Sex & Sox

My passions: Sex and the Boston Red Sox!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Pondering Sex Workers...

Global Sex, pg 113: "This is not to deny the very real abuses and exploitation which surround the sex industry; it is to recognize that moral indignation is inadequate when people are forced into selling their bodies to survive and uncalled for when people enjoy a real choice."

Sometimes I wonder what it is that draws people into the sex industry (being a prostitute, an escort, and almost, a stripper). Is it a "last resort", an option when you feel like you have no others? I find it difficult to believe that the choice has anything to do with feeling desperate and worthless; certainly, it might be related to wanting to feel wanted, but in those professions you are patently labelling yourself as something that has worth. Those professions are ones wherein you offer your body and your services to someone for a price (whether this be a customer or an employer): you are worth these people's time, and worth their money.

I've thought about being a stripper. God knows I don't have quite the body for it: men do not want to see the girl next door with small breasts and a soft belly, but rather the porn-star candidate with a pillowy bosom and rock-hard abs (my boyfriend told me that one of his exes "had a body like a Barbie doll, long blonde hair, big tits, tiny waist"; needless to say, I was quite intimidated when we met). Now, I should also note that while I've never been to a strip club, nor encountered a prostitute, nor requested the services of an escort, I harbor no illusions that women (and men!) in these professions are all 'perfect' by Western standards; however, I'm certain that they don't have 20 extra pounds and ant-hill tits.

But that is a choice, and people in those professions, in North America at least, certainly have a choice as to whether or not it is one they will pursue. In places like India, no, choice is not always an issue: if you are a thirteen year old and your father is pimping you out, there's nothing to be done but to cope. However, I'm not writing from that perspective (not that it is unworthy, simply that it is not my current concern); I'm writing from the perspective of someone who lives where we do have choice.

Governments try to restrict it, of course, as they do so much else in the personal realm. I think this is a vast oversight that will become apparent in the following years, as the sentiment of "my body, my choice" comes to encompass far more than the abortion debate and reaches into the realm of sexuality as a whole, affecting such issues as virginity reconstruction, female genital mutilation, and homosexual marriages.

In any case, I believe that legalizing prostitution and regulating it as an industry rather than persecuting it as an abomination when sex is the most natural and primal of human urges is a wise move. Women and men in North America choose to be sex workers and rather than looking down our collective nose at both them and their patrons, we would do a far better service to ourselves and our country by recognizing their work as worthwhile. Someday I'll write an actual dissertative essay on this, but for now, this'll do!