Paying for Sex  

xFoxyguyx 39M
4 posts
8/13/2006 8:32 am
Paying for Sex

I thought the title might catch your eye!

Now, I like to think myself as being politically right on, and this includes the rights that should be afforded sex workers of all kinds. I am for the decriminalisation of prostitution, an end to their harrassment by the police and authorities, and I am opposed to the stigmas that are attached to their lines of work. But that said a couple of things that have happened on here have given me pause for thought. The first of these was when I chatted to a young woman from an East Asian country well-known to AdultFriendFinder'ers. Out of the blue she asked if I could help her by accompanying her to a private chatroom where she'd do whatever I fancied for the sum of 30 US dollars. The second was reading through a comment made by a reader where I relayed my conversation with an escort on Second Life. He ended his post with the hope that I'd had a good time with her.

Thinking about it really creeped me out. My first response to the latter was "how could he think I'd stoop so low as to pay for cybersex?". Likewise the thought of handing over money so a woman could masturbate for me on cam turns my stomach. So as you can see I'm caught on the horns of a dilemma. If I think sex work and specifically prostitution is okay and should be free of prejudice and crap attached to it, how to reconcile my gut reaction with what I think?

This contradiction goes to the heart of radical responses to prostitution. On the one hand there is one school of feminism that sees prostitutes (the majority of whom remain women servicing a male clientele) as abused victims of a society systematically organised at the expense of women's labour. Their solution is to help women out of prostitution while seeking measures that target the johns. The problem with this view (and type of feminism generally) is that it automatically allots victimhood to all sex workers. Instead of viewing these women as agents of their own liberation, they have to be liberated by outside intervention - usually middle class academic white feminists.

This is not to say the alternative is any better. A more libertarian feminist approach says prostitutes chose their profession of their own free will. If they want to leave sex work behind them they can do so. In all essentials this perspective suggests that seeling one's body for sex is not really any different from you and me selling our labour power to an employer for a set number of hours in return for a wage or salary. But what worries me is while avoiding the "victim feminism" of one position it overlooks the very real exploitation that prostitution can entail. Yes a college student or bored well off housewife do have the choice of leaving the work behind, but what of women from working class backgrounds or those who sell themselves to support an addiction?

For me it is an abstract question. As I do not use sex workers it's something I don't have to agonise over compared to other more immediate issues in my political and personal life. But I'd be interested in what other people think about prostitution - should it be legalised? If not, why not? Have you ever been with a prostitute, and did you wrestle with moral complications afterwards? What do people think of sex workers using the AdultFriendFinder cams to drum up business for themselves? And if you're a sex worker what do you think about these issues?

All comments, provided they're not deliberately inflammatory are welcome.

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