7/11/2012 1:35 PM
Mike Tyson’s bizarre rambling “I was a prostitute hunter” confession is just the latest in the pretty much endless revelations of famous men’s dalliances with call girls. Eliot Spitzer was run out of office for it. Hugh Grant seemingly apologized to every person on the planet after his prostitution-related arrest. Although he hotly contested the charges, one high end hooker claims that soccer star David Beckham spent $10,000 on a night with her. After years of hiring by the evening, Charlie Sheen decided to economize and have a couple of porn stars move in full-time.
I was talking to a friend last night about the subject, and was surprised to find that our views on this are pretty far apart: he has a serious moral objection to guys hiring hookers.
He thinks that prostitution is inherently degrading to women, spreads diseases, and is just plain gross.
While I agree that those are all possible outcomes, I don’t see why any of that has to be the way it is.
A paid sexual encounter should be handled with the same level of ethics you would any other sexual encounter, and, for that matter, any business transaction.
Take the Secret Service prostitution scandal from earlier this year: It’s wrong to stiff your server in a restaurant, and it’s also wrong to refuse to pay a sex worker whose services you’ve engaged. Had the guy who was arguing about the price simply made fair, we could have avoided an international scandal.
A handful of countries have made sex work safer for women and something that is her choice by making sensible laws. Canada, for instance, allows legal prostitution, but outlaws pimping. In The Netherlands, legally registered prostitutes pay taxes and undergo regular medical exams.
I think people who force other people into prostitution (or sewing designer clothes in a sweatshop, or any other form of slavery) should be punished by the strictest laws. But, I absolutely believe that people who freely choose sex work should have the right to make their money however they please.
We don’t get squicked out by the fact that there are people who perform other personal services on us that range from light touch like manicures to full-on penetration when you need your annual gyno exam or prostate check. We don’t even have an objection to people getting paid to touch other people in non-sexual pleasurable ways, such as relaxation massage.
So, why is sex different?
Use protection. Don’t take advantage of someone who is clearly desperate. Do not go outside your primary relationship without the express permission of your partner (yes, sex with someone you pay is still cheating).
But, as long as you are able to be a respectful and responsible adult, I say, go ahead.
My friend and I never quite came to an agreement on who was right, even though we each conceded a couple of the other’s points. So, readers, I’m throwing it out there to you: is hiring a prostitute right or wrong? Leave your views in the comments.
Posted by Lara