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To the twenty you can add the accounts of other people and my impression of the statistics I've come across.

 

The main difference between the decision to endure participation in sexual acts and putting up with another kind of unpleasant job is that sexual acts, in their nature, are extremely invasive, more so than almost anything else (being, say, a surrogate mother still trumps it). In case of unwilling participation, those are fairly likely to cause lasting psychological damage. This is why I think sex is something all counterparts must desire to participate in for it to take place. Whether or not someone gets paid for it is quite irrelevant.

Edited by Shienvien

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@danis: That would be the first time I see someone claiming to like the job without having something to gain from it, and face-to-face I've spoken to ... I think about twenty (never someone trafficked, just people trying to earn living).

 

As I understand it, though, you're also somewhat secured besides the second job, and can afford saying no to unpleasant clients (unpleasant doesn't stand for abusive here, just obnoxious, smelly etc.).

What is your personal impression, are those on the job, the ones having no other choices included, who actually enjoy it a minority?

 

As I said earlier, I am for that kind of arrangement which would leave prostitutes legally free of blame, but against it being promoted.

Sex is, I feel, one of those things which should *only* be engaged in if all participants want it, not just endured on one part so as to allow the one to buy food for the one's children.

On the contrary, statistics show most sex workers (and sex worker doesn't automatically equal prostitute) find their work empowering. Yes, there are trafficked workers, drug addicts, abused women trying to escape, etc. that want out and are being taken advantage of; that doesn't apply to all sex workers.

 

And no, I'm not secured with my shelter job. They ran out of money years ago to pay most of the employees, so I stayed on at volunteer status. I make a living with the sex industry job. But why shouldn't sex be for sale, or promoted? It's one of the oldest professions in the world. Why would I have sex for free with some random guy I meet at a bar when I could have sex and get an iPhone with some random guy I met at a bar? Sounds like a win-win situation all around.

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I'd hardly call being a sex object for a living "empowering." How is it empowering to be a decoration and a toy for the traditionally dominant sex? You enjoy your work, that's all well and good, but you're not being made any more powerful by being paid to satisfy men (yeah, I know there are male sex workers and there are lesbians who benefit from female sex workers, too, but they're not the majority, not by far - and I still wouldn't call it empowering). Instead, I'd say it's bringing you down, reducing you to a thing, and reinforcing the "women are here to be enjoyed by men" mentality. Again, if you enjoy your job, great, everyone should enjoy their job. But I don't see how it's empowering.

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For the record, I wasn't being sarcastic, I genuinely meant I supported the poster I was referring to. c:

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I agree with AngelKitty and Shienvien.

All this sex industry in all it's variations just teaches men: You can have any woman any time you just have to pay. It reduces women to things and than people are surprised when men treat women like things in everyday life.

And worst is it (especially pornography) case-hardens this nonsens about: If a woman says no, she actually means yes.

 

@ danis: How do the clients behave against you? Do they still respect you after you had sex with them?

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What kind of sex workers were surveyed? 'Sex worker' is a bit too wide category to be lumped in one in surveys, I feel. That term includes phone services, strippers and others who never engage in actual sex with their clients. Then there are the callgirls whose main purpose is to look presentable at events, to be able to lead sophisticated conversations, and whose tasks only sometimes include sex as per the contract with the client. And *then* there are prostitutes, the people who I have been talking about, whose paid work consists predominantly of having sex.

 

I am not against sex being sold as much as I find that it is a thing which is quite hard to keep healthy. It certainly should be kept decriminalized so as to not make people cover up abuse and refrain from seeking help, but from there on... Somehow organize prostitutes into monitured designated establishments? And even then it can be hard to ensure people have no pressure, financial or otherwise.

As mentioned, I consider prostitution the one profession where 'do not feel like it' is a definite reason why one not only should be able to not to, but borderline mustn't work - if people force themselves to have sex, then I have a problem with it. If they like it, then I've no issues, as long as they take precautions to not spread diseases etc.

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Here in Germany, prostitution is generally legal.

 

I think that is very important. This way it can be controlled, legal contracts can be made, health care is provided, help in case of abuse can be sought out, social security and old age insurance (the best translations I could find of what things are named in German) are available.

 

Reality does not look like this unfortunately, there are still many women forced and abused.

 

The only kind of sex worker I have ever met, was a girl who used to work for a phone sex service. She said it was boring most of the time and she quit because the hours are insane - most people call very late in the evening/at night.

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I'd hardly call being a sex object for a living "empowering." How is it empowering to be a decoration and a toy for the traditionally dominant sex?

For female sex workers, it's empowering because it gives them another way to choose what they do with their bodies.

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I presume the last two posters are sarcastic (from the smiley and slow clap).

Never presume when you don't know someone. I was indeed being very supportive of Analogized's posts. And I'll let you in on a little secret. There are actually some people out there who deliberately get in the sex industry, on purpose, because it's what they WANT to be doing. And yeah, I know quite a few people like that. They aren't sex workers because they "have to make ends meet" or whatever, they do it because they *like* it.

 

Think of it this way. An artist might draw illustrations for books, not because they *have* to, but because they like being an artist. They like drawing. They like making characters come to life through their art.

 

A sex worker who does it because she *wants* to is no different. There IS such a thing as women who love sex, yunno. It's not just men who love sex. If you can be doing something that you already love doing, and actually get *paid* for it, well why the heck wouldn't you?

 

As I said, this is from experience. I personally know many different sex workers, ranging from Pro Dominatrixs to phone sex workers to porn workers, and everyone I know loves what they do.

 

Like others have said, in ANY business, ANY industry, you'll find corrupt bosses who take advantage of things. You'll find workers being treated wrongly. It's not confined to sex work, let's stop pretending it is.

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I don't think I agree with you, St.Jimmy ... especially with the bit you quoted. Being empowered should not be associated with being a decoration. (Ridiculous beauty standards without which you are worthless, being rejected for non-brand clothing, mandatory makeup at workplaces, 'sleeping one's way to the top'?)

 

@Marie: slow clap is typically used to indicate sarcasm.

 

Also, I love sex, too, but it doesn't help me to see your point here.

Edited by Shienvien

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I don't think I agree with you, St.Jimmy ... especially with the bit you quoted. Being empowered should not be associated with being a decoration. (Ridiculous beauty standards without which you are worthless, being rejected for non-brand clothing, mandatory makeup at workplaces, 'sleeping one's way to the top'?)

 

@Marie: slow clap is typically used to indicate sarcasm.

 

Also, I love sex, too, but it doesn't help me to see your point here.

At the slow clap part; Like Marie said, don't assume. It could as easily been a crescendo applause instead.

 

 

Who said being empowered had anything to do with decoration? No one mentioned a thing about gussying up to make ones self look "better". The only thing that was mentioned is that quite a few sex workers like having the freedom of control of their body to do as they please. And yes, that is empowering.

 

You seem to keep coming back to this bias that all sex workers are lowly, desperate women who pile on loads of make up and 'sleep around' for attention. There are plenty of sex workers that don't use make up of any sort and enjoy the work that they do. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's not rare.

 

 

Edit: You loving sex doesn't really have a point here. Everyone has their own ways. If you love sex with your significant other, then cool. I particularly don't like it at all. But if the next girl loves it and does it with a dozen men because that's what she likes, then I don't see what the problem is here.

Edited by Shiny Hazard Sign

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I'd hardly call being a sex object for a living "empowering." How is it empowering to be a decoration and a toy for the traditionally dominant sex? You enjoy your work, that's all well and good, but you're not being made any more powerful by being paid to satisfy men (yeah, I know there are male sex workers and there are lesbians who benefit from female sex workers, too, but they're not the majority, not by far - and I still wouldn't call it empowering). Instead, I'd say it's bringing you down, reducing you to a thing, and reinforcing the "women are here to be enjoyed by men" mentality. Again, if you enjoy your job, great, everyone should enjoy their job. But I don't see how it's empowering.

Just because you would feel less self-respect doesn't mean other sex workers don't find their work empowering. I'm doing what I want with my sexuality. I am in control. I feel sexy, I make money, and I am happy with my choices as it stands now. How is it not empowering to be so desirable that a man (or woman) will give you money just for a piece of your time? It's not bringing me down, and I don't really care if a client thinks of me as just a thing. To me, he's just a dollar sign. It's a two-way street.

 

And in response to "How do the clients behave against you? Do they still respect you after you had sex with them?" I am treated with respect, and if not, there are ways to take care of that. I don't care if the men I have sex with respect me.

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Just because you would feel less self-respect doesn't mean other sex workers don't find their work empowering. I'm doing what I want with my sexuality. I am in control. I feel sexy, I make money, and I am happy with my choices as it stands now. How is it not empowering to be so desirable that a man (or woman) will give you money just for a piece of your time? It's not bringing me down, and I don't really care if a client thinks of me as just a thing. To me, he's just a dollar sign. It's a two-way street.

 

Actually, I wouldn't feel any less self-respect for being a sex worker. I'd be doing things I've already done, I'd just be getting paid for it. :V And if I were, I still wouldn't say it empowered me, because it wouldn't actually make me any more powerful than I already am. Having sex doesn't improve my status in the world. It doesn't really gain me any sort of lasting respect. It doesn't give me command of anything I don't already have command of. It doesn't give me the ability to do anything I wasn't already able to do. It would make me feel pretty while I did it, but one can't rely on others' affirmation and assessments of desirability to feel beautiful. That doesn't last.

 

And I'd still think the industry does a disservice to women as a whole because of the mentality behind a lot of it, and that's my biggest, #1 issue with the industry. The sex industry perpetuates harmful ideas about women and "their place" as the servants of men. If the industry didn't feed off of the denigration of women, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

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@Shiny Hazard Sign: You are taking my words slightly out of context here; with the 'being a decoration' comment I was referring to the fact that Jimmy had posted the answer as if to the question 'how does being a toy, decoration and an object empower one?' to which I'd say that no, THAT's definitely not what's empowering. Having a choice in essence might be considered empowering, being a thing never.

 

As I see, there are three main issues with prostitution:

How to ensure that no one of the workers are forced or force themselves to work?

How to arrange unarguable legal background (no word-against-word situations) and properly reinforce it?

How to ensure that it doesn't promote objectification?

 

If those questions got good solutions which worked in practice, I would have no issues with prostitution. As I've said, as long as people are happy and don't damage anyone in the process, I've no qualms.

 

(I am however somewhat repulsed by the 'I am empowered because I can make people pay for interacting with me' mentality, on purely social basis. It feels like an awfully vain, arrogant and superficial thing to say in the 'I am better than other people' sense - or, more accurately, it makes me feel the sayer is that kind of person. Do you also think that people who are, say, awkward and could not hope to get paid for the same somehow less worthy? Because if you consider them equal ... you are, well, equal. If something empowers you, then people without that trait would be less powerful respectively.

Not suggesting that's what you think when you claim it or that you're like that, but those are the associations my brain makes - 'I feel empowered' links to 'I feel I am better', whether the lower one is the client or people in general. Thus it's a phrase with radically negative connotations in my mind, and I immediately feel alienated from the people who use it. That's a purely subconscious reaction, not something I have by choice.)

 

Hmm... And a random question: What would potentially happen if one of your clients honestly fell in love with you (let's assume it's a decent person)? - Mainly aimed at Danis, to be answered or not answered at will.

 

Also, +1 to AngelKitty's last post. (Granted, I myself would never be able to work as a sex worker (the kind which engages in sexual acts with clients as part of job) for my mental traits, but I agree with the ideology.)

Edited by Shienvien

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@Shiny Hazard Sign: You are taking my words slightly out of context here; with the 'being a decoration' comment I was referring to the fact that Jimmy had posted the answer as if to the question 'how does being a toy, decoration and an object empower one?' to which I'd say that no, THAT's definitely not what's empowering. Having a choice in essence might be considered empowering, being a thing never.

 

As I see, there are three main issues with prostitution:

How to ensure that no one of the workers are forced or force themselves to work?

How to arrange unarguable legal background (no word-against-word situations) and properly reinforce it?

How to ensure that it doesn't promote objectification?

 

If those questions got good solutions which worked in practice, I would have no issues with prostitution. As I've said, as long as people are happy and don't damage anyone in the process, I've no qualms.

 

(I am however somewhat repulsed by the 'I am empowered because I can make people pay for interacting with me' mentality, on purely social basis. It feels like an awfully vain, arrogant and superficial thing to say in the 'I am better than other people' sense - or, more accurately, it makes me feel the sayer is that kind of person. Do you also think that people who are, say, awkward and could not hope to get paid for the same somehow less worthy? Because if you consider them equal ... you are, well, equal. If something empowers you, then people without that trait would be less powerful respectively.

Not suggesting that's what you think when you claim it or that you're like that, but those are the associations my brain makes - 'I feel empowered' links to 'I feel I am better', whether the lower one is the client or people in general. Thus it's a phrase with radically negative connotations in my mind, and I immediately feel alienated from the people who use it. That's a purely subconscious reaction, not something I have by choice.)

 

Hmm... And a random question: What would potentially happen if one of your clients honestly fell in love with you (let's assume it's a decent person)? - Mainly aimed at Danis, to be answered or not answered at will.

 

Also, +1 to AngelKitty's last post. (Granted, I myself would never be able to work as a sex worker (the kind which engages in sexual acts with clients as part of job) for my mental traits, but I agree with the ideology.)

"What would potentially happen if one of your clients honestly fell in love with you?"

Sucks to be them.

 

"Do you also think that people who are, say, awkward and could not hope to get paid for the same somehow less worthy?"

No, but I am more skilled than they are in that aspect.

 

"It feels like an awfully vain, arrogant and superficial thing to say"

Knowing you're attractive and have high self-esteem does not automatically mean "vain, arrogant and superficial".

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@danis: Wording is quite important in those kind of debates - it's not going to help your cause if you leave the wrong(est) kind of impression to others.

 

There is a huge difference between me saying 'I am better programmer than you' and me saying 'I am better than you'. The first is probably correct (nearly a decade of IT-work here), but the second is definitely wrong. The same way, there's an *immense* difference between saying 'it makes me feel empowered' and saying 'it makes me feel confident in myself'.

 

 

Why I asked the last question ... well, sex is a rather important bonding action. I'd imagine such thing is not that unusual that clients unintentionally obtain emotional fondness for sex workers. The opposite is not impossible, either, but I figure it is somewhat rarer.

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@AngelKitty

 

Except for the bit where objects/decorations don’t speak, don’t campaign for their rights, don’t fight back and aren’t our sisters, mothers, best friends and co-workers. I disagree – I think sex work is subversive exactly because men are the traditionally dominant gender, and because of that privilege, traditionally they take, not pay. Paying for sex puts a price on it, yes, but also taps into the cultural mythos of sex having ‘value’ (in a myriad of different ways – think of the Judeo-Christian emphasis on virginity/’purity’ for example) – one which economically benefits the woman by throwing off conventional markers of ‘value’ and setting her own. Money in this particular situation is a gateway to sex, which the woman now explicitly controls and regulates by setting the asking price and the access. This puts the woman in the position of power.

 

Your assumption that the sex work industry is fuelled by the denigration of women plays into the idea that a woman is devalued by the amount of sex she has. Which is untrue. I can have as much sex as I want, under any conditions I choose, and still be just as much of a valuable human being as I was when I had sex on a monogamous basis. You make use of a servant for scut labour – you pay for a skilled worker and their imput.

 

@Lilithiana

 

Like I said in one of my earlier posts, it’s not sex work that makes women look like ‘things’, it’s our society and male privilege in everyday life. Sex work isn’t the basis on which society is founded on – society creates the conditions sex work exists within. If you don’t want women’s bodies commercialised, you should also object to models on billboards and to actresses wearing product placement on their clothing, and to the use of female sexuality as a selling point for objects. And if you’re familiar with social exchange theory and the theory of sexual economy (if you google ‘Sexual Economics: Sex as Female Resource for Social Exchange in Heterosexual Interactions’ by Baumeister and Vohs, that paper is available online and explores some of the economic forces behind heterosexual male/female interaction), the idea is that all social interaction entails some kind of ‘exchange’ – not just sex work. Sex work is simply explicit in the terms in which the exchange takes place.

 

That said, no one is talking about pornography, and you don’t have to respect someone to work with them.

 

@Shienvien

 

I find the premise that sex work is any more damaging than any other kind of work problematic. Intimacy is emotional, not physical. Sex work isn’t an emotional venture – its work, which is intrinsically economic. Once you take the feelings that you’re presupposing are going to exist in that situation, there are far more physically damaging industries out there.

 

Does it matter what kind of sex work? Everyone who works in the industry deserves adequate legal protection and rights – it doesn’t matter if you’re an exotic dancer, escort, pro-dominatrix or whatever else. There’s not a hierarchy of who morally deserves protection more.

 

If you think about it logically, sex workers benefit from staying healthy, and have no reasons not to seek treatment. There needs to be less emphasis on corralling the ‘unclean women’ into controlled zones and more on enforcing safety standards on those that utilise their services – for example, a fine or compensation when a client visits a sex worker while infected with a STI.

 

And as to the ‘decoration’ thing – I think you will find that there is a very vast spectrum of appearances and ways of presenting yourself in the sex work industry. It’s not homogenous with all sex workers having breast implants and bleached hair – it makes no sense to market yourself that way in an already saturated market.

 

And also – if someone is ‘forcing themselves’ to work free of outside coercion, you don’t really have the right to judge and/or regulate them for that. They’re making a choice about what to do with their bodies, taking into consideration their own circumstances and what they’re willing to exchange economically to gain advantage. Their motives are irrelevant.

 

As to your issues:

 

How to ensure that no one of the workers are forced or force themselves to work?

How to arrange unarguable legal background (no word-against-word situations) and properly reinforce it?

How to ensure that it doesn't promote objectification?

 

The answer to all of them is more rights for sex workers and a more sex positive society (with a side-dish of [pretty much complete] educational and economic reform to provide more opportunities to groups that are vulnerable to being coerced into unfavourable working conditions). Legalisation, with clearly codified standards as to the right to refuse service and to self-protection. Unions. Legal representation. Less onus on the sex worker to prove that they weren’t doing anything wrong simply by working, and more pressure on the client to adhere to health and safety standards (I keep thinking of it like this – when you walk onto a building site, they make you stay in certain areas and wear safety gear. There’s no legal liability issue if you’re the moron who wanders out of the safety zones without wearing your hardhat after being told not to).

 

And, um. I don’t know where you got the idea that empowerment is a zero sum game, but nothing is further from the truth. Sex work doesn’t create an undesirable underclass. Empowering sex workers empowers women – a more open-minded society leads to more rights for sex workers, which transmutes itself into more sexual health rights for women in general. Into a greater willingness to set sexual boundaries and communicate openly. Which leads to better sex for everyone. (Which, as we’ve reached agreement on, is a good thing!)

 

@danis, Shiny Hazard Sign, Marie19R, blah & St Jimmy

 

Yes, that! All of those points, absolutely! wub.gif

 

And yeah, it would suck to be a client in love with a sex worker. But again with the choice thing – just because the client has feelings, doesn’t mean they’re paying to have them reciprocated – they probably couldn’t afford it.

 

(Zomg, why is none of my uni stuff this easy to write about? blink.gifdry.gif )

Edited by analogized

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@analogized: You CANNOT detach sex from emotions simply because sex, in its nature, is very strongly connected to emotions. 'Feel good' hormones are released, hormones that encourage bonding are released. Pure, bodily functions. Sex causing emotions is one of the things which makes us human.

Furthermore, some intimacy inevitably comes along with sex. You can't separate those either.

 

How do you make any of your suggestions function properly in reality? How would you enforce it all?

 

As for why sex work including actual sex has far more potential for severely damaging the worker's psyche than most other jobs? Pretty much for the same reason why being called '****ing ****headed *******' has nowhere the effect of being raped.

The same way, doing phone service is different from being a prostitute because one includes actions which are extremely invasive and the other is just talking.

Edited by Shienvien

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Money in this particular situation is a gateway to sex, which the woman now explicitly controls and regulates by setting the asking price and the access. This puts the woman in the position of power.

 

Not from the view of the customer. It's a service job - you can control the prices and regulate all you want but in the end, the customer has the power. The customer pays you. The customer has to be satisfied, to ensure your job security. The customer can recommend you or tell his friends "hey, don't go there, their service is terrible." It doesn't matter what you think your services are worth - if the customers regard the price as too high or the regulations as too steep, they won't pay. Without customers, the person doing the service doesn't have a job.

 

Customer service isn't exactly empowering.

 

Your assumption that the sex work industry is fuelled by the denigration of women plays into the idea that a woman is devalued by the amount of sex she has. Which is untrue. I can have as much sex as I want, under any conditions I choose, and still be just as much of a valuable human being as I was when I had sex on a monogamous basis. You make use of a servant for scut labour – you pay for a skilled worker and their imput.

 

No, actually, the denigration of women in the sex industry has nothing to do with "purity" or "worth" based on what she does. It's due to them being portrayed as mere objects to have sex with, in a society that already too often views them as housekeepers, fetal incubators, and overall servants and inferiors to men. Look at the words used to refer to women in the sex industry. They're not generally called "women" or "ladies." They're depicted as toys that will do your bidding if you shell out the cash. It's perpetuating a harmful image of women in the minds of the people who need to see the opposite image.

 

Think of it this way. It's like a farm having a mascot depicting a traditional Southern slave with black employees that will speak and behave as such if the customers pay them the money to do so. "Why not let whites have their fantasies, in the end the blacks own it, they're making money and being paid, they don't mind doing it, the power is in their hands because" - NO. Nobody in their right mind would say that's okay. So why is it okay to do that with women?

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As for why sex work including actual sex has far more potential for severely damaging the worker's psyche than most other jobs? Pretty much for the same reason why being called '****ing ****headed censorkip.gif***' has nowhere the effect of being raped.

Again, you seem to be assuming that these sex workers are doing this work unwillingly. How the freakin' heck can you compare consensual, agreed-on, paid-for sex to rape? As I've qualified in my other posts, IF the sex worker is working of her own free will, there IS no bigger potential for things to go wrong then at any other job. You think other jobs don't have sexual harassment? You think other jobs don't have people being pressured to do something they don't feel comfortable doing? It's not exclusive to sex workers, and sex workers are *not* the majority of "damaged on the job" cases. What about ER workers who routinely see people die right in front of them? Would you still say that they have less potential for a severely damaged psyche? Why? Are sex workers somehow more vulnerable just because it's *sex*?

 

It seems that you think so. It seems that you think that the very act of *sex* makes this profession riskier and harder. But to some people, sex is just sex. Just an act. Not much different then walking down the street. Just putting your body through the motions. I can tell you from experience that no, sex does *not* always include an emotional bond, or emotional feelings at all.

Edited by Marie19R

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I know this may be a hard concept to grasp, but sexual feelings don't always equate to romantic feelings or even just emotional bonds. (edit to clarify: I don't mean that in condescending tone or anything--it IS a hard concept for some people to grasp, especially if they DON'T have a separation between their sexual desires and their emotional desires.)

 

Some people really do just like sex, and don't think any more about a person they had a one night stand with than they think about what color sock to wear in the morning. Other people are very deeply connected between their sexual life and their emotional and especially romantic life. But it is not the same for everybody.

 

So you CANNOT assume that EVERY person who has sex has an emotional reaction to it beyond "sex feels good, I enjoy it and thus I'm happy while having sex". (or, in the negative, a terrible emotional response in relation to unwilling sex)

Edited by KageSora

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@Marie: I've been speaking -specifically- of those prostitutes who force themselves or are forced into having sex. -Not- of all sex workers.

 

And yes, the fact that it is sex does make a difference. From the moment onward it becomes unwillful it *is* essentially rape.

 

 

@KageSora: I can relate to people not getting a response to something. What I do not understand is how one can enjoy something without emotions getting involved. The emotions might not last more than twenty minutes, but you can't like something you couldn't care less about.

 

Edit: Thinking about it, I figure you misunderstood me - I meant any kind of emotions. The bonding hormone being released was just mentioned as an example.

Edited by Shienvien

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You can have an emotional response to sex, but not necessarily the person you're engaging in it with. There's a bit of a difference.

 

I know what it feels like.

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Prostitution is illegal, not sure how or if it is enforced. I really don't care if people want to sell themselves. It is a job. Some people just really need the money. Some people like being treated like that. I think that if people do legalize prostitution then they should have a place from the people to stay. Also they should be tested along with the customers. My friend has this whole thing figured out for this business though I don't know if they will every be able to get it to work where we live.

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bringing up an old thread, but I wanted to add my response.

 

If you believe sex work objectifies women, that's like saying janitorial work objectifies me. The only thing I'm good for at work is my job description. They're not going to outright fire me because they don't have an emotional bond to me, and they didn't hire me because they found my mind fascinating. They hired me to pick up trash.

 

It's not the job that makes the woman look like an object. It's up to the individual to respect women as people and workers, regardless of their profession.

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