People...I'm going to tell you something you may already know, so I'd appreciate it if you could look shocked. I used to be a licensed brothel manager. I know, and yes my mother is proud. Whenever I bring this little factoid up at dinner parties, I get one of two reactions. Mostly I receive an enthusiastic smile of surprise followed by questions (which I love). But occasionally I receive a purse-lipped look of disapproval, because that isn't the sort of thing a private school educated young lady should be doing with her life. Well here's the funny thing about that; I get to do whatever I want with my life, and it seems to me that the smart thing to do is to choose something that makes you happy. So that's exactly what I did, and your disapproval only indicates to me that you didn't make the same decision.
Recently this level of disdain got to me, so I thought I'd have a bit of a rant. I know rants can be kind of boring, but this one is about sex...so that already makes it kind of interesting right? No? Too bad. Read it anyway and challenge your opinions motherfucker!
Ok, so here’s the thing that a lot of people bring up, but never really think about; prostitution is the oldest profession.
I’m not saying this lightly, I want you to actually think about the implications of that for a moment. Whether or not we have the anthropological proof to back up this statement doesn’t matter. We've had close to 50'000 years to be okay with this occupation, and we're still squeamish about it! Sex is something that we are (almost) all driven to participate in, as members of the human species. Our pressing urges for procreation are about keeping the species going (of course with a global population of over 7 billion people, that pressing urge is a little redundant and is why I personally think prophylactics are a brilliant life choice). But we’re getting off topic. If (almost) everyone wants sex and the sex is consensual, then what on earth could anyone have to complain about?
A lot, as it turns out.
Strange as it may seem, there are people in this world who don’t want you to masturbate or have sex. They don’t want to you do it with a condom on. They don’t want you to do it with a same sex partner. They don’t want you to do it outdoors. They don’t want you to do it with the lights on. And they certainly don’t want you to pay for it.
So, what we have here is a demand for sex, people willing to supply said sex, but a socially constructed sense of immorality when it comes to payment for sex.
Let’s look at it in another way, try and apply the same logic to a different industry. We have a demand for massages, I mean who doesn’t like a good shoulder rub? And there are people who genuinely like rubbing someone else’s back, who want to supply this service. But the idea of them being paid for it?! Outageous! Massages are something that should only be given after marriage, between a man and a woman, within their own home. You can apply that train of thought to anything, from haircuts to tattoos. It still sounds ridiculous, because it is! If you’re good at something and you enjoy it, why shouldn’t you be allowed to make money from it?
What really frustrates me about this is that WE ARE ALL PROSTITUTES! We prostitute hours of our lives to the highest bidder. We are literally trading weeks, months, years of our lives in manual or mental labour to corporations in exchange for a paltry sum. If you’ve ever worked in manual labour, you were literally trading your body for money. If you’ve only ever worked in white collar jobs, does it make you feel any better to know that you rented out your mind instead of your muscles?
If you've ever been in a sexual relationship, you were trading sex for something. Maybe you were trading your body for the pleasure the act of sex would bring you. Maybe you traded sex for the opportunity to be physically intimate with another person that you had feelings for, or maybe you did it because you knew it would lead to further emotional support from your partner. Just as Twain argued that there is no truly selfless act, I would argue that no sexual act is done without some form of “payment”. We always have a reason for having sex, and that reason will pretty much always have a self-serving element.
You can disagree with me on that point, or just ignore it completely if that’s easier, but it does lead to me to here…
Imagine every time you’ve ever had sex. Now imagine that every one of those times was with a stranger.
Sometimes you were physically attracted to the stranger, sometimes you were a little repulsed by them.
Sometimes you were intimidated by them, sometimes you rolled your eyes because they were a complete dropkick.
Sometimes it was their first time.
Sometimes they had a disability, deformity or disorder.
But for each one of those strangers, you found something to love about them.
This is what a sex worker, a good sex worker, does. They look past the things that make their client “undesirable” and they find the redeeming quality that will help them love that person for an hour, or an evening.
Could you do that?
Because, I don’t know about you, but I think it takes a pretty fucking spectacular human being to look at someone that the rest of society might have rejected and say “I can love this person, for as long as they want me to.”
And yes, there is monetary compensation, let’s not deny that. But how much money would you expect to be paid to have sex with someone that you’re not attracted to? Because for most people, the answer is well above what the average sex worker charges for an hour. And after you receive this money, don’t expect that your life will be the same, because from now on you’re someone who had sex for money. And you will spend the rest of your life seeing media and hearing conversations that tell you that what you did was shameful and disgraceful. You will be afraid to tell future partners, to tell family members, even to tell medical professionals. Because all of them will treat you differently now. Which means you have to lie. To the people you are supposed to love and trust. Because the world thinks that what you did was dirty and wrong.
But the world is wrong.
You didn't do anything wrong.
If you’re there because you want to be, and you enjoy sex and you can find something to love about that stranger…why on earth would it possibly be wrong?
I’m not going to whitewash this for you.
The truth is, not all sex workers are good at what they do. Just like not all accountants or hairdressers or bus drivers are good at what they do. Some people are just in a job to earn money.
Not all clients are people who can’t find sex on their own. Many of them are time poor, or don’t want emotional entanglements or they simply prefer to employ a professional. Some clients are married or have partners.
Sex workers at reputable establishments always have the right of refusal. If they don’t want to see a client, for whatever reason, they don’t have to.
Yes, there are sex workers in the industry who do not want to be there. This is called human trafficking and it is an absolutely vile practice, one that would have a much lower prominence if we didn’t have the social stigma attached to legal sex work. We don’t human traffic in accountants, because no one sees anything wrong with being an accountant, so therefore there’s never any real shortage of them.
My point is this; sex workers are human beings who do a job just like anyone else. But their job can involve doing something incredibly intimate with people the rest of us may or may not have deemed undesirable. Rather than treating them like they’re dirty, or like what they do is shameful, how about we start respecting them for being able to do it. How about we accept that there’s nothing wrong with sex and there’s nothing wrong with the people who enjoy it enough to make a living from it.
So maybe the next time you go to call someone a whore or a hooker, consider that maybe that shouldn't be a derogatory term.
That is all.
You may go now.