Legal whoring

It's funny because it's true
In that whole discussion about "sugar daddies", and their "game" (or, in my opinion, lack thereof), an interesting topic came up. As I said in that post, there is no moral difference whatsoever between "sugar babies" and prostitutes. They both trade sex for material comfort. It's just that simple, and no amount of moralising or hand-wringing can change this.

Being a libertarian, of sorts, I personally see nothing wrong with this- provided that both parties are of the age of consent and both enter into a voluntary transaction. Prostitution is, after all, the world's oldest profession- there has always been an economic need for women to sell sex, and there have (naturally) always been willing buyers for the same.

Yet modern societies the world over regard prostitution as wrong and evil. Prostitutes are barred from polite society by the stigma of their profession. Their clients are, at least in the USA, regarded as pathetic losers, creepers, and lecherous, dirty men. Societies the world over regard prostitution as anything from sketchy to immoral to outright criminal.

Is it really right to condemn otherwise voluntary economic transactions as crimes like this, especially when there is (usually) no intent on the side of either party to inflict harm upon anyone?

At this point I suppose I should point out that I have personally never been a patron of any such, er, service providers. It isn't for any religious or moral reason; I just find the idea of paying for sex like that to be... rather bleak. (Well, that, and the fact that I have better uses for money than women of questionable morals and even more questionable gynaecological health.) Nor do I advocate the use of prostitutes, at all. You'd be better off developing the life skills that come from learning the basics of game- or you could go the MGTOW route, as long as you're willing to accept the realities of that lifestyle.

I do not agree with or support the use of prostitutes. I do not consider prostitution to be healthy in the long-term for either the buyer or the seller of the sex on offer. I do not think that prostitutes serve as anything other than a temporary crutch for men who cannot or will not procure sex from other sources. And I find the idea of women using their bodies as little more than receptacles for bodily discharges to be rather depressing.

Moreover, one could at first glance make the rather amusing claim that any woman who gets into a relationship with a man, of any kind, is engaging in a similar economic transaction. The difference, of course, is that prostitutes don't give a damn about their clients beyond the immediate needs of the transaction at hand (heh); by contrast, women who are just out for sex aren't actually getting any material reward in return, and women who get into committed relationships probably have something else to offer. Like, y'know, love and companionship and warm fuzzy things of that nature.

But I digress.

The point is that prostitution is at worst a necessary evil, and at best a needed release valve that allows some of society's worst tendencies to work themselves out in relatively inconsequential ways. There is no particular need to be puritanical about it. Prostitution- whether in the form of women who sign up to become sugar babies, or streetwalkers who outright sell sex- is no worse than a badly needed safety valve on some of the worst tendencies of male society.

The basic argument in favour of legalising prostitution- or at least being relatively lenient about that sort of thing- comes from no less a mind than St. Augustine of Hippo:
What can one find that is more ignoble, more deprived of honor, more charged with turpitude, than commercial women, procurers and all such scourges. If one suppresses prostitutes, the passions will convulse society; if one gives them the place that is reserved for honest women everything becomes degraded in defilement and ignominy. Thus, this type of human being, whose morals carry impurity to its lowest depths, occupies, according to the laws of general order, a place, although certainly the most vile place, at the heart of society.
It is indeed as St. Augustine said. Prostitution is an evil, but it is nothing much more than a voluntary transaction between two individuals. And as long as both individuals are engaging in voluntary trade, at the age of majority (however that is defined), and with the full understanding that the risks and consequences are theirs alone to deal with, then there really isn't any reason for anyone else to get involved.

Of course, these are nothing more than dry economic and moral arguments in favour of keeping prostitution "under the rug", so to speak. Would legalising prostitution actually be of net benefit to society?

The jury's largely out on this one, even now.

The problem is that while legalised prostitution removes a lot of the risk and danger from whoring for the buyer, it seems to actually increase the risks associated for the seller. Now, in most markets, when this happens, the seller is usually able to raise prices to compensate for the increased risk- but not in the sex trade, given that barriers to entry are so low and the good in question is so readily available. And there does appear to have been a serious uptick in the rate of women being forced into the industry- the exact outcome that any conscientious libertarian wants to avoid.

Ultimately, prostitution sits in a weird grey area- it is most assuredly immoral by any religious standard to pay for sex, it makes next to no sense in terms of reproductive strategy, and it is almost surely damaging to the psyche of both the consumer and producer of the sex involved, and yet it is usually still nothing more than a voluntary transaction.

The first step toward coming up with an ethically, logically, and legally coherent solution to prostitution, and the many ills associated with it, is for us to agree that someone who explicitly sells sex solely for material wealth is a prostitute, whether admitted or otherwise. And once we are willing to admit this to ourselves, and understand the massive double-standards that we inflict upon women in this regard, we will all be one big step closer to figuring out a sensible solution to an otherwise intractable problem.

And that solution should include full legalisation, (light) regulation of the industry, the right to unionise for women who voluntarily get involved, and full legal protections for women who are forced into it.

Only when we acknowledge the realities of prostitution, as being both immoral and necessary, can we come up with a way to minimise its negative impacts while maximising its virtues- such as they are.


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