What would happen if all sex was consensually free?
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. February 3, 2016
We consider it the oldest profession, but such a claim creates an illusion that what is happening now and has been happening since the dawn of men and women is okay. Now, I’m all for people doing whatever they please with their bodies, and should they decide to sell it for sex, neither I nor anybody else has the right to stop them. Not even the law, right?
Yet I also know that a large number of women, and many we can only refer to as girls, who enter the trade do not consider what they do empowering. It’s slavery. Many are taken from their homes, trafficked to different countries, and sold like products on the streets. So the people who choose to take on prostitution as a career are in fact crippling those that don’t.
There is no honest way to stop prostitution. It’s not a company. It’s an industry. You can close down Safeway, but people who want groceries will simply go over to Superstore. Same goes with illegal sex. You can get rid of a drug dealer, but another one will just fill in the gap and fulfill the demand. It’s a business, and like all businesses, as long as there is demand, there will be suppliers.
So the question when it comes to stopping prostitution isn’t how to stop prostitution, but how to stop men from paying for illegal sex. After you utter such a question all you can do is give a big exhale, because even the most optimistic of folks can agree that such a mission sounds impossible.
The thing about prostitutes is that many of them aren’t offering sex exclusively; they are offering companionship. They are “escorts.” If it’s just horniness that drives the male desire for sex, then a few minutes alone with the Internet should be enough to suffice. But loneliness is a whole different beast. The longing for physical touch is not something that every person is blessed with. If we want to end prostitution, we must find a solution where we can give people the satisfaction of human contact and emotional intimacy, while preventing them from falling into drugs or other abusive habits.
When you peel away the skin of the problem and look at the core, you can see that the need for prostitution is continued due to the fact that some men are just bad at interacting with women. These men are so undesirable, or they feel so undesirable, that they cannot imagine woman spending time with them without having to pay. I believe we live in a world where people can rise above that shitty attitude—the attitude of self pity and shame from people who want something but aren’t willing to work for it. They take the easy route, and that is what prostitution is. Instead of driving around the block looking for free parking, the driver will just pay for a spot in the parkade. It’s easier.
I don’t like the people who approach prostitution as lusty entertainment for a stag or stagette party. I think that tradition needs to be wiped out. However, no matter how much I’d like to believe that we can find ways to seek other companionship, prostitution as a source of comfort and cure for the lonely is something this world cannot be without for now.