Saturday, 4 January 2014

Remember how at the beginning of December, I recommended everyone check out the debate on Cato Unbound regarding legalization of prostitution? Well, December is over and, I presume, so is the debate. Ms McNeill, who wrote supporting decriminalization, did not disappoint. Her arguments were articulate, logical, and backed up by data.

The prohibitionists, on the other hand, were clueless, illogical, and generally overwrought. Dianne Post, in particular, relied on unsupported, outlandish claims ("prostitution is slavery!"), exaggerations, and discredited data to make her points. The comments sections on her essays are awesome though. The commenters didn't let any of her crap go unchallenged. If you like a good debate, and especially if you enjoy seeing hysterical, irrational ideologues taking a smack-down, the whole thing is worth reading.

However, the very best part of the whole debate is a comment by Franz. While the essayists and the other commenters stuck to theoretical arguments, Franz made the whole thing real with a very personal tribute to escorts. His comment began,

"Dear Ms. Post, if you argue that prostitution reinforces the subordination of women, I like to argue that, while sex workers are being paid for rendering services that focus on simple sexual gratification, they really reinforce a complex of human values, such as mutual understanding, consideration, kindness, affection, and even friendship. In fact, generally they are quite extraordinary human beings.
For instance:
Tonight, my escort, a migrant 36-year old woman, called me unexpectedly asking how I was doing. Since some time I am housebound and bedridden. For about 20 minutes we had a heartwarming, witty conversation that lifted my spirit, and it ended with her offering spontaneously to come by tomorrow (New Year's Eve) and cook for me. I protested but no discussion possible. So I subordinated/surrendered/accepted. A few hours later she texted me this: "I know you feel lonely don't worry we will talk tomorrow dear don't worry, #love#kisses#hugs". Note: she's not coming for a business appointment but to cook. It would be an insult if I offered to pay her something, even for the groceries she's going to bring."
He went on from there to a lovely, impassioned defense of compassionate prostitution that brought tears to my eyes.
It took me back to when I was a topless dancer and I experienced, so clearly, that many men were not just looking for sexual stimulation. They were also in need of companionship, a listening ear, a woman to sit and share a drink and company. Men showed me pictures of their kids, and talked about their loneliness since their wives divorced them. Or they told me about their jobs, their plans and aspirations. Some men wanted to just joke and laugh together. 
I cared about my customers, their stories and their lives. Yes, they tipped me for lap dances, and plenty of people would like you to believe that this negates a real, human connection. Well, it doesn't. Psychotherapists get paid. Physiotherapists get paid. Personal trainers get paid. Midwives get paid. Anyone who provides a valuable personal service deserves to be paid for their work, yet they can and do still care deeply about their clients.
I learned that, for men, sex and nurturing are often connected. The sex prohibitionists don't want this truth exposed. They push the idea that male sexuality is always violent, destructive and exploitive. Can it be destructive? Yes. Is this typical? No.
Go read Franz's comment! You'll be glad you did.

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