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Old 03-19-2012, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Honestly, I think the answer to the question can be achieved by asking oneself another question:

If someone sees a sex worker, or sex workers, but only one at a time, and never has another relationship at the same time, does it fall under monogamy or not?

If so, adding more people to it makes it polyamory. If not, then adding more people does not make it polyamory.
Good point. To answer your question, I think we should look at the definition of monogamy. I took wikipedia's introduction to the term:
"(monos+gamos) - one+marriage/ a form of marriage in which an individual has only one spouse at any one time.[1] In current usage monogamy often refers to having one sexual partner irrespective of marriage or reproduction. The term is applied also to the social behavior of some animals, referring to the state of having only one mate at any one time."

This made me think of a few things:

1- Society has pretty much abandoned the classical definition of monogamy, which required actually getting married. That being said, I think that many people wouldn't consider the relationship between a sex worker and one of their clients could be considered to be monogamous. This doesn't mean that clients and even sex workers feel this way. I think the real test is, how much do the sex worker/client care for each other? I think that, if it reaches a certain level, the relationship moves from what I'll call "casual" and into the "serious" realm. This being said, some people, both monogamous and poly maintain casual relationships and yet still define them as monogamous/polyamorous. So the real issue, then, is that people don't think that a relationship can happen if money is exchanged for sexual services. Personally, I don't feel this way, although I think that relationships work better if money isn't exchanged directly for sexual services, as I think that sexual activity and money should be something like the reward for a relationship that works well, rather then money/sexual services as goals in and of themselves.

2- This made me think of serial monogamy in a new light. If Jane dates David, then stops seeing David and sees Paul instead, then stops seeing Paul and goes back to David, is she truly monogamous? People may scoff and say "Ofcourse she is, because she stopped seeing one partner before seeing the other". But if this is done very quickly (within the course of a few days, say), the line between polyamory and monogamy begins to blur, as some people who identify as poly technically only see one person at a time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
The question is really whether the type of relationship there is between a client and a sex worker falls under the kind of relationship people usually think of as intimate relationships, or if it is something else due to the commercial nature of it.

Then of course, it becomes trickier to find the line. For instance if you have a partner, and that partner has financial difficulties, and you pay for them, does it become prostitution?
A very good point. In essence, I think it goes to what, precisely, the money is going for. If David says "I'll pay for your phone bill, but first you need to have sex with me", it seems like prostitution to me. However, if David says "I'll pay for your phone bill" and only -hopes- that he'll be rewarded in a sexual way (without making his hope too explicit), then it can be seen as simply helping out one's partner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
If an ex suggest an arrangement akin to friends with benefits, in which they have sex with you but you pay for a meal first, is this prostitution?
I believe so. While food isn't technically money, you're essentially bartering a good for a service; this is the realm of commerce. However, again, if a meal is given and there is only the hope that a sexual act may take place afterwards, I think it can be taken out of the commerce category.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
The same thing with money directly would probably be considered prostitution by pretty much everyone, but would it be considered a true relationship due to previous history?
Nicely put. However, I still think that if money or something else of value is exchanged directly for a sexual service, it has to fall into the commerce department. This doesn't mean, however, that feelings can't be involved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Also, someone in an otherwise monogamous relationship isn't usually considered monogamous anymore if they also see one or more prostitute(s). Which means it would fall under nonmonogamy at the very least if a traditional relationship exists as well.
Again, a very good point. It reminds me of a family friend who says that many people say that a relationship doesn't have that much to do with sex; and yet, if one partner "cheats" on another, then all of a sudden sex becomes an enormous issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Finally, I would like to ask about the sex worker's point of view. If they don't have a traditional relationship on the side, they most definitely have several sex partners, and that would make them nonmonogamous.
Wait a second there; why does having a traditional relationship on the side alter whether or not they're monogamous. I think that if a prostitute has a traditional relationship on the side it would definitely make them nonmonogamous, as they would, at the very least, have their traditional relationship and atleast one client; if we agree that being sexual with someone makes them "gamous" (which nowadays seem to mean "with someone sexually" instead of married to them, in the mono sense of the term at any rate), then being with 2 people in this fashion would forcibly remove them from the "monogamous" (sexual with 1 person) category.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Now for my personal opinion: I don't think sex work is inherently monogamous or nonmonogamous for the client, it depends on what other relationships they have. Similarly, a sex worker might very well have a single very wealthy client.
Aye.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
As a result, I don't think prostitution is a type of nonmonogamy. I think it is a practice that overlaps all other types of relationships, and therefore not something that fits on the same scale.
You're right in the sense that a few prostitutes and/or clients may be monogamous. However, I didn't say that -all- sex work was polyamorous. Far from it, I'd only asked if there was some crossover. I personally strongly believe that there is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
For instance, I believe you could have say, a relationship that is:
- same sex, opposite sex, or a mix of sexes
- with one partner or with more partners
- open or closed
- BDSM or vanilla
- commercial or not
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
and there might be other options. I think with polyamory and swinging, the only two criteria that directly affect polyamory are the second and third (as in, how many partners, and is the relationship closed or open).
You start off with polyamory and swinging, then single it down to polyamory. Can you explain this a bit more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
So I don't deny the overlap but I don't think it's relevant to polyamory or swinging as a whole, or to polyamory or swinging exclusively.
You think that there's overlap/crossover between swinging and polyamory? Swinging, polyamory and sex work?
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