually possible to separate the two?

        I mean let’s examine this for a second Meghan, say for example, you notice an attractive male walking down the street (i’m assuming you’re heterosexual), and you say to yourself “whoa, that dude looks good”, well you’ve just sexually objectified that dude. Now, you may have no intention of ever pursuing a sexual relationship with that male, but you’ve objectified him never the less. Let’s switch it around for a minute: say you see another dude walking down the street, and this time you say to yourself “gee, this dude isn’t quite as good looking as that last dude”, well guess what, you’ve just sexually objectified that dude too, because negative objectification is still objectification.

        Now this is where i have a problem with radical feminist ideology, specifically dealing with objectification/MALE GAZE: Let’s say i notice a woman walking down the street, and i say to myself, “whoa, there goes an attractive woman” – obviously i’ve just sexually objectified that woman, which is to say i’ve made a sexual judgement about her based on her physical appearance, in this particular case i’ve decided that i might like to have sex with her, based on how she looks. According to the Radfem theory of MALE GAZE, because I’ve made this decision based on the limited amount of information i have about this woman (her physical appearance), I (as a male) will only ever be able to view her as an object that can fulfill my sexual desires, and no matter how much i subsequently may learn about this woman’s non physical traits (intellectual capacity, personality, character), she will always be nothing more to me than a thing to be fucked, because of MALE GAZE; right. And not only that, for you see, because of MALE GAZE, not only do i (as a man) view this woman primarily as a thing to be fucked, but i also actually believe that i’m ENTITLED to fuck her, because of her vagina, powerful stuff this MALE GAZE.

        It seems to me that Radfems take the default position that any display of male sexual desire (and based on your response to my post, any display of female sexual desire, apparently), that is the least bit public, or involves some manner of financial transaction is inherently “degrading”, and that we should all cut that shit out. So women can’t apparently watch/make pornography that they would enjoy or pay men to have sex with them because hey, we’ve got a Radfem movement here and that would make us look like hypocrites, and the argument that there are so few female users of porn/prostitution that they are inconsequential to the wider debate of the sex industry is intellectually lazy. The reason that there are so few of them is because society(PATRIARCHY) has dictated that women can never enjoy sex for the simple fact that it’s enjoyable, but rather as some sort of survival mechanism in the context of nuclear relationships/family life. In other words “men pursue sexual pleasure, women give sexual pleasure” So please Meghan explain to me how ladies going to Chippendales is “degrading”. Degrading for whom? and if so how would male/female sexual relations be governed in an ideal feminist society?

        • Meghan Murphy

          “OK, so if i decide to become a male stripper/sex-worker that caters to the sexual desires of women i’m degrading myself? So from a radical feminist perspective there’s no problem with sex, but rather sexual objectification? Is it actually possible to separate the two?”

          You can’t just switch out gender and erase context (i.e. patriarchy, power relations, etc.)
          “From a radical feminist perspective” there are “problems” with sex, of course. I’m not sure what radical feminist theory you’re reading, but I’m going to guess none.

          “I mean let’s examine this for a second Meghan, say for example, you notice an attractive male walking down the street (i’m assuming you’re heterosexual), and you say to yourself “whoa, that dude looks good”, well you’ve just sexually objectified that dude.”

          No. I don’t think you understand what objectification is/how it works. Finding someone attractive does not (necessarily) equate to objectification.

          You don’t understand radical feminist theory, objectification, or the male gaze so please don’t explain to me what those things are. Thanks.

          • Rob

            The fact of the matter is that definitions of objectification/MALE GAZE don’t fit into neat little boxes, and can vary based on which feminist your speaking to; for example in his work “Refusing to be a Man” John Stoltenberg goes so far as to condemn any sexual fantasy that involves the visualization of woman. You mentioned that finding someone attractive may not necessarily equate to objectification, obviously i agree with you; but feminist theorists like Stoltenberg, among others, would ask: what do you mean by “finding someone attractive”? because according to him if attraction involves any sort sexual visualization/fantasy then it is, in fact, objectifying and demeaning. So going back to my previous example: i’m walking down the street and i see a woman whom i’ve never meet before and know nothing about (other than her physical appearance), and i say to myself “whoa, she’s really hot”, and fantasize about having sex with her, well at that very moment i have reduced that individual to the status of a thing, a sex class. From the perspective of women’s empowerment i would assume that this is bad, so is the problem of objectification, male sexual visualization of females to begin with? Doesn’t attraction involve some sort of sexual fantasy, and doesn’t sexual fantasy involve at least some form of objectification?

            In my previous post i may have come off a little harsh, and i apologize for that, i wasn’t trying to mansplain to you what objectification/MALE GAZE is; i’m a lay person and you have a MASTERS in Women’s Studies, (you should know that by now, based on my grammar, haha), what i wrote was something a Radfem activist told me years ago (quite angrily i might add) on a University campus, i guess what got to me was her connection between objectification and male entitlement. She said that because men visually sexualize women, we believe we are actually entitled to their bodies, and i was like WHAAAAAAAA! i mean, i can understand that there are SOME men out there that believe they are entitled to sexual gratification from women based on their appearance (probably more, than we like to admit), but those dudes shouldn’t be allowed to define the male gender as a whole. The fact of the matter is, i’ve never believed i was entitled to sex from any woman, even when i really, really wanted it; and there’s nothing enlightening about me, no one ever sat me down and said: Rob this is how you treat women, my parents never sent me to feminist summer camp, i never had to be taught to treat women like human beings; so if a schmuck like me can figure that out why can’t every other dude figure it out? Now as i mentioned before i don’t have a Masters in Women’s Studies, but i like to think i’m at least partially informed about the wide spectrum of feminist theory, and i decide which of those theories to support based on my world view/political outlook. I disagree with a lot of radical feminist theory (no shit), but that doesn’t mean i’m trying to talk down to you or any one else on this blog, and i find the occasional post where i say to myself “shit, Meghan has a point”; the article on the UBC rape chants is a recent example. i’ve been reading this blog ever since the York University slutwalk controversy erupted (something else you and i disagree on), and what keeps me reading this blog is A) the fact that i disagree with so much of what you write, and B) this is probably the most active feminist blog in Canada. i guess i could follow and comment on a liberal feminist blog, but after a while i get tired of talking to people that agree with me all the time.

            In your response to my last post, you told me that i “don’t understand radical feminist theory”, and undoubtedly there is a lot i have to learn, but understanding radical feminism and agreeing with it are two different things, i could spend years familiarizing myself with radical feminist writing; still wouldn’t necessarily mean i agree with it. The title of one of you’re previous posts was “Feminists are not responsible for educating men” and you made a couple of good points, such as trying to learn as much about the subject before you interact with feminists, but the tone of the article almost equates “education” with agreement, that being “educated” about Radical Feminism means agreeing with it in it’s entirety, and i certainly don’t accept that. This doesn’t mean you can’t tell me i’m wrong or being a jerk or whatnot, but i get the feeling from you’re responses that you don’t like interacting with people that disagree with you, which is fine; it’s your blog, but if that’s the case just let me know and i’ll stop following/posting on this space. Never the less thanks for taking the time to read what i have to say

          • Meghan Murphy

            Just a quick note that I actually didn’t write that post about feminists not educating men, it was by Cecelia Winterfox.

            I don’t have a problem responding to or interacting with you. I probably sound short because I respond to comments quickly and because I get impatient easily, mostly that’s just from having been worn down on the internet/worn down from years arguing on the internet.

            I studied the male gaze theory pretty extensively during both my undergrad and Masters. It’s more about objectifying, sexualizing, and fetishizing women’s body parts — separating her body parts from her being and turning her into a pretty thing to-be-looked at, than it is about feeling attracted to her or even fantasizing about her.

            You’re probably right that many people will have different interpretations of the male gaze, but that’s mostly because people talk about the male gaze without understanding the theory, and so they just make something up based on what they imagine ‘the male gaze’ to mean. The theory is actually kind of complicated and Mulvey is definitely not an easy read, so that’s forgivable.

          • “my parents never sent me to feminist summer camp”

            Welcome to FEMINIST SUMMER CAMP! Activities include: herbal tea drawing, loom-weaving 101, scissoring, maxi-pad upcycling, false rape accusation crafting, severing penises effectively, and feminist makeup ( see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lET-WXTsSwc#t=163 for one of our teaching sessions).

            (for the sake of the trolls currently inhabiting this thread, note that the above is satire and for entertainment purposes only)

            “understanding radical feminism and agreeing with it are two different things”

            I don’t think so. As soon as I learned what radical feminism was about, I saw that it was true and accepted it. Understanding radfem and agreeing with it should be simultaneous, if you’re at all interested in the truth. You don’t have to LIKE it.

          • Ash

            I want to go to this camp so bad! 😉

          • David J Parry

            ‘Understanding radfem and agreeing with it should be simultaneous, if you’re at all interested in the truth.’

            Arrogant claptrap!

            As someone who considers himself a socialist feminist, I disagree with radical feminism. Here’s my understanding of what radical feminism is:

            Radical feminism is that tradition within feminism which regards gender as the most politically important of all societal divisions, more significant than, say, class or race. Radical feminists highlight patriarchy and its oppression of the female sex through popular culture, the arts, religion and in the sexual and domestic spheres of life. Female liberation, for radical feminists, therefore entails the removal of the constraints placed on females by males in these areas. This implies a rejection of the public/private divide that characterizes conventional politics; the personal, in short, is political.

            Most radical feminists regard patriarchy as a politico-cultural system, gender being a social construct used to oppress females and uphold male privilege, and advocate the overthrow of patriarchy through social and cultural revolution and its replacement with a pervasive form of sexual equality, where gender is consigned to history and all patriarchal constraints and influences on women and girls are removed. A small minority of radical feminists, however, adopt an essentialist perspective, arguing that patriarchy is ultimately rooted not in culture, but in the biological nature of the male sex itself, that sexual equality is thus impossible, and advocating female separation from men or even, in some cases, the replacement of patriarchy with matriarchy.

            Now, as someone who disagrees with radical feminism, I presumably don’t have a full understanding of it, in which case feel free to enlighten me by pointing out the numerous holes that undoubtedly pervade it. Then again, maybe I do understand it, but because I don’t accept it, I can’t have an interest in truth, in which case why would I bother inviting you to correct any mistakes I have made my portrayal of radical feminism in the first place.

          • I have no idea why you don’t accept it. Why don’t you tell us?

          • Stan

            I’m not a native English speaker, so … isn’t “agreeing with” the same as “liking”?
            A man can recognize radical feminism as true, while still not wishing it to succeed, as it would take away his privilege.

          • No, agreement is not the same as liking. I agree that I am going to die some day, but I don’t like that fact. I agree that the environment is going to shit, but I don’t like it. I agree that the Patriarchy exists and that I have male privilege, but I don’t like that fact either.

          • “…in his work “Refusing to be a Man” John Stoltenberg goes so far as to condemn any sexual fantasy that involves the visualization of woman.”
            I would be curious as to where you got that, Rob. Can you quote that passage, please? I distinctly don’t remember it.

  • marv

    To add extra evidence (albeit unnecessarily) to your outstanding consciousness expanding article we could take another look at male market forces which are always principal determinants in the ebb and flow of prostitution (nothing new; just a reminder). Legalizing it as sex work would increase male demand and female supply because more male buyers and desperate and non-desperate women would enter a now publically sanctioned industry. Demand and supply would continuously feed one another.

    There is another result: the price per woman drops. Abundant supply lowers the amount one can charge customers, making women cheaper to extract from society’s pool of disposable females. Greater poverty and dependency are the outcome. Not just that, the cheaper the woman the more she will be used, bringing forward the time when she will need to be replaced. All of these factors put together create a rebound effect or negative feedback loop for women with many unforeseeable consequences as well. The minority who earn medium to high incomes only do so because they are viewed as “luxury goods” by affluent men who can afford to pay more.

    Yes, an ambitious plan to prosecute the demand side of prostitution in conjunction with an economic policy to cap the maximum earnings of all people could slam the brakes on runaway oppression. Imposing a hefty tax on the prosperous would be a means to capture the wealth and redisperse it to all according to need. Both measures would be a milestone step on the way to even more substantial equality.

  • Chris

    The problem is that culture has morphed around 2000 years of Abrahamic religions that has made sex and genitals so taboo that no one wants to talk about it, no one wants to be associated with it.

    Whether its men or women or transgender, disabled, busy individuals who are looking for a service, it is not the case that men all over the world are paying to rape and abuse a woman. There are plenty of different tiers with escorts, and if often comes down to the poorer people having the bad experiences, kinda similar to how they get shafted in all aspects of life most of the time.

    There are plenty of prostitutes and porn stars who choose their customers, enjoy the work that they do, enjoy the fact that it pays a lot higher than the average job. A lot of them prefer to stay anonymous, just like a lot of clients prefer that too because of the cultural stigmatization.

    A lot of factors come into play, and the market at large is mostly male clients looking for female escorts but that isn’t because men are trying to assert their power. It’s because in our social system, women are the gatekeepers to sex, while men tend to always be looking for sex. A consequence of that is men might try to go around the social system of courting / finding a mate — for a number of reasons in order to get the service they’re after for without all the fluff that they are not interested in for whatever reason. On the flip side, you have women who may or may not enjoy giving sexual services — but for a multitude of reasons find it the only way they can get the money they need/want and so they get into the business.

    You fix the social system where a bunch of 15 year old girls don’t use contraception because they don’t want to be shunned by Jesus, they end up having a moment of passion and get knocked up — choose to have a child — get rejected by their family and find themselves in a position where the only skill they have to sell to get money to buy the things they want & to raise a child is by selling sex. Fix the system and the women forced into the industry will have better options, while the clients and service providers who are entering the industry with consent can do so.

    I think our social system has a lot of injustice for women and its actually really appalling in a lot of situations. However, similar to other types of prejudice – too many people take it to the extreme. Every white person isn’t in a club to screw every black person — just like every male isn’t out to abuse every female he can get his hands on. It is a patriarchal society, and we need to fix a lot of problems without going overboard.

    Prostitution isn’t about men finding power over women, there’s many reasons.. and for some men some of the time it might be a bad reason — but there’s no reason to think the whole industry needs to be sent straight to hell – let’s not demonize the clients and the sex workers.

    • Meghan Murphy

      First of all, no one here is demonizing sex workers, Chris.

      “A lot of factors come into play, and the market at large is mostly male clients looking for female escorts but that isn’t because men are trying to assert their power. It’s because in our social system, women are the gatekeepers to sex, while men tend to always be looking for sex.”

      And I suppose those “factors” have nothing to do with sexism or patriarchy, huh.

      • Chris

        I don’t think anyone here is demonizing sex workers, though a lot of people in other forums of discourse do — though I do feel like we are demonizing the clients of sex workers here which I do think is wrong.

        Our society is patriarchal in nature, and there are a bunch of sexists around — but we shouldn’t generalize that to mean EVERYONE is sexist. A lot of sex workers are treated really badly – cases can be made for whether the fact that prostitution is illegal or legal makes the problem worse or not, or whether specific laws as in the case of Sweden I think, where the sex workers get the benefit of the doubt could alleviate the problem.

        Though I do think its wrong to say that because a bunch of people are sexist – that anyone who wants to seek out a prostitute should be flogged on the streets as if he was a child molester. And I think language is important here too. It’s not so much power that some men might be seeking as much as it would be a sense of control, or just wanting sex. Even stating this makes me seem like an apologist for sexists which I’m not trying to do, but the point I’m trying to make is that women also want to feel in control. It’s not a crime. It is a crime when you want to be in control when youre abusing someone — and those things need to be addressed, but I think this war on men is counter productive. There is no board room meeting of elite men that get to decide how many rights minority races or women or LGBT people get.

        The better approach is to teach tolerance and respect for other people, while acknowledging the fact that certain acts could be victimless if both parties consent, and just because people might not approve of the behavior doesn’t mean the parties involved need to be called out on it.

        Back to the article, we don’t know whether Justin Bieber wanted power over the prostitute he was supposedly sleeping with, and whether even if he did want power over the woman that it means that ALL men seeking prostitutes are seeking power over them.

        • Meghan Murphy

          “Our society is patriarchal in nature”

          No. It isn’t. Patriarchy is a social structure, not a “natural” one.

          No one has suggested “flogging” people who seek out prostitutes. We are suggesting implementing laws that criminalize buying and profiting off of prostitutes.

          Also, there is no “war on men.”

          • Even though Chris is an idiot, in this particular case I think he meant “society is systemically patriarchal” rather than “society is naturally patriarchal.”

          • Meghan Murphy

            You’re awfully generous, Francois 🙂

          • I can safely say no one has ever said that to me ever. But thank you. lol

          • Chris

            lol that is why I said society, implying its constructed by us and not natural.

            The fact that society has largely evolved from the past where we got all our laws and systems from our shitty religious books which are so tribalistic, racist and misogynistic – books which we cling to so hard we can’t simply change the system to be fair to all people.

            You are suggesting laws that criminalize buying and profiting off prostitutes? Last I checked, those laws are already in place. Though I’m all up for learning, so why don’t you tell me why prostitution should be illegal. This isn’t about men paying women to abuse them, this is prostitution — two individuals – one pays another for sexual services.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “You are suggesting laws that criminalize buying and profiting off prostitutes? Last I checked, those laws are already in place. Though I’m all up for learning, so why don’t you tell me why prostitution should be illegal.”

            Not in places that have legalized or fully decriminalized prostitution. The Nordic model decriminalizes the women and criminalizes the pimps and johns, then offers support services to women who wish to exit the trade.

            Men should not have the legal right to pay a desperate woman to let him fuck her. There is absolutely no reason why that should be legal. Violence happens to women in prostitution at extreme rates — why should that kind of situation be legalized? Prostitution is neither necessary, nor defensible, as an industry — unless you don’t care about women’s lives.

        • Chris

          And just because the system works with a certain demographic doesn’t mean that’s how its supposed to be. There is no reason why a woman can for whatever reason she wants seek out and pay for sex from a sex worker.

          The fact that women don’t want to doesn’t mean they cant — or the fact that they don’t doesn’t mean men shouldn’t either.

          Might as well state it here that I haven’t actually ever paid anyone for sex — though I fail to see why offering a service using your sexual organs is any different from that of using any other organs WHEN CONSENT is there from both parties. The same thing applies to porn — assuming we can get rid of child porn, violent porn, and porn that doesn’t get consent (leaked sex tape) etc, porn in principle isn’t bad or wrong, just our current implementation of it has a bunch of bad consequences.

          I really think that when we go about addressing and trying to fix these problems, we don’t end up in the typical tribalism state where its always an US vs THEM phenomenon. Given that the world is dominated by white men doesn’t mean we need to universally hate all white people, especially when they’re male.

          • Meghan Murphy

            This comment doesn’t make any sense. Being critical and trying to end oppressive systems like patriarchy or racism does not equal “hating all men/white men.”

            “There is no reason why a woman can for whatever reason she wants seek out and pay for sex from a sex worker.

            The fact that women don’t want to doesn’t mean they cant — or the fact that they don’t doesn’t mean men shouldn’t either.”

            Yeah but, like, 99% of people who buy sex are men. Whether or not a woman ‘can’ or ‘can’t’ is only relevant in that is shows the gendered nature of prostitution.

          • Chris

            So they did this pretty lame experiment on some college campus where they got an attractive guy and girl to walk around campus asking members of the opposite sex if they wanted to have intercourse. The guy had a 0% success rate while the girl had a much higher success rate. Regardless of the causal reasons for WHY the results were the way they were – you can reach two conclusions:

            1) It is easier for women to freely find sex than for men to find sex.
            2) Women who know this could take advantage of the fact by selling sex in exchange for money.

            Prostitution will be gendered because of this. Women don’t need to pay for sex because they can on average find it fairly easily. It might be the case that more women would want to pay men to have sex with them, but choose not to do so because of cultural norms or because they don’t take the initiative as often as guys do — or maybe out of fear for the interaction as a whole.

            In an ideal situation, if a guy or girl wants to make money by selling sex, he/she should have the choice to do so. I actually think the Nordic system is a great improvement if it tries to give social support for women to get out of the industry if they choose to do so , but there is no reason to make the act itself illegal unless something specifically goes wrong in the transaction.

            Wrt other areas in the world, getting stricter about criminalizing prostitution will probably be pretty damaging if you don’t have measures in place to get the women help. Most escorts don’t enjoy their work but do it out of necessity. Before we put them out of business we should make sure they have an alternative. Having a bunch of starved kids and single parents probably isn’t the best thing for society. And clearly we don’t have enough social support in place, because for whatever reason these women prefer being degraded in doing a job they don’t want to because the monetary gains they get in exchange is worth it.

            I agree with some other post of yours where if someone is desperate enough that they have no other choice but to perform action X in order to survive, its not really a choice. But I don’t think this statement should be limited to sex workers selling sex — the same thing should be said of janitors and people working in the food industry where they make such little money that they need to live off food stamps. If you make $2.17 an hour waiting tables, but have the choice of making $200 an hour by selling sex, a good number of people would prefer the $200 even if it means doing something they don’t want (because they’re already doing that). So yes the system is beyond broken and it needs to be fixed, but its broken by the top 1% of society, and the prostitutes those guys pay for aren’t the women being abused on the streets – they’re the high end workers who really have no problem selling their bodies because the monetary gains are REALLY high. The point I’m getting at is that the average Joe that pays for sex isn’t responsible for the system. That Joe might be crossing a line if getting sexual favors in exchange for money is abuse, and I would agree that this abuse is definitely more significant but ALL of us are guilty (men and women) for not doing enough to fix the system. Going out for a $50 meal with family while the waiter makes $2/hr is also crossing a line, albeit not as bad – but lets not pretend to be on some higher ground while judging these Johns.

            A firefly like companion system would probably be a step up from the Nordic system. Give the workers the right to choose their client and give them health and physical safety along with legal status. Also, as much as I hate Justin Bieber, and based on the video the sex worker posted, it really doesn’t seem like the woman was abused by Bieber, or that Bieber wanted to abuse her.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Do you really believe that being a janitor is the same as being a prostitute?

            I don’t think any poverty is ok and think that, obviously, class is hugely important in this conversation. But your point was addressed by John Spritzler already — it doesn’t make sense to throw women under the bus because there are, supposedly, no alternatives/because others are poor and working shit jobs for practically no money. The solution is also about providing alternatives, which is completely doable — if we choose to.

            The Nordic model is socialist, at it’s base. We aren’t capitalists here — we are fighting that system as well.

          • Me

            How stupid and deluded can your two “conclusions” get?

            You have a guy going around the campus asking women if THEY want to GET FUCKED. And the women, unsurprisingly, aren’t very much into that, how strange!

            And you have a girl going around the campus asking GUYS if THEY want to do the FUCKING TO HER. And a lot of men say yes. Where have we seen this before? Oh, right, in the surveys that say about half of male students would rape if they thought they could get away with it.

            What this says something about is masculinity. About way too many men’s lack of interest in genuine relationships, about their sense of entitlement to sex from women. It just shows why men would pay to exploit prostitutes and women would not. Get a grip!

          • Laur

            “I agree with some other post of yours where if someone is desperate enough that they have no other choice but to perform action X in order to survive, its not really a choice. But I don’t think this statement should be limited to sex workers selling sex — the same thing should be said of janitors and people working in the food industry where they make such little money that they need to live off food stamps. If you make $2.17 an hour waiting tables, but have the choice of making $200 an hour by selling sex, a good number of people would prefer the $200 even if it means doing something they don’t want (because they’re already doing that)”

            Yet most women are not prostituted. You, Chris, are intellectualizing this from a male perspective. If what you said was true, every woman would make the decision to become a high-end escort.

            From the perspective of most prostituted women, the reality is rather different. Child sexual abuse, especially, can lead to a sense that one’s entire purpose, the only thing a person, a woman, is good at, is sexually pleasing men. This is a major factor leading to girls and women’s entry into prostitution. And many adult women in the sex trade did begin when they were teenagers and sexually servicing men is all they know.

            This is not about men “abusing women on the streets.” There is nothing “privileged” about being a prostituted women who gets sexually abused and has hundreds of dollars an hour thrown at her. So, she is paid. So, what?? Does that give her back her sense of self? A sense of safety in the world? A sense that every man she sees it is her role to sexually service? I say no.

          • “I fail to see why offering a service using your sexual organs is any different from that of using any other organs WHEN CONSENT is there from both parties.”
            I actually agree with you on that. So please demonstrate the possibility of consent in prostitution.
            HINT: “consent” doesn’t just mean “both people said yes.”

            “Given that the world is dominated by white men doesn’t mean we need to universally hate all white people, especially when they’re male.”
            Straw man. Who here said anything about hating all white people? I certainly don’t hate myself. Your way of arguing is juvenile.

          • Laur

            It is men, especially, though certainly not exclusively, white men who are making it “us vs. them” when it comes to prostitution. Non-prostituted women benefit from having a class of “lesser” women for men to take their sexual use and abuse out on, so some women support this power arrangement.

            “…though I fail to see why offering a service using your sexual organs is any different from that of using any other organs WHEN CONSENT is there from both parties. ”

            In theory, it might not be, but in current reality, it makes a hell for the prostituted person. “Consent” is a horrible standard when it comes to sexual relations between men and women, considering women have had male sexuality shoved down our throats (often quite literally) since day one. But, if you actually cared, you could read analysis of “consent” elsewhere.

            In current practice, heterosexuality is hierarchical. But, somehow it’s freely chosen if money is involved??

          • lizor

            “Consent” is a horrible standard when it comes to sexual relations between men and women, considering women have had male sexuality shoved down our throats (often quite literally) since day one.”

            Excellent truth-telling.

        • Laur

          This is clearly had for you to understand, but it really doesn’t much matter to a woman whether an individual man is buying sex for the purpose of a power trip. No rapist thinks, “I am committing rape,” but the impact on the victim is the same. No one is saying men are consciously plotting to keep power over women but prostituting us, but again, that doesn’t really matter to us–the material result for women is the same.

  • Missfit

    Men are entitled to sex. They are brought up with this idea instilled in them, a feeling fed by patriarchy. Fed by the countless images of sexually objectified women they encounter, combined with the idea that women are less important than they are (hello history!), less human (hello religions!), by the idea that women are subservient.

    Lonely or disabled women? Hopefully, they’ll find someone who will care for them, make love with them. Lonely or disabled men? We must find a way to provide them with sex (assuming they can’t find anyone)! See, men need sex. Women may have similar wants but… See, men’s sex wants are needs are rights. Because they involve women, and women are made to please men. Men whose partner does not want to have anal sex (or whatever) with him? Quick, find him a prostitute who will. Men are entitled to have their sexual fantasies realized, no matter how degrading and hurtful they are (and thanks to porn for fuelling them). Average 60 year-old man having sex with his 60 year-old average wife? Quick, bring him a beautiful 20 something woman. Men are entitled to women’s bodies (aka commodities to be used).

    There is also this common excuse that men always have to pay for sex one way or another. Like ‘marriage is prostitution’ or ‘there is no difference with having to (yes, having to!) pay for a movie and dinner and going directly to a prostitute’. Never thought about ‘paying’ for sex with a… reciprocal orgasm? And sorry, but men do not ‘have to’ pay for anything; splitting the bill is something quite common and easy to do. I have also read men commenting about the fact that going to prostitutes prevent them from having to talk (meaning listen), be nice, reciprocate, deal with emotions. Yes, because treating someone as a human being when you are dealing with a human being (more so in such an intimate way) is too much to ask apparently.

    I fail to see how prostitution could survive in a truly equal world.

    • “going to prostitutes prevent them from having to talk (meaning listen), be nice, reciprocate, deal with emotions. Yes, because treating someone as a human being when you are dealing with a human being (more so in such an intimate way) is too much to ask apparently.”

      Yes. Exactly that.

      Treating women like human beings, being in relationship for real (not the purchased performance that TylerP above deludes himself is “connection” (give me strength…)) and learning to actually give pleasure instead of demanding it as a right, well that’s just too much for the kind of men our culture produces. I am beginning to see more and more that our culture makes males into entitled crybabies pretending to be action heroes. And apparently it’s women’s job to uphold their delusion for them.

      • pk scott

        “men are entitled crybabies pretending to be action heroes”

        I’m needlepointing that on a sofa cushion.

        • lizor

          “our culture makes males into entitled crybabies pretending to be action heroes.” –

          Just fixing the wording to make sure it’s not a pronouncement on the essential nature of biological males. Echoing Dworkin, I believe there is potential for them to be far less sociopathic than is generally assumed. The sooky-baby/action hero bullshit is the unnecessary and repellant product of toxic patriarchy.

          I’d love to purchase some of those cushions to give as gifts, though. 🙂

    • Henke

      “I fail to see how prostitution could survive in a truly equal world. ”

      Agreed! In an truly equal world it would not exist along with alot of other things like capitalism. Which is founded, at its very core, as an economic model that turns living communities into commodities and individuals into objects.

  • Joe

    I live in Sydney and I have been visiting and forming friendships with sex workers for years. I am appalled how people talk about sex workers and their clients in such a detached and derogatory way. Does it ever occur to anyone that there may be intimacy in some but not all cases. Last night I visited and paid for sex with my dear friend who is a sex worker. Later I drove her home and today we will go shopping together. I would marry her save her if she wanted and it is her choice alone. She is not abused does not do unsafe sex practice and probably if the laughter I often hear as she sees a client out the door doesn’t either hate the client and probably enjoys the sex on some level at least sometimes otherwise her list of repeat clients couldn’t possible be as long as it is. I feel no jealousy and the bond between us is based on friendship and trust. Kate Holden’s Under My Skin is an amazing book and although the drug addiction unfortunately compounds the stereotype it does humanize the girls and the men. Sex and intimacy are complicated you may not agree on our path but please don’t force your views on others.

    • Meghan Murphy

      What is the point of your comment, Joe? You have said exactly nothing about equality, women’s rights, or feminism. Who cares about how much you love being a john?

    • I don’t believe a single word you wrote.

    • You would “save her”????? From what? You defeat your own logic.

    • DS

      What is it with Johns that makes them think that everyone wants to hear about their sex life? Reason 2342341245 That I have no shame in thinking punters are disgusting.

    • Henke

      I won’t force my view onto you if you stop forcing your sexuality onto others, deal ?

  • M

    Not saying the overall point of this article is incorrect, but it’s terribly asserted:

    “prostitution isn’t just about sex. There is no shortage of sex in Justin Bieber’s life — he has access to plenty of vagina, not to worry. Prostitution, it’s clear, is about power. Male power, specifically.”

    You’ve shown very well that X isn’t about Y, but then without any further argument conclude that it’s CLEARLY about Z and NOTHING else. What about A-W? WHY are sex and power the only two, mutually exclusive things prostitution can be “about”? You go on to repeat your assertion over and over without ever demonstrating WHY it can’t be anything else.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Prostitution exist because of male power. It’s really not very complicated. I’m not sure why you’re having so much trouble understanding that very basic point.

  • I just learned of this person, Lydia Cacho and her wonderful, courageous work.

    In this interview she explains (in english), based on her extensive research, the answer to the question posed in the title of this post.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-Wq1q2A4TE

    Let’s hope that there are english language translations of her books forthcoming.

  • sporenda

    To Joe and other johns coming to Meghan’s site to post these worn out prostitution myths heard 15 000 times before–complete with the “Pretty Woman” ending: “I would marry her if she wanted”: do you realize that you are breathing walking clichés?
    Fantasies of mariage proposals to prostitutes by johns who want to “save” them from “the life” are as old as prostitution itself. It’s called the White Knight complex and all prostitutes get them? it’s part of the job.

    All the prostituted women I have talked to (as a journalist and/or friend) told me that Rule number one in prostitution is: always lie to the john.
    For a prostitute, telling the truth (I hate this job, I hate these men, I want to quit) means: no clients.

    Prostitution works on two fundamentals: mystification by the woman and voluntary blindness on the male side.
    If the prostitutes don’t lie, they don’t get paid, period.

    The basic lies of prostitution are:
    – “I love my job, I am not a victim, I chose what I do”: nobody wants to have sex with a victim, a whiner or someone dragging her feet; on johns forums, what these guys demand first and foremost from prostitutes is enthusiastic performance and at least a pretense of eagerness.

    – “I love having sex with strangers, even the old, the uglies and the unwashed, because I love sex, I can never get enough, I am a nympho”:
    this makes even unattractive johns feel like gods, and a client who is flattered is more generous, less dangerous and could become a regular.
    In prostitution, massaging the male ego is just as important as massaging dicks. Also, this relieves any guilt johns might feel for having sex with a woman who feels no desire.

    – “you are making me orgasm each and every time, you are a fantastic lover, your dick is huge, you are a sex machine, etc”: see massaging ego, and also by pretending to reach climax 2 minutes after penetration, “finishing” the john might take less time and effort.

    – “I am a free agent, an independent entrepreneur, I am not coerced or trafficked, I have no pimp”: johns don’t like to hear that there might be a pimp breathing down their neck or watching them on a screen. Also they like to pretend they are ethical because they don’t use trafficked women (“free” prostitutes = good, pimped/trafficked prostitutes = bad) even if there is absolutely no way to tell the difference.

    – and of course, to up the price , all the social status fantasies: “I am a student using the money to complete my PhD, I am the daughter of wealthy businessman doing that for fun, I am getting enough money to start my own business and then I quit etc”.

    Here is what a friend ex prostitute says in her book about her time in prostitution (besides her disgust for johns, feeling dirty all the time and endless washing, using coke and alcohol to dull the repulsion, etc).
    She was 17 when she started prostitution, a runaway, obviously lost and distressed; I asked her if any of her clients ever asked is she was pimped/trafficked/underage. Here is her answer:

    “No, I never met a client who wanted to know who they had sex with. In any case, if any of them had asked, I would have said that I was not a minor, that everything was A-ok, I was too ashamed and too afraid, afraid to say too much and of being beaten up by my pimp. Prostitution is a world of lies and illusions”.

    She is talking of street prostitution here, but when you are in upscale escorting, with rich and demanding clients, you have to lie even more.
    Of course, I do not say that prostitutes always lie, just most of the time.

    You guys who boast of your in depth knowledge of prostitution because you pay for sex are like kids watching a videogame and kidding yourselves it’s real.

    • Bob C

      Thoughtful, and wonderfully written post. At around 3 minutes this journalist talks about the very phenomenon you’ve detailed:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2as-5oXqjA

      • Meghan Murphy

        I think there’s a link missing here, Bob?

  • DS

    I have a question for all the I chose my choice; “sex work” is just a job and can be empowering people:

    Here is a video I found on misogynistic porn on Youtube…there is no sex and is NSFW on the implications and misogyny its from a clip of a porn film called New Wave Hookers.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPLLtru-XXI
    1. This is the attitude of most Johns about women….WHY THE HELL should we encourage this? I added this clip because it exemplifies misogynists attitudes towards women perfectly. Women don’t want to work or be respected , they just trade sex for money. So when you drone on about how you are empowered through prostitution THIS is what you are saying

    2. How do you explain how the reality to the sex industry is so different then the empowered prostitute. I have known several women in the sex industry and it ruins lives. No other field of work does this….NONE! The Happy hooker appears to only exist on the interen

    3. So sex work is a job like any other….would you want your spouse seeing a prostitute? Hey, its just sex!
    4. would you want a bordello to open in your neighborhood?

    Sorry if this is so harsh and my harsh take on Johns wasn’t posted earlier so maybe I am being offensive…..but I am just soooo freaking tired of this prostitution doesn’t hurt women crap

  • Rye

    To the contrary, I think prostitution exists because women are risk-averse to PIV and because most don’t get the most pleasure from it. As a result, there is male demand for paid PIV from women.

    The proof:

    Man asks women for sex:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxyySRgrYsU&list=SP2uZhEhKQPWYeyAsRV9Rk3IvewORrZ18e

    Woman asks men for sex:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JJFBtHcBnM&list=SP2uZhEhKQPWYeyAsRV9Rk3IvewORrZ18e

    That said, it is true that male power is almost always a part of prostitution today, but it’s not male power that creates prostitution.

    • annika

      So in either situation, the woman gets absolutely no sexual enjoyment whatsoever. Oh but wait a minute, she gets money and money makes everything better! Why aren’t you making thousands of dollars everyday having unprotected anal sex? To make it even more fun, have the guy take your passport too. Come on guys, you’re supposed to be smarter than women, why aren’t you joining in on such a lucrative opportunity?

      I have a suggestion: before creating another pro-prostitution argument, why don’t you start with the premise that women are human beings exactly like men. If you start from there, all the arguments about how “women are natural whores”, “prostitution is just a business wherein women can be sexual entrepreneurs”, “men need sex and when they can’t get it from ‘normal’ women they must go use a prostitute,” etc, all fall apart.

    • Lady Vengeance

      “I think prostitution exists because women”

      Fuck you for trying to blame women when you are the engine of this evil.

      “most don’t get the most pleasure from it”

      I once had a boyfriend who told me he couldn’t comprehend women wanting to have sex.

      You are two men of many who swam in the nuclear waters of pornographic misogyny enough that every molecule in you believes the titillating sex=dirty=women lie the pimps sold because men’s sense of superiority feels better than any freely-given pussy. Most feminists have pondered why men call sexual women sluts, whores and hundreds of similar examples when doing so would seem to reduce women’s willingness to engage in the sex these men claim to want.

      You imagine women as filthy and debased by having penises inside their bodies (*yawn* another day in patriarchy) so you cannot fathom why someone would let something so submissive and invasive be done to them without inordinate recompense. You try to abstract it pseudo-scientifically but your thinking belies your thought process of what would take for you to submit yourself to what your porno-colonized imagination supposes sex is like for women.

      Don’t tell me it’s not about body penetration when the pitcher and receiver have had their roles set into a gender hierarchy throughout patriarchal history from the Greeks onward. Read Andrea Dworkin, she’s a goddamned genius who opens doors to understanding the psychology of body penetration in a sex-based hierarchy such as ours.

    • Laur

      Yup, prostitution exists because of women!!! Nailed it in two, Rye!! If we weren’t so risk-adverse and were just willing to spread our legs to more men (all men, any man), there would cease to be an underclass of women for male sexual use and abuse.

      I dare you to go to female survivors of the industry and tell them this.

      Talk about invalidating women’s experiences in the industry, not to mention what little research has been done on so-called “johns”, many, of whom are married, “successful” men, with careers as doctors and lawyers and thus a large disposable income to spend on “do-what-I-say” sex.

    • Me

      Would it be about time to ban Rye, Meghan?

    • Rye

      @lizor

      Ok, you’re right that I indeed desperately want to see myself as ethically paying for sex, because having sex with my prostitute is pretty much what makes my life worth living. So yes, I am biased in that regard. However, there’s more to why I can’t understand how it’s wrong for me to buy sex from my prostitute than my bias.

      But before I continue, there’s something important I want to clarify. Although I understand why radfems are assuming that sex buyers believe they have a right to sex, I absolutely do not believe that. To commit myself to the principle that I have a right to sex logically implies that women have an obligation to give me sex, which I can not maintain in good conscience. It is this sort of atrocious moral reasoning that has justified practices such as marital rape for thousands of years. On this issue, I can only commit to one principle: women have the absolute right to bodily autonomy, and I am obligated to honor every woman’s right to it.

      Having said that, I do not see a contradiction with buying sex and honoring women’s right to bodily autonomy, provided that the prostitute:

      a. Functions as an independent proprietor
      b. Has the capacity to exit the sex-industry and independently maintain at least a middle class income.

      As my prostitute meets these conditions, there is no physical or economic coercion involved in her decision to sell sex, which she only does at most 5 times a month anyway. In other words, I am not buying sex from the patriarchy’s class of disposable women. Rather, I buy sex from the one prostitute I have found who is capable of freely giving me her consent, whose choice is a real choice. Thus I do not feel my actions are wrong, because she makes a real choice to profit from my desire.

      Secondly, my motives have nothing to do with toxic masculinity. I do not experience excitement from sadism or dominance (it disgusts me), nor do I feel entitled to sex (as I explained above). I just want vanilla piv, but I can only experience sex with a prostitute. And since there is a woman freely willing to exchange her provisional consent for money so I can engage in piv with her, then why not?

      @Lady Vengeance
      To clarify, I don’t think there’s anything dirty about piv or women. I was basing my beliefs on FCM’s blog and my own personal experience. From the latter, I have never seen a woman react to piv in such a way that indicated she experienced a lot of pleasure, but I have seen such a reaction from rubbing a woman’s clit, and the difference is immense.

      PIV post by FCM: http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/the-intercourse-series/

      @Laur

      I think you have misunderstood me, because I do not believe women are at fault for the existence of prostitution. Neither do I support the idea that women should have sex with more men.

      All I meant is that there is a reason for male demand for paid piv from women that stands independently of patriarchy. To be clear, I am not denying that patriarchy is deeply entrenched in prostitution today, and that it is the reason why it is rampant with violence against women.

      What I reject, though, is the idea that women never make a rational decision to sell sex to certain men, and that it must always occur in the context of male domination.

      • Meghan Murphy

        “Having said that, I do not see a contradiction with buying sex and honoring women’s right to bodily autonomy, provided that the prostitute:

        a. Functions as an independent proprietor
        b. Has the capacity to exit the sex-industry and independently maintain at least a middle class income.”

        Why do you think the woman you buy sex from sells sex? I’m asking honestly — that isn’t a leading question…

        • Rye

          @Meghan Murphy

          No problem. I think it’s likely because she desires a higher standard of living than what she can otherwise afford. For example, I know she drives a luxury brand car and her clothes often look expensive, and that’s not including what she has told me about her life.

          • Meghan Murphy

            So you don’t really have any idea how she ended up in prostitution, whether she was sexually abused, what her background is. You don’t know this because you aren’t in a relationship (well, other than a transactional one). You aren’t in an equal relationship — she performs sex acts for you and pretends to enjoy the situation because she is being paid. Even IF there are physical signs she is enjoying *some* of the sex acts (which you’ve discussed before), the relationship is still not an equal one and, at the end of the day, we are fighting to end “unequal” (hierarchical) relationships between men and women, which you are perpetuating by buying sex from women.

            Even if you aren’t abusing this woman in any traditional sense of the word, what you are doing still maintains male supremacy.

      • Lady Vengeance

        “I have never seen a woman react to piv in such a way that indicated she experienced a lot of pleasure, but I have seen such a reaction from rubbin…”

        Ooooookay, I see what ya did there, you suggested that women become prostitutes “because women are risk-averse to PIV” then pulled a random sex act of out your ass to try and backpeddle from what you said about women becoming prostitutes because sex doesn’t feel good for them. You fooled no one with that switcheroo.

        Let me explain to you what’s going on since you’re willfully clueless. Your victim of choice has a difficult time keeping up the hour-long act that your touch doesn’t repulse her for the entire time, so when you do your in & out & in & out on her she only puts in the requisite Golden Globe performance. When your rapey needs dictate that she has to enthusiastically pretend to be enjoying specific repulsive rubs mocking her true sexual response she has to turn up to the Academy Award performance that keeps you coming back like the dumb chump you are (“sex with my prostitute is pretty much what makes my life worth living.”)

        Of all the absurd things you say here, nothing ranks as high on the stupidity scale as your repeated insistence that your victim isn’t a professional faker paid to lie to you in every way from her body’s fake reactions and her mouth’s fake words to her fake low-number client list.

      • Laur

        @ Rye That’s actually really sad that paying for sex from a prostituted woman is “one of the only things that makes your life worth living.” Seriously. I urge you to spend the money you are spending buying sex on professional help. Whatever leftover money you have, give to Feminist Current or an abolitinist feminist organization such as Prostitution Research and Education or Equality Now (I assume you’ve checked out their websites–too bad for you they don’t have blogs you can spew your bullshit “logic” all over).

        I believe you’ve said before you can’t find a woman to have sex with you outside of prostitution because of some problems you have. If no woman outside of the sex trade wants to have sex with you, what makes a woman inside the sex trade different? Do you seriously think she truly wants to have sexual relations with goddess-knows-how-many men a day/week?

        Furthermore, clearly what she is saying to you about the reasons she is choosing the sex trade mean a lot to you. Do you think she is not smart enough to realize this??

        “What I reject, though, is the idea that women never make a rational decision to sell sex to certain men, and that it must always occur in the context of male domination”

        I believe women make very rational decisions on why to sell sex. That isn’t what we’re talking about here, Rye. We’re talking about YOU, the so-called “johns”. And tell me where relations between men and women do not occur in a context of male dominance?? Seriously–I would like to move there. If women are unequal in society in every other respect, how are we somehow just as equal to men (if not supposedly more so) in heterosexual relations?

        You seem to like reading radical feminist blogs, Rye. Have you read the writings of exited women? I think they would be good for you to read (NOT comment on). Rachel Moran has written an open letter to a “good” john. You can read it at http://www.prostitutionexperience.com

        You clearly have no idea what it’s like to be a woman selling sex in this day and age. You refuse to listen to the words of exited women, women who can actually tell you what the sex trade is like firsthand. I

      • marv

        “having sex with my prostitute is pretty much what makes my life worth living”.

        If having sex with a prostitute is keeping you alive maybe it is time to ponder the unthinkable. Since you are in this dilemma it might be best to pull the plug IF all other measures fail. There is no shame in self inflicted death when you can’t stop oppressing someone, as long as you don’t take anyone else with you. I am not saying I want you to die. I prefer you live as a changed person. You need to make the best decision possible for the common good.

        I mean just imagine what a more habitable world it would be for women and girls if all the johns and pimps took their own lives. We need a trend setter. Many people have given up their lives to fight tyranny in history. Society considers them heroes. Sacrificing one’s life to stop oneself from being a sexual abuser and to protest the system that formed you would surely be an honourable death. In this case (and some others) the right to die makes sense. I suppose you could call it one of our Last Rights. We could commend such men with a medal posthumously during their last rites. Many would say, “they died to liberate others and themselves from themselves and patriarchy”. I am not being sarcastic or contemptible, only pragmatic and candid. Truth hurts a man’s ego but it can set you free. How it plays out depends on you.

        • I agree with you: if the only purpose of a person’s life is to exploit others, we’re better off, on the whole, if they’d die. That’s just a simple equation, regardless of any other moral consideration.

          That being said, I don’t think Rye should be killed. We obviously don’t have a duty to kill them and they don’t have a duty to kill themselves, but it would be the right thing to do.

          Also:
          “I think prostitution exists because women are risk-averse to PIV and because most don’t get the most pleasure from it. ”
          Is there a newfound risk-aversion to PIV amongst women that I was not made aware of? Because in the US, half of children are unwanted. So what is this even?

          • Stan

            I would also like to know how you can think that prostitutes are not exploited while admitting that PIV is a) too risky and b) not pleasurable enough for women to engage in it without payment.

            I mean, it doesn’t really matter if you have to pay women for having sex with you because women hate sex, or if you have to pay women for having PIV with you because women hate PIV.

          • I know you’re addressing marv, but you’re right, the issue of whether women like PIV is not really relevant either way.

  • Missfit

    All the explanations given for any individual men’s reasons to go to prostitutes all have in common a (learned) sense of entitlement to sex and women’s bodies.

    A man may go to a prostitute and think he has done nothing wrong, feeling he treated her respectfully and paid her well for what he views as only a service. But the woman’s job does not end with this man, she has to service a number of unknown men, one after the other, being touched and penetrated, one man after another, day after day. This is something! And I would call that something inhumane. And every individual john contributes to that system, no matter his reasons. We are not talking simply about sex here, we are talking about prostitution. But for many, prostitution is simply ‘sex’, and by that they mean ‘natural’. Interstingly, at the same time, while they view the man’s part in prostitution as natural, they recognize the prostitute’s behavior as unnatural.

    The way we practice sexuality is, like everything else, socially constructed. Sheila Jeffreys, in her book ‘The idea of prostitution’ explains:

    ‘It is reasonabble (…) to expect the behavior of the john to require complex learning processes. The john needs to experience himself as having sexual urges that require outlet. He needs to learn that he can use women in prostitution as an ‘outlet’, and that such use is acceptable. He needs to learn to use antoher human being as an object on whom and in whom he can act out his urges in a way that makes her ‘desires’ and pleasure, even her personhood, irrelevant. He needs to find such use of women exciting. Then he needs to find out how to access prostituted women’s bodies and the customs involved in this practice.’

    Jeffreys posits that ‘prostitution (…) rather than representing ‘natural’ sex, provides an efficient way for men to achieve the excitement of eroticised hierarchy and objectification’.

    I could quote Jeffrey’s whole book. In it, she deconstructs every argument made by pro-prostitution advocates – the notion of choice, consent, the ‘a job like any other’ argument, johns’ motivations. I highly recommend it, it is a must read!

  • sporenda

    “Non-prostituted women benefit from having a class of “lesser” women for men to take their sexual use and abuse out on, so some women support this power arrangement.”

    That’s what johns want us to believe but it’s just another myth.
    Middle/upper class women are not protected from men’s sexual abuse by the existence of a female lower class who will bear the abuse so the “good” women don’t have to.
    Just check the rape stats in countries where prostitution is legal, they are usually significantly higher than in countries where it’s not, Nevada is a case in point: this state has the highest rape figures in the whole US.

    And it’s hardly surprising: prostitution is one of the most efficient ways to teach men that women are inferior, to be used and abused by them at will.
    And to the hardcore or softcore misogynists who are the clients of prostitution, women are inferior, meant to serve men sexually and otherwise because they are women, period.
    So pretending that these men will treat a certain class of women like s…t but that they will honor and respect women of their own class is pure BS: prosti-rapists won’t upgrade their views about women when they come home from the brothel.
    In fact, the johns’ contempt and abuse of prostitutes contaminates the whole of womanhood; the very existence of prostitutes justifies men’s low opinion of women–never mind that they are the ones responsible for the very existence of prostitution.
    Patriarchy is men s…ing on women and then accusing them of being dirty.

    Sexual abuse (not prostitution) happens just as much to “good” women, only the perpetrators are seldom brought to justice, because they are “good” men.
    Only the rapists from the lower classes–poor, non-white etc–are jailed.

    Look at the “glamour rapists” like Polanski, DSK etc: more successful than ever, welcomed everywhere, consulting business thriving for DSK, new film released to critical applause for Polanski: rape didn’t not hinder their career in the least, possibly it boosted it.

    • Lady Vengeance

      Good point. The Roast Busters rape gang in the news this week took place in Auckland, a small city of 1.4 million where prostituted women are cheap and abundant, but boys taught by porn to experience sex through domination will never be satisfied with the socially sanctioned rape of prostitutes.

      Licensed brothels in Auckland (there are many more unlicensed brothels):

      Shooter’s Saloon
      Red Elephant
      Club 574 Gentlemen’s Club
      The Matakana
      Aphrodite’s Club
      The Doll House
      Sexy Angels
      Prague
      Club 3
      Femme Fatale Gentlemen’s Club
      The Candy Club
      Geneva’s Gentlemen Club
      Sophie’s
      Kahlas Gentlemen’s Club
      Club 5B
      Rita’s
      Apple Auckland Escort
      The One Club
      7E Club
      Atlantic Girls
      Lucy’s
      Showboys
      La Cherie
      Mons Venus
      Mustangs Gentlemen’s Club
      Purely Blue
      Juliette’s
      One33
      Emily’s
      Showgirls
      Vamps Gentlemen’s Club
      The HQ Club
      Longlife
      Lavander Massage
      Pelican Club
      Salon 33

      In addition, the main spots for street prostitution in Auckland are Karangahape Road, Fort Street, and Hunters Corner.

  • Bella

    Every 10/11 uses of the word ‘prostitute’ felt like a kick of disrespect and was dehumanising women who are sex workers and not to forget the guys who are sex workers.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Men ‘dehumanize’ prostitutes. Not feminists. Also, yeah, you’re right. There are a small percentage of male prostitutes, because men like to buy sex from men sometimes too. But the vast, vast majority of prostitutes are women.

    • Prostitution is not “sex work.” It’s not “work.”

    • annika

      Hate to break it to you Bella, but feminism isn’t about feelings (your whole comment was “your arguments can’t be true because they hurt my feelings.”) Prostitution isn’t wrong because it makes some women “feel bad.” We have to get over the hyper-individualizing of everything and realize that things like rape and prostitution amount to more than making a woman “feel bad”-they’re examples of systematic/institutionalized male dominance. Just because a certain patriarchal mindset doesn’t appear to harm you doesn’t mean that feminists should just let it go.

      This is why I can’t stand blogs like Shakesville, Feministing, and Jezebel, they think feminism means “I like this so that must mean it’s good and pro-woman, and any feminist that disagrees is taking away my choice and humanity.” It really feels like 21st century feminism is three steps forward and two steps back most of the time.

      • NitroGirl

        And most of this “feel good feminism” does not extend to the feelings of exited prostitutes/strippers ,ex “sex positive” and bdsm female participants who have been harmed by this brand of Feminism. “Choice Feminism” is fine until someone regrets their choice. Then it’s chalked up to “one bad experience”. For a group (Choosey Feminist Choose Choice) of people who are so concerned the feelings of women, they sure reserve a burning anathema (and are often very dismissive) towards women thinking critically about their choices and have survived the toxic whirlwind known as “Choice Feminism”.

        • Laur

          NitroGirl!!! You’re back!!!

        • The “one bad experience” write-off is to me as infuriating as the rest. My “favorite” is “you’re an exception”. GAG.

  • sporenda

    “I don’t really understand why Justin Beiber would go to a prostitute house but I doubt it was about power. It was probably more to do with wanting no-strings sex…”

    If there is one man in the world who can get all the “no strings sex” he wants from female fans, it’s JB.
    And that’s precisely what Meghan’s article was about.
    Most men visiting prostitutes are not poor sex starved creatures, most of them can and do get sex elsewhere, sometimes lots of it, with strings attached or without.
    But most of the time, it’s “I have to take into consideration what my partner wants and doesn’t want” sex.
    What johns want is “I don’t give a damn about what my partner wants and doesn’t want” sex.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Exactly. It’s often framed (here, by Melissa Gira Grant, for example: “People buy sex to have a kind of sex that they might not otherwise have, or want to have, with their intimate partner”) as something men do because they want something “different” that their partner won’t do… As though, like, if your partner isn’t interested in performing whatever degrading/painful act you want them to, it’s perfectly reasonable to coerce another woman into doing it.

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  • DS

    I just wanted to say, thank you for being one of the few feminist blogs that criticizes the sex industry. It is disgusting how so many sex industry advocates have taken over feminist discourse with all their crap about “whorephobia”. Apparently this level of guilt tripping works. Whenever say Femineste would have blog on the harms of porn or prostitution there would be a brigade of women saying Shut up! unless y ou are a “sex worker” you have no business even talking about it. ex-sex workers who were critical or negative aren’t allowed, neither are people who have known people who’s lives have been ruined by the industry. It is ridicoulous….shouldn’t feminism be about critical thinking and real life and not “oh, but I like being a stripper.”

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yep, the bullying is incredible. The fact that they are so desperate to shut down discourse/critique is telling, though, no? This is the purpose of invented terms like ‘slut-shaming’ and ‘whorephobia’ — to try to frame feminist critques of the sex industry as bigoted. It’s ridiculous and depressing, all at once.

      • DS

        you want to hear something sad…in this other feminist group I am in someone is pointing out that there is no shame in being a John and people need to leave those who want to sell or buy sex alone. I tried pointing out that ummmm….NO Men that buy sex are the types of men that are extremely misogynistic. non misogynistic men tend to be anti prostitution and if they read or watch porn it is very limited. I even backed up scientific studies. Guess what, I was banned. If this is what feminism is; saying women are commodities then count me out.

        • Anne

          DS: I have been in one of those groups too – maybe it was the same group. Sooo tolerant and understanding – except for those of us, who didn’t support prostitution and actually it was offensive to call the prostitutes for prostitutes – said one of the members, who was a – of course – SEXWORKER. Of course the group was invaded by the sex lobby.

          I told the group, that I knew too many survivors from prostitution and I think, that it is offensive to them, to call it sex work and then I left the group.

          The group was a facebook group against sexism.

        • lizor

          “someone is pointing out that there is no shame in being a John and people need to leave those who want to sell or buy sex alone. ”

          Yeah. I saw a woman from the southern U.S. on TV a few years back (I think it was a documentary) asserting that the abolishment of slavery was a human rights transgression. She said something along the lines of “Black people should have the right to be slaves if they choose to. It was unfair of us to take away that choice”

  • marv

    Society has so naturalized women’s purpose as sex for men to the point we cannot even consider females as autonomous of men’s urges. The brainwashing is near perfect.

    Maybe one of the most unyielding psychological barriers to ending prostitution is the libertarian tendency to interpret evidence in a way that affirms its own values and biases. This “confirmation bias” underlies much of the resistance to abolition. Liberals have to see prostitution as sex work because they do not believe in using law to restrict sexual relations. Individual freedom is their ultimate value. As someone once said: “faced with the decision to change your mind or prove it’s not necessary, most people rush to invent the proof”.

    If you intentionally set out to create a social problem to incite doubt, contention, misinformation and division, it would be hard to find something better than the reality of prostitution.

    • Me

      Perhaps an even more fundamental psychological barrier is the resistance to naming the perpetrator. When you cannot do that or allow it to be done by others, all sorts of intellectualization begin to make perfect sense.

      • marv

        With closer scrutiny you will find “the perpetrator” in the first two lines of my prior remarks. Liberalism was born there.

        • Me

          Thanks!

          In my mind, I was in part responding to the interview Lizor posted a link to above. Overall it was very good, but when it got to arguments about the legalization of prostitution, at one point the interviewer stopped “getting” that men’s violence to women in fundamentally wrong and that we should have no disagreement about trying to stop it. From that point on, it didn’t matter so much what the brilliant interviewee said, the interviewer would still come back with a “yeah, but.” As if a “yeah” or “I know” could get “us” over the naming and the prosecuting and the stopping and into discussing what “we” can “really do.”

  • Shao Pai Lon

    Well I have a disability and the only women that will have sex with me are women that I have to pay. Other women don’t want any thing to do with me they will be my friends and I’m okay with that but I want a relationship a woman. Because I have a disability that isn’t gonna happen I have NF 1 and I have a huge tumor on my face and my neck. I also have close to a thousand little bumps every where else on my body. This disease is also genetic (50/50) (I got through a mutation that occurs 1 in 6000 births) their isn’t any woman who see me as a man that’s good enough to have a relationship with.
    People may not want to believe this but their is a lot disabled people aren’t accepted in society especially when it comes to relationships (whether same sex or opposite sex relationships). Maybe you should ask your self would you date someone with a disability like mine a very high percentage of men and women wouldn’t do it because they look at disabled people as not being good enough for them.
    I haven’t paid for sex that much maybe like 5 times in the past 6 years and I’ve never disrespected or dominated any of the women I’ve had sex with. I always use protection because I’m not an idiot. I’m a 26 year old man isn’t it perfectly normal for me to want to have a sexual relationship with an adult woman? I don’t have an intimate partner no woman wants me as an intimate partner. I don’t hate or disrespect women either I don’t really have a choice it’s either this or no sex. If people stopped looking at them selves as being “too good” to date someone who’s disabled then it would be a little different. You don’t believe me go to any website where people with disabilities talk about how no wants to date them

    • Laur

      Congratulations. You have found a group of women who can’t and won’t say “no” to sex with you unlike non “Hoes” who have apparent said no to you repeatedly.

      Do you not think every sex buyer had a reason why he “needs” to buy sex? Do you think any sex buyer believes he is acting in an abusive manner? It doesn’t matter to prostituted women why men throw money at them to sexually use them. At the end of the day, you’re just one more dick to be sucked and fucked.

      • Shao Pai Lon

        It’s not even always about sex women that aren’t Escorts wont even yes to a date with me. Would you date someone that had thousands of little tumors all over their body?

        • Meghan Murphy

          I don’t want to be insensitive about your feelings and experiences, but it seems this begs the question: Don’t you think that women who are disabled or disfigured might desire love and physical affection too?

          • Shao Pai Lon

            They wont date me either they don’t want to date someone has problems either. I’ve tried to date women who have disabilities and they don’t want me either.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I still can’t figure out why it’s acceptable for disabled men to exploit women. Do disabled women regularly seek out impoverished or abused men to pleasure them sexually?

    • Henke

      While any kind disability, I’m sure, can put halt to various events during life.
      Having sex is not a male universal right.

    • I’m sorry, and delete this comment if you want Meghan, but what do you think gives you the right to have sex with women when you have a fucking tumor on your face? Seriously? I’m sorry but I’m not nearly as badly off compared to you but I don’t think I have any right to have sex with women. (I’m married anyhow, but that’s hardly the point- I don’t think I have a right to have sex with her either)

      • Shao Pai Lon

        When did I ever say I had the right to have sex with women. When women tell me they aren’t interested in me I back off. I can’t make someone like me. But I wonder how you feel if you were in my position. Would your have married you or even noticed you if she looked at you as actually being hideous. It’s like being Frankenstein’s Monster. Also sex is not a right but it most definitely is a need. At least a psychological need.

        • “When women tell me they aren’t interested in me I back off.”
          You don’t have the luxury of knowing the other person’s feelings if you are paying them to have sex with them. Stop fooling yourself.

          Looking back on your initial post, it is true that you did not claim you had the right to have sex with women. However, your attitude is that of entitlement. Just because you are a man doesn’t mean you get to have sex with women. No one is entitled to sex. The answer is not “therefore I should pay women to have sex with me.” How does that make any fucking sense?

    • Anne

      ” I don’t have an intimate partner no woman wants me as an intimate partner. ”

      So it is okay to force a prostitute to have sex with you?

      First of all, you are NOT buying a relationship – you are buying the right to use a persons private parts for x numbers of minutes. Don’t confuse that with a relationship.

      Secondly: If you only have paid for sex maybe like 5 times in the past 6 years, it can’t be that much of a problem with your sexual needs and your “needs” for a relationship with a woman.

      I am sorry for your handicap but it don’t give you any right, to force a person, because of his/her financial or in other way coerced situation, to have sex with you whatsoever.

      The world is filled with women, who can’t have a boyfriend/partner just because she is too old, handicapped, sick or in other ways unattractive. They have to use mechanical aids to get sex – and so can you.

      • Shao Pai Lon

        Well I’ve never forced anyone to do any thing with me that they didn’t want to do. If someone told me things “NOT” to do I didn’t do it because that’s the agreement that we made. If someone tells me no or stop I stop right away. Also there isn’t any mechanical aid that can simulate touching kissing, and (actual sex at least not for men). I already know I can’t buy a relationship the most I can do is buy sex. What I really wanna know is would any of you date or have a relationship with someone that has close to a thousand tumors on their body? Or would you consider them to be not good enough for you.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Seeing as you know you are buying sex, not a relationship, this is the same argument any john will give to defend his right to buy sex from prostitutes. They ‘need’ it. You don’t ‘need’ sex. No one ‘needs’ sex.

          • Shao Pai Lon

            According Maslow people need to love and be loved. That includes sexual love and non sexual love. That actually does includes sex. But what I wanna know is would you date someone who has 1000’s of tumors all over their body?

          • If you can’t date anyone, what the hell makes you think you’re entitled to sex? BTW, sex is not biologically, mentally or socially necessary, so don’t give us that Maslow shit. You don’t need to fuck to be actualized, and frankly the idea that Jeanne d’Arc, Issac Newton or Immanuel Kant should have fucked in order to be better actualized is just silly.

          • Shao Pai Lon

            How am I entitled to sex it really is a need though. I’ve never forced myself on any one or done any thing with any one that they didn’t want to do. These women were adults we both checked each others ID’s because I look really young. Why is wrong for me to have consensual sex with a an adult woman. If these women were under age you would have a point. But they weren’t and none of them had pimps either they were all independent escorts. I made sure before I set up appointments with them.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Again. This is why I hesitate to publish comments like this. Essentially you’re demanding we explain feminism and the abolitionist movement to you. Please read these posts and comments and come back to this conversation http://feministcurrent.com/category/prostitution-2/

            Thanks.

          • Shao Pai Lon

            What have I said that was sexist, racist, or homophobic. I haven’t insulted anyone, bullied anyone, or even disrespected anyone that has posted on here. I also never demanded anyone teach me anything. It’s also really surprising that your hesitant to allow people to have a civil discussion because what they have to say doesn’t fit in with your political views.

          • Meghan Murphy

            You really aren’t getting this, Shao. This isn’t YOUR forum. This isn’t a space for anyone to say whatever they want. You have the whole internet to do that. This is a space for having (hopefully) productive discussions about feminism and other related issues and is meant to discuss the posts at hand. You can’t just storm in here and demand everyone to start at the beginning, in terms of discussions of prostitution, feminism, and violence against women. We’re talking about your sense of entitlement — to women, to sex with women, and to this space.

          • Laur

            “How am I entitled to sex it really is a need though. I’ve never forced myself on any one or done any thing with any one that they didn’t want to do.”

            You say you can’t find anyone to date because of your disability. You are not forming any sort of real relationship (if this is what you actually desire) with a woman in prostitution. You’re buying access to her body.

            If no woman wants to have sex with you without pay, what makes you think a woman you are paying wants to have sex with you? Answer: she doesn’t. The money IS the force.

            You could stop your whining and live as fulfilled a life as possible with your disability, and be an example for others with your condition of how this is possible. Or you can go on about how women, including women who have spent time in the sex trade, can’t possibly understand your “needs.”

            You are currently choosing the latter.

          • “How am I entitled to sex it really is a need though.”
            No it’s not.

            “I’ve never forced myself on any one or done any thing with any one that they didn’t want to do.”
            How the fuck could you possibly know that.

          • calabasa

            I feel really sorry for you…however, you are pleading your case in the wrong place. I’m not sure why you’ve come to a radfem site to find sympathy for using prostitutes, you won’t find it here.

            Are there some women who truly see themselves as “sexual therapists,” who would compassionately touch and have intercourse with you? Perhaps. But likely not the women you’ve paid, who wouldn’t want to have sex with you even if you didn’t have 1000 tumors all over your body. I’m sorry for your troubles, but if you’re here begging your case it sounds like it troubles your spirit more than your desire troubles your body, and in the end it’s not worth it. On some level you know it’s wrong or you wouldn’t be here asking for forgiveness and validation from everyone. I know it’s year later but, if you’re still out there…I wish you peace and healing.

          • Shao Pai Lon

            Also would you have married your wife is she had close to 1000 tumors on her body? Even up and down her spine. Would your wife have married you if you had that many tumors? I really do want to know this seems to be the question that no one answers would you date someone that had this or would you simple say that they aren’t good enough for me.

          • Our marriage was for political reasons. But apart from that, no, we probably wouldn’t be together if that was the case. So what? I still wouldn’t claim to be entitled to have sex with her either way.

          • Shao Pai Lon

            I rest my case people with physical disabilities still aren’t looked as being good enough for most women and men to enter into a consensual relationship with. I never said I was entitled to have sex with women “YOU” said that.

          • You rest your case? WHAT case? All you’ve been doing is posting on a radfem blog that you should be allowed to pay for prostitutes. Do you realize how stupid that is? In normal circumstances you’d have my sympathy, but here you’re just a troll.

            If you actually don’t feel entitled to sex, then STOP PAYING FOR PROSTITUTES!!!

          • Missfit

            This question is beyond the problem that is prostitution. Sex is not a need, it is a desire. We can control our desires and we don’t have all of our desires come true. But you are talking like you don’t have any other options than buying a prostitute. There are other options and one of them is accepting to be celibate for a time and continue looking for someone who will want to have sex with you. Maybe a woman with a skin condition, who share similar difficulties in life, could connect with you. This thinking men have that they are entitled to sex is causing misery to a number of women and girls. It has to stop and it can be if women stopped to be considered as commodities.

            Prostitutes must have sex with numerous unknown men, some of whom they are repulsed by, some of whom they are scared of, some of whom hurt them. As someone else mentioned, for the prostitute, you are just another dick to suck, another man she has to let use her body. You want us to have empathy for you, can you have some for the prostitutes?

          • Shao Pai Lon

            Yeah I don’t have a skin condition it;s neurological so they can grow any where. I never asked for empathy I’m just saying it’s not a power for me at least.

          • Exactly, Missfit.

            Shao Pai Lon, as a feminist, I don’t believe that every desire I have automatically becomes a “right” that women as a group should be able to enjoy. Rather, I look at women as a group, and and think about what rights we should have WITHOUT infringing on the rights of others.

            You believe that what you label as a “right” for you – the right to use women, should be considered a “right” for people with disabilities as a group. This is not true, as others have pointed out. There are countless examples of people with disabilities making choices that don’t oppress other marginalized groups, even if that means getting out of the mindset that society teaches all men -the belief that there should always be women available for them to ejaculate in/on.

            If you support prostitution because you are horny, then you support a system of oppression against women. That is a choice you can make, but I am not sure what you are here trying to argue for..

          • lizor

            “would you have married your wife is she had close to 1000 tumors on her body?”

            Would you date a woman with 1000 tumours on her body, Shao Pai Lon?

            Would you pay to have sex with a prostituted woman with the same condition as you have?

    • Missfit

      ‘(…) go to any website where people with disabilities talk about how no wants to date them.’

      Why don’t you date each other?

      • Shao Pai Lon

        Yeah I’ve attempted to do that but that most of those women aren’t interested in me either. When I send them my picture they either say they aren’t interested or just ignore my messages.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I’m sure lots of men have that experience… I don’t think it’s a justification for the systemic subordination of an entire class of people.

        • FeFi

          Even then, I don’t think going to see a prostitute is the right way to deal with that type of rejection. Everyone gets rejected by someone, eventually, if they’re openly looking for partners. It’s just the way things are. I promised you, if you keep pushing on to have relationships with girls you’ll eventually find one you can get with, but then giving up and seeing a prostitute makes you lose that chance. Plus,it might give you some serious wrong impressions of girls, as prostitutes will do most of anything for their clients, whereas most girls aren’t like that. And that definitely will not help you get girls relationship-wise, just sayin’.

          • Shao Pai Lon

            FeFi I’ll be dead by that time. I’m only 26 and I already innumerable tumors near my trigmenal nerve and lumbar. I know my situation very well I have a right impression women and I’ve never asked a prostitute to do any thing weird. So fefi would you date someone with disorder like and it’s severe as me.

          • FeFi

            Just because YOU wouldn’t date anyone that looks like YOURSELF, doesn’t mean other women wouldn’t. And in all honesty, how are you going to be dating anyone, when you decide not to look for anyone to date, because you’re too busy fucking prostitutes?

            And how do you know you’ve never asked a prostitute to do anything weird? I’m pretty sure most Johns would think that too, lol. And to be frank, I think it’s already weird that you’re having sex with a poor ol’ girl that doesn’t really have a decision or say in how sex play out. It’s just sad and strange on the women part to behave that way.

            Just the fact that you think it’s “okay” to have sex with girls like that, does tell me you already have the wrong impression of them.

            So, you might think it’s your tumour keeping you from dating girl, but I say it’s your attitude. No one really wants to date a person who doesn’t accept themselves and is not confident. With that type of negative thinking, you reap what you sow.

  • annika

    It’s interesting that usually the patriarchal narrative is that prostitutes are a means of protecting “good” women from rape, but many of the Johns here argue that the prostitutes are in fact the so called “good” women, unlike those shallow bitches on dating websites who won’t have sex with them despite the fact that these men have nothing to offer in the looks or personality department.

    • Shao Pai Lon

      Yeah I never said anything about rape so what are you talking about. Also I can’t change the way I look. I’ve had plastic surgery several times and the tumors came back bigger. I once had a new type surgery and they removed 300 on the and 300 on the front and they all came back within 7 months. I’m not even overweight either O’m 5’5 and I weigh 130 pounds. What would you do if you weren’t good enough for any one?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Shao — I hesitated to publish this comment in the first place because it centers the conversation around you and your needs. Our focus, as feminists, is on ending violence against woman and male supremacy. I’m sorry to hear about your experience but you still seem to believe that it outweighs the lives and experiences of women…

  • sporenda

    Old men, plain looking men, men with disabilities can find a woman to have sex with–they just have to accept a woman who is not a top model, in other words somebody who is physically in their league.
    Many men resort to prostitutes to get an upgrade: to have sex with young beautiful women who would normally turn them down because they’d consider them too old or too physically unattractive.

    • Missfit

      I saw an interview once with a man who had cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair. He said he could not find anyone to date, adding that the only women who were interested in him were disabled ones and he was not attracted to them. Seriously.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Jeez louise. Men, amirite?

        • Missfit

          Yes, the poor men. But let’s not worry, they can have access to prostitutes. I mean, what would happen if they didn’t? Unthinkable!

  • marv

    “What I really wanna know is would any of you date or have a relationship with someone that has close to a thousand tumors on their body?”

    You are asking the wrong question.

    I have been a home care aid for people with disabilities for numerous years. The pay is generally low because disadvantaged people are devalued as are their mostly women care givers; but the relationships are enriching. By word and example, many of them taught me that asexual intimacy is far more meaningful and essential than the sexual kind. A loving embrace from a committed friend can sustain us when our hearts are jubilant, lonely or melancholy . As Meghan said, having sex is not a need. We confuse wants as needs in myriad ways . Patriarchy teaches us to see females as women and sexual partners. If we regarded them as simply humans we wouldn’t feel so much sexual urgency. In our pornified and heterosexually obsessed political milieu it is not easy to overthrow our social conditioning to become equal human beings. When you’re infirmed and/or disfigured it is even more arduous to find caring confidants.

    The question you should be asking then is, would we be friends with mentally and physically impaired people? The answer I predict would be a resounding yes.

    Friends or no friends, prostituting a woman is always a violation of her human rights.

    • Anne

      Marv: Words – perfect words.

    • Me

      Thank you for that comment marv, beautifully said!

      I once worked as a home care aide to a married quadriplegic man. The couple put a lot of effort into building the kind of intimacy that would sustain them both in their relationship. They both seemed genuinely happy with what they had between each other and they also shared sexual intimacy.

    • Shao Pai Lon

      No not really this article talks about how prostitution is male power. Which is very much a stretch especially when you talk about people that have no power at all overpowering people that make $200 an hour. You can’t exert power over someone when you have no power and no one looks at you as good enough for them. Who’s exploiting who the person who no one finds suitable or the person making $200 an hour. Their is also a big difference between friends and lovers some people can be both. But really would you date someone who disfigured to the point that they are hideous? The fact is it is very very true that disabled people are not accepted in society and a pretty good percentage of us don’t have very much sex at all.
      I think the way that people are avoiding the question pretty much says it is true at least for a pretty good percentage of people. I also don’t mind dating women with disabilities but they do mind dating me. Another thing that always makes me laugh is people always say “why don’t you date someone with a disability” it’s like they’re saying stick to your own kind. So people without disabilities can keep their blood pure.
      Also prostituting you have it like paying someone for sex is like pimping them. They were adults who are responsible for them selves. One time one tried to get service from an escort and she denied me when I showed because “she didn’t provide service to blacks.” They could deny any one service when ever they wanted. It’s not always or even most of the time about power. At least for me it was never ever about power. So would you or wouldn’t you date someone 1000 tumors on their body.

      • NitroGirl

        Even though you are disabled,you still have male privilege,you also have privilege over women who are also disabled.

        Also if you are getting turned down by women (disabled or not) then perhaps it has something to do with your behavior (I find most men who buy sex from women not to have very pleseant attitudes towards women in genera. Remember,you’ve repeatedly said that no woman wants to be with you.)

        Really though, I am still neither convinced or impressed by the argument that because you are disfigured that entitles you make contributions to the patriarchy by purchasing sex from women.

        Women from all walks of life have to manage with what they have and don’t have a class of people they can sexually exploit whenever they choose to in order to make them feel better about themselves. And that’s “thanks” to our male-dominated society.

        If you came here hoping women would go “Ohhh,I see now. Thanks. You can continue to think of women as sex and feel entitled to sex with women because you have x,y,z!”,you are wasting your time. You don’t get a Get-Out-of-Male-Privilege Free Card because of your disability. You’re still a dude,and that’s what REALLY matters. I don’t think anyone has time to educate you to this extent on patriarchy 101 on somebody else’s blog. Anything further with you is just everyone going in circles.

        • Missfit

          Excellent reply! Shao clearly doesn’t seem to understand how the system of prostitution works, how it fits into and reinforces patriarchy, and what are the realities for prostitute women. Me think Shao does not care.

          Shao: Yes, men do exert power over women through prostitution. And about your question regarding if we would date a man with tumors… Many people end up dating others through knowing them. I would like to date a man who adheres to radical feminist principles (a very small tiny almost inexistent percentage of the population). So no, I would definitely not date someone like you, with or without tumors. But a man who shares my values? Possibly, yes. As others mentioned, your attitude may be more of a problem than your disease.

          • Shao Pai Lon

            So would you date a man that adheres to your feminist idealogy and shares your values if he close to 1000 tumors on his body? Even if you couldn’t natrally have children with him without risk of them developing this same disorder?

  • NitroGirl

    Men really don’t realize that it’s not about intent,it’s that they are still contributing to male power,male dominance,patriarchy by purchasing women’s bodies. No one gives a gobbledy shit that you did it in hopes you’d have a real life Pretty Woman scenario, or you did it because you’re in desperate need of a woman’s touch (because something is so severely fucking wrong with you internally that makes women so repulsed by you that you feel like you HAVE to pay someone to touch you.). You’re still tapping into your male power,where you feel at liberty to unasmamedly purchase sex from prostitutes on a whim. Fuck intent,the end result is still misogyny.

  • sporenda

    ShAo Pai, you want to know what you are doing by paying for sex?

    Go to Rachel Moran’s blog (Meghan interviewed Rachel on FC), The Prostitution Experience , and read.
    Here is an extract:

    “if you’re a man who buys sex and thinks you’re engaged in a mutually beneficial transaction that’s causing no harm, I’m talking to you.

    I met many of you. So many. Too many. And I always wondered about you. I wondered, how could you justify this to yourself? How could you tell yourself – and believe it – that I was happy to have strangers’ fingers, penises and tongues shoved into the most private parts of me? How did you convince yourself that I’d be happy about something you’d never, in your wildest nightmares, wish on your own daughter? I wondered, most of all, how could you look at me and not see me?

    You are the ‘good’ punter. If you see a bruise on her you’ll ask if she’s okay. Is anybody treating her violently? Yes. Many men are. Go in the bathroom. You’ll find one above the sink.

    The truth, that you’re so desperate to flee from, is that you are just like a gentle rapist. Your attitude and demeanour does not mitigate what you do. The damage you’re causing is incalculable, but you tell yourself you’re doing no harm here, and you use the smiles of the women you buy as some kind of currency; they allow you to buy your own bullshit.”

  • Hugo

    Good article.

    The prostitute is not giving her consent to sexual activities freely because she is monetizing it. The sex is not consensual, the client as the money that the prostitute needs and uses it as leverage to exploit her body. It’s a crime in most countries and it should be considered as a crime in the other ones.

    Clients delude themselves about prostitutes to feel less guilty: “she likes it, she wants me, she loves her job, I’m helping her…” But if you think that, ask the prostitute if she would have sex with you for free. Guess what? Most of the time, she’ll refuse because she does not want to have sex or like having sex with you. Deal with it.

    I’m a man, I’ve been single most of my life and I’m happy. I practice sports, I masturbate, I’m healthy. I have no need and no desire to exploit women for sex. I admit I watch porn sometimes altough I’ve never paid for porn, I’m not proud of it, I try to avoid it as much as I can because I think this industry is exploitative as well.

    Sorry if my English is not perfect.

  • Lucas Clifford

    Nitrogirl says “Women from all walks of life have to manage with what they have and don’t have a class of people they can sexually exploit whenever they choose to in order to make them feel better about themselves.”

    Sporenda quotes someone who says “How did you convince yourself that I’d be happy about something you’d never, in your wildest nightmares, wish on your own daughter? ”

    That’s not true. She’d have to make her own career decisions when she’s an adult.

    Nitrogirl says “Men really don’t realize that it’s not about intent,it’s that they are still contributing to male power,male dominance,patriarchy by purchasing women’s bodies.”

    That’s not true either. In fact, the body isn’t being purchased at all. Services are being purchased that use the body. In this respect, it is no different than the vast majority of professions.

    “Yes, the poor men. But let’s not worry, they can have access to prostitutes. I mean, what would happen if they didn’t? Unthinkable!”
    The suicide rate goes up. Way up.

    Nitrogirls says “Women from all walks of life have to manage with what they have and don’t have a class of people they can sexually exploit whenever they choose to in order to make them feel better about themselves.”
    It’s about time they get one. And it wouldn’t be a class of people. They’d move on to other professions.

    • What in the holy fuck is wrong with you. Obviously the solution to one gender oppressing another is to have both genders oppress each other. You’re a fucking Einstein.

      • Lucas Clifford

        It’s not oppressive at all if both genders do it. Their entire argument is that prostitution is oppressive because nearly all of the clients are men and most of the prostitutes are women. This is only because of slut-shaming in society, largely caused by women. It’s time for this to change. Had it changed sooner, Christine Chubbuck would probably still be with us.

        • Are you really this dumb, or are you just a troll?

        • NitroGirl

          No.No.No.No.

          Women exploiting men, does not challenge or threaten patriarchy.

          Just ask yourself “Is the patriarchy still there?” when you find yourself thinking things would be “equal” by throwing in “equal representation of exploitation”. You’ll often,if you have any type of Feminist mind about yourself find the answer “Hell Yes.”

          I often find these type of rationalizations/theories to be patriarchal bargians men like to feed Feminists in order to keep their “rights” to see naked women’s bodies or purchase sex from women. “But wait! What if I throw Magic Mike in the mix–can I still be a John/pornsupporter??”. Offering women phoney power in order to keep your real power is the biggest patriarchal male trick in the book,and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone falling for that on a Radical Femiist blog (that of which,Feminist current is), falling for such a thing.

          This is why I can’t hang with lazy-minded liberal attitudes towards misogyny —it often does not look at the bigger picture,and think they can pacify women with a few distractions that give the illusion we have finally “arrived”. How about getting rid of patriarchy instead of offering fake power? So many men make talks about being “equal” and “equality”,but can only come to the conclusion that women need more distractions from their oppression instead of help to dismantle the system they benefit from at the expense of women. I WONDER WHY…

        • Babs

          “It’s not oppressive at all if both genders do it.”

          Both “genders” experience racism.

        • calabasa

          Women would not go to prostitutes en masse like men, because men do it out of either a desire to hurt women or a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, as well a learned disregard for women’s humanity (regardless of any underlying loneliness). Women would not feel comfortable paying a male stranger to pretend to feel attracted to and pleasure them physically. But you know what women would pay for (and do, in Japan)? Handsome guys to flirt with them and tell them how pretty they are and listen sympathetically while they talk about their day. Maybe that’s women’s version of disregard for men’s humanity. Sex, not so much. (It’s sad at what cross purposes we are, isn’t it?)

    • lizor

      ““Yes, the poor men. But let’s not worry, they can have access to prostitutes. I mean, what would happen if they didn’t? Unthinkable!”
      The suicide rate goes up. Way up.”

      Seriously? Got any evidence?

      • Missfit

        If that was true, men’s problems are bigger than I thought.

        • Unjaded Realist

          LMAO Missfit! I know–right?! What kind of twisted emotional blackmail is this guy trying to pull by telling a large, almost totally female audience such a thing? How monumentally selfish-serving and manipulative. If it’s even a little bit true (it isn’t) then yes–men are far more drunk on privilege and dangerous that even I have seen and experienced. And I’ve dealt with men that I had to get restraining orders against they were so violent. If so then he’s just proven men definitely should NOT be buying women or even be around women. OK if society evolves and men can not buy women, do whatever sickening acts he gave her money to do, “finish” (puke) then go on his merry way…This alleged human being is saying If men can not do this—they will KILL THEMSELVES?! WTF?! Un…be..lievable.

    • Funny fact: I have never hired a prostitute or even thought about hiring a prostitute, and I have not killed myself. Another funny fact, the Middle East has the lowest levels of suicide in the world and prostitution is outlawed in most of those countries. Yet another funny fact, you are an imbecile.

      • Stan

        Francois, you do realize, that just because prostitution as such is outlawed, that doesn’t mean that women’s bodies aren’t sold to and used by men?

        But honestly, I couldn’t care less if men commit suicide because they don’t have access to prostitutes. Give them a Darwin Award.

        • “Francois, you do realize, that just because prostitution as such is outlawed, that doesn’t mean that women’s bodies aren’t sold to and used by men?”
          … yes? Patriarchy exists pretty much everywhere. What’s your point?

          “But honestly, I couldn’t care less if men commit suicide because they don’t have access to prostitutes. Give them a Darwin Award.”
          Agreed!

  • Lucas Clifford

    So tell me, why don’t you post dissenting comments?

    • Meghan Murphy

      I post dissenting comments all the time. I just don’t post boring comments that make sexist arguments about how men will all commit suicide if not permitted to exploit women whenever they feel the urge.

      • Lucas Clifford

        No, you don’t post any arguments that show you to be incorrect. You just use political machines to bully dissenters to promote lower quality of life for people you don’t consider sexually attractive. Your biggest argument was that since Justin Bieber can have pleasurable sex without prostitution, everyone else can too. Applying a situation of one isolated individual to an entire group of people is the essence of bigotry.

        My point was that it was sexist to assume that women wouldn’t benefit from soliciting prostitutes. It’s also sexist for these counterfeit-feminists to condemn Anthony Wiener, but condone Barney Frank just because he was only soliciting men. Feminists all rallied around Barney Frank, an admitted patron of prostitutes.

        “Totally. Similar point in that, if it’s a “health treatment,” then why won’t you do it. Why.”

        Doctors and nurses can’t do it by law because they’d lose their licenses. I don’t do it because I’m not biologically talented enough, but I might try for the right price.

        If it weren’t for bigots like you, Christine Chubbuck would probably still be alive. A woman shot herself on television because she couldn’t find a sexual companion. So much for your support for women’s rights. Obviously, you don’t think Chubbuck should have had any right to pursue happiness.

        You’re discriminating against ugly people and you’re using Justin Bieber as an attempt to hide your bigotry. Ugly people should not be compelled to be second class citizens. The only way to fix that is to make sex-workers first-class citizens and to make sex-work a respectable part-time career path.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Read the comment policy, Lucas. Blocking you now.

          • Grackle

            I’m really hoping that Lucas is just an elaborate troll. I don’t want to believe that a person could honestly write a comment that mindblowingly stupid and actually consider it a halfway cogent argument.

        • Shao Pai Lon

          Best comment ever!!

        • calabasa

          And what about the poor sex workers forced to have sex with these ugly people? Many of whom really literally would be forced? Blech, I can’t imagine.

  • Aga

    Hello, I am a sex worker in the UK working as a independent escort. I work through a website directory/forum which I how I come to view your article, I feel I have a responsibility to tell you and others my story because sex workers have many people speaking on their behalf yet still ignore those who want to work freely and safely in the industry. I came from Poland 2 years ago (please forgive my english) with qualifications in hair styling, I came because it was my ambition to work in Londons fashion industry and it still is. While it was not hard for me to find a job here, working the long hours I did, did not give me the capital or hours required to invest in my further training. I did not choose prostitution because as is often implied by many because I was abused, addicted, sex obcessed or desperate. I do it because it is a financially rewarding job that allows me to live comfortably and follow the path of my true profession, I am able to cut my hours cutting hair from 6 to 3 and pay my ridiculous rent without worrying, I choose what hours I work with my clients and I choose my clients. It is not an easy industry but I knew this before I went in, I do not tolerate disrespect in my business or any individual whos behaviour makes me uncomfortable, whether they be unwashed, rude or violent, I am fortunate that I have only had to end a session on a few occasions as generally I have a good relationship with my clients who abide by my rules and respect our business transaction. My own impression of my clients is their reasons are as diverse as they are, I cater young, old, disabled, the shy and the confident but the general thing that I believe draws most of them is a longing for physical contact and to be desired, a lot of my clients want the girlfriend experience, to kiss, to maintain eye contact and even give oral. It is always made clear this is just a business transaction but those clients who leave often leave more cheerfulI and often come back, those are good clients. There are the assholes of course as is life but most do not follow my rules enough to even meet me, those who did where asked to leave, you have to be tough or you will be walked on, it is still very scary despite my precautions in these cases as I often work from an apartment, if the government allowed me to work with more safety and openness along with other workers I would not have to worry about it. I try to take great care of my safety but there is so much more that can be done to help protect workers in our industry if they weren’t pushed underground, and it is a great shame that those who often support workers such as my myself the most are not the wider womens activistm but those advertising agencies who provide us with information on being safe, translation services and a sympathetic ear to our problems. So it makes my very sad to hear when I read posts that ignore voices like mine, who imply I am a bad person because many sex workers are abused, and ask me if I would approve if my own chidlren followed my path as if it were an insult to my moral character(for record, I would be very concerned but I would have to respect their decision and only hope they remain safe and happy with their work). We are capable of speaking on our own behalf and experiences, but as the consultation in ireland shows, those women like dolores lynch who speak on our behalf are ignored from most sides in favour of those who advocate restricting our right how to use our bodies, how to conduct our own business instead of helping protect women in the industry from exploitation, abuse, trafficking throgh better regulation.

    Thank you for your outlet, however small I am glad I can relate my own experience here without compromising my safety or silenced as is so often happens, to clarify I am satisfied with the decision to work this way as my progression into my true passion could hardly have been possible without that opportunity, that is why I think I will stop sex work in next year but I think I will do so with few regrets.

  • David J Parry

    ‘I have no idea why you don’t accept it. Why don’t you tell us?’

    Well, according to you it must be because I either don’t properly understand it or have no interest in truth. Now, I notice that you didn’t dispute any aspect of my adumbration of radical feminism, so I take that as a statement by omission that I must understand it pretty well.

    This leaves us with the other option, namely that I lack interest in the truth. I repeat, is this is so, then why would I bother asking you to correct mistakes in my interpretation of what radical feminism is? How is this consistent with not having an interest in truth?

    If you’re genuinely interested, here are a few reasons why I don’t accept radical feminism. Firstly, I don’t agree with its elevation of gender above all other social divisions. Yes, gender is an important divide in society, but so is class – and for that matter race, religion, disability, etc. Also, I take issue with the way in which radical feminism focuses exclusively on social, cultural and sexual issues, to the exclusion of economics. There are exceptions to this, mind you. For example, I read a while back a piece written by a woman called Rhiane Esther, which looked at developing a specifically radical feminist approach to economics. On the whole, however, based on what I’ve read about radical feminism and the writings of radical feminists that I’ve read, I think it’s fair and accurate to say radical feminism hasn’t been particularly fussed about economic issues.

    Finally, there’s the idea of the personal as political. This is an idea that I agree with up to a point. For example, domestic violence isn’t simply personal private matter; it is also political, in that, where, as in the overwhelming majority of cases of domestic violence and abuse, a man is being violent/abusive towards his female partner/spouse, it is linked to how our culture(s), to a greater extent than we’d like to think, continue(s) to fetishize domination and violence in men, believing that they are an integral part of being truly ‘masculine’, and regard(s) a woman’s role as that of the weak, submissive creature who is beholden to men.

    Domestic violence is also linked to social and economic inequality, IMHO. Inequality creates a culture where status is everything. Moreover, the greater the gulf between rich and poor, between the capitalists and the workers, the more intense the bias is for the rich to believe that they got to where they are through hard work and determination, and that the lazy, feckless poor have only themselves to blame. After all, no-one wants to lose privilege, and this fear is only heightened when that privilege is greater. The poor, for their part, naturally feel envy toward the rich. Inequality thus fosters materialism, promoting a notion of status based on how much people earn, what people have, etc.

    Now, a man who fears that his status (defined in materialistic terms) is being compromised or feels he does not have any status may feel the need to assert his status through violence. (It’s worth noting that status is another element of traditional notions of masculinity). This obviously includes domestic violence. Domestic violence is thus a political issue not only because it is, in and of itself, about power dynamics and gender (men dominating women because they’ve been conditioned into believing that it’s part of ‘manly’ behaviour), but because it further strengthens the case for creating radically more economically and socially equal societies.

    I digress. My point is that whilst I broadly agree with the idea of the personal being political, I think that radical feminists take this to absurd extremes, promoting the idea that every intricate detail of interaction between the sexes and how the sexes think about each other should be screened for patriarchal influences, right down to the precise manner in which men look at women (e.g. the male gaze theory). This, to me, smacks of totalitarianism. Then there’s the way in which radical feminists heap opprobrium upon participants in BDSM, on the grounds that it legitimates oppression of women. There’s also the bigotry that radical feminists often display towards transsexuals, on the basis that transsexuals give succour to essentialist views of gender. There’s the whole idea of political lesbianism, which I find baffling. The idea that someone could ‘choose’, for political reasons, who they’re sexually attracted to is something I find very difficult indeed to wrap my head around. (I know that not all radical feminists subscribe to this but, as you’re no doubt aware, it does exist and is a strand within radical feminism.) Then there are the people, including at least one of the commentators here, who advocate near total abstinence from all sex on the grounds that all sex bears the hallmarks of the patriarchy. (Again, I know that not all radical feminists argue this but it is a putative strain of thought within radical feminism). In my opinion, all of this is taking the whole idea of the personal as political just a tad too far and highlights the dangers of doing this.

    • Oh, an intersectionality wonk. You’re so smart. Obviously none of us understand that gender is not the only hierarchy that affects people’s lives. Geeze, radical feminists are so dumb. I will convert to your position forthwith.

      • David J Parry

        ‘Oh, an intersectionality wonk.’

        Yep, pretty much got it in one. Nothing wrong with that, is there? In fact, I take that as a compliment.

        ‘Obviously none of us understand that gender is not the only hierarchy that affects people’s lives.’

        Whoa, hold on. I didn’t say that you believed that gender was the *only* hierarchy that affected people’s lives. Rather, I said (I believe accurately) that you elevated gender above all other social divisions – not quite the same thing.

        ‘I will convert to your position forthwith.’

        Who said I was trying to convert anybody to anything? Since when did the articulation of an opinion equal seeking to convert other people to it?

        • “Yep, pretty much got it in one. Nothing wrong with that, is there? In fact, I take that as a compliment.”

          It was not a compliment. If you understood how intersectionality is basically a tool used to sweep women’s issues under the carpet, you wouldn’t take it as a compliment either.

          “Whoa, hold on. I didn’t say that you believed that gender was the *only* hierarchy that affected people’s lives. Rather, I said (I believe accurately) that you elevated gender above all other social divisions – not quite the same thing.”

          Again, radical feminism is about women and women’s issues, not about anything else. That does not mean every radical feminist must believe that gender is the most important social division.

          “Who said I was trying to convert anybody to anything? Since when did the articulation of an opinion equal seeking to convert other people to it?”

          Sarcasm, not your strong suit.

          Seriously, this is all you’ve got? That you’re an intersectionality wonk and think we should give more weight to other hierarchies? This justifies you coming on this thread to call us totalitarians? At best, you are using dishonesty for the sake of trolling.

    • Me

      “This, to me, smacks of totalitarianism.”

      I know! It’s so completely, totally FASCIST to point out that fascists actually are, you know, fascist.

      All these imagined slights only go to show your entitlement and self-centeredness. You don’t care about truth, because truth hurts. Men hurt women. You want to pretend your entitlement and self-centeredness are hurting nobody. So you erase women and focus back on yourself and your penis.

    • Missfit

      I don’t get what to you ‘smacks of totalitarianism’ in relation to the ‘male gaze theory’. If it is about the ubiquitous, imposed ‘male gaze’ in a phallocentric culture, and its tendency to reduce women to fuck objects in every aspect of our life, then I get it. Because to equate totalitarianism with radical feminism’s analysis of said ‘male gaze’ would be, like, kinda ridiculous…

      Do you seriously think that BDSM, the eroticization of gender hierarchy, is not deserving of a feminist analysis? Or that transsexualism should be exempt from feminist analysis even though raising questions about woman and gender? Why? Because of ‘choice’ and ‘consent’? Radical feminism rejects these arguments. Seriously, someone can ‘consent’ to work for Wal-Mart and claim liking it, it does not mean we should not critique Wal-Mart’s practices and how it plays in global economics. Otherwise, you have not stated where radfem analysis is wrong, just that there are certain topics we should not analyze too closely because reasons. Because we should only talk about economics? Well, radical feminism do adress class and how capitalism and patriarchy are linked but the sex class is also distinct from economic classes; patriarchy can survive without capitalism. You may be anti-capitalism, but you don’t seem to be anti-patriarchy, thus not interested in radical feminism and dismissing it.

      Also, I don’t see how concepts like political lesbianism (I think sexual attraction can be fluid, especially when not rooted in fetishization) or deciding to abstain from sex (when having sex with men under the way hetero sex is socially constructed negatively affects you) are dangerous.

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  • sporenda

    “My point is that whilst I broadly agree with the idea of the personal being political, I think that radical feminists take this to absurd extremes, promoting the idea that every intricate detail of interaction between the sexes and how the sexes think about each other should be screened for patriarchal influences, right down to the precise manner in which men look at women (e.g. the male gaze theory). This, to me, smacks of totalitarianism”

    Basically, you are saying that oppression should not be scrutinized too closely. According to you, trying to understand in depth how male domination is enforced over women is going too far, better leave some things (like abusive male behaviors) unexamined.
    In other words: give men a break, or you are totalitarian.

    Yes sure. Transparent male pro domo. If I had 1000 bucks for each time I have heard “you feminists are going too far”, I could buy an apartment on Park Avenue.

    Regarding your remark about: the male gaze, leave it alone. Being oggled and hassled constantly is one of the most stressful things females have to face. How would you like to be oggled, pawed and hassled by gay males everywhere you go?

    • David J Parry

      ‘According to you, trying to understand in depth how male domination is enforced over women is going too far,’

      On the contrary, I’m absolutely in favour of examining the roots of male domination over women. Where I part ways with you is that I don’t believe that this means analyzing every intricacy of male-female interaction and how members of the sexes view each other. I also think it risks overlooking capitalism and the inequality it generates, which are in large part responsible for male domination of women in my opinion.

      ‘better leave some things (like abusive male behaviors) unexamined.’

      I’m sorry, but where have I advocated leaving abusive male behaviours unexamined?

      ‘Transparent male pro domo.’

      Is that how you treat everyone who has the audacity to dissent from radical feminism? Simply dismiss them as an apologist for male domination? My way or the highway? Is that your attitude?

      What lazy, stupid, shallow, contemptible, absolutist claptrap! Incidentally, it’s just this sort of black-and-white thinking that unites totalitarians of all stripes!

      ‘If I had 1000 bucks for each time I have heard “you feminists are going too far”, I could buy an apartment on Park Avenue.’

      I didn’t say anything about feminists generally. Rather, I specifically singled out radical feminism. The only way anything I wrote could be interpreted as an attack on feminism generally is if you believe that there is no genuine feminism apart from radical feminism, in which case it’s pointless arguing with you.

      ‘Regarding your remark about: the male gaze, leave it alone. Being oggled and hassled constantly is one of the most stressful things females have to face. How would you like to be oggled, pawed and hassled by gay males everywhere you go?’

      The male gaze theory (by all means correct me if I’m wrong) is about the precise manner in which a man looks at a woman and the intricacies of how he is supposedly viewing the woman while he is doing it. This is a different issue from staring at women or sexually harassing them, both of which I’m absolutely in favour of taking men to task over. I think it’s rather dishonest on your part to conflate those issues.

      • Babs

        Okay. You’re wrong about what male gaze theory is.

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  • marv

    @David. You have unfairly judged rad-fem by claiming that it focuses too much on gender and not on economic class, race and disability. Here are some links from this very domain which disprove your accusations:
    http://feministcurrent.com/8065/marginalization-is-messy-beyond-intersectionality/
    http://feministcurrent.com/8447/podcast-looking-at-intersections-of-class-race-and-gender-in-substance-abuse/
    http://feministcurrent.com/5590/a-history-of-oppression-canada-colonialism-and-prostitution/

    You declare that rad-fem is totalitarian in its scrutinizing of male and female relations, e.g. the male gaze. Would you also insist that deep socialist critiques of capitalists are extremist? Is the capital/labour exchange ever equal? Is any aspect of their relations devoid of the hierarchical structure? Would kind sentiments between both sides be authentic given the underlying political disparity? If a worker reveres her boss and loves her job, does it make her work not exploited? Can you wrap your head around the idea that a worker could choose (out of political reasons) to work in a workers’ cooperative even if the worker felt more “attracted” to his former job in a corporate enterprise? Would it be absurd for a labourer to abstain from working in a capitalist setting on the grounds that all such work “bears the hallmarks” of capitalism? If none of these scenarios are “taking the whole idea of the personal as political a tad too far” then why in your mind is it the case between the sex classes? Why couldn’t what you might call natural sexual behaviour be socially learned delusions? Or, as one feminist queried, “Is a satisfying fuck compensation for getting fucked”? I think you are a sexist socialist.

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  • sporenda

    “” I also think it risks overlooking capitalism and the inequality it generates, which are in large part responsible for male domination of women in my opinion.”

    Open some history books sometime.
    Women have been oppressed by men in all societies, under all modes of production, and way before capitalism started.
    And the biggest critics of capitalism (Proud’hon, Marx, etc) were very sexist, and not interested in women’s oppression by men.
    Intersectionality is the biggest con in the world.
    For feminists that is, for progressive men, it works alright.

    • David J Parry

      ‘Women have been oppressed by men in all societies, under all modes of production, and way before capitalism started.’

      Gendered oppression does indeed predate capitalism. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. Huge levels of social and economic inequality also predate capitalism. My point was that capitalism has helped perpetuate both gendered oppression and social and economic inequality and to that extent is responsible for both.

      ‘And the biggest critics of capitalism (Proud’hon, Marx, etc) were very sexist, and not interested in women’s oppression by men.’

      Proud’hon was certainly a sexist. Not too sure about Marx. Engels, however, was a feminist.

      ‘Intersectionality is the biggest con in the world.’

      In what way is it a con?

      ‘For feminists that is, for progressive men, it works alright.’

      Care to elaborate?

  • stephen m

    @Richard: Where you left your comment I get about 1 word per line so I am putting this in a new sub-thread.

    Some johns have an intense desire to want their use and abuse of prostitutes to be different, to be acceptable. Well if we think seriously about it, prostitution is prostitution no matter how we dress it up. Any flavour of prostitution feeds the acceptability to johns for all flavours of prostitution.

    Finally, copied from an earlier posting I made, a small sample of what johns are responsible for:

    Prostitution for the average prostitute:
    – starting your career at the median/mean age of 12-13/14 in Canada. Can this be considered old enough to take control of your own interests with the pimps and brothel owners taking possession? This says nothing of the school education you have accumulated by the age of 13 so you can get a job when you want to exit.
    – having to disassociate your self from your body (with or without drugs or alcohol) while you sexually abused 10-20 times a day, such that in a short time you cannot stand to have any man, even your lover touch you with out disassociating self and body. Probably unable to maintain a loving relationship with a man for the rest of your life. Drug habit too?
    – expecting to be beaten on a regular basis by your pimp or your johns regardless of where you work, brothel or on the street.

    There are many more very ugly aspects but I think you should get the point now.

    – you may have read about prostitution and how it is just sex work written by organizations or unions that purport to represent prostitutes but these organizations have very very few or NO prostitutes as members. They do not support the prostitutes, they support the wealthy sex industry.

    • Richard

      Hi, this still does not answer my earlier question.

      I have zero desire to legalize pimps in any form. Nor do I want children working this trade.
      I would think that a group of women could create a house (sans madam) where they have
      security hired for the purpose of preventing them being beaten or the like.

      Honestly, I personally would not choose to use a prostitute even it were legal.
      My question is more philosophical than anything else.

      We live in a society where a woman can choose to engage in consensual
      sex with another adult, but only provided that she does not receive compensation
      for it. I’d honestly like to know the rational for preventing her from doing so if she
      is genuinely acting as a free agent and does not have an STD. Well actually, she
      can receive compensation provided its being filmed, then for some reason its
      protected speech. It just feels contradictory.

      • stephen m

        @Richard: You must be a troll or very challenged. You refuse to actually read and conceptualize what people have written to you. The view I gave you is written at a grade 8 or less reading and conceptual level.

        You really don’t want to or can’t allow yourself to understand why your and other john’s abuse of prostitutes is destructive. Piss off.

        • Richard

          I asked a very simple question and I’ve read your reply.
          You can either answer it, or not.
          You appear to be uncomfortable with answering a specific
          example. This makes me conclude that you are unable to
          form an answer that allows you to justify your point.

          So, you lash out and call me a troll. Further, you call me a “John” when I have not ever used the services, nor do I desire to do so. Much in the way I don’t choose to drink, smoke, or listen to Rap music. It just does not appeal to me even if it does to others.

          The problem for you is the question is still out there and you need to justify your position, if only to yourself. And, sadly for you, it appears you can’t.

          • You are on an anti-John blog. You have the burden of proof, not us. And it doesn’t matter if you are a John or not, you still have the burden of proof. Stop dilly-dallying.

      • lizor

        “I have zero desire to legalize pimps in any form. Nor do I want children working this trade.”

        If you are being honest about the above, then why do you refuse to speak and think from a place that acknowledges the fact that pimps do operate legally and that there is an overwhelming number of underaged females being sold?

        If you mean what you say, then why are you coming here and arguing about the exception to the rule?

        You seem to be saying that you don’t give shit about the reality of this “industry” because you have this hypothetical ideal in your mind and you want everyone to stop talking about how things really are and focus on your fantasy of a benign, untraumatized, “empowered” sex worker.

        • Richard

          I do acknowledge the harm pimps do, whether legal in their area or not, which is why I have no desire to see it legal here. The same with the abuse of minors.

          To say I don’t “give a shit” is incorrect. I’m not in favor of any law that would allow others to decide what a woman may or may not do with her body.

          If you believe in pro-choice, like I do, and accept that a
          woman may choose to have sex with another consenting
          adult, why do you accept the inconsistency that she may
          only do so if she does not accept compensation?

          By all means, ensure that such choice really is her choice.
          Ensure that she can do it in a safe manner and not spread diseases, but ultimately if you do not accept her
          right to make this choice, you are putting your wishes on
          how she uses her body above her own.

          And the nice thing about legal outlets is that they tend to dry up the revenue going to the illegal ones. So the pimps get less money and they have less resources to get good lawyers to keep out of jail.

          • I don’t accept pro-choice, so… All “choice” arguments are bankrupt, and so are you. Surprise, surprise…

          • Richard

            Bankrupt? Hardly. Oh, if you are anti-choice at least your views are semi-consistent, but they are also at odds with the majority of the people on this site. I believe in a woman’s right to do what she will with her body, you believe you have the right to impose your morals on her against her will.

            We will ever be at odds.

          • “Bankrupt? Hardly.”

            Actually, yes they are. Give me any pro-choice argument and I will demolish is handily.

            “Oh, if you are anti-choice at least your views are semi-consistent, but they are also at odds with the majority of the people on this site.”

            1. I didn’t say I was “anti-choice.” I don’t believe in “choice,” so saying I am “anti-choice” is like saying that as an atheist I must be “anti-God.” I am a choice atheist.

            2. I daresay that most radical feminists do not agree with the concept of “choice” or “agency” either, but I could be wrong.

            “I believe in a woman’s right to do what she will with her body,”

            No you don’t. You believe in crimes as much as anyone else does. All civilized, rational people are in agreement that we CAN’T let people do whatever they want. To claim otherwise is delusional.

            “We will ever be at odds.”

            Well yes, I am always at odds with hypocrites. That’s true.

          • marv

            During the antebellum period many white men did not actually own slaves and some were ideologically opposed to slavery. Others thought it should be left to the individual slave to decide whether s/he wanted to work for the whites or not, as some slaves claimed to have loved toiling for their masters. Regardless of which of these camps they were in, numerous white people did not take political action against the white male constructed institution of slavery . They “stood by”.

            Contemporary Western society is built on white male social and political structures too. This is still institutional sexism and racism, despite how well or unwell women are treated by individual men and how much consent women display in prostitution. If men are not actively working against male structural injustice towards women then they are as sexist and racist as the non-slave owning white men of the black slavery, pre-civil war period. You’re “standing buy” and using fictional pro-choice ideology as a cover, your intentions notwithstanding.

          • stephen m

            @Richard: If you are truly not a john or troll and you are really seeking answers you must do some reading on your own before you ask your questions that are so typical of johns and trolls. I for one still have serious doubts about your motives so here is how you can show all of us your real self.

            Start by reading all the blog entries on Meghan’s blog that are Topic: Prostitution, Male privilege, Pornography, Sexualization etc. and Tagged: Prostitution. This includes replies and links, where they lead including the the blogs of people who post here like Rebecca Mott http://rmott62.wordpress.com/ Extra points for reading some peer reviewed articles from first tier academic journals.

            Then return in a few months, not before, to tell us what you have discovered.

          • lizor

            First of all Richard, it IS legal here. Do you care about the harm done with this law?

            Second, do you imagine yourself somehow nobel for speaking out on behalf of a woman’s right to sell you a blow job? It’s interesting that you include the caveat “Ensure that she can do it in a safe manner and not spread diseases” which echoes the bigoted imaginary that STDs locate in prostitutes and not their clients.

            Are you as deeply committed to women’s choice to not be sold before reaching the age of maturity? A woman’s choice not to be raped in her lifetime? These comprise a social lottery, not “choice”. What do you make of that? Do you care? If you do, then what do you do to change it?

            “the nice thing about legal outlets is that they tend to dry up the revenue going to the illegal ones.” No they don’t. Look at Germany, Nevada, new Zealand, Holland. The opposite has taken place. You say you give a shit but obviously not enough to even read other relevant blog posts on this very blog. And, no, I won’t provide the links for you. You care enough to find them yourself, I am sure.

            Surely you can wrap your head around the fact that every choice we make affects the world – it makes the world for better or for worse. The holy church of “choice” is neoliberal, neonarcissist, consumerist fantasy that allows you to believe that what you do has no impact on anyone or anything else. It’s a perversion of the idea of liberty, which operationally must include consideration of other beings with whom we share this planet.

            What is more important to you? A handful of extremely privileged women’s choice to commodify themselves or the safety and freedom of movement of the majority? Your posts indicate that it’s surely the former.

            It’s entirely likely that you believe your own bullshit, but that does not reduce the fact of its self-serving dishonesty.

      • “I would think that a group of women could create a house (sans madam) where they have security hired for the purpose of preventing them being beaten or the like.”

        This speaks for itself, this kind of protection are needed to make sure the women in prostitution are safe (and it might not even be enough sometimes). Who would, from the bottom of their heart, ever want to support these kind of men to have legal rights to have access to female bodies 24/7 when this kind of precautions are needed to at least have some saftey for women in prostitution. Doesn’t it just say that many of the johns who buy sex are scary, evil men who should not be encouraged at all.

        • Richard

          Have you ever gone to a club and seen the armed guards? Same concept. You have security to discourage evil people and to act when they still do bad things.

          The idea is put more of the situation under the control of the women who choose to do this as a way of making money. As the owner of her body as well as the employer of the security she maintains a higher degree of control over the situation and has an easier time rejecting potential customers for whatever her reasons.

          This is not about men having “access” its about women being able to engage in an activity they choose to do so in order to make money. I find it extremely odd that the same women who believe a woman should be able to dress, drink, and have sex with whatever consenting adult they wish to have a problem if she happens to accept money.

          • Leo

            Oh, FFS. You cannot commodify sex. If she is accepting money, it has nothing to do with her own sexuality.

            And I’m also pro-prohibition, if it could be made to work, and certainly don’t think PIV centricity is beyond examination. It’s not about choosey choice Liberal Feminism (as though this ‘choice’ somehow existed outside patriarchal society), this is about not wanting women -all women- to be harmed.

            I don’t think it’s the same concept as a club with bouncers at all, it’s obvious the women would be far more vulnerable. Vulnerability -to women specifically- is intrinsic to the act of intercourse itself. And what about other women in the area? I said below how I was often harassed when living in an area near where prostituted women were. I certainly am not willing to accept additional risk to myself because some woman supposedly decides prostitution is the ideal career choice (yeah right), why should I?

            You are treating the existence of these ‘evil people’ as part of society as inevitable. I do not. Put up and shut up ladies, violent rapists are just something to work around! No.

  • Leo

    I’m just stunned and angered by the attempts at justification, honestly. How DARE anyone try to use disability as an excuse. I can sympathise with internalised ableism, because I know what that’s like, but not this. It’s one thing for me to sometimes feel useless and ugly, which is me responding to societal attitudes towards disability in a way that hurts MYSELF (it’s something I’m working on and which is improving a lot), and a totally different one for someone to claim societal attitudes to disability justifies them going out and harming someone else. Which is what they’re doing, them thinking anything else is just deluding themselves. It’s male entitlement, absolutely, some of these men apparently can’t even have any issues without making it someone else’s problem, to fix for them, regardless of how it affects the other person – but they didn’t see them as a person, it’s all about themselves and their problems, poor poor them. Because actually, they don’t have REAL self esteem issues, they have an over-inflated sense of entitlement. Take some damn responsibility.

    I’ll also add that I’ve never been harassed by men as often as when I lived close to an area where sex workers were working, near my University (surprised me that it’d be near there, I found out only after happening to meet one young woman). One of them initially acted like he was trying to be helpful, asking if I’d run away from home -as I look extremely young for my age and am usually mistaken for being 16-18 even now, I believe he may have thought me underage- but as he refused to believe I was a student and persisted even when I offered proof, it quickly dawned on me that his intentions were not good. They made it impossible for me to feel like I could safely use the University’s 24 hour library, in fact several times I ended up staying there till 8:00am, rather than risk returning to my flat at night (even at that, looking back I now feel I was extremely naive and should have been more careful). These men weren’t just likely to abuse sex workers, but ANY woman, because they saw that as being what women are for, as sex objects, to serve them. Any concept that sex work fulfils men’s ‘needs’, makes women safer (What about the sex workers? Doesn’t their safety matter?), is total BS. The risks are inherently high, for women in particular, and, in our current society, it will always attract very dangerous men.

    The young woman I spoke with, I just happened to run into in my first week at Uni – she asked me ‘are you working?’ (I was out a bit late I suppose, having been to the library. I did say I was naive). Neither of us were dressed revealingly, which is the stereotype I guess, but were instead both wearing jeans, and coats. She was no older than me, I don’t think, about 20. It took me a while to realise what she meant. No she was not happy in her job. I’ll never forget her. I wish I’d known how to help her. These sex positive ‘feminists’ talking about choice, bewilder and infuriate me, when I can just remember that young woman’s face, her tired, sad, look. She did not choose. Choice in these circumstances is not a meaningful concept.

    The whole way our society often frames sex just seems…wrong. I thought it was something people did TOGETHER, because they found each other attractive (sexually and/or romantically) and both wanted to, not something someone does TO someone, whether it’s paid for or not. Making this a discussion about sex just feels misleading. I don’t see how those two scenarios can really be the same, even if the act might superficially appear so on the surface.

    • sporenda

      Richard: “Ensure that she can do it in a safe manner and not spread diseases”

      This can’t be done, and this is your ” I am pro-choice on the condition that prostitutes are safe” is pure BS:
      prostitution and brothels have been around forever, anybody who has studied the history of prostitution knows that no system has ever been able to ensure the safety of prostitutes.
      Because it’s the johns themselves who put them at risk.

      “And the nice thing about legal outlets is that they tend to dry up the revenue going to the illegal ones. So the pimps get less money and they have less resources to get good lawyers to keep out of jail.”

      You should inquire about what’s happening in the various countries that have legalized prostitution recently: far from drying up illegal prostitution, the legalization boosts all forms of prostitution, the illegal more than the legal.

      The reason is simple: legal prostitution means expansive licences to buy, taxes to pay, controls and regulations to submit to.
      Do you really think most pimps want to pay taxes and costly licenses,want to have the states meddling in their business, are willing to respect rules and regulations, and generally behave like law abiding citizens?

      Your views on prostitution are naive and uninformed; do your homework and get some info about the consequences of legalization instead of proposing simplistic solutions that have failed xxx times before.

  • stephen m

    @Kahikilani Keaka: From New Zealand, the darling of the decriminalization supporters:

    Ministry of Justice
    The Nature and Extent of the Sex Industry in New Zealand: An Estimation

    “It was suggested that male workers account for 1%–2% of all sex workers, the majority of whom are working privately. There were considered to be few male workers on the street in Wellington but the situation was different in Auckland where there were comparatively more male street workers. Massage parlours were primarily all female with occasional exceptions.”

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  • David Eckhart

    It is biologically mandatory that men have orgasms to reproduce, but not women. Therefore, one can logically conclude that man’s pleasure is more important, biologically speaking. This is a scientific fact and can not be debated. Case closed.

    • Was the use of “logically” meant to be sarcastic? Because there is nothing “logical” in what you just said. Your premise is correct but your deductions are nonsensical.

    • marv

      I see you are a biology fundamentalist – male supremacy flows out of men’s orgasms. Buffoonery science at its best.

    • But the problem is that it is not… It’s absolutely possible to have an orgasm without the ejaculation and vice versa. Might I had that a man arguing the fact that his pleasure is more important (and should not be restricted…?) is just laughable. Oh yes of course, nature, science, case closed, blablabla, yet nope, you still can’t justify women systemic oppression !

    • Cale

      Since women biologically possess the only human organ whose sole purpose is sexual pleasure and nothing else, i.e. the clitoris, one could argue it is women’s pleasure that is more important.

      • Richard

        Certainly one would expect a woman to champion that view. 🙂
        In reality, there are lots of societies where, pleasurable for them or not, women
        are used to produce children by their men. Some are even so sick as to remove
        the clitoris to reduce the odds of infidelity.

        Biologically, males are driven to spend their seed. It’s cheap to replace.
        Females, given the physical commitment of pregnancy, have a need to be far
        more picky. During the later parts of pregnancy they are more vulnerable
        to predators, etc. So having a “mate” that will be a good provider/protector
        is an important factor.

        Pleasure centers are how biology drives people to act. Sometimes this gets messed
        up, we eat too much, use drugs that harm us, etc. For pro-athletes, its having
        unprotected sex resulting in baby-mammas.

        • Sally Hansen

          Firstly, evolutionary psychology is a load of crock. Secondly, even if it weren’t, you’re using the natural fallacy. Just because it’s supposedly “natural” (you’ve failed to convince me,especially since I actually have a BA in anthropology) does not automatically justify it. Please take a basic philosophy course. Thanks.

  • Sara M.

    I understand the argument about economic coercion – that women shouldn’t be prostitutes if being forced to be a prostitute is all they feel they can do. But by that same argument, people shouldn’t be allowed to work at McDonalds, if they feel like that’s the only job they can do.

    In fact, using the logic in this article, all sorts of labor-for-pay should be outlawed. If you sell your time to an employer, you are giving him power over you. That shouldn’t be allowed. The only difference between an employer-employee relationship and a John visiting a prostitute is the employer isn’t literally fucking the employee. He still has “power” over the employee. (The employee does however have certain rights that a prostitute doesn’t enjoy in a society when prostitution is illegal.) All sorts of people have power over other people. Parents have power over children. Employers have power over employees. Police have power over citizens. Military officers have power over their subordinates. I’m not saying that men having power over women who are prostitutes is a good thing, but just that the concept of “power itself being a evil” is flawed. Power, like anything else, can be good or bad.

    Also I disagree with the “lonely men who are so severely fucked up that all women must be so repulsed by them that they have to pay to have someone touch them” narrative. Sometimes rather normal men just want to have sex without the strings attached of a relationship or going through all the machinations and hassle of meeting and bedding a woman who may want more commitment or at the best be disappointed when he leaves in the morning after a one night stand.

    It’s easier for both parties for a man who merely wants to get laid but isn’t necessarily in the market for a relationship to just go have a transaction with a professional rather than have him sweet-talk his way into my pants just so he can disappear the next morning and I never see him again. It might cost him $100 more, but if it saves another innocent woman a broken heart, it’s worth it.

    I always thought I was a feminist, but reading the past year’s worth of comments, I guess the definition of feminist has changed. I thought it used to mean being “pro women’s rights” but nowadays it apparently means “opposed to capitalism and all other evils in the world under the guise of women’s rights”

    Or am I confusing “Feminism” with “Radical Feminism”? I guess I am a “Realist Feminist” or a “Moderate Feminist” or a “Normal Person”.

    • It is “normal” to support the power elite and hate women, insofar as it is the norm, so I guess you can call yourself normal. 🙂

    • huha

      You sound like a “misogynist feminist”, which means not feminist at all, but against women’s rights. You saying that a woman should be violated and trafficked so that another woman wouldn’t get “a broken heart.” Please. your misogyny is too much.

      • huha

        And I fucking hate the McDonalds analogy. Somebody telling you to make a cup of coffee is not the same as somebody violating your whole body.

    • C.K. Egbert

      The argument is that (a) sex is fundamentally different from other types of labor, and (b) any type of coercion means that it is not a freely chosen activity, and therefore coerced sex. People do not get PTSD from being coerced into cleaning a toilet as a matter of their job, nor do they experience the sort of disassociation that is characteristic of ritual torture victims (as prostitutes and women in pornography often do).

      If you think it acceptable to make sex a “part of one’s job,” then sexual harassment is perfectly acceptable since women’s bodies and sexual services should be made available to men as a commodity for exchange. Bosses should be able to demand sexual favors of their employees in order to maintain their jobs. I wouldn’t consider that “pro women’s rights” (you’d have to throw out prohibitions on marital rape as well, where the rape occurs by virtue of the man demanding sex in exchange for providing the woman with food and shelter).

      As for power being good or bad, there’s a difference between power and subordination. Parents may have certain degrees of power over their children, but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable for parents to abuse them in any way. In other words, that “power” is permissible only to the extent that you are using that power for the benefit of the person over whom you have power (same for teachers, police, etc…). Men’s power over women is illegitimate, and it constitutes subordination.

      Also, if men want to have sex without the “strings attached,” they should either find someone who has the same idea or else not have sex. Just because men want to have a certain type of sex does not mean that women MUST be available to fulfill that want, regardless of their desire. Really, I think it’s pretty basic human rights that someone should not be having sex unless they want to, and if men can’t find a woman who wants to do what the man wants…tough. Women are not mere objects to be used, manipulated, and coerced to serving men’s sexual desires.

  • calabasa

    Ha! Ha! Ha! What an idiot.

  • calabasa

    I don’t know if they ever translated “The Demons of Eden” (Los Demonios del Eden), about busting the child sex-trafficking ring in Cancun, I read it in Spanish, but did you read “Slavery Inc,” her latest book written in English? It’s a breathtaking work, she went all over the world and infiltrated organized crime networks and law enforcement alike to get interviewers with traffickers, cops, and most importantly survivors…she had to dress as a nun in one notorious neighborhood in Mexico City, a place where every woman was either a nun or a prostitute, dance in a bar in Cancun just to talk to a trafficked dancer there, she went to Turkey, Japan, Thailand, spoke with victims of the Yakuza and the Triads…it’s got to be one of the most comprehensive fieldwork investigations of sex trafficking ever done by one person, and at the end she comes to the humble conclusion that prostitution is inextricable from trafficking, is part and parcel of the same thing, idea, industry, and does more harm than it ever will good to all women…a seemingly humble conclusion but it wasn’t the premise (which was simply an objective look at sex trafficking and organized crime) and I think she laid out the groundwork for such a conclusion (including exploring the rampant and inevitable, invariable corruption of law enforcement) remarkably well. An absolute must-read…Lydia Cacho is a true heroine who never gave up, not even after she was beaten and raped and her arm broken during her investigation in Cancun and later she was kidnapped and held hostage; it was after that she decided to travel the world for her story in “Slavery Inc.” She reminds me in a way of the female Mexican politician who refused to give in to the cartels in her small town though they abducted her and shot her eight times, which she survived (sadly they later killed her, but she never gave up, not until the end…) What strong, brave women. I love Lydia Cacho (I think she won a Pulitzer for “Demons of Eden,” didn’t she?).

  • calabasa

    It seems to me that what sex is to men is what love is (or at least, something genuine is) to women.

    Let me give you an example. I have to actively avoid men (I mean that; if I drink too much around them they will immediately swoop in to try and have sex with me. I never go out anymore for this reason where I am now and in future when I do–including this weekend–I will have to remember that sex is a distinct possibility and not drink too much BEFORE I’ve chosen who I want to have sex with, or just not drink too much at all/tell a friend to keep an eye on me and not let me go anywhere with anyone if I choose to have more than a few…I don’t say this because I can’t control myself, but because after more than a few drinks my judgment is shot, and men WILL try every which way and every sort of psychological persuasion in the book to which I am more susceptible after a few drinks, which again is why it’s best to pick beforehand or be extremely damn determined I won’t at all and tell a friend to keep an eye on me, not least because rape is also a threat; and of course I *want* sex and have now gone without it for several months and have gone without it before for 2 years once, post-virginity, which makes self-control, especially after a few drinks, *that* much harder, even if it inevitably sucks and then I’m just upset I’ve been used by some idiot as a cum rag after; another good reason to be the one to make the choice of partner before, I stand a better chance of a good experience that way and who knows, maybe I’ll try it out this weekend).

    Now, I can imagine this is baffling to you. Why would a woman who can sleep with almost any man she wants go for months, much less years, without sex? (Most women could pull most men, FYI, at least for one-offs).

    Well, casual sex tends to suck for us (unless, as is the case with some people, we have FWB relationships with actual friends, but that’s never worked for me either…I can’t separate long-term fucking from feelings and don’t want to ruin friendships, so I tend to pick guys I dislike for FWB, which not only is using them/being used by them but becomes downright weird when the feelings kick in). But casual sex with strangers tends to suck for us. Awkward, little chance of of orgasm, risks of pregnancy and STD, guy is usually a shit lover who is done in on average 2 seconds with little to no understanding of or desire to engage in foreplay, etc. (I think a lot of guys see one-night stands as basically being like sex with prostitutes: all about them and their dicks).

    Furthermore, personally I’ve decided I want to value the bonding experience of sex and save it for someone I’m really compatible with next time, because even worse than bad sex is good sex with a partner you have nothing in common with and fall for solely due to a strong sexual bond.

    Unfortunately, this means I will likely be waiting a while (years, perhaps), and will have to fend off dudes in the meanwhile, while trying to have fun and live my life and try dating and friendship (without sex), all the while looking past more aggressive types to find someone I really like and probably think I don’t deserve (i.e., be a bit more aggressive myself, a frightening prospect).

    I kind of feel like a thirsty person adrift without fresh water in the ocean. Men, men, everywhere, and not a man to date (not long-term, anyway, not immediately, not if I have any criteria).

    I imagine *a lot* of women feel like me. It is not because we don’t like sex that we go without it though we could be having it. In a fulfilling relationship, women like me will likely want sex as much (sometimes less, sometimes more) than our partners.

    Is there a prostitute who exists for a person like me? (I think this is why the “host bars” are so popular in Japan, although I could never suspend my disbelief long enough, plus their hairstyles are ridiculous, they look like walking eighties hair bands).

    I guess you think women have it easy, as long as they are relatively young and relatively attractive…well sure. If all we wanted was boring, one-sided, unfulfilling empty sex (and even *good* sex with an otherwise incompatible person is bad for someone like me, as it ends up painful and confusing, in the end; I just can’t separate my feelings from such ongoing intimacy, and maybe there’s a reason for that. Plus I don’t want to use or be used, hurt or be hurt by anyone, not on purpose anyway).

    So, I’m effectively in the same boat as you, but there is no boyfriend experience, emotionally, not really, not without meeting someone I truly would want to date (the “girlfriend experience” of prostitution is a woman pretending to be what you want). There is no love substitute, so there is no one I can exploit. I don’t even have your option. But if I did, I wouldn’t take it. Because again, as I said: I neither want to use, nor be used; I neither want to hurt, nor be hurt. Not on purpose anyway. There’s enough of that going around by accident.

  • calabasa

    As Meghan points out, most “sex workers” aren’t even registered (I think the figure now is under 50 in all of Germany); furthermore, brothels have quite explicit unwritten rules about not turning down customers, and desperate “sex workers,” some of whom are held in debt bondage by these very same brothels, could be out of work for refusals of customers or even the most extreme acts (a woman held in debt bondage might simply be *forced* to do things against her will; this is trafficking, and goes on all the time in the “McBrothels” of Germany, but is extremely hard to distinguish from “free” prostitution; women’s papers are often confiscated, which means they will be broke and alone and undocumented if they try to escape, and often they are escorted everywhere by armed guards!–Yet if they *aren’t* in debt bondage and merely desperately need the money they will likely be kicked out for refusing a client–in the words of many exited women–even if, were they to try to leave of their own accord, they might be hunted down by heavies from this very same brothel to threaten them into returning–again an account of an exited woman…this ability to turn down clients or otherwise control working conditions only goes for the most privileged of “sex workers,” which doesn’t include the drug-addicted, the less-attractive, or those starting from conditions of poverty, including foreign workers, many of whom are trafficked or temporarily “owned” through debt bondage). Do some research about the actual conditions of women under legalization (half of those examples I gave came from women in New Zealand…)

  • calabasa

    We haven’t even come close to eliminating human trafficking, diseases and violence out of prostitution. So how are we going to do that again?

  • calabasa

    Actually it is they who are black and white in their thinking…all extremism negates itself, the middle way is the true path. In liberal think, conservative=sex-phobic=all sex is bad and dirty and we must control its circumstances, so by their simplistic dichotomous logic liberal=sex-positive=all sex is good and wonderful and we must never seek to control its circumstances (to have any rules or moral judgments surrounding what “consenting” adults do)…there’s no gray areas (or indeed gray matter) involved.

  • Chris Mukkuli

    Men buy sex to avoid getting into a relationship.

    • Meghan Murphy

      If that’s the case, why do so many men with wives and girlfriends buy sex?

    • k.f. morton

      I think men buy sex to avoid having to care about someone else’s pleasure, comfort, and humanity, as they would have to in a truly mutual sexual encounter. I think men buy sex because their money then becomes a substitute for being considerate/giving pleasure to/treating with respect, the woman whose body they have deemed a purchaseable commodity. I think men buy sex because they want it to be all about them.

  • chloe

    Probably to dodge the rape charges

  • Meghan Murphy

    The reason we use the term ‘prostitution’ is to highlight that long history of exploitation, rather than to hide or erase it. Prostitution IS degrading — we do not wish to pretend that reality away by using a deceptive and politically manipulative term like ‘sex work’.

  • Kellyann Conway

    Pimps and johns are parasites.