Guardian article on sex workers and disabled people

(409 Posts)
fllowtheyellowbrickroad Thu 11-Apr-13 21:43:38

http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/10/sex-workers-disabled-people

Has this already been done? Will put together something literate soon. An currently choking and splitting too much.

Spero Fri 12-Apr-13 12:46:40

Leithlurker - yes I would be very interested in research or at least more openess and people being prepared to talk about it. At the moment I fear that any discussion is clouded by general distaste at idea of disabled people 'doing it' or being helped in anyway.

YonirockandrollbutIlikeit Fri 12-Apr-13 13:01:20

Spero my husband has an invisible disability.

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 13:01:51

I do not have problems with people paying. Half the husbands on mumsnet pay in one way or another to keep a housewife for sex and cleaning services. There are commercial transactions linked to sex even in many marriages and indeed plenty of usually men pay (a divorce settlement) go get free of an asexual wife so they can find one who is more sexual. Money and sex go together in all kinds of scenarios.

The very ugly old short fat man who is worth £100m will never be short of sexual partners because he is in effect paying even if he's just letting her live in his house and buying her a few shoes. Take the £100m away and he may find it rather hard to get any sex. Ditto the 30 stone woman with no hair and no disabilities.

So I do not see why people cannot pay if they need to, although I would not want in times of hardship tax payer money to go on it.

Darkesteyes Fri 12-Apr-13 13:34:39

Xenia there are men who are asexual too. Just throwing that in there.

The people who are saying that disabled people have a right to sex.
Would you say the same about a carer whose partner has become disabled and can no longer have sex.
Because i seem to remember a thread on the Relationships board a little while ago where a female carer was asking about this.

Darkesteyes Fri 12-Apr-13 13:39:27
NiceTabard Fri 12-Apr-13 13:43:24

So now it's not just a right to sex, but a right to sex with someone who is not disabled? What on earth? So if a person who is not disabled doesn't want to have sex with a disabled person that is wrong? But you can't proscribe sexual attraction. Men get pissed off when women who are much better looking than them don't fancy them. The women aren't wrong for wanting to have sex with people they are attracted to. Buying consent from someone who does not want you is simply grim.

Incidentally, my first sexual experience was with a fellow disabled teen, in hospital. It was great grin

NiceTabard Fri 12-Apr-13 13:44:44

So actually it's just all about men being able to access sex with women who would not consider them under normal circumstances.

So far so utterly typical.

MooncupGoddess Fri 12-Apr-13 13:54:59

Hmm... I don't think disabled people paying for sex should be made illegal. But I find the transactional nature of the sort of scenario in the Guardian quite unpleasant. Essentially it is not about mutual desire/attraction/warmth... it's about paying to ejaculate over someone.

What I find hardest to understand about men who use prostitutes is how they can be happy to have sex on someone who doesn't fancy them and is only doing it for the money. And really that applies to disabled people just as much as to men who can't find consensual sex because they are physically unattractive/very shy/have personality problems or whatever.

Spero Fri 12-Apr-13 14:10:05

I am a woman. Why is this debate about men and their sexual needs? Again, I suspect there is more going on here than concern for sex workers. There seems to be a visceral distaste for disabled men being able to ejaculate.

Sex is not just about ejaculation. It is about touching, feeling the warmth of another human being.

It might not be great having to pay for it, but it is better than nothing. And noting is all a lot of disabled people have.

I am not sure what an 'invisible disability' is butit tends to be the visible disabilities that are more relevant here as most people respond sexually to visual stimuli.

Nice tabard I just don't understand your comment. I am not talking about anyone's 'right' to anything. I am simply disturbed by the attitudes of some on this thread which to me at any rate appear to be disgust towards disabled men in particular.

namechangeguy Fri 12-Apr-13 14:14:03

'What I find hardest to understand about men who use prostitutes is how they can be happy to have sex on someone who doesn't fancy them and is only doing it for the money.'

i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/10/12/article-1076718-021386A1000005DC-929_468x688.jpg

That pics is of Bernie Ecclestone and his former model ex-wife. Thing is, Bernie is worth a billion quid or so. Do you think this ever crosses his mind? Fact is, factors other that 'phwoarr!' frequently come in to relationships with a sexual element.

I personally think that it is not up to anyone to decide what anyone else does and doesn;t want to do with their bodies.

namechangeguy Fri 12-Apr-13 14:22:08

Spero, I can just about feel your frustration through the pain. But bear with this thread please, it's really interesting to hear your viewpoint.

The disgust towards disabled men you mention is not disgust (if that is the right word) with their disabled-ness, but rather with their male-ness. This board will tend to hone in on male privilege first and foremost in any discussion. The exchange of money between an adult couple for sex will primarily be viewed as a man paying for a woman's time/body, rather than the other way round, hence the assumptions and attitudes that you have detected. The fact it might happen the other way round is a bit troublesome for feminist theory, I think.

namechangeguy Fri 12-Apr-13 14:23:07

Spero - I meant 'page', not 'pain'.

MooncupGoddess Fri 12-Apr-13 14:34:23

Spero - I think that's because all the media coverage is about disabled men, and because there are a lot of able-bodied men who use prostitutes but hardly any women, as far as I'm aware. If you know of examples of women (disabled or not) using sex workers then do say, it would add a valuable new dimension to the discussion.

Yes, I am also rather creeped out by rich old men with shiny young brides. But then, I am perfectly happy being celibate for years on end, and just can't imagine picking up (let alone paying) a man to fulfil my sexual needs. So I'm sure that affects my perspective here.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 14:34:32

Darkeys it is a good question and one that has no easy answers so much will depend on the relationship, the level of impairment, the willingness of both partners to find ways that are not traditionally part of a sex act in order to achieve satisfaction.

Even though severely impaired people have little or no feeling, or ability to move independently, what they are most affected by is the lack of identity as a sexual being, the feelings of low self esteem and failure that arise from not being able to please someone else or give someone else pleasure. If partners can conceive of a way to share the physicle pleasure of the non impaired person with the one who IS impaired at least on a emotional and cerebral level they are participants and can feel good about themselves in that respect.

If though you are asking is this a one way street where only disabled people have their sexual needs met, then no I do not believe it is. But in the scenario in the other thread, the male was already in a relationship. I and other are specificly talking about those people who never get to form a relationship partly as a result of societies unwillingness to face up to the fact that people with a wide range of impairments are seeking to have fully meaningful and independent lives which include experiencing sex.

Tabard you are not addrerssing the issues that i and others are putting forward, even to the point of still making assertions that others not I have said are much more complex than you are making them out to be.

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 14:37:30

As I said above if men (or to a lesser extent women) have money then they are never short of girl friends or wives whom they do not in the traditional sense pay although they certainly do pay in terms of keeping that non earning but pretty thing. I have never really seen the difference between prostitution and being a kept housewife except that the prostitute does not have to clean his dirty underwear I suppose.

As for sexual attraction those who cannot attract others may find they choose to pay for sex, whatever their gender or go without. As long as tax payers do not pay the disabled, the unattractive or anyone else can pay for sex. Apparently men pay prostitutes because they go away - they are paying for them to leave in a sense, the lack of complication although most men and women prefer sexual intimacy with someone they love and most men don't use prostitutes.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 14:51:13

The fact that not just the media coverage but almost all the discussion on this board on these particular subject is aired, tends to be aimed at male "entitlement". I am sure we will soon be joined by those who will say that I and others who support the idea that disabled people should have access to a sex life, are all rape apologists, or that men are paying to rape women.
Spero please do stay if only because this argument as Namechange guy benefits from your input. I have been arguing this corner for a long time and have been marked down as a apologist for the sex industry, and a supporter of human trafficking and other such claims. In fact just the other day one of the more prolific posters said that my view on anything was rendered invalid because of my arguments on this topic.

Incidentally now would be a good opening for me to say very clearly that I think prostitution is not the answer, I am much more in favour of the dutch model, or in fact a surrogacy model. If the transactional aspect is the problem that can be overcome by society changing it's attitude to what sexwork is, I would have said a therapeutic slant would be acceptable, but one of the articles raises a very good point about, medicalising the issue, however I think other therapeutic services like massages, aromatherapy, or some of the talking therapies could open the door to impaired people themselves changing their view on it becoming "medicalised" if it's called a therapy.

Spero what are your thoughts on how things could be better?

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 14:56:20

Xenia prepare to get outraged, but I think the tax payer already does pay for the ugly, the fat, the rich, and the disabled to pay for prostitution. Tax cits for the rich leave more disposable income to spend on sex workers. MP's and members of the house of Lords have frequently been caught in the act with male and female prostitutes, members of the armed forces have for many, many years been regular visits to brothels in this country and abroad, all at tax payers expense!

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 15:12:09

I have no problem with people spending money they have earned on prostitutes or even wives from a political point of view. If they put the spending down as office expenses then yet of course they should not. Most spending on prostitutes in the UK is not put through as business expenses although I think some Saudis wanted women in return for an arm's contract.

Perhaps we have found a better role for the workfare millions rather than shelf stacking. They might have more fun and would be able to engage in caring duties and learn techniques which enable them to nab a very rich man in due course. I jest...

I would imagine there are plenty of husbands who are faithful who get no sex (see many many mumsnet threads and yes sometimes it is the other way round but rarely) and plenty of people who are not disabled who are unable to find a partner in the usual way. I do not think the disabled are particularly in a category where it is so important they are provided with sex tax payers should pay but if they want to pay themselves out of what they earn they can.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 15:19:26

So there you are then Xenia you have no problem at all, you are happy that people pay for what they deem as their "pleasures" from the money they earn. Would earn be same as income I wonder?

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 15:23:06

I certainly would not be happy with a housewife who earns her allowance her husband gives her by providing him with sex using some of the husband's earnings to buy herself sexual services from a paid male (or female) sex worker although I suppose you could cost it out - see if the cleaning and sex services she provides her man in return for being kept provide an excess over her room and board such that she could spend that how she chooses may be.

Unearned income is still your own income so I would not have problems with people spending that. To achieve fairness you would either have to give every 16 year old + in the UK say 2 hours of free sexual services provided by the local council or no one. That would have an equity about it I suppose although I ma not sure what the take up rate would be.

I suspect there are many many more people over 75 - 100 who want sex and are very lonely and cannot get it so I do not really see why the state would provide those services to someone disabled but not to an old person who might equally have sexual needs but cannot find a boy or girl friend.

Anyway I'm doing a very boring job (work) so I suppose I'd better get back to it.

Spero Fri 12-Apr-13 17:42:33

I think things would be better if we all had the courage to have an open and honest discussion without first filtering our views through some pre determined prejudice which just gives rise to some knee jerk response that benefits nobody.

To that extent I agree with name change guy that this discussion has been tainted with automatic assumptions about male privilege, the whole discussion apparently turned into a charicature by some of just about disabled men who wants to ejaculate all over some poor down trodden women, forced into prostitution to pay the rent.

Surely we are all mature and intelligent enough for a more nuanced debate. Life is not about crisply drawn charicature but real people who have feelings and wishes and hopes.

I am just thankful that as a single mother who works full time I haven't had much of a libido for quite a long time so I have never seriously engaged with consideration of should I pay for sex.

But if I wanted to, and someone was willing to take my money in exchange for some bodily contact, really what is so disgusting and shameful about that? Are you telling me that my wish to hold another human body is disgusting? Am I disgusting?

It may be a poor substitute for a mutually committed and loving relationship but it does seem that some people would wish to deny disabled people even that poor choice.

Branleuse Fri 12-Apr-13 17:49:10

If theyre both consenting, then i dont have a problem with it.

If you think that disabled people find it just as easy to find lovers as non disabled people then youre kidding yourself, and you CAN rent peoples orifices to wank into if you want to. hell you can even rent a womb to gestate for people and everyone thinks thats a marvellous thing to do.

Branleuse Fri 12-Apr-13 17:50:40

And its not a right. that would be the wrong word, but it is something you can either get for free or for money, depending on what the people involved agree to

Spero Fri 12-Apr-13 17:56:25

I agree, it is difficult to call something a 'right' if it depends on active participation by another who has to volunteer their body. There is always a risk of a dangerously unequal power balance.

But as others have pointed out this happens ALL the time. Plenty of wealthy, ugly men who have very pretty young girlfriends. Both are getting something out of that transaction.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now