On Prostitution

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We’ve been fed a load of shame about prostitution.

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Victor Hugo is my hero. He wrote the only novels that fully dramatized the values of the Enlightenment. He had the only ego that fully dramatized the values of the Enlightenment. He also had sex with more than 150 prostitutes. So knowing that Hugo, the greatest man to ever live, was also the Michael Phelps of whore swimming, it makes me think prostitution isn’t all that bad. It makes me think the word “whore” isn’t all that bad. Indeed, it makes me think we’ve all been fed a load of shame about prostitution.

Prostitution was legal throughout most of history, even the parts when everything else was illegal. The highest social classes of Ancient Greece and Rome could get prostitutes of both sexes, and with social impunity. Men like Aristotle, Caesar, and Marcus Aurelius all openly bathed in prostitutes without tarnishing their public image. These guys make Bill Clinton look like an asexual Bill Gates—ie Bill Gates.

Of course, prostitution was frowned upon in the Middle Ages, but it was still tolerated because it was considered better than the alternative—not having prostitutes.

By the 19th Century, the time of Hugo, prostitution became more accepted after the church had been on a steady dose of the Enlightenment for a couple hundred years. It wasn’t until the rise of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in the early 20th Century that prostitution became not only frowned upon, but illegal. This group, with a name that evinces a feeling that’s the opposite of “fun,” was also responsible for making alcohol illegal. Nice going, ladies.

So it may seem natural to wag our fingers at prostitution, but wagging fingers at prostitution is the true anomaly.

This anomaly is exaggerated since prostitution is healthier now than it was for women prior to the 20th Century. We have condoms that actually work because we understand communicable diseases. Plus, most women were prostitutes before industrialization because they didn’t have much of an alternative. It’s not like they could get a job in fashion marketing, or whatever it is chicks do in the workplace. It was either find a husband or join a feudal lord’s concubine—sometimes both. But now, if a woman has more options, and she still chooses prostitution, it’s healthier. It’s the difference between a dude becoming gay because he’s actually gay, and a dude becoming gay because girls don’t want to have sex with him.

Prostitution is all but inevitable, anyway, because it’s a result of one of the most basic differences between men and women: men are able to have sex much sooner in a relationship without needing a connection, and women are the opposite. This difference is evidenced in the gay and lesbian communities. When you go in a bathroom at a gay bar, it’s weird if you don’t see a bukkake festival. Whereas lesbians, even though there’s no man involved, still need to listen to 25 Cranberries songs and go flannel shopping before getting to second base^1.

Feminism has damaged women in this respect, because it tells them they’re no different than men, and so they can go out and have sex just as readily. But it’s just not true. From a biological standpoint, a standpoint feminists avoid, the risk involved with sex is much greater for women.

Some girls, however, are able to have sex just as readily as men, especially in a specific period of their lives^2. This is where prostitution comes in. By allowing prostitution, you allow these women to have sex readily, plus you grant them the luxury of being able to psychologically distance themselves from it through receiving money. Prostitution makes them opportunists as opposed to sluts. And if a girl with normal apprehensions about sex wanted to go on a sex Rumspringa, then getting paid for sex would be a healthier way, psychologically, to deal with any guilt she may feel about it. This guilt is unfounded, but thanks to gangs like the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, the guilt feels real nonetheless.

Now, I don’t need to draw you a diagram to explain why prostitution is good for men. But there is a deeper benefit prostitution has for men that is less obvious. I’m reminded of the infamous Charlie Sheen quotation: “I don’t pay prostitutes for sex; I pay them to leave.” Herein lies the true benefit of prostitutes. Sheen doesn’t need to pay for sex—he’s a rich movie star whose nickname is “The Machine.” But he does need to pay for discretion. If Sheen has sex with a regular girl he meets on the Hollywood strip, what’s she going to want from him? What status payoff is she looking for? She could cut off his penis and sell it to TMZ. So when Sheen pays for a prostitute, he’s paying for a girl who will be professional about the encounter^3. We can turn our noses up at Sheen all we want, but let me say this here and now: If I was rich and famous, there is no doubt I would have sex with prostitutes way more than I would have sex with civilian girls.

All this said, let me make this as clear as possible: prostitution is not the ideal. Sex with a girl you actually like—or maybe even love—is the summit of the sex mountain, and perhaps the summit of the life mountain. But not all of us have found a girl who makes us so stupid with love that we want to marry her. Prostitution is a bandage to cover up the schism that evolution has created in the genus Homo for millions of years. It’s a way to make a sexually dimorphic species less sexually dimorphic, therefore more peaceful. Most importantly, it’s a way to make life a little bit more fun, and a little bit more honest.

1. This, incidentally, is why girls enjoy sex more than guys once they do have it. Higher risk always equals higher reward.

2. I’ve found that it’s the girls with the most masculine faces who have sex the most readily. Contrary to what you may be thinking, a masculine face doesn’t make a girl ugly. Rosario Dawson and Angelina Jolie both have masculine faces, and they’re both babes. Seriously, Jolie’s jaw could be a footer for a small house.

3. This is why I’m annoyed by all those “confessions of a former Hollywood call girl” books in which ex-whores unload on the famous dudes they’ve slept with. But guys like Shaq and Bill Maher cannot sue because it’s not like there was a confidentiality form. Hey, maybe if prostitution was legal, there would be a confidentiality form. Bonus.

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CultureMark Derianhugo