Prostitutes, Purple People Eaters, and Pontification

There was an interesting article at alternet about why men engage the services of prostitutes in light of the latest public figure/prostitute scandal. The analysis is perfectly reasonable and sound. However, it clearly presents the use of paid sex workers as a pathology in itself. I wonder if the author see the consumers and those who offer it as being essentially in need of treatment solely based on that relationship.

But I pondered one thing…. why is it whenever one of these scandals arises we end up talking about sex via the prism of men? Why is it male sexuality and typically straight male sexuality that appears to define and frame our discussions of sex? Why do we still discuss sex in terms of a tenuous and bitterly tinged negotiation? Why do we assume monogamy is the highest ideal ( I am not against it ) and never suggest that notions of monogamy, and sexual exploration are actually pretty fluid. Monogamy made much more sense when we all got married at 15 and died when we were 45 and had minimal birth control so women were pregnant half their lives anyway. I am not building a personal or societal case against it either but the idea that consensual sexual relations are a “one size fits all” paradigm is a bit silly.

And yet, unless things change significants the one symbol we never see in popular culture via television and movies is….. I know they exist because I have actually seen a couple.

I have seen countless pairs of breasts especially at work, given that two colleagues have had breast cancer and several others have had enhancements and the first thing they do when they get to work is run into our little closet sized office to show them off.

Michael Bader, who wrote the article at alternet and treats men in his practice argues that the men who frequent the services of prostitutes/sex workers sometimes called escorts, if you’d like to see some explains check out London escorts, who probably work at websites like, posits that

I have found that for the overwhelming majority of them, the appeal lies in the fact that, after payment is made, the woman is experienced as completely devoted to the man — to his pleasure, his satisfaction, his care, his happiness. The man doesn’t have to please a prostitute, doesn’t have to make her happy, doesn’t have to worry about her emotional needs or demands. He can give or take without the burden of reciprocity

He asserts that

Such beliefs are often exaggerated and based on a belief and perception that women are high-maintenance, helpless, or disposed to be unhappy and dissatisfied. These beliefs are formed in childhood and are reinforced by our culture

A BBC article focuses on talking to men who use prostitutes and the reasons are varied…

One man used the monogamy argument and said that since he had done so he feels a sense of resolution….

She doesn’t know. I don’t believe it’s changed my relationship with her in any way. To some extent I feel closer to her.

“I don’t have to demand things that maybe I was demanding from her, like oral sex and things like that. She didn’t like doing that. Now I no longer have to ask

Another indicated he didn’t have the time to be bothered picking up women in the clubs where he used to meet them.

Two of the men interviewed indicated they even had claimed to have established semi friendships with the women they had contracted with and all three men interviewed expressed profound irritation with the idea that there was significant oppressive trafficking in the worlds they wandered in and saw it as a consensual and adult activity.

Another British article confirms Bader’s thesis that men often use paid sex services to scuttle away from emotional entanglements. Men told the writer in this article


“With a prostitute you both know what you’re doing it for,” says Tom. “She’s doing it for the money, you’re doing it for sex. I’ve had guilty feelings [after visiting a prostitute] but never the same as I’ve had with a one-night stand

Money displaces the emotions. It frees you from that bond, that responsibility,” explains Sam. “The distance you get from exchanging cash for sex means that afterward you don’t contemplate the impact on the prostitute

The author concludes her article with this observation….

The cold truth is that many men today, regardless of how eligible, rich and dashing they may be, don’t go to prostitutes because they can’t get laid. They go because, frankly, it’s an easier way of getting laid

What I find most interesting about all of this is what is missing. Nobody spends much time considering the variances of female sexuality as if it is still fixed in some Victorian ideal.Clearly, the men cannot be said to represent an accurate random sample, and the ones who dismissed the idea that trafficking is widespread are simply engaging in rationalization.

Her is what the men who do use prostitutes in order to escape emotional obligations and ties and expectations aren’t aware of. Women would love to know that they aren’t expected to make an effort as well. Single women could save millions in retirement money if they weren’t trying to look “marketable” in the dating scene trying to meet the demands of what some men think they need to look like. Imagine how great it would be if women could lean across the table during a date and say,”really you’re boring and the effort I am making to pretend you’re fascinating when you haven’t asked a damn question about me is just too much to contemplate” but we can skip to the sex and maybe I can make it home to watch a good TV show or meet my friends for coffee. They might even do it if they didn’t fear judgment. Would those same men ( clearly in the minority ) who whine about obligations and free time be pleased, or would they scroll through various assumptions about the offer? Most men and most women are far more complicated that the rigid assumptions contained in the explanations about why paid sex is sought after. Wanting sex is hardly astonishing, wanting some emotional connection isn’t either. The necessity for an emotional connection various with both individuals and the time of time one occupies.

Married women might be more interested in getting loose if they weren’t exhausted from shuttling children, going to work, and engaging in all the other soul sucking activities adults dally in.

Adults are afraid to be honest in their sexual dialog, fearful of being seen as either too convention and moralistic or amoral and unconventional. We often can’t even articulate why we have the boundaries we do perhaps because it requires a deeper exploration of self hood and identity than we wish to dig.


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  1. a pretty clumsy attempt to cover much ground but I thought I might hear from others who had more articulate visions about the topic(s).

  2. (pun intended!)

    Adults are afraid to be honest in their sexual dialog, fearful of being seen as either too convention and moralistic or amoral and unconventional. We often can’t even articulate why we have the boundaries we do perhaps because it requires a deeper exploration of self hood and identity than we wish to dig.

    Couldn’t agree more.

  3. has become the coin of all public debate, that and kitchen sinks. Every ism that exists from feminism to capitalism has been ground up and spit back at us in unrecognizable forms.  Our collective consciousness is in reverse. Will we stop at the Victorians or take it back to the Puritans.

    Strange that women feel liberation sexually means fuck me shoes and molding your body to meet the fantasy’s of men who don’t give a rats ass about your sexuality. Stroking the ego seems to more erotic to the men involved then an honest exchange of pleasure for the sake of pleasure. The exchange of cash for sex also frees them from having to divvy up, pleasure given for that received.        


  4. …is what it amounts to :}  I also saw the article on alternet, and thought it was interesting, though my analysis did not go so far (or to such useful places).  

  5. but I think there’s a reason it’s the “oldest profession” and I don’t think human nature has changed very much since prostitution began.

  6. …which was before I’d ever heard of blogs (at a site called Diaryland – my lord, I still can’t believe I did that), I posted a series of essays on my own early sexual experiences.

    I did so because I find it shocking still that we do not talk about things with any honesty which are so important in the internal lives of nearly everyone I know.  I’m shockingly embarrased by them, but perhaps I should consider reposting some just to see if they promote conversation now that blogs where people can comment exist.

    Of course, blogs exist where people do talk about these things now, but most people never consider reading them.

    • Diane G on March 18, 2008 at 11:25 am

    themes. Well said.

    It is the Judeo/Christian/Muslim mindset, all with roots in their shared Old Testament that has corrupted the human body as “dirty”, and made women’s desire evil; in fact women evil for producing desire in men in the first place.

    I have written volumes on it.

    But with my first cup of coffee this is about as much coherence as you are going to get in reply.

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