Sex work. Why so hard to swallow?

Sex work. Why so hard to swallow?


Sitting here, at the very dreggy end of 2012, whilst the UK is indulging in the binge drinking, eating and fornicating excess of the festive Christmas week, I sit peeling an orange and reading my Twitter feed.

My social stream consists of virtual shouts of dismay from my sex worker friends that momentum is building behind the abolitionists and politicians to bring the UK in line with the Nordic laws and make the buying of sex illegal.

This is all very worrying, and it’s got me wondering. What exactly is it about sex work that upsets the ban-a-prossie brigade?

When I say ‘what exactly is it about sex work’ I do mean… what bit exactly?

The various political groups and media who are lobbying to eradicate prostitution are very dedicated and very offended by the existence of any sex work. So what exactly is their issue?

Any changes in legislation that makes paying for sex illegal with have a massive effect on tens of thousands of women and subsequently the children and families that their sex work supports.

Children’s lives will be altered by a lack of funds, karate lessons cancelled, trainers un-purchased and food not bought, it’s life changing serious stuff for people with no power to stop it.

Have the people who are vigorously campaigning to criminalise these ladies clients sat and asked themselves ‘what exactly is it about sex work that upsets me so much that I’m prepared to mess with these women’s lives?’  No? I think they should.

They need to think carefully if they are doing it for themselves or the sex workers?  For their own perceived moral gratification, or to help a vulnerable group of people with few rights. If the abolitionists listened, the sex workers would eloquently explain what could be done to really help them, and it wouldn’t be these new proposals.

When you reduce the anti sex work argument to the lowest common denominator, the issue can only be sex or work.

Firstly let’s look at sex.

The UK is statistically one of the most promiscuous societies in the western world. The TV, internet and teen mags have sexualised our kids within an inch of their porn-fed lives. Recreational shagging, like binge drinking, has overtaken most other weekend hobbies for young people. Casual sex or double clicking hardcore images seems to be the only exercise a lot of British teenagers get these days, and research shows that the elderly are also hard at it.

Health Protection Agency figures showed a rise in people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s having plentiful sex with new partners over the last 10 years.  45- to 64-year-olds saw the biggest rise in syphilis, herpes, chlamydia and genital warts between 2000 and 2009. They also saw the second-biggest rise in gonorrhoea cases, beaten only by the over 65s. Blimey! Go Grandma!

20 years of brothel keeping and I’ve seen everything, but even I’m surprised at these stats. At 44, there’s hope for me yet!

I would have to conclude from the health Protection research that, as a species, we like having sex and more of us are doing lots more of it. It makes us happy and it’s good for us, as long as we don’t catch anything nasty.

So if the abolitionists are anti-sex then they’re out of touch with reality and, I’m sorry, but I’m not prepared to be lectured by the Daily Mail or Catholic church on sexual propriety.

Is it nakedness that causes offence to the naysayers? Would those who seek to incriminate feel more at ease if a floosie kept her petticoats on whilst on the job? The image of naked flesh in advertising has caused a mass debate in some sectors of society recently. Maybe someone should ask Kylie Minogue or Lady Gaga to put a vest on.

Maybe it’s the actual act of penetration. A wanton willy entering a lady to whom it is not wed.

Willies were invented to enter ladies, and many ladies like it that way. Even hopefully some feminists and Daily Mail journalists.

Sex with a stranger? Is that what troubles the tub thumpers? It doesn’t bother the general public. Discos and dating sites are populated by people hoping for just that outcome, and it’s only sex with a stranger the first time. Sex workers like to build mutually respectful, established relationships with clients. Repeat business and punter loyalty are the basis of a good escort’s financial success, and she knows it. If a sex worker is only having sex with strangers then she needs to take a look at her customer-servicing issues.

If we give the anti-prostitution campaigners the benefit of the doubt and refuse to believe that they are trying underhandedly to curtail the human rights of people from 18 to 80 to have private sexual contact with another, then they must be objecting to the commercial aspect of sex work.

Paying for sex is generally a simple, honest transaction. A person (man or woman) sources the services they require and has a communication with the sex worker. If both agree compatibility, an amount of money changes hands and the fun begins for a pre-arranged length of time. Job done.

In a country where we are asked to tolerate the outrageous scandals of the banks fixing interest rates, laundering money for terrorists, bankrupting small businesses and lying to their customers, it seems churlish to berate a chap for paying a few quid for a cuddle.

Fingers are pointed at sex workers who don’t pay tax but if you added up every tax-free commercial blow job since the time of Christ it wouldn’t equal the amount of tax avoided by Amazon, Google or Starbucks in just one fiscal year.

I’ve heard the church, police and politicians say that sex work is morally wrong! Only the British establishment could be too stupid not to see the hilarious hypocrisy in that statement. All I can say is Expenses, Bonuses, Leveson, Hillsborough, Jeremy Hunt, Rebecca Brooks, that poor horse, Jimmy Savile, Plebgate, Atos… etc etc et bloody cetra.

The Government are happily fucking the people but don’t want the people fucking each other. Strange eh?  To be honest, I no longer care what the leaders of this country or their cronies say or think about anything. Their disgraceful behaviour has removed any right they ever had to judge any part of my life. Let them go fuck themselves, I’d say.

Politicians say ‘Sex work is an act of aggression to women’.

Women? What about the male sex workers? The transgendered, pre-op, post-op, lady-boys, transvestites and so on?  Why is no one fanatically trying to protect them from themselves? Why are women alone such feeble, pathetic victims that they cannot be allowed to make decisions about what they do with their bodies?

What bit of sex work is an act of aggression exactly?

If a lady has chosen to be a sex worker and is in no way coerced, what part of laying out some clean towels and massaging a 70-year-old gent is an act of aggression towards her?

Is kissing tenderly or chatting with a paying customer about a holiday endangering her psyche? How about masturbating a grateful disabled client, who cannot use his arms, or quietly holding and stroking a cerebral palsy sufferer for an hour?

Is an adult lady not capable of knowing when her own psyche is endangered?  How can a person from the church, parliament or feminist movement, pass amateur judgement on the mental health of a group of women to whom they have never spoken?

No woman would freely choose to sleep with men for money, they say.

Why not? Just because you don’t understand why a person does something, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I personally cannot understand why anyone would risk their lives and break their family’s hearts just to climb Mount Everest. But they do so in their thousands. I have no comprehension of why anyone would work in a nursery school, but luckily they do. I find the act of getting yourself tattooed, coloured in like a Sponge Bob cartoon on the Harvester kids’ menu, utterly bizarre, but I have enough respect for others not to force my personal options on them. I will not be campaigning to make mountaineering or tribal bands illegal.

Sex work is dangerous.

Listen to this very honest and sensible interview. Dr Brooke Magnanti, the author of the Belle de Jour books talks to BBC Radio 4’s HARDtalk.  Katya Adler interviewing states (at 19 mins approx) that prostitution needs to be eradicated to protect the public. She points out that at least 60 sex workers have been murdered in the past 10 years, and the conviction rate of these killers is only 26 percent as opposed to a 75 percent conviction of murderers who kill nice non-sex working people.  Seriously WTF?

The social problem lies with the murderers not the victims surely? Should we eradicate children to prevent paedophilia? Maybe if the police and media saw sex workers as mothers and daughters instead of some sub-species of twilight dwellers, serial killers wouldn’t see them as easy targets on whom to perfect their techniques.

So as Scotland and Ireland seriously consider criminalising paying for sex, endangering sex workers’ lives without even listening to them, and the French government announce the farcical political statement that France will soon be commercially sexless, free of all prostitution, I roll my eyes in contempt.

People like sex. It’s fundamentally what people were invented to do. Procreate. Have it off. Sex is here to stay, and some people at certain stages in their lives prefer the simplicity of paying for it.  The single, the widowed, the disabled, the depressed and yes, even the married. If a lady is willing to let a man put his willy in her, whose business is it of anyone else’s? Why is paying a person to provide a service by using their bodies, as you would an osteopath so shocking? The exchange of sex for money, goods or favours will continue until the end of humanity, with or without the blessing of the law makers.

As Dr Magnanti points out at the end of the HARDtalk interview, there has not been a single civilisation since mankind crawled out of the pond in which prostitution has not existed. I suggest we listen to sex workers, respect their decisions and ask what we can do to embrace the true principles of feminism and to support their choices and work together to create a safer, more inclusive society.

So again, I ask those who’d criminalise prostitution… What exactly is your issue with sex work?

Madam Becky Adams     29-12-2012

Madam Becky is a former madam and award-winning author.

To read more about my life as a madam download me for 1.95.

MADAM- Prostitutes, Punters and Puppets. Memoirs of a very British Brothel.

Winner of The Brit Writers Award 2012

Winner of the Erotic Awards 2012

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6 thoughts on “Sex work. Why so hard to swallow?

  1. Well done, Becky. I think you have adequately covered every point that matters.

    Bottom line: The politicians will not stop prostitution, but if this proposed bill gets passed, they will make life very difficult for many people, and will lose a lot of tax revenue in the process. Oh yes, and STI infection rates are bound to rocket when people can no longer be honest with their doctor.

  2. I’m a swinger.

    As Brooke points out in one of her articles, if the proposed Scottish law is enacted I could be criminalised for taking a bottle of wine to a swingers party.

    This is a badly thought out and very broad law, which will cause a lot of harm. We all need to oppose it.

  3. I am not someone who uses the services of prostitutes. Fortunately I have had a series of loving, satisfying relationships and I have never needed to. However, I have always had a problem with those people who regard sex as in some way unsavoury. If two people want to have sex together, why shouldn’t they? There is always a deal. That deal might be “you are my lifetime partner”, or it might be “I fancy your company for the night” or it might be “this is what I want to be paid”. As you say, Becky, there is a lot of disreputable, immoral behaviour in other parts of society and I don’t see why sex workers should be singled out.

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