The modern john got himself a queer nanny

Downton Abbey nanny

There is something very odd about the prostitution debate. While the absolute majority of sex buyers are male, an overwhelming majority of intellectuals defending prostitution are women. It’s a strange phenomenon that most definitely needs its own analysis.

The john should, in theory, have every reason to worry right now. He is, for the first time, at the center of discussion. Legislators are increasingly targeting the sex buyer, or “demand” as NGOs call it. The Nordic model has been praised by the EU parliament as the most efficient legislation to curb trafficking, and the survivors’ movement is growing all around the world. Women are speaking out, as in the recently published book, Prostitution Narratives: Stories of Survival in the Sex Trade, about what johns really do to them. It is the first time in history that so many women are collectively revealing what goes on in the world of prostitution — a world where a man, up until now, could do almost anything with a woman and no one would find out. Those times are over — the sex buyer is becoming visible. Tension is mounting. Have we reached the point in history where a man actually has to be liked by a woman in order to get inside her pants?

Despite all this, the john remains, for the most part, silent. He does not need to speak. As always, when a man is threatened, a woman comes along to help him out. At the forefront of international “sex work” discourse, we generally do not find a sex buyer, but a female academic. In any magazine, at any conference, at any event where the john is to be even remotely criticized — a pro-prostitution female academic is there to defend him.

Who is she? Well, she calls herself “subversive,” “revolutionary,” even “feminist.” That is exactly why the john needs her as his ambassador. A defence of prostitution coming from this woman makes prostitution look queer, LGBT-friendly, modern, fair trade, socialist — the very epitome of female liberation. But most importantly, when she speaks, we forget that the sex buyer exists.

The tacit agreement between the john and the pro-prostitution female academic is that she will do anything to defend his acts, while ensuring that he stays in the shadows. She will speak incessantly about prostitution, but never mention him. Her task is to make sure prostitution seems like an all-female affair. The queer academic will use the prostituted woman as a shield, blocking the john from the limelight. She will use the prostituted woman any way she can — analyzing her, re- and deconstructing her, holding her up as a role model, and using her as a microphone (i.e. a career booster), thereby positioning her as “good” vs. the “evil” feminist.

This move perfectly mimics prostitution itself: the prostitute is visible, standing on the street or in a bar, while the buyer only visits and leaves — there is no shame attached to him, and no myths surrounding him. The function of the queer academic is to ensure things stay that way.

What we are dealing with here is a defense of prostitution constructed of a double shield. Anyone wanting to debate prostitution will have a hard time getting to the john, since the female pro-prostitution academic and the “sex worker” are standing in between. Any attempt to speak to what the john does, says, or thinks will bounce back into discussions of female identities and become a cat-fight in an alley of mirrors.

This academic has her own definition of intellectual debate. When she speaks, she calls it “listening.” According to her, she doesn’t actually speak in favor of prostitution, she merely “listens to sex workers.” The louder she speaks, the more proof that she “listens.” When someone opposed to prostitution speaks, however, she calls it “silencing.”

The emergence of the survivors’ movement has, however, shown that this “listening” is anything but unconditional. When survivors of prostitution speak out against prostitution, the queer academic either does not listen, or actively debates against them. Here it is revealed that the person she really defends is not “sex workers” at all, but the john.

She is the type who will start a Twitter storm if a man is caught “mansplaining” or “manspreading,” if someone calls her “sweetie,” or states that women get pregnant instead of “people.” One must wonder how her outrage at details can co-exist with her complete callousness towards an industry which is, according to studies, the most deadly one women could be in.

We must not forget that for her, just like for the john, a woman in prostitution is and remains an “other” type of woman. Sure, she’ll adopt a tone of admiration where the john has a tone of contempt, but the meaning is the same.

Here is the truth: the function of this academic is not that of a revolutionary or a feminist — she is not trying to defend women — rather, she is the sex buyer’s nanny. One of the oldest patriarchal functions that exists. She soothes him when he is worried and takes on his enemies. She makes sure nobody will take away his toys, whatever he does to them.

Remember, the live-in nanny of yesteryear always treated the son of the house as simultaneously master and child — obeying him, cleaning up after him, and letting him cry on her lap. The nanny, more than any other character in patriarchy, is the understanding woman. She cannot stand to see her young master hungry — he will always eat before she eats — but she does not treat him as a man with responsibilities. No matter his age, he will always remain a boy who can’t help what he does. This function has allowed men of the upper classes to be bosses and reckless children all at once. One cannot understand patriarchy without understanding how the nanny has shaped the upper echelons of masculinity.

The john embodies exactly this type. He is the man who will command and expect his every whim to be catered to, but will not take responsibility for what he does. If he ruins other people’s lives, spreads STDs to women in prostitution and to his wife, contributes to the organized slave trade — so what? Not his problem.

Today’s john might not have a literal nanny anymore, but what he has found in the female pro-prostitution academic is akin to it: A “queer” nanny who soothes his worries, takes care of his needs, and defends him against the outside world.

The john can go on bragging about his business trips and all the “whores” he’s going to fuck, though he would never accept his daughter becoming one (nor would he, for that matter, marry one). He can watch porn but forbid his girlfriend to “act slutty,” and never will his nanny hold him accountable. She will never enter the online forums where sex buyers discuss and “review” the women and girls they pay to inform these johns that, “Actually the term is ‘sex worker,’ not hooker.” She will never scold him for stigmatizing or having double standards. Men are men, after all…

Well, if that’s the case, let them grow up and speak for themselves. If buying sex is such a great thing, let the men come forth and say what they do and why — in their own words, the same words they use when they go to brothels. And when survivors call johns out, step aside. Don’t let these men cling to your skirt for protection. Queer nannies of the world, are you even paid to act as sex buyers’ ambassadors? Or are you volunteering for them — protecting them from accountability, responsibility, and maturity — as women have always done?

Queer nanny, it’s time to resign — you too deserve a better fate.

Kajsa Ekis EkmanKajsa Ekis Ekman is a Swedish journalist, writer, and activist. She is the author of Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self and The Eurocrisis Seen From Athens, among others. Watch her TEDx talk, “Everybody talks about capitalism — but what is it?” here.

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  • Really fantastic post, thank you!

  • Independent Radical

    “While the absolute majority of sex buyers are male, an overwhelming majority of intellectuals defending prostitution are women.”

    This could be because the vast majority of academic in arts departments (particularly sociology and gender studies departments) are female. After all they need “expert” with fancy pieces of paper proclaiming that they know things to defend their position, not random people off the street, even if the former are making the exact same arguments just with fancier language (e.g. “agency” in place of “choice”). Meanwhile, men are off getting actual knowledge that will help them to get lucrative careers (not necessarily a virtuous ambition either, but it clearly shows how influential sex roles are at universities).

    I’m not saying that sociology and gender studies (which should be gender abolition studies, in my opinion) can never be legitimate academic pursuits, but at the moment they aren’t. Unlike true scientists (and people who apply science in their work, such as engineers) they will face no consequences if they have an incorrect understanding of reality. The only consequence they will ever face is people disliking their ideas, which then means that the popularity and convenience to the capitalist system govern their thinking.

    The best test of whether something is a real science (assuming it is not too abstract or removed from our day to day lives, like maths or astronomy) is whether it leads to conclusions that piss off the ruling class or portions of it by threatening their profits (e.g. by stating that fossil fuels are environmental destructive or that a product causes severe health problems). Studying real science will, at least on some occasions, compel you to do battle with industries to get your research recognised, because the real physical world does not obey the whims of capitalism like people do. Any “science” that consistently argues to keep things as they are is not a real science to me.

    To turn sociology and gender studies into real sciences, we’ll need a world in which people who study these matters are expected to make important decisions that change lives. They need to be in a situation where wrong decisions matter and are penalised. These subjects don’t necessary have to leave one devoid of employment opportunities (like they often do in the current society). We need to get over the idea that “social engineering” is a horrible thing and recognise that it’s going to happen either way.

    If governments (preferably those that are truly accountable to the people) don’t try to “engineer” better people, companies will engineer us instead, into the kind of people they want. In my ideal socialist world, people would indeed be employed by the government to figure out how society and culture must be changed to improve the moral character of those who live in it and those people would have to actually know their shit, but they would have a real function.

  • If academics receive money for defending such positions, is it intellectual prostitution?

    • Hierophant2

      No, because they’re not the one who end up getting fucked up the ass. Their jobs are rather tranquil and abuse-free.

  • Helen Pringle

    Kajsa: awesome!

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    Many men just want to keep the madonna/whore dichotomy alive and well. “Sex work” defenders like to pretend this is not the case – men TOTES respect women in porn, or women they pay for sex! It’s those evil radfems that are the real problem.

  • cocopop133

    Handmaidens of the patriarchy just picked up another bonus definition: nanny. However, the queering of the term nanny doesn’t particularly strike a chord with me. Is the author suggesting most academic defenders of john’s are queer women? What? Anyway, kissing the boo boos and bums of the master child is an all too typical response. Women, nanny your own kind first and foremost.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I think the author is referencing queer politics and the way in which ‘sex work’ as been manipulated into being viewed as some kind of progressive act — even as a marginalized ‘sexuality’.

      • cocopop133

        Ah yes, queer politics are problematic. But their foremothers are radical lesbian feminists.

        Then someone mentioned Pagalia in the comments. No defending that one.

  • Keith

    I’ve always been happy to talk about paying for sex. It was only recently that I found it was a controversial subject, I had assumed only prudes were against it. A problem is that a lot of people opposed to prostitution see paying for sex as virtual rape, which makes it hard to have an honest discussion. You can talk to ‘johns’ or you can call them rapists, but you can’t reasonably do both at once. So I tend to let prostitutes speak for themselves.

    “This move perfectly mimics prostitution itself: the prostitute is visible, standing on the street or in a bar, while the buyer only visits and leaves — there is no shame attached to him, and no myths surrounding him.”

    This isn’t quite right and it raises an interesting point. Prostitutes *aren’t* visible these days. They mostly advertise online. When one steps up to talk about their rights, it’s a bold move into the open. Apparently some feminist academics have recognised that bravery and chosen to amplify their voices. You might disagree with them but I don’t think you should question their motives.

    • Kendall Turtle

      Would that person be having sex with you if they didn’t need money? No? Then it’s financial coercion, aka rape.

      • Martin Q. Blank

        Would that barber be cutting your hair it they didn’t need the money? Doing things you wouldn’t do otherwise, for money, is not financial coercion, it’s just work.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Stop with the false equivalencies. No one should be forced to choose between doing something awful and starvation. That is not the question here. In any case, cutting hair and being raped are not the same thing.

          • Martin Q. Blank

            And choosing to sell sexual services and being raped are not the same thing either. And to assert so is rather insulting to rape victims.

          • Meghan Murphy

            The point is that being coerced into cutting someone’s hair and being coerced into having sex with someone you don’t desire is not the same thing. To assert so is *actually* insulting to rape victims (as if you have any clue how it feels to be a woman with a penis inside her that she doesn’t want there.)

          • Gaiauchis

            I didn’t know you could get pregnant or catch an std while cutting hair. Pretty interesting (not)

        • Kendall Turtle

          And actually people DO cut hair for free because they truly enjoy it, women do not have sex with strange men they aren’t sexually attracted to as a hobby now do they?

    • Si Llage

      “It was only recently that I found it was a controversial subject…”

      Don’t speak about ‘honest discussion’ after telling this whopper about not knowing prostitution is ‘controversial’ since you were a boy.

    • Petronella

      Keith, what would motivate you to sell sex for money? What sequence of events would have to have taken place in your life that would have you placing ads online with a sexualized photo of yourself and offering your bodily orifices for strange men to penetrate, multiple times per night? Imagine yourself in this situation where that is how you earn your living. What kind of advocacy would you want from academics? Would you want them to call you brave and sex-positive? Would you consider yourself brave and sexy?

      • Alienigena

        I work in academia but in a professional capacity. More and more I wonder about the kinds of people and research that receive financial support. There was the story of the University of Sussex researcher on human trafficking (he tried to suggest that the trafficking of women in the sex industry was not a big deal) who himself was a human trafficker.

        Then there was the money launderer who wrote about how little money laundering there was vs the media hype about the amount of money laundering in the world. Note this person wrote a Master’s thesis after being incarcerated for, you guessed it money laundering, and other financial crimes. He is now pursuing a PhD in a similar subject area at Simon Fraser University.

        Then there are the people who promote toxic economic policies (Calgary School of Economics). Why not corrupt people who claim objectivity and academic freedom to argue that prostitution is no different than any other kind of work and that johns are just misunderstood. About 15-20 years ago my mother talked about practical nurses giving sexual favours to their male clients (she was an RNA), she was quite angry at how that reflected on her profession but didn’t seem to be as angry at the male clientele as she was at members of her profession. Having sexual relations with clients is a breach of professional standards.

        Lest we forget universities in the English speaking world have a reputation for misogyny.

        And German society too does not seem that female friendly given recent results of a civil suit initiated by a victim of sexual assault.

        Universities are not safe spaces, except for those committing crimes (or advocating for those who commit crimes) it would seem.

    • Alienigena

      Whoa, “happy to talk about ‘paying for sex'”. Why? Your clinical point of view is really disturbing. What gives you the right to curtail the critique of people who argue for men’s rights to access the bodies of others. Given that this article looks at clients of prostitutes and their defenders why are you trying to re-orient the discussion to the rights of prostitutes. There are articles on that topic elsewhere on this site. Can you stay on topic?

    • Raquel Rosario Sánchez


      Keith, would you be willing to let me interview you about your sex-buying habits for an article? I won’t call you names, other than sex buyer. Other than that, I’ll let you do the talking. I am thinking here on-the-record, full real name, age, location, work place information, a couple of references so I can get some people who know you in real like to attest to your sex-buying character…

      That’d be so great! I’ve been waiting for a brave john to come out of the shadows and say proudly, loudly and not anonymously “Yes, as a man, I feel entitled to pay women to have sex with me with the full knowledge that if there was no money, they wouldn’t touch me with a stick” and today, I’ve found that in you, Keith.

      Today is a great day for me, here at Feminist Current.

      Ps. Kajsa, I L-O-V-E your work and this is the sorry state of your book after I was done with it. I was supposed to fold the corners “only for the really important ideas” and that ended up being *the entire book* 🙂 🙂

      • Tobysgirl

        Raquel, you need some book darts!

  • Kellyann Conway

    Excellent post. Thanks so much. pimps and johns are parasites and it’s time we add them to conversations about prostitution.

  • OldPolarBear

    Great analysis and well put, a real pleasure to read this kind of writing. I was reminded of a couple of related things. One was Andrea Dworkin’s Right-wing Women and how she describes the bargain they make, or try to make, with patriarchy and why they do it. Not sure what all is in it for the academic defenders of the sex industry. Tenure, I suppose. Also, I thought of how rapists often or almost always want to have a female defense attorney.

    • Tobysgirl

      It may be tenure or it may just be the veneer of liberalism which is necessary in academia today. Look how they all jumped on the trans bandwagon, but just ask one of them if s/he knows anything about taking cross-sex hormones, surgeries, etc, and all you get is a blank look and avoidance.

  • Unhiddenness

    I can’t help but feel this is being aimed at a particular person. Camille Paglia, possibly?

  • Petronella

    The man who admits to buying sex from prostituted women is a-ok, the woman who questions his behavior is the jerk. How very typical.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh hey how about that! You turned the conversation back on to the supposed “choices” of prostituted women!

  • deci

    A couple of years ago, I was working out of town for long stretches and my co-worker/roommate had a sex worker he would see regularly. Since I was familiar with the debate between Meghan Murphy, Melissa Farley & company and Maggie McNeil, Melissa Gira Grant, Laura Augustin and others; I asked her if she had a pimp…she didn’t. I explained that Meghan Murphy & pals consider her a trafficked sex slave, “prostituted woman” and so on. She denied being a slave and said those types of people (prohibitionists) are idiots. If I see her again should I try to “rescue” her by calling the police so they can put her in “temporary custody” and arrange for “services” by church groups or is she one of those “exceptions to the rule” that apply to any sex worker that speaks out for her rights or joins a group like Red Umbrella movmt. or SWOP??

    • Meghan Murphy

      lol at your assessment of my (and other abolitionists’ arguments).

    • Si Llage

      “I got this friend who uses prostitutes and…”

      Sure you do.

    • Tired feminist

      Go away, john.

    • Helen A. Handbasket

      So, I suggest that if you aren’t trolling (you probably are,) you should read the much talked about book here on Feminist Current called “Prostitution Narratives: Stories of Survival in the Sex Trade.”

      Within, you’ll find plenty of testimony from prostituted women (some working in brothels, with pimp, or solo) who claimed that from the get-go, they faked enjoyment to “make the John finish faster so that he’d leave and book again.” All the while, these women are strung out on medication just to cope with the physical pain and degradation of selling their bodies, sometimes dozens of times a shift. These stories take place in an area where prostituting a person is legal, mind you.

      But whatever, your “friend’s” happy hooker who loves her job is probably totes for real and isn’t lying for, y’know, money or her own welfare.

    • hellkell

      Cool story, bro.

    • cocopop133

      I’m sure the sex worker was just thrilled to have a big, slanted discussion about prostitution with you, because what a fun evening. Forced to listen to you blather on, then have to pull off your friend. No comfort in it for that comfort woman. If you really want to rescue her, shut your trap.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It is when it’s sex. Sex is something that should be desired by both parties, not coerced. When one has sex they don’t wish to have, under duress, because they need to do it in order to survive, that’s not “work,” that’s rape. This has nothing to do with whether or not a “woman could possibly see providing sexual services as an acceptable job” — it’s about ethics and systems of oppression.

  • Meghan Murphy

    OMG. Patriarchy is not about individual women *feeling* systemically inferior — it’s an actual, literal system of oppression. You are part of it. We all are.

    • deci

      Ok, then how do we eliminate this ‘literal system of oppression’??? Is there a manifesto published somewhere? If so i’d love to read it

      • Meghan Murphy

        Please see: Feminism

  • Meghan Murphy


    • deci

      I was under the impression that prostitution is bad cuz all the women doing it are being forced against their will. If they are doing it willingly then it is still bad? If so then you are making a moral argument. Are prohibitionists allied with Christian fundamentalists? If not, please explain why hot wife or gang bang girls are “sex slaves” and let us know who is “enslaving” them. Thanks

      • Meghan Murphy

        1) No. The argument cannot be boiled down to “all the women doing it are being forced against their will.” Try harder.
        2) Do you not have any morals?
        3) I’m an atheist and am opposed to organized religion.
        4) You appear to be the only one here talking about “sex slaves”
        5) Please reference or address the real arguments we are making or go away.

      • Kendall Turtle

        yeah, Meghan isn’t gonna let you derail to whatever agenda you’re trying to promote.

  • cocopop133

    Aren’t you just fabulous. Speaking for yourself and all. Nanny helps you along does she?

  • Alienigena

    Social engineering has eugenics has part of its toolkit. I am not fabricating, others have made this connection.

    See “Social Engineering in the United States: Eugenics and Euthanasia by Rebecca Kluchin.

    “…our culture has applied notions of reproductive fitness to racial politics, public policies, medical practices, consumption patterns, and popular culture over the course of the twentieth century.”

    “Dowbiggin … locates euthanasia alongside eugenics, birth control, social Darwinism, and positivism as part of a larger Progressive movement that debated individual versus collective rights and the “responsibility” of citizens to preserve the health and resources of their society.”

    “…a “mercykilling” movement (did not begin in early 20th century) until Progressive reformers began to apply scientific principles to social problems and to privilege scientific over religious faith. Changing attitudes about euthanasia were not caused by changes in medical technologies (of which there were few) … but instead by changes in popular ideas and attitudes.”

    This from the Eugenics Archive:
    “… a new science of genetics gave birth to a new
    science of social engineering – eugenics.”

    Also, “A Brave New World: The Left, Social Engineering and Eugenics in Twentieth-Century Europe” (Leo Lucassen)

    I guess you could claim semantics but historically social engineering depended on eugenics to implement the policies of the social engineers.

    China’s one child policy was an example of social engineering with unintended consequences for the male/female ratio in a particular generation.

  • Tired feminist

    Why on earth would anyone give you money to do sex you would do anyway? That doesn’t make any fucking sense.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What on earth does that have to do with anything? People already do have the ‘choice’ to sell sex. That isn’t the point. Stop derailing.

    • David

      Really? OK Meghan you clearly support the ‘Nordic Model.’ If people do indeed have the choice to sell sex in let’s say Sweden, where exactly can they do so? Brothels? Their own home? Hotel rooms? Tell us exactly in which type of location they have the choice to sell sex?

      • Meghan Murphy

        The issue of ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ is really *not* about women’s ‘choice’ or ‘freedom’ to be bought by gross men, it’s about their ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ *not* to.

        • David

          In other words, women have choice, as long as they choose what YOU advocate. Clearly that isn’t a choice.

          I’m also curious as to why comments on this site need to be moderated.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Are you *really* curious as to why we don’t just let all comments through without moderating?? REALLY??? Have you ever looked at the internet? Please. Stop with the dumb questions.

            Also, you are a fucking idiot. Women only *choose* prostitution because they have no other choice and because of demand (from men). In any case, I have zero control over what other women *choose* and advocate to decriminalize prostituted women and girls.

            Prostitution is not about women’s freedom, it’s about male entitlement/power.

            Why don’t you tell *us* what your REAL concern is, because it’s clearly not women’s freedom.

          • anne

            Are you certifiably insane? You are arguing for your choice to coerce underprivileged, traumatised woman into selling her body to you for rape, in a society that deliberately sets everything up to ensure a constant supply of young, desperate, underprivileged women whose only choice is to let themselves be raped by pervert sadists while pretending to like it in order to make a living. You are a sociopath and a narcissist and you are gaslighting with your non-sensical BS.

          • Gaiauchis

            If you did pay women to have sex with you, they would never do it. Get over it, they dont find you attractive.

  • Lucia Lola

    Fantastic article. Thank you.

  • will

    Look, Nimrod, saying “it’s time johns were part of the debate” does not mean we want to have respectful conversation with you. You have already forfeited your claim to respectability. Bringing johns into the conversation means naming you to your friends and family, describing clearly what it is that you pay for, how often and for how much.

    Hey, it’s a job like any other and the only problem is stigma, so step up, tell us (and you daughters and your moms and your partners) what it is you get up to and start dismantling that stigma! Quit hiding behind the nannies who cover for you, apologize for you and lie for you, you fucking cowards.

  • Wire Bead

    No man should not be able to make the choice to pay someone in order to coerce her into allowing him to shove his dick into her body.

    The kind of man who makes this choice is a sad sack loser, contemptible, a man of very questionable character.

    I wouldn’t let children anywhere near a man like that. Not welcome anywhere near me or my family.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You have a problem with “free” sex? i.e. consensual sex? Or are you talking about something broader? Because feminists of course make connections between prostitution and male entitlement to sex all around — that includes rapists, men who coerce and manipulate women into sex, and the general accepted male ‘approach’ to ‘getting’ sex from women. I am aware your tiny little brain can’t understand complexities like this, of course.

  • This would suggest had careers to hurt. Do you have any idea how few “academics” get tenure anymore?

    The phenomenon of throwing other women under the bus to get ahead or feel safe isn’t limited to academia, and I don’t believe I said it was.

    Since you’re a man who’s confessed himself puzzled that anyone could have a problem with “buying sex,” I don’t really give a rat’s ass what else you do or don’t “buy.”

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh I really doubt there was any ‘debate.’ Don’t flatter yourself, David.

    The only reason any site would automatically let every single comment through without a moderator approving them is because they don’t have the ‘man power,’ as it were, to have someone in there reading every comment. I do this myself here, so as to ensure the site/comment section isn’t overrun by MRAs. It is a job that takes up a great deal of time and energy, so thank you for noticing and appreciating my labour.

  • deci

    At the end of the day, does it really matter what “johns” think? I understand that “johns” are targeted under the Nordic Model but it seems the ultimate goal of that policy is to prevent woman from engaging in prostitution by denying them clients. So in the debate between sex workers who want to continue to ply their trade unmolested by the state and prohibitionists who want to prevent them from doing so one way or another. The question of what “johns” think or feel seems moot.

    • Meghan Murphy

      The ultimate goal is to end demand and to change the way men — and society at large — think about women, sex, and the sex trade. The ultimate goal is to create an equitable society.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The term ‘prostituted woman’ implies that something is being done to the woman and speaks to the broader context for prostitution: patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism, etc. Prostitution does not happen inside a bubble — the ‘choice’ some women make to sell sex happens within a larger context that cannot be erased, if we wish to have an honest conversation about the sex trade. Prostitution is coercive by nature, yes. If you have to pay a woman in order to get her to have sex with you, that constitutes coercion.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh please. As if I’ve ever argued that no one should do any kind of work unless they enjoy it. Stop trolling.

  • rebel13

    I live in the US and I see prostituted women on the main drag four blocks from my house, every day.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I also see prostituted women on the Downtown Eastside every day.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Sex and money are fundamental human drives.”

    Sex may be, but money is not. Societies have exited without capitalism just fine. Also, sex need not be exploitative. Neither prostitution nor capitalism existed in Indigenous cultures pre-colonialism. Quit applying your ignorant, ahistorical, Westerncentric view to everything and pretending it’s Fact.

    • drash

      Sex is actually an appetite, not a drive. Men have been pushing the “drive” narrative for a long, long time, but it is really just another example of men pretending that their psychosocial anxieties are physiological dictates.

    • Yu Hu

      “Neither prostitution nor capitalism existed in Indigenous cultures pre-colonialism.”

      Are you sure about that? The Wikipedia article on the history of prostitution says that prostitution was practised among the Aztecs and Incas, the two most developed civilizations of the pre-Columbian Americas:

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’m sorry. I was talking specifically about Canada. I should have specified that.

  • Morag999

    “The day that Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez can enter a party full of healthy hetero cis-gender males and not one of them take them up an offer for a 1 hour romp for $100 will not happen unless every male on the planet is castrated.”

    I disagree. About castrating every male on the planet. I feel strongly that the men who do not use women as sex vending machines (i.e., as subhuman objects) should be spared and permitted (if they, with a willing partner, so choose) to reproduce.

    Then again, I’m soft-hearted. So your cold, practical, no-exceptions approach to ending the prostitution of girls and women might be more effective.

  • Si Llage

    LOL at you making genital tingles out to be some kind of cosmic existentialist act that brings meaning to your myopic life.

    You’re confusing genital tingles with the way imagining yourself superior to women feels good and engorges your head with smug blood.

  • Kendall Turtle

    And radical feminists are the ones called misandrists…

    • Morag999

      I know! He sounds so jaded and bitter. I wonder why deci hates men so much? Perhaps the most direct route to becoming a misandrist is the daily experience of BEING a man who does manly things?

  • Meghan Murphy

    The problem of male entitlement and sexual exploitation is bigger than just ‘enforcement actions.’

  • deci

    Meghan, I noticed some women don’t like you.

    “I’m not going to quote any of it because it’s vile even by her incredibly low standards, but here’s neofeminist lunatic Meghan Murphy on the subject of the pro-sex worker video game currently being developed in Canada. A warning for those unfamiliar with her: nearly everything the evil MM writes is the prose equivalent of a parody of The Exorcist, wherein MM’s head spins wildly about at dozens of RPMs, spewing horrifying volumes of noxious green vomit on everything within range. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart or those with weak stomachs”

    • Meghan Murphy

      Uh, yeah. Shocker — sex industry advocates feel my work threatens their projects. Maggie McNeill is an anti-feminist. Like, tell me something I don’t know. Also, maybe make a point?

      • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

        He is right, Meghan. All he is saying is that, as a woman, it is of utmost importance that *all women* like you. Yes, that’s right: all 3 billion women and girls on the planet must like you. I mean, we all already think the same way and share the same ideas, right?

        After all, feminism is a project that revolves around being popular and likability. Fighting the most corrosive and widespread system of oppression that humanity has ever known, which dehumanizes and maims the lives of over half of the world’s population, is not about disrupting pervasive narratives and challenging deeply ingrained assumptions as well as economic, political and cultural powers… no, no, no. Feminism is about none of those things. It’s about likability.

        The fact that a woman who considers human trafficking to be a made-up crusade for stuck-up feminist to “get moral” or something, is ample evidence of your this.

    • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

      You, our darling deci, don’t merit a response but since I am a Kind Feminist, here it is just for you:

      “I think that what our society teaches young girls, and I think it’s also something that’s quite difficult for even older women — self-professed feminists — to shrug off, is that idea that likability is an essential part of you, of the space you occupy in the world, that you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable, that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy, because you have to be likable.

      And I say that’s bullshit.

      So what I want to say to young girls is forget about likability. If you start off thinking about being likable you are not going to tell your story honestly, because you are going to be so concerned with not offending… And that’s going to ruin your story, so forget about likability. And also the world is such a wonderful, diverse, and multifaceted place that there’s somebody who’s going to like you; you don’t need to twist yourself into shapes.” -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    • Melanie

      It’s funny how you just ran off to find a woman whose arguments you can hide behind.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    So, women just love gang bangs, like, by nature? Deci I’d like you to answer Petronella’s question. What would make you sell yourself? Not “if you were a woman”, but you, Deci?

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    Indeed you’ve got the patriarchy down pat. It’s a “feeling” women have.

  • Kendall Turtle

    Right? I literally lost a person I used to look up to because I criticized his use of “food porn” -_-

  • radwonka

    Ikr? Survivors are already silenced,and he still thinks that we shouldnt listen to them?

    These men who support the rape industry prove that they dont give a fuck about victims.

    • Kendall Turtle

      It’s like “omg why do we keep talking about all the polio victims?! Plenty of people don’t die from polio, why even get rid of it?”

  • Gaiauchis

    Because we’re supposed to think all prostituted women live in a fairytail, duh

  • radwonka

    And you think I dont know that? Where did I say there is a NEED to coerce women?

    Maybe you should give lessons to johns and not abolitionnists.

  • Meghan Murphy


  • David

    Except that they’re not. And no jurisdiction legally regards them as such.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Most prostituted women don’t have a choice in who they see and are pressured to engage in all sorts of acts they do not wish to engage in. Those who do have some level of “choice” are STILL in a position where they are engaging in sex acts with men they wouldn’t otherwise give the time of day.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Because you are wasting people’s time. Your ‘points’ are idiotic and have been addressed thousands of times over on this very site. READ IT. Then come back. You are leaving the same ignorant, basic-ass comments every boring pro-sex industry dude leaves here. It’s amazing how original you all think you are.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Dude. Stop just repeating already debunked myths over and over again. Also, I block people who harass and troll me, not people who simply have different opinions than I. It is not my job to respond to smears, lies, or stupidity all day every day.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are clearly unaware that the abolitionist movement is led, in large part, by survivors of the sex trade. The Nordic model *does* work and is of course opposed by those who are invested in maintaining and growing the industry. We’ve responded to Amnesty’s bunko research and position many times over, which you’d know, if you had any familiarity with this debate/site. Again, READ. Your ‘countering points’ are based in nothing but what you’ve read on Twitter.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh please. You are so full of shit. Like, these important inventions are the things you demand be posted? You are a troll and you have no idea what you are talking about. I promise you I will keep deleting your comments if you keep wasting our time and responding with misrepresentations, lies, or ‘points’ that are based in nothing but hearsay and ignorance, so knock yourself out.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are a dude, dude. And this is your last comment here. Byeeeeeeeeee.

  • Mellie

    You reckon most sex workers choose their buyers. Especially those who work with a pimp. Especially those in south east Asia who are poor??

  • Tired

    It’s not criminalising their income, it’s criminalising the Johns and the Pimps and others that make money off the whole thing. It offers a real choice to prostitutes if they choose to take it. They can still work if they want to or they can get help to get out if they want to. That’s what real choice looks like not the pretend ‘choice’ of legitimising the industry (and in the process the Johns etc).
    And you may as well ask how come so many people use and sell drugs if they are still illegal in most places. There is no model that will work perfectly for everyone but the ones that approach issues from a harm minimisation basis for the most vulnerable people in the chain tend to work better if you look at the evidence. Just because sex work is still happening doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and approach it with a view to offering the best outcomes for the most vulnerable people involved in it.

  • Hierophant2

    As an Anarchist, I agree, yes. All capitalist work contracts are non-consensual because they exploit the fact that workers are prevented from owning the means of production, and therefore have to contract for work to survive.

  • marv

    Men’s laws typically govern the world. Until that changes women’s lives will not ordinarily determine the laws.

  • I love this essay. Thank you.