Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography

By Rebecca Whisnant; Christine Stark | Go to book overview

Joe parker


How prostitution works

Introduction

Prostitution, pornography, and other forms of commercial sex are a multibillion-dollar industry. They enrich a small minority of predators, while the larger community is left to pay for the damage. People used in the sex industry often need medical care as a result of the ever-present violence. They may need treatment for infectious diseases, including AIDS. Survivors frequently need mental health care for post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotic episodes and suicide attempts. About a third end up chronically disabled and on Social Security. The sex trade plays an active role in promoting alcohol and drug problems. Pimps also use prostituted women in forgery and credit card fraud. The community must pay for chemical dependency treatment, insurance costs and incarceration. In addition to these costs, the community loses the contributions which might have been made to legitimate community productivity by those used up in the sex industry. The operators of sex businesses not only do not pay for these expenses; many manage to avoid paying taxes at all.


The johns

No business can afford to create a product for which there are no buyers. The first step in understanding the sex industry is to understand the customers, the johns.

Real sexual relationships are not hard to find. There are plenty of adults of both sexes who are willing to have sex if someone treats them well, and asks. But there lies the problem. Some people do not want an equal, sharing relationship. They do not want to be nice. They do not want to ask. They like the power involved in buying a human being who can be made to do almost anything.

The business of prostitution and pornography is the use of real human beings to support the fantasies of others. Anyone working in prostitution who tells a john too much about who they really are interferes with the fantasy. They risk losing a customer, and may get a beating as well. In real relationships with real people, you are stuck with the limitations of who you are, who your partner is, and what you can do together without hurting each other.

Some people do not want real relationships, or feel entitled to something beyond the real relationships they have. They want to play 'super stud and

-3-

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