Join 3,411 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Not Fodor's Guide to Sex Tourism
February 8, 2006 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Pro-prostitution blog. So you've seen the careful, rational and spell-checked arguments for the decriminalization of prostitution. Now read this instead. And don't forget, the author took time out on christmas eve to tell you what it's like in a central american cathouse.
posted by Mayor Curley (102 comments total)

 
I'm pro-legal prostitution, but I have no idea where this guy is coming up with some of his conclusions. Is that the point? Is he just making stuff up?
posted by loquax at 5:45 AM on February 8, 2006


Please, because I am an advocate of the legalization of prostitution that does not mean, I am a sexual pervert or that you are , what we want is the freedom to exchange money for sex between two consenting adults.

As a Libertarian I can confidently say: Fuck you asshole.

For the prostitutes, there is nothing consenting about it.

Legalize the prostitutes, but make the johns criminals. This is how it is done in Sweden. It's not a perfect solution, but I like the equity of it.
posted by three blind mice at 5:56 AM on February 8, 2006


Here's my deal: it's perfectly legal to have sex on camera. Take away the camera, however, and they lock you up for prostitution. Am I missing something here?
posted by JPowers at 5:57 AM on February 8, 2006


Here's my deal: it's perfectly legal to have sex on camera. Take away the camera, however, and they lock you up for prostitution.

I guess my guide would be the relative control the woman has over her situation, her participation (and hence over her body) JPowers.

I would pause before calling Nicole Kidman a whore for Eyes Wide Shut and I might argue that Jenna Jameson is at least a consenting adult (if not also an actress)... but it seems also reasonable to imagine that some of the girls in front of the camera are neither actress, nor consenting adult.
posted by three blind mice at 6:09 AM on February 8, 2006


"Condoms are the best pregnancy prevention device’s there is."

Did someone inform the Department of Homeland Abstinence about this?

on preview: TBM, what the heck are you going on about? Should we legalize the drug dealers and make the buyers criminals too? "A friend" of mine knows a prostitute, and strikes me that she's consented.....probably about a couple hundred times by now.
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:09 AM on February 8, 2006


The reason it's illegal is because some folks are afraid that if it is legal their own daughters will go into it and they don't want to run the risk of 'running' into her at work some night.
posted by HTuttle at 6:17 AM on February 8, 2006


I still fail to see anything inherently wrong with the Dutch answer to the prostitution issue (legal prostitution, keeping it above ground, having a sex workers' union). It certainly beats trying to legislate morality, which has been shown to fail again and again.
posted by clevershark at 6:18 AM on February 8, 2006


"their not in love with you remember"
posted by found missing at 6:21 AM on February 8, 2006


And don't forget, the author took time out on christmas eve to tell you what it's like in a central american cathouse.

Uh, maybe he's not Christian?
posted by applemeat at 6:22 AM on February 8, 2006


First paragraph on the page: Now, I am not going to try and give you the history of the latex condom but let’s just assume they have been around for the past 50-100 years. The reason that prostitute’s have such a bad reputation is before condoms you were playing Russian Roulette and contacting a STD, when you spent time with a working girl, this is why they got the names like "soiled dove".

Are we -- are we taking this guy seriously? This paragraph makes me pretty disinclined to do so.
posted by booksandlibretti at 6:22 AM on February 8, 2006


three blind mice : "Legalize the prostitutes, but make the johns criminals. This is how it is done in Sweden. It's not a perfect solution, but I like the equity of it."

Except it doesn't quite do what the politicians claim it does. From "Sexworkers Critique of Swedish Prostitution Policy":

As a result of the new legislation, the sexworkers say it is now harder for them to assess the clients. The clients are more stressed and scared and negotiation outdoors must be done in a more rapid manner. The likelihood of ending up with a dangerous client is thereby greater.
...
Since the number of sexworkers on the streets has decreased and they are more scared, previous informal networks amongst the sexworkers have weakened. The result is that they are no longer able to warn each other about dangerous clients or give each other the same support.
...
Women also report that another consequence of the law is lower prices on the streets since there are less customers and more competition. This means that women in more desperate need of money will engage in unsafe sex and sexual activity they usually would not perform. This in turn leads to poorer self-esteem and exposure to infection. Other women who have turned to the Internet to advertise claim a positive effect insofar as they have been able to raise their prices. But note that this only benefits some sexworkers. The more vulnerable sexworkers seem to be the ones most negatively affected by the law.
posted by nkyad at 6:24 AM on February 8, 2006


I was wanting to accept this guy's conclusions, but he lost me with all his "there/they're" grammar errors. Dammit, now I can't quote from him in my thesis.
posted by newfers at 6:32 AM on February 8, 2006


It sure seems to me that if you're trying to make a cogent argument in favor of something, it really helps your case to present it, not only with proper spelling, but with something resembling actual grammar.
posted by bigmike at 6:38 AM on February 8, 2006


And don't forget, the author took time out on christmas eve to tell you what it's like in a central american cathouse.

I can't speak from personal experience, but I somehow suspect that the holiday season is a busy time of year for prostitutes. Everybody around you is cheerful, but you don't have any family or friends to go to, and it's dark and cold... where do you turn for something resembling comfort and affection?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:43 AM on February 8, 2006


If we were to legalize prostitution this week, we would tax the prostitures, add money to the budget for defense, and give a tax break to the big guys who run the largest whore houses.
posted by Postroad at 6:44 AM on February 8, 2006


Should we legalize the drug dealers and make the buyers criminals too?

There's a sanginary difference, j.p. hung: Drug dealers are selling products. Prostitutes are selling their bodies.

Although your "friend's" friend might be consenting, you can't tell me that a significant percentage of these girls are not simply being exploited.

Clevershark, if you think prostitution laws are about legislating morality, I think you might be missing the point. It seems to me that these laws are there to protect women.

The Dutch "answer" is just one approach to this. It's great that the Dutch are open - it's out there to see - but it's still not a pretty sight. And it doesn't make the exploitation any better. Even with a union. A lot of the girls are from Eastern Europe or Africa, bought a ticket to get out of Dodge, the modeling contract didn't materialize, etc. etc. It's tragic. I admire the Dutch approach, and it might make the Dutch feel proud to be so demonstrably tolerant, but the trade itself is nothing proud of.
posted by three blind mice at 6:48 AM on February 8, 2006


There are no absolutes in sex work. It is true that there are some people involved in sex work who have been exploited since before they joined the industry. It is also true that there are people involved in sex work who are totally self-directed and just have some bad days/nights.

The other thing you get with criminalized sex work is inherent difficulty in collecting statistics and you leave the door open for specious (as in there are probably no actual facts to say yes or no, this is true, this isn't true) comments like "you can't tell me that a significant percentage of these girls are not simply being exploited" (above).

What I've always liked about the idea of decriminalization is that then you get regulation, which I think tends to increase health and welfare for all involved. I know that there are no absolutes here, either, but it just seems more humane to decriminalize and regulate than to let the criminals potentially run the industry.
posted by kalessin at 6:54 AM on February 8, 2006


Though I am no expert.....
TBM has some good arguments, though the first couple of comments were a little harsh.
With legal and publicly open prostitution, would the police have an easier time gaining access to these women and their 'managers'? If so, would it make it easier for them to find those who are involved in human trafficking?
What I mean is; If they did not have to hide from the law, they would have a distinct advantage over the ones who did (human traffickers) and as such would be able to dominate the industry and make it un-profitable (due to the increased overhead and bribes required) to run an under the table type of operation.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2006


TBM, A prostitues body is absolutely a 'product'. I don't think we can differentiate between a female body builder, a super model or a porn actress when it comes to arguing whether or not her 'body' is a product. Now if you want to argue that a specific level of contact and/or penetration is what's got you bothered, we can argue that. I guess the question is, what level of "exploitation" do you find acceptable?

Yes, I suspect that some of these women are doing this against their wishes and that should be, and is illegal, obviously. But for the sake of argument, I think we have to address the legalization of prostitution from the mindset that the prostitutes are willing accomplices and 'want' to provide such a service.
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:03 AM on February 8, 2006


Except it doesn't quite do what the politicians claim it does.

And neither did I, but that was a nice link to this thread nkyad. It has been widely reported in the Swedish papers that it isn't working as intended - and it is behind closed doors, etc. That is true. Of course there is no "answer", only approaches. Like terrorism, you can never make it go away, all you can do is exercise reasonable measures to minimize the impact. At least with the Swedish approach, criminal penalties are more likely to be placed on the criminals.

Anyway, I think someone should check to make sure that the blogger isn't a member of the Kansas school board. His scientific methods appear similiar.
posted by three blind mice at 7:07 AM on February 8, 2006


For the prostitutes, there is nothing consenting about it.

If you say so, captain assertion. You really think employees in state-licensed brothels in Nevada are not consenting to the sex they have? That's what this guy is advocating for the rest of the US, even in the text you quoted.
posted by delmoi at 7:10 AM on February 8, 2006


I've become more tolerant of grammar and spelling and such, but the number of mistakes (from homophones to improper possessives) turned me off. Then he kept talking about phoning STDs. Why would you want to call an STD?
posted by Captaintripps at 7:13 AM on February 8, 2006


This man has a very limited comprehension of prostitution in my country, he has no idea of the social implications of having young women think this is a viable and even glamorous way of earning a living. Having sex for money might be consensual on an individual level, but on a social level these girls are there only because of lack of better opportunities, decreasing social investment and years of weak policies towards women education and labour rights.
posted by papalotl at 7:13 AM on February 8, 2006


There's a sanginary difference, j.p. hung: Drug dealers are selling products. Prostitutes are selling their bodies.

OMG, not their bodies!??! the prophet tells us that womens bodies are sacred temples, gifts from god that must never be touched or soiled. In fact, it's best to cover them up and not let anyone see them, because you know they're sacred and whatnot.

If a woman were to prostitute herself, why, then she might lose her bodies magical essence, which would just be wrong.

We must not piss off the magical sex gods.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 AM on February 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


1. Governments should not have the power to regulate any interaction between consenting adults.

2. Production of dangerous substances should be regulated, i.e. meth labs.

3. It is possible for workers to be exploited in any work situation. While I think all exploitation is bad, I think those workers who's lives are most at risk should be protected the most. This can only be accomplished through regulation. Let OSHA handle it.

4. Stop trying to make your morals the law. People should be able to do what they want, not what you think your book tells you to do. Please stop.
posted by ewkpates at 7:15 AM on February 8, 2006


three blind mice writes "It seems to me that these laws are there to protect women. "

Have a look at women who do perform the world's oldest profession in a country where prostitution is prohibited and therefore driven underground -- tell me that those women are protected. I dare you.

On most days I am given to walk past Montreal's "hotspot" for this activity (corner of St-Laurent and Ste-Catherine). These women are protected from nothing.

Prostitution's a reality, whether you want it to be or not. It is not going away. Either you can respond to the reality of it, or you can close your eyes and tell yourself that it shouldn't exist at all, which seems to me to be what you're doing here. I doubt anyone gets into prostitution with the idea that it will lead to a glamorous lifestyle -- it rather seems to me that this is a mostly unpleasant and degrading life that one enters into because one thinks there are no other options available, for the most part anyway. There's really no point in making the situation worse by making those who sell their bodies for a living also prey to pimps and violent johns by driving the business underground with prohibition laws.
posted by clevershark at 7:15 AM on February 8, 2006


I don't think we can differentiate between a female body builder, a super model or a porn actress when it comes to arguing whether or not her 'body' is a product

What?

Why not gymnasts then? athletics? swimmer? football? tennis? any sport. If use of the body is enough to equate with porn actors and prostitutes then all sports people are.

What a silly idea.

On the link: it's a blog by someone in favour of legalisation of prostitution and it's remarkable because...? sorry if I'm being dense, I'm just not getting the big deal.
posted by funambulist at 7:17 AM on February 8, 2006


I mean really, what's so wrong about being "degraded" if you consent to it. The people on the TV show "Jackass" degraded themselves for money, so what? Why is prostitution worse then that? Is it because it's SEX and SEX is DIRTY?

In any event, safe, legal, regulated prostitution would remove most of the coercion from pimps, which is the only thing I see causing the non-consensual aspect of it. If a Man and a Woman agree to have sex in exchange for money, there is nothing non-consensual about it, if a pimp is forcing a woman to have sex for money, then it is non-consensual.

People who want prostitution illegalized care more about their sexual hang-ups and righteous indignation then they do about the health and safety of those women, and women in general.
posted by delmoi at 7:19 AM on February 8, 2006


three blind mice, most people who work for other people in any capacity are being exploited. Have you heard about the dozen or so coal miners who died recently in "mine accidents" caused by the mine owners' refusal to make the mines safer because doing so would lower their profits? Yet people do those jobs because under the current American socioeconomic dispensation they see no better options: they judge it better to be exploited than not work at all.

Even "reforming" the current dispensation by giving more people a better education so they can be CPAs instead of hookers won't work because somebody has to dig coal, suck dick or stock shelves at Walmart; most likely we'd just see such jobs assigned to prisoners and/or the illegal workers who'd flock in to do those jobs too. (And prostitution is a job, legal or not.)

Or maybe it's perfectly okay to exploit people at the dirty and potentially fatal job of mining coal but not that of sucking dick?

On preview, obviously I agree with what clevershark and ewkpates said. (They must type faster than I do.)
posted by davy at 7:20 AM on February 8, 2006


Just for your information, Brazilian legislation:

Prostitution is legal, Johns are legal, Pimping is illegal.

There are about three tiers of urban prostitution (in order of income/appearance/class): Street prostitution, "nightclub" prostitution and phone/internet prostitution.

For street prostitution, there are some usual prostitution spots. There are frequently police cars going by, but they will only interfere in case they suspect "real" crimes (sometimes they'll search the car of a John for drugs, or verify if that guy that's been talking to many girls all night isn't a pimp). Yes, we're in Brazil, there's always some police corruption, but, as far as I know, you won't be more likely to be extorted when soliciting a prostitute than when just stopped in a road block. Prices go from the miserable crack whore (I've heard figures as low as R$5,00) to more classy and beautiful ladies (R$ 150,00). You usually pay per "program" (fuck).

For "nightclub" prostitution, there are some clubs in which most/all females are prostitutes, there are strippers, and there are rooms in which you pay per hour inside. The owners of these places escape the pimping laws by having no bond with the prostitutes: their business is a bar with expensive drinks, and renting rooms per hour, both of which completely legitimate businesses. For the outsider, these are about the same as brothels: you go there, get a girl, pay. You'll usually find the same girls in the same places everynight. These places are usually safer for the prostitute, and prostitutes there are usually more expensive (and more classy) than street hookers. Prices go from R$50 to R$300 (depending on the level of the place) for one hour. You'll also pay from R$20 to R$50 for the room, and there is usually a minimum comsumption of R$20 to R$100 in drinks.

There is a variation of the above which is "massage clinics". I don't know exactly how it works, but I guess it is somewhat alike. Price level in these clinics is more narrowly spread, about R$100-200/hour

The most expensive will only negotiate by phone. You find their phones on some internet sites (again, not pimps, these sites work by charging users for service) or private catalogues, call them, and meet them in a hotel, or they come to your home, or you go to their apartment (usually in a luxury building in a high income region). Prices for these, as far as I know, have no upper limit, and I have heard about figures as high as R$3000,00 (for girls that have appeared in playboy). Typical price for the common internet announced girl is about R$150-300. The more expensive are also very restricted, and you'll only find them in some private catalogues (which I have no idea on how to find).

Oh, and many of the non-street hookers are from middle/upper-middle class. Most are young (from 18 to 25).

As for prostitution in remote areas (rural, poor), it is like in every country: exploited girls in cathouses. This is obviously against anti-pimping laws, but laws are not quite laws in these remote areas anyway.
posted by qvantamon at 7:21 AM on February 8, 2006


"1. Governments should not have the power to regulate any interaction between consenting adults."


I get what you are getting at ewkpates, but this is way to broadly stated. Individuals do exist in society, and society can have compelling reasons to limit behavior.

I would agree that empirical data should be used to make these decisions rather than imperatives derived from a metaphysic.
posted by BeerGrin at 7:22 AM on February 8, 2006


Making porns legal because of the first amendment, I believe. After all, where do you "draw the line" at what is and what is not "art".

The biggest difference I see between making porn and prostitution is that the porn people are (or might be) having sex with people they know and work with all the time. Doing porns and being a prostitute just seem widely different to me, I would never want to sleep with a prostitute, even in Nevada but I would sleep with a porn star.

Although in theory both of them involve sex for money.
posted by delmoi at 7:26 AM on February 8, 2006


three blind mice : "I admire the Dutch approach, and it might make the Dutch feel proud to be so demonstrably tolerant, but the trade itself is nothing proud of."

I think I mostly agree with you, except maybe about the remedies required. It is a given that the trade is terrible and full of exploiters and sorrow. But criminalizing girls (boys) or clients (how well did persecuting the consumer work on the war on drugs?) do not solve anything, it just makes it harder for law enforcement to reach the real criminals (the slave traders, the con artists sending girls throughout the world on false promisees, etc). And once prostitution becomes a regular job, you can not only raise the level of social protection for sex workers, you can also (and easily, not case if the prostitute is a "criminal") create retraining programs aimed specifically at those girls and boys who want to leave that profession but do not have any alternatives. I think approaching the problem from a moral-neutral position and trying to find the most rational solution may lead to the conclusion legalization is better from all points of view.
posted by nkyad at 7:37 AM on February 8, 2006


Last night I watched the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is sleeping with his maid. So if he's paying her to clean his house and she has sex with him while she's there, is that legal? Or does it depend on if she actually cleans the house?

And as JPowers said above, it's legal to hire a woman to have sex in a porno movie.

The whole thing just seems silly. What goes on between two consenting adults should be legal.
posted by gfrobe at 7:46 AM on February 8, 2006


Just to add one fundamental information to qvantamon comprehensive description of the Brazilian sex market above, today US$ 1.00 = R$ 2.20. So, taking the lower and higher figures he quotes, R$ 5,00 would be more or less 2 dollars, R$ 3,000.00 would be almost US$ 1,500.00.
posted by nkyad at 7:47 AM on February 8, 2006


"What goes on between two consenting adults should be legal."

That is a reasonable proposition gfrobe, but many decades of contract law in the US indicate the "Consent" is a complicated idea.

economic disparity between the agreeing parties parties, or even just one parties dire economic situation casts a shadow on all of the assumptions that underpin the voluntary making of agreements.

Is "Freedom to Contract" or "freedom to Consent" really a freedom for the impoverished?
posted by BeerGrin at 7:52 AM on February 8, 2006


nkyad: exchange rates are somewhat misleading. Cost of living (housing, health care, food) here is about 2-3 times cheaper than in the US. Cost of consumer electronics is about 1.5 times more expensive. So, for the R$100 hooker, this is roughly equivalent to US$100 in purchasing power, where for the R$1000 hooker, your assumption is correct, and it is equivalent to US$500 in purchasing power (assuming higher income means higher participation of electronics/superfluous/imports in expenses).

As I told, R$200/hour hookers here live in luxury apartments in high income regions. I don't think a US$100/hour american prostitute has something near this quality of life.
posted by qvantamon at 7:55 AM on February 8, 2006


I still fail to see anything inherently wrong with the Dutch answer to the prostitution issue (legal prostitution, keeping it above ground, having a sex workers' union). It certainly beats trying to legislate morality, which has been shown to fail again and again.

Right, but a significant majority of sex workers in the Netherlands are immigrants without papers which lead most of us who study this to conclude that they are trafficked and are there against their will. Unions are not going to save people from outside the country, who will be treated with the same hatred most national unions give to migrant workers.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:02 AM on February 8, 2006


three blind mice, most people who work for other people in any capacity are being exploited.

Do those who make this argument really think that prostitution is no different from other kinds of work? If a woman on unemployment can find only retail jobs, but hates working retail, most of us would probably say that she should take the job anyway. Would you really argue that if she could find only prostitution jobs, she should have to become a prostitute? I remember a similar situation coming up in (I think) Germany a while ago.

What about selling organs? Should that be legal too?
posted by transona5 at 8:02 AM on February 8, 2006


This cat writes like a developmentally disabled eight year old. I couldn't get past the first few paragraphs.
posted by stenseng at 8:09 AM on February 8, 2006


transona: I still don't see where making prostitution illegal magically creates jobs for people whose only option would be prostitution. If their only option is prostitution, what benefit does taking that OPTION away from them give? Let them starve to death to save them?

Noone here is talking about denying social security to unemployed good looking girls. That german case has been recognized as a mistake and corrected. We are talking about letting someone who CHOOSES prostitution over unemployment benefits (or over underpaid retail work) do so legally.

I still don't see where making it illegal is better than regulating it to ensure noone is exploiting them.
posted by qvantamon at 8:28 AM on February 8, 2006


it's legal to hire a woman to have sex in a porno movie.

I've always thought this was the way around the law. Just bring a camera and a model release form with you.
posted by effwerd at 8:30 AM on February 8, 2006


Oh, and if I were starving to death I'd happily sell one of my kidneys for ten grand, and would be really happy if I could do so legally.
posted by qvantamon at 8:30 AM on February 8, 2006


Is it possible that I'm the first to point out his name is John Nutter? I guess it is.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:31 AM on February 8, 2006


qvantamon: Oh, and if I were starving to death I'd happily sell one of my kidneys for ten grand, and would be really happy if I could do so legally.

Having had kidney surgery, I'd settle for no less than $50K.

I don't think that criminalization really works. But a barely literate blog from a John (which may or may not be legit) hardly does credit to the issue. Of course this guy is going to paint himself as the nice and gentlemanly responsible consumer.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:35 AM on February 8, 2006


I think prostitutes are exploited to the extent they are largely because what they do is illegal, as such it is intimidating to pursue protection through traditional law enforcement channels. This leads to pimps and other problems.

I don't think people should be forced into prostitution. That should be illegal, I also don't think people should be forced to make T-shirts or garden. I don't think making or buying T-shirts should be illegal.

Prostitution is not literally selling ones body like selling organs. Prostitution is a special case of manual labor. I recognize that sex is something that people have deeper feelings about than scrubbing floors or hauling bags of potting soil and it should be treated differently because of that. But, it's not a world apart from other forms of work and if a woman or man thinks that the rewards outweigh the costs it is unfair to deny her the opportunity to reap those rewards.

(I actually think if people were allowed to at least sell futures on their organs i.e. money now for organs when they die, like reverse insurance, there would be many more organs available)
posted by I Foody at 8:36 AM on February 8, 2006


and it might make the Dutch feel proud to be so demonstrably tolerant, but the trade itself is nothing proud of.
posted by three blind mice at 6:48 AM PST on February 8 [!]


People are often confused about this. This Dutch attitude is not one of tolerance, it is one of "that's none of my business."
posted by The Jesse Helms at 8:37 AM on February 8, 2006


I love that so many people beat me to commenting about the grammar and punctuation. It's like we're a well coordinated Ninja Strike Force, but instead of sai and katana we have pedantry and snark.
posted by freebird at 8:42 AM on February 8, 2006


btw, I have not RTFA, as I'm at the office now. I am merely discussing the subject of the post here. So, I have no idea about the quality of "John Nutter"'s arguments.
posted by qvantamon at 8:43 AM on February 8, 2006


If their only option is prostitution, what benefit does taking that OPTION away from them give? Let them starve to death to save them?

Well, in the situation I had in mind, the other option isn't to starve to death, but to remain on public assistance. People on unemployment are expected to find a job as soon as they can, even if it's not a great job, which is reasonable. Does expecting someone to become a prostitute seem less reasonable? I think so, and I think that even most of the legalizers would agree, which indicates to me that there's a fundamental difference between sex work and other kinds of work.
posted by transona5 at 8:48 AM on February 8, 2006


The biggest difference I see between making porn and prostitution is that the porn people are (or might be) having sex with people they know and work with all the time.

Depends on the prostitute. Some have regular clientele that earn them enough and they have no need to expand their working sphere. Also, there are plenty of Dicks in the porn industry where a female star would have to work with unknowns regularly. (I know you qualify your statement with "might be" but just wanted to pursue that point anyway.) And, being under contract, they have less leeway in choosing whether to work with them or not.
posted by effwerd at 8:50 AM on February 8, 2006


Metafilter: Instead of sai and katana we have pedantry and snark.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:01 AM on February 8, 2006


I wonder how much of the women in the trade would actually want legalized prostitution - even streetwalkers. The illegality of it brings with it a certain premium that allows for higher prices. If some ho on the street is charging $50 a pop while the practice is illegal, what will the price be after legalization?

And what affect would it have on related industries like stripping and escorting? How much more difficult would it be for (legitimate) escorts, private dancers, and strippers to generate enough business and revenue when they have to compete with legal prostitutes? How much pressure would a stripper experience to succumb to trading sex instead of titillation when her revenue goes from 500 a night to 150 a night? How many more violent incidents and/or payment disputes would arise from escorts and private dancers saying no to sex with prostitution legal?

Just musing.
posted by effwerd at 9:02 AM on February 8, 2006


If women didn't turn the vagina into a culturally sacred construct, this wouldn't be a big deal. Construction workers use their muscles all day long. Not much difference, really.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:08 AM on February 8, 2006


What seems to be overlooked in this thread is what is to me the fundamental question: What, if any, legitimate purpose do prostitutes serve? I can think of quite a few both in our contemporary society and in the history of just about every human society.

The second question is: If they do serve a legitimate purpose then why has this profession been outlawed in one way or another in so many places? What social good does banning the practice serve?
posted by donfactor at 9:09 AM on February 8, 2006


If women didn't turn the vagina into a culturally sacred construct

Um, are you actually blaming women for the social construction of the vagina? I mean, sure, everyone plays some role. "We are all here," as it were. But given the history of western culture and the control of its narrative...really? I'm just checking because that's FUCKING CRAZY.

On the other hand, that's the most postmodern blaming of the victim I think I've ever seen, so props for that I guess.
posted by freebird at 9:14 AM on February 8, 2006


Prostitution's a reality, whether you want it to be or not.

I heard some dimwit the other day on the radio saying that this is a false assumption. He then proceeded to point to tribal and agrarian communities that have never developed prostitution. What an argument.

Personally, I prefer the Sumerian model. Want anonymous sex? Go to your local temple. Blessed Inanna.
posted by effwerd at 9:16 AM on February 8, 2006


effwerd: probably the ones that "fall off the stairs" a lot. Legalization would allow them to accuse clearly their aggressors instead of inventing stories to clear themselves (and the aggressor along).

As for the money, if the street ho gets $20 for herself, instead of $20 for her and $30 for her pimp and a regular beating, I guess she is still better off.

But I agree with all your arguments about "fringe" workers being forced to sex. We do see some "legitimate" escorts and non-prostitute strippers here, where prostitution is legal, but I am fairly sure they wage a lot less than if they were also selling sex.
posted by qvantamon at 9:16 AM on February 8, 2006


qvantamon : "As I told, R$200/hour hookers here live in luxury apartments in high income regions. I don't think a US$100/hour american prostitute has something near this quality of life."

I have my doubts if the girls living in upper middle-class flats actually pay for those. But anyway, I think your take on the living costs difference is a bit off. A US$ 100,00 girl with 5 clients a day working 5-day weeks will make US$ 120,000,00 a year, a very nice income considering her illegal status also puts her out of the tax authorities reach. But anyway, I was only reporting the current rate so that the audience could calculate the quoted prices approximate order of magnitude (as it makes a worth of difference talking about one yen or or canadian dollar).

Just for the record, you're preaching to the converted. Take a look at where I live.
posted by nkyad at 9:17 AM on February 8, 2006


Don factor: what legitimate purpose does the tobacco industry serve? what legitimate purpose do alcohol sales serve? These things surely have been outlawed in many places and times. Are you proposing we outlaw anything that does not bring virtue and progress to mankind? Brave new world.
posted by qvantamon at 9:21 AM on February 8, 2006


Qvantamon wrote: "Prices go from the miserable crack whore (I've heard figures as low as R$5,00) to more classy and beautiful ladies (R$ 150,00). You usually pay per "program" (fuck).

And this is precisely where my even-handed attempt to trust some men writing about the economics -or the daily reality - of prostitution breaks down.

Look at how qvantamon has to bowdlerize the subject. "Classy and beautiful ladies".

These are just fantasy pimp terms.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:30 AM on February 8, 2006


The Jesse Helms : "If women didn't turn the vagina into a culturally sacred construct, this wouldn't be a big deal."

May I suggest you go back to the drawing board for a bit to refresh your ideas? Do a little research about how the current women's role social view came to be, about the social history of sex and about who is really served by the vagina sacredness. Nothing very tiring, just a pass over the literature available at your local library may suffice. This may help you avert a whole lot of aggrievement along the way. Just saying.
posted by nkyad at 9:34 AM on February 8, 2006


In North Carolina right now, it is absolutely legal to give a blowjob or have anal sex for money. The prostitution statute specifically covers vaginal intercourse for money. Blow jobs and anal sex had previously been prosecuted under the Crime Against Nature statute (interestingly enough, a handjob for money has never been illegal in North Carolina). Lawrence v Texas has made the North Carolina Crime Against Nature statute unconstitutional. The legislature has not changed the prostitution statute. As of now, blowjobs and anal sex for money are legal in North Carolina.
posted by flarbuse at 9:39 AM on February 8, 2006


Jody Tresidder : "Look at how qvantamon has to bowdlerize the subject. 'Classy and beautiful ladies'."

This particular market (as most sex markets and the other sex market called modelling) is almost entirely driven by the socially accepted concept of Beauty. The more beautiful (in the average Joe's view) you are, the more expensive you get. The younger and healthier you are, more you can charge for your services. As you charge more, you can get more accessories (clothes, jewelry, location) that will make you even more expensive (hence, "classy"). Even fantasy pimp term have a reach to the market reality.
posted by nkyad at 9:41 AM on February 8, 2006


freebird: A woman marries a guy for money, is she a victim? A woman has sex with her boss to get a raise or promotion....is she a victim? Do you honestly believe escorts are victims (because it's no secret most are prostitutes)? Believe it or not, there are many prostitutes that WANT to do what they are doing, even if it means hooking up with some rather unsavory types at times. Now street hookers, they can often times be 'victims', I will concede that but I don't think they make up a significant percentage of the 'professionals' in that industry. There is money to be made and I think we can all agree we've either seen or heard people do some amazingly humiliating things for some bucks - and many of them right on T.V.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:41 AM on February 8, 2006


A woman has sex with her boss to get a raise or promotion....is she a victim?

Um, yeah, if it's a necessary condition for her to advance in the job.
posted by transona5 at 9:46 AM on February 8, 2006


Good points, qvantamon.

As for the money, if the street ho gets $20 for herself, instead of $20 for her and $30 for her pimp and a regular beating, I guess she is still better off.

True. But what about the mid levels of indies and otherwise affiliated? If the more particular clientele can gain access to a nice clean prostitute for 100 to 200 when the indy was previously charging 300 to 1,500, how bitter would she be? ;) They might have to start working more. And the ones I know would hate that. They love their freedom.
posted by effwerd at 9:56 AM on February 8, 2006


Jody Tresidder:

I agree this was a somewhat bad choice of terms. I was basically trying to make clear that it is not only crackwhores who sell their bodies on the street, but also higher class prostitutes. But reading again the snippet you pasted, yeah, it makes me sound like a pimp. Point taken.

Now you've got me laughing at a mental image of me in a purple zoot suit.
posted by qvantamon at 9:59 AM on February 8, 2006


nkyad: oh, I agree fantasy pimp terms need to reach the market - and many a fool has been parted from his money with the promise of "classy and beautiful ladies".

But the minute you start to dress up what is being purchased, you're a long way from a sober defence of a straightforward contractual exchange between consenting adults.

Anyway, anyone who seriously uses the term "classy" (outside a Frank Sinatra movie) clearly hasn't a clue what class is.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:02 AM on February 8, 2006


jp.p. Hung - while even the points you make are problematic, I won't go into that. The larger issue is that they are mostly unrelated to my comment, which was about the societal construction of female sexuality and its origin. You present (again, very problematic) anecdotes and individual stories (which you no doubt have direct knowledge of, since you would never simply repeat common sterotypes and TV scripts) as somehow counter to the argument that women are not solely responsible for the way their sexuality is constructed in our culture.

In other words: thank you for illustrating my point that men contribute at least as much to this construction as women.
posted by freebird at 10:03 AM on February 8, 2006


On preview qvantamon -
That was funny.
Now I look like a humorless fool!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:03 AM on February 8, 2006


If women didn't turn the vagina into a culturally sacred construct

Blasphemy! Offense! Provocation! Apologies now or your head rolls!

Actually, it's not completely off the mark. Not that I think it's women, or only women, who did that, but it's true that even today there's a tendency also among women, from family value moralists to anti-legalisation feminists, to use puritan arguments and effectively demand to decide for all other women (and the far fewer men in the trade, but they exist too) that no, prostitution should never be practiced, even in the best possible conditions and circumstances, because the female agency is always being completely voided by the existence of sexism. *grunts* God forbid the focus was on fighting actual sex slavery and trafficking, of adults and of minors, and the rest were allowed to work in legal, regulated and safer conditions. Nooo.

It's not like you have to like it and approve of it 100% and want to do it yourself to be in favour of its legalisation. It's a pragmatic issue.

transona5: um, no. It's never a necessary condition to advance in a job. It's simply mutual exploitment. Not to mention dishonesty towards those who advance by their own merits. Not to mention, can we please stop with the cliché that women "have to" sleep with someone to get ahead?

I really don't like such extremely stretched definitions of victimhood.
posted by funambulist at 10:16 AM on February 8, 2006


Prostitution should be legalized. Just like abortion, it will happen whether or not it's legal, and decriminalization will make it safer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:19 AM on February 8, 2006


I really don't like such extremely stretched definitions of victimhood.

Yah, I'm trying to be clear in not saying it's all the fault of men, or that women are only victims in all this. I'm reacting to the Jesse Helm's claim that women are entirely responsible for the cultural construction of their sexuality. I suspect he didn't even mean this, that's just what it sounded like before I'd had my coffee. Like I said, "we are all here" and placing women only in the role of innocent victims is almost as much of an objectification and almost as unfair a characterization.
posted by freebird at 10:24 AM on February 8, 2006


Human trafficking, slavery, and rape are not prostitution. I don't think anyone here is suggesting we legalize the first three.
posted by Songdog at 10:34 AM on February 8, 2006


freebird: understood and agreed. I just read that comment from The Jesse Helms as an interesting provocation. The target was indeed too wide and vague, so, not sure about the intent, but it made me think of a few specific examples.
posted by funambulist at 10:36 AM on February 8, 2006


If women didn't turn the vagina into a culturally sacred construct, this wouldn't be a big deal.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:08 AM PST on February 8


This is so dumb I can't breathe.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:40 AM on February 8, 2006


Guessing The Jesse Helms left off his sarcasm tag?

Metafilter: This is so dumb I can't breathe
posted by LordSludge at 10:45 AM on February 8, 2006


I'm sorry, but what is the point of this link? Is it to say, "this guy is illiterate, but makes powerful, valid points, substantiated by facts", or is it, "this guy is illiterate and he makes ridiculous claims based on his readings of the bible and not backed up by any credible statistics." I don't get it. Certainly you can't be saying he makes valid points substantiated by facts. Just the one sentence: Coasta Rica has legal prostitution has very few sex crimes; is absolutely false. A quick google of "costa rica sex trade" turns up hundreds of hits about how out of control the sex trade is, and in particular, for young children. Like this:
Deaths force Costa Rica to fight child-sex trade or this:
RIGHTS-COSTA RICA: SEX TRADE ON THE RISE AND OUT OF CONTROL (their capitals, not mine). Or this: Sordid Child Sex Trade Booms in Costa Rica

The idea that the legal prostitution in Costa Rica has not resulted in any ill effects and that "sex crimes are lower" is absolutely false. The opposite is true. Costa Rican police even admit that this has created a serious problem in that it has lead to a rampant trade in child prostitution, many of whom were acquired via kidnapping or cash.

That is not "fewer sex crimes". Read this, by a Costa Rican newspaper, scroll down to: Tech gift helps effort
fighting exploitation
The first paragraph says: A modest $23,000 donation of equipment Tuesday was the latest in a massive effort by the U.S. and Costa Rican governments to attack the sexual exploitation of minors.

I don't get the point of the link. I hope we're saying this guy is an idiot. By the way, I am not against legalization, I'm not for it either. I have actually been struggling with this question for a while. I don't know if legalization actually works, or if it is actually good. I'm also not sure if prostitution is bad. I honestly don't know. But, I can't bare to read ignorant support of something that so obviously has resulted in terrible harm to under age children. We can't afford to be ignorant here, or be blinded by the truth. Legal prostitution is not working in Costa Rica.
posted by generic230 at 11:07 AM on February 8, 2006


funambulist: It's never a necessary condition to advance in a job. It's simply mutual exploitment. Not to mention dishonesty towards those who advance by their own merits. Not to mention, can we please stop with the cliché that women "have to" sleep with someone to get ahead?

From what I can tell, there are more than enough cases of quid pro quo sexual harassment to support the claim that it does happen, at least more than "never." And as for those people who want to sleep their way to the top, they probably are not compaining.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:12 AM on February 8, 2006


Men on Internet Declare Prostitution Mostly OK. Film at 11.
posted by klangklangston at 11:18 AM on February 8, 2006


generic230:

Read the phrasing of the FPP again. Linger on this part:

So you've seen the careful, rational and spell-checked arguments for the decriminalization of prostitution. Now read this instead.

Seems pretty clear that I think the guy's dim. But I think he's deluded enough to be funny. He's like a lot people who don't want to hear about the negatives because they enjoy something. Like people who don't want to hear about pollution and oil shortages because they like the convenience of driving everywhere without thought, this guy has convinced himself that third world sex tourism is free of any misery. There's a case to be made for legalized (and regulated) prostitution, but this guy's anecdotes and deluded conclusions aren't it. And his writing floors me.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:23 AM on February 8, 2006


flarbuse: In North Carolina right now, it is absolutely legal to give a blowjob or have anal sex for money.

Hahaha, yeah, you do that. Ya think the average cop knows that? (Or cares to check up on the law and accurately it?) You'll still go to jail if "busted".

Then, you'll either pay a lawyer $1000+ to convince the judge/jury that no crime was committed, or you'll try to defend yourself, lose, and be a convicted sex offender. Keep in mind that < twang> judges 'round here don't take too kindly to havin' some degen'rit smartass read them the law in their own courtroom...< /twang>
posted by LordSludge at 11:35 AM on February 8, 2006


generic230 : "We can't afford to be ignorant here, or be blinded by the truth. Legal prostitution is not working in Costa Rica."

I fail to see the link between legalized prostitution and the situation your links describe. Women trafficking/slave trade and child sexual abuse are crimes on their own and they exist in one form or another in almost all countries in the world, regardless of prostitution legal status. It does not seems likely that these problems were unheard of in Costa Rica until the very minute the law legalizing prostitution was enacted.
posted by nkyad at 11:36 AM on February 8, 2006


It's inherently disenfranchising to talk about sex workers you do not know and assert that they are being exploited. Many of you are assuming that these poor souls don't know any better, or can't find better work or are pressured into what they do. You may be right about some sex workers, but I know for a fact that you are not right about all sex workers.

I know a number of sex workers. In general they are not exploited. They are self-directed people (men and women) who sometimes have bad clients.

I'm not saying that there are no sex workers who are exploited, and I'm not debating that some kinds of exploitation are worse than others.

Also, for reference, I do not hire any of these folks. They're friends.

Please be careful with your assertions and assumptions. You're talking about real people who are often criticially thinking, self directed, and capable of making informed decisions about the paths their lives takes and the professions they pursue.
posted by kalessin at 11:40 AM on February 8, 2006


This is so dumb I can't breathe.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:40 AM PST on February 8 [!]


I'm sorry, autobot pun, that I can't fill the glass as full as http://www.butts-lol.info undoubtedly would.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:53 AM on February 8, 2006


Okay but um do you honestly think that women are to blame for "turn[ing] the vagina into a culturally sacred construct"? You don't think the idea that women are weak and sacred and must be protected is a useful one to men?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:58 AM on February 8, 2006


From the original article: Maria lays back on they bed and hands me a tube of K-Y jelly and I apply some to her virgina ......so it goes something like this....I place my penis inside her virgina and ...bin do dang do....and its over in minutes.....waves hit the beach.....the wind blows through the trees......just like Rhinos do it on TV...... he he , then we get up and grab the towels and go to the shower room and shower together after that we go back to the room and get dressed .

That's some fine prose there.
posted by Bonzai at 12:05 PM on February 8, 2006


KirkJobSluder: yeah but harassment was not implied in the idea of "a woman has sex with her boss to get a raise or promotion". Different story.
posted by funambulist at 12:07 PM on February 8, 2006


It sure seems to me that if you're trying to make a cogent argument in favor of something, it really helps your case to present it, not only with proper spelling, but with something resembling actual grammar.

Not to be argumentative, but the President of the United States seems to get by fine without any of the stuff you mentioned.

Just saying.
posted by illovich at 12:19 PM on February 8, 2006


Prostitution is legal in New Zealand.

I've known 4 or 5 girls that became prostitutes (something about a lot of the girlfriends I had when I was in my late teens I guess, many of them started working later on).

None of them were exploited, none of them were doing anything against their will - and that was before it was legalized. Two of them were entirely self-employed. One to the extent that she had an amazing house on a cliff with incredible sea views, sauna, spa and so on. Quite spectacular.

I don't think you can call yourself a libertarian and be against letting people do what they want with themselves. (Hi threeblindmice.)

If you've got a problem in your country with sex slavery and people smuggling, sort that out. But people smuggling and sex slavery aren't the same as prostitution. At least in countries that aren't fucked.
posted by The Monkey at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2006


None of this will be ab issue when they finally start to produce the sex droids we have been promised for so long.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:15 PM on February 8, 2006


when they finally start to produce the sex droids we have been promised

What? You don't have yours? Personally I can reccomend the Sukmaxer 3000 VX. With the extra battery pack. And spend extra for the Jolie (TM) lip attachments. It s worth it.
posted by tkchrist at 3:24 PM on February 8, 2006


What is with people always wanting to have sex with robots? When I make my robot army to take over the earth, they certainly won't be wasting their time servicing anyone's sexual needs.
posted by beth at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


WHAT?
Oh man. Um, I need to go.
* scrambles off into subterranean lab, tries madly to cancel species-traitor negotiations with beth's army, end weeping in the corner *

What have I done!? WHAT HAVE I DONE!??!
posted by freebird at 5:04 PM on February 8, 2006


When I make my robot army to take over the earth, they certainly won't be wasting their time servicing anyone's sexual needs.

As far as YOU know. You have a "Dont ask- Don't tell" policy in that army?

Weeeeell then let me just say Srgt. 3407z-12 may be reporting for duty a little late tomorrow.

And a wee bit bow legged.

[rim shot]
posted by tkchrist at 6:15 PM on February 8, 2006


[rim shot]

Yes, I expect it will be.

[Cymbal crash]
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:40 PM on February 8, 2006


Does that count as a derail? I'm flagging myself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:58 PM on February 8, 2006


transona: I still don't see where making prostitution illegal magically creates jobs for people whose only option would be prostitution. If their only option is prostitution, what benefit does taking that OPTION away from them give? Let them starve to death to save them?

Just yesterday I attended a screening of Beyondmedia's "Turning a Corner" a film about prostitutes (female as well as male and transgerdered and transvestite) and their struggles and trials in finding a way to live after being prostitutes.

In 2001 the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless started the Prostitution Alternatives Round Table. One of their great accomplishments has been the passage of a bill that allows former convicted prostitutes to have their records sealed so as to be more employable. Also transitional centers have helped former prostitutes to make it in life outside the only business they knew.

A secondary point that needs to be made: in Illinois prostitutes are frequently charged with felony solicitation, but the johns (and pimps) are UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES at risk for a felony for their involvement in the exchange. The johns, the men who create the demand, and the pimps, the ones who profit, have a far smaller chance of a serious criminal charge than the women who risk their lives as prostitutes.
posted by Jesse H Christ at 10:59 PM on February 8, 2006


Ooops-- link to further info can be found at www.chicagohomeless.org

Also a couple other things

In Chicago 62% of prostitutes begin before the age of 18, and 50% spend some of their time homeless while they are prostitutes.

And I forgot to mention that legislation is the works (HB 1299: the Predator Accountability Act) that would allow victims of prostitution (prostitutes and their families) to seek compensation from their pimps (for injury, disease, mental/emotional harm and death). Such legislation already exists in FL, MN and HI.
posted by Jesse H Christ at 11:09 PM on February 8, 2006


And yet it is so hard not to be fascinated by images of pimps.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:06 AM on February 9, 2006


qvantamon:Are you proposing we outlaw anything that does not bring virtue and progress to mankind? (sorry, my out of date Mac9.2.2 and IE5.1 won't do italics or upper case.)

No, rather the reverse. But since it is unlikely to happen all by itself, I think we ought to be able to say why these things ought to be legalized, not just argue about the details.
posted by donfactor at 4:31 PM on February 13, 2006


« Older Leech...  |  Band of Brothers... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments