“Deaf hookers taught me” – a few thoughts on sexwork & sexworkers

What it is about paying for sex that some people find so disagreeable? I think it’s a marvellous idea. But then I would say that because I’m a man right?

My dad told me a story more than once. He said “Deaf hookers taught me to play pool.” It leaves me with questions like how many deaf hookers hung out with each other, and how often did he hang out with that group? Did they teach him any sign language? Anyway, whatever the answers, and whether or not the story has any basis in reality, it’s always left me with one feeling: hookers are people too. These days it’s probably best to use the word sexworkers. And sexworkers run a business.

Okay, maybe not everyone’s running it above board.

Some people are forced into the sex trade against their will, and we as a society need to help this end. But we have to agree that not everyone who pays for sex is supporting nefarious activity. There are plenty of people who take money for sex, perfectly willing to declare their earnings and file a tax return. Sexworkers want mortgages too.

Let’s concentrate on female sexworkers. (I reckon ‘gigolo’ means almost nothing in the big picture.) When it comes to sexwork, the evil eye shines on women. And not just individual women. Womankind is still shaking off that whole apple/talking snake thing. Some women seem to think that women selling sex is bad for womankind. The irony is, that sounds like Big Patriarchy.

Maybe a woman withholding sex in lieu of payment makes Big Patriarchy boil with rage. If I was Donald Butt-Trumpet, I might say “No man should have to pay for something that’s rightfully his!” Well mister, sometimes you just have to have to dig deep and pay the worth of something.

I think this is worth pondering: you just rent the sex. Maybe it’s obvious, but maybe there’s also a misconception that needs to be addressed: there is no transfer of ownership when paying for sex. I hope I’m right in saying that in sexwork, the customer is not always right.

Hands up – I don’t know diddly about the much-discussed Nordic model. I’ve never even paid for sex directly. I’m just a guy with some spare time to write. But come on. Nothing’s free. How many of us have invested time and effort, and ultimately money, in a budding relationship, with the focus on getting naked? In my head there’s little difference between drawn-out giggles over drinks, and just handing it over to a professional.

Hookup websites: isn’t paying fees tantamount to paying for sex – to a pimp? I don’t see websites demonised like I see women pilloried for selling sex.

But what would I know. I’m just a man…who wants sexworkers to be safe. I want all those nutty deaf hookers to tell me the truth! But seriously, I just want to live in a society where it’s okay for consenting adults to be treated as grown-ups. I want people who pay safe sexworkers to be safe. I want to see human traffickers pilloried, and I want their victims to heal.

That’s pretty much it. Except for the conversation I made up in my head:

“But sex is for love!” Oh get a room with yourself. Stop taking sex so seriously. It’s not new, and it’s not running out any time soon. Let’s face it, many of us married folk give it up while thinking “Oh shit, I forgot to water the plants earlier.” Maybe sex and love are inseparable for you, and that’s fine – so don’t pay for it. I imagine nobody’s paying you. Not directly anyway. Someone’s paying to put up with your bullshit.

“But the Bible says—” Oh fuck off. That book says a ton of stuff. Try reading it yourself: it’s available in English now.

“Whores spread disease!” No, you’re thinking of the Internet. Any sexworker with a grain of smarts will use protection. Have a word with the human traffickers.

“Women are better than that!” Tell that to the many women who are okay earning from sex.

Featured image lifted from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/9461111/Australian-hotel-cannot-ban-prostitute-from-taking-clients-to-her-room.html



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  1. My biggest gripe about this is that the women who sell sex are often treated with harsher judgement than the men who pay for it – and usually from women. Who am I to judge anyone selling or buying if it’s safe and consensual? Each to his own. Very often it’s scratching an itch (obviously I’m against sex trafficking and I also feel that sex workers need to have more protection). I just get so pissed off at women having a go at other women. I see it on Twitter constantly – women berating other women for posting selfies, sharing their experiences with depression, being open with their struggles or celebrating their successes. Sorry for digressing!
    Thought provoking as ever Leif 🙂

  2. Female sex workers are one of three groups of women whose voices are systematically ignored by mainstream feminism. Along with women who choose to wear the burqua, and women who choose to abort on grounds of foetal gender, they are denied agency in their own lives – it appears that it’s literally unthinkable that a woman could make these choices of her own free will, so she must be being forced, coerced or brainwashed. By a man obviously.

    The latest wheeze against sex worker’s clients; the Nordic model of which you claim to know diddly, The Guardian pushes weekly, and which the French have just introduced, aims to criminalise men who buy sex, whilst ‘helping’ female sex workers to leave the industry. Unfortunately the law proposed is unworkable in practice, is incompatible with established English jurisprudence, and will do nothing to safeguard actually existing female sex workers; it will in fact make their livelihoods less safe.

    However, these egregious faults appear not to have diminished the appeal of the Nordic model to feminists. Probably because, in the era of ‘sending a message’, the men who will be victimised are categorically in the wrong, and those females collaterally-damaged in the cross-fire, are to all intents and purposes, invisible and unheard.

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