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View Diary: Are the Laws Against Prostitution Doing Anyone Any Good? (210 comments)

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  •  only because of all the puritan bullshit. (5+ / 0-)

    It's degrading to people who think of sex as something shameful or disgusting, or who have weird ideas about status and power.

    There's nothing intrinsically wrong with truly consenting adults on both sides of the transaction, agreeing to do sex for cash.  

    When I was a kid and was learning about the proverbial birds & bees, eventually I learned about prostitution.  I'll never forget my first reaction:

    It might save some marriages.  If a guy wants to do something his wife thinks is weird, or vice-versa, they could agree that the partner who wants the weird sex could go see a prostitute a couple of times a month.

    I still believe that.  Adultery in the form of cheating is wrong because it's non-consensual to the partner who's been cheated on.  But if there's consent all'round, there's nothing wrong with a sexually-mismatched marriage seeking the relief of agreeing that one or both partners can get their jollies elsewhere.

    And single folks who aren't going steady are welcome to play around with the consenting adults of their choice whenever they like, whether paid directly or indirectly or just because.  

    •  A form of therapy then? nt (1+ / 0-)
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    •  puritans liked sex. (4+ / 0-)

      we can argue about whether they liked it too much or not, but women don't get to prosecute their husbands in court for not providing enough orgasms.

      that was how it worked in puritan society.  because sex was sacred, both the husband and wife were supposed to be sexually satisfied.  if the wife was not, she could bring suit against her husband for being unChristian.  and they did.  and the men were punished for not being respectful of their wives' sexual needs.

      by shoeboy on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 12:17:58 AM PDT

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      •  okay, then Victorian, or whatever. (0+ / 0-)

        We'all need to agree on a term to use for this, that references some period in history or some culture or subculture, where sex was basically taboo and, for example, womens' orgasms were considered anything from pointless to bad.

        I don't care what we call it, as long as the meme sticks in the media.  

      •  revisionist history itself eventually gets (3+ / 0-)
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        pico, Darmok, Alec82

        revised.  and this interpretation 17th century puritan america as some kind of precursor to the free love movement is falling out of vogue again.  

        first, historians say puritans hated sex and were all repressed.  then, for a while in the 60s and 70s that story was revised and scholars started finding clues that puritans embraced sexuality in ways that would put modern americans to shame.  Edmund Morgan's 1966 book The Puritan Family: Domestic Relations in Seventeenth Century New England is the best known example of this theory.

        in Puritans at Play: Leisure and Recreation in Colonial New England, published in 1996, we get a revised revision of our understanding of puritan sexuality.  

        Puritans saw sexual snares everywhere, and in remarkably consistent language, they associated "unrestrained sexuality" with paganism, atheism, idolatry and blasphemy. And this was true for sex within marriage as well as for illicit sex: "intemperate adventures in bed" would lead a husband to "play the adulterer with his own wife." Puritans treated sexuality in all its forms with wariness -and at times even with horror, seeing it as a "lurking invitation to damnation."  It is true, some of Anne Bradstreets poems and many letters from esteemed leaders such as John Winthrop do suggest a tender, passionate sensuality within marriage.  But as much or more of the literature from the seventeenth century suggests that sexuality held terror for many Puritans.

        from page 127

        Sex provided pleasure for most Puritans within marriage and for a few outside, but in both cases the degree of activity has been overstated by revisionist historians of the mid-twentieth century who tried to rescue the Puritans from their earlier image as repressed prudes.

        Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once.

        by st minutia on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 01:15:00 PM PDT

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        •  try pages 139-140. (1+ / 0-)
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          selective quoting is cute, but does not disagree with what i originally stated.

          i actually own the book in question.  puritan views of sex varied depending on which era of puritan existence one is talking about (when they first came in, 100 years later, etc.)

          as i already noted, puritans were concerned that one would be dominated by sexual desire-- or anger, or any of the other sins.  they struggled with wanting married couples to enjoy sex and have a good sexual bond, but also wanting to make sure those same married couples did not privilege their sex lives over God and make sexual idols of each other.

          this is part of the heart of the puritan pursuit of moderation in all things, including sexual enjoyment.  

          they also liked drinking (p 141), but abhorred drunkenness.  saying they liked drinking doesn't magically mean they all rushed out to get drunk daily.  but it is cute that you think noting that puritans believed sex within marriage should be enjoyable for both husband and wife means 'puritans were vanguards of free love'.

          especially considering that many 'free love' proponents were male and were completely uninterested in women deriving as much pleasure from sex as men.  that didn't come along until nancy friday and the 70s, for the most part.  

          in short, the puritans liked sex, but they had legitimate Biblically-based concerns about being ruled by one's genitals.  

          by shoeboy on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 04:14:40 PM PDT

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          •  i still agree with G2geek (0+ / 0-)

            puritan culture was repressive and led to americans' deep ambivilance toward sexuality that results in some people displaying deep seated need to condemn and legislate other peoples sex practices.  

            kind of like you.

            Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once.

            by st minutia on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 06:41:58 PM PDT

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            •  um, no, it didn't. (0+ / 0-)

              pentecostal Christianity, which followed the demise of the puritans and feminism (the first and second wave stuff) are actually the scapegoats you're looking for.  

              puritan culture was complex and nuanced.  like me!  

              legalising something is legislating it and condemning that which lies outside the legal bounds.

              as i have said in another comment, prostitution laws forbidding prostitution are not optimal.  and in an additional comment, i linked to the horrors of the swedish form of legalising prostitution-- it was not a win for the actual prostitutes.  the point being that there is no easy way to deal with whoredom.  you can't ensure that everyone doing it is not explicitly coerced even when it's nominally legal.  and it is very questionable to defend the right of men to purchase other people for sexual fulfillment.  men are almost entirely the ones purchasing others for sex, and that fact is why there are strong feminist arguments against encouraging women to pursue a life of whoredom.  


              by shoeboy on Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 07:41:39 PM PDT

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              •  yes. men do the majority of purchasing of (1+ / 0-)
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                sex.  they do not purchase the person providing the sex.  when you hire a prostitute, you do not buy her, you buy her services for a finite time period.  and men do the vast majority of purchasing for sex and the least amount of jail time for the offense.  i certainly agree that that is not optimal.  

                the selective enforcement against women, the utter inability of any society to eradicate prostitution, and the lack of social good coming from prostitution being illegal are persuasive argements for legalization.  all prostitution laws do is jail prostitutes while letting their male customers completely off the hook.  our current prostitution laws are therefore pointless, harmful, sexist in their implementation and hypocritical in the guise of "saving poor cute little women from evil men."

                unpaid human sexual relationships have coerced sex as well, and i am not referring only to rape.  you can't ever get rid of that.  interpersonal sex relationships are often about power over one another.  at least with prostitution, it's an straight forward commercial exchange.

                legalizing prostitution is not the same as encouraging women to become prostitutes.

                and for someone using feminism as an argument for not "encouraging whoredom," your earlier comments about my arguments being "cute" are utterly offensive and smack of sexism.  i  admit to choosing quotes that serve my argument. isn't that why one includes quotes in an argument?  and though repressive puritan culture is not the one and only cause of sexual dysfunctions we see in modern america, it's "complex and nuanced" repressiveness is still evident today.

                Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once.

                by st minutia on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 12:13:51 AM PDT

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    •  Your first reaction to prostitution??? (4+ / 0-)

      I'll never forget my first reaction:

      It might save some marriages.  If a guy wants to do something his wife thinks is weird, or vice-versa, they could agree that the partner who wants the weird sex could go see a prostitute a couple of times a month.

      I know very few ten year olds who think about ways to save marriages!  

      What kind of upbringing did you have???

      •  the kind where i was encouraged to think. (3+ / 0-)

        I was reading at graduate school level in 6th grade.  

        Like someone else who posted on dKos recently, I also got an adult library card at an early age, and my parents were explicit about this: we could read anything we wanted to read, no limits.  

        We were encouraged to discuss & debate everything under the sun, and often did so every night at family dinner.  There was never a TV in the kitchen except for a few rare instances such as when Nixon resigned (my parents were staunch oldschool Republicans BTW), so meals were times for conversation.

        No question or topic of conversation was off limits.  

        We were encouraged to think for ourselves and use our heads, not go along with the herd, and we were rewarded for not going along with the herd.  

        I think we turned out pretty well in the end:-)

        So far as the prostitution thing was concerned, I don't recall where we learned about oral & anal sex, but we understood that those things were considered weird by a lot of people.  My opinon about all of that was if it's between consenting adults it's OK (and all victimless crime laws should be repealed, my examples being marijuana, prostitution, and gambling).  

        But I also figured that if some grownups didn't want to do whatever-it-was with their spouses, like oral or anal sex or "sixty-nine," then they could all agree to do those things with prostitutes, and do whatever they both liked with each other.   This was no different from "I'll go out to a baseball game with my friends who like baseball, and a football game with my friends who like football."  Really.  

        Those are the kinds of attituds people form when they treat sex as just another thing people do and no big deal.  

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