Sleeping around: The law of sexual supply and demand

'Sex has always sold, and always will. Everyone has a price'
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Like many of my friends, I couldn't sympathise too much with the main characters in Indecent Proposal. Robert Redford, the gorgeous billionaire, offers Demi Moore $1m for one night with her. Greedily, her husband gives her permission to sleep with a man she's attracted to and this is meant to be a conflict?

Sorry, but the story would have been much more believable with Danny DeVito as the male lead. I've never taken money for sex, and always said I never would, but if it were a man who looked like Robert Redford on a bed of cold, hard cash, I would have to think very hard about saying no.

These decisions are not usually this black-and-white. At the top end of the sex industry are the escorts, who can charge from several hundred to several thousand pounds per night and have their pick of clients.

Several of my boyfriends, and my male friends, have been with prostitutes at one time or another even if they haven't told their girlfriends.

Not all women who sell their bodies are victims. Some women who have other options may choose to sell sex for a few hours per week over a 12-hour per day minimum wage gig at a call centre. Some would rather trade blow jobs to fund the latest Balenciaga bag.

But I was horrified to read a report recently that found in some parts of London, punters can buy full sex for 15 cheaper than buying a takeaway pizza. Unprotected sex is a mere 10 more. The reality of prostitution for these women isn't the Belle de Jour glamourised media version of Billie Piper in stilettos: it's gritty and terrifying. Human trafficking is happening here many women are lured here from countries such as Thailand and Brazil with false promises of working in bars and nightclubs, only to be sold to pimps, working under the constant threat of violence.

Still, I think it's wrong that the minister for women, Harriet Harman, is using the report to bolster her campaign to criminalise the sale of sex. This can't be the answer. It will lead to the equivalent of outlawing abortion: the services that people end up with will be even more dangerous.

Evidence from other countries, including Sweden, suggests that criminalising clients or sex workers can make things riskier not safer for those who trade sex. If the government could register (and tax!) brothels, clamp down hard on much more unsafe street prostitution, and ensure regular health and STD tests for sex workers, I believe both workers and clients would be safer and healthier.

But first, we must remove the moral judgements from the legislative process and accept the fact that sex always has, and always will, sell. The law of sexual supply and demand is illustrated at dinner parties, when my friends and I ask how much it would cost to buy them for the night, and post outrageous scenarios. It's just a game, but the end result is that everyone has a price. And as long as the sex takes place between two consenting adults, who are we to judge them?

Comments