Sex Work

16 10 2009

What are the benefits of continuing to outlaw sex work and what are the drawbacks?

Check out the links under Sex Work for points and counterpoints.




16 responses

16 10 2009
Debra Picchi

It seems to me that if a woman or man chooses to participate in sex work, then that is a choice they have made. While I do not encourage my majors to aspire to a career in sex work, I do not condemn those who have made the choice to do so. Having said that, some things about sex work I DON’T like…the UN will not outlaw sex work because so many women with families in the 3rd World live on a dollar a day. When they do sex work for money to support their families, are they actually “choosing” sex work? Or we have discovered that some women working in Nevada brothels are “encouraged” by their husbands to work there. Are those women really “choosing” sex work? (Clearly women who are addicted, enslaved, mentally ill, etc. are not choosing anything.) Complicated.

19 10 2009
Ryan Caouette

When discussing the issue of sex work,” one has to draw a distinction between the issue as it exists in the United States and as it exists in the “Third World” (namely Africa). In a modern, industrial, and developed nation such as the US, the outlawing of sex work should not only remain illegal, steps to enforce its illegality should be stepped up, especially since there are programs women (or men) can be placed into to try and cure them of addictions, etc. The fact that prostitution still exists in the United States is a black mark on our country, though it is obvious that sex work has existed throughout human history and will likely never disappear completely. Still, the emphasis in the US has to be on helping women who are poor, mentally ill, or addicted to drugs finding and receiving help. Just because a woman is poor is no excuse for her working in the sex “industry.” Of course, without government assistance or enforcement of the laws, there is no way to change the attitude of the individuals who work for sex.

In Africa, the situation is even more tricky and dangerous. Due to the prevalence of AIDS across the continent, sex work has to be tackled immediately and with force. Only when sex work is reduced in Africa can the spread of AIDS slow down. Even so, I do recognize that many women earn their living through sex, and forcing them to stop “working” would undoubtedly leave them in a tough position. That is why government aid has to be given. Unfortunately, the governments of Africa have little money to spare.

In essence, then: sex work is wrong and should be outlawed. However, until the governments of the world (including the US) are willing to be more active in banning sex work, the problem is not going to go away. It will never completely disappear, but if we can help even a fraction of those individuals engaged in sex work achieve a better way of life, then we have accomplished SOMETHING.

19 10 2009
Debra Picchi

Thank heavens! We finally have a disagreement. I was worried there for a while that we would sink beneath all our agreeable-ness. Ryan, what is wrong with a woman (who is not enslaved, addicted, impoverished, under-age, etc.) making a decision about her own body and how she uses it? Isn’t this connected conceptually with pro-choice and doctor-assisted-suicides? We can even connect this to tattooing and piercing which was outlawed in the past in certain states in our country. Are we as a people willing to give up to the state? to law makers? to religious leaders? control over what is done with our bodies? An interesting film: LIVE NUDE GIRLS UNITE discusses how women peep show workers in San Francisco unionized. Many interesting points.

29 10 2009
Ryan Caouette

Yes, it is nice to see some variation of opinions at last 🙂 People should be allowed to do what they want, but only as long as it does not impact the rest of society for the worse. Sex work, as most people (in my humble opinion) would probably agree, certainly does nothing to enhance to morality of our society. What is more, in an age when sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, not only in Africa but around the world, sex work is actually quite disadvantageous and dangerous. It is important to maintain individual liberties yes, but the state has a responsibility to ensure that the nation as a whole is protected. The “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” as Spock from “Star Trek” would say.

22 10 2009

The main drawback (of keeping sex work illegal) that comes to my mind is always that the sex workers lack protection. I think legalizing prostitution would help pave the way for making the sex workers physically and economically safer. With the prostitutes getting the brunt of the legal trouble and the johns getting off the hook – and with prostitutes doing the work and pimps collecting the funds – I see evidence of the power structure that can result in devastating physical abuse. In my opinion, the first thing to concentrate on is the well-being of the workers: start with the physical, so they stay alive long enough to get to the psychological.

I don’t think that sex work is a “wrong” thing in and of itself. I think it’d be snazzy if somehow our species and our cultures had developed without the idea of buying/selling sex ever cropping up in our little human-minds, but I have inherited this world, not created it, and I think decriminalizing sex work is a necessary step toward the improvement of the sex workers’ lives.

27 10 2009
Kelsey Keegan

I would never be a sex worker myself, but i do not disagree with women who do. I do agree that it does have to do with the issues involving pro-choice though. Women should have the right to their own bodies in all and any accpect. In pro-choice we see it not as “pro-abortion” but as the government should not regulate what women do with their bodies. In correlation, i believe making prositution illegal involves the government controlling what we do with ourselves. What gives the government the right to say what we can or cannot do with our own bodies? Should the community regulate or vote on what individuals choose to do with themselves, or what they need to do to get by? I think if perhaps we regulated it more, and had laws that allowed prostitution it could not only help girls or boys make money in a safe way, but raise the economy in certain areas of the U.S. and other countries. I guess in this prospect we must also look at the issue of legalizing marijuana.

27 10 2009
Meredith Wiemer

If these women/ men are prostitutes becasue they have “daddy” issues, or are addicted to drugs then WHYYYYYY are we not attacking the issue of child abuse, or the war on drugs?! Let’s get our priorities straight…prositution is not the direct problem, it is more like the result.

3 11 2009
Kyle Brooks

Going along with what Kelsey has said, i believe that the person who is doing sex work has the ultimate say in whether she can be a sex worker or not. the government should not have a say what you do to your own body, for what ever reasons they may be. Another point, is that if sex work is legalized, it will actually Beninese the country more than hurt it. Bordellos in Nevada have calculated contributing 500,000 dollops in taxes to the state, which im sure has helped the state in many ways.

3 11 2009
Sam Bizon

I honestly do not see how sex work is a problem to begin with? Who made it so socially unacceptable, especially since humans are such sexually active beings…
There is more than enough supporting evidence to legitimize sex work within our society and with more and more women turning to it, why not see the positive side to sex work; instead of labeling sex work as a taboo.
Now of course I can see the argument against sex work in the states, and why it has remained illegal, but just think about sex work from an economical point of view, much like what Kyle said, or take what Kelsey said and ask yourself, why not let people choose for themselves. America is and has always been about options. Just because sex work could become an option, does not mean everyone would have to or would want to jump on the opportunity.

4 11 2009

Personally, I see no problems with sex work. I think that women and men are going to sell their bodies for money regardless of it being illegal or legal, so why not legalize it and regulate it. If these women and men were given unions and support networks, disease and poverty would not run rampant amongst these communities. Legalization would also mean that these people would be tested and treated. And perhaps they would even be paid more money, meaning they wouldn’t have to sleep with as many people a day.

It’s important to look past morality in some of these issues because morality is not a unified thing, it is personal. Who are any of us to say what is wrong and right for one’s body? Especially when we are all constantly being thrown sexual innuendos and viewing sexually explicit material everywhere we go. Can we really say that prostitution is wrong when we are continuously promoting sex as a nation?

There are so many worse things that people could be doing for money than having sex. Sex is a basic need for every human being, if these people enjoy sex and feel like they want to empower themselves with their sexuality, they should be able to be paid for it fairly and treated with respect!

5 11 2009

“Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.”
~Frank Gillette Burgess

Even though I personally believe sex to be an intimate part of our lives … ment to be shared with a “special someone,” I am openly aware that not everyone feels the same, whether this is do to choice or way of obligation (means of survival).
Putting aside the fact that my personal view of sex is rather modest, I do accept and try to understand those who view sex as open and/or a way of life… as the quote above indicates, each of us are the oweners of our bodies … we all write our own stories.
In regards to using sexual intamacy for money … I do feel it is a choice … but only to a certain extent… in my opinion if a women is forced into sex work to survive and otherwise would have no desire to go into such work… I feel like other measures should be taken … for yes, she is in control of what she is “doing” with her body, but she is not in control of the “decision” to do so with her body. In a sense it is like ones personal story being edited by another author.
On the flip side, if a women finds pleasure and choice in working as a sex worker than I feel she has every right to … she should not be judged on what our history and modern society has contiounosly promoted. I do feel measures should be taken to protect these indivudals and in fact treat them as the human beings that they are.
In conclusion, although many (myself included) are not comfortable with the openess of sex and sex work … in one sense, I truly think we all secertly envy the openess of those indivduals partaking in the sex world (basically speaking they embrace what is a mere human need). I guess one could say, they are living life to the fullest! As Katherine Mansfield so perfectly states, “How idiotic civilization is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?”

5 11 2009
Brian Powers

Sex work is a tricky subject. In instances in which people are forced into prostitution by their socio-economic standing, steps must be taken to make life more affordable for these families. Were that the case, people should then be given the right to make money with their bodies if they so choose. I don’t particularly like prostitution, and I think it’s a relatively negative career path in most circumstances, I don’t feel as though it is my right to tell someone else whether or not they have the right to make money off of their own body, provided they are doing so knowingly and hopefully safely. My roommate brought up the point that “models make money off their bodies, yet they are not considered to be sex workers?” I understand how this could be seen as slightly different, but it’s still an interesting thought.

5 11 2009

I think everyone has the right to do what makes them happy. If they cause no harm to themselfs or to others then its ok with me. I feel there should be regulations on sex work and they should deff. unionize.

6 11 2009

In my opinion, I believe everyone is entitled to their own rights as people and as the owner’s of their bodies. Yes, selling of one’s body can cause negative effects on society, that I will admit but on the other hand, this is a way of life for some women. Whether they have been forced into it or have found no other suitable alternative way of living, they do it to pay bills and feed their families if need be. Personally, I would never resort to this type of “profession” were I to find myself unemployed or homeless because that is my choice, and vice versa for those who do it, men and women alike, it was their choice and it is the choice of those who pay them to have sex or give any other “favors” to do so. In the end that is what it all comes down to…choice.

9 11 2009

I believe that women have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies. If it means showing it off to earn some extra money then it’s their choice. Some women this is the only way to make a living.

10 11 2009
Natasha W.

The majority of women who are subjected to sex work have no choice and very little options; some do this to provide for their families. For this reason alone I believe sex work is neccessary. However the fact remains that this is degrading work. Regulations should not be placed on how a woman decides to use her body, but aren’t we ashamed at the fact she decides to “use” her body in this fashion? Some are confused to believe she is confident with her sexuality and has no problem standing the streets to make some money. If this were the case, and if this was truly about her sexuality, money would not be apart of the equation, and she would be choosing her sexual partners at her leisure. See work is just that: work. They do this because they have to, not becase they’re getting off! That being said, other opportunites should be available to these women. Then maybe they can find “work” elsewhere and keep their clothes on in the process. I’m quite certain that if we gave these women a choice, the number of female sex workers would rapidly decrease.

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