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Why is there prostitution

Quote 1193

For clients, prostitution provides an opportunity to enter into sexual and intimate relationships outside the standard realm of dating and commitment. There are a wide variety of reasons why people may wish to do this. Perhaps the most common reason is to achieve sexual satisfaction that is not otherwise possible, perhaps because long-term partners are unable or unwilling to provide it or because there is no long-term partner. Some clients may be disabled, or be too unattractive to find a sexual partner outside of the commercial realm. Others may use prostitutes because they may wish to have sex with a partner more attractive than they otherwise would be able to obtain. Some clients may wish to engage in sex with a wide variety of partners, or simply without the ties of a committed relationship. Prostitution also enables people to explore their sexuality and different sexual practices outside the context of a committed relationship; it is one way in which people are able to engage in ‘experiments in living’. There is also evidence that many clients of escorts desire emotional as well as physical intimacy – indeed, demands made by clients in this regard may be a significant psychological burden placed upon prostitutes

   --  IEA


The first thing to remember is that they call it the worlds oldest profession, it has been going on since there was sex and something to trade for it. Nothing has eliminated it, and most countries historically just formalised it in the form of marriage. (It was one component of marriage not the only basis).
In most "western" democracies prostitution is illegal.

Yet making prostitution illegal is silly, a throwback to the old world where
  • Women were not allowed to work
  • There were no contraceptives
  • There were no condoms
  • Women had less rights
More and more countries are legalising prostitution as this reality hits home that the world has changed.

Why is it illegal?

  • Paying for things is illegal
  • Having legal consential sex.
But for some reason where they intersect that has become illegal. See diagrams below.
Purchase of prostitution

Sale of prostitution

You can have any sex with anyone consenting and eligible, no matter:
  • How wealthy or poor they are.
  • Whether they bought you a a present, drink, or meal.
  • Whether they are likely to support you in future
  • Whether you are dating them just for their money
So you can have sex with them if it is implicitly for money or resources.
But you can't have sex with them if it is explicitly for money or resources.

The reason for having sex can be anything you want in the world like
  • You are bored and want a thrill
  • You want to hurt someone(make them jealous)
  • You want children
  • You feel you owe it to someone
  • You want them to stop pestering you
  • To gain influence
But you just can't do it for money, even though influence can get you money

So in summary you can do just about anything you want when it comes to sex,  except pay, or be paid for it explicitly. The reason for being able to do what you want is it is your body, or your money.
But put the two together and its not your body or money, someone else has rights to it.

They say "sex sells"
But in most cases  it's illegal to sell sex

Why do people argue for banning prostitution?

  1. Harm to the ladies
  2. Harm to society
The first point assumes that no-one would ever choose to be a prostitute, therefore exploitation or coercion must be taking place. But high bargaining power must be available to get the lucrative rates prostitutes get.
Generally no-one ever says people are harmed by employment, we assume the benefits of employment are greater than the costs. If someone enters prostitution for economic reasons, that would be just like any other occupation.

Externalities on the wider society
  1. Contributing to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases
  2. causing a public nuisance
  3. being linked with drug abuse and other forms of criminality
  4. undermining stable relationships and thereby contributing to the break-up of marriages and families
Items 1 and 4 are also true of adultery or one night stands, but that is not banned?
Items 2 and 3 are already legislated for and point 3 is precisely because it is illegal.

Whats wrong with banning Prostitution?

Banning prostitution forces it onto the street. Prostitutes (and their clients) are vulnerable to robbery and other forms of violent attack. Murder rates are much higher for street prostitutes, so the law is not protecting them.
Some countries and states have decriminalised and regulated it. The countries and states appear no worse and even possibly better for doing so.

There are prostitutes that are forced into doing what they do and others that choose to do what they do. Why might a someone become a prostitute? Income is often tax free, without qualification or work experience required to earn a salary multiple times what a  manual worker would earn.

There is no evidence that banning prostitution actually diminishes the incidence of it.

Women cannot achieve sexual equality, unless they have the same rights to be prostitutes as men can.

There is a contradiction, men you pay for sex and have permission have less rights to have sex, than a man who just has permission?

Some women claim because there are prostitutes, they are degraded. But there are male prostitutes, does this argument hold true for men too?


Issues of morality fit into two spheres private or public morality.
Without such a distinction the potential scope of government interference in people’s lives is limitless.

Prostitution fits into which one. If it is a private sphere, the government should not be getting involved. 

International attitudes

  • Legal with pimps and madams
  • Legal without pimps and madams
  • Completely illegal
  • Illegal for purchase

Sex problems can be covered by existing law

All sex work should be decriminalised and EXISTING legislation (eg Health and Safety Acts) used to protect sex workers.

Interesting fact

Brothels in Turkey are state run.