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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pause for Commercial

I'd like to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming and deter to the topic of prostitution.

As many of you (may) know, I get several of the strip club = whorehouse comments quite frequently; however, I have only chosen to publish one from a particular commenter, because he was quite literate and well spoken on the matter (more so than the trolls out there). That said, I requested that this specific person give me some reason as to why he believes that strip clubs are whorehouses, and he did- which you can find in the comments of the last post. One interesting thing he said; however, was that "Also, in my humble opinion, the act of lap dancing in itself for money is an act of prostitution."

This made me think for a moment about where we draw the lines between prostitution and enterprise.

When I think about prostitutes, the image that usually pops into my head is the seedy streetwalker, dressed in yellow Lycra and permed hair. (Think Julia Robert's in Pretty Woman, just not as pretty and more bad ass). When I think about what constitutes prostitution, it's always sex with a random stranger for money. The afore mentioned commenter deems lap dances as a form of prostitution, because you are gyrating on someones lap for money. We could also take this one step further if we wished.

A housewife whose husband has just bought her a diamond necklace and she subsequently sleeps with him- is she prostituting herself? The diamond necklace has monetary value, and she is choosing to accept the gift and then perform sexual acts with the man that gave it to her. There's a funny parody commercial of the Debeers Diamond company: "Diamond's... she'll pretty much have to." If a husband gives his wife a diamond necklace, expecting a sexual interaction in return, does that then make him a John and her a prostitute? What if they weren't married?

If Boyfriend cleans the whole house, and I am so thrilled I ask him "is there anything I can do for you," and he jokingly says "you could give me head," and I comply- am I then a prostitute? We usually pay a cleaning lady to come clean our house once a week, so Boyfriend has just engaged in an act which is worth monetary value, in which I am repaying him with sexual favors. Am I now prostituting myself?

If a young, virile woman decides to marry an old man who is worth billions of dollars- is she prostituting herself? If she enters into a marriage contract not because she is madly in love with this man and wants to spend the rest of her life with him, but because she is aware of how much he is worth and how easy her life will become, is that prostitution? Are we now loosening the boundaries of the definition to include marriage contracts as well as just acts of sexual gratification?

The floor is open to you, dear readers; and I wait in anticipation to hear what you have to say.

32 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

The example of a married couple, him buying her a necklace and she complies with a sex act.

And the boyfriend model, both depend.


1. Is it seriously being requested/expected that she return sexual favours for the gift/service or is she doing it because she wants to do it because she enjoys it and she knows it makes him happy to and she wants to make him happy?

There is a difference in WHY you're doing it. If you're doing it only because you had the service then yeah, your whoring yourself within a relationship, it's not a relationship built on equality.

If you're doing it because you WANT to and you'd want to do it anyway (maybe slightly more in favour of doing it because they've been nice to you but not so that you wouldn't have done it just because either) then it's your choice and that is not whoring.

The Woman entering a marriage without love to an older man to get his money when he's dead and has sex with him to keep that contract. Yeah that's whoring because she's doing it for the money, not out of regard for her partner.


It's an unequal relationship.


However, I don't think a strip club is the same at all, the girls are providing a service but not one that gets the guys off. They get them aroused, but not sated. If the men choose to do that later that's a service they're providing themselves, not the strippers.

So no, I would not consider giving a lap dance whoring, (and btw I'm someone who has happily let her husband go to a strip club with his friends and enjoy himself because I knew he could look but he wouldn't be allowed to touch, he's gotten lapdances, I don't mind. So I really don't think of it as whoring)

2:58 PM  
Anonymous rasta eric said...

basically, paying for sexual gratification, in any way, is a form of prostitution.

Diamond ring. there is more to the relationship then cash, company, and sexual gratification.

cleaning house. there is more to the relationship than cash, company , and sexual gratification.

lap dancing. there is no relationship, except for cash, company and sexual gratification.

is it wrong? possibly. is it a form of prostitutuion? no doubt

3:25 PM  
Blogger waitress said...

So, if a regular buys a lap dance, it's not prostutution because they have an existing bond/relationship; but if a stranger buys a lap dance it is prostitution?

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it depends on how you define prostitution.

Dictionary.com says:
1. the act or practice of engaging in sexual intercourse for money.
2. base or unworthy use, as of talent or ability.

American Heritage Dictionary (as quoted by dictionary.com) agrees.

Wordnet (as quoted...etc) says:
offering sexual intercourse for pay

Merriam-Webster's dictionary of law (as quoted...) says:
the act or practice of engaging in sexual activity indiscriminately esp. for money; also : the crime of engaging in such activity


Skipping the quoting, dictionary.com's various sources seem to agree that 'sexual intercourse' requires genital contact, which may or may not be penis/vagina.

So by strict dictionary definition, 3 of the 4 dictionaries polled would consider titty bars to not involve prostitution. But any example where 'sexual intercourse' occurs in exchange for payment is, regardless of context.

Assuming that lap dances, pole dances, and general strip-club activity is 'sexual activity', however, the fourth dictionary says that titty bars do involve prostitution, as do the other examples of sex-for-payment.


What do I think? I think the question really is not about what comes under the definition of a particular word, but what comes under the moral meaning that has become attached to that word.

And to me, what is or is not moral for a particular person or a particular section of society is a matter for the person or people involved to sort out (provided it doesn't cause harm to others).

Titty bars are open about what they offer, and what they want in exchange. If participating in that activity is immoral for an individual, they're perfectly capable of walking past.

I think that being obscure about what's on offer, and what is wanted in exchange, is far more immoral than openly offering titillation for money. It's a lot harder to stick to one's own moral code if one doesn't know what the deal is; and making it hard to stick to a person's moral code is something I find personally offensive.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Fletcher Reede said...

We had a short discussion in my Property class along these lines, with at least one person suggesting that criminalized prostitution was discriminatory to the poor. The argument was that wealthy people could negotiate long-term sex-for-money contracts in the form of marriages while the poor are prevented from negotiating similar short-term arrangements. It was an interesting theory, although I don't know that it would go all that far.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Tammy Tran said...

Simply my two cents:

There's a fine line between prostitution and a gentleman's club/stripping/lap dances as well as the boyfriend model.

Sex with the boyfriend for monetary value has a relationship behind. However, lap dancing, stripping, etc have no sex involved and no relationship. Therefore, neither are acts of prostitution.

However with a hooker, there's sex for the exchange of money. Therefore: prostitution.

[long-time lurker...and well, first comment. :)]

5:16 PM  
Anonymous kafkas angst said...

One of the definitions for "whore" that I looked up was "to compromise oneself for money or other gains". We are all whores. We all compromise ourselves for money or other gain. I whore myself out for my company everyday.

Anyone that works for money is a whore. Anyone that trades something for gain is a whore.

It's all semantics ladies and gentlemen, but in the end, we're all whores. Some of us are just more open and understanding about it.

:)

5:30 PM  
Blogger Ranx said...

Wow. This is a really interesting question. I'm going to stick to the definition where actual cash money changes hands. As prostitution needs two participants, it therefore has, necessarily, two definitions because there are two points of view. Many people would consider "cyber-sex" cheating, so is paying for access to an adult chat room prostitution? From the payers point of view, by definition it is, they are paying for sexual gratification. However, the person being paid is only the facilitator for 2 paying customers? What about swingers clubs where you pay an entrance fee? Interesting. Sorry I have no answers, just more questions.

9:03 PM  
Blogger me said...

i consider prostitution as sexual acts with someone who holds little/no significance to you. having sex with your boyfriend after a 'payment' of cleaning/diamonds/love [god forbid the last one!] is different. But someone who marries an old rich guy and waits for him to keel over? it's not prostitution. it's more like grave robbery.

strip clubs arent really prostitution. i dunno. it's more like TEASING.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Rambling Mom said...

Hmmm interesting line of questioning.

In my completely humble opinion, when it comes to whore house vs. titty bar the difference seems to be in the legality of the practices. Reputable strip clubs keep things legal and above board. To the best of my knowledge, pay for sex is illegal in 49 out of 50 US states.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Neel said...

Strip clubs are not prostitution. I know shady stuff goes on in some places, but as Rambling Mom mentioned, there is nothing wrong with a reputable strip club.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I agree with kafkas angst; we ALL prostitute ourselves in one way or another, if you take the definition very very literally. In the strictest sense (in the Jennifer Dictionary), I truly believe that "prostitution" means complete sexual gratification from a person with whom one is not in a "relationship."

I also don't have a problem with it, and think Nevada has the right idea. Regulate and tax the hell out of it, and everyone's happy. Except the religious right. But they're never happy so who cares?

I do think there are other, more appropriate labels for those practices such as marrying for money (golddigger, etc.), but women who thank their men voluntarily for diamond necklaces and cleaning the house (I'd actually prefer the latter, these days), are hardly prostituting themselves. They're participating in a healthy relationship. NOTHING wrong with that.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the "working girls" from HbO series The Cathouse said "All women are whores, we are just smart enough to get paid for it"

As a married women I agree and agree with waitress :)

8:35 AM  
Blogger ADW said...

OK

So I am decidedly not a Lesbian - I figured the answer to that question out a long time ago, but I DO go to strip clubs and have gotten lap dances MANY times. Does that make me a John and the dancer a prostitute? I enjoyed myself and I enjoy the atmospere of strip clubs - they are probably the safest places for a girl to go - much safer than going to some meat market bar.

Plus we are digressing a little from the original track of the conversation when we start talking about whores versus protitutes. Yes we are all whores, but that is not illegal, prostitution is.

You know what? We will never settle this topic to everyone's mutual satisfaction. But I say legalize prostitution, tax the hell out of it, test the women AND men monthly and see how we end up.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

I would definitely agree with the comment that we are all whores in some sense.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

I think the difference is Rasta Eric's definition of "sexual gratification." I've never been sexually gratified as a strip club. Sure I've grown wood, but that's about it. But I've never been to a Canadian strip club either.

I'm with kafka's angst on this one.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous regular reader said...

Not to nitpick, but I'm pretty sure the adjective "virile" is used to describe men and not women...
Anyway, love the blog; you always bring up some interesting points!

7:07 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

As for receiving "sexual gratification," that can be pretty broadly defined. Without getting into any more detail, let's just say that I've known people who are plenty gratified from interaction with strippers, and that their stories are interesting enough to get a link from College Humor. "Sexual gratification" can be defined in many ways, and does not have to have a "happy ending," that's for sure.

And as Kafkas Angst said, we all "whore" ourselves out in one way or another. Any time anyone fakes their true personality for monetary gain, that person can be considered a "whore." Basically, that means anyone who's ever been in sales, or who has had to rely on tips to make a living, is technically a "whore." That encompasses pretty much everyone. Thus, a (reputable) strip club is no more a "whore house" than a real estate agency.

Steve
Liquor Store Stories

8:00 PM  
Blogger Unsane said...

What about when the only job you can get is clerical/secretarial, and you are forced to dress up sweetly and put on the charm in order to gratify the male ego of a random boss whose every movement you despise?

2:05 AM  
Blogger Moxie said...

As a follow-up on what kafka's angst wrote, the Prostitute archetype has been around for ages. Caroline Myss has some very interesting things to say about this archetype in her book Sacred Contracts: "The Prostitute thrives most bountifully in subtle ways and in ordinary, everyday circumstances. It comes into play most clearly when our survival is threatened. Its core issue is how much you are willing to sell of yourself-your morals, your integrity, your intellect, your word, your body, or your soul-for the sake of physical security. [It] also dramatically embodies and tests the power of faith. If you have faith, no one can buy you."

It's my belief that people that are triggered easily by the idea of prostitution need to look at themselves and see how they are selling out. I was friendly with a couple of prostitutes for a while and I could not figure out how I'd become friends with them (seeing as I believe the people we encounter are a mirror of ourselves). It took me a long time to realize that they were showing me my prostituting ways: I sell myself short all the time.

2:18 AM  
Blogger Sharpie said...

It's not called "the world's oldest profession" for nothing.

I'd agree that strip clubs are the tease and sleeping with someone for money makes you a prostitute. And I'd also agree that we all whore ourselves out in some manner-- but the people who chose to exchange sex for money are not widely accepted in our society. But that's just us-- many people in history have revered and honored (and in a few cases even worshiped) prostitutes or that archetype.

So what am I saying? I think it's all a grey area. Sure strippers are "whoring" themselves for tips. But they're just dancing and smiling. Just like I "whore" myself out to actors to get them to do what I want. Just like you smile at the girl in the coffee shop so she'll give you a free cup of joe. All grey areas. Just because we chose not to have sex for money doesn't make us better or worse than someone who does. We are all just surviving in this world in different ways.

12:57 PM  
Blogger David said...

I think the question can only be answered by the women. It's all in how she sees herself. As a young man/musician living in Asia I saw lots of women who availed themselves for monetary rewards with "foreign customers". No matter which country, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, etc. the women fell into one of two categories. The ones who hated themselves and viewed themselves as prostitutes or the ones who viewed themselves as business women doing what they had to get enough money to open legit business. In most of the Asian Countries these women pooled their money, then loaned it out to whichever had a way to get out, like moving to the States to open a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio or buying property before the Asian boom. I spent 15 years there and unfortunately some were lost but the majority saved their money, didn't get hooked on drugs, and either got married or moved to the States. Certainly no "one word" could describe what they were or what they did. Most were smart, many could speak 3 languages and all had the drive to make something better of themselves. I salute anyone who works to make a better life for themselves, no matter how...waitress, dancer, piano player.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Unabashed Eroticism said...

Do I really consider lap dances to be a form of prostitution? No, if we're talking about prostitution in the traditional and commonly accepted sense - that definition of prostitution is around sex and sex acts, and there's a big difference between a lap dance and sex.

However, I think prostitution isn't quite so literal. I think it's very possible for lots of different acts to be forms of prostitution, and it could be the girlfriend sleeping with her significant other after getting a gift or just about anything else, but it does depend on the intentions of both parties. Did she just want to be close to him? Share a special moment with him? Or did he guy the gift with the expectation of sex and she complied?

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Sales Angel said...

Hey SCS;

I'd have to agree with the person who mentioned the intent/relationship behind the whoring. If there's genuine feeling there, I don't consider it prostitution. I don't consider lap dances prostitution either, for that matter.

I've been lurking around your blog for about half a year now, and your writing and stories are so interesting. I don't want this to sound like an ad at all, but you and a few other bloggers inspired me to start a blog of my own about working at Victoria's Secret. I put you on my links list, and I'd be ecstatic if you did the same for me, but please understand you're under no obligation whatsoever--I'll still keep reading. :D I would be really happy if you checked it out, though. There's not much, but I promise it'll get a lot of updates within the next few days. :D

--Char/Sales Angel

3:42 AM  
Blogger waitress said...

send me your link and I'll check it out! I'm working on a new blogroll post right now, actually. But I want a free bra or something. :)

3:44 AM  
Anonymous catherine said...

My best friend, beautiful, intelligent and funny, works at a "rub and tug". All she provides is a massage with a "happy ending". She only uses her hands, although she has just quit her current job because some of the other girls were involved in prostituting and she was getting worried about getting raided.
Do you consider what she does as prostituting, or any better/worse than lapdancing?

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, I think that prostitution should be legal. I think that two (or more!) consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want.

That being said, all this falderol about what is and is not prostitution is kind of silly. Anyone can justify anything. And they only time anyone needs to worry about prostitution is if they are being charged with it in a court of law.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous kafkas angst said...

like the last anonymous said, you can justify anything when given the right (or wrong) criteria.

Catherine, if your friend doesn't feel like she's doing anything wrong, then so be it. If you're making the judgement, it's whatever you feel. The law, though, has it's own whimsy so know what the law says and work out legal justification accordingly.

I was walking through the red light district of Amsterdam one time and the girl that I was with made some disparaging comment about the prostitutes in the windows. I asked her "how is what they're doing any different from having sex with a guy just because he took you to the lake to waterski (which is why you don't tell someone all your secrets and then get mad at them when they use your own life in the example)?" It's not hard to see why I don't have a girlfriend anymore, I guess.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous StripPokerGirl said...

I have to agree with other users who made differentiation with having random sex with strangers and making love with someone you have feelings for.

For me, it is prostitution if your main goal is to get money BY having sex with random stranger. In the case of the wife or girlfriend having sex after some gifts were given to them, is entirely different. In this case, sex was used as an outlet to express gratitude, happiness or whatever feeling one has.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous stripclub reviews said...

We ALL prostitute ourselves out to someone somewhere. If you work for someone else, you prostitute yourself to them. The only thing that makes it any different is that sexuality is blatantly involved. When that factor comes into play, it's suddenly a whole 'nother ballpark. (Actually, the real factor is when it's a WOMAN'S sexuality. Everything's cool if you're a guy.)

We'd love to hear some of your views on my strip club community!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

You might want to check out this story: "Caribbean Dreams: True Story of an Ivy league Couple who Buys a Strip Club in the Caribbean" at www.caribbeanstripclub.com

3:53 PM  
Anonymous commercial real estate brokers said...

very nice post!

5:25 AM  

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