I won’t lie to you, like most people, I’ve carried a certain idea about sex workers. I’ve always been a firm believer in the concept of individuality and that each person’s situation should be judged on their own merit but even I couldn’t escape the stigma. My world believed that women who dressed provocatively were “whores” and that was just about as insulting to women as racial slurs are to minorities.
I grew older and my beliefs began to fight my preconceptions. With every knee-jerk, right-wing reaction came immediate self-reproach. I wasn’t cured of my upbringing but my free thinking antibodies were hard at work. Where I faltered, other free-thinking individuals corrected me. I was on the path to Buddha’ring my whole life (well, in my head at least). “I will be better” was my motto.
It was only when I found myself in the belly of a strip club, did I realise that all my progress was exclusively intellectual. This wasn’t one of those “look, but don’t touch” places. I was quite clearly uncomfortable with the situation but just hours before, the idea of it seemed so great to me. “Goddamn, this subtle peer pressure,” I thought but as the night went on, my nerves dissipated. Stockholm syndrome took over and I was a willing participant in the debauchery.
At the beginning of that night, I had absolutely no intention of taking one of those beautiful young ladies up on their offers, no matter how attractive I thought they were. By the end of it, I was out of money and couldn’t afford to but I was most definitely open to it. This metamorphosis was not pretty. In fact, I cringe every time I relive the experience but it gave me a newfound appreciation for them. I had older friends that spoke about these things but it didn’t really hit home as to how normal all of it was until I was a part of the target market.
I’m still not quite sure if I’ll ever have the balls to pay for sex but I know now that that’s only because of me and not the act. This ancient profession has been around since time immemorial. In some cultures, sex workers were integrated into religions and they played an important role in the spiritual community. I firmly believe that in today’s world, if it was not for the women in the sex industry, the divorce rate would be much higher.
Affairs with professionals are quite a lot cleaner (provided the correct precautions are taken). There is no struggle for power between wives and sex workers. It’s a transaction. Now, I’m not condoning extramarital affairs but rather acknowledging them. When professionals are involved, the truth usually stays under covers for longer.
These are the women that society, as a whole, looks down upon. These women that risk their lives, in the shadows, to feed their families. Regulated sex industries provide safer environments for them and benefit us all but they also promote human trafficking. The question then becomes: do we lose more of these precious women to the darkness or do we provide opportunity for slavery in utopia?