Why do men use prostitutes?

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CMOT Dibbler
Why do men use prostitutes?

 

CMOT Dibbler

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=24&t=001261]C... the discussion that began in the Masturbating clients ‘not sexual’ in Ontario? thread.[/url]

quote:

Just a question: why is it that mostly men do this, and not women?

Is this question rhetorical, or are you interested in my answer?

arborman

It's a good question, and I have no easy answer because I've never really considered hiring a prostitute.

I can speculate that men (or women) might hire a prostitute because they are:

- lonely and/or horny, but shy
- in a relationship that doesn't work for whatever reason
- desirous of a non-emotional sexual act
- caught up in the twisted gender relations of our society where sex is a commodity (some want it, others have it, some will sell it)

I've been in a long-term monogamous relationship for over a decade now, so I only barely remember the frustration/horniness/loneliness/desire nexus that is the unfortunate reality for many single men and women, so I probably can't speak with any authority.

CMOT Dibbler

uneccisary post.

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

martin dufresne

In response to JAS's question
Real reasons:
a) Men's unaccountable disposable income and women's poverty, a.k.a. "because we can and because they have to"
b) Misogyny, because it is part of contemporary male culture to get off on objectifying, commoditizing women
c) To impress other men, using public women as a kind of currency
d) For pleasure - no-strings-attached sex allows men to "get it" on demand, without the effort associated with maintaining a relationship
e) Because other men (politicians, judge Chisvin) let them do so and allow pimps to supply them with disempowered women, regardless of legislation
f) Because pornography/neo-liberalism has men believe that women who are in prostitution love what they do (see below)
g) _____________________________________

Un-real reasons:
a) the so-called "nexus of horniness" - in fact, most johns are married or have a regular partner, more often so than non-clients in fact,
b) "in order to have a more sensual sexual experience with a sexual partner who is skilled in many sexual techniques" NOT - we are usually talking about a hand job, blow job, or quickie with a generally strung-out half-dressed stranger who is trying to get out of the car or room ASAP
c)_______________________________________

(Feel free to cut-and-paste this, adding your own answers)

[ 29 September 2007: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

martin dufresne

What if we listened to the women and youths that men prostitute...

Sociologist Said Bouamama and journalist Claudine Legardinier interviewed prostituted women and men and asked them to answer this very question, i.e. to describe their clients' motivations.

Here is an excerpt from their book [b]Les clients de la prostitution - l'enquкte[/b] (Presses de la renaissance, Paris, 2006:

"Nos interlocutrices - et interlocuteurs - qui, face а la duretй du quotidien, montrent une force et des ressources stupйfiantes, dйcrivent froidement les hommes qui les paient. А les entendre, il y a "de tout". Pour reprendre et rassembler leurs termes : "Des jeunes et beaux qui ont tout pour plaire, des orduriers qui laissent les filles en larmes, des types avec une odeur de sueur, des gentils, des odieux qui jettent les billets par terre pour vous forcer а les ramasser, des pathйtiques dans une grande misиre humaine, des hommes qui en veulent pour leur argent, des pervers qui demandent qu’on les piйtine ou qu’on les fouette, des types prкts а allonger des fortunes pour faire de vous une esclave, des hommes malheureux qui voudraient un sentiment de la part de la prostituйe, d’autres pour qui les femmes n’existent pas. Йnormйment d’hommes qui aiment les gamines. Des RMistes qui se tapent un dйlire. Des gars qui pensent qu’ils ont tous les droits parce qu’ils ont payй. Des obsйdйs, mais pas tant que зa. Des maris qui enlиvent leur alliance et la remettent а la fin. Des malades qui vous disent : "Tu pourrais кtre ma fille." Des violents qui essaient de vous йtrangler avec une ceinture."

More at [url=http://sisyphe.org/article.php3?id_article=2334]http://sisyphe.org/artic...

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

CMOT Dibbler

Jas:I'm not sure why men use prostitutes more often then women do.(not all Johns are depraved or power hungry) I'm not sure whether this is true all over the world or whether it is something which is confined to certain countries( are there countries in which women access the services of gigalos on a regular basis?). What I am certain of, is that no good can come of making sex work illigal. Making it possible for sex workers to ply their trade legally would be a small but important victory in the battle to make Canada a less mysginist place.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well the only time I ever went to a prostitute it was because I wanted to know what going to a prostitute would be like. What is it like to pay for sex?

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
Un-real reasons:
a) the so-called "nexus of horniness" - in fact, most johns are married or have a regular partner
b) "in order to have a more sensual sexual experience with a sexual partner who is skilled in many sexual techniques" NOT - we are usually talking about a hand job, blow job, or quickie with a generally strung-out half-dressed stranger who is trying to get out of the car or room ASAP
[b]c) To conduct a police investigation of a massage parlour (See: [url=http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight.do?language=en&searchTitle=Advanc... for Judgment released on June 22, 2007[/url])[/b]

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]


And I qoute from that Judgement:

quote:

The officer then asked the attendant what services were available and she responded that she would not do full sex or oral sex. She did say that for an extra twenty dollars she would go topless. The officer said okay and the female then removed her top. The attendant also advised the officer that he could touch them a little if he wanted. The female continued to massage the officer’s legs, back, buttocks and shoulders for about twenty minutes. She then asked if he would roll over. She then began to massage Constable Cole’s chest area and asked if he wanted her to massage him anywhere else. The officer said “yes”. The female asked that Constable Cole show her. He then directed her hands to his groin area. She placed her hand on Constable Cole’s penis, and said “here”. The officer said “yes”. The officer then testified that she asked him if he wanted more oil. Constable Cole said “yes”. Then “she put more oil on her hands and then brought her hot hand back onto my penis and it was at this point that ____________________________________________


Feel free to cut and paste and fill in whatever "happy ending" you prefer.

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

jas

quote:


Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
[b] What I am certain of, is that no good can come of making sex work illigal. [/b]

I don't have an opinion about this one way or another. I haven't read up on the issue.

I asked the other question out of genuine curiosity, and perhaps in the hopes of inspiring some introspection.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, we could introspect on this.

What if a person was possessed of a physical state whereby traditional dating, might not be an option available to them but they wished to also to experience the kinds of things most people have a reasonable expectation of experiencing in their lives, and so enjoy their life to the fullest, say by the commissioning of a hand job? In those circumstances would you consider hiring a professional person to accomodate your desires and needs an expression of the powerful over the powerless, or an act of empowerment?

Or is sex only a privilege of the able bodied?

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

martin dufresne

A pleasant alibi but not the case.

(…) one can see a clear pattern in a Swedish study that the experience of paying for sex is greatest among men with a lot of sexual partners (Mеnsson 1998:242). This is probably a fact that goes against the popular notion of the client as being “lonely” and “sexually needy. ” In a similar North American study it was found that clients were much more likely than men in general to report that they had more than one sexual partner over the past year, 56 percent as compared to 19 percent (Monto 2000:72).(...)

From: “Men’s practices in prostitution and their implications for social work, ” Sven-Axel Mеnsson, [url=http://www.aretusa.net/download/centro%20documentazione/03contributi/c-0...

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]A pleasant alibi but not the case.
[/b]

So you are saying that some people who are disabled should simply go without sex for there entire lives? And were they to hire someone for this purpose the real reason would to excericing their dominant economic position in society for the sake of feeling their own male power and for "no-strings-attached sex" and to ""get it" on demand, without the price associated with an actual relationship"?

Sounds kind of ablest to me. I didn't realize that physically disabled people were part of the dominant economic elite. You're saying no consideration should be made for such persons?

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

I have glanced through your most recent scholastic reference, and found that nowhere in it were mentioned issues relating to disabled people and prostitution. It is simply not covered.

Disabled people seeking sex from prostitutes would be merely be expressing their latent "dirty whore" fantasies and the like?

In anycase have you read any scholastic material covering this subject area, pertaining to prostitution and disabled people, or only the stuff that supports the case that suits your prejudices?

Perhaps you could start here:

quote:

Exposed: the last taboo

Sex and disability are rarely discussed in the same sentence. Even less is said about prostitutes and surrogates. But these sexual services exist and, for better or worse, some disabled people use them. Sarah Hobson investigates


[url=http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/timetotalksex/timetotalksex_feat1.htm]Di... Now[/url]

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

This is also interesting:

quote:

TLC is a group of disabled and non-disabled people who work together in a voluntary capacity, to provide information and contact opportunities so that disabled people have access to the best possible commercial sexual services. We also provide background support for our sex workers.

[url=http://www.tlc-trust.org.uk/index.php]Connecting disabled men and women with responsible sex workers[/url]

martin dufresne

No one can force you to take into account evidence that dispels your little thought experiment, of course.
But don't you think that - beside being demonstrably false - it is kind of insulting to assert that sanctions against johns discriminate against the disabled?
Or to suggest that disabled people cannot have sexual partners and must pay for sex?

Cueball Cueball's picture

I would say, Martin, [i]that in the real world[/i], it is substantially more difficult for disabled people to date.

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Meanwhile Rebecca, 27, says: "As a disabled woman, the only thing I can't do that my able-bodied friends can is have sex. I am severely disabled, although I can go to night-clubs and pubs and lead a full life. [b]I would like to have a surrogate boyfriend[/b] if he treated me as an equal - I would hate to be patronised. But I live in a residential home [b]so I need to know that the men are police checked otherwise the manager won't let me see them."[/b]

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


John, a wheelchair user in his 30s, has no sexual experience at all. He has a job and lives with his parents in a rural part of Northern Ireland, but sex has never been discussed.[b] He cannot use dating agencies, he says, because he is physically unable to open mail and does not want to bother his personal assistants (PAs)[/b].

martin dufresne

I am concerned that "Cueball" is instrumentalizing the disabled - who, is in his examples, do NOT use prostituted people - to protect the privileges of the non-disabled and partnered people that do.

Not unlike white heterosexual adult men's rightists who instrumentalize the condition patriarchy imposes on young gays or Native people by claiming their disproportionate suicides as "men's lot"...

Michelle

Interesting. I've been feeling for a while now that you've been "instrumentalizing" feminism - that is, claiming it as your own movement, to be used as a weapon against people (including feminist women!) who advocate something you're morally opposed to - despite the fact that many feminist women, including sex trade workers, and including quite a few feminists on babble, would like to see prostitution decriminalized.

It's interesting, that whole appropriation of voice thing, huh?

[ 25 September 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

jas

Out of respect for Cueball, we could perhaps change the thread title to: [i]why do able-bodied men use prostitutes?[/i]

jas

PS: having worked with disabled people before, I know that some of them DO in fact date and do have sex lives, sometimes with the help of their personal attendants.

Lots of able-bodied people, however, don't date or have sex lives, and they don't use prostitutes. Your argument doesn't really answer the question that [i]I'm[/i] asking.

Geneva

quote:


Originally posted by jas:
[b]Out of respect for Cueball, we could perhaps change the thread title to: [i]why do able-bodied men use prostitutes?[/i][/b]

yes, and I would answer: men have greater power, freedom and means to pursue their desires, and notoriously can separate sex and love to a greater extent than women, while being at far less risk of its consequences

hence the popularity of prostitution throughout history

.

[ 25 September 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]

jas

quote:


Originally posted by Geneva:
[b]

yes, and I would answer: men have greater power, freedom and means to pursue their desires, and notoriously can separate sex and love to a greater extent than women, while being at far less risk of its consequences
[/b]


Yes, except I would change a few words. "Power" to "control". Men don't have "power" over other people, they have control. "Freedom" is not a word that applies here, but "means", yes, perhaps.

However women now have means, unprecedented in modern history, to pursue their desires, and yet we don't see a sharp spike in prostitution that serves women, unless these women are using female prostitutes.

I think the separating sex from emotions factor is definitely key, and it's not just something men [i]can[/i] do, it's something they also choose to do. Why do they choose to do it?

Geneva

in the core market for prostitution, yes, men hugely predominate and probably always will

but in some niche markets, women are emerging as far more active:
for example, there was a recent film here in France, Vers le Sud (Heading South) starring Charlotte Rampling, about French women and sex tourism -- in this case to Haiti and the Caribbean islands generally:
[url=http://tinyurl.com/38t7pm]http://tinyurl.com/38t7pm[/url]

[url=http://tinyurl.com/29oq3u]http://tinyurl.com/29oq3u[/url]

unimaginable in previous eras, now many Western professional women have the social freedom and means to go to an island and rent some young and muscular guy for a night/week or two, and they do

.

[ 25 September 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]

Michael Hardner

quote:


This is probably a fact that goes against the popular notion of the client as being “lonely” and “sexually needy.

Martin - saying people with many sexual partners using prostitutes goes against that notion... isn't it like saying fat people shouldn't go to restaurants ? It seems to me that people with a large appetite for such things would be more likely to be a consumer.

Just trying to understand...

Makwa Makwa's picture

quote:


Originally posted by jas:
[b]PS: having worked with disabled people before, I know that some of them DO in fact date and do have sex lives, sometimes with the help of their personal attendants. [/b]

That is true, as I experienced as a health care worker. Disabled people who are mobility or otherwise challenged are often as desirous of contact as most of us, but have few opportunities to make contacts in the 'typical' venues. Moreover, some of those I worked with also sought same-sex professional contacts.

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by jas:
[b]Out of respect for Cueball, we could perhaps change the thread title to: [i]why do able-bodied men use prostitutes?[/i][/b]

I can't help but agree with substantive parts of the analysis of power relationships, sex and prostitution, as laid out by Mr. Dufresne above. There is no doubt in my mind that the relative economic factors have impacts both in terms of the ability of men to aquire sex "on demand" and women's decision to provide them, even over their moral misgivings.

I don't think there is any need to argue that here, nor do I think anyone has.

I would say in relationship to the theoretical arguments put forward here by Mr. Dufresne that there are two useful areas of discussion here, one the theoretical framework in which we analyze prostitution in an ideal sense, and the other, how analyse it in its real day to day context of social relations in the light of that theoretical framework so as to have positive impacts the lives of women as a whole.

In the first aspect, those of abstracted theory, I would say that Mr Dufresne's agruements fail to address the issue of women's relationship to capitalism, and makes the mistake of reducing the issue simply to one of sexism, as expressed in patriarchal relations. This is not to say that patriarchal relations are not a major factor in determining how capitalist relations are manifested (for instance in the case of prostitution) but to say that the commodification of sex persists as an aspect of capitalist relations, and also patriarchal ones. Race also seems to play a factor here too, as women who are economically marginalized because of their sex [i]and[/i] because of their race are more likely to turn to this means of making a living.

In the real world this means, that simply outlawing prostitution, closing down bawdy houses and the like is going to do no good whatsoever, as long as women continue to find themselves in a situation were it is difficult to economically sustain themselves through other means.

In fact, I believe that arguing for the continued criminalization of it, without critiquing the present social relations as embodied in capitalist relations as we know them and can reasonably effect them at this point in time is to further marginalize prostitutes and make them more vulnerable overall by squeezing them into a social category which can be preyed upon both by the police, and by criminal elements, and also by stygamtizing them and destroying their self-esteem, and thus also making them that much more vulnerable to the forces that prey upon them, and suceptible to drug addiction and the like.

For example, I can not imagine many prostitutes are very comfortable with the idea of calling up their parents and saying: "I just had a really bad date can I come home now," though something along these lines does happen, many end up turning to their pimps in such situations.

Recently a group of protitutes in Vancouver were accosted by a man wielding a gun, who was set upon by a group of pimps, who then took his gun away and shot him.

So, in the real world, aside from the idealized theory, I think Mr. Dufresne's stand contributes too and excibate the opression of women in the sex trade, by stygamtizing them not only in the eyes of society at large but also within the feminist movement itself. This can only compound the problem, IMO.

As to your main point, about "why do able-bodied men use prostitutes," all I can say is that the very debate which has been exposed here about disabled people seeing prostitutes, wether or not that is morally right or wrong, [i]and the consequent proposal to ammend the thread title,[/i] leaves me in doubt as to whether or not the community might consider the act of masturbation [i]in all[/i] situations to be sexual, and might not consider them to be a humanitarian act of some kind.

[ 25 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

martin dufresne

We don't have to follow "Cueball" in conjuring a hypothetical disabled person's need of masturbation by seomeone else.
It is clear from R. v. Ponomarev that the only instance where society will cast doubt over the sexual character of masturbation is when application of the law against pimping and keeping a bawdy-house becomes inconvenient to a tax-paying corporate citizen like Mr. Ponomarev (and to the municipal authorities who provided him with his operating permit).
For another example of this dynamic, search the Web for "Douglas Henry Eastaugh", an Alberta pimp who got off the hook a few years ago by demonstrating the complicity of municipal authorities in supplying him with escorts and a permit to exploit them.
(One of them fell or was pushed to her death from a Vancouver hotel, five years ago.)

Cueball Cueball's picture

Why don't you google that, and provide us with the source, so that we can verify your claims about the issue. Given your past record of distortions, it is becoming apparent that you tend to ferret out bits and pieces from news stories solely for the purpose of making them fit into your sometimes fantasy laden prejudices.

martin dufresne

Wouldn't you rather trust yourself? Mmmm... I guess not.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Other than the theoretical journals you have evidenced, none of the examples you have used to demonstrate your thesis in real life have said what you say they say. In fact some of them can not be sourced to a real event at all, but just things that you have heard.

One would think that someone with such a keen interest in this subject would have links to these sources on hand, but no, you don't.

Is this because you have not read these sources yourself, or because you know that they do not actually match your account and so are limiting access by not providing links, so that people will be more likely just to accept what you say on face value, or are you just a spoilt boy who assumes that other people (mostly women) will do the work for you?

[ 25 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Saber

Why should prostitution be illegal?

Saber

Why shouldn't men pay?

1234567

My opinion:

Men use prostitutes because they get off on being naughty.

Our society makes prostitution look dirty and like the forbidden fruit. Most men in North America are brought up by Christian households where they are taught that sex is naughty and you shouldn't enjoy it etc.

I'm not a guy but I figure enough of them give their two cents on what women want, so I figure they can put up with my arm chair analysis of them. This wine is good, wreaking havoc with my spelling tho'

Saber

quote:


Men use prostitutes because they get off on being naughty.

Maybe that's why they want to keep it illegal

[ 25 September 2007: Message edited by: Saber ]

martin dufresne

Illegal for women. Legal for pimps and johns.

Which is why i am working to immediately decriminalize soliciting by women and youths but to effectively dissuade men from using women and youths as cash cows, status symbols, sex toys, naughty fantasy fodder.

1234567

At the level you are working at. It ain't gonna happen. These perversions are handed down from generation to generation. They convince you that you are dirty because you want to fuck. 'which is a human urge. They convince women that they are dirty because they didn't "protect" themselves from fucking. I am being base here but it's the truth. I see it in the way that fmailies teach their children. It's actually quite sick. We are taught to despise ourselves and our human urges. It's counterproductive.It stops us from evolving as a species.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I think that if we are going to entertain the general conception of the purposes and means, that are at the heart of sex industry, as Martin outlined, I think we should entertain other possibilities.

For instance lets at first recognize the historical facts of the laws that have been put into place to criminalize prostitution. Prostitution was not made illegal at the behest of the feminist movement. It is not as if Parliment rolled over one day, discovered Andrea Dworkin, and suddenly realized that it should make prostitution illegal as a necessary means to safeguard women from exploitation.

In fact, it is an age old set of laws, which come directly much older patriarchal forms bound up in Christian morality. That is the fact of its origin.

Interestingly Angela Carter in her work on sex, sadism, sexual agency, pornography, prostitution, and the Marquee De Sade called the "Sadian Woman" suggests a completely different relationship between prostitution and male power.

She suggests that banning prostitution was in fact a means through which patriarchal power structures ensured female fealty to patriarchal marriage relations, since from the middle ages onward one of the only possible means through which women could even hope to secure economic independence, or financial security outside of the patriarchal family was through the avails of selling her body, and that the prohibition against prostitution served to bind her even more to that servitude. She further goes on to suggest that in that context marital relations were really not much more that sanctioned prostitution, bound by social norms, enforced by the church. So in effect banning prostitution served really to enforce the principle that women were fundamentally the property of their husband.

Interstingly, this furthering of restrictions upon prostitution comes at precisely the same time as the general clamping down on womens rights to own property in the middle ages, and the period of witch burning. Few people know it but women had much more independence prior to the Victorian period, and that part of the Christian purge of social undesirables and heretics, of the 16th century (including women who chose to remain independent of mainstream christian culture,) was the revoking of traditional inheritance rights that made wives the first inheritors of family properties, and not the eldest male.

In these circumstances, women had very few options other than marriage, as a means of ensuring their own economic security which were not bound to Patirachal family relations. Carter suggests that prostitution was stygamtized and banned specifically to further restrict women's ability to accumulate independent wealth, and thus bind them to Christian marital relationships, which, given that marriage in most cases was directly an economic/sexual relationship was basicly prostitution anyway, without any liberty whatsoever.

[ 25 September 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

1234567

cueball you give your sex far too much credit. The truth probably is that they were too cheap to pay for a full time mistress so voila, pay a part timer. Even if there was one or two guys that wanted to bring down women...the rest wouldn't go along, not because they are honourable but basically because, "why bother"

Cueball Cueball's picture

Collective social norms are ideological constructs that don't necessarily need to be conciously evoked in order to be effective.

1234567

sorry cueball, i'm to tipsy to have a serious debate. I shouldn't even be on here. I have to cover one eye to see straight. again, my apologies.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Not a problem. Just some ideas.

Michelle

Saber: great to see you here again! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

martin dufresne

Michelle wrote:
« I've been feeling for a while now that you've been "instrumentalizing" feminism - that is, claiming it as your own movement, to be used as a weapon against people (including feminist women!) who advocate something you're morally opposed to - despite the fact that many feminist women, including sex trade workers, and including quite a few feminists on babble, would like to see prostitution decriminalized.
It's interesting, that whole appropriation of voice thing, huh? »

Hi Michelle,
Yes, I agree that appropriation of voice is a huge problem, including in debates about prostitution and gender relations in general. I also agree that it is easy to do it – or to give the impression that one is doing it – whenever a man endorses women’s speech about men’s oppression of women, or discusses it from his own experience. I try very hard to avoid doing so – for instance never speaking out without a feminist having at least equal time - but I always listen to women to find out if I am failing.
So despite your jocular tone, I want you to know I am taking this challenge very seriously, which is why I thought a bit before responding - always a good idea!;-)

Would you point out where you feel I have "claimed feminism as my own movement"? I have quoted and referred to women in prostitution, feminists and feminist organizations critical of men's prostituting of women – including men's anti-woman laws and policies –, and I have offered my own analyses of how the law and the courts protect pimps and johns’ treatment of dispossessed women. How is this claiming feminism as my own movement in your eyes?

Also, I wonder how does quoting arguments that seem true to me in a very real – and very painful - struggle between women who disagree about whether or not to legalize pimping/brothels/johns make me responsible for their words « used as a weapon » against advocates of said legalization. This struggle existed long before I piped up, I didn't invent it... Indeed, I stayed on the sidelines for years – in the face of a controversy I feared appearing to attempt arbitrating – before women convinced me that men’s role in prostitution and the immense harm we wrought made it imperative for EVERYONE to take a stand. In terms of my choices, I live in Quebec and it was Quebec feminists (at the Quebec Federation of Women) who made the choice four years ago, as did the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres throughout Canada, to draw a distinction between decriminalizing the actions of prostituted people and maintaining social pressure on the actions of the people who prostitute them. I am accountable to those feminist coalitions and have referred you all to their position papers, without pretending to speak in their name or instead of them. So I don’t see how I am appropriating or instrumentalizing their voices as my own in any way when I quote them and document the problem with my work.

Finally, you characterize and implictly dismiss my opposition as « moral ». It is a fact that there is always a moral dimension to Left-wing politics (acknowledging harm and responsibility, siding with the oppressed), but I really believe that it is oppression and not some defective morality I am opposing, especially the "immorality" alleged of prostituted women when men are always absolved sight unseen on a purported basis of "need".

Personally, I have no illusion of moralizing men away from privilege and power (although I know many liberals do), even if I remain optimistic that men will, someday, break ranks and oppose patriarchy in sufficient numbers to make a difference. Yet, I am even more hopeful that the widening rift between ultra-liberal and ultra-conservative strategies will tear down the moral cover that men exploit – both in the Right and in the Left – to use and hurt women, in both paying and non-paying « relationships ».

I am very open to your answers and advice on how to avoid giving the impression you felt. (And I must say right off that I will ignore "Cueball"'s predictable attempt to spin the above words whichever way...)

In solidarity,

Martin

"The pain of destroying male rule won't be worse than the pain of living with it." (Andrea Dworkin)

[ 26 September 2007: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

martin dufresne

Saber asks: "Why shouldn't men pay?"

Why indeed? And why should they get sucked off when they do?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Cueball, thanks for that historical context, it's very important to keep in mind that the current mainstream morals, about sex, in Canada today have their roots in Anglo-Europe.

Our society is both overly and underly (okay I made that word up) obsessed with sex and sexuality.

Overly in the ways that sexist behaviours and actions towards women (and "the feminine") are simply everywhere. Naked images of women sell jeans, perfume, body lotion, cars, etc. Under patriarchy, men are taught that they are entitled to sex, when and with whom they wish. The purchase of sex, reading in Cueball's context above, works hand in hand with patriarchal dominance.

That said, I'm one of the "pro-decriminalizing prostitution" babblers here. I think of it like a union drive for a nuclear power plant. Ultimately we'll be better without the company altogether, but until that day, this is a better solution than the status quo. And there is a huge difference between legalization and decriminalization, which I'll leave for the wonderful babbler lawyers to explain.

Underly in the ways in which we will not talk about sex frankly and openly. Starting with children, teens and then us alleged grown-ups. It's a subject to whisper to your girlfriends about or brag to your friends, "Gettin' any?" that kind of thing. We can't talk about sex drives, how it can be higher and lower in different people, or in the same person over our lifetime, hell, over a month, week day! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Talk about condoms in the schools and watch people freak out. Talk about teaching young people, young women and young men, about STIs, pregnancy, getting to know your own body and what's pleasurable, and watch people across the political spectrum lose their minds.

Xtra magazine did a feature on people who identify as asexual, something almost unheard of.

Then if we get into sexual attraction, sexual orientation, we're really into the murk of the vast unknown and it's just "better not to talk about it" or "I don't care what two consenting adults...."

Lastly, a perspective that we have no representation from is the perspective of women (and men) who do sex work, and who hear directly from the clients/johns/customers themselves why they use prostitutes.

I had my own smarty-pants ideas of what this would be before I saw Mira Soleil-Ross' performance at Buddies a few years ago. It was about her experiences in sex work and the condemnation, and pity, she hears from both the far-right moralists and "feminists" (As a feminist I had a problem with this, however, such views are fairly well-known, some of them being repeated in this thread). She really made me re-think a lot of my rather condescending ideas and notions. Then I met more women who identified as having worked, or as working, as sex workers. We're not having a full debate here because that voice is missing.

West Coast Greeny

Well, I think one question to ask that would help in answeriing this question is "Who uses prostitutes?" (No. You don't have to start raising hands here, I'm talking demographics). Do they tend to have more sexual partners? Fewer? Do they have a stable family life or an unstable one? Is there any pattern at all?

My Theories:
1) Prostitution occurs simply because many men (John's and especially pimps) just don't respect women and see them as a commodity rather than a human being.

2) The reason it's men selling and purchasing prostitutes and not women is probably simply because men still are far and away the dominant gender in society.

3) The very fact prostitution still occurs is because we as a society have yet to view women as equals to men.

4) I don't think it has all that much to do directly with horniness/shyness.

[ 26 September 2007: Message edited by: West Coast Greeny ]

Dana Larsen

The title of the thread implies that women never hire sex-trade workers. Although it's true that most sex-trade workers are hired by men, there are women and couples that hire sex-trade workers as well. Is this considered irrelevant to the discussion?

Considering that sex-trade work has been a part of pretty much every society on earth throughout all of recorded history, any explanation of the phenomenon should include more than just a look at western society.

I don't see that being in the sex-trade is necessarily more dangerous or demeaning than any other line of work. It is mainly the illegality of sex-work which makes it dangerous.

By the way, if you think you've never paid anyone to have sex, think again. Anyone who has ever rented porn has helped pay someone to have sex. If we truly made paying for sex illegal, all pornography would be illegal as the performers are being paid to have sex.

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