Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Should Prostitution Be Illegal?

A guy in a white Ford Taurus circles the block at 1 a.m. in the middle of the city. He's on the prowl. He spots the woman that he wants and circles the block one more time to make sure the coast is clear. He pulls up beside her...

Words are exchanged, she gets in, money is exchanged, they go have sex.

A guy in a white button-up circles the bar of the club. He's on the prowl. He spots a woman that he wants and circles the club one more time to make sure the coast is clear (he's a player). He walks up beside her...

Words are exchanged, she shows interest, drinks are bought, they eventually have sex.

Though I am not an advocate of prostitution, as I find it morally reprehensible, it can be argued that the exchange of goods and services are similar in each of the above scenarios. Just because one doesn't pay for sex in cash doesn't mean that that those persons' intentions aren't the same.

Many guys and girls play the dating game just to get to the end game. They go out at night to find sexual partners. In many instances these meetings can lead to official dates where more money is spent on activities that add up significantly monetarily. And in many cases both parties are purely interested in the physical result of these outtings.

So if the game is the same, whether its called prostitution or gaming, then why is one, by law, worse than the other?

Make no mistake about it: I am in no way a proponent of prostitution, but I question the validity of the government's role in infringing on an act that, by it's very nature, should be a private act between two consenting adults whether money or dinner is exchanged. If having sex for money, or goods, is a crime then those persons paying the way of others during social outtings (buying drinks, dinner, movies etc.) to earn sexual favors are just as guilty as the pimps and the prostitutes prepetuating a culture that is frowned upon by our federal government.

In the aforementioned scenario, however, the pimps are the night clubs and bars that charge high cover charges and drink prices in an effort to create a sexually charged environment condusive to one-night stands... which is the very reason why men and women congregate at these places on Saturday nights.

On the flip side, if a person wants to solicit sex from a prostitute for hire and cut out the dating/gaming aspect, why should they be punished? If prostitution was legalized and those persons were required to have the proper health checks in place and were required by law to practice safe sex in controlled environments, then much of the disease and violence that occurs in this underground industry would subside.

Once again, I am not saying that prostitution is OK. As a matter of fact it's morally wrong! But so are one-night stands. If we are going to inject morality into our laws then the government has a duty, not only to outlaw prostitution, but also to outlaw drink buying at the club, Waffle House outtings after the club, and 3 a.m. after-the-Waffle-House-one-night-stands.


Jermel said...

In this country, at the moment, prostitution is only legal in parts of Nevada (not including Las Vegas or Reno as some people think). However, we only distinguish prostitution in its simpliest form: a woman offering sex for money and man accepting the offer. However it occurs in many forms including strippers, escorts (even when they don't have sex), all nude reviews, cheerleaders, bartenders and waitresses in some establishments, this list goes on an on. One of the most famous sayings in marketing is sex sells, yet we have deemed this is illegal. Prostitution is illegal for the same reason alcohol was illegal for a period of time. Society feels that the only thing that can prevent men on a large scale from indulging their sexual cravings is the stigma of it being illegal. They belive that if it were made legal, divorce rates would sore and homes would become broken. I would actually argue the opposite but that would require a separate blog to explain.

Anonymous said...

I just talked to my mom about this a few weeks ago. Believe it or not, she thinks it should be legal.

I have to disagree. While there is no way to limit the number of one-night stands, there is already a legal system in place to regulate prostitution.

Our society has already made it legal for women and men to participate in damn near-everything but sex: Models sell their bodies all the time, pornography is a billion dollar industry, and even on the local level women can shake a little something to make some spare change.

I'm opposed to prostitution because I feel it would be yet another way for our society to further objectify women. And it promotes the idea that women aint good for nothing but booty and babies to a generation of young girls who already have skewed body images.

Carah H. said...

I think that we as a society are programmed to completely detest prostitution… and we should. It’s flat out wrong. But Brandon, you shed some serious light on the truth that we consistently and conveniently overlook. You’re definitely right: At any given night club, all it takes is one of the following for some folk to seal the deal for some bom-chicka-wah-waaaaah:
** Multiple drinks (not even top shelf for some people)

** Maybe a slow, seductive grind on the dance floor or the wall to one of the currently hot songs (we’ll say Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” or Ursher’s – yes, I said ‘Ursher’ – “Love in the Club”)

** Perhaps the sight of a bad Benz, Beamer or Lexus truck in the club parking lot

** Celebrity status – be it the club promoter, the visiting nationally known performer or the cute doctor with his own practice

So what’s the difference between the above situation at your local club and a person who cuts through the games and bluntly states their intention to a willing partner for money? Tact? Formality? Perceived appropriateness?

My first reaction when reading this article was that of a typical ‘programmed’ American. I was going to say that if prostitution was legalized, America would really go to hell in a hand basket. Like philosophy’s ‘Slippery Slope’ argument states in layman’s terms, if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile. Legalized prostitution would equate to total sexual anarchy in America! I can just imagine people lobbying for public sex to be legal… and while we’re at it, let’s just scrap all the FCC regulations and get butt-ass naked on tv! And shoot, why not throw some porn into the prime time line-up.

But nah, upon more reflection, I don’t think it would go down like that if prostitution were legalized in America. As you pointed out, the Government would require prostitutes “to have the proper health checks in place and… practice safe sex in controlled environments; [thus causing] much of the disease and violence that occurs in this underground industry [to] subside.”

In Nevada, prostitutes are required to use condoms for all types of intercourse, and must undergo regular medical checkups. The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is literally non-existent. I’ve been searching for newer statistics for Nevada, but as of 1998 the HIV/AIDS infection rate in legal Nevada brothels was zero, according to The American Journal of Public Health). Where prostitution is illegal, AIDS rates are often over 25 percent among prostitutes.

Interestingly, other countries have legalized prostitution, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Iran! (I know, right. Do your research!) And guess what? Those countries have lower rates of rape and violent crime than we do.

Man, I could go on and on about this… maybe I’ll have to do a piece about it myself. But it’s definite food for thought.

The war on prostitution is similar to the war on drugs – flawed, ongoing and never-ending. The business has been around for thousands of years, and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. There is no effective way to close down a market between willing buyers and sellers, as Paul Armentano pointed out in his 1993 article “The Case for legalized prostitution.”

So looking at creative ways to DEAL WITH instead of IGNORING such a rampant issue would be a good idea for this country.

Jermel said...

Thanks Carah! I couldn't have said it better myself. It's amazing what happens when you put some type of structure around something that is causing problems. The government will never eliminate something people choose to do.