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Would Legalizing Prostitution Free Men’s Sexuality From Female Control?

Or would it cause more problems than it would solve?

by
Helen Smith

Bio

April 8, 2014 - 4:00 pm

deadwoodreinvention

I have been thinking about this lately after a reader of my book pointed out to me that he felt prostitution should be made legal in order to give men more freedom from marriage and being tied down to a relationship in the hopes of getting sex. If prostitution were legal, men could get sex more readily and not be so dependent on getting involved with women. Given how dangerous it can be these days for men, between being called a rapist, a sexual harasser or a pervert, it makes sense that legal prostitution might be a good solution for some men that want to avoid the risks inherent in taking on a wife or long term (or short term) relationship with a woman. I looked at a couple of articles about why prostitution was illegal and found this article at Slate:

In 1999, Sweden made it legal to sell sex but illegal to buy it—only the johns and the traffickers can be prosecuted. This is the only approach to prostitution that’s based on “sex equality,” argues University of Michigan law professor Catherine MacKinnon.

It treats prostitution as a social evil but views the women who do it as the victims of sexual exploitation who “should not be victimized again by the state by being made into criminals,” as MacKinnon put it to me in an e-mail. It’s the men who use the women, she continued, who are “sexual predators” and should be punished as such.

….Sweden’s way of doing things is a big success. “In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%.” Trafficking is reportedly down to 200 to 400 girls and women a year, compared with 15,000 to 17,000 in nearby Finland. Max Waltman, a doctoral candidate in Stockholm who is studying the country’s prostitution laws, says that those stats hold up. He also said the police are actually going after the johns as ordered: In 2006, more than 150 were convicted and fined. (That might not sound like many, but then Sweden has a population of only 9 million.)

For feminists like MacKinnon (with whom Waltman works), this sure looks like the solution: Go after the men! Take down Eliot Spitzer and leave the call girls alone! On the other hand, the group SANS, for Sex Workers and Allies Network in Sweden, doesn’t like the 1999 law.

My question after reading this mind-numbing drivel? How can it be legal to sell sex but illegal to buy it? Who are you selling sex to if no men are allowed to buy it? Of course, any time one sees a feminist of the Catherine MacKinnon ilk, all logic goes out the window as long as men are rounded up and put in jail. This is sick, twisted logic and has no place in a free society. It was a group of women who apparently banned prostitution in the US according to this Wikipedia entry:

Originally, prostitution was widely legal in the United States. Prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between 1910 and 1915 largely due to the influence of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Perhaps women don’t want the competition from prostitutes for resources from men? Or they just feel disgusted that a man might be able to get sex so easily? I do wonder if men were able to go freely to prostitutes without fear of jail time if it would free them sexually from female and (and state) control? Or do you think there would be more problems caused by it?

****

cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I don't think it is a good idea to legalize prostitution. Women and children are already being harmed if not enslaved to the sex trade industry. That is not because it is illegal. There is also a psychological aspect to sex as well as a physical aspect. I've never met a prostitute who was truly happy with who they had become or were happy with the choices they were given in life as a result. All of them have ended up with serious emotional and physical problems, including post-abortion depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and all have been seriously abused during their time in the industry. There is no such thing as sex without consequences; outside of marriage somebody always gets hurt. Even in marriage, where there is no true commitment to one another one or both in a marriage, and certainly their children, get hurt.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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What female control re. sexuality do men have to deal with now, when we've got a hook-up culture, twerking, etc. Abortion and birth control have provided us with "consequence free sex" - women in general want love first and sex second, men want sex and then the relationship (stereotypically). Prior to the pill and legal abortion, a woman's modesty and restraint were meaningful. Now they are a source of social stigma - college, high school and even junior high girls are pushed to "put out" or at least give blow jobs or face ostracism. Men have become more sexually predatory.

When I was in college (only 20 years ago) things were very different - it's amazing how much they have changed now. Aside from the fact that most young women seem to be giving it away for free, Craig's List, etc., allow prostitution.

The problem is not that women control male sexuality, the problem is that modern society is too sexualized, at least if one values civilization. One of the building blocks of civilization is the channeling of human sexual energy into constructive and productive forms - forming safe families to raise children, providing men with a reliable source of sex (through marriage) so they use their energy to build things and invent things vs. trying to pick up women, etc., and feel motivated to care for their children, etc.

Of course, a sterile sexuality is not ideal, either. Sexual pleasure (for both men and women) is important. But the idea that lack of sexual access is an issue in society today.... really?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
No. Selling a condom that w**k*d you would.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Would Legalizing Prostitution Free Men’s Sexuality From Female Control?"

No, not completely, but that's the reason it exists.

Prostitution has always been about avoiding responsibility.

15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Max Waltman, a doctoral candidate in Stockholm who is studying the country’s prostitution laws, says that those stats hold up. He also said the police are actually going after the johns as ordered:"


I suspect Sweden's cops are like most cops - they go for the easy bust. The hookers are the easy bust. What happened, then, is that they were deprived of the easy bust, and went looking for the next-easier bust. Once they started actually doing their job (busting the johns), the prostitution subsided.

They attacked the DEMAND side of the equation, and surprise! The demand subsided.

Amazing!


This is exactly what we did wrong in the drug war. We made the pusher the only really guilty person. Users were not part of the problem. Oh, no, they were just the poor victims, being manipulated by the eeeevil pushers.

The result was an explosion of drug use.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Control of the supply of anything desired by others allows you to raise the price. Prostitutes are selling a service for less. Same sort of objection as that of "Main Street" stores have against Walmart. At one time we had "fair trade" laws that made it illegal to sell new products at a price below a certain level. Effectively outlawing of prostitution allowed the price of the "service" in question to be raised. The same thing is seen with professionals who have outlawed the provision of medical, legal, educational services, etc., by those who are not part of the "profession" in question. Ask a union member what they think of "scabs". The principle is the same in this case. No one likes a "competitor" who can sell their goods or services for less money than you are charging for the same product or service. This is "why" there are so many who hate the idea of the "free market" whenever the free market doesn't allow them to earn what they feel they are worth. The same principle applies here.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
If it's legal to be a prostitute but not to hire one in Sweden, have any prostitutes tried to blackmail johns?

If you legalized prostitution, both selling and buying, then I don't see how you could prevent a small business owner for creating a job category of secretary-prostitute -- which would knock the guts out of the sexual harassment laws.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are an awful lot of places that have legal prostitution and it doesn't seem to have caused the Collapse of Civilization™. And there are an awful lot of places where making prostitution illegal hasn't seemed to cause the collapse of prostitution.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
My own reasons for legalizing prostitution have nothing to do with freeing men or women from marriage or relationships.
Some of the problems related to commercial sex are probably inherent in the operation. Some are related to its illegal status. It's hard to disentangle which harms are aligned with the nature of the trade and which with the status. I don't know which problems would be worse and which may improve with legalization.
So I'll double back to first principles. Adults own their own persons. If adults want to engage in sex and to exchange money, I don't see where it's anyone's business to make a crime of it.
To the degree that WCTU drove the legislation on prostitution, if they did, that's all the more reason to be reluctant to make it a crime.
There are people for whom marriage or even stable relationships are out of reach. Prostitution is a way of meeting the needs of such people, perhaps.
In any event, though I would not want my son or daughter involved, I sure wouldn't want them at legal risk if they were involved.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
No one 'needs' sex.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, Catharine MacKinnon. Didn't she and Andrea Dworkin write a book on the perils of pornography, partially at least for the Canadian parliament considering porn laws, and after said laws were passed it was found that the MacKinnon/Dworkin book was banned in Canada because of it's descriptive passages on pornography? If I'm wrong please don't tell me it's too sweet a myth to surrender.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think it is a good idea to legalize prostitution. Women and children are already being harmed if not enslaved to the sex trade industry. That is not because it is illegal. There is also a psychological aspect to sex as well as a physical aspect. I've never met a prostitute who was truly happy with who they had become or were happy with the choices they were given in life as a result. All of them have ended up with serious emotional and physical problems, including post-abortion depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and all have been seriously abused during their time in the industry. There is no such thing as sex without consequences; outside of marriage somebody always gets hurt. Even in marriage, where there is no true commitment to one another one or both in a marriage, and certainly their children, get hurt.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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