One of the older men's issues that I debated on Usenet is the desirability of prostitution, which has been coming to my mind again lately. I mean, is the existence of prostitution good for men? It seems most men that think about this say it is, while I said tentatively that it is not.

First, let's recall that in pre-feminist times prostitution (by women) was pretty much an accepted part of society, and more prevalent than today. But correlation is not causation; lots of things have changed in society since that time, and it would be wrong to insist that they're all one thing. In particular, back then prostitution did in no sense threaten men's superior standing in society, and married men could often visit prostitutes without their wives having any recourse. So I think there is really no argument to be derived from that relevant today.

I do think that in today's society prositution can be said to be good for women and bad for men, for the most part. Let us remember that it is one way in which women extract money from men, to state the obvious, and that the more accessible it is, the more men will be tempted to use it. One might say that all sexual relationships involve women extracting money from men, and that prostitution is just more honest. But even if that were admitted (and it does have a lot of truth to it) hookers can live off men without even the pretence of commitment, providing them another option. I don't think this should be encouraged.

Let us also admit that few men are satisfied only by prostitutes, and that they will continue to seek romance with women, thereby spending money both ways. Because of our prevalent monogamy, the power that women have in the romantic 'market' depends sensitively on the sex ratio, so that removing women, which prostitution does (since few men want their wife or girlfriend to be a whore) empowers women. In the same way, it may be said as a side-note, removing men from the market empowers men, and is therefore desirable. I do not mean killing or such, but allowing and encouraging men to abstain from relationships with women if they truly desire - this category includes gay men, but is not limited to them of course.

Last, if feminism really were anti-prostitution, as is usually assumed, we would see far more prosecution of it than we actually do. There are women openly advertising their sevices on the internet, for example, and they have little fear of getting busted. Feminists do not like women prosecuted, which ensures that prostitution will continue. They like using it as a political weapon more than they actually want to end it, which would mean denying women the option of selling sex.

This is an essay created by Andrew Usher. Please do not edit it; but only comment in discussion.

See also Female sexual behavior.

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