Why Sex Work Isn't Work

245 posts / 0 new
Last post
6079_Smith_W

Timebandit wrote:

I suppose I could argue that some ditches don't really need to be dug, but I'll save that for another time.  ;)

I think it's a highly complicated set of questions to which no-one has the answers.

Yes, I agree to both.

I think part of the complication is that we aren't talking about just one thing. There is a big range of difference in abuse and safety. And moral taboos. And that's not even getting into the differences of opinion about what constitutes objectification, and disagreement over the effectiveness of prohibition.

Pondering

Slumberjack wrote:

 I can't subscribe at all to the so called logic of that article.  It's hardly worth discussing. 

The purpose of this thread is to discuss the article from a feminist perspective.

If you don't think it's worth discussing then you have no purpose in this thread. We do not need you to pass judgement over what is and isn't worthy of discussion.

Slumberjack

You can discuss it all you want.  Nobody is stopping you.  It's not the pro-sex worker side that is attempting to shut down discussion with accusations, threats and reports to HQ.

lagatta

If you are referring to me flagging a comment, the comment had nothing whatsoever to do with what approach would make conditions safer for people in the sex trade. I flagged the comment because it was an ageist personal insult. The person who made the comment is a person I hold in high esteem and I was rather shocked. We can disagree on how to approach this issue without such discriminatory comments. I'm sure she is just as convinced as I am that her approach would at least reduce the harm. The point of the article was to contend that it didn't, which is the conclusion I came to after long stays in Amsterdam.

And yes, I was an activist in 1975. And I'm an activist in 2015. We celebrated the 40th anniversary of Le Monde à bicyclette earlier this summer.

Pondering

Slumberjack wrote:

You can discuss it all you want.  Nobody is stopping you.  It's not the pro-sex worker side that is attempting to shut down discussion with accusations, threats and reports to HQ.

This article is the topic of this discussion. By having a different discussion in this thread you are interfering with the ability of feminists to focus on the arguments presented in the article.

You are interupting to impose your perspective on the conversation because you don't find the article worthy of discussion. That is not your call.

I would like to discuss some of the details in the article but I see no point in trying while others are so intent in derailing the thread.

Slumberjack

No, I've tendered my opinion on the contents of the article.  What you seem to be saying is that because it is not discussed in accordance with the way you would have it, then it is out of bounds.  Anyway, that is I have to say in this stifling atmosphere.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

SJ, if you want to discuss the article, have at it.  So far, your contribution has been what the article isn't about...  Not sure how that equates to being on topic?

Brachina

 I apologize for being insensitive Lagatta, I'm just frustrated because I find the feminist forum to be the single most hostile forum sadly, so I prefer to discuss this issue in other subforums.

 If I may ask, what makes you so uncomfort about the sex workers subforum?

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Brachina, we've been asked not to discuss topics that do not support decriminalization or legalization in that forum.

quizzical

some people keep comparing prostitution with inanimate objects like dynamite or shovels. what a bunch of nonsense.

yup, i get the "dangerous profession" analogy with the dynamite . i don't buy it. my bff's former partner is a blaster. they're highly regulated and trained.

 

thank you timebandit for your crafting a fine response to maysie.

i don't get why people censor themselves from potential knowledge gaining no matter the side it's written from or topic. i read everything in the sex worker forum and the links, and the links in the links, just don't participate because i've found nothing there contradicting my lived experiences.

i do this as i could be wrong in my beliefs. they're theoretical like everyone else's and there could be earth shaking revelations ahead. i'm not perfect.  i don't want to pretend to be. i want to be informed and learn.

6079_Smith_W

Actually quizzical, I said that for most people it IS different than working with a shovel. Very different. But that moral argument doesn't make it not work, and I don't buy framing it as a rights argument, which was my point.

Just my opinion, of course.

Now if one wanted to make a rights argument based on the right to food and shelter that would reduce the need for people to be forced into that line of work, that I would accept.

Brachina

 I didn't know that.

 So let get this straight, you can't discuss/challenge elements of feminism or even schools of feminism in the feminism forum, you can't challenge sex work legalization in the sex work forum, ect...

 Look I'm extremely pro legalization, extremely so, but as frustration and infurating as the abolutionists can be, not even being able to challenge each other it in the forum for which one would think was meant for it seems baffling. How can opinions and minds be changed and evovled when such dialogs are forbidden?

 What are supposed to discuss in the Sex Worker former, technique? the effect of the economy on the industry? weather Sex Workers in Canada should unionize.

 I don't know what to say honestly, no wonder the Sex Worker forum is so empty. I saw tumble weed drifting on by in there.

quizzical

k, 6079_Smith_W, you can say  you didn't having reread your comment...well...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

You can challenge elements of feminism from a pro-feminist point of view. This forum is considerably more flexible than the sex work forum.

Pondering

To get back to the heart of the discussion.

http://logosjournal.com/2014/watson/

The first pertinent section is worker safety.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is responsible for overseeing worker safety and health in the U.S. They specify the standards for worker safety regarding in employment contexts that include exposure to blood borne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials (of which sperm counts)[19], as they are concerned with the potential transmission of HIV or Hepatitis, or other infectious diseases.   The sexual acts that form the necessary working conditions for (persons) women selling sex means that routine “Occupational Exposure” is intrinsic to the “job”. Occupational exposure “means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.”[20] Employers must “list … all tasks and procedures or groups of closely related task and procedures in which occupational exposure occurs…” and [t]his exposure determination shall be made without regard to the use of personal protective equipment.”[21] So, presumably, every potential sex act would need to be on the list, as “tasks”, in which occupational exposure occurs, and the list needs to be made without reference to condom use because the list is required list exposure threat without reference to personal protective equipment.

Saliva would be included as bodily fluid that should not be exchanged. Ejaculating into a woman's face cannot be made safe.

The CDC states that receptive anal sex with an HIV positive person, even with a condom, represents a 100X greater risk for contracting HIV than oral sex with a condom.[23] Anal sex, with an HIV positive partner, without a condom puts the “recipient” at a 2000X greater risk for contracting HIV than oral sex with a condom.[24] Condoms, while reducing risk, does not eliminate it, nor arguably does it “minimize risk” per the OSHA standard; Condoms also don’t protect against all sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The CDC makes clear that, though condoms can reduce some STIs, they are not effective for all STIs, HPV and genital ulcers occur in places that condoms don’t cover, and hence condom use is not necessarily an effective prophylactic in all cases.[25] Moreover, we know that even where condoms are required by law, “clients” often prefer not to use them.[26] We also know that the most vulnerable among persons selling sex are the least likely to use condoms (to have the power to require purchasers of sex to use them), for example, transgendered persons and “migrant sex-workers.”[27]

Massage therapists are not required by law to wear gloves however they do have a safety protocol.

http://collegeofmassage.com/toronto/2013/07/to-glove-or-not-to-glove/

In most health-related professions that require skin-to-skin contact with patients or clients, gloves are worn. Everyone from dental hygienists to manicurists to aestheticians use gloves to perform, and generally will avoid skin-to-skin contact with clients where possible. Massage therapists are different.

Since so much of our work requires a sharp focus on touch therapy, we typically don’t wear gloves for a few different reasons. Bare hands move freely on an oiled shoulder, spine, or other problem areas. Being gloves-free allows us to feel no restrictions or barriers as we seek out knots and delicate tissue. And of course, skin to skin contact is soothing, welcoming and relaxing for our clients. Bare hands convey relaxation while gloved hands are perhaps more clinical.

But as a recent article in MassageTherapy Canada points out, bare hands can attract a range of mild to serious allergic reactions and side effects for practitioners. It can also expose us to substances and bacteria that we may not be aware of. It’s important to make an informed choice about how and when you will use skin-to-skin contact in your practice.

When to wear gloves
As guidelines from the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario dictate, it’s up to the practitioner to determine when protective equipment is necessary. Some obvious cases:

  • When intra-oral massage therapy is needed for something like an ear or jaw.
  • When a client or therapist has a contagious condition that can be spread from skin contact.
  • When a client or therapist has broken skin or a healing lesion that requires protection.

Intra-oral massage requires gloves because of contact with saliva. Even if there is no kissing involved saliva often does get deposited on skin and not just the hand.

Back to the original article:

In all of the places in which prostitution is legal it is the sellers not the buyers that are mandated for testing, which of course protects the buyer to an extent, but does nothing to protect the seller/worker.

In the medical profession they work from the presumption that either the patient or the worker has an infectious disease. Dentists wear face masks when working because they don't know what they or their patients might have that is contagious. Basic protection would have to include keeping a database of customers with contact information so they could be traced if an infectious disease did show up.

Basic worker protection standards cannot be applied to prostitution. Few men would be willing have sex with someone wearing a face mask. Even fewer would be willing to be tested, or show id, or be in a contact database. Certainly standards such as these can't be applied on the street.

The above alone doesn't close the debate on prostitution because as many rightly point out it will continue to occur. Having said that it would be nice if we could all agree that typical worker safety standards cannot be applied to prostitution.

quizzical

hell pondering someone was suggesting elsewhere they weren't in favour of enforced condom wearing even.

Brachina

 Arguements like that are not exclusive to sex for pay, they're inherant to sex itself (or most forms of it), if we fallow arguements like that sex itself would be banned.

 And no one has caught HIV from ejaculation on someone's face, the membrane of the eyes are too thick. 

 

Brachina

 Why do people assume that only bad things get sexually transmitted, most of a person's mircobiome is supportive, not hostile or dangerous, I wish more science would focus on sexual transmitted symbionts, not just sexually transmitted diseases.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Occupational exposures are different. The point is that, under current safety regulations for other lines of work involving contact with bodily fluids, sex work would be difficult if not impossible to bring in line with current standards.

quizzical

Brachina wrote:
 Arguements like that are not exclusive to sex for pay, they're inherant to sex itself (or most forms of it), if we fallow arguements like that sex itself would be banned.

 And no one has caught HIV from ejaculation on someone's face, the membrane of the eyes are too thick. 

you're wrong.

6079_Smith_W

There are also the rates of assault and murder associated with prostitution.

I agree to a point Pondering, since there are different kinds of sex work, with different levels of exposure and risk. But a part of the risk (and the difficulty with identification and testing) is because of its illegal aspects. I agree that typical regulations don't apply, but then they don't apply in some other lines of work, like firefighting, where there is no way to absolutely eliminate exposure to carcinogens.

But in both cases there are ways to reduce exposure.

Speaking of the risk of violence and illegality, there was a situation some years ago in which I helped someone, and suddenly realized I might be arrested for doing so because obviously I looked like a john. So there is also the problem that people might not want to get involved when sex workers are in trouble - very different than for those in most other lines of work.

MegB

Pondering wrote:

I find that arguments favoring prostitution as an industry are often based on libertarianism or anarchy masquerading as human rights.

Clearly you have no idea of what anarchism is. Do some reading FGS.

Sineed

The paragraph on sexual harrassment in the workplace is especially interesting:

Quote:
It is a serious question as to how sexual harassment laws can possibly be enforced in a context in which sex is a commercial exchange.  Where every “job task” potentially involves unwelcome sexual conduct as a condition of employment, because sex is the job, how can we possibly enforce sexual harassment law?

How do we dovetail an increasing awareness of rape culture and the drive to "enthusiastic consent" with sex for pay? As our culture moves towards acknowleging the importance of enthusiastic consent to sex, we need to ask: is economic coercion really "enthusiastic consent?"

Brachina wrote:
And no one has caught HIV from ejaculation on someone's face, the membrane of the eyes are too thick.

I don't think that's known. The CDC says that the risk of HIV from eye splash is low, though I have seen some nasty infections in women sex workers who have gotten ejaculate in their eyes. And someone whose eyes are inflamed from a bacterial infection such as gonorrhea would be more vulnerable to HIV transmission in this manner, just as people who have a genital infection have been found to be more susceptible becoming infected with HIV.

Also, what about child labour laws?

Quote:
Most people in prostitution entered prostitution as adolescents. Nadon and colleagues (1998) found that 89% of her interviewees had begun prostitution before the age of 16. In Canada, as elsewhere, the average age of entry into prostitution is adolescence (cited as between thirteen and nineteen in Lowman, 1993). (3) Children enter prostitution because of abusive treatment by caregivers (Lowman, 1993 p 72) and because they run away from dangerous home environments (Federal/Provincial Territorial Working Group on Prostitution, 1998). Boyer and colleagues (1993) interviewed 60 women prostituting in escort, street, strip club, phone sex, and massage parlors in Seattle. All began prostituting between the ages of 12 and 14. Fifty two percent of 183 Vancouver women turned their first trick when they were younger than age 16, and 70% turned the first trick before age 18 (Cunningham & Christensen, 2001).

http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/learn/resources/prostitution-indigeno...

 

6079_Smith_W

Sineed wrote:

How do we dovetail an increasing awareness of rape culture and the drive to "enthusiastic consent" with sex for pay? As our culture moves towards acknowleging the importance of enthusiastic consent to sex, we need to ask: is economic coercion really "enthusiastic consent?"

As with the "right to refuse" question, this doesn't really apply because when sex is a commodity it is not in the same context as giving consent in a non-professional setting.

Again, of course you can refuse to use that shovel, and many people would rather not do the work they do, but it is a very different thing than giving consent to have sex with someone for personal enjoyment. In a work setting whether it is "enthusiastic" or not is not the issue; it is a job. And the fact that it involves sex does not make it necessarily worse than any other kind of bad and difficult work which isn't illegal.

And again, that is understanding that having sex for money poses personal challenges for most people that other kinds of work does not.

 

Pondering

MegB wrote:

Pondering wrote:

I find that arguments favoring prostitution as an industry are often based on libertarianism or anarchy masquerading as human rights.

Clearly you have no idea of what anarchism is. Do some reading FGS.

From reading this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism

It seems unlikely that Anarchists would support laws against prostitution but I do admit I don't have a deep understanding of the theory. Even so a light reading of the different schools of anarchism suggest to me that prostitution law would be unsupported by any of them though I could absolutely be wrong about that.

lagatta

There is a broad range of views on prostitution among anarchists. In general, anarchists don't support "laws" (state repression) about anything, but that does not mean that they all condone the practice, as many anarchists have been and are opposed to the commodification of human beings (and many, of all sentient beings).

Others think that prostitution subverts the partriarchal order. I disagree; I'm of the opinion that it confirms patriarchy, the double standard and the "mamma vs whore" stereotype.

Renaissance Rome had the highest percentage of prostitutes of any Italian city of its day, serving supposedly "celibate" clerics.

Here is a random statement by a feminist anarchist opposed to prostitution: https://rancom.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/prostitution_is_not_compatibl...

Both libertarians and anarchists are opposed to State control, seeing it ALL as repression, but libertarians are rightwing and pro-capitalist; there is no reason they would be opposed to the commodification of humans.

And no, I don't think prostitution is the only example of commodification; just a particularly flagrant one, and a very dangerous one for people in the trade.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:
  I agree to a point Pondering, since there are different kinds of sex work, with different levels of exposure and risk. But a part of the risk (and the difficulty with identification and testing) is because of its illegal aspects. 

That might work as a theoredical example if we didn't have any practical examples but we do have practical examples. There are lots of places where prostitution is legal/decriminalized and none of them have provided any evidence of a NET reduction in the risks of prostitution. That is some particular women may be safer but prostitutes as a class are not safer.

One argument put forward is that women can judge a man better if they can talk with him for five minutes rather than one minute but that makes no sense. The Paul Bernardos of the world can't be spotted through a casual chat. An extended form of that argument is that if there are fewer johns a woman is more likely to accept a risky offer.

Even if some lucky or astute women could avoid such men, such men would not give up because the first 5 women turned him down. He would just look for a less astute or more vulnerable woman to attack. The women Pickton murdered partied with him first.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I agree that typical regulations don't apply, but then they don't apply in some other lines of work, like firefighting, where there is no way to absolutely eliminate exposure to carcinogens. 

Soldier, police officer, firefighter, rescue workers, and medical personnel do face a greater risk of harm than say, an accountant. They are honored because were it not for them other people would die. People will not die as a result of lack of prostitution.

Some other jobs are dangerous too, such as mining and logging, but in both cases they provide necessities for a modern society and it both cases safety regulations can be enforced by inspection.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Speaking of the risk of violence and illegality, there was a situation some years ago in which I helped someone, and suddenly realized I might be arrested for doing so because obviously I looked like a john. So there is also the problem that people might not want to get involved when sex workers are in trouble - very different than for those in most other lines of work 

Looking like a john can't get you arrested. You actually have to offer money in exchange for sex.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I agree to a point Pondering, since there are different kinds of sex work, with different levels of exposure and risk.

This is true but the decriminalization activists that I read about all support a zero regulations model that allows for all forms of prostitution.

Prostitution abolitionists are most concerned by street prostitution, "craigslist" style, and the establishment of a brothel industry.

In another thread it is suggested that abolitionists primary concern isn't the safety of women which is a lie. The global safety of women is absolutely the primary concern of abolitionists. While decriminalization may make some individual women safer it places many more women at risk. The primary concern of abolitionists is the "many more".

6079_Smith_W

Jobs which provide the necessities of a modern society?

If that is the standard for which professions should be illegal you might have convinced me, since it will most certainly put Nickleback out of work and  in jail.

And all the decrim activists support zero regulations? Really? In the first place, my point was simply that not all forms or prostitution have the same level of exposure, and that is true. And that illegality is a factor in the risk of the profession, and willingness to be identified; also true.

In the second place, as I said in that other thread, reducing this argument to how the other side is absolutely wrong and not acting in good faith is a way to have no conversation at all, and find no common ground.

Perhaps you noticed where I said I agreed with you - to a point.

 

 

 

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Jobs which provide the necessities of a modern society?

If that is the standard for which professions should be illegal you might have convinced me, since it will most certainly put Nickleback out of work and  in jail.

I don't think musician is a dangerous profession. We were discussing dangerous occupations that are legal not occupations in general.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And all the decrim activists support zero regulations? Really? 

All the ones I've been exposed to support decriminalization not legalization and are against any regulations that would require a customer database or testing of customers or apply the safety precautions required of other industries in which there is a risk of contact with bodily fluids.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
In the first place, my point was simply that not all forms or prostitution have the same level of exposure, and that is true.

This is true, but decriminalization and legalization both favor the upper end of the market which is already the least dangerous and least harmful form.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And that illegality is a factor in the risk of the profession, and willingness to be identified; also true.

I see no indication that people are more willing to be identified where prostitution is legaL nor any verifiable statistical reduction in violence against women. That is, violence is displaced rather than eliminated and is more likely to increase depending on how broadly you define violence.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
In the second place, as I said in that other thread, reducing this argument to how the other side is absolutely wrong and not acting in good faith is a way to have no conversation at all, and find no common ground.

I cannot know the motivations of individuals who promote one solution over another but I can maintain that an opposing argument is absolutely wrong regardless of whether or not the proponent is acting in good faith. The common ground is the agreement that women should never be criminalized for selling sex and that exit services should be available and well-funded as well as support services that do not require exiting. That those services do not all exist in sufficient quantities mean those things need to be fought for, not decriminalization which only brings a host of other problems.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Perhaps you noticed where I said I agreed with you - to a point. 

That's great, but it doesn't mean I must agree with you to a point in return.

6079_Smith_W

I was talking about characterizing their arguments as "lies" and claiming that their primary concern is not the safety of women.

If you don't know their motivation - as you say - then you have no grounds on which to make that claim. You don't have to agree, but undermining their good intent doesn't really do anything to help resolve this difficult issue.

 

 

Sineed

On Prostitution, the Left has Taken a Right-Wing Turn

http://dgrnewsservice.org/2015/08/19/jonah-mix-on-prostitution-the-left-...

Quote:

“Listen to sex workers!” is a bankrupt policy position for too many reasons to count. The first problem, as Helen Lewis pointed out recently in The Guardian, is exactly which “sex workers” we should be listening to. I certainly don’t see pro-legalization liberals heeding the words of women like prostitution survivor and abolitionist advocate Bridget Perrier. “I didn’t choose prostitution,” she told me. “Prostitution chose me — because of childhood sexual abuse, racism, and colonialism.” She rejects the term “sex worker” entirely, saying, “What I did was not work. It was abuse.” Are you listening?

Other exited women — Rachel Moran, Rebecca Mott, and dozens more — rarely receive much more than derision and slander from those who claim “listening to sex workers” as their first priority. Entire organizations like SPACE (Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment) are routinely dismissed despite being comprised completely of formerly prostituted women.

Incidently if anybody wants to foil Slumberjack using the "ignore" function to prevent himself from seeing my posts, if you quote my posts in your replies, he'll end up seeing them. Then he'll have to block everybody.

A sex worker commenting on how she doesn't think decrim will make her safer in her workplace:

Quote:
Some Leftists may think that regulation will bring prostitution out of the shadows, but Chelsea disagrees. “The laws can’t reach us here,” she said. “If we had the Nordic Model, I’d call the cops on all of them the second I get my money, before they get to rape me. If I called cops under [decriminalization] they would say, Did you accept the money? If say yes, they say, boom, consensual.” Amnesty International apparently didn’t listen to this “sex worker” when they decided to put a legal stamp of approval on her rape.

Pondering

Sineed wrote:
How do we dovetail an increasing awareness of rape culture and the drive to "enthusiastic consent" with sex for pay? As our culture moves towards acknowleging the importance of enthusiastic consent to sex, we need to ask: is economic coercion really "enthusiastic consent?"

6079_Smith_W wrote:

As with the "right to refuse" question, this doesn't really apply because when sex is a commodity it is not in the same context as giving consent in a non-professional setting.

Sex is not a commodity nor a service like any other. There is a reason rape isn't called theft or simple assault. There is a reason for sexual harrassment laws. Sex is not just like shaking someone's hand or even like giving a massage, not in any culture past or present. It is unique among human experiences. Justify rape law. Why should rape be a crime separate from assault? Shouldn't punching someone in the face be considered a more serious crime than rape that doesn't even involve any bruising? What's the big deal with rape victims needing therapy? While some victims of crime need therapy most just get on with their lives. Why is rape different?

Our laws are not written for the exception to the rule. Without searching them out I have come across mutiple accounts from reformed johns that quit when they realized the women they were with were putting on an act. They glimpsed pain or sadness or dissociation that forced them to acknowledge the reality of the situation and how far it was from the fantasy they created.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Again, of course you can refuse to use that shovel, and many people would rather not do the work they do, but it is a very different thing than giving consent to have sex with someone for personal enjoyment. In a work setting whether it is "enthusiastic" or not is not the issue; it is a job. And the fact that it involves sex does not make it necessarily worse than any other kind of bad and difficult work which isn't illegal.

I can't agree. As I said earlier, rape is not just like simple assault, it's different because sex is different. Sex is not just like washing dishes. It is unique among human experiences. The "who" matters enormously which is why incest is illegal. The forced marriages of young girls is based on sexual access to unwilling girls. Prostitution is based on gaining access to women who would otherwise be unwilling to provide sex. Unwillingness to have sex is not the same as unwillingness to wash dishes. A dad forcing his daughter to do the dishes would not be considered unreasonable. A dad forcing his daughter to have sex with him or anyone else would horrify most people.

So, I reject the equivalency being made between digging ditches and having sex. That some women say there is no difference to them doesn't make it a norm. Laws are not written for the exception to the rule, the women for whom rape is no worse than being forced to shake hands are few and far between.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And again, that is understanding that having sex for money poses personal challenges for most people that other kinds of work does not.

Many former prostitutes say they chose prostitution thinking that they could handle it only to discover once they were in it how destructive and damaging it was and for some how difficult it was not to go back to it "just this once" when needing money urgently.

Therein lies the coercive nature of money. Minimum wage laws do hurt some workers. There are times in my life I would have willingly worked for less than minimum wage. Minimum wage law protects more workers than it disadvantages. Laws against prostitution protect more women than it harms by keeping them out of the industry to begin with.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I was talking about characterizing their arguments as "lies" and claiming that their primary concern is not the safety of women.

If you don't know their motivation - as you say - then you have no grounds on which to make that claim. You don't have to agree, but undermining their good intent doesn't really do anything to help resolve this difficult issue.

I'm not claiming that. Abolitionists, in another thread, were accused of not having the safety of women as their primary motivator. I am rejecting that accusation and stating that the safety of women is the highest priority for abolitionists.

You'll have to be more specific as to which argument I characterized as a lie.

6079_Smith_W

Pondering wrote:

Sex is not a commodity nor a service like any other.

"Like any other" I'd agree it is different than most, but that doesn't make it not a commodity in some situations.

Unique among human experiences? That is a moral, and frankly a romantic argument. And as I said while I agree that it is that way for most people, I do not agree that it is that way for everyone, and there is a wide range of what that "special" nature entails - especially when one is doing it as a job, not as part of a personal relationship.

I said nothing about rape being no different than assault. I don't agree with that, and I don't see that you can infer that from what I said.

If anything, part of my questioning this consent argument is that sex workers generally do have limits, even if some are driven by desparation to go beyond them, and I think people on all sides of this agree that people in that profession do get raped.

(edit)

And looking back again it seems I mis-read that comment of yours about the lie. Sorry, Pondering.

 

 

Red Winnipeg

People exchanging sex for money is not going to go away (no more than alcohol consumption went away when Prohibition was the law of the land in the US and no more than illicit drugs go away when use of such drugs is prohibited by law). So, I think the fundamental question is: Is it better, on balance, to regulate the activity or to not regulate the activity?

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:
  Unique among human experiences? That is a moral, and frankly a romantic argument. And as I said while I agree that it is that way for most people, I do not agree that it is that way for everyone, and there is a wide range of what that "special" nature entails - especially when one is doing it as a job, not as part of a personal relationship.

It's not at all romantic. Shitting is also unique among human experiences. It can't readily be compared to any other human experience.

That some women would have no trouble with prostitition does not mean that it's a common experience for women to not give a hoot who they have sex with. There is no test women can take prior to getting into prostitution that could tell them which kind they are. As I said, women slide into the profession and even after they quit some have trouble not returning to it even though it is self-damaging.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I said nothing about rape being no different than assault. I don't agree with that, and I don't see that you can infer that from what I said.

I wasn't. I am presenting the argument that rape would not exist as a crime separate from simple assault if sex were not uniquely different from other forms of unwanted physical contact and even worse that assaults that leave physical injury. Surely assaults that leave a physical injury should be deemed far worse than simply rape.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
If anything, part of my questioning this consent argument is that sex workers generally do have limits, even if some are driven by desparation to go beyond them, and I think people on all sides of this agree that people in that profession do get raped

But why is that? If to those women sex is akin to washing dishes then rape is no more disturbing than being forced to shake someone's hand. It would be very harsh if shaking someone's hand against their will resulted in a jail sentence. If we accept prostitution as a regular business no different than say, giving massages, then the prostitute cannot have the right to arbitrarily refuse service.

Prostitutes complain, rightly so, when police don't treat rape against them as seriously as they do of other women, but the reason for it is the popularity of the fallacy that sex is "different" for prostitutes.

The whole point of labour law is to prevent people from accepting conditions that out of desperation they would otherwise accept. If a job contradicts labour law, it's illegal. Prostitution inherently breaks labour laws. Someone else's solution was to have less protective labour laws for prostitution. That isn't acceptable to me. It's the same as saying if people are willing to work for below minimum wage they should be allowed to.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And looking back again it seems I mis-read that comment of yours about the lie. Sorry, Pondering.

Thank-you, I have made the same error myself at times.

Solid non-anecdotal statistics are difficult to come by but I have read plenty of accounts like the following:

I don’t teach clients how to “pleasure” me; that is far too intimate and a boundary I don’t cross. Sometimes I resent any sexual pleasure I feel, either because I find the guy irritating and enjoying his cock is like a compliment I don’t want to give, or because I’m not in a “sexy” headspace. Audacia Ray and Michelle Tea have written about the feelings of self-betrayal, horror, and general displeasure that can accompany orgasming with a client; I’ve been right there with them. I’ve mostly gotten over revulsion towards my own body’s responses, probably because I’m better at controlling those responses now.

Pasted from  <http://titsandsass.com/getting-away-with-hating-it-consent-in-the-context-of-sex-work/>

They sound like regular women to me and they are supporters of prostitution as an industry. It doesn't sound at all like prostitution is like giving a massage or washing dishes. Self-betrayal, horror, and general displeasure are not emotions I would associate with any other jobs other than maybe executioner.

6079_Smith_W

But just as you can't draw an exact comparison between consent to sex as work and consent to sex in a relationship, the fact that sexual assault is distinct from other forms of assault is not a the final word on individual people's personal feelings about sex. The law is by necessity strict and based on an mainstream definition; the latter is far more broad, and not something everyone agrees on.

And regarding that fallacy that sexual assault against sex workers isn't serious, of course it isn't true, any more than the lie that there is no such thing as rape in marriage. Both are lies based on moral and partriarchal attitudes about sex. I don't see that it has any bearing on the question of decriminalization. If prostitution was decriminalized laws against sexual assault still exist. Of course the law and the courts are stacked against rape victims, and sex workers even moreso because of public perception, but any person who has been sexually assaulted can make a complaint.

Again, I get those other arguments about non-consent; I just disagree with them in part, or more accurately, I don't think they can be taken as absolute because they don't apply in the same way for all people.

And while I also agree about general perceptions of sex, and that because of that there is a lot of damage to many people who are forced into that work, I also don't see that as absolute.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:
But just as you can't draw an exact comparison between consent to sex as work and consent to sex in a relationship, the fact that sexual assault is distinct from other forms of assault is not a the final word on individual people's personal feelings about sex. The law is by necessity strict and based on an mainstream definition; the latter is far more broad, and not something everyone agrees on.

As you just noted, "The law is by necessity strict and based on an mainstream definition." That some women are exceptions and don't consider sex any more personal than a foot massage doesn't mean laws should be changed on their behalf. Rape is a big deal, including for prostitutes, because sex isn't like giving a foot massage. It is a far more personal and intimate act.

Some homeless man was in the news awhile back for agreeing to be beat up for money. I hope we are all appalled by that and agree it should not be legal.

This is a different incident which I wasn't previously aware of:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/st-petersburg-homeless-men-say...

ST. PETERSBURG — It sounded like a good idea to George Grayson: Get $50 for submitting to a 12-minute videotaped beating by an attractive female.

A homeless man, Grayson needed the money.

So he followed the recruiters to a St. Petersburg townhouse on seven different occasions over the last few months, he said, and let five different women use his body and face as a punching bag.

Grayson, 37, became one of many St. Petersburg homeless men allegedly targeted by recruiters from Shefights.net, a locally operated website that sells for as much as $900 videos of scantily clad or semi-nude women beating up men, according to a lawsuit.

"I'm still in a little bit of pain from a couple of weeks ago," Grayson said last week. "I'm just trying to deal with it mentally right now."

Local homeless advocate G.W. Rolle said for months he noticed men walking around Williams Park with black eyes, split lips and limps before he finally got someone to tell him about the "beatdowns," as they have come to be known among the homeless.

He began interviewing and photographing several men with similar stories and injuries, and attorneys representing two of the men have filed a lawsuit against Jeff Williams of Shefights.net, J.P. Florida Productions, "Cindy Doe" and "Jane Does 1-5."

Southern Legal Counsel, which has represented St. Petersburg's homeless in the past, filed the suit seeking an injunction to stop the beatings, saying the men were vulnerable and desperate for money. It also seeks damages for medical costs and emotional distress.

"I was shocked when I found out what was really going on," Rolle said. "It's incredible what people will do to each other."

Williams, of Shefights.net, said Rolle coaxed and bought the testimony of Grayson and 20-year-old Kyle Shaw, the two plaintiffs in the suit. He said he plans to countersue, claiming the men and their advocates lied and have damaged his reputation.

"These men are crack addicts and will say anything for money," Williams said.

He said Grayson and Shaw were featured in some of the videos, but he said they signed liability releases and knew what they were doing.

"They've come back many times, which makes it pretty consensual," Williams said. Citing the case, he declined to speak about the videos or other specifics.

 

Unlike a beatdown rape doesn't always leave physical injuries behind, and in the case of rape the physical injuries are used as proof of the worse crime, which is rape. Lack of physical injury doesn't make rape less severe than other forms of assault.

Many women who have experienced prostitution describe the same emotions as women who have been raped. Just like those men accepting money for a beatdown, women are essentially accepting money to be raped, and do it over and over again because they need the money.

Just like those men, they feel it is their only option.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And regarding that fallacy that sexual assault against sex workers isn't serious, of course it isn't true, any more than the lie that there is no such thing as rape in marriage. Both are lies based on moral and partriarchal attitudes about sex.

But WHY isn't it true. If sex is just a service then it is unreasonable for rape to be considered such a serious crime. Sex is not just a service like any other. Prostitution is not a job anymore than getting beat up is a job. It is patriarchal attitudes about sex as a service performed for men that fuels prostitution.

6079_Smith_W

But we aren't talking about changing laws on sexual assault, but rather whether or not to decriminalize prostitution, and to what degree.

And there is a big difference between sexual assault and sex for work, even if we agree that the latter can be very damaging for some people in some circumstances. I understand the argument, but I don't accept the equivalency that it attempts to draw.

Quote:

If sex is just a service then it is unreasonable for rape to be considered such a serious crime.

Rape is a serious crime. That has nothing to do with whether or not sex is in some cases a service.

6079_Smith_W

But we aren't talking about changing laws on sexual assault, but rather whether or not to decriminalize prostitution, and to what degree.

And there is a big difference between sexual assault and sex for work, even if we agree that the latter can be very damaging for some people in some circumstances. I understand the argument, but I don't accept the equivalency that it attempts to draw.

I don't want this to get in the way of other discussion of that article; I should probably just leave it at saying I disagree on this point.

Quote:

If sex is just a service then it is unreasonable for rape to be considered such a serious crime.

Rape is a serious crime. That has nothing to do with whether or not sex is in some cases a service.

quizzical

Sineed wrote:
On Prostitution, the Left has Taken a Right-Wing Turn

Quote:

">http://dgrnewsservice.org/2015/08/19/jonah-mix-on-prostitution-the-left-...

“Listen to sex workers!” is a bankrupt policy position for too many reasons to count. The first problem, as Helen Lewis pointed out recently in The Guardian, is exactly which “sex workers” we should be listening to. I certainly don’t see pro-legalization liberals heeding the words of women like prostitution survivor and abolitionist advocate Bridget Perrier. “I didn’t choose prostitution,” she told me. “Prostitution chose me — because of childhood sexual abuse, racism, and colonialism.” She rejects the term “sex worker” entirely, saying, “What I did was not work. It was abuse.” Are you listening?

Other exited women — Rachel Moran, Rebecca Mott, and dozens more — rarely receive much more than derision and slander from those who claim “listening to sex workers” as their first priority. Entire organizations like SPACE (Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment) are routinely dismissed despite being comprised completely of formerly prostituted women.

A sex worker commenting on how she doesn't think decrim will make her safer in her workplace:

Quote:
Some Leftists may think that regulation will bring prostitution out of the shadows, but Chelsea disagrees. “The laws can’t reach us here,” she said. “If we had the Nordic Model, I’d call the cops on all of them the second I get my money, before they get to rape me. If I called cops under [decriminalization] they would say, Did you accept the money? If say yes, they say, boom, consensual.” Amnesty International apparently didn’t listen to this “sex worker” when they decided to put a legal stamp of approval on her rape.

i've tried  before with the decrim crowd saying they're only listening to the exited prostitutes they wanted to and not the rest...i dont understand the seletive choice in not hearing other voices whose perceptions are equally as valid.

and i don't buy the idea it has always existed and by extension it always will. and prohibiting it would be like trying to prohibit alcohol.

first of all  likening sex to an object or thing is offensive and cleary indicates the internalized objectification some people hold and don't realize it.

 

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

But we aren't talking about changing laws on sexual assault, but rather whether or not to decriminalize prostitution, and to what degree.

And there is a big difference between sexual assault and sex for work, even if we agree that the latter can be very damaging for some people in some circumstances. I understand the argument, but I don't accept the equivalency that it attempts to draw.

Quote:

If sex is just a service then it is unreasonable for rape to be considered such a serious crime.

Rape is a serious crime. That has nothing to do with whether or not sex is in some cases a service.

Many former prostitutes have the same symptoms as women who were raped. Some women claim that for them sex is no different than giving a foot massage but they are not the norm. Perhaps not for all women but certainly for many women prostitution is experienced as paid rape, even more devaluing than rape because it was consentual. I know of no tests that could determine how prostitution will affect a particular woman until after she experiences it.

Prostitution is paying a woman to have sex who would otherwise not have sex. The emotional experience of having sex when you don't want to be having sex doesn't change based on having accepted money to perform. I acknowledge that for some women having sex with strangers for money doesn't bother them anymore than flipping burgers but I don't believe that they represent a significant percentage of the population, so much so that their desire for that particular job should outweigh the damage done to other women who are not so blasé but who are driven to it out of desperation.

Pondering

Red Winnipeg wrote:
People exchanging sex for money is not going to go away (no more than alcohol consumption went away when Prohibition was the law of the land in the US and no more than illicit drugs go away when use of such drugs is prohibited by law). So, I think the fundamental question is: Is it better, on balance, to regulate the activity or to not regulate the activity?

A lot of crimes will never go away that doesn't mean we have to or should make them legal. Sex and drugs may go together well but that doesn't make them comparable.

Street and brothel prostitution can definitely be discouraged through laws, especially those that target the johns which reduces the number of victims.

The ban on advertising makes it more difficult for women to get into it casually and more difficult for pimps to line up johns. 

Some street prostitution will continue but if Sweden is any example it will reduce not expand the street trade where the most vulnerable women and girls are.

I'm very pleased that in Canada living off the avails is no longer illegal unless it is exploitative. That is, the landlord can't be charged with keeping a brothel based on a woman plying her trade there. Boyfriends and children or other members of the household can't be charged. Nor can receptionists, guards, drivers or cleaning women, as long as they are charging normal market rates. There is no onus on them to report a crime.

Higher end prostitution including discreet brothels will continue to flourish for men with means. That isn't safe either but it is much safer than the lower end of the market.

What we won't be seeing is megabrothels staffed by under-priveleged women and illegal migrants.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I've tried  before with the decrim crowd saying they're only listening to the exited prostitutes they wanted to and not the rest

Have you tried the same with the abolition crowd?

quizzical

of course

quizzical

some men  really do want to protect their "right" to access women as objects. and they'll fight and belittle women to do it!!!!!

6079_Smith_W

quizzical wrote:

some men  really do want to protect their "right" to access women as objects. and they'll fight and belittle women to do it!!!!!

Anti-women groups like a voice for men make that argument for real; no leaps of logic required. Go on their site and you can find articles on their claim that laws which decriminalize sex work but prosecute johns is a violation of men's sexual freedom.

I don't see that rationale in those who honestly want to reduce harm. And I don't see it as their motive at all.

quizzical

how can objectifying women and sex more than it is now reduce harm? it can't.

i'm not sure all the voices we hear here are honest in motive. they're so different than those i know who've been, and some who still are, in 'the biz'.

6079_Smith_W

To be clear, I agree. I do think some people have ulterior motives, or are only presenting a narrow part of the picture. But there are those who honestly want to reduce harm and see decriminalization as the best course, just as some see abolition as the way.

 

Brachina

 A voice for men aren't antiwomen, they have many female contributors, they're mostly antifeminist, but they're are exceptions, they've actually published some feminists as well. Some articles are shit and I strongly disagree, others are really good, such as the ones on the way countries like Iran and India are protrayed in the MSM, a MSM protrayal that is outright racist, often sexist, and misleading.

 

Pages