a natural history of the prostitute

The Origin of the World by Gustave Courbet (he had the right idea)
The Origin of the World by Gustave Courbet

Prostitutes are born.

Not every sex worker in the world enters the work because she has always felt a pull towards it. Many have. I know a number of women who have felt the interest from a young age, including myself (and this was before I even had a clear idea of what sex was). Conversations with these women reveal that we all say the same things about our early interest, we all became interested right before entering puberty and common myths about prostitution were not enough to dissuade us from desiring that life-path.

This is a very small sampling and it’s highly unscientific. Given what we know about genes and hard-wired behaviors — it seems more than plausible. Just as homosexual people are born, I am convinced prostitutes are born too.

My inspiration came last year after reading a US-based survey about attitudes toward gay people. The discovery of “gay genes” seems to have really turned the tide in popular thinking and acceptance of homosexuality. It sounds like an argument of convenience for prostitution. But if the range of human sexual orientation is, in fact, genetic; then how come prostitution — an extremely common sexual behavior — supposedly isn’t? What if prostitution isn’t merely a sexual behavior but is actually a sexual orientation? Why has prostitution always been viewed as a deviant behavior? How come people aren’t willing to examine the idea that a prostitute is a perfectly natural occurrence and that it’s society which has formed the deviant behavior around the prostitute?

If being a prostitute is a natural tendency for a percentage of women, then how can laws be made against who they are?

Read more

the economist debate

I’ve started reading The Economist during my travels. Fairly regularly but not like I’m a subscriber or something. Imagine the rush when I discovered they were holding an open debate on legalizing prostitution!* It has long closed, but the comments are open reading for all. I hope they include this in an upcoming issue.

Gotta say that I’m still grinning over the public trouncing Melissa Farley got. Her moral-panic shit plays fairly well in the US but internationally — does not hold water. Thank you, rational people, for showing up.

Given that this is The Economist, I sort of figured the comments would be good. And I was right. I haven’t read all of them but two from the closing arguments struck my fancy (the first one is flippin’ brilliant).

The oldest profession know to mankind followed by sailors — fisherman (food and souls) and politicians. Of these only politicians should be required to register with law enforcement as to their purpose, integrity and honesty — I already know what a prostitute does.

Why should prostitution be considered “a demeaning activity?” It is only demeaning if you come from a religious perspective or you hold to some romanticized notion of sexuality. It is only demeaning if you care what other prudes think about you. Healthy self-respect comes from within, not from without.

*Those of us who were informed argued for decriminalization instead of legalization. This is simply how The Economist chose to phrase the question, in common vernacular.