Why are prostitutes noteworthy all unto themselves? What really differentiates them from the rest of the herd?
I keep getting into occasional disputes with people, mostly online, about the topic of prostitution and their desire to eradicate it. For the record, I personally support decriminalization and am not much of a fan of legalized schemes, not unless they somehow operated in conjunction with a decriminalized scheme that allowed independents to do what they do without being subject to police harassment and arrest. That’s a pretty radical attitude, I’m sure, and it’s been my stance for over a decade now, as a former independent escort (2003-2009).
Now, what I find mildly amusing is how many folks out here view prostitutes as the worst of the worst, as people needing to be intervened on more and more, as if prostitution is going away anytime soon. I’m full of sneers on this topic, because I see it as perfect hypocrisy that so many folks concern themselves with what others do even (especially) when it doesn’t directly affect them.
People say exchanging sex for money is a crime. But I ask what if a person is exchanging sex for access to resources and money from one individual? Do we not call that a relationship or marriage? That’s not to belittle marriage, seeing as how it can also involve child-rearing and love, but it needn’t involve those things is the point here. What if a person exchanges sex for money from 2 people or 3 people or 5 people on an ongoing, exclusive basis? Is that still somehow a crime needing to be punished by society? I’m asking where is the defining line.
People say a prostitute has multiple clients. Okay, she might. She doesn’t have to though. But folks like to squall about how a prostitute seeing dozens if not hundreds of men is a major problem for all of society. To which I say: Do you feel the same way about people who sleep around with high numbers of partners without accepting money directly in exchange? It remains perfectly legal to go to a bar or a club and to pick up a new sexual partner every night. You can even go out and trade sex in exchange for dinners, drinks, gifts, a place to stay, to enhance one’s professional connections, etc., and who can make a legal argument against that? Some may try to make an ethical argument against it, but that’s outside of the scope of criminality, which is what sex workers are being forced to contend with.
I find it irritatingly bizarre how people refuse to comprehend how blurred the lines are when it comes to human sexuality. Humans exchange sex, according to supply and demand, for all sorts of perks and benefits. Sometimes it’s simply for attention, but it can also be utilized to secure one’s place in an ongoing arrangement that indeed does involve money but is not exchanged transactionally in a tit-for-tat way. Yet people have little to say about that. But is it not prostitution essentially? If I chose to marry a man for money and granted him exclusive access to me sexually, is that eerily similar to prostitution? In fact, what would be the real difference?
If a woman chooses to see a handful of men fairly regularly and exchange sex for money, an agreement all involved are on board with, why is this deemed a crime? Or is it only a criminal concern in the minds of most when the individual takes it to the streets? Well, either way, in the eyes of the Law both are viewed as prostitution and cops indeed do waste time and resources going after under-the-radar escorts who arguably don’t pose a big problem for the rest of society.
I’ve always found that irritating and just this morning conducted a search online and found a blog of some vigilante from a city I used to work and live in who posts up information he dug up on the local working girls, claiming we’re destroying families and marriages and that we’re disease-ridden.
Can’t speak for the rest of you, but I was STD tested FAR more than ANY CIVILIAN I EVER MET. Period. And I never contracted an STD from a client, nor spread one. Why? Because condom use is the norm in that industry, for one, and because I wasn’t jumping in bed with just anybody and everybody who waved money in my face. Imagine that. There are screening requirements in order to stay safe and to reduce the chances of dealing with drug-addicted and/or dangerous men. BUT…on the topic of STDS…
Anyone can go out and contract an STD, no money need be involved. Of the two men I’ve known who contracted HIV, both did so in their personal lives. One was a gay man, one was hetero. Neither case involved them paying a prostitute (though one did in fact involve a personal relationship with a, come to find out, knowingly infected street-walker — pisses me off to no end — tragic fucking case). Of the females I’ve known who’ve contracted STDs, none were prostitutes. They met men at bars and slept with them for free. The one time I contracted an STI (one and only, in 2008. luck has been on my side there) was from a jerk (truly turned out to be the case) I casually met at a bar, wearing a suit (vouched for by the bartender even — and I had been going in to that wine bar from time to time for a few years by then, bringing clients even), who readily acknowledged and claimed to appreciate upfront that I stated I would go with him to listen to music but wasn’t interested that evening in sex. Tough titty said the kitty… Not a good memory of a randomly met guy I seemed to jibe with while out at a bar. Luckily Trichomoniasis is easily and quickly curable and I was treated ASAP through Planned Parenthood.
I point that out since people love to blame escorts/prostitutes for STD transmission when it’s plain as day that people are spreading diseases just through sex alone, regardless of whether money is involved. And in fact, there are statistics that claim in the U.S. prostitutes have a 30% lower STD rate than the general population due to much stricter condom usage. That was reported in a book titled Prostitution: On Whores, Hustlers, and Johns by James E. Elias (Ph.D.), et al. (which included a forward written by former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders). So put that in your pipe and smoke it. [Update: Been years since I read that book. Need to find a used copy and quote the actual stats mentioned. Will eventually do so, or someone else can post up the relevant portion of the book if they have access to a copy. I’m going on personal recollection here, having read the book back in 2003. Would like to quote it accurately and thoroughly and will do so and make mention of it here.]
As for wrecking family values… What family values? A man who wants to remain a family man and not part with his money or engage in sex with someone outside of his marriage is free to do so. No one is forcing him to go visit a sex worker. Hell, I’m on board with the notion that people who agree to be exclusive with one another probably ought to uphold those vows. But how do you stop them? By removing all temptations? lol Good luck with that. Plenty of people engage in affairs that, once again, have nothing to do with exchanging money directly for sex. So what can be done about that? Should all women be put on lock-down and made to wear burkas and not allowed outside of the house without a male family member escorting her?
It seems to me when it comes to so-called “family values” that the only people capable of maintaining such values are those who willfully do so. Can’t force it. Can’t legally sanction it (beyond what’s already on the books relating to divorce law in some states). People possess a measure of free will to decide how to conduct themselves, right or wrong, so if we’re going to talk about the problems our society faces it would help to place responsibility on all involved rather than to see it simply as these poor men being taken advantage of by advertisements on the internet luring them into driving to hotels and parting with their money. As if they don’t possess choice. As if they aren’t grown men capable of comprehending the risks they take, not only with their bodily health but also the well-being of their marriages. So give credit where it’s due.
I’m damned tired of human beings and all the excuses we drum up for why this class of people deserves to be vilified while that class over there is nothing but a bunch of helpless victims of circumstance because they happen to be men with families. And I’m damned tired of people acting like everybody else’s sex lives is somehow their business. Look, if you don’t agree with prostitution, fine, but this dream of eradicating it isn’t realistic. Sex can be and is exchanged for all sorts of things and always has been. Always. Look back through history, especially getting back to primitive relations. None of this is new. The only thing new in the equation today is the capitalist economy, which does add a special type of burden since we’re all in need of money and yet not all are constituted equally. Supply and demand. You don’t have to like it, and in some ways I don’t even like it, but it is what it is.
To regulate the sex of sex workers would require the regulation of sex for ALL CITIZENS. And since that is impossible, all we’re left with is this cat-and-mouse game. Some play it for years and are never caught. Thanks to the internet it’s much more easy for sex workers to conceal what they’re up to, and since it keeps the activity off the streets and confined to apartments and hotels it’s not exactly presenting a public nuisance. And yet some folks can’t be content with that either. Why? I guess some folks seek out something to hunt down and track and expose to the light. Why? I’m of the assumption that they take great issue with humanity at its core, that they can’t stand the “dirty underbelly” of human nature and economics, and some I think just want to feel like better humans than others. Well, have at it, assholes. You still won’t ever win. There’s too much demand and too many people to try to keep up with.
This is indeed more unwinnable than the drug war.
But you can’t convince people of anything when they’re convinced they’re morally in the right.
I’ve tired of humans in a major way throughout this whole learning and living process. I’ve tired of so many of your laws and your drive to micromanage one another and your righteous indignation in the face of something that truly isn’t your business. There’s plenty in this life I don’t like either, but who cares? Nobody. So I went about earning a living and taking care of myself in a way I knew how, and I still don’t regret it, though I don’t necessarily recommend it either. Everything comes with tradeoffs and life isn’t peachy for plenty of people. Isn’t so simple and sweet and innocent. I’m sorry, folks, but life is complicated, and we can’t live up in a society together without transgressing on one another’s ideas of how society should rightly function.
Hell, I took supreme issue with the corporate bailouts and saw that as a far worse crime than any prostitute could manage. But do others see it that way? Apparently not. Yet they want me to care about their feelings when it comes to my getting by in this world? Get the fuck out of here with that.
Here we stand, a herd of cat-like individuals doing our own things, pissing each other off non-stop. Some like to imagine if they keep fighting “the good fight” they’ll eventually triumph over that which they deem to be “bad,” but in reality it’s going to go on and on and on. Because that’s how humans operate. Criminalize something and you wind up with a game of whack-a-mole. Try to legalize something and you’ll still find outliers who say “fuck your scheme, it’s not for me.” Always. I see no way around that.
These thoughts were generated this morning thanks to a fairly brief exchange with a user who goes by the screenname “MRAsExposed” on Divinity33372’s latest video’s comment section: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6mks484h6E&google_comment_id=z12at1fqlmyvdbtj504cgf35evbfuduo1jw [I noticed since posting this that MRAsExposed deleted at least one of his/her comments on that thread, for the record. Namely the last one where he or she told me to not reply to him/her again.]
But it’s the same argument I’ve had with people for years. Nothing really new. No minds wind up changed. Just is what it is, and on and on it goes. I don’t claim to have the answers, just observing life unfolding…