I’d like to be a prostitute, in an ideal world. Why not? I don’t have any personal moral taboos or hang ups about sex; I think it’s great. Sex is wonderful on many levels; it has brought me the most intense physical, mental and even spiritual pleasure. My sexual morals are based on meaningful consent plus honesty and integrity with the person I am sleeping with. So why not get paid for doing what I enjoy? Moreover I think I’d be good at it. I get great satisfaction in giving my partner a good time; I am reasonably experienced and think I am quite good at it. There is very little I wouldn’t be prepared to do or try to please my partner. I could probably get paid much more money for being a prostitute than for doing what I do now. I could choose my own hours and even continue teaching or doing something else as well if I wanted. So yes, in an ideal world prostitution could make me rich, comfortable and happy.
The problem is of course that the world we live in is far from ideal. The notion of the happy and successful hooker is seldom more than a fantasy. The truth about prostitution is that it is usually exploitative capitalism at its worst. It is riddled with exploitation, misogyny, poverty, drugs, corruption, crime and violence.
I have met a few prostitutes. The ones I have met all have very tough lives that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies. Most of them have been fooled or tricked into prostitution in one way or another. Some have been trafficked from foreign countries and don’t even speak the language of the country they end up in, and their pimps have taken their passports (if they ever had one). Their pimps are, in my opinion, the scum of the earth. In every kind of physical and psychological way they take total control of the girls who work for them and treat them more like farmyard animals than people. I met one girl who had been trafficked from Romania to Germany where she was only allowed to eat if she pleased certain clients, although on arrival in Germany she was regularly injected with heroine until she was totally addicted until finally she would probably have cut off her own arm or killed her own mother if told to do so in order to get her next fix. She had aids and is probably dead by now.
Of course not all prostitutes have stories as horrible as the one I have just described but I would guess that the vast majority of women and men who are in the sex work industry are less than happy with their lot in life. Many are cut off from their family by shame as well as geography. A lot are quite unhealthy and I would guess that most would prefer to have a different lifestyle even if they don’t object to the sex work itself.
So how can things be improved?
As I see it there are two fundamental problems that need to be addressed. The first is that in most societies in the world sex itself is still seen as something secretive, sordid and taboo. As a result of that the sex industry is to a large degree illegal and therefore underground and generally controlled by the criminal fraternity (who seldom have any moral scruples whatsoever).
When will we grow up about sex? And when will we learn that prohibition never, ever works?
Prostitution is said to be the oldest profession and it will never cease to be a profession. I think we need to start treating it in a more realistic, intelligent and grown up way. We need to take the criminality out of the profession altogether and put the sex workers back in control of their own bodies and their own lives. They can only do that if they can operate openly and legally and free of prejudices based on outdated and hypocritical morals.
I think it is a shame that something as potentially beautiful and life enhancing as sexual service is so entangled in taboos and criminality.
We have a very long way to go but I’d love to hear other people saying these things. Prostitutes could be as beneficial to society as any other service, health or social workers. I’d like to see their social status elevated greatly.