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  #1  
Old 12-02-2011, 11:34 AM
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vanille vanille is offline
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Question Prostitutes and/or One Night Stands

I've shared some of my background on other posts, but for those who did not see here goes:

Married to high school sweetheart. Together ten years. Mono the whole time. Talks of poly began about a month ago.

We have different goals: I want to date (as if I was single) and form emotional and perhaps someday sexual bonds. While I would enjoy experiencing new sexual encounters (I've been with only three men in my 25 years), it's not my primary goal. Emotions first, sex second.

He is the opposite. High and adventurous sexual appetite, eager to try new people and things - especially the things I am not comfortable with. For him - sex first, emotions second (if at all).

I support his goals, they do not really hurt me (well except the obvious jealousy, which I do believe can be overcome).

We are in Amsterdam for a night (tonight) and we have talked about him seeing a prostitute in the Red Light District. First of all, before I get the hate for prostitutes - I've done my research. In Amsterdam, since it is a legal profession and there is free health care, the risk of STDs are much lower. The ladies are provided free testing whenever they want and almost all of them take advantage of this (we talked with a former prostitute about the realities of this world). They take their health seriously (especially since it costs them nothing to do so) and will not engage without condoms.

Alright, moving on. While I think I'm okay with this, I'm still a bit nervous about what my reaction will be after. I honestly don't know what it will be. I think what will hit me the most (even harder than him sleeping with another woman) is the fact that this is so unfamiliar. We have never slept with anyone else in the past seven years. While I'd love to think this will not bother me, I can't say for certainty what will happen.

So, does anyone have experience with this? Perhaps your partner is the same as my husband and prefers sex without emotions attached? Perhaps your first encounters with poly were similar to mine? Do you think this might be an easier way to first experience poly? I think it would be harder if he was already in love with someone and that is how the subject arose.

I'm eager to start dating on my own and believe this might be the push we need to get things started and get out of limbo.

So, just looking for any thoughts on the matter. Thank you for taking the time to read this and perhaps respond.
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2011, 12:21 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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I think its an individual thing. You're on the cliff looking down at the water trying to figure out the best way to enter ...least painful....it all might sting a little....or could break your arm or worse. What is your gut tell you? Go with that.

Good luck d
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:46 PM
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I don't know. I still have an ethical objection to the whole enterprise. It's not "hate for prostitutes" so much as being creeped out by the idea of prostitution.

Regardless of whether it's legal, it seems to me reducing sex to a cash transaction is degrading and dehumanizing to all involved. That it's legal in the Netherlands doesn't make prostitution better, it just makes the Dutch worse.

Now, before people jump all over me (and I know some of you are getting out your cleats right now) for being some kind of puritan zealot, I recognize that reasonable people of good will can disagree on this point. I just think it a viewpoint worth considering very carefully.

(And, for the record, I'm too skeptical to be really zealous about anything but, if I had to choose, I'd choose humanism: it's all about autonomy, and about dignity that ought not to be sold off in the marketplace.)
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:55 PM
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I think it's very progressive and empowering that the Dutch allow it. From what I've heard, it's mostly for the tourists - the Dutch generally frown on Prostitution and drugs. But they realize prohibition solves nothing (think about the war on drugs). I think it's great that it's legal - it protects the women. They are no longer ruled by pimps. They have free health care. They are protected by the police.

Prostitution has been around forever, and it will be around forever. At least this way, the women are protected, prison space is freed, and the country gets more revenue from taxes.
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanille View Post
Prostitution has been around forever, and it will be around forever. At least this way, the women are protected, prison space is freed, and the country gets more revenue from taxes.
Yes, prostitution has been around forever, but so have slavery, murder, theft, rape, gambling . . . . That in itself is no argument in its favor.

Somehow, the idea they do this "for the tourists" and for the tax revenue makes it more demeaning, not less . . . the bodies of human beings treated as commodities, rolled into calculations of GDP and into cost/benefit calculations of social utility.

[shudder]

Also, I should have distinguished between legal and ethical considerations. The mere fact that prostitution is legal does not automatically make it ethically justifiable for someone to buy sex. It's just that, for political reasons, and perhaps to mitigate the worst effects what is inherently a degrading kind of trade (by providing health care, for example), the Dutch government has opted to leave the choice to individuals.

Individuals still have to choose, and ought to be held morally accountable for their choice, even if there are no legal consequences.

Gambling is legal in many places, but you would all judge me quite harshly if I were to go and stake my children's college education on the turn of a card or a spin of the wheel.
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Last edited by hyperskeptic; 12-02-2011 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:47 PM
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I'm curious. Does it bother you more that women choose to sell their bodies or that people choose to buy?

Your examples are ones that harm people. How does prostitution harm people? I'm not talking about human trafficking or coercion, just a woman who chooses to profit from something she was born with. Men profit from their bodies when they use their strength (like construction or movers).
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Last edited by vanille; 12-02-2011 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:53 PM
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I would say go for it. Why not? If you plan to open your relationship regardless, and encounters will be mainly about sex for him regardless, why not start with a professional?

There's actually one huge advantage I see to this. Right now you have no idea what your reaction will be. If you have a bad reaction and his first time is with someone you both know or someone he unexpectedly likes emotionally, that will be a difficult situation for all involved and could put the other person in a bad position.

Whereas if you have a bad reaction to his encounter with a prostitute, there will be absolutely no impact on her and you can be guaranteed he will never see her again.

I've had friends who were sex workers (strippers rather than prostitutes, but still). It's their choice and it made the most sense for them at the time (one even really misses it now that she had a new job). Hyper, that's why I find your comparison to slavery, murder, and theft inapt because in those scenarios something is happening to someone against their will. Now, in Thailand or something you might well assume that was the case for a prostitute. But to compare a woman's decision to engage in sex work to slavery and to insist that it must be demeaning (what if she likes her job?) is to take away her autonomy as a human being.

"Gambling is legal in many places, but you would all judge me quite harshly if I were to go and stake my children's college education on the turn of a card or a spin of the wheel." <-- There you stand to lose a great deal, in fact almost certainly will, and will majorly mess up someone else's life as well. The comparison in no way applies to a one-night stand with someone being paid for her time.

Women choose sex work for many reasons. Maybe they're on their own and have no better option for taking care of their children. Maybe they have an aversion to more traditional forms of work for whatever reason. Maybe they actually really enjoy it. Or maybe it's something less healthy. But can anyone really make the argument that their lives are more "demeaned" in a country where their health is safe and they can leave any time, versus in a country like ours where they are criminals and so often beholden to very unsavory people and pushed to do very unsafe things with no recourse to health care?
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:14 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanille View Post
I'm curious. Does it bother you more that women choose to sell their bodies or that people choose to buy?

Your examples are ones that harm people. How does prostitution harm people? I'm not talking about human trafficking or coercion, just a woman who chooses to profit from something she was born with. Men profit from their bodies when they use their strength (like construction or movers).
I'm not sure which bothers me more, though perhaps I lean to being more bothered by the purchase than the sale. The choice to sell is unlikely to be a simple, straightforward matter of freely-given, informed consent, even in the most "progressive" of societies.

When women are the ones "choosing" to sell the use of their bodies for sex, they do so against the backdrop of a long history of inequality and oppression, where their other options may be artificially limited, both by cultural expectations and by overt social and economic obstacles.

I guess "harm" isn't really the point, though there certainly are risks. I guess my intuition is that some kinds of relationship between human beings ought not to be reduced to the terms of economics.

In my view, sexual intimacy is one of those kinds of relationship.

I've heard a story, purported to be true, of an academic economist who retired to another town. He complained to a former colleague of how difficult it was to make friends in his new setting. The former colleague replied: "If you want a friend, why don't you just buy yourself one?"

To put a price on friendship is to destroy it's value entirely. No one may be "harmed"; it may even be a Pareto improvement, a transaction that leaves both parties with greater satisfaction than they had before. But it sucks the life and meaning out of the very idea of friendship.

It's for the same reason people get angry when someone puts a dollar value on human life, as when Ford Motor Company did its cost-benefit analysis to decide whether to recall the Pinto and fix the little problem with the bumper that would rupture the gas tank in the event of even a low-speed rear-end collision. The recall would have cost about $11 per car; but, since a human life was only worth about $100,000, they judged it not worth their while to recall the car . . .

Human life has a value beyond price. To put a price on it, even a very high price, is to cheapen it, degrade it, drain all the meaning and dignity out of it.

Again, I think the same is the case with sexual intimacy.

Again, reasonable people may disagree on this point.

I simply urge you to consider it.
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Last edited by hyperskeptic; 12-02-2011 at 02:23 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #9  
Old 12-02-2011, 02:27 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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I think a one-off, for example paying a tour guide to follow you around for a day and be friendly, paying a prostitute for a fun hour together, both with no expectations or misunderstanding of something deeper or a ongoing relationship, is very different from expecting a rented friend or a rented lover to be able to take the place of deeper, mutually-chosen versions of those relationships.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:34 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Let me say also that I see the criminalization of prostitution, when we all know it's not going away, to be far more symptomatic of our "long history of inequality and oppression" against women versus legalization and free health care.
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