It’s time to talk about the johns

The lengths to which sex industry apologists will go to in order to push the idea that buying sex is synonymous with sexual liberation and empowerment never ceases to amaze me. While “progressives” fixate on subversion and deem all “consensual” sex acceptable and even potentially empowering, the underlying systems that maintain sex class dynamics are dismissed as anecdotal.

The fear of being called “anti-sex” seems to outweigh efforts to address those the sex industry is actually catering to and the misogyny, racism, and selfishness of men who benefit from its existence.

But not all johns are like this, they say. Some are just nice, lonely guys who need affection, right? Narratives that pity socially-awkward, disabled, or traditionally unattractive men (who, we’re to believe, need to pay for sex lest they go without human contact for life) push the idea that prostitution is merely providing a neutral but necessary service and satisfying a human need.

But despite claims, this narrative is not just about “sex” — it’s about essentializing sexuality and male entitlement. “Destigmatizing” the purchase of sex won’t erase the truth about johns’ motivations and worldview. This is why, in addition to understanding the material conditions that drive women into prostitution and porn, exploring john culture is imperative if we seek to dismantle the normalization of male entitlement that keeps the sex industry going.

A Vice Canada video report called, “The New Era of Canadian Sex Work,” spoke with a number of women working in a Nevada brothel called Sheri’s Ranch in order to push the “poor, nice john” narrative.

An image from the Vice documentary, “The New Era of Canadian Sex Work.”

One self-proclaimed “working girl” shared some of her client’s motives, pointing to the loneliness of single fellas and the dissatisfaction of married men:

Single guys, maybe they travel for work a lot and they don’t have time to meet girls and take them out on dates and they don’t want the complications of a relationship… So they can come here and get the service that they want and then leave… I’ve gotten notes from wives saying “please help my husband be able to have this service so that he can feel comfortable because I can’t provide it myself.”

According to this Nevada brothel’s website, johns can request “a live lineup of all available brothel girls…” The johns can relax in the parlour while a “bevy of bewitching babes parade before [them].”

Another woman explained that some clients are disabled and said that providing them with sexual services equates to “helping them still have… normalcy in life”.

But whether or not a man is disabled, buying sex still positions women as nurturing holes that exist for male pleasure.

We are told a similar story in a 2013 documentary American Courtesans. One john says he “started courtesansseeing escorts because he was unhappy in [his] marriage” and because his “wife was not doing what [he] wanted to be done that an escort would do.” An escort goes on to explain that the married men she sees have wives but that they either “use sex as a tool” or their “libidos are gone.” One john plays the single-man-too-busy-to-meet-women card, claiming that since he doesn’t have any free time for dating or meeting single women, “the industry of providers” (i.e. the sex industry) helps him “meet” (i.e. have sex with) women “on a temporary basis”. (We are to believe, here, that “meeting women” is solely about about one-time, one-way sexual encounters…)

In a recent article, Conner Habib claims that “anti-sex” activists (i.e. feminists who oppose sexual exploitation industries) are oppressive and that “the ‘damaged pussy’ argument is eugenics for anti-sex bigots,” painting the opposition of porn and prostitution on account of the physical harm it causes equates to a “moral crusade” to promote normative sexuality. Wild inacuracies and willful misrepresentations aside, Habib promotes the same narrative many other pro-prostitution advocates do, framing “sex-work” as an altruistic way to address men’s suffering (i.e. not getting “enough” sex). In addition to claiming that people who are critical of prostitution operate on hate and that money can “symbolize and clarify” consent, Habib writes:

Sex workers often see the great pain the distortion of sex has caused so many people in our culture. We work to transmute that pain others feel into pleasure. Sometimes the pain is slight and everyday; it’s merely a longing a john feels or a pang of desire before a porn viewer discharges it. Other times it’s a client locked into a restrictive relationship, or someone who doesn’t know how to ask for sex without the framework of a paid environment, or a person with disabilities in constant care with little access to sex without the assistance of a sex worker.

No stranger to the sex industry’s name-calling, Andrea Dworkin addressed this rhetorical manipulation of language and erroneous framing of sexuality in her book, Intercourse:

“Sex-negative” is the current secular reductio ad absurdum used to dismiss or discredit ideas, particularly political critiques, that might lead to detumescence. Critiques of rape, pornography, and prostitution are ‘sex-negative’ without qualification or examination, perhaps because so many men use these ignoble routes of access and domination to get laid, and without them the number of fucks would so significantly decrease that men might nearly be chaste.

But prostitution is not about altruism or making sure that men orgasm daily; and claiming that empowerment can coexist with staggering sex class discrepancies wherein women are overwhelmingly the objectified and sold while men are the ones doing the objectifying and buying posits that women’s choices are made in a vacuum and that patriarchy can be beneficial for everyone. What the altruism/empowerment narrative does is to render invisible the men who enjoy degrading women and who benefit from a system that ensures women remain marginalized.

There are over 285,000 members on web forums like MERB/TERB/PERB (city-specific “Escort Review Boards”), that serve as a platform to promote services and share men’s experiences with prostitutes. While the discussions that take place on these boards are all inarguably misogynistic, notable examples include the following [trigger warning for graphic misogyny, violence, and racism]:

And I cum a big load in her mouth and the session lasted 15 mins. She told me not to cum in her mouth though, but as I paid for half an hour, I didn’t care. I knew what she was doing, she is a bitch anyway.

Lot of fake moaning and noises which was a major turn off. Overall the whole session felt awkward almost not knowing if she was being held there against her will.

I then grab her hair and start forcing her head into me, she starts gagging and choking. This is a huge turn on for me and I start fucking her mouth intensely. I then start slapping her face as she is gagging, she tried to pull her head away for my manhood but I force her down on it again.

I asked her not to start contractions while I was there. I was thinking, “Am I doing this? Am I really banging a pregnant girl? Answer: why not?”

Turned out to be an underage Native girl. She said she just turned 18… then told me she was 13.

I bent her over for some doggie (damn black bitches can shake that ass). I would pound her again, but she’s a fuck pig. You know, really nasty fuck.

I was pissed, so I took my dick and shoved it into her mouth until she gagged.

We know that the sex industry harms women and pressures and coerces girls into reenacting what is presented to them in porn (often causing sex-related injuries), but the men who are the origin of the harm have stayed out of the limelight because porn and prostitution advocates focus so strongly on choice! and on trying to silence feminists. Likening the demand for prostitution to a sexual right only serves to support spoiled, abusive, and egotistical men. Their strenuous pro-sex industry rhetoric and name-calling (“anti-sex,” “bigot,” etc.) underscores a neoliberal vision of sexuality, rooted in capital and extreme individualism that ignores women’s humanity.

Alexandra Pelletier is completing her MSc in Communication and politics, studying media discourse around Bill C-36. She lives in Québec.

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  • “…his “wife was not doing what [he] wanted to be done that an escort would do.” ”

    Prostitution users who make these statements should be required to describe what they “wanted to be done”. Odds are it resembled the quotes from the “Escort Review Sites”. All these men need to do is recognise the value of non-violence, non-degrading sex and their wives’ “labido” problems will be solved. If that fails they can always *gasp* ask their wives why they are not interested in having sex and what they would like to do to express their love instead. I know crazy, right? How dare I imply that there are ways of expressing love other than sex. How dare I even imply that genuine love is distinct from sex and that it is worth anything. I must be asking for trouble 🙂

    “Single guys, maybe they travel for work a lot and they don’t have time to meet girls and take them out on dates…”

    Or maybe they think listening to women talk about anything other than how sexy they are and how much they wish to please them is a waste of time. If they think using prostituted women is a substitute for having a girlfriend then I think it is reasonable to assume that it is the latter. Nobody who thinks that loving, egalitarian relationships can be replaced by jamming one’s genitals into the orifices of a person you know nothing about (except for the size of their breasts and butt) deserves to be in a relationship or even participate in a sexual act. You want sex? Earn it, not by throwing money at whoever has the biggest boobs and the tightest ass, but by being a decent human being, the kind that does not care about such things.

    Prostitution and love are total opposites. The only thing they have in common is sex. I am sick of hearing people try to link them together or represent prostitution as a reasonable alternative to real love.

    Another thing I sick of is “empowered sex workers” switching their narratives. They switch between arguing that there are super altruistic and arguing that they are selfishly “empowering” themselves by using their sexiness to manipulate “helpless” sex-crazed men into giving them all their money. Pick one idiotic, misogynistic narrative and stick with it. I guess the more PR conscious sex-positives prefer the former narrative. It is the one they usually chose to use in “documentaries”, but I have heard the other narrative promoted many times by “sex workers” on the internet.

    In both cases these narratives are treated as respresentative of prostituted women as a whole. I don’t either of them really are, though if I had to pick which one was the most accurate, I would go with the altruism narrative. Prostituted women do indeed make sacrifices for the sake of making others happy. The problem is that what they sacrifice (their mental and physical health, their dignity and the rights of women more generally) is worth more than what is acheived (a brief burst of sexual pleasure for the user, which is over very quickly.) Of course I am thinking of relatively advantaged women who enter into prostitution willingly. The narratives do not work at all for those forced into prostitution.

    • L

      “All these men need to do is recognise the value of non-violence, non-degrading sex and their wives’ “labido” problems will be solved.”
      Yep, women who don’t want to have violent, degrading sex are painted as women who hate sex. No, what we hate is the kind of sex where our desires, wants, and limits are not respected…where we are not labeled bitches, prudes, or threatened for not wanting to be treated like blowup dolls. Sexual intimacy is supposed to be a mutually enjoyable experience.

      “Nobody who thinks that loving, egalitarian relationships can be replaced by jamming one’s genitals into the orifices of a person you know nothing about (except for the size of their breasts and butt) deserves to be in a relationship or even participate in a sexual act.”
      On a Nevada brothel blog, I read about the girlfriend experience. The language is all about emotional intimacy, real chemistry, making love and getting to know each other. It blew my mind to hear the guys talk about how they made real connections with the gfe women and how these women are nicer to them than any of their past girlfriends.

      • ptittle

        It really boggles the mind why men and women get married. To each other.

    • Empirical Thinker

      “Prostitution and love are total opposites. The only thing they have in common is sex. I am sick of hearing people try to link them together or represent prostitution as a reasonable alternative to real love.”

      But you don’t need to have sex with someone in order to love them. If you have to have sex to be in a relationship, that’s basically prostitution without the money. It means you just have to give up your rights to your body to gain a modicum of affection.

      • “But you don’t need to have sex with someone in order to love them.”

        I didn’t mean to imply that you did. When I said that the only thing prostitution and love have in common is sex what I meant was that romantic love is often expressed through sex and that sex is the only thing that is frequently present in romantic love that is also present in prostitution. Otherwise romantic love and prostitution have nothing in common and people need to stop saying that prostitution can replace romantic love in some way.

        “If you have to have sex to be in a relationship, that’s basically prostitution without the money. It means you just have to give up your rights to your body to gain a modicum of affection.”

        That is very true. Relationships are not primary about sex. Apologies if what I said implied otherwise. Sex is (or rather can be) an expression of love, not its source. It is like flowers and candy, getting them from your partner is nice, but they are not the purpose of a relationship.

  • nightcap

    Yes, we absolutely need to reframe these narratives and expose how they reinforce the hegemonic discourses on prostitution, sex and gender. Who cares if men are lonely? Are women any less lonely? Do women not like intimacy and touch and closeness as much as men? Of course they do, and yet the sex industry provides a totally different solution for women (Sex toys! Kinks! Because if you’re not a satisfied sexbot, it’s obviously because you’re repressed!).

    Here’s my john story. It’s about a guy who uses the “My wife doesn’t want sex” excuse. Since I happen to know his wife well, I know what he isn’t telling. This guy is a typical liberal dude, proudly declaring his support for women’s rights. He had a well-paid consulting job that required him to take several trips a year, each usually lasting about a week. Part of his preparation for each trip was to set up ads on both local dating and local prostitution sites, you know, because there’s no difference between meeting a woman who thinks she might be attracted to you and paying women to pretend to want to have sex with you. When he retired, he started using prostitutes locally. A few years later, his wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After a long and painful treatment, she decided that she did not want to have sex anymore. This man, now in his 70s, continues to frequent prostitutes in their early 20s, under the guise of getting “massages” for his medical problems despite the fact that he knows cervical cancer is caused by HPV and he is undoubtedly infected and exposing all of these women without their knowledge. But…his wife won’t have sex with him, so we should all feel sorry for this poor, poor john and his lonely, lonely penis, right? Yeah, fuck that.

    • Rachel

      Oh wow that poor woman. What a disgusting excuse for a human being her husband is.

    • lib

      Divorce! What a bastard, she ought take half his money and enjoy the rest of her life without his abuse.

  • L

    This was an interesting read…The more I read about prostitution, the less convinced I am that it is just another job.

    Awhile back I read an article about how prostitutes in Nevada were using social media (twitter, brothel website) to advertise and to interact with potential and past clients. My curiosity got the best of me and I spent some time browsing the discussion thread on the brothel’s website. There was none of the explicit racism and misogyny as in the examples you posted, but my guess is that the discussion board is monitored.

    The section that really piqued my interest was the guys who had gone to the brothel to lose their virginity. The reviews were all about how great an experience it was, how special and intimate it was. What’s special or intimate about penetrating a woman who doesn’t know you or care about you? With a woman you can’t kiss, talk to on the phone, share meals with, with a woman who is there to earn a paycheck and is pretending to like you?

    As for Habib, there are other solutions than prostitutes to the examples she listed:
    “Other times it’s a client locked into a restrictive relationship:-He could get into another relationship or work in this relationship. Not sure how sex with prostitutes can strengthen your current relationship.

    “someone who doesn’t know how to ask for sex without the framework of a paid environment”-He could learn how to develop sexual relationships outside of prostitution.

    a person with disabilities in constant care with little access to sex-He could enter into a sexual relationship with someone who is disabled, or someone who is abled and willing to learn explore sexuality with him.or simply not have sex.

    I also read an article about prostitutes in Australia.. One of the women interviewed talked about a john who was extremely rough with her. She said something to him along the lines of “I’m a person and you can’t treat me like this.” His response: If you wanted to be treated like a person, then you wouldn’t be doing this. That response has stuck with me for a long time…

  • RadForward

    The sex industry is just about generating money, regardless of the victims it makes. It is not about needs. It has created an artificial “need” of people to “need sex”. And tragically, women have been sold and bought this lie. The wife is brainwashed that somehow her husband should be able to cheat on her with a prostitute because they are unable to have sex that is at a standard he is satisfied with.

    And the men that think they can cheat because their wife won’t do what they demand? That is the ultimate reach and destruction pornography is causing in society. This notion women are just objects there to serve a male need which is projected continually through pornography.

    • L

      “The wife is brainwashed that somehow her husband should be able to cheat on her with a prostitute because they are unable to have sex that is at a standard he is satisfied with.”
      Women (and I think particularly wives), are expected to sacrifice everything to please our husbands and if we don’t please them, then we have failed as wives and as women. Your husband’s desire and wants trump your desires and wants.

      The kind of notes that the prostitutes talked about: “please help my husband be able to have this service so that he can feel comfortable because I can’t provide it myself.”
      What about the right of a wife to feel comfortable? And maybe the wife is more than able to perform certain sex acts, but she simply doesn’t want to.

      • ArgleBargle

        Doubtful that any wife wrote a note “Please …service..my husband”. It’s a good marketing story, that’s all “Look, even the wives are in favor of this!” Or else Johnny the male “client” wrote it himself – “please let Johnny have anal sex today cause the old ball and chain won’t do it for him”. Yeah, right.

  • sharon

    thank you for articulating what many womyn believe and have verbalised over the decades… i’m from the time ‘feminists’ called themselves womyn’s liberationists (the 60s and 70s) – nothing seems to have changed…

  • Hecuba

    I continue to wait in vain for news that men have spontaneously imploded due to lack of constant male sexual access to female bodies. All the incessant rhetoric is about men’s (pseudo) right of sexual access to female bodies and is it not strange that men in huge numbers aren’t becoming prostituted males given this is supposedly ‘just sex work’ and hence is paid labour!

    If men’s pimp industry was just ‘sex work’ then I guarantee men long ago would have forced women out of their industry and made it a male only one. But mens’ pimp industry is all about male sex right to sexually prey on women and girls with impunity.

    Humans only need food, water and shelter in order to stay alive – male sex right to female bodies is not essential for males to stay alive but men continue to proclaim they are the ones suffering in extremis because women continue to deny them sexual access to their bodies.

    ‘Sexual contact is not a human need’ it is male right of sexual access to female bodies which is supposedly ‘the human need!’ Men who continue to proclaim their male sex right to female bodies are stating they do not recognise women as human instead we are merely disposable; dehumanised female sexual service stations whose sole function is to give men their highly prized male orgasms and reinforce male sex right to degrade women with impunity because we women are not human. Only man (sic) is human.

    • corvid

      Indeed! Sex industry proponents appear to be saying that men have a necessarily sexually *parasitic* relationship to women. Their idea, not ours, so who are the “misandrists” really?

    • Rachel

      So true! And it may be so that it’s not difficult for men to ‘get’ sex (I always hear the argument that men want it more but are unable to get it as much as women can because women are less horny or something. Basically alluding to women having power regarding sex). But what they don’t seem to understand is that this whole view of ‘getting’ sex from women is exactly what creates this ‘issue’ for men finding it harder to find a woman willing to have sex. A woman’s sexuality is defined by men from the get go. It’s virtually impossible for women to have a healthy sexuality! A woman can have sex, but not too much sex, and not with Too many people, or with the wrong people, or if she looks or dresses or acts a certain way etc etc etc. if these blokes just got their heads out from their own butts, stopped feeling sorry for themselves and feeling so entitled, stopped objectifying women and sexualising anyone who has a vagina, and actually treated them like *shock! Horror!* a human being, then maybe they wouldn’t have this so called ‘need’ to buy sex or ‘get’ sex through manipulation or control. Wow. Imagine that.

      • EEU

        Very good point there, Rachel. I’m 21 years old and I haven’t had sex yet. You know why? Because I want to enjoy it. I want to be treated with respect in bed. Unfortunately, my male peers only know how to objectify and degrade.

        • Empirical Thinker

          I must say, I don’t recommend it at all. But good on you for waiting. I lost my virginity at 19 because I was so ashamed of being a virgin and wanted to be friends with guys. I still have nightmares about it. Don’t let that happen to you. Best wishes <3

        • pjwhite

          The best orgasms you’re ever going to have are with a vibrator. Sad, but true. If you’ve used a vibrator, you have had sex. But if you want to enjoy sex with a man, hold out for someone who makes you laugh, who treats you with kindness and respect, who makes you feel smart and valued, and who has earned your trust. As long as there are vibrators (which are banned in Texas, by the way) no woman should ever settle for crappy sex with a disrespectful man.

    • Empirical Thinker

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! So sick of people saying that sex is a “need.” What that means is, you are morally justified in taking sex from someone if it is never offered to you. I never did understand why sex is so necessary for a normal life. People can relieve themselves.

  • purple sage

    “For me, prostitution is the only sphere of life with which I am familiar where a person is routinely assumed to be without human feeling. In prostitution, you are treated like a blow-up doll come to life, with no purpose but to bend over and take it, literally. There are three general mindsets common to the men who use women in prostitution. The view of the prostituted as non-humans is the first of these and it is unnervingly common. It would be impossible to put an exact figure on these things, but I would guess it is an attitude present in at least thirty per cent of a prostitute’s clients. I say so because this is roughly the ratio of men who looked at me in stupefied astonishment when I objected to being roughly manhandled; their expressions communicating the slow-dawning realisation that this was in fact a human being they were mauling. The second scenario, where a man is conscious of your humanity but wilfully chooses to ignore it, is probably the most commonly held attitude to be found amongst the men who use prostitutes. I would say it accounts for around forty per cent. This has been my experience. For these men, their blinkered attitude is necessary. It allows them to do what they do. The final thirty or so per cent are those who reduce themselves spiritually by indulging their desire to reduce the humanity of women. They are the vilest of all prostitutes’ clients, and they make up a disturbingly sizeable minority. So violation happens here in one of three ways: when the violator is not conscious of the humanity of the person he intends to violate; when the violator consciously chooses to ignore the humanity of the person he intends to violate; or when he is fully engaged with the existence of that humanity and takes pleasure from reducing its relevence to nothing.” Rachel Moran, Paid For, p. 105–106

    • keith

      What about two friends who have sex, with one of them paying money? Should society demand to know the reason why there’s payment between those two friends, to decide if it’s abusive?

      What about two friends who have sex, with one of them buying all the dinners? Is that different if it’s the man or woman buying the meals? What if they’re gay?

      • Dana

        If you think of me as a sex vending machine where you pay money and sex pops out, you are not my friend. Period.

        If I’ve run up on hard times and you want to help, hire me to do something else, something not degrading where I let you into my body and risk STDs and pregnancy and God knows what else.

        And by the way, I like sex. A lot. What I don’t like is being treated like a blow-up doll because here’s a stupid idea, I’d like to be able to enjoy myself too. Men are not the only creatures with sex drives.

        The bit of people going out and one buying dinner, the problem there is that the person buying dinner–and it’s usually the man–thinks he’s owed sex as a reward or something. There are ways around that though. You could go dutch where both parties pay into the dinner tab. You could, shockingly, not have sex afterward, since chances are real good you don’t want kids right now and/or you don’t know the person very well anyway. If I had a nickel for every guy I’ve ever heard say that he wound up with a “psycho” because he jumped into bed too soon, I’d be a very wealthy woman. So stop doing that. Start thinking with your big head, not your little one.

        See? Simple.

        • L

          “If you think of me as a sex vending machine where you pay money and sex pops out, you are not my friend. Period.”
          Dana, I love this phrase so much. The next time I hear a guy say all women are prostitutes, I paid for dinner/bought you a drink/talked to you etc so you owe me sex..I’m just going to yell: Women are not sex vending machines, where you put money in and sex pops out!

          “The bit of people going out and one buying dinner, the problem there is that the person buying dinner–and it’s usually the man–thinks he’s owed sex as a reward or something.”
          Spending money on someone does not mean they owe you a damn thing and I wish people (mostly guys) could understand that. As a woman who has paid on dates before, I have NEVER thought that my date owes me anything because I paid for our meal. Not everything has to be a transaction.

      • Morag

        Lo, a man reads these words from a woman who survived the dehumanization of being prostituted …

        “So violation happens here in one of three ways: when the violator is not conscious of the humanity of the person he intends to violate; when the violator consciously chooses to ignore the humanity of the person he intends to violate; or when he is fully engaged with the existence of that humanity and takes pleasure from reducing its relevence to nothing.”

        … and these are his questions:

        “What about two friends who have sex, with one of them paying money? Should society demand to know the reason why there’s payment between those two friends, to decide if it’s abusive?”

        The humanity of women means that much to you, eh, Keith? I mean, never mind the harrowing narrative of a survivor of the sex trade, there’s just GOT to be a way to make this purchase of human beings a-okay! And so you come up with this imaginary scenario where the John and the exploited woman are just really good friends. How can that be abusive? What’s a little money between friends? One provides food, the other provides her body. Even-Steven. Where’s the abuse? They’re friends!

        Jesus. How desperate for a fix, how afraid of getting caught and shamed, do you have to be to come up with such a stupid and ridiculous pro-prostitution argument?

        • Priscila

          I KNOW, right. It’s ALWAYS like that. You can spend an entire day exposing the horrors of sex industry to a guy and he’s ALWAYS going to come with some kind of “oh but what if”. This is EXACTLY why I gave up trying to “educate” men. They have to WANT to be educated in the first place and stop trying to make us accept their misoginies.

          Sorry for the rant but it’s just all-too-common.

          • Rachel

            Yes! So true Priscilla! I had a male friend tell me the other day that he thinks many of the women in porn enter because of ‘the sex’. I had a rather heated educational discussion with him, and his response in the end to me was “how do you know how they feel? How do you know they don’t like it? You always think you know.” But the thing is, even IF there was a tiny minority of the women who did like it, it doesn’t justify all the horror that goes on. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how one could enter the sex industry and be used and abused, and the repercussions if that. I liken it to domestic violence. If we apply his way of thinking “well how do you know” it’s basically just making abuse and suppression of women ok, because some might like it. The fact she doesn’t leave is because she must like it?! Right?! …wrong. So very wrong. But nope, when it comes to sex men have an even harder time admitting the abuse that women are subjected to. especially without obvious forms of abuse on display (I.e the soft for porn/ non violent sex with prostitutes/ strippers dancing) they find it so much more difficult to understand the overarching issue of male power and entitlement. The fact that these women probably had very traumatic pasts that led them to the sex industry, the fact that for one hour of non abusive porn she endured endless hours of control, and degrading, painful acts, and for every seemingly non violent John there’s another pile of violent johns risking her life. And even aside from that. Why should any women have to go to such great lengths and be violated just to get by in life. I would have to say, having sex with someone you don’t want to have sex with is possibly one of the most disgusting feelings (even if on the surface they are loving and tender and all the other things men use as excuses to make it ok).

          • Priscila

            Whoa. It’s unbelievable how your friend wasn’t even *ashamed* of pulling out this card. It’s unbelievable how he can’t see that it can simply be thrown back to him: what makes he think HE knows anything about why women join the sex industry? (Of course, beyond the fact that this focus on women’s “choices” takes the conversation away from the real problem, etc.)

          • pjwhite

            Yeah, I would reclassify this guy as a “former friend”.

      • Missfit

        ‘What about two friends who have sex, with one of them paying money? Should society demand to know the reason why there’s payment between those two friends, to decide if it’s abusive?’

        Why would one be paying money? Is it abusive? Could be. We have to get rid of the idea that we can buy people to turn their bodies into objects to be manipulated as wished. It is an abusive idea.

        ‘What about two friends who have sex, with one of them buying all the dinners?’ What does buying dinners have to do with two people feeling like having sex with each other? I have few friends I often pay for when having dinner, because I know they struggle financially. We don’t have sex, we often feel like going for a walk instead. Please explain what these ‘two friends’ scenarios have to do with the prostitution industry. And ‘what if they’re gay?’ So what if?

      • Laur

        These little thought experiments are not what happens in the real world. As a feminist, I’m interested in the *reality* for women, including prostituted women. You’re bringing up imaginary scenarios that are utterly far-removed from the reality of prostitution.

        Furthermore, sex is not like any other service. Sexual appropriation of women’s bodies is the heart of what keeps misogyny in tact. For the vast majority of women world-wide, heterosexual relations have either previously, or currently, or both, involved sexual assault. The lucky women that have not actually been physically assaulted “only” experience street harassment, sexual harassment at work, being valued for how one appears to men, and so forth. I don’t know how to adequately convey to a man how this sexual appropriation of women’s bodies impacts women, but it does.

        • keith

          I’m training to be a human rights lawyer. I’ve spoken to sex workers, they report friendly relationships with their clients, and they’re baffled at how criminalisation is supposed to help them (this is in the UK where it’s legal but not fully decriminalised). Some believe it’s an ideological attack masquerading as do-gooding.

          This is the reality. I haven’t spoken to any who want their clients to be criminals. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places; people on forums like this seem to know dozens of them – although oddly they never seem to speak for themselves.

          • marv

            It is evident you hold a self-serving confirmation bias which is anti-women’s human rights. For depth and breadth trying looking here:

            https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/handle/2429/50163/ubc_2014_september_graham_erin.pdf?sequence=1

          • Morag

            “I haven’t spoken to any who want their clients to be criminals. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places; people on forums like this seem to know dozens of them – although oddly they never seem to speak for themselves.”

            Maybe you need new glasses. Or a hearing aid.

            This is figurative language. Do “human” rights lawyers like that kind of thing? I hope you’re lying about the training. At the same time, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s true.

          • Empirical Thinker

            So rape is just theft, and we shouldn’t make a big deal about that, either, right? Since sex is nothing important…

          • pjwhite

            Also – never speak for themselves? Read “Paid For” by Rachel Moran (what happened to her, by the way, when she “spoke for herself”?) Read “Girls Like Us” by Rachel Lloyd (another former “sex worker” who found GEMS) Talk to the women at Magdalene House, who are recovering from the trauma of sex work. They ARE speaking for themselves, BUT YOU ARE NOT LISTENING.

  • C.K. Egbert

    “Sex positivity” is so deeply misogynistic it’s hard to see why anyone would think it is different than men’s rights activism (although it’s obvious why leftist men think it is “progressive”–it permits them to maintain their sexual privilege to abuse women with impunity while maintaining their self-image as “good guys”). They admit that the rape and abuse the girls/women suffer at the hands of johns is less important than men’s orgasms. They admit that men should never respect women’s boundaries (saying that men should be able to inflict whatever violent and abusive sex acts he wants on women, and if he cannot coerce his partner into it he should seek out a desperate and disadvantaged women/girl to abuse) and that women should never have any boundaries (hence, the “pro-kink” and “repressed sexuality” arguments). They admit that women’s whole purpose is to self-sacrifice and be a sex slave to men, no matter how much this costs women physically and emotionally (hence the “altruistic” claims).

  • hak

    “Single guys, maybe they travel for work a lot and they don’t have time to meet girls and take them out on dates and they don’t want the complications of a relationship… So they can come here and get the service that they want and then leave… I’ve gotten notes from wives saying “please help my husband be able to have this service so that he can feel comfortable because I can’t provide it myself.”

    And then the lobbies will claim to be “pro sex workers” only and not pro johns at all. What a joke.

    • Priscila

      “please help my husband be able to have this service so that he can feel comfortable because I can’t provide it myself.”

      This is seriously disturbing. I wonder WHAT THE HELL this guy wanted to “feel comfortable”.

  • Rye

    While sexual frustration does not excuse a man from abusing women and the quoted reviews from MERB/TERB/PERB are despicable, I disagree that there is anything inherently wrong with buying sex. This is because I believe that a prostitution contract does not have to involve sexual objectification and domination. And moreover, I sincerely believe that the sex I have with my prostitute is mutual and that our relationship is intimate.

    As for why I buy sex, I do it because I fail at dating because I am socially awkward but I still want to experience sex and intimacy. Of course, I realize that many would regard it as absurd to find intimacy by seeing a prostitute, but I will address that later.

    As for my prostitute, she is college educated, owns her own home, and has a middle class job. Although, admittedly, she was poor when she first entered prostitution, but she is also very intelligent and no longer needs to sell sex to survive. Furthermore, she appears to have mostly exited prostitution now, as she has taken down her website and hasn’t posted a prostitution ad in years.

    By contrast, I have a working class job and unreliable hours. And I have to give my prostitute an embarrassingly significant percentage of my gross income, because having sex with her means that much to me.

    So, my prostitute is in a higher class than I am, is economically independent through her job, and yet she is still willing to see me as her client. Furthermore, the sex we have is mutual: normally, I lick her clitoris until she orgasms, and then we do piv.

    Now, someone might say that her orgasms are fake. But I doubt this for two reasons. First of all, she becomes not only physically aroused but she has physical reactions which are consistent with female orgasm, some of them impossible to fake. Secondly, she isn’t afraid to tell me if she can’t orgasm, which happened a few times at first because I messed up.

    Someone might also say that she doesn’t enjoy receiving pleasure from me. I doubt this is the case because she first suggested I rub her clit (which is what I did at first) after I made a fool out of myself trying to pleasure her based on what I saw on a youtube video. She taught me where the clitoris is (at first I had no clue), how to rub it, and gave me feedback so I could do it to her liking. So if she doesn’t like me giving her pleasure, then why did she teach me how to do so on her own initiative?

    As for why I give her pleasure, the simple answer is that I enjoy it. Moreover, it has allowed me to experience love and intimacy. Or at least, I feel very close to her, closer to anyone in fact. She is also the only person I want to have sex with. So whatever that feeling is, that’s how I feel towards her. And if that isn’t love, well it’s still awesome. And even after several years, those feelings continue to grow.

    Now, one might ask why I need to keep paying her for sex if she enjoys having sex with me. I think this is because I would make an embarrassing boyfriend for her, and I’m probably not her first choice for a lover. She could very easily find a more attractive and compatible man than me. So, I have to compensate her because she could easily find someone better.

    So, back to my main point. I agree that women are usually objectified in prostitution, but I think my experience illustrates that it is possible for it not to. And moreover, for socially awkward men such as myself, I think it is possible to find love with a prostitute. But, of course, it doesn’t happen in one appointment.

    • Priscila

      There are also plenty of women who are socially awkward and fail at dating but still want to experience sex and intimacy. Why isn’t the sex industry exploring this “market”, then?

      • M. Loxk

        There’s sex tourism (though it’s not called that) by richer older women to places like Turkey. If the reason they can get younger Turkish men is their money (and it’s hard to believe there are no hot young women in Turkey, just not rich) it’s r eally the same as prostitution isn’t it? Are any feminists bothered by this? (I’m not either.)

        • Meghan Murphy

          Well, it’s not as though abolitionists think that prostituting men is any more acceptable than prostituting women, so I’m not sure what your point is… The reality is that the industry is gendered and the vast majority of buyers are men — those men primarily buy women, but also boys. That there are a minority of women who pay for sex doesn’t erase that reality…

          • M.Loxk

            But are there abolitionist campaigns against “prostituting men” ?

            And as well as a small amount of foreign sex tourism by women, there is a gay sex industry.

            Is this part of the patriarchy too? If so how is it a form of violence against women?

          • Meghan Murphy

            The campaigns are against criminalizing the purchase of sex and decriminalizing prostituted people. I’m not going to pretend away the gendered nature of prostitution for you, though, sorry.

          • Priscila

            Oh Meghan, you forgot feminism has to be inclusive. What kind of misandrist feminism is this that only cares about women? *sarcasm*

          • Meghan Murphy

            SEXISM!

        • Priscila

          No, it isn’t.

          I asked why *sex industry* isn’t targeting women, if they insist so much that there’s nothing wrong about buying sex. Why aren’t there just as many prostituted men, if it’s really just a job like any other? Why are the menz being so “prudish”?

          • keith

            Good point, Priscilla. The level of demand isn’t determining the market. Almost everyone wants to have sex.

          • M.Loxk

            I don’t think it’s so much prudishness, as not realizing the demand was there!

            Sisters!
            – Are you socially awkward?
            – Fail at dating?
            -Still want to experience sex and intimacy, and don’t mind paying for it?

            Well if you have a thing for fat middle aged men… then this could be your lucky day…

          • hak

            “Well if you have a thing for fat middle aged men… then this could be your lucky day…”

            Because poor women LOVE to have sex with disgusting old men right?

            Don’t you have anything else to say seriously?

          • Priscila

            What if I don’t have a thing for fat middle aged men? Where are my young hot dudes? Why isn’t sex industry trafficking just as many guys?

    • marv

      This must be the third or more time you posted the same story on the FC over the last few years. You insist on being held captive to your own myths, repeating them to us and refusing sensible alternatives. I will in turn reiterate my aforesaid advice to you from the past. Take your life man and no one else’s. The world will be a better place with one less john. Death will permanently cure your loneliness as well – a win win situation.

      I am not being facetious. I offer practical solutions for seemingly intractable common injustices done by men. Death is coming anyway. Nothing wrong with hurrying it along in certain circumstances.

      • Morag

        Misandrist! Murderess!

        • marv

          Thank you. I have always thought you are an exceptional judge of character.

          • Morag

            Ha!

            “I offer practical solutions for seemingly intractable common injustices done by men.”

            You know, marv, this sounds a lot like something one might hear on those infomercials. The kind that come on very late at night, trying to catch vulnerable insomniacs in their hour of need. That brand-new miracle product or program or “system” which finally, finally, will help them break free from those troubles which have plagued them for years.

            Cue the soothing, new-age music, the misty still shots of a mountain, a stream, a trail through the woods. And then the smooth and therapeutic voice-over: “Are you a chronic abuser, a punter, a fucking misogynist piece shit who simply cannot hear a word when a woman is speaking? Will you say any half-wit thing, even hundreds of times over, to justify your lack of empathy and despicable behaviour? Over the next half-hour, please join me as I show how you, too, can simply stop being a male supremacist asshole who thinks he’s a good guy. Sounds impossible, right? Wrong! Trust me, it’s easier than you think. Hi there, I’m Marv, and I offer practical solutions … “

          • marv

            …for no remuneration. One disclaimer though: not legally responsible for outcome.”

    • vagabondi

      Rye, you’ve come here and spewed your sick twisted shit at us over and over again, and every time the commenters here tell you that you are wrong, that you are behaving abominably, that you are triggering the PTSD of the exited women who read this blog. Why the fuck do you keep coming back? What are you getting out of it? Is it part of the fetish, to come here and violate this space and the women who comment here? Does that turn you on?

    • L

      Rye, I’m going to respond to the parts of your post I feel I can engage with. My fellow radfems on this site, may be able to give you a better response than I.

      “And moreover, I sincerely believe that the sex I have with my prostitute is mutual and that our relationship is intimate.”
      -Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. A client pays money to access a woman’s body for a certain amount of time. It’s not a mutual, equal sharing of bodies for pleasure.

      “As for why I buy sex, I do it because I fail at dating because I am socially awkward but I still want to experience sex and intimacy.”
      -And because we live in a world that requires a class of women be there to provide sex to survive. What would socially awkward people do in a world without prostitutes or with very limited access to prostitutes?

      “Now, someone might say that her orgasms are fake.”
      -More than likely, her orgasms are fake. Prostitutes fake orgasms because it is part of their job to make clients think they are giving them genuine pleasure. Prostitutes need clients to believe that they are with them for some reason other than money. Prostitutes are good actresses and they have to be if they are going to make money and have repeat clients and referrals. I recommend you read this article from a sex worker: http://www.thegloss.com/2013/03/11/sex-and-dating/fake-orgasms/

      “Now, one might ask why I need to keep paying her for sex if she enjoys having sex with me. I think this is because I would make an embarrassing boyfriend for her, and I’m probably not her first choice for a lover. She could very easily find a more attractive and compatible man than me. So, I have to compensate her because she could easily find someone better.”
      -It sounds like you are saying that she only spends time with you because you pay her. That she would be embarrassed to have you as a boyfriend…This doesn’t remotely sound like love or intimacy (although we might have radically different ideas about what those words mean).

      “I agree that women are usually objectified in prostitution, but I think my experience illustrates that it is possible for it not to.”
      -The very nature of prostitution requires that women are objects, whose only purpose is to be sexually available for their clients.

      “And moreover, for socially awkward men such as myself, I think it is possible to find love with a prostitute.”
      -Paying someone for sex isn’t love, it’s a transaction. Yes, it may feel good but that doesn’t make it love.

    • “Moreover, it has allowed me to experience love and intimacy. Or at least, I feel very close to her, closer to anyone in fact. She is also the only person I want to have sex with. So whatever that feeling is, that’s how I feel towards her. And if that isn’t love, well it’s still awesome. And even after several years, those feelings continue to grow.”

      You spent two and a half paragraphs describing her genitals and what you do with them, yet you devoted (at best) a few words to describing her personality. I think you are confusing “love” with really, strong lust. I could not care less about whether she orgasms or not. Orgasms generally last a few seconds and contrary to popular belief are not the most important thing in the world.

      Unless you can tell me something about her that is not likely to be a question in a government census (e.g. how wealthy or educated she is) and that is not sex-related. I am not impressed, especially given that you admitted that you are not that compatible with her. I am also annoyed by your assumption that she puts such a high priority on physical attractive and social approval (when it comes to choosing partners.) Newsflash! Being in prostitution is far more stigmatised than dating a physically unattractive guy.

      What are her hobbies? What are her philosophical or political beliefs? What are some films, books, songs, television shows, etc. that she likes? What personality traits does she admire? What traits does she hate? I am willing to bet you neither know nor care about any of that, which means you do not love her, you just desire her sexually. I know I have made this point over and over again in my comment, but it needs to be said again. If all you care about is having sex with someone and not feeling as though you are exploiting them it is no wonder you cannot get dates. You tried talking to women about something else? Viewing someone solely in terms of sex and how much they enjoy having it, then equating that with love (as if sex was the only thing that women in genuinely loving relationships had to offer) is pretty objectifying in my view. At the very least it is a highly toxic view of love.

      • L

        “What are her hobbies? What are her philosophical or political beliefs? What are some films, books, songs, television shows, etc. that she likes? What personality traits does she admire? What traits does she hate? I am willing to bet you neither know nor care about any of that, which means you do not love her, you just desire her sexually.”

        Even if he knew all these things, I still don’t think it proves he has real feelings for her. I think asking a prostitute those kind of questions is just a way to make guys feel like: I’m not really a sleazebag, cuz I’m taking a “genuine” interest in her. My guess is that prostitutes lie in most of their chitchat (just like they fake orgasms, use fake names)…why would you spend your time sharing honest, personal details about yourself to someone who is paying you for sex?

        • “Even if he knew all these things, I still don’t think it proves he has real feelings for her.”

          True, but being able to answer these question is a requirement for genuinely loving someone. I don’t think he would be able to answer them, which means he definitely does not love her.

          “I think asking a prostitute those kind of questions is just a way to make guys feel like: I’m not really a sleazebag, cuz I’m taking a “genuine” interest in her.”

          Do they really ask those sorts of questions? Perhaps they would ask about hobbies and films, books, etc., but the other questions do not strike me as “appropriate” first date questions (I personally can’t stand the idea that you should not talk about politics and philosophy on a first date, but that is the cultural norm.)

          • L

            “Do they really ask those sorts of questions? Perhaps they would ask about hobbies and films, books, etc., but the other questions do not strike me as “appropriate” first date questions (I personally can’t stand the idea that you should not talk about politics and philosophy on a first date, but that is the cultural norm.)”

            I would guess that after seeing the same prostitute a number of times, you might start talking about deeper stuff. From browsing a brothel blog, I get the sense that the women will talk about whatever the client wants. My guess is that the guys who ask the deeper questions are doing it to separate themselves from the sleazier guys. I can just imagine an upper class guy who sleeps with prostitutes patting himself on the back for knowing what his prostitute thinks about politics, philosophy, current events and etc. With prostitutes, whatever the john wants is what’s appropriate. For the guys who feel conflicted about what they are doing, I’m sure things like that really makes them feel like they are good johns.

            For real dating, I think we should be able to ask deeper questions early on in a relationship. I have no interesting in dating a guy for months and then finding out he thinks Donald Trump would make a good president, lol!

    • Laur

      “I think this is because I would make an embarrassing boyfriend for her, and I’m probably not her first choice for a lover.”

      Her first choice? Get real. You’re not even *a choice* for her as a partner. She keeps seeing you because you’re an easy way to make money.

      But, it’s not just about you, Rye. You come onto this board and defend prostitution. How many men are going to see your comments and use them to defend prostitution for themselves and for men as a whole? You have no way of knowing. Ditto people you tell about to in real life.

      And what are you going to do if she moves or otherwise tells you good-bye? You’re going to find another woman to prey on.

    • Laur

      Reread your post. Does this woman say similar things about you? That she has come to love you, etc? No? THEN SHE DOESN’T LOVE YOU!! Love is a mutual thing.

      You’re not a mind-reader, Rye. Stop guessing why you’re not her boyfriend, because you’re invariably going to be wrong.

      “She could very easily find a more attractive and compatible man than me. So, I have to compensate her because she could easily find someone better.”

      That makes no sense. In actual relationships, people don’t compensate one another because the other “could easily find someone better.” But then, what you have isn’t a real relationship.

      You post about yourself again and again and again. It’s all about ME ME ME ME ME!! No surprise that you are paying for sex. Your needs MUST be met!!

      Plenty of working-class men spend their money paying for sex. That hardly makes you unique. It’s just one more excuse you’re using to justify what you’re doing. And *all* men buying “sex” from women, have endless excuses and justifications for doing so, both to themselves and to others.

    • corvid

      Every patriarchal culture has its own version of “women exist for men’s use.” Religious men enact this in a very straightforward, literal sense. Secular men are still under the influence of this norm. I think of what Dworkin meant when she said that pornography makes every man his own church and state. In the past, we’ve heard Rye here go on about how he likes to look at “harmless” naked pictures of women, then he tells us that he “harmlessly” visits a prostituted woman. Like those two things are unrelated.

      Get this, dude. Women’s bodies are not an entitlement you are owed upon birth with a penis. You do not get to stick said penis into the vulnerable genital organs of another human being, thereby endangering her life and health, just as a condition of being alive. You do not get to use the coercive element of money to gain access to the bodies of other human beings. Women are not your sexual wet nurses.

    • Pablo

      You are clearly a sick man ..sick meaning cruel and misogynist. .you diatribe is nothing but a concocted history to placate your guilt..if you have any. .i really think that you are posting this shit to get kicks…get out dude..read and try to understand see the reality of what this crime is ..if you have any decency you will try to understand. .if not if you are beyond repair im happy that no woman will suffer your presence. .as for the lady you describe i doubt it exists. .foff

    • Zhang He

      I think I just threw up in my mouth a little reading this.

      Rye must have a fetish, and that’s why he’s posting all this word vomit here. You sound like a guy who gets off on humiliation. Probably also some kind of bdsm crap.
      Then you come here for god knows what reason, to get off on your own stories.

      Nobody here cares about your life Rye.

    • bella_cose

      Referring to her as “my prostitute”, as though she’s a doll or something, is literally objectifying her.

      You’re a sick man. You need to get help, and not from a prostituted woman.

    • Ellie

      If I were a prostitute I think I’d be far more disgusted and horrified by this type of john than the overtly abusive ones. Honestly, if you’re gonna rent out my body for an hour so you can use it as a fuck toy, at least own that shit. At least be consistent in your disrespect. But these guys pride themselves on being considerate and sensitive to her needs, they’ve thoroughly researched prostitution etiquette, they leave roses and chocolates and shit on her pillow. I read one post from a guy who described himself as “unfailingly courteous” and explained that he always brought Handi-Wipes so she could clean herself up after. How thoughtful, how romantic!

      And he doesn’t realize that none of it is for her, it’s all for him. It’s all so he can reassure himself that he’s still a decent guy, still a gentleman. Plus you know he’s also fantasizing that she secretly feels more affection for him than she does for her other clients. But that’s the thing, Courteous John: she doesn’t! She feels the same way about you as she does about the guy who makes wear children’s underwear while he pretends to rape her. And quite honestly, John, it might be easier to play along with that latter fantasy because it’s a lot closer to what’s actually happening. Whereas in your case she has to pretend — and help YOU pretend — that you didn’t just pay to stick your unwanted cock inside her. On top of everything else she has to help sugarcoat your dishonest, cheap little ego. Honestly, as long as women are stuck doing this I hope they’re taking these bastards for every penny they’re worth.

      • L

        “It’s all so he can reassure himself that he’s still a decent guy, still a gentleman.”

        Yep, if you are nice to a prostitute its not for her sake..its for yours. Don’t get me wrong, I would never, ever want a prostitute to have a john who is physically and verbally abusive, but don’t act like you deserve an award just for not abusing someone! I was on the straight dope forum and a guy started a thread where he invited people to ask him about his experience with prostitutes because he picked them up for 10 years. Somebody asked him if he felt any guilt about helping contributing to the prostitutes drug use (earlier in a post, this john described how some of the women seemed to have drug problems)…here is his response to that question:

        “They were going to be prostitutes and do drugs anyway. I like to think that I made it a little easier for them. If a woman was out working and needed to make $50 or $100, she was better off if I picked her up than some other guy who might beat her or rob her. This is an obvious rationalization, but it keeps me from thinking I’m a scumbag. I don’t feel any remorse. I don’t feel that I contributed to the problem. I am probably fooling myself. I suspect that as I get older I may look back on it all and have a very different perspective. If my role in the decline of western civilization begins to eat away at me, I hope that I will try to help women in similar situations in order to make my peace (and not by paying them for sex, but by supporting and volunteering for organizations which help them).”

    • Empirical Thinker

      If you have to give her money to entice her to have sex with you, it isn’t real consent. If she does it of her own free will, that would be consent. If you have to pay someone to “love” you, it isn’t real love. Real love is for better or worse, richer or poorer. It doesn’t discriminate based on looks. It doesn’t have a need to possess (you calling her “my prostitute” is frankly possessive and creepy).

      As for faking it, women are expected to fake it. Even when we feel absolutely nothing, we are expected to fake it so that men like you can feel big and macho. Go do something meaningful with your life and maybe you won’t need to fill it with fake relationships. Women are not your playthings.

    • Hanakai

      If you think there is nothing wrong with buying and selling sex, why don’t you hit the streets and peddle your sorry a$$.

  • hak

    “my prostitute”

    She’s not “your” prostitute, she’s not your thing.

    That said, your essay: 0/20

  • Rye

    @vagabondi/marv

    I comment on FC because I am obsessed with proving that radical feminists are wrong about prostitution. That the relation between prostitution and women’s subordination is in fact contingent. And that the conditions for buying sex to be morally permissible are true in my situation. That said, I acknowledge that such conditions are rarely found in prostitution.

    Admittedly, I have made a number of poor arguments in the past. And often, my arguments were irrelevant because I didn’t understand how to go about refuting radical feminist ones. So, as a result there was a lot of arguing in circles. Often, this was because I didn’t understand how radical feminists could make the connections they were making, such as how objectification connects to subordination. Which, therefore, explains how radical feminists can say that prostitution is incompatible with sex equality or is slavery, even if we take out the pimps and traffickers. And Feminism 101 articles don’t adequately explain these things. To understand them, I had to read authors like Kathleen Barry and deeply reflect on what I read. Of course, I disagree with radical feminism on this issue, because I believe that objectification can be taken out of prostitution.

    As for why I shared my experiences so many times, it is because they were essential to the arguments I was making. For example, one of my earliest arguments amounted to “This is what I do, how on earth can this be violence against women?” Another time it was “I am not buying sex because I enjoy dominating women.” So, it made sense for me to use my personal experience to support them. And like previously, my current arguments, some of them refined versions of old ones, also require me to support them with my experience.

    @Priscila

    Because of the systemic oppression of women.

    @L

    “Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. A client pays money to access a woman’s body for a certain amount of time. It’s not a mutual, equal sharing of bodies for pleasure.”

    You are right, it doesn’t. But I have arrived at this belief based on what actually occurs between her and me, which to me looks like a “mutual, equal sharing of the bodies for pleasure,” as you call it.

    “And because we live in a world that requires a class of women be there to provide sex to survive. What would socially awkward people do in a world without prostitutes or with very limited access to prostitutes?”

    I guess they would go without sex? That said, I mentioned my reasons for buying sex to highlight that I don’t do it because I enjoy dominating women. But to be clear, I think paying destitute women for sex is rape and there is no excuse for it. Which is why I make such a big deal about my prostitute’s bargaining power. Because she can independently support herself without selling sex, the money I give her has no coercive power.

    “More than likely, her orgasms are fake. Prostitutes fake orgasms because it is part of their job to make clients think they are giving them genuine pleasure. Prostitutes need clients to believe that they are with them for some reason other than money. Prostitutes are good actresses and they have to be if they are going to make money and have repeat clients and referrals. I recommend you read this article from a sex worker…“

    However, there is one important difference I think you overlooked. The clients of the woman who wrote that article did not know how to give oral to a woman, they didn’t even touch her clitoris, and she never corrected them. By contrast, my prostitute told me what to do and gave me feedback. And when she can’t orgasm, she tells me so.

    “Paying someone for sex isn’t love, it’s a transaction. Yes, it may feel good but that doesn’t make it love.”
    I agree that paying someone for sex isn’t love. But I believe that a meaningful emotional connection, at least, can develop over the course of several encounters.

    @Independent Radical

    Well, I mentioned as much as I did about what I do with her genitals to support my argument that that the sex I have with her is mutual. Of course, it took months of seeing her as a regular until she was comfortable with more intimate contact (e.g. kissing), so it doesn’t happen on the first session. But my point is that, as time has gone by, the sex no longer looks like “the unilateral use of a woman’s body.”

    As for what I know about her personally, I could answer some of those questions. But, you are right that I still know very little about her. And based on what I do know, we have little in common. Additionally, she seems to want to keep me at a distance from her personal life.

    That said, I have never experienced romantic love in a conventional way, and never will. So I can never be sure that what I am feeling is love. But I feel deeply attached to her, loyal, and it makes me want to give her pleasure when we have sex. And whatever that feeling is, it has filled the hole I long felt for failing at relationships.

    @Laur

    If other men think that my comments defend prostitution, then they are selectively quoting me. As I said before, buying sex from destitute women is rape. And if my prostitute chooses to never see me again, I won’t prey on any woman. If I see another prostitute woman, I will only see one in a position to bargain as an equal.

    You have a good point about love. I don’t think she feels the same way about me as I do her, although I think she cares about me to some extent.
    But the reason I mentioned my motivation for buying sex is to show that I am not buying sex to experience power over women. And I mentioned my income and other facts to show that I do not have power over my prostitute.

    That said, the argument I am trying to make is:
    1. I am not buying sex to experience power over women
    2. My prostitute is in a position to bargain as an equal
    3. The sex I have with her is mutually enjoyable
    4. Therefore, it is possible for prostitution not to subordinate women

    @corvid

    I have since changed my position on pornography, because I can no longer deny that most sexually explicit material portrays the subordination of women. That said, it was a lot easier for me to accept the radfem view of pornography because many acknowledge the existence of erotica. I was originally hesitant because I was defining pornography as sexually explicit material.

    I don’t disagree that I am not entitled to access women’s bodies. That women have the same rights as men, among them dignity and bodily autonomy.

    @Empirical Thinker
    I can see how money is coercive in prostitution when the woman is destitute. What I don’t understand is how it can be coercive when the woman is in a position to bargain as an equal.

    @bella_cose
    Sorry, I meant it in a relational sense, like “my sister” or “my friend.”

    • vagabondi

      You are doing it for power over this women, though. You say that no one wants to have sex with you, but your desire for sex is more important than someone else’s bodily integrity, that’s about power. “Experiencing power over women” isn’t just talking about the specific thrill that some people get from a power trip. Power means the ability to override someone else’s will, to impose your will instead. So if you want to have sex, and she doesn’t, and yet you have sex, you are experiencing power over her. How do we know she doesn’t want to? Because if she did, there would be no money involved. Does she have to pay you to have sex? Of course not, because you want to have sex, sex is its own reward. If a reward external to the act itself is needed, that’s because sex is not wanted. If you’re having sex with someone who doesn’t want it, that is power over, that is rape, that is evil.

    • vagabondi

      Oh, and: your obsession with proving us all wrong? That’s about experiencing power over women too. That’s the power to impose your interpretation of reality on the entire fucking world, which is such a massive power trip that it fits right in with the power trip you’re on where you get to repeatedly rape this woman who doesn’t want anything to do with you, and then impose your fucked up ideas of love and equality on the situation. That’s the power exercised by the Ministry of Truth, that’s why you can’t stand to give up, you’ve got to keep arguing with us until we agree that 2+2=5.

    • L

      “But I have arrived at this belief based on what actually occurs between her and me, which to me looks like a “mutual, equal sharing of the bodies for pleasure,” as you call it.”
      -It might look like a mutual exchange but its not. It is an unequal exchange of money for sex.

      “But to be clear, I think paying destitute women for sex is rape and there is no excuse for it”
      -What do you mean by destitute?

      “Because she can independently support herself without selling sex, the money I give her has no coercive power.”
      -As Yumi said, you really have no idea if she can support herself without the income she receives from johns. In the world we live in money is coercive, because we need money for absolutely everything-food, clothing, shelter, medical care and etc.

      “That said, I have never experienced romantic love in a conventional way, and never will. So I can never be sure that what I am feeling is love. But I feel deeply attached to her, loyal, and it makes me want to give her pleasure when we have sex. And whatever that feeling is, it has filled the hole I long felt for failing at relationships.”
      -You have no clue if you will ever experience romantic love. You have chosen to replace intimacy based on mutual love, respect and attraction with transactions where you pay money for access to someone’s genitals. Genuine intimacy takes time to develop-interactions with prostitutes really don’t: every encounter is the same-money in exchange for sex.
      In a world without prostitutes, either you would live without sex or you would spend more effort on finding a genuine relationship.

      “Additionally, she seems to want to keep me at a distance from her personal life.”
      -Why do you think that is? You are a paycheck to her. When we have loving relationships with people, they become part of our personal lives.

      From your comments, you seem like you really want to believe that you are different from any other john, that your relationship with your prostitute is caring, mutual and non-coercive. It isn’t. Every john is the same: a person who pays money for access to someone’s body.

    • Laur

      Rye,

      Why do you keep commenting here? You yourself have said you know you’re not going to convince anyone here prostitution is okay, even for you, the special snowflake that you are. Do you not realize many johns convince themselves they’re “special” to the woman they’re paying for sexual services?

      Many women in the sex trade have an alternate persona the use, so even if you did ask her about her hobbies, etc., those may well not actually be hers. And as you’ve noted, she does not seem to want to go “there”, with you. Why do you think that is? BECAUSE YOU’RE A JOHN AND NOT SOMEONE WHO SHE WOULD SEE IF YOU WERE NOT PAYING HER!!

      “As I said before, buying sex from destitute women is rape.” What about a woman who is already working her ass off, but is a single mom, and has to sell access to her bod at the end of each month just to make rent? This isn’t a hypothetical; I knew a woman in that situation, and she very much loathed having to do this.

      The fact is, you don’t really know her financial situation. For all you know, she wants you to think you’re special to her, because she’s picked up that’s important to you. You don’t know how many johns she’s actually seeing. She obviously needs the money, as she’s clearly not seeing you because she wants to. (You wouldn’t have to pay her in that case).

      As much as you believe you can separate yourself and your relationship with this woman from the rest of the male supremacist culture, you can’t. You’re still a man, clearly carrying the entitlement of one, paying a woman, to submit to you. This includes having or faking orgasms, which obviously mean a lot to you. Like most men, you’re not very good at reading women at all, which makes it incredibly easy to lie to you.

      You note that in an equal world, one without prostitution, you would not be able to bu “sex.” You’re taking advantage of the fact we live in a male supremacist, capitalist world, where women, for a multitude of reasons, feel desperate enough to sell access to their bodies. That hardly makes your relationship with her an equal one.

  • Yumi

    vagabondi got to the heart of the matter. But I can still add some side notes.

    You keep insisting she has money, but you don’t know that for sure. What are you, her accountant? People can appear to have money but be actually up to their eyeballs in debt, struggling to keep paying the mortgage on their house so they don’t end up on the street.

    For all we know that’s not even really her house. Deception is the business of prostitution. She has to be whatever your fantasy demands of her. You want a superhero role-play? You got it. Dominatrix fantasy? Got that, too. Your particular fantasy is that she doesn’t really need your money and she truly like you on some level. Lots of johns share that fantasy. Prostituted women role-play this one all the time.

    You keep bringing up her physical arousal as proof that she’s enjoying this. Well, think of someone you wouldn’t want sexual contact with. Let’s say, for example, Woody Allen. If Woody Allen sucks your dick, you’re going to become physically aroused no matter how repulsed you are by what’s happening, that’s just a physical reaction, you can’t help it.

    Now imagine if it’s your job to pretend that you love it. How would that make you feel?

    I understand what it’s like to be socially awkward and so isolated from people that I’d rather live in the fantasy world in my head sometimes. I guess the difference between you and me is that paying people to act out my fantasies would just ruin it for me. That and I can come out of my fantasies and see them for what they are – I can see they’re not real.

    It’s tough to feel rejected by the world, I know the feeling all too well. But paying someone to pretend to sort of like you is not the answer.

  • Rye

    @vagabondi
    Although I am obsessed with proving radical feminists wrong, I am not unwilling to admit I am wrong if someone can show that I am. Indeed, I have had to accommodate my arguments several times to meet the objections I encountered here.

    Secondly, your argument that I am dominating my prostitute by overriding her will doesn’t make sense to me. Because, in order to override her will, I would have to coerce her in some way. Indeed, the go-to radical feminists I have read, such as Catherine Mackinnon, state that the money coerces the sex because the woman is driven by survival. But because my prostitute is able to support herself without selling sex, then she has chosen, by her own free will, to sell sex to me.

    @Yumi

    Actually, my prostitute doesn’t seem to even bother with deception and fantasy. For example, she doesn’t hold back from expressing her opinions. For example, early on in our relationship, she challenged my tirade against sex-trafficking being a moral panic. Moreover, what she tells me about herself seem unlikely to be made up. A few of the things I know about her include the following: she became sexually active at 12, hated her experience working in a brothel, doesn’t like piv very much, is actually a few years older than she advertised, and has a negative view of men and relationships in general. And when I ask her a question she doesn’t want to answer, she says as much rather than make something up. So, given that she told me this much and tells me when she isn’t comfortable sharing something, I think she is mostly telling the truth.

    As for her financial situation, I have very good reasons for believing that she isn’t currently selling sex to survive. These reasons include the following:

    1. She has not posted an online prostitution ad in over two years.
    2. She has taken down her website.
    3. The frequency she posted online ads was decreasing before I met her, and men stated in her reviews that she had become more difficult to schedule with.
    4. She wears expensive clothes and drives a luxury brand car. And I have seen her drive it.

    This shows that she isn’t actively working as a prostitute, which suggests that she is telling the truth about being college educated and employed in a middle class job. In addition, her story is more plausible given that she seems very intelligent and educated and is in her 30’s. And she has been a prostitute for most of her adult life.

    As for her arousal, you have a point. It doesn’t prove that she genuinely enjoys having sex with me. However, I think you overlooked something else I said. I also said that she taught me how to give her pleasure. It’s not like I asked if I could rub her clitoris and she said yes. In fact, I didn’t know where the clitoris was at the time. Rather, she noticed that I wanted to give her pleasure but was ignorant of how to do so, and then she taught me how to do it to her satisfaction. And I don’t think she would have taken that initiative if she didn’t at least feel comfortable having sex with me.

    @L

    I agree that genuine intimacy takes time to develop. But not every encounter with a prostitute has to essentially be the same. With meaningful conversations, intimacy can develop over several sessions. In my case, I talk to my prostitute 70% of the time. And over the years I have been seeing her, our relationship has become more intimate. I discuss this in further detail in my reply to Yumi.

    As for what prostitution is, I disagree with your definition. If prostitution is a transaction where A (usually a man) pays B (usually a woman) for access to B’s body, then B becomes an object for A’s sexual use. However, my relationship shows that it is possible for the prostitute to also be a subject in a prostitution transaction. When I have sex with my prostitute, her pleasure and satisfaction is as equally important as mine. More importantly, my skill at giving her pleasure was a result of her own initiative and feedback. She saw that I wanted to give her pleasure but was ignorant of how to do so, and then she took it upon herself to teach me rather than feed me with delusions. And her initiative here is key. It proves that she is a subject in our transactions.

    @Laur

    Well, I am making another attempt because now I feel I know enough about radical feminism to have a productive argument. And I’m not trying to argue that paying to have sex with women who are doing it to survive isn’t exploitation, or that it’s morally permissible to objectify a woman’s body. What I’m saying is that my prostitute isn’t selling sex to survive, and the sex I have with her is mutually enjoyable.

    After more thought, I think consensual prostitution has a higher bar than the woman isn’t destitute. I think it’s rape if the woman’s consent is coerced by the need to survive. So, I think it is rape to buy sex from a woman in the same conditions as the example you gave.

    For the reasons I stated in my reply to Yumi, I really doubt my prostitute is lying to me. She has said a lot that doesn’t seem like she would have made it up, and she is honest about not wanting to tell me certain things. Of course, I don’t doubt that she doesn’t desire me sexually. But I think she is comfortable and enjoys having sex with me. Like I said to Yumi and L, she took the initiative to teach me how to give her pleasure. And if she didn’t at least feel comfortable having sex with me, I doubt she would have told me to rub her clit.

    In a world without sex inequality, I think there would still be prostitution. But the size of the sex industry would be a small fraction of what it is today, and it would function very differently.