Tag Archives: libertarian

Five Reasons Why Legal Prostitution Will Improve Gender Relations

Red Light District

When it comes to improving relations between genders these days, I believe all options should be on the table. Granted, some are crazier and less feasible than others, but I believe there’s a growing urgency to improve the situation. In times of crisis, we can’t be picky.

Between the anti-harassment movement that’s making it increasingly difficult for men to interact with women and the associated counter-movements by bitter men, I think there’s a strong need for some sort of mitigating force. What we’re doing right now is clearly not enough. Anyone who spends too much time on Tumblr or reads the comments section on alt-right articles can see that.

Being the foolish optimist I am, I believe there are multiple ways to improve relations between men and women. Some are large. Some are small. I have enough faith in humanity to believe that we’ll eventually do enough to make it so the genders of this world can genuinely get along.

Image result for men and women arguing

In an effort to help this process, I’d like to put forth one possible mechanism for improving gender relations that I believe will go farther than most. It’s something that might seem politically untenable now, but like same-sex marriage before it, that may change quicker than we think. I’m talk about, of course, legalized prostitution.

I’ve talked about prostitution before, both in term of its legal standing and how it impacts sex in society as a whole. I suspect it’ll come up again on any number of topics, but for this discussion, I want to keep the focus on improving gender relations. There are already many people much smarter than me who have argued for the legality of prostitution on a much broader scope.

For that reason, I’m not going to focus on the legal or logistical reasons for legalizing prostitution. Also, for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to define “legal prostitution” as the kind favored by Amnesty International, who put forth their position on prostitution in 2016. Specifically, this is their favored policy on prostitution.

The policy makes several calls on governments including for them to ensure protection from harm, exploitation and coercion; the participation of sex workers in the development of laws that affect their lives and safety; an end to discrimination and access to education and employment options for all.

It recommends the decriminalization of consensual sex work, including those laws that prohibit associated activities—such as bans on buying, solicitation and general organization of sex work. This is based on evidence that these laws often make sex workers less safe and provide impunity for abusers with sex workers often too scared of being penalized to report crime to the police. Laws on sex work should focus on protecting people from exploitation and abuse, rather than trying to ban all sex work and penalize sex workers.

With that in mind, I’m going to set aside the other issue surrounding prostitution and focus on how legalizing it will improve gender relations. Keep in mind, though, this is simply my sentiment as someone who writes a lot about sex and gender relations. What I say is not meant to be a prediction. It’s just me contemplating how a world of legal prostitution would be a world of better gender relations.

Reason #1: It Would Help Separate Pursing Sex From Pursuing Love

Image result for finding love

This might just be the romance lover in me, but I stand by my admittedly-sappy position that there’s a big difference between having sex and making love. Human beings are emotional, passionate creatures. They’re also horny and playful. When the two mix, it tends to cause problems, to say the least.

There are times when someone just wants to have sex and not get love involved. Conversely, there are times when someone wants love and doesn’t care much for sex. When prostitution is illegal, it’s more difficult to pursue sex, especially if you’re not rich and/or well-connected. Instead, you have to constantly pretend you’re not looking for it, which makes us uncertain whether someone really loves us or just parts of us.

There’s a time for sex. There’s a time for love. There’s a time for both. With legal prostitution, there’s a way to take care of the basic sexual needs. That, in and of itself, has plenty of health benefits for everybody, regardless of gender. Those benefits, combined with the ability of people to make their intentions clearer, ensures that pursue of love and pursuit of sex is less likely to conflict.

I believe a lot of hostility between men and women stems from resentment for those who thought someone loved them, but just wanted sex. There’s plenty more conflict from those who thought they were just seeking sex, only to find that someone else wanted more. Resolving this disconnect, I believe, will go a long way towards helping genders communicate better.

Reason #2: It Would Provide A Sexual Outlet For Those Who Wouldn’t Otherwise Have One

Related image

Let’s face it. If you’re a beautiful woman or an attractive man, you don’t have to worry too much about getting sex. More often than not, it comes to you and most people in that position exploit it to some degree. While others may resent them, can you honestly blame them?

As I noted before, rich and powerful people rarely need to worry about getting arrested for sex. It’s the not-so-rich, not-so-powerful people who struggle. Both prostitutes and clients alike are vulnerable, leaving the sexual marketplace reserved only for those who can afford the legal risks and associated legal bills.

With legalized prostitution, the market doesn’t just expand. It gives those who may not be rich, but have just enough resources to hire a prostitute every now and then. They may not be attractive or endowed, but in a legal, regulated environment, they can pursue sex in a way they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.

Having that kind of sexual outlet can go a long way for some people and I’m not just referring to mental health. Those who resent women for their lack of sex suddenly don’t have as many reasons to resent. Whether they’re unattractive or disabled in some way, they have a way of enjoying some basic intimacy.

Beyond just improving the mood of those who had once been sexually deprived, it makes the sexual marketplace in general more egalitarian. Rather than be reserved for the rich and the beautiful, people of many different means can pursue a level of sexual satisfaction with greater ease. If you don’t think that’ll have much benefit, then you haven’t spent enough time around sexually satisfied people.

Reason #3: The Stigmas And Taboos Surrounding Sexuality Would Diminish

Related image

One of the biggest catalysts for conflict in sexuality involves stigmas and taboos. I’ve talked about taboos before and make no mistake. They have a powerful impact on both society and how individuals within that society interact. It’s also a taboo that affects women and men in the sex industry in unique ways.

As it stands, people working in the sex industry are either labeled as criminals or as pariahs, due to stigma. Even those who work in legal areas of the sex industry, like porn, are subject to a level of stigma that undermines their ability to function in society. People see what they did as deviant and dirty. Adding illegality to the mix only makes it worse.

By making prostitution legal, available, and well-regulated, there are fewer factors in place that could fuel taboos and stigmas. By keeping prostitution illegal, it just reinforces the notion that sex that isn’t line with what priests, mullahs, rabbis, and monks claim is moral is deserving of the stigma.

With a legal, robust marketplace in which people other than the rich and the beautiful can enjoy sex safely, the strength of that stigma isn’t as great. The fact that it’s becoming more possible for former porn stars to build a successful life after their careers gives me hope that the stigma and taboos are already in decline. Legalizing prostitution may just accelerate that process.

Reason #4: Individuals Would Be Better Able To Explore Their Sexuality

Image result for sex teacher

This is especially important for those who may struggle with their sexuality at times. Even for those who know for certain they’re heterosexual, homosexual, or transgender will struggle to actually experience those feelings in an intimate way. By not being able to explore, people are essentially doomed to stumble around in the dark.

This leads to more than a few conflicts among genders and sexual orientations. There are serious psychological effects to sexual repression, especially for those whose sexuality offends the Vatican. That inner conflict only further fuels the animosity, discord, and outright hatred that often manifests among genders.

When people don’t understand us, we tend to get upset. However, how can we expect others to understand us when we don’t fully understand our own sexual preferences? It’s not always easy to do that in our personal lives. We often run the risk of pursuing the wrong sex with the wrong kind of person, which can be awkward to say the least.

Legalized prostitution, specifically the kind that is mature and diverse enough for various proclivities, provides people with a means of exploring their sexuality. They may think they’re one kind of sexual creature, but find out they’re something else entirely. Having that kind of certainty and self-awareness goes a long way towards being healthier as both an individual as a member of a larger community.

Reason #5: The Overall Attitude Towards Sex Would Improve

Image result for healthy sex

This is probably the most important, most far-reaching reason for legalizing prostitution in the name of improving gender relations. The fact that paying for sex is illegal basically codifies the notion that sex is somehow deviant, dangerous, and needs government regulation. Even if you’re not a hardcore libertarian, that should still bother you.

There are a lot of unhealthy attitudes with respect to sex, both from uptight religious zealots and repressive moral crusaders. The idea that there has to be all these taboos, stigmas, and concerns about sex only ensure that people will treat it as a mine-field rather than a critical component of life.

As a result, people have more reasons to put distance between themselves and others rather than actually pursue intimacy. Some communities go to great length to separate the genders. The ongoing anti-harassment movement is giving men too many reasons to avoid women entirely. If we want healthier attitudes toward sex and intimacy, this is not the way to do it.

By making prostitution legal, pursuing intimacy isn’t just legal. It provides people with an opportunity to directly confront aspects of sexuality that they would otherwise relegate to prejudice and taboo. If people have a chance to actually confront these attitudes, then they have a chance to realize how right or wrong they are.

Now, none of this is to say that there wouldn’t be costs or drawbacks to legalizing prostitution. There are costs and drawbacks to everything in this world. However, given the current climate between men and women, I think the benefits of legalizing prostitution vastly outweigh the costs.

Leave a comment

Filed under gender issues, human nature, sex in society, sexuality

An Interesting Debate I Had With Someone (On Abortion)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned time and again that there are few greater wastes than arguing with people on the internet. It’s right up there with spitting in a lake to refill it. Nobody ever changed their minds about anything because they argued about it with someone on a message board. That’s just an inescapable fact.

So why do we do it? Why do we have these online debates that are about as formal as meth-fueled orgy? There are many answers to that question. Not all of those answers are entirely misguided either.

People want to connect with each other. People want to share their views with the world, no matter what they are or how crazy they may be. Look up discussions of lizard shape-shifters to see what I mean. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing such views. So long as nobody raises the flags of the NSA, it’s one of those wastes that can help us with the basic human need to connect.

Being an erotica/romance writer, I’m all for activities that help us meet our basic needs. However, I’ve learned from experience that it’s not a good idea to have too many debates with folks online. I was once the kind of guy who spent hours crafting elaborate, detailed posts, complete with citations and footnotes, to prove my point. I’m pretty sure I put some grad students to shame.

I put in a lot of effort to make my arguments. I really did think I would stump, confound, or convince other commenters that I was right. In the end, that effort might have been better spent trying to find new ways to deep fry donuts. It took me way too long to realize that people don’t change their minds based on what online debates. They only ever change their mind when there’s a damn good incentive.

Until the day comes when saying something stupid online earns you a painful shock to the spine, nobody should debate anyone online with the expectation that you’ll change someone’s view. That’s not to say it’s a complete waste of time. If you set reasonable expectations and focus on less divisive issues, then you can have real, honest conversations with people.

This brings me to abortion. I’ll give everyone a second or two to unclench their assholes. Bear with me. That’s not a complete non-sequiter. When it comes to my least favorite topics to discuss, abortion is right up there with explosive diarrhea. I’m a man. I don’t have babies. I can’t get an abortion. I bring absolutely nothing to this conversation and, as a principle, I generally avoid it.

That said, I did end up having an insightful conversation with someone online, which was related to abortion. It occurred on a site called Townhall.com, which is basically the complete antithesis of the Huffington Post. If you have any kind of liberal or moderate inclinations of any kind, expect the content on this site to piss you off.

I go to it because I find it helpful and insightful to visit sites that present views you don’t agree with. Townhall offers that in abundance. The rhetoric here can be downright venomous at times and not just because Ann Coulter writes regular columns. Some of the commenters on this site would make Nixon himself look like a hippie.

Naturally, that means you’ll find a lot of pro-life, anti-abortion discussions here. You’ll also get no fewer than 20 Nazi references when discussing it. As a general principle, and in respect to those with a weak stomach, I try to avoid these discussions. However, one discussion in particular revealed something that’s worth sharing.

In a column I won’t cite, just because I don’t want to give the writer more exposure than he deserves, I got into a discussion with someone who was vehemently pro-life. He or she was the kind of person who would probably force women who’ve had abortions to tattoo a fetus to their forehead to shame them for their choice.

Debating with people like this is usually an exercise in futility, right up there with teaching quantum mechanic to a chimp. However, I tried to dig a little deeper into this person’s rhetoric. I asked them to try one of my little thought experiments, which I’m so fond of on this blog. It went like this:

Imagine that tomorrow morning, someone announced they’ve created the perfect form of contraception. It’s easy to use, it’s effective, it’s relatively cheap, it has no side-effects, and it functions in a way that ensures an egg and a sperm will never meet. No conception ever occurs. As such, no abortion ever occurs or is necessary. Would you, a pro-life advocate, be in favor of making this contraception mandatory for all of breeding age in order to end abortion once and for all?

This is one of those thought experiments that’ll either derail a conversation or just get you blocked. It’s also an experiment that has the possibility to become relevant one day because the technology to perfectly control our fertility, male and female, may very well emerge in our lifetime.

It’s a possibility that I find exposes a dirty secret in the pro-life crowd. While there are a few who genuinely believe that abortion constitutes the murder of an innocent life, there is also a sizable chunk that is vehemently anti-sex. They see abortion as just a means for people to have consequence-free sex and that doesn’t sit well with them.

I can understand why, especially from religiously-motivated arguments. Anything that leads to consequence-free sex is going to get the clergy of any religion up in arms. However, that’s another issue altogether. We expect religion to oppose anything that might distract people from giving them tax-free donations. It’s the other chunk of the pro-life crowd that are a bit more transparent with their sentiment.

For this particular person, however, I actually got a pretty insightful response. Not surprisingly, this person was not at all in favor of mandating that this perfect contraception be mandated as a means to end abortion entirely. Initially, I thought this exposed the person as one of those repressive anti-sex types. I turned out to be wrong. This was the person’s justification:

Once you start limiting peoples freedom for their own good you get slavery.

This weren’t against the use perfect contraception. He or she even said they’d gladly take it. However, the idea of forcing people to use it to end abortion just exchanged one immoral act for another. Regardless of how you may feel about abortion, I think we can all relate and respect that sentiment to some degree.

I tried probing a little deeper. I compared making perfect contraception mandatory to requiring seatbelts. Apparently, this person was against that as well. He or she did not make an exception between contraception and seatbelts. These are the exact words from the response.

So the answer to your last two questions is, of course it is immoral to force people to wear seat belts and forcing people to stop at red light is for the protection of others.

I really couldn’t go farther than that. I think the person effectively made their point. This person is an ardent libertarian. Coercion of any kind, even the kind that would end abortion completely, is every bit as immoral.

Again, I can really understand that. This person showed some consistency in their rhetoric, which is somewhat rare on the internet, as anyone who ever visited a Twilight message board can attest. I admit it was somewhat refreshing because most don’t even attempt the thought experiment. This person made an effort and for that, he or she has my respect.


Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights