General Question

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

What do you really know about the life of most prostitutes in America?

Asked by Dr_Lawrence (20014points) February 26th, 2012

I recently saw a documentary that made me rethink what I thought I knew about the lifestyle and income of prostitutes and how personal choice plays into what they do.

This page summarizes some of the myths and facts on the subject

How important is it to you that action be taken to change the current situation?

What should be done?
Who should be involved?
How effective do you think your approach would be?

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10 Answers

saint's avatar

My approach is to suggest that everybody take my attitude about it. On the day I have to pay for it, I think I will find something else to occupy my time and attention.
But other than those (outrageous) cases where women are enslaved for sex, nobody is forced to be a prostitute. They may be facing tough choices, but facing tough choices is not the same as force (even though people who do not like to face tough choices will argue otherwise. It still isn’t force)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The information given in your link is startling.

No one, absolutely no one, should have to live with the abuse prostitutes are subjected to.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I know that if you’re looking for info on sex work, you should ask those who do sex work. So, not an abolitionist, anti-prostitution, anti-pornography psychologist who refuses to give sex workers basic respect like calling them sex workers when they ask for that, who’s repeatedly been called out for infantilizing and pathologizing sex workers, and is clearly guided more by ideology than by actual facts. I also know that Thailand and the US are different enough that it’s probably unwise to make it seem like they’re pretty much the same thing.

I know that there isn’t one picture of a sex worker in prostitution, or even of most. I know that a lot of laws that seem, on the face, to protect sex workers often make things worse, usually because the legislators failed to consult with actual sex workers and see if the law would work for them. I know that it’s not up to me (someone who isn’t a sex worker) to come up with ways to “save” the prostitution industry; I can be an ally, I can support measures that sex workers support and initiate to make their situations better, but they don’t need me to swoop in and save them, because they’re more capable than that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve read many books, many articles and studies. I know many sex workers personally. The topic of prostitution and sex work is very interesting to me, for many reasons, some personal.

Coloma's avatar

I have always known that most prostitution carries high risks of potential assault or even murder. Many, many, serial killers single out prostitutes as their victims. Women on the fringe, likely to not be reported missing for awhile, if at all. I find the choice frightening and disturbing, however, I will say that in the rare cases of select, high class prostitution, the risks might be reduced based on extremely select “clients.”

I am not aware of any prostitution in my small tourist town or the neighboring tourist town, but, I do live within 70 miles of the Nevada state line where prostitution is legal.
I know nothing of prostitution related crimes and assaults under the legal forum in this state.

Yep, Nevada, gambling legal, prostitution legal, keeping Lobsters, illegal. lolol

marmoset's avatar

Aethelflaed, I wish I could “Great Answer!” you ten times. At this point there’s a huge variety of writing, ranging from general audience blogging to academic scholarship, by current and former sex workers. That is where we should look for ‘the truth’ (and yes, obviously there are as many truths as there are sex workers). My favorite general audience sex worker blog is Feminisnt.

fizzbanger's avatar

The only ones I’ve seen in real life have been addicts at truck stops and gas stations – the ones that are caught up in the back and forth of the need-to-do-drugs-because-I’m-a-prostitute-and-had-my-kids-taken-away and need-to-have-sex-to-get-more-drugs cycle.

Bellatrix's avatar

There is a great documentary called Scarlet Road. It is a fascinating, informative and touching perspective on sex work and the important role they can play in providing people with disabilities with sexual experience and care.

wundayatta's avatar

These are women that society mostly looks down on and rarely cares about. They are judged to have poor morals. It seems like many have been abused and suffer from PTSD. A large majority have been homeless in the past, if not at the moment. Some of them wish they had other options.

I wonder if they are different from the other sex workers—the ones who work on the internet or who make videos. You seem to have a bit more control over your work if you work in the video industry, especially in states that regulate medical care for sex workers.

I’m thinking that prostitution is probably a last resort. Although, street walking is different from dancers who do things in back rooms is different from escorts is different from the situation at the legal brothels in Nevada or wherever.

There are probably women who actually enjoy random sex with guys. Maybe not a lot of them, but surely one or two exist. Most of the women see it as a job, I bet, and don’t get any pleasure from it, unless they really like their customers.

Still, I don’t think women do this if they have any other choice. So to try to take it away from them is not helpful, unless you offer something to replace it with. Very few, if any social programs will replace the income you get through prostitution, I bet.

Shinimegami's avatar

I know little of them. I never meet any. I meet few Asian stars of porn movies however. Every nation have some. At Japan Yamashita Junko appear at regular movies, then make porn films too. She send me messages at Twitter. Seem similar of any other woman.

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