Thursday, September 06, 2007

Toot Toot hey Beep Beep

Wow... look what I found on Technorati! Just when we start thinking nothing really nice can come out of nowhere, this appears! :)


I'm just curious today and have been thinking about something, so I thought I'd ask a question.

Do you believe prostitution should be legal? Why? Why not?

Right now, I am leaning toward legalizing it. My reason is fairly simple. If it is in a controlled setting, it would be handled like nearly any other service. It would remove it from exploiters such as p*mps and criminals. There would be a standard set for the customers and the prostitutes alike. No drugs. No drunkenness.

There would be help available for the women. Medical care. Security.

In the final analysis, I believe that most people are competent to make decisions about what they want to do with their lives and I hold this to be true for women as well. If a woman chooses to do it, I can't find a logical argument against it.

(My personal bias: I should mention that I've only known one prostitute in my life. She was a young woman who put herself through college and bought a house in West Los Angeles with the money she made. She was not hooking in a Sunset Blvd bar. She hooked in the lounge at the Bel Air Hotel. Thought I should mention that. I truly know nothing personally about the other aspects of it, beyond what I've seen on TV or read in books. Okay. So that's my bias and I may not know about or have never seen the more destructive aspects. So... given that.. share your opinion. All opinions are welcome here. :)

How about you?



Christine said...

i don't know, this is hard.

one the one had you are right--medical care would be more accessible, better livelihoods could be made,and women could chose how and if to use their bodies for sex.

but on the other hand the porn industry is legal, but i'd wager a lot of young woman are still exploited, mistreated, and almost trapped in the system. surely not all are, but in the end it stills sends a message that woman and their bodies are primarily sex objects.

but you've got me thinking! interesting topic!

flutter said...

Porn is legal. Porn is sex for money, and so how is that NOT prostitution? I think if you legalize it you can put some regulations on it and maybe keep the prostitutes safe.

While it's not exactly the career I would choose, it's not my business if it's how someone wants to pay their rent

painted maypole said...

I don't know about this. I wonder if there wouldn't still be a lot of illegal activity, because of the shame involved (both the prostitutes and their clients). I think most women don't feel like they CHOSE prostitution, I think for most it was circumstances that pushed them there. Having some level of control over it would definately be an advantage, but I think there would still be lots of illegal activity because of the nature of it - the secrecy, the link to drunks, the violence, etc. I don't think legalizing it would eradicate all of that. It would just drive the illegal ones to be cheaper or wilder or somehow offer something "more" to their customers.

Off topic: I saw over at Blooming DesertPea that you are a Joseph Campbell fan. I love his stuff, and just yesterday was looking at photos and memories from a play I did that examined creation myths. I spent a lot of time 'with' Joseph Campbell when I was researching for that!

Molly said...

Hi there! Thanks for visiting...I see your comments on Heartinsanfrancisco all the time but this is the first time I've visited....and what a topic! It is the oldest profession, so chances are it isn't going away any time soon. Very little chance that the pimps and ladies involved will suddenly see the error of their ways and go join the church choir instead. We couldn't help gawking when we lived in Belgium where it is legal. The ladies displayed themselves in the windows of their establishments, under lurid blue lights. Seemed very demeaning to me, but that was how they chose to pay the rent, as one of your commenters said. Regulations and health standards were in place for their protection. There will always be those who will stay outside the law. But the others shouldn't be penalised ....This from someone who went to school to nuns....oh dear! What is the world coming to?

Anonymous said...

Prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada, but I don't think it has dramatically improved the lives of prostitutes.

I've seen what legalized gambling- I refuse to call it "gaming"- has done to the cities that indulge it, and it hasn't been pretty. I've seen charming little country towns transformed into cheap and gaudy casino towns, and there's no way to get that geni back in the bottle.

I don't want to see the whole country turned into a red-light district.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I think it's interesting to live in a laize faire capitalistic society and yet control certain aspects. If we are truly capitalistic, then prostitution should be legal and driven by the market.

But... and there are a million buts, yes?

I've actually known a lot of people who work in adult entertainment. I've never seen it support someone, lift them up - rather, it often becomes addictive - addicted to the money, the attention, etc. I've never met anyone who felt good about this kind of work. Ever.

And yet, there are escorts who work their whole life.

Blog Antagonist said...

I am really ambivalent about this issue. I think peddling one's body to strangers for cash is just loathsome and the thought of legalizing it just doesn't sit well with me.

And I don't like the idea of giving pimps the green light for trading in human flesh.

However, the fact that it is illegal is clearly not preventing it from happening.

I don't know. We obviously can't stop it from happening, but maybe we can make it safer for women who feel it's the only way.

However, I would also like to see more effort to improve social programs that would give women other options other than selling their bodies.

Emily said...

There are lots of unpleasant choices people have had to make. Yes, these are exploited people who would prefer not to do this. It is immoral and wrong, not on the part of the prostitutes but on the part of those who take advantage of them.

However, immoral should not be illegal. It is a public health issue as it stands, and it would be less of one if legalized. We should absolutely legislate to protect public health, the vulnerable, and the disadvantaged. Laws against prostitution do nothing to help any of the above. All they do is impose the morality of those with means upon those without. I am against all forms of restrictions on civil liberties that do nothing to protect people.

Yes, they are exploited and probably would not choose these jobs if there were other options open. The same goes for garbage men, toll takers on the Jersey turnpike, and coal miners. Yet, we allow those jobs to continue. An argument could be made that those jobs are essential, so we have to allow them to continue, but I would say that because they are legal we can at least be sure 15 year olds aren't doing them, the workers are somewhat fairly paid, and the health conditions are decent. And, how about jobs like housecleaning, stripping, and biking people around in cities? Those are luxuries provided for those with means, they are unnecessary, the workers are exploited, and they are legal.

Prostitution is illegal because people think sex is bad and prostitutes are bad because of that. I cannot stand people trying to legislate morality. These are people trying to earn a living by selling the one thing they've got. Perhaps we should work on giving them other options, rather than putting them in jail.

Melanie said...

Why not? I mean think about it. Health insurance. Lower the risks of STD's. Prostitution is going to happen. Has since the creation of Christianity.

Would be taxed, and regulated though. Maybe thats the reason its not legal. I could use a side job. :giggles:

Cecilieaux said...

Someone I knew turned to prostitution during a bad stretch of her life. We had lost touch and out of the blue at my door was one of the most destroyed people I have ever known.

Frankly, I would legalize prostitution and drugs. Or at least criminalize the right things: offering to pay for sex and trafficking in drugs. Addictive-drug users and people desperate enough to sell their bodies need help, not jail.

Jen M. said...

Yes, I do. Maybe it would reduce the need for abusive go-betweens like pimps. It seems ridiculous, when you think of all the other things that are legal.

Tabba said...

You know, Chani...this is something I have thought myself and never said out loud to anyone.

In all actuality, I can think of way worse things to do for a living. Not saying that it would be my choice, but who am I to judge?

QT said...

I think it should be legalized to eliminate the middle man. I only knew one in my life, she started as a stripper and worked her way up -or down, however you want to look at it. She was a nympho and addicted to the attention. I can't say that she had her head on straight enought to do anything with the money other than shop and get plastic surgery.

MsLittlePea said...

Wow. I'm gone for a few days and my first day back and whew! What a topic. I agree with you for the most part. I had a conversation with a friend about this as I was reading this post to her over the phone and she brought up a good point. It was her opinion that the reason (street)prostitution was illegal was because it's almost impossible to tax and legalizing it would make it easier and perhaps enable some health care for these women, like you said. I dare say I'm not quite sure it would get rid of pimps. There's always someone out there waiting to prey on the vulnerable. I wonder if we lived in a society where there were more choices for uneducated women in need, would there be as much prostitution as there is today? Just a thought.

I used to know a 'call girl'. She was my biology lab partner in college. She told me she had a wonderful upbringing and that most of her clients were older men who couldn't do it anymore(this was before Viagra). She had no pimp and was going to school. This is a 'myth' I know, but it worked for her so I had no judgments. It's not like she had no choice either, her family was wealthy and she could have easily worked some place else. It's not something I understand because I don't think she was happy. I see her from time to time at a shop where she now works and she looks so much older than she should.

meno said...

You know what i find odd?
If i pay you to have sex with me and film it to sell to strangers, that is legal because we are actors.
But i can't pay you to just have sex with me. Odd.

I don't know the answer to this, and i could probably argue passionately on either side. But i think the good of legalizing prostitution might outweigh the bad.

crazymumma said...

I'd recognize the opening from Lady Marmalade ANYWHERE. Amazing that as a young girl, 11 or so, I loved the song but had no idea what it was about.

I love your questions to us. they are so provoking.

I will answer this from the perspective of one who is not in the sex trade, nor met anyone who is.

I support the idea of legalizing it WITHOUT it being owned by a governmental body.

I believe that the men and women in the sex trade should be in charge of themselves, an elected Union if you will. That they have medical safeguards in place and frequent checkups, again regulated by their elected union.

There is an itch in society that will never ever go away so instead of pretending it is bad it should be recognized as a human reality.
Some people just need the outlet you know?

All this said from my fairly naive point of view, I would love to here someone from the sex trade's opinion.

crazymumma said...

I meant 'hear' not here.


Snoskred said...

This is one I'm not really sure about.

If a woman chooses it that's one thing, but how many truly choose it because they *want* to do it, not for the money involved? If you offered them a choice - earn just as much money to pick up garbage off the streets VS sleep with men, what would they pick?

I think the same goes for drugs - I don't think people choose to do it because they want to. I think they try it, they like it, and they soon can't stop it. Even drugs that aren't addictive have that effect.

I was once a smoker. My Dad still is. I'd like him to quit, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.

I'm addicted to caffeine. I know this. I know if I don't drink it I get evil headaches. Is it causing me the same kinds of issues being addicted to speed, heroin or any of those new drugs like ice and crack would? I don't think so. Do I want to stop it? Probably.

I don't like the fact that if I miss my morning coffee, by mid afternoon I am unable to function due to a major headache. In order to stop it I would have a few days of headaches that normal painkillers don't even touch. So, maybe next year.

For now I choose to remain an addict. But I'm not breaking into peoples houses for coffee money. I'm not stealing coffee beans. I'm not holding up starbucks just to get the drug I need. I'm not breaking the hearts of my family and friends with my addiction. Drug users do those things.

I am not for legalizing drugs, I am for getting rid of them completely and utterly. Yes, probably even caffeine. As much as that might make some people hate me for typing it. But I'd rather the next generation of kids don't get hooked on it like I did.

I found a couple of blogs on the net re pr0n a while back and I've kept an eye on one of them because it was interesting. He interviews some of the girls involved in pr0n.

Warning - clicking on this following link may be offensive to some viewers, because it contains at the very least naked people and possibly some people engaging in the kinds of things you might see in pr0n -

I Shoot Porn

I think it is brave to ask the questions you're asking. I just don't have any answers to them, and I don't think anything will change re legalizing pr0n or drugs anytime soon. I don't think we have gutsy enough law makers. And when you consider some of the dumb laws that do exist.. it's incredible.


slouching mom said...

Tough, tough question. I think legalizing it would solve some problems, especially as regards the safety and welfare of prostitutes, so on balance I lean toward doing so. Though I wish it were not so prevalent a profession.

How to phase it out when it's been around forever and ever? I have no idea.

mitzh said...

Legalizing it or not is an issue people sometimes take a look at or completely ignored.

Anvilcloud said...

Congratulations on the testimonial on that other blog.

KC said...

Um, this title is money.

Anonymous said...

I think it should be legalized. I also think that pot should be legal. But, thats just my opinion.

Julie Pippert said...

Hang on, I need to shift because the fence under me is a little uncomfortable...

Okay I like the idea of protecting and helping because the realist in me says the world's oldest profession isn't likely to end. Except I don't know that things are that much better for prostitutes in Nevada.

The bottom line for me is this: prostitution is indicative of the privilege disparity and no matter how much I'd like to empower and be liberal about people who work in's simply (can't get the right word for some reason) taking advantage of, using people who don't have equal access.

In that sense, I want protection for the prostitutes, but more than that, I want to fix it so they don't need to do it or feel like their only value is as a sex object.

Maybe that's my puritanical middle class morals popping up. I don't know.

Using My Words

Mary said...

In my whole life, I never thought that prostition should ever be legalized. For the reasons you suggest, it should be considered. That's a tough question to answer, though, when we want to regard our bodies as sacred...

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I cannot imagine being a prostitute, but I have always thought that it should be legalized because those who want to do it will do so anyway. All the reasons you mention are persuasive, removing pimps from the equation, adding medical care, freedom from legal prosecution, etc.

If people are to be in control of their own destinies, they must be free to work at whatever they choose, no matter how odious others consider that work.

I have never known a prostitute (probably,) but I once knew a woman who had put herself through an Ivy League college by hooking. She told me that she got the idea when a man she bedded left money on her nightstand, and it occurred to her that if she was going to sleep around, she might as well be paid for it.

It was not a moral issue for her, and while my personal objection is based more on the aesthetics of disgust than on morality, in a free society everyone should be allowed to make his or her own choices. Performing sexual acts for money is simply one of them.

Siamerican Wanderer said...

I came into this one a little late--better late than never I say.

Thailand is an interesting situation. Technically prostitution is illegal, but in practice, it's a part of the society as has been for centuries and seems to be everywhere you turn. Some forms are acceptable in society while others are unspoken hush hush for their lack of morality.

I'm not talking about go go bars and sex tourism as so popularized on the internet--this is limited to 'special' red light zones who cater to majority foreigner clientale and I am not one to glorify let alone pay much attention to this sector, as I'm not sex tourist.

While there are many forms and levels of prostitution on the local level, in Thailand I will focus on the two extremes--one which I fully endorse and the other which I'm fully anti.

First, we have the 'legit' establishments where hostesses, escorts, and/or masseuses willingly and freely choose to offer 'quality' services which range from massage, bath, to the explicit deeds that would follow. In one such type of establishment, in Thai called Opp-Ope-Nuwut (bath, warm, and massage) females choose to work here for security and stability (as close as you might get in such an industry) and generally, the customer base is of a higher standard, willing to pay the avg. 2000 baht--60 to 70 dollars for a two hour bath and body massage (all services included)of which the female has every right to deny any customer if she wishes--though such girls are usually smiling and welcoming mood anyway--no strings attached, no 'hurry up and get this over with' feeling, no lost face by both parties, etc. etc. Here the girls actually take pride in their work and handle their work professionally dong quality to their best ability, rather than at the second place I'm going to touch up on: Brothels

Brothels house slave girls or girls who were coerced into 'non quality' environment and circumstances and wouldn't have a choice to deny any pursuers who will pay the short time (half an hour) fee if 200-300 baht 7-9 dollars to do only that deed...nothing mutual in such exchanges... One does something as quick as he can, the other (slave girl) lies down and receives what's coming, ever waiting for the session to end as soon as possible. Such girls may recieve up to 50 percent of the fee, though many end up getting nothing as they are indebted to their slave drivers who may have bought the girl out from her family or some other unfair situation.