30 August 2008

Promiscuous Girlz lucky?

Has any brothel had so much publicity before its opening? Well the appropriately white trash sounding "Promiscuous Girlz" brothel in Dannevirke can hardly say it hasn't had enough publicity. According to the Dominion Post it is now open for those who care to pay for carnal stimulation.

My view on this is fairly straightforward. It isn't up to the state to judge those who choose to sell services using their bodies and those who choose to purchase such services. It is up to the state to protect those forced into providing such services - less of a problem in NZ than in Europe, where trafficking in women is serious and tragic. The film Lilya 4-ever is a tragic story of a girl trafficked from Russia to Sweden and forced to be a prostitute. This is where the criminal justice system and those concerned about prostitution should focus their top priority - underage girls being forced into this trade, which of course remains illegal.

However, one cannot help but wonder what brings women (and men) to enter into this business. For many of us it seems inconceivable to be paid to have sex with strangers that, otherwise, you wouldn't go near. For many it is undoubtedly the attraction of being relatively well paid, that becomes the focus. For some this is seen to be necessary to support a drug habit, which itself is perhaps more expensive and risky that it may otherwise be if it were not illegal, but I digress. A few may well enjoy it, Xavier Hollander has written extensively about how she enjoyed being a prostitute - she's not the only one. There are genuine concerns that it is a business that seriously affects ones own esteem and sense of life. The truth is that it varies - I can't say, nor can you, nor the Police, nor the state, nor a church. That is why this profession will always be a choice for some.

It is perhaps better instead of judging all prostitutes, to not judge, but to consider those who DO ask for help, who are in need. The best way those who despise prostitution can help is to be active in helping women (and men) who are prostitutes out of desperation and abuse. Sadly I see precious little of that from the noisy opponents who would prefer them to be incarcerated.

The flipside is the demand. Why do people (predominantly men) buy sex? Again, the reasons will vary. Many undoubtedly do so out of sheer convenience and because they value that over the two obvious options - seduction of the unpaid and masturbation. The former they may not choose because of time (it takes time to find someone willing), poor self-esteem (which may be based on imagined or a fair perception of their own attractiveness) or their own preferences (may be difficult to find someone to meet their kinks). The latter because it is typically an inferior experience to actually being with someone. It may also be simple loneliness.

Yes many who procure sex are married, or with partners. That's their lie to their partner, it's something they risk, and it is between them. The state doesn't patrol marital fidelity - well outside Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"Promiscuous Girlz" will rise or fall on its customers (yes yes I know!). Those who wish to protest it, boycott it or oppose it can do so. However, if you want to know what workers and clients are motivated by, ask them -you might be told where to stick your nose, but that's the only way you're going to ever know. As long as peaceful people choose to buy and sell sex then it will remain a curiosity, and for some involved it is sad and unfortunate, for others a delight. I haven't ever bought or sold sex, but I'm not so hasty to judge all those who have.

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