Sex Work

It’s a common misconception that human trafficking in the U.S. involves strangers kidnapping young women and taking them overseas to sell them into sex slavery. Well, that does happen but that’s not the typical story.

Most often the young teen fall in love with a much older sweet-talking boyfriend who gives them the love that they never received at home. The man will prey on this vulnerability to make some money and the girl capitulates in order to continue the affection that had been given to her. Then before she know it she finds that her boyfriend has many other “girlfriends” whom he pits her against. Then she is turning to drugs to cope (typically offered by the pimp) and is getting arrested for prostitution and possession.

The worst part of this, I’d say, is that she has no way out of this lifestyle. Some do, most often by pimping out other girls until they can afford to leave. Which is just astounding. Even more disturbing, there is a growing trend for opioid addicted mothers to pimp out their kids for drug money.

I mention all this because I skipped the 2nd round of victim advocate training for women involved in sex trafficking. The main reason for that was that I was sick but afterwards I was surprised that did not regret not going.

I am a little relieved, to be honest. I remember after the first training being annoyed/upset by the church volunteers. I wrote a post about Christian exploitation Upon further reflection, I think I was disturbed about what I perceived to be church volunteers’ focus on morality.

Any decent person would be appalled at predators luring 13 year old girls into a life of drug addiction and prostitution. But what came across to me, upon further reflection, is that both the trainer and the church lady volunteers in discussion presented an image of what a respectable life would look like. This would include a middle-class lifestyle in a nuclear family in the suburbs and I had the sense that they’d project this idealist vision onto the girls.

Now, my brain has presented an objection to their (supposed) thoughts on the matter. Please note, this does not apply to these teen girls that the organization is trying to help, as clearly these girls are victims, but the whole thing made me ask myself the question:

Is prostitution wrong and should it be a crime?

What made me question this was hearing that these girls kept getting arrested and going to jail for prostitution.

This, as many many other issues, have to be processed through my new non-religious brain. Thinking through things and not just taking on the opinions of so-called spiritual authority.

So, in my Christian brain I would have thought well, sex is sacred and women who sell their bodies are essentially selling their souls and defiling themselves. And men who pay for sex are perverts who are giving themselves over to lust.

Being in a situation where I have to challenge my previous thinking is unsettling, but necessary. My old way of thinking was too narrow and does not fit me anymore.

I have decided that I don’t like prostitution. In that, I think it puts women in situations where they are vulnerable. I imagine the women having to have sex with people they are not attracted to, which is pretty upsetting in itself, or even worse being in situations where they are likely to get sexually assaulted. And of course, there is the issue of disease and potential pregnancy.

At the same time I have heard of women who genuinely enjoy sex work. Because they like the “power” it brings, or they really like sex and have a higher libido, or they just appreciate the good money. These are things I don’t generally consider because I think (though don’t know) that it’s very easy for women to be taken advantage of and abused in this field and so, in my mind, I feel very angry for women in these situations.

I wonder if perhaps these things were legal and destigmatized this might have a positive affect in reducing crime and that safety regulations might help women who are already doing this type of work. I think that the morality police will prevent this from happening, which I believe makes sex work more dangerous.

As a society, I think if we recognized women as sexual beings in their own right (not as temptresses for men), respected their autonomy and stopped being so prudish about sex in general we’d be way better off for it.

Additionally, I have to wonder if it were legal and not a stigma to pay for sex then maybe incels (involuntary celibate men) would stop killing women.

Thoughts?

DAY TEN

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6 thoughts on “Sex Work

  1. I’m not sure if getting laid would affect incels directly. The subculture is centered around dislike of women for various reasons. Sex is just a convenient shorthand for describing people who don’t get what they want. This kind of makes sense. For years prostitution was legal here and elsewhere, and there was still violence towards women.

    Maybe society needs to just stop pressuring people to define themselves by what they get from other people, be it money, sex, power, or whatever else. Lose that pressure, and suddenly all these things are only a function of someone’s biology.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah…I just read up some more on incels, and I think you are right. Fuck those guys (not literally of course – they don’t deserve it). They can go to hell (figuritively speaking.)

      I also read some interesting studies/articles on how legalizing prostitution helps sex workers, though I don’t think there is enough evidence yet to make a determination on whether or not violence has been reduced, just that sex workers feel safer and are more likely to report assault.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. [Agree with SB about incels; getting sex by paying for it isn’t going to change their (unjustified) grievances.]

    I’m very interested in this topic, because with religious “because God said so” out of the picture, and the basis for the ethics of sex being something very different, we need to rethink all the laws and taboos and societal expectations that were created by religion, and toss those that no longer have a good basis. So for example I think it’s a good thing that people aren’t hauled off to jail and into court for cohabitation, “fornication,” sodomy, etc. (even though stale laws remain on the books).

    And I agree wholeheartedly that part of the problem with prostitution today is that the illegality and stigma of it contributes to women getting trapped into it against their will with no way out. The pimps and traffickers exploit that to keep women under their control. It’s the same as with immigrants who have no legal residency; I want them to be able to call the police, report abuse, etc., without fearing it will mean they get in huge trouble.

    So for me it does boil down to the question: Would making prostitution legal (and regulated e.g. for health), as is done in some countries, result in more good than harm? It seems like it would, but I don’t know… like you, I’d like to see more data. Prostitution is legal in some parts of Nevada, but I wonder if it’s been that way long enough for any significant data to come out of it. Are there other societal ills that would come from (presumably expanded) legal prostitution, even if all sex workers were doing it by choice, openly?

    Like

    1.         <blockquote>We need to rethink all the laws and taboos and societal expectations that were created by religion, and toss those that no longer have a good basis. So for example I think it’s a good thing that people aren’t hauled off to jail and into court for cohabitation, “fornication,” sodomy, etc. (even though stale laws remain on the books).</blockquote>
      

      Agreed. I looked it up and there are 17 states that have not formally repealed their religious laws on sodomy (although I hate that word as it has a religious tone – I think they need to change it to anal sex like civilized people. LOL) or oral sex between consenting adults. I mean, that’s just ridiculous. Additionally, infidelity (which is labeled as “adultery” – another religious term) is formally a crime in 20 states. Most states it’s a misdemeanor and in 5 states it’s considered a felony! Though it’s typically not enforced, but can be used against you in terms of alimony or even child custody.

      In my state it’s not called adultery. The law says it’s illegal to “lewdly and lasciviously associate” with someone other than your spouse. I mean, they need to make it sound less exciting. They might encourage bad behavior. LOL

      Anyway, I understand social mores and all but I think just because you don’t like what two (or more) people are doing and wouldn’t do it yourselves doesn’t mean it should be illegal. As long as it’s consenting and safe, of course!

      Back to prostitution. This is a more complicated situation than just religious stigma. I think there are mixed findings. This page on the subject is interesting to get differing opinions: https://prostitution.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000120

      Like

  3. I’ve been a sex worker for many years. I did so for financial reasons at age 36. In New Zealand , sex work is completely decriminalized and this has made working in the industry safer for workers, clients and community. As an independent sex worker under decrim, I’m able to report incidents to police, be taken seriously, press charges for non-payment etc and report any crimes without fear of reprisals. It is illegal for me to be kicked out of my private accommodation just because I am a sex worker. In Australia, sex work is also decriminalized in New South Wales, and legalised in most other states. Some states have conflicting legislation which causes sex workers to break the law just to keep themselves safe. I’ve never had any bad experiences as a sex worker but I know many who have just because the laws see/legislation/regulations put them at risk. I am retired now but I would happily go back to sex work in an instant if required. The advantages for me are awesome money, financial independence, work my own hours, choose my own clients, travel, meet awesome people, work autonomously and generally have a lot of fun

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jodine!

      I’m thrilled that you found my blog and shared your perspective as someone who has actually worked in the field.

      This subject is fascinating and I have so many, many questions. Feel free to answer any questions that interest you.

      How did you get into sex work?
      How did you find clients? And what was the demographic?
      How did being a sex worker affect your romantic relationships?
      How “out” were you about your being a sex worker?
      What did you learn about people or sexuality during your time as a sex worker?
      What would you like to see changed in terms of laws or society’s attitudes towards sex work?

      I’ve got more questions (LOL) but that’s it for now.

      ~Q

      Liked by 1 person

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About Quixie

Hi! I go by "Quixie" My nickname comes from the term I began using to describe myself when I began blogging nearly 4 years ago: "quixotic," meaning "exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical." It's how I described my evangelical Christian faith at the time. Now I'm an agnostic atheist who is trying to find a balance between idealism and reality.