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Prostitution Is Not A Job Or Free Choice. Part 1 - Sex, Society
Prostitution Is Not A Job Or Free Choice. Part 1 - Sex, Society

Video: Prostitution Is Not A Job Or Free Choice. Part 1 - Sex, Society

Video: Prostitution Is Not A Job Or Free Choice. Part 1 - Sex, Society
Video: Секс Работа | Philosophy Tube 2023, December

"The oldest profession", "sex services" - these and hundreds of other euphemisms shyly cover up the word "prostitution", hinting that this occupation is not much different from the "ordinary" professions. Nevertheless, psychologists insist that prostitution is not a job, but a legalized form of violence against women

Sources of confusion

The belief that prostitution is an absolutely legitimate activity is based on two false beliefs:

  1. The first is that selling their own body is a free choice for women (and very rarely - for men) who want to get "easy" money without burdening themselves with hard work.
  2. The second is that "sex for money" is the same service as, say, the hauling of weights by a loader or the sweeping of the streets by a janitor: after all, bodily resources are involved - muscle efforts, coordination of movements, etc.

Why are both of these postulates not true? If we analyze them a little deeper, it turns out that in both cases there is a serious substitution of concepts based on the patriarchal belief that the female body does not belong to the woman herself, but is the object of commodity-money or contractual relations between men.

See also: Prostitution is not a job or a free choice. Part 2

In this sense, one cannot but recall the tradition of matchmaking with the invariable adage "You have a product, we have a merchant!" and weddings in which the bride is “ransomed” or “stolen” in a symbolic or direct form - despite the fact that the expressions “corrupt woman”, “purchase of a woman” are obvious references to prostitution.

Thus, the difference between a “legal” marriage and a visit to a “brothel” is only in the price and duration of the conclusion of the “contract” on the use of the female body between the father and the groom or the pimp and the client - the woman herself is assigned the role of a wordless commodity, an object of trade, not having the right to dispose of itself.

Imaginary freedom

But today women freely choose partners, husbands, work and image - isn't prostitution the same choice in such conditions? Unfortunately no.

  1. First, when speaking of “free women's choice,” one cannot ignore countries and regions that live according to religious or traditional customs. In a number of countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and even in certain regions of modern Russia, women are still "reified": they are denied even the right to leave the house unaccompanied by men, and there can be no question of free choice of sexual partners …

    The practice of prostitution of women persists both within traditional communities and in the form of "export" of girls to other countries 1 - deprived of basic rights in their own home, they actually exist as slaves in brothels around the world.

  2. Secondly, many women are deceived or violently drawn into prostitution 2. Brothels are replenished both by direct abduction (“pushed into a car, injected with a drug, taken in an unknown direction”), and by luring victims under the guise of inviting them to a “normal” job - for example, as an animator or waitress in a hotel, after which women they take away passports, money and means of communication, rape and force them to "serve" clients, exerting physical and psychological pressure. According to the UN, annually about half a million women become victims of the slave trade for the purpose of sexual exploitation 3.
  3. Thirdly, often a choice that is presented as “free” turns out to be compulsory. If, as an alternative to prostitution, a woman is offered starvation or the prospect of placing children in an orphanage due to the inability to support them, lack of housing, etc., the decision to sell her own body can hardly be called voluntary. Alas, our contemporaries are forced to repeat the story of Sonya Marmeladova: eloquent statistics indicate that 92% of women engaged in prostitution would like to stop this activity, but cannot because of lack of money 4.

A certain role is also played by attempts to normalize and even romanticize prostitution in films like "Intergirl" or "Pretty Woman", broadcasting the dangerous myth that this path is a kind of "social lift" for girls from poor families. It can be assumed that some of the girls find themselves in the "sex industry", succumbing to illusions about a beautiful life and believing the promises of the mountains of gold. However, for some reason, for similar actions to lure money out of the pockets of gullible citizens, liability is stipulated under the article "Fraud", and the women themselves are accused of the fact that women's lives are broken.

Not sex and not a profession

Sex is primarily a relationship - it doesn't matter if it is for one night or for many years. The key principle by which sexual relations should and can be built is active consent and desire of both parties. At the same time, an important point for both partners is the ability to get out of these relations at any time - even in "hard" BDSM practices, the rule of "stop words" is necessarily stipulated.

However, in almost all cultures, sexual intercourse becomes not only a means of obtaining mutual pleasure, but also a way of self-affirmation, manifestation of power and establishment of hierarchy. That is why, for example, homosexual contacts in the prison subculture are considered a stain of shame not for both men who participated in them, but only for the one who was in the role of the receiving party (in slang vocabulary, this is reflected in the connotation of the expressions: "he had got fucked ").

In the case of violent heterosexual contact, humiliation and often physical abuse are usually women (with rare exceptions) - and the “service” of clients by prostituted women is almost always a continuous series of violence

Men who pay for "sex services", of course, do not think about the feelings of a woman who agrees to have sexual intercourse out of fear of a pimp or extreme need. Moreover, they are often sure that the money given guarantees them carte blanche for any action: bullying, beatings, painful and humiliating sexual practices, etc. - and, without hesitation, implement them.

According to the survey results, up to 80% of women involved in prostitution experience acts of physical, emotional, and sexual violence from their clients 5. At the same time, both participants know that there are no and never will be any protection mechanisms for a woman: after all, she “agreed herself”, which means that any of her claims will be swept aside as meaningless.

Is it possible to apply the term "work" to activities, involvement in which occurs most often by force or because of extreme need, the termination of which is usually impossible and the engagement of which is associated with an extreme degree of humiliation, violence and lack of rights, based on the fact that a tiny percentage of women do it voluntarily and / or enjoy it? The answer seems to be on the surface.


  1. UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018 // United Nations publication. 2019-02-04. URL: (date accessed: 22.09.2019).
  2. Levchenko E. A. Trafficking in Women: Violation of Human Rights or Voluntary Slavery? // Social sciences and modernity. 2000. No. 4. P. 58–67. URL: (date accessed: 22.09.2019).
  3. Zorab R. The volumes of human trafficking are named // Naked Science. 01.21.2015. URL: (date accessed: 22.09.2019).
  4. Klimanskaya E. Prostitution: figures // Klimanskaya. Online. 01.07.2017. URL: (date of access: 22.09.2019).
  5. Thaller J., Cimino AN The girl is mine: reframing intimate partner violence and sex work as intersectional spaces of gender-based violence // Violence against women. 2017. V. 23. No. 2. P. 202–221. URL: