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The Debate Over the Negative Sides of Prostitution

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Prostitution is widely condemned due to its inability to align with orthodox views and its accompaniment of risks which are elicited by these sentiments. With proper regulation prostitution serves a necessary purpose and enables women to financially prosper in an inhibiting society.

Opposition to prostitution stems from the threat it poses to the Calvinist-Puritan view of compassionate marriage, which views romantic love as the exclusive form of legitimate sexual affection.

This view was secularized from religion during the Victorian period and hid the presence of degrading laws and social sanctions on women. It used love as a justification for strategic marriages that endorse political, financial or social gain. In reality, during the 19th century marriage was not a willful union between two individuals, but rather an imperative move for women since they were unable to own property, and often times work outside of the house. For women, marriage was the only way to ensure stability and financial security as they age. Prostitutes partially eliminate a man’s need for a wife and given the dependence women are forced to have on a man this greatly threatens their financial stability. Prostitution is not a menace for women, rather it exposes a prevalent underlying issue within society that is.

The prevalence of Judeo-Christian values in society has allowed it to influence the views of those that do and do not subscribe to it. It encourages sexual acts that expand one’s family and therefore spreads the word of god. A pious couple having children exponentially increases the number of people accepting and preaching the doctrine. Sex with a prostitute blatantly disregards this purpose. It separates sex from procreation. The Judeo-Christian stance once an advantageous and perhaps necessary view for the likelihood of pregnancy after sex was high. With the development of reliable contraception, the risks have notably decreased. Women can afford to have sex even if they do not want kids or are with a partner that they do not want them with. Scientific development has enabled sex to be detached from procreation and religion and enter the economic system.

Prostitutes provide an impersonal sexual release that greatly contrasts the idealistic notion of romantic sex. By nature, mercenary sex is detached, but that does not prevent it from being fulfilling or serving a purpose. For many, the prospect of a loving partner is slim. This can come from a lack of time, resources or emotional availability. This does not translate to one’s sexual needs being extinguished. Simply because someone is in a committed relationship, or even marriage, does not imply that they are being satisfied. Due to societal constraints, many people are bonded to someone who does not provide emotional or sexual fulfillment. Although ideal, most people do not have a comprehensively fulfilling relationship. Abstaining from sex with a prostitute does not insure one will find true love. Furthermore, not aligning with a rare ideal does not indicate immorality.

Clients are only concerned with the sexual services a prostitute can provide and they do not take interest in her as a person. As a society, we have been conditioned to be appalled by such a circumstance. In order to objectively assess the situation and not fall victim to orthodox views we must apply this encounter to a less stigmatized profession. We are not offended when one chooses a doctor exclusively based on their ability to cure or a mechanic based on their technical skills. Since prostitution is a profession as well the same reasoning should be applied. An underlying belief held by those that are insulted by this is that a prostitute is giving herself to a client as opposed to a mere sexual service. If this were true, she would be a sexual slave instead of a worker.

Prostitution currently poses a great health risk for prostitutes due to the lack of regulation and governmental protection. Prostitutes are especially susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases and both physical and sexual abuse. Basic oversight could notably reduce these issues. A one-sided camera would prevent clients abusing prostitutes and forcing engagement in acts beyond their consent. Mandatory and regular medical examinations could prevent the spread of diseases and infections. The lack of a legitimate market allows pimps to create one. Driven by greed, they construct it with exploitation, dehumanization and fear. If it were legalized, laws could be placed that limit the percentage of income managers could collect and avenues through which they find employees.

Many take a paternalistic approach and condemn prostitution on the basis that it is detrimental for the wellbeing and mental health of prostitutes. Their adverse view of prostitution is meant to deter young women from entering the occupation and encourage those who are already caught in it to leave. Rather than improving conditions, this view increases the complications within the occupation and limits one’s individual freedom. Due to innate sexual needs and inevitable financial strains prostitution will continue to hold value and remain in society. People should strive to minimize prostitution’s perils rather than alleviate it. Although good intentioned, the paternalistic approach invokes a hostile and vindictive view which is demeaning. Consequently, prostitutes are left feeling shameful, insecure and more disposed to mental illness. The paternalistic approach uses the negative effects which it provokes as reasoning for the elimination of prostitution.

Our current economic system rewards predominantly masculine traits and penalizes those with feminine ones. Occupations associated with women, such as teaching, caretaking and nursing, accompany a significantly lower pay than those dominated by men. Men are biologically more assertive and aggressive while women tend to be nurturing and attentive. Both sets of qualities are beneficial, yet careers that demand aspects of masculinity are more lucrative. This has led to women experiencing a greater strain and therefore having a higher reliance on men. Prostitution enables women to capitalize on their assets and capabilities just as every other profession demands. It grants women the ability benefit from their femininity unlike society generally allows.

Through societal progression and government reform prostitution has the ability to become an advantageous societal institution that confronts degrading traditional views and empowers women.

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