The Oldest Profession

A new article in the Guardian attempts to explain why men see prostitutes.

I interviewed 12 of the men, and found it a fascinating experience. One told me about his experience of childhood cruelty and neglect and linked this to his inability to form close ­relationships with anyone, particularly women. Alex admitted sex with ­prostitutes made him feel empty, but he had no idea how to get to know women “through the usual routes”. When I asked him about his feelings ­towards the women he buys he said that on the one hand, he wants ­prostitutes to get to know and like him and, on the other, he is “not under ­delusions” that the encounters are anything like a real relationship.

I felt compassion for Alex. No one had shown him how to form a bond with another human being and he was searching for something that commercial sex was never going to provide.

But another of the interviewees left me feeling concerned. Darren was young, good-looking and bright; I asked him how often he thought the women he paid enjoyed the sex. “I don’t want them to get any pleasure,” he told me. “I am paying for it and it is her job to give me pleasure. If she enjoys it I would feel cheated.” I asked if he felt prostitutes were different to other women. “The fact that they’re prepared to do that job where others won’t, even when they’re skint, means there’s some capability inside them that permits them to do it and not be disgusted,” he said. He seemed full of a festering, potentially explosive misogyny.

One of the most interesting findings was that many believed men would “need” to rape if they could not pay for sex on demand. One told me, “Sometimes you might rape someone: you can go to a prostitute instead.” Another put it like this: “A desperate man who wants sex so bad, he needs sex to be relieved. He might rape.” I concluded from this that it’s not feminists such as Andrea Dworkin and myself who are responsible for the idea that all men are potential rapists – it’s sometimes men themselves

I think the author misses the mark on a couple of issues.  First she seems to believe these men when they portray themselves as victims.  Second both the author and one of her interviewees, make the assumption that there would be many more rapes if prostitution is unavailable.  I didn’t realize men couldn’t control themselves at all.  She then goes on to say that most of the prostitutes have been tricked or trafficked into their profession.  I do not want to downplay the seriousness of human trafficking, but as in most illegal activities those without any morals give the whole game a bad name.  There are any number of women who mindfully chose their profession.

I think if we were to stop vilifying sexual encounters more of us would have healthy happy relationships.  (by sexual encounters I do not mean to condone adultery)

Here is the full story

6 Responses to “The Oldest Profession”

  1. I agree that not all prostitutes are forced into their professions. When I was in college, I took a wonderful class that dealt with sex workers. We saw many different reasons for being in the field (we attended meetings of Coyote-a union of sex workers, interviewed women, etc.). There were women forced into it by finances, by drugs, by abusive partners and there were women delighted to futile sexual fantasies, to make large amounts of money (this isn’t the same as being forced into it by lack of funds) and to shock society. Most had more than one reason.

  2. unanonymous Says:

    Do what Nevada does. Legalize it. Safe for workers and their clients. Simple solution.

  3. Although often cited as a solution, Nevada’s model is not one to be followed. For example, most sex workers in NV brothels are literally prisoners, as they often sign contracts that state that they will not leave the premises for the duration of the contract unless it’s on an excursion with a client. Once they’re locked into this situation, the house uses the model of the company store in their dealing with their workers. They are required to purchase towels, soap, etc. from the house at grossly inflated prices. They are also pressured to make clients by lots of overpriced drinks at the bar from which they receive nothing. In addition, the house takes a large percentage of their income.

    How is this a good deal? Sounds like sexual sharecropping to me.

  4. unanonymous Says:

    performing services outside of a brothel and when on duty leaving the brothel is illegal in most NV counties that have prostitution. because of zoning laws many brothels are in remote border areas or outside of town and offer ‘over-priced’ supplies to visitors and employees alike. go to any remote store in NV and tell me supplies are not over-priced. your take on the business sounds straight out of reefer madness and is not what occurs in NV brothels. the staff are well paid, licensed, and professional.

  5. Oh, well, if the Seven Eleven charges too much for its merchandise, then it’s obviously perfectly okay for the brothel pimps to do so. Nice logic!

    If brothels keep prostituiton off the streets in Nevada, someone better tell all the hookers on Reno’s 4th Street corridor, popularly known as the 4th Street whore-adore. Guess they don’t follow the Humboldt blogs close enough.

    But thanks for reminding me about how uninformed the average anonymous whoremonger is about the truth of how brothels operate.
    Do a little searching on the net and watch the video made about the ex-Nevada prostitute who explains how girls hide signs of STDs during their “health” exams – conducted by doctors licensed by a state that consistently rates right around Mississipi in health care). Something tells me she knows a wee bit more about it than some anonymous lurker.

    See ya at the public health clinic, champ!

  6. Prostitution is not legal in Washoe County, where Reno is, or in Clark County, where Las Vegas is, or in Carson City, the state capitol. Prostitution is legal in Nevada only in the rural cow counties. The closest brothel to Reno is at Mustang, about 10 miles east of Reno.

    The Reno police do prostitution stings all the time especially on 4th street. There are about a dozen girls who are out on 4th street often, but of course the main sexual action goes in in the casinos, not on the street. Life is not wonderful maybe for some of the girls working in the brothels but it is safer, it is almost unheard of for a brothel girl to get beaten up or assaulted.

    Prostitution should be legal between consenting adults.

    have a peaceful day,

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