Guardian article on sex workers and disabled people

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

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

Verycold Thu 11-Apr-13 21:55:57

What is your issue with it?

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Thu 11-Apr-13 22:05:47

It's been around for a while and I truly hate this idea.

It fuels the myth that disabled people cannot find consenting lovers.

It promotes the sex industry and the idea that buying womens bodies to wank into is fine (the article says even disabled women go to female sex workers).

It promotes the idea that sex is more important than decency (i.e. not paying for the use of orifices).

And it begs the questions of where you stop; if sex is such a necessity/human right, what about those who are incarcerated/ unpleasant/ rude i.e just don't have access to a willing partner? Do they get to buy humans for use of their sex organs too?

The people who use the TLC-Trust to gain experience and lose their virginity may also struggle to find subsequent partners who are happy that they once used sex workers.

NiceTabard Thu 11-Apr-13 22:28:16

I agree with lala.

The idea that disabled people are not "fuckable" apart from by people paid to do it is downright offensive.

Sex is also not a right. Plenty of non-disabled people can't get any and don't use prostitutes.

There was an article about this a couple of years back and it was all about disabled men and female prostitutes. So perpetuating unhealthy ideas about men and women and sex. I have yet to see a piece where parents of a disabled young woman talk in a positive and keen way about paying men to fuck her.

The whole thing just stinks.

YonirockandrollbutIlikeit Thu 11-Apr-13 22:33:43

I agree. It makes me very uncomfortable.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 00:25:44

Perhaps some reading other than the guardian article will help people, it also addresses the "Disabled women do not pay for sex" trope.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 00:43:26

Another good article that opens up the complex area of sex for people with impairments, this time if a debate about "entitlement" to sex, and to use sexworkers is going to be had, I suggest it would benefit from thinking about the whole issue as outlined in these two articles, both written by women incidentally.

NiceTabard Fri 12-Apr-13 01:01:45

Yeah I clicked the first link and didn't get past the opening line

"Sexual activity, stimulation and gratification should be just as much a right for disabled people as it is for anyone else."

Those things are not a right for anyone. I can't start to look into an argument which starts with these things as a right. They are not rights.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 01:14:23

In that case tabard you are not bothering to look at the views and experiences of the people you wish to pontificate about. Your assertions about rights not being rights are just that assertions. You would have read that indeed many people seem to want to define what the right of people with impairements are, few however have to suffer the consequences of having their right to a full and meaningful life denied them.

Must be nice to live in a world where you can take your own freedom of action for granted. Not worry about bullying or ridicule, never thinking that your not a full human being, always being able to get a shag even a pity shag if you want one, or even just to have someone hold you for a reason that has nothing to do with your inability to function.

The right is not about sex it is about being human, having sex is part of being human.

NiceTabard Fri 12-Apr-13 02:09:01

There is no right to sex. There is no human right to sex. I find it scary that anyone, anywhere maintains that.

I am disabled, BTW. Does that help? Is my opinion that sex is not a right, and that many many people live their lives without sex, people of all sorts of ages, sexualities, levels of disability can get by perfectly fine without paying for sex...

The idea that if you don't have a sex life there is something wrong is rampantly patriarchal.

your idea that everyone has a right to express their sexual urges with a real life person who meets their specifications makes me ill, frankly.

NiceTabard Fri 12-Apr-13 02:11:07

the idea that disabled people are eminently unfuckable is also rampantly patriarchal.

I have no problem with my views smile

LinusVanPelt Fri 12-Apr-13 02:19:38

Well said, NiceTabard.

Leithlurker - "The right is not about sex it is about being human, having sex is part of being human." Hmm. Another part of being human, surely, should be recognising the humanity of others?

And therefore not buying them as things to use for your own pleasure?

Sex is not a right. For any of us, disabled or not.

LinusVanPelt Fri 12-Apr-13 02:26:31

Scratch "sex is not a right". That misses the point, really, because the person wanting sexual gratification can of course do what they like with their own body and / or with any object that floats their boat.

But access to other people's bodies is not a right.

fllowtheyellowbrickroad Fri 12-Apr-13 05:01:04

Sorry to post and run. I agree. Having sex may be part of being human but if in doing that there is a need to buy another human I think human decency must come first.

The fact that other people are organising this as surprise "gifts" leaves me cold.

alwayslateforwork Fri 12-Apr-13 05:27:27

Lots of v interesting stuff looked at by Treloar. how to facilitate consensual relationships for young people with severe disabilities etc, who may not be physically able to position themselves for a peck on the cheek, let alone any other sort of intimacy - young people who are aware of peer group behaviour/ their own hormone surges/ body changes etc. how to evaluate whether both parties are freely consenting etc.

V complex.

Not about buying and selling though. Even without the cash changing hands, most folk recoil in horror about the idea of people with severe physical disabilities having a sexual identity. It makes discussing the subject merely in terms of prostitution almost impossible.

In reality, the only person I have ever heard on this subject was a woman with a learning disabled 18yo dd. (I've never heard anyone seam about men's rights in this arena - must be the circles I move in...) she even admitted herself that whilst she wanted for her dd to enjoy a sexual relationship, she struggled with the societal view that disabled people shouldn't be allowed to do that sort of thing, moves towards compulsory sterilisation, medical interventions to prevent puberty and growth in order to make personal care/ lifting easier compared to human rights of the individual etc.

None of this is really pertinent for nt types, so to attempt to draw exact parallels to bolster arguments against prostitution is a bit simplistic.

I'm entirely anti- prostitution, if it matters. I suppose I should read the articles now.

sashh Fri 12-Apr-13 05:34:46

I have not read the articles, I just want to throw into the mix that in Holland there are volunteers who have sex with disabled people, there it is seen as a human right.

the person wanting sexual gratification can of course do what they like with their own body

Not always.

Just to throw into the mix, and I will come back later, read the articles and have a think but what about a person who wants to use a sex toy but who cannot get it 'in place' by themselves. Would it be OK for someone to do that?

I basically mean placing a vibrator where it needs to be and then leaving the room. Is that different to lifting someone on to the toilet?

alwayslateforwork Fri 12-Apr-13 05:43:11

Sassh, that's the sort of thing I'm talking about. I know Treloar have quite explicit policies about these things, and the role of carers/ support workers.

'Prostitution is a bad thing' is nowhere near nuanced enough to deal with sexuality and disability. However much you want it to be so.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 06:45:34

Exactly sash and always, the articles should anyone read them cover exactly the complexities involved, not least by the FACT that time and again in surveys of disabled people and able bodied people, a high number of able bodied people would never go on a date never mind have sex with someone with a disability.

More research is being done, both (I think) the articles are written by academics doing further work, part of the problem has been probably always will be, the inability of parents of adults with the whole range of impairements to see their children as adults with all the needs and desires that adults have. This stops the adult children from being able to express or do anything about their sexuality, particularly for women, and for LGBT people.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 06:58:54

Tabard I would have hoped that someone with a disability would be able to understand the idea that what ever the impairment or level of difficulty Those who're the most effected by the views of others are the ones with the most sensitivity towards their own impairment. Whilst you have no problem with your views, other impaired women and men would find it belittles them and denies them the right to speak about a need or desire to engage in a part of every day human life that is being denied to them through people saying "you do not have a right to sex"

LinusVanPelt Fri 12-Apr-13 09:09:50

The person wanting sexual gratification can of course do what they like with their own body.

Not always.

I meant that "can of course do" in terms of a person's rights, not in terms of their physical ability to carry out their wishes. Perhaps it was clumsily phrased, sorry about that. But I would have thought in the context of this discussion that my meaning would have been clear.

Spero Fri 12-Apr-13 09:12:49

I would just like to know if the people so annoyed by the 'myth' that disabled people are considered 'unfuckable' are disabled themselves?

I am physically disabled and can tell you very clearly that it is not a 'myth'. It is clear to me how a large number of abled bodied people regard the disabled.

Spero Fri 12-Apr-13 09:18:50

I will now read the articles, I have posted quickly and in anger.

I don't know the 'status' of most of you posting.

But may I just say, as a disabled woman who has time and time again been shown with absolute and horrible clarity just how a lot of able bodied people perceive me, to have any able bodied person pontificating on my experience is absolutely enraging.

For anyone who thinks that there is a level sexual playing field for the disabled, open your eyes and see the world as it, not through the lense of your liberal sensitivities.

If anyone wants to volunteer to provide sexual gratification to the disabled, bloody good on them. I am less comfortable with commercial transactions because that does open door to exploitation.

A sex life may not be a 'right" but for many people it is an important and valuable part of being alive.

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 09:47:01

Spero I am sorry you have had the experiences that you have had, I fear the number of people who are disable and who have a sexual aspect to their life without paying for it, or without having to fulfil someone elses fantasy about "gimp" sex, is low compared to the total number of people with impairments. It would be interesting to see the gender breakdown between male and female disabled people to see if more women or men with disabilities have a regular sex life.

YonirockandrollbutIlikeit Fri 12-Apr-13 10:57:21

I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear above. I am uncomfortable with a commercial transaction. My discomfort isn't around people with disabilities having sex.

Spero Fri 12-Apr-13 12:36:15

But if the only way for some disabled people to have sex is via a commercial transaction, why this horror and disgust IF the transaction can be regulated to be as sure as we can be that the men or women working in this field are safe from explotation, trafficking etc.

I am uncomfortable with this notion that adults cannot consent to sell sex - it seems unnecessarily paternatlistic and my fear is that it does mask a hidden shock and disgust at the thought of disabled people being sexual beings.

The only way I could guarranttee an active sex life is to visit various fetish web sites or pay for it. I am certainly not having sex with someone who values me only for my disability and I am not keen on paying!

But I am troubled by the very strong emotions this subject seems to arose. It is important for able bodied people who are expressing an opinion on whether or not disabled people should have a sex life to be honest with themselves about what they know and understand of life with disabilities.

For the vast majority of my friends I am the ONLY person with a disability that they have regular social contact with. I would be VERY surprised to learn that any of them had had sex with a disabled person. I am tired of well meaning comments such as 'you are so pretty! I am sure your disability isn't an issue'.

It most certainly is. And I can quite understand why. Disability is not 'sexy', I am not going to shriek at the able bodied for not wanting to wine and dine someone who is disabled. Being perfectly blunt, neither would I. If I met someone lovely, kind and funny hopefully I would look beyond the disability, but those kinds of relationships take time and trouble to build up and most people just can't be bothered.

So I am really troubled by the contemptuous and outright dismissal of any attempts to think of a solution for the disabled. From the tone of some of these posts we are expected to just shut up and go away, we don't have any 'right' to the kind of expressions of sexuality that the able bodied take for granted.

Seriously, check your privilege.

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.'

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.

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 18:05:23

Sadly a lot of even supposed real love is transactional. Go into a bar as a man in your dirty paint covered overalls and then return in a very expensive suit and compare the attention you get from girls once they think you're rich. It does not quite apply in reverse although sometimes I suppose it might.

Right? It is not a legal right that any of us will be provided with sex or partners by the state. I suppose some organisations might promise it to you - I think the Moonies provided loads of spouses for mass weddings and in North Korean prison camps temporary spouses are provided so workers can be bred but on the whole there is no regime I can think of that provides people with spouses as of right which may be why so many countries have dowries - if you pay enough some man takes a daughter off your hands.

Gosh I am sure none of us think Spero or an OAP of 80 or an obese woman of 30 stones is disgusting for wanting to be held and have a partner. It is not illegal to pay for sex in the UK and indeed some women as well as men use escort agencies either for sex or companionship.

What is interesting is what Hakim calls the sex deficit - that in most cultures men want a lot more sex than women do so men tend to have to pay to get it whereas mostly women can have it when they want it despite female salaries, equality and the like. Obviously as a feminist I would rather that were not so but it is.

I suppose there must be a risk that if your local council arranges it they then move into breaking the law in the sense that a prostitute is allowed to charge for sex but if another lives of her earnings or pimps her etc then they do break the law. Your local council surely is at risk if they use the prostitute as a subcontractor? Has anyone looked on line to find the contracts which may be published by local authorities for these services I wonder. I think every contract worth £10k a year now has to be published by the state.

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 18:07:07

Ah it sounds like the sex workers are paid direct or my extensive research suggests so.

LastMangoInParis Fri 12-Apr-13 20:43:50

that in most cultures men want a lot more sex than women do so men tend to have to pay to get it whereas mostly women can have it when they want it despite female salaries, equality and the like.

Xenia, I am no anthropologist, but I don't think women in most cultures have the freedom to have sex 'when they want it'! Have a little think and it might occur to you that this has generally been a male-only privilege. 'In most cultures', that is.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Fri 12-Apr-13 21:43:24

I guess either you are ok with prostitution or you're not. I'm not...for anyone. Many people find it difficult to get sex partners, both disabled and not but I can understand those with physical disabilities are overrepresented in this group. Is paying for it, the answer? I don't think so. But this does not mean I find the idea of disabled people having sex disgusting hmm angry

I would be supportive of the idea of support workers assisting masturbation, though. I've worked in independent living homes and have supported service users prepare for personal time with correct positioning/ removing splints etc (not contravening any guidelines I hasten to add!) but going one step further by facilitating with sex aids etc. by trained staff would be a viable option. I think this is different to the proposals in the OP and a is helluva lot more dignified.

I currently work in a college for young adults with physical disabilities and learning difficulties and it's like a soap opera with all the relationships and drama grin It's quite difficult balancing safeguarding the students and enabling a personal/social life due to the presence of learning difficulties. Does this scheme just deal with physical disabilities?

Leithlurker Fri 12-Apr-13 23:33:01

Youmake melala: The problem with support workers being involved in the the process is twofold. One, the "term support worker" covers a range of jobs so we would need to be clear which support workers we are talking about. Also clients with support workers expect them to behave in a professional and careing capacity, this is not the same as sex friend. masterbating a client would in some, possibly a lot of cases cross the boundary between routine depersonalised relief and so still leave the client emotionally unsatisfied. Surrogates at least engage the person as a human not a just a biological function.

2nd. You say yourself that in your own workplace that young adults no matter what type of impairment ot even level of impairement they have, are intent just as non disabled youngsters are of finding someone to be intimate with. No one here has suggested that paying a prostitute is going to give anything other than the most fleeting glimpse of what it might be like to share intimacy with someone. A properly trained sex surrogate such as the one featured in the film "The sessions" which is spoken about in one of the articles I linked to, does at least engage not just the physicle but emotional and mental aspects of the clients sexual desire and needs. Often allowing the client to see that using prostitutes is not any kind of answer for their own needs. This might sound fine and dandy, but these surrogates are still paid, they have more than one client, they do not see themselves as prostitutes but I am sure people from across the political and social spectrum will still apply that label. Again your discomfort about prostitution is rooted in some stereotypical notion of what sexworkers do, where they work, how they work, and how sex should be defined. Not trying to pick a fight only suggesting as others have said that the whole issue of prostitution is always put in to very black and white which get us no where.

alwayslateforwork Sat 13-Apr-13 03:02:21

Are you at Treloar, lala?

sashh Sat 13-Apr-13 08:11:31

I have no problem with people spending money they have earned on prostitutes or even wives from a political point of view.

So back in January when I had a part time job it would be OK for me to pay a sex worker but now I'm out of work I can't spend my DLA on one?

OK that's me told.

Leithlurker Sat 13-Apr-13 11:05:29

Sashh: I think your safe to spend your hard for for and soon to be replaced DLA on your needs whatever they are. If you check back I did ask X if she had an issue between earned income and other income like benefits, pensions, expenses from the house of lords etc.

Seriously though and as a side bar to this discussion, if those who think disabled people should do anything other than pay for sex, need fear no more. The ability to pay for a lot of stuff will soon be removed from disabled people. Of course the amount spent by the tax payer dealing with higher rates of depression, body image disorders, anti social behaviour linked to feelings of alienation and isolation. These are not just emotive words but we only have to look at history to see how many diffrent types of people have reacted to being positioned as less than human.

Spero Sat 13-Apr-13 13:14:39

Why is 'sex' equated with help with masturbation? Why this focus on male orgasm throughout most of this discussion?

Agree with leith lurker - lack of sex doesn't mean you are just missing out on an orgasm. That's a very sad, narrow and limited view of what the sexual experience can mean for many.

But fair to say, worrying about paying for sex is probably going to bumped off the list of concerns for many disabled people soon, to be replaced by worries about eating or keeping warm.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sat 13-Apr-13 13:31:27

As a disabled person, I find the idea of not being able to find willing sexual partners distasteful at best, and downright untrue in all my friends that have disabilities.

Why would anyone 'need' to pay a sex worker just because they have disabilities?

Leithlurker Sat 13-Apr-13 14:02:58

Couthy if you read back across the thread and the articles written by disabled people reflecting the real life experiences of other disabled people, that I have linked to. You will see that you and your friends are not typicle of other women and men with disabilities. I do not mean this in a argumentative way but just becouse it is something you and your circle of friends have not come across does not stop it being the case for large numbers of disabled people.

Spero Sat 13-Apr-13 15:26:09

Couthy, that is great for you and your friends, and I am happy to hear it.

But it is not my experience, and it is not the experience of the disabled people I know.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 00:16:52


Xenia Sun 14-Apr-13 07:48:00

If benefits are so generous people can afford to pay for sex on them which tends not to come very cheap perhaps we need to look at benefits levels in a recession. Surely someone aged 75 - 105 missing human company and having to pay for their cat to get something to touch is just as deserving of state provided company, touching or sex as someone disabled? I suspect if free sex on the state were provided there might be huge demand from all kinds of sources including hard working male (and sometimes female) tax payers who perhaps should have first dibs as it may well keep them working happily supporting those who need benefits.

I had said usually women can get sex and men can't. I did not mean loads of cultures are happy with women who commit adultery etc but it is relatively common even in places like Iran and India and Saudi. Hakim's view which is probably consistent with what most of us see is that men want more sex than they get and women often don't give it to them (see countless mumsnet threads and a very few about women wanting more from a husband who does not oblige

Very well said, Spero. It's also true that there are some sex workers who seek out this sort of work because they see themselves as therapists. Why should it be such a terrible thing for them to recieve payment for providing a service willingly? 'Talking'-type therapists get paid, after all.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 09:09:16

There seem to be lots of different arguments going on here.

I don't think sex is a 'right' just as I don't think having a child is a 'right'. Both can be a wonderful (or horrible) part of the human experience.

Therefore I don't think the state is under any obligation to fund anyone to have a sex life. But I do think it s more difficult for disabled people to find sexual partners, and if a consenting adult is willing to enter into a transaction with them to provide sexual contact in return for money, then this should be a matter left to the two people in the transaction.

There are valid concerns about exploitation in such transactions but I am disappointed that discussion gets shut down so quickly because some people have a visceral distaste for concept of prostitution or so little regard for the desires and feelings of others.

Why do we give the penis in vaginasexual act or men ejaculating so much power as a tool of degredation of women? Men oppress women in countless ways, I simply don't understand why their penis is elevated so highly. I wonder if it is a hangover from the days when women were seen as 'ruined' or defiled if they were raped - still an active concept in many societies.

The only shame in rape should be the shame of the rapist. If a woman decides she wants to make money from her body, free from pressure or exploiation from others, I will respect her decision as a consenting adult. It seems an odd state of affairs to be either angered or disgusted by such a choice, just because it is not one you would make for yourself.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 09:33:48

Well that did not take you long Xenia to revert back to your normal stance re benefits, I did wonder if you had caught some kind of caring conservatism bug.

However lets not derail this thread about how one pays for a service, although I would remind you that DLA is specifically given to people with impairments both in work and not, to allow them to overcome some of the difficulties they experience. It is their choice, a choice you agreed earlier that they had just like other people, so what they do with their money is not for you or anyone else to pontificate or allude that they get to much money just as a result of what choices they make.

Spero: I agree entirely with your last set of points. In particular and I said this earlier even if a male cannot respond to masterbation, they can still be an active participant either by directing, touching, or by giving pleasure till completion even if that is something he cannot have for himself. Here again though I end up focusing on the man and his member, this excludes talk of women and their feelings and their desires.
Most often we are left in no doubt on this board that women are second class citizens by the actions of men. It seems that when it comes to disabled women having the same access to a human function and need as a male, the only response is to shut down discussion because it involves men raping women because they pay for it. Disabled women are thus excluded from the discussion even though they are in exactly the same situation as men.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 09:50:55

Yes, it is this emphasis on sex as an act of male oppression using a penis, rather than considering the desires and wants of all human beings, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

And maybe I am being over sensitive due to my life experiences, but I also do detect an undercurrent of distaste for idea of disabled people as wanting sex.

I think most of us 'need' to be touched, hugged etc and sex is an obvious expression of this.

I found the Harlow experiments on baby monkeys heartbreaking - they were separated form their mothers and given a choice of a cold metal mother and food or a soft cuddly fake mother with no food. They chose the cuddly fake mother.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 15:24:06

I noticed earlier that someone started a thread with a very offensive heading that pointed to the fact that this thread has been highlighted and spoken a part about on another site. The site needless to say is a part ad board for sex workers part chat board. Needless to say that this site and others receive a lot of hate from some posters on this forum. Indicated by the reference in the title.

It is also noticable that we have not had any input from some of the regular contributers like LRD and others, although to be fair Couthy has added to this thread.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 15:35:21

That just sadly confirms my suspicions that for some posters on this site, they don't want a discussion or debate or any attempt to engage with people who don't share their world view. They just want to bolster and affirm each others prejudices.

I too have been called a rape apologist. It's sixth form debate at its most tedious sometimes.

namechangeguy Sun 14-Apr-13 15:50:41

You wont get a contribution in here from certain regular posters, primarily because Spero is a woman. Had she been a man articulating the same views, it would be a different story.

There is another thread on here about someone wanting to view porn. Lots of support and suggestions. Imagine a man asking the same question?

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 16:13:47

Indeed I have been to dry by MNHQ several times because of my "argumentative" posting style. Which seems absurd as, as you say lled a rape apologist is probably one of the worst things I have ever been called, worse than "mong" or "spas" or cripple. All of which I have had several times.

Spero what do you think of my proposal of "surrogate"? Have you sean or heard about the film "The sessions" ?

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 16:15:14

obviously the word "hung" should be in the first line, just before the word dry.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 16:48:37

I haven't heard of the film, but the idea of surrogates fits well with my view of what should be mainstream and acceptable in society. I assume wider recognition, better regulation etc will also go a long way to deal with legitimate fears that sex workers are often exploited or not exercising real choice.

Interestingly, the poster who called me a rape apologist thought I was a man.

ramiol1 Sun 14-Apr-13 17:54:27

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Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 17:58:21

My dad isn't. My brothers aren't. What a ludicrous and stupid thing to say.

Unless its meant to be a joke.

No, still stupid and ludicrous.

ramiol1 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:03:25

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ramiol1 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:04:29

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ramiol1 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:04:51

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Sunnywithshowers Sun 14-Apr-13 18:06:25


ramiol1 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:12:21

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ramiol1 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:12:39

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Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 18:14:02

O gosh silly me. If Marilyn FRENCH says it, it must be true.

Please retract any foolish and girlish criticism I may have made of your postings. They are in no way tiresome or irritating but profoundly revelatory.

ramiol1 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:15:12

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Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 18:22:17

Marilyn and I may have similar genitals. But we clearly don't have similar views. This is allowed you know.

I hesitate to ask what kind of point you are making as I am prepared to bet your answer will make very little sense.

namechangeguy Sun 14-Apr-13 18:33:05

Spero - let the idiot go. Come back later when his mum has put him to bed.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 18:41:16

Sorry. But as this thread has established, I am not having any sex so I have to find outlets for my growing rage and frustration.

Come back sweet ramiol - I was enjoying the cut and thrust of your debate.

Your mum must be very proud.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 18:52:03

You got to love the way that trolls are not discriminatory, a thread that mostly disagrees with the feminist line is trolled by an anti feminist probable MRA type. Thats what I call inclusive trolling, and highly stupid of course.

Spero the film I spoke of comes out of a real life experience, I will try and find a link not to the film but the disabled guy who's writing inspired the film. As a matter of interest after using a surrogate he was left feeling that what he wanted was a loving relationship not just sex. I think this is crucial, people want the full deal not to abuse or be abused. However in order to learn what they want or how they can come to some kind of mental adjustment to cope with their life, the chance to experience the intimacy of sex is crucial. People will always want what they have never had, people will always imagine that what they are missing is the thing that will change their life.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 19:09:50

Hang on, is this the recent film that has just come out about the bloke in the iron lung? Yes, I have heard of it, will definitely go and see it.

that is quite encouraging, if I am thinking about the right film. No one appears to be picketing the cinemas spluttering about rape. Maybe we are moving to more mainstream acceptance.

Trolls are lovely aren't they. Come back ramiol, I want to PLAY. Only your razor sharp mind stands between me and the gharstly prospect of actually doing some work this evening.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 19:12:33

And yes, i completely agree with you about the dangers of idealising what we never had. I have had enough sex to appreciate that I am not necessarily missing out on the most sublime experience known to man and womankind ... but that is lucky for me, not a reason to dictate what others can and cannot explore.

I think the reason I have never gone down the male escort route is that I would find it just too sad. I value the emotional connection more highly than the rubbing of genitals and of course you are unlikely to get much of that in a commercial transaction.

AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 19:22:30

Just a minute

Are the people who oppose the sex industry for anyone (thus being equal opportunity opposers) being criticised for not contributing to this thread ?

There has been a person name checked here, and I am not speaking for her, although I expect I am "lumped in" with her in certain quarters

I haven't contributed to this thread. Not because I don't have anything to add, not because I have any double standards, but because in direct contrast to some respondents sometimes I think it appopriate to keep my big trap shut

name checking is out of order, as is goading people you know will often rise to such calls to arms

it seems to me that this thread, despite being lauded as great debate by the absence of certain posters is actually just like lots of others I have seen

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 19:24:07

It is indeed the "Iron Lung" guy. He was a relatively famous poet and author. You want the link?

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 19:37:37

Yes please to link.

I don't know who are the people who are 'supposed' to be contributing to this thread. I don't know why it is bad form to mention it either way. Contribute or don't. Can't see how this is 'goading'.

I am quite tired of what seems to be a recent culture of either lauding or criticising people who have acheived some degree of prominence on this site by posting frequently. I find it hard to care. I like posters who have something interesting to say and who are open minded and take account of what others say, not simply repeating the same tired old arguments.

The only name I have ever made note of was the one who followed me from thread to thread to call me a rape apologist and a man. Fortunately she seems to have buggered off the past year or so.

AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 19:40:16

Indeed, spero

I am in complete agreement with you

So why would it be appropriate to comment when individuals are not on a thread ?

Just leave it and get on with a debate. Is that too much to ask ? I am looking at you, LL. Just so we are clear.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 19:46:09

I don't see why it is so inappropriate to wonder, if there are people who are enthusiastic contributors to certain subjects but who steer clear of certain threads. I am certainly musing as to why the person who started it never came back!

I fail to see how such speculation is horrible goading.

Sigh. Maybe I just don't 'get' the whole culture. I thought I had gone down the rabbit hole far enough with all the angst over the 'funny' threads. But it seems there are layers and layers.

Perhaps I am just unusually well balanced and full of zen like calm. I find these discussions interesting as far as they go but the day the internet makes me feel 'goaded' is the day my lap top goes out the window.

AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 19:55:08

Indeed, spero

I am in complete agreement with you, again

And I have down been the rabbit hole far enough to understand that these "throw away" comments are very rarely as innocent as they may seem

LL, can you explain the name checking ?

it's one thing to speculate on why a group of people with a well-worn approach to certain debates is missing...but naming individuals is just not cricket

is it ?

Hello. smile

I didn't comment because I was busy buying a dress online, making soup, writing my thesis, and wittering on with a lovely bunch of people about the Great British Sewing Bee. As this thread has 95 posts and as, last time I looked, no-one has lumbered me with the job of official spokeswoman for things I've already said many times, this will be my first and last post here. smile

Take care everyone.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 19:57:20

AF: please do go back an re read that very post, I named checked TWO posters not just one. I admitted and and acknowledged that a well known,
(equal opportunity opposer) had made a comment. The representative name, of the posters who have not posted was not me being goady. It was if anything a reflection on your last point, which I agree entirely with btw. A debate, a proper full on, adult cross exchange of ideas and thoughts that does not degenerate in to name calling or personal insults. Or just repeats the same line over and over, is very much what I would welcome. I speak for no one else, since though myself and other posters have said very smiler things I would not be in the least surprised if a proper and respectful debate was to start, they would enter in to it also.

One other thing interested me about your point and it is the assumption that you were "lumped" in to a general category. Firstly as someone who has been told that I too am lumped in to a general category and that rather dubious honour means that my views on anything are to be seen as problematic and that no one out side my imposed designation would ever voluntarily look at anything I say, I feel smiler to you that being "lumped" in to a group is basic a silencing tactic. (OK you did not say that but your reference lead me to extrapolate that.) So I do want to you to contribute, even though it might well be anti my stance the only way that we can debate as I said earlier is to have a range of views. We might possibly never agree, what that means though is not that either one of us is wrong. The moral certinity often expressed on these pages often turns in to the argument of right and wrong when in fact human behaviour is probably wrong for some people most of the time.

Lastly and still with the lumped in issue, this is the first thread that I have been able to explain my understanding and belief of what the specific issues of impaired people and SEXUALITY, not prostitution are. However being lumped means that I have never been able to explain my point of view as being lumped means that I get attacked and end up defending myself more than explaining myself. The point I am making here is that being lumped is an issue of respect, I respect your view, I would like to have it put forward, I will always try and debate fairly and opnely on the facts (I know others would disagree with that but again not being listened to or offered respect leads to playing up, childish I know). So I am asking you a serious question, how do we unlump each other and get back to a situation where you seeing my name means you know what I will say but at least give me the chance to say it and explain it, and vice a vera for yourself. (Although and this might sound like sucking up, your style is often much more abrasive than the content of what you say. This at least I and I think others can cope with as it does not in it's self cause hurt feeling. Being called a rape apologist does though)

Sorry for the essay folks.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 20:07:05

O yes this 'lumping' thing is incredibly tiresome. It must answer some deeply buried human need to belong and feel part of a tribe. What I don't understand is all the pain and angst it causes.

Time and time again I will leap into a social services type thread and be designated the apologist for the corrupt state. But I carry on because I think it might help anyone lurking who is otherwise being fed quite dangerous and wrong information. But it doesn't upset me.

I guess this is the one disadavantage to being born disabled. You have to deal early on with other people's revolting behaviour right in your face and the words on a screen stuff seems frightfully tame now.

Its a shame however if it gets in the way of a frank exchange of views from which people could get a new perspective on old ways of thinking. This is what is so amazing about the internet and what we can do with it.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:07:30

This is the link spero, although it may not be the best article about the issue of him exploring his sexuality.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:07:42
AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:08:33

LL, you are not getting what I am saying.

Respect means sometimes not wading in with a POV that would be quite obvious based on previous exchanges

Silence should not always be taken as a tangible contribution. Which when you look at it logically, is exactly what you did. Which is highly illogical bearing in mind that such shout outs as "well, where is X, Y, Z on this issue then..." is counterproductive

Just get on with it, in your own way. Why do you need the "usual suspects" to argue your point with ? Is it any more or less valid ?

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 20:09:53

Thanks for the link.

'I wanted to be held, caressed, valued'.

Yes indeed. That is what it is all about isn't it?

Shame on all of you who have attempted to reduce it simply to male ejaculation.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:12:38

Sorry Spero, you have only now reminded me where I have seen you before, and I have to say that I am an admirer of your work in defending both the principle and the practice of family law, and child protection issues. A bear pit is a good metaphore for these boards at times, especially when the crowd gets up a head of steam. Not just an MN thing but a "human" thing, you do a great job of sticking to your point.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:20:32

A good example AF of us not agreeing, and I respectfully hold to my view and disagree with you. But I will be mindful of what you say and try and adjust my style. It might be my male brain, or maybe just part of my thought processing but I am not sure I could make a post without referencing another post if I thought it was pertinent. I know maybe this comes over as whinny or "poor me" I accept that could be the case. So again I will take what you said and mull it over.

AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:22:36

It's quite simple really, LL

name checking is not cricket

no mulling over required

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 20:23:52

It obviously serves some need, like people getting all upset when Diana died. People obviously feel less inhibited about being blunt/rude whatever.
I have noticed some people getting really upset and that is sad. I wonder what goes on in their 'real lives' that this kind of engagement can so profoundly distress them.

Anyway, thanks for the link, I am sorry and surprised I was so ignorant of the man and his writings. This especially
'Why do rehabilitation hospitals teach disabled people how to sew wallets and cook from a wheelchair but not deal with a person’s damaged self-image? Why don’t these hospitals teach disabled people how to love and be loved through sex, or how to love our unusual bodies? '

I am quite sure many of my problems stem from my own script about disability which I adopted at an early age because sadly without exception ALL the adults around me were so utterly piss poor at dealing with it. Nobody wanted to talk about it, everyone was embarrassed for whatever reason. He deals with that very well.

Why can't we just talk to each other and be honest? What holds us back?

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 20:25:06

Genuine question. Why is name checking 'not cricket'?

Not cricket in any circumstances? Either to blame or praise?

If it is so undesirable, why are we given the opportunity to create unique user names?

AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:32:29

Genuine reply.

Do you think the name checking in this instance was for useful purposes ?

We have unique user names, granted.

And also a pm function to draw people's attention to a thread if we have genuinely altruistic reasons to draw an individual's attention to a thread.

Naming someone applies un necessary and undue public pressure, and could be described as arrogance in a "my post deserves a reply from this person" kinda way

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 20:34:39

Well I really couldn't give a shit either way.

I just don't get this level of angst that attaches to 'some one has mentioned my name! Someone is goading me!'

Sorry, I may be very obstuse or thick skinned but I just don't understand why on earth it matters. Each of us choses the level with which we engage in this site or feel validated by it.

Some people, judging from what I have been reading recently, take it far, far too seriously.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:37:47

I was going to be flippant AF and say that cricket is yet another game we Scots are not any good at. I understand the words and I even understand what they mean, however as pointed out earlier by remarking that x and y have not contributed on a subject that they have done so on many, many threads is not necessaries goady. Context is everything. I was once deleted for thanking someone for having a look at a link I posted, it seems it was deemed to be sarcastic when I was being totally sincere.

If it is not about context, would people who post looking for specific advise, like teens, or legal not be playing cricket when they shout out a particular posters name? I am being genuine by the way absolutely not goady.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 20:42:43

O brave new world.

Given that tone is often quite difficult to interpret or even recognise when one is typing, if we are going to dictate no sarcasm, no goading, no attempts at humour then it is bye bye forum.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 20:44:24

x posted with you AF: Again I understand the view and I see the logic in it, again maybe its my thought processes that need to adjust but I pretty much type as I think and I would say as part of a conversation, I wonder where so and so is as they would have something to say on this. Or something along those lines. Maybe like spero I do not have the energy for double thinking everything these days. Hard enough making sense of my own life without worrying about others, sigh which I know is another thing I will be mulling over.

AF: Thoughts on "lumping"?

FloraFox Sun 14-Apr-13 20:57:07

Speaking for myself, I normally contribute to threads about prostitution if I see them and I am an equal opportunity opposer. I've been reading this thread with interest but I have not posted mainly because I'm not comfortable with how some posters on this thread were treated, particularly NiceTabard who, I thought, made some interesting points. I'm opposed to prostitution on feminist / ethical grounds not because I don't want disabled people to have sex. Someone said people are not posting because Spero is a woman. I don't believe that's true. But then any response would just be "repeating the same tired old arguments", wouldn't it?

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:02:40

Flora how would you approach the issue then firstly do you accept that it is an issue of human experience rather than male ejaculation?

FloraFox Sun 14-Apr-13 21:10:53

I don't accept that it is either of those things and I don't understand why you have fixated on this concept of it not being about male ejaculation. I agree with NiceTabard's posts above and I don't agree with your responses, either in substance or tone.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:11:30

I have had a re read of the comments made both by and to Nicetabard, they were in line with asking for a debate about the issue of people with impairments having sex, and the notion that many people who are disabled think of themselves as "unfuckable" as in practice they cannot get one. Both the articles I linked to support that contention. What do you think was unfair Flora?

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:13:12

Why do you think I have fixated on male ejaculation Flora? What specificly do you agree with Nice Tabbard about?

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:16:39

I beg your pardon Flora I misread your post, let me rephrase, by not focusing on male ejaculation do you consider that I am being dishonest and what I am really wanting to do is continue male privledge?

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 21:23:13

It seems that no-one is any longer allowed to express an opinion here without being demanded an opinion on male ejaculation!

I agree with FloraFox and NiceTabard.

No-one has the right to anyone else's body.

FloraFox Sun 14-Apr-13 21:25:52

"In that case tabard you are not bothering to look at the views and experiences of the people you wish to pontificate about. Your assertions about rights not being rights are just that assertions. You would have read that indeed many people seem to want to define what the right of people with impairements are, few however have to suffer the consequences of having their right to a full and meaningful life denied them.

"Must be nice to live in a world where you can take your own freedom of action for granted. Not worry about bullying or ridicule, never thinking that your not a full human being, always being able to get a shag even a pity shag if you want one, or even just to have someone hold you for a reason that has nothing to do with your inability to function.

"The right is not about sex it is about being human, having sex is part of being human.

If that's in line with you asking for a debate and that's your response to someone who is disabled, it's not surprising some people are choosing not to contribute to the thread. I'm not contributing further for that reason. I just wanted to respond to your post calling out people for not contributing.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:29:08

"No-one has the right to anyone else's body."
Yep that was the general thinking back on page two Mariaane, what about the rest of the discussion? Especialy how women are being disadvantaged by the focus on male ejaculation?

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:33:25

Flora that was written before I knew the poster was disabled, even so the point she was making was only her interpretation which is directly contradicted by the articles she refused to read.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 21:36:36

No Leith, I would rather focus on how you - or anyone else - think it is justifiable for anyone, disabled or not, to patronise prostitutes.

Hence "No-one has the right to anyone else's body."

MooncupGoddess Sun 14-Apr-13 21:45:02

I did make a passing reference to male ejaculation at the beginning of this thread, and am sorry if that has offended people. I appreciate that buying sex services is about more than that... though I note that no one seems to have taken me up on my invitation to give examples of women (fully abled or disabled) who have bought sex services.

I have absolutely no problem with disabled people having sex. A poster above has quoted 'I wanted to be held, caressed, valued'... and of course that desire is perfectly understandable. But how can one feel valued when one's paying for a service, rather than engaging in mutually enthusiastic love-making? This is what I don't understand.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:48:45

Mariaane, on this thread we have spent a lot of time talking about many issues, one of the first ones we (I can use the collective we as at least four if not five posters have agreed with this point, so stop being goady and inflammatory and making this about ME!) spoke about is how these discussions always have this prostitution focus which prevents the experiences of disabled people, mainly disabled women ever being discussed. For that reason I will not go over old ground about an argument that some people seem to use as a defence against having to consider that they are invoking able bodied privilege over disabled people, again a point not made by me but another poster on this thread.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 21:52:58

Mooncup please have a look at the articles I linked to, you will see that disabled women and men are not stupid they know that having sex with a prostitute is not the same as a loving relationship. That is why the issue is far deeper and more complex than this focus on prostitution we always have. Look at all of spero's posts on this thread, as a disabled woman she speaks for herself and the experience of many disabled women as again highlighted in the articles I linked to.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 21:54:25

Mooncup - I think we have all accepted that paying for someone else to hold you is a pretty poor substitute for the 'real thing' i.e being held and carressed by someone who really loves you. But as I said, it seems that some people wish to deny disabled people even a poor choice.

I found Tabard's responses really unhelpful, just knee jerk dismissal by claiming that people were saying things they weren't saying. I particularly disliked how she/he characterised one of my comments as 'just men trying to shag people out of their league' or something similar or that I was claiming sex as a 'right'.

Maybe it is my fault for going on too much about ejaculation, but a lot of posters were simply writing about (and condemning) men for wanting sex.

Its not just about men! I haven't posted about any experiences of women buying sex because I haven't done that (yet) and no one has been brave enough to ever admit to me they have done it. But maybe when my daughter is older and I have more time I will seriously want to consider it. And I would like to explore those options. Not be told that no one is ever allowed to enter into a commercial transaction because that is prostitution and that is evil male construct of the partiarchy.

For all the many reasons we have explored, that is not always true and reveals a paternalistic attitude which concerns me.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:02:06

Leith, the point is that no-one, regardless of circumstances, has the right to another person's body.

Disability does not give you special rights over other people.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:04:23

No one is saying that anyone has a right to anyone's body!

Of course they don't!!

The argument is about whether or not sex surrogates ought to be available to disabled people. Whether or not two consenting adults can enter into a commercial transaction to buy sexual contact.

Some people seem to think not, because they think it is just about men wanting to 'buy' an attractive woman they couldn't otherwise get.

And that massively pisses me off because it is just lazy, knee jerk responses.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:12:05

I'm not sure that that you can really separate sex surrogates as "two consenting adults" from prostitution - which as a concept is totally wrong.

It is still, regardless of the circumstances, reducing another human being into a commodity.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:15:05

Well this is the nub of the debate isn't it?

A pity it becomes obscured by posters contemptuous of male sexuality or the sexuality of the disabled - as I say I think it was both.

I do think it unnecessarily paternalistic to say to a grown man or women - you cannot use your body to earn money in a way you are happy and comfortable with.

Have you read the link about the author who went to a sex surrogate? Do you think she was degraded in her work and did not genuinely consent to what she was doing?

Did you read about the profound and positive impact this had on the author?

do you not think there is more to this argument than simply stopping dead at the thought 'you cannot treat a human as a commodity?'

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 22:19:07

So address the issue that we have spent so much time talking about on this thread, instead of the one we have spent fairly little time talking about Mariaa. Do you think that as a result of having a disability and therefore being substancialy less likely to be able to have sex with a lover, that women and men should be forced in to celibacy?

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 22:24:39

So in not reducing another human in to a commodity, you reduce other humans in sexless beings unable to give or receive a basic human experience. That sounds like women being more worthy of human status than disabled people.

LinusVanPelt Sun 14-Apr-13 22:26:46

Leithlurker: "these discussions always have this prostitution focus"

Well, yes, in case you hadn't noticed, the linked article is about the use of prostitutes by residents of a care home.

So people who are opposed to prostitution, on feminist / ethical / human decency grounds, are going to be opposed to that.

And yet it was implied of posters who expressed those views early on that we were using our objection to the exploitation of prostituted women, to mask our disgust at the idea of disabled people having sex.

That's why I gave up posting and possibly why others didn't bother to start. If you expect people who are educated about the realities of prostitution to just ignore the implications of exploitation for fear of being accused that what we're really doing is using able-bodied privilege (and Leithlurker, you were very quick to assume that of a poster who has since said that she herself is disabled), it is impossible to have a reasoned discussion about the topic of the thread. The thread is about prostitution.

If this were a thread about the broader question of how people with disabilities should be better supported / facilitated in meeting their sexual desires, I'd imagine that possibilities might be discussed, including surrogates, sex therapists, match-making services, whatever. And the extent to which any of those options might blur the lines into prostitution might come up as a point of debate, and hopefully that could be discussed respectfully between people with opposing viewpoints who could agree that 1. it's perfectly normal and healthy for people with disabilities to desire sex and 2. exploitation of other people's desperation in order to access their bodies is a line that should never be crossed, regardless of who the 'client' is.

This thread was started about a particular article, and that article is about the use of prostituted women (I didn't see any mention of men, did you?) who, by the absence of any indication to the contrary, appear to be part of the general population of prostitutes in their area. They're not described as sex therapists, or surrogates, or volunteers.

Spero, you've been very balanced in your posts and have said that you'd be concerned about exploitation. But prostitution is exploitative by nature, and there's certainly nothing in article linked in the OP to suggest that there's anything other than exploitation going on there. The care home staff don't like being "groped", so they help the residents buy in prostituted women to get groped instead hmm . The "happy hooker" myth is just that. It's a myth. It is very, very unlikely that these are carefree, empowered businesswomen, taking part in a mutually beneficial transaction with no cost to their human dignity or their sense of self.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:27:19

Spero - I think you've got to draw the line somewhere, and I don't think prostitution, is any shape or form, is ever right.

Even allowing that there may be some sex workers who "use their bodies to earn money in a way you are happy and comfortable with", it does not mean that the sex industry isn't fundamentally an exploitative one. Which it is.

There are lots and lots of people, not necessarily disabled, who cannot or choose not to, for compelling reasons, to have sex. They have to or choose to live with it.

It really is not a right.

Do you think people in celibate marriages have the right to see prostitutes? What about people who just can't pull? (I am not trying to be "goady" asking these questions.)

LinusVanPelt Sun 14-Apr-13 22:27:28

Sorry for length of that. Didn't realise until I hit 'post'!

MooncupGoddess Sun 14-Apr-13 22:29:06

I have read the articles, which I found quite confused. The author argues that sex is a right (which I disagree with) and that disabled people should be able to pay for sexual services, but then quotes various disabled men who have paid for sex but found it emotionally upsetting and dissatisfying for the reasons I mentioned in my earlier post. There are no quotes from women who have paid for sex or considered paying for sex.

Many of the quotes are wrenchingly sad and I don't think anyone on this thread would dispute that we as a society should change our attitudes to disabled people, and indeed to physical appearance generally.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:33:08

Marianne, you again talk of 'rights' - I repeat, I have never and would never say anyone has a 'right' to sex or use of another's body.

But I disagree with the proposition that prostitution is simply inherently wrong in all circumstances, ever.

I completely agree that it can involve disgusting explotation and degradation, usually of women. I am well aware of these realities as for some years I worked in the asylum law field where trafficked children were a very sad reality.

But as we have discussed below, transactional relationships are very common - what about the Sugar Daddy website for eg?

I think a trained and professional sex surrogate is far less morally questionable than a women seeking an older man over the internet who will pay for her college fees while she provides him with sex or a bit of arm candy.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:33:56

Do you think that as a result of having a disability and therefore being substancialy less likely to be able to have sex with a lover, that women and men should be forced in to celibacy?

Yes, I think that if the options are prostitution or celibacy, then celibacy should be the answer, always.

And please remember that disabled people are really not the only ones facing this.

That sounds like women being more worthy of human status than disabled people.

Similarly, do you think disabled people should have special rights over women and their bodies?

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:38:08

Ok, you want to keep talking about 'rights', I really don't know why as this is not what anyone is arguing for.

So my choice is simply celibacy - even if I found someone quite happy to have sex with me for money?

So you deny both me and him/her that choice?


Because sex is such a profound and mystical experience that no one can genuinely be ok with doing it for money? Seriously?

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:39:50

But as we have discussed below, transactional relationships are very common - what about the Sugar Daddy website for eg?

It doesn't mean that they should be accepted. You don't think these "Sugar Daddy" scenarios are exploitative, on both sides?

You cannot separate isolated experiences from what is essentially an exploitative industry. By justifying it/engaging with it you are validating it.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:43:18

But I come back to my point - how is something exploitative if both people in the transaction are willing and comfortable?

What you are saying quite clearly is that any relationship involving the buying and selling of sex can NEVER be consensual and the 'happy hookers' are in denial.

I think this is wrong. You should not be able to prohibit an adult using his or her body in a way she or he wants, even if you personally find it morally questionable. This used to be the argument against homosexual relationships.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:43:45

So my choice is simply celibacy - even if I found someone quite happy to have sex with me for money?

Spero - you are really not unique in that. Do you think everyone who is unable to have sex should be able to have access to sexual services?

So you deny both me and him/her that choice?Why?

Because I think prostitution is fundamentally wrong.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:45:15

Well, you don't have to be or use prostitutes.

But I find it hard to accept why YOUR moral certainties should dictate the choices of others.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:46:47


As I said, I don't think you can separate an isolated, potential, hypothetical "happy hooker" scenario from an exploitative sex industry. By using its services you validate it.

Ok, finally caught up. Ish. Still no idea what leith was referring to but dead chuffed you think my post (whatever it was) was 'pertinent'. Another time, it'd be lovely if you'd PM me or quote the post as to just observe I didn't show up for debate with you makes me feel creeped out.


We're talking as if these rights are parallel - the 'right' to have sex/ 'feel human'/whatever you call it, and the right not to be abused for money.

They are not parallel.

It is really offensive to disabled people and sex workers to suggest they are remotely comparable.


At this stage in the game, I believe traditionally we segue into the 'happy hooker' debate. So I'll pre-empt. Yes, true, some sex workers are apparently very content with what they do. Whoopie doo. But, since many others are trafficked and abused, and since every time we legitimize one lot we legitmize the whole practice (which I strongly believe we do), this is beside the point.

If someone is genuinely happy to have sex with someone else, I believe you'll find we have a system for that already, one that doens't involve payment and involves plenty of disabled people.

All this focus on getting prostitutes for disabled people is not only damaging to prostituted women (and men), it's also avoiding the real issue - how to give support to disabled people and their partners to have a loving sex life. And how to educate people to understand that disabled people deserve said full and loving sex life.


There we go, I knew it'd be sad and disappointing if I only commented once.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:48:41

No. That isn't an acceptable argument.

By buying a barcardi breezer in the supermarket I am not 'accepting' or 'endorsing' alcoholism.

I can consume alcohol responsibly. others cannot. For others it is a path to degredation and misery. Same with selling sex.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:50:40

My comment was to Marianne - I agree that much more could be done about helping and supporting disabled people. Just talking about it would be good. I cannot remember a single person who sat down with me as a child or adolescent and just talked to me.

I had to figure it all out for myself. And it has taken a long time with a lot of mistakes and misery on the way. Such a waste.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:51:23

Spero, that is just rubbish.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:51:48

But, LRD I am not talking about 'rights'. I didn't think LL was either.

I am talking about 'opportunities'.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:52:24

Why is it rubbish?

sorry, you'll have to give me a little more than that if you want to dissuade me from my arguments.

MooncupGoddess Sun 14-Apr-13 22:52:24

Spero - do you believe that people should be allowed to sell their kidneys and blood too? It follows on naturally from your argument. My feeling is that they shouldn't... because although there are no doubt people who could sell some blood occasionally with no damage to their health, a system of blood-selling would attract lots of vulnerable people who would cause themselves long-term damage.

But I imagine you would think that is paternalistic?

Not the same thing, though.

By buying a barcardi breezer, you're not abusing someone or being ok with abuse.

You are equating alcohol - which is inanimate - with a woman's body.

A woman's body is not inanimate. Sorry.

spero - and I am talking about 'rights'.

Because I think the 'right' not to be abused is an important 'right'. Call it an 'opportunity' if you will, but I won't.

If you are supporting prostitution, I believe that you are supporting the right of one person to abuse another, however indirectly. I understand you don't believe that, I do, and I know many people don't believe that, but I'm explaining why I use the term 'right' not 'opportunity' here.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 14-Apr-13 22:55:20

LL - I will tell you why I haven't contributed before now, it's because you are always on the sex industry threads here and you seem desperate to get the women opposed to the sex industry to change their minds and there's something about that I find very creepy.

Spero - Thank you for your contributions to this thread, I have found them very interesting. Although I am only speaking for myself here, while I may think that paying for sex is inherently exploitative, I can understand why someone might do so in these situations.

Also, relating to what you said earlier about what people think about disabled people, whatever the eventual outcome of the Oscar Pistorius case, it is telling that the reaction from quite a few people, particularly in the "less evolved" corners of the internet was that "someone like him" didn't deserve a woman like that, i.e a model like Reeva Steenkamp.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:55:56

Selling a body part is a little different from allowing a penis up your vagina. The health risks from the surgery and consequent loss of an organ are quite obvious whereas I would imagine the risks from safe sex are pretty low.

So I don't think your example compares. But if there was a scheme of proper regulation to protect the desparate and the vulnerable, then I do tend to the view that adults ought to be allowed to make their own choices.

I am not blind to the fact that desparate or vulnerable people are involved in prostitution. But I fail to see how sex surrogates are either.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 22:56:24

Meant your "bacardi breezer" post.

As to your post next post, there are lots of people in the same predicament.

Still, such experiences (not unique, able-bodied people have them too) don't mean you have - yes - the right to sexual services. No-one does.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:57:55

Quite right women are not inanimate. We are thinking, intelligent beings with moral agency.

Which is why I am so puzzled that it is apparently impossible for an adult women ever to consent to take money in return for offering sex.

I feel the same way, gosh, to be honest.

I don't think I often comment on these threads, anyway, but perhaps I do, if leith thinks I've made lots of comments. confused

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 22:58:09

If you read back through the thread Maryann you will see very clearly and very explicitly myself and spero as well as other posters have never, not once suggested the rights of disabled people trump those of others. So that leaves those arguing your side of the fence being the ones who wish to impose celibacy on women and men due to their disability. We have discussed the transactional basis and how that could be resolved, we have even discussed that by looking at both the anti prostitution lobby and sections of the disability lobby both shifting position we could set the surrogacy in to a therapeutic framework. Nowhere though have we suggested that disabled people should have any right to use an unwilling persons body.

Mooncup: I agree the articles are confused but that is the nature of the issue, as you say what comes at the end is a realisation that the thing that people are looking for is not the mechanics, it is the emotional. A point that has been discussed upthread, however and in summery. Young able bodied people learn about love and sex by doing and experience. Using a surrogate offers the same learning experience to those who without it will always be left emotionality incomplete. This sense of not knowing causes mental health damage, and emotional behaviour problems. Increases a sense of isolation and of rejection. That is the consequence of imposing celibacy on a huge number of people. The old asylums were more police barracks than hospitals mainly to stop the two sexes trying to find out about themselves and each other, is that what you want. It would be the only effective way of preventing disabled people buying sex if no other avenue existed.

Linus despite the length of your interesting post which had some good points that I agree with in it, you miss the point of what I said. Yes of course I expected and decryed the focus on prostitution as I and others have demonstrated the piece in the original op was only posted to once again keep the focus on that very point, but we have shown that by doing so the voices of disabled women and men are silenced, the lived experience of many disabled people of being unfuckable is never explored, and the notion that we now have put forward that disabled women and men should be forced in to celibacy if no one would willingly fuck them needs to be explored, not just covered up by saying prostitution wrong and any way its only men tat this topic refers to.

spero - whoever said that?

I've not seen the thread in question - is this whole thing a thread about a thread? If so it explains a lot but I could have done with a link earlier!

LinusVanPelt Sun 14-Apr-13 22:58:59

Spero, I imagine that there could be some scenario in which transactional sex would not be exploitative.

An agreement between acquaintances, maybe, where you know something of the other person's circumstances and know that they're not doing it to pay the rent. Or a therapist who provides additional personal services but is qualified in a broader area so that physical / sexual contact with clients is not their only recourse to income. Or a volunteer who is happy to exchange sexual favours for his or her own sexual enjoyment in the act.

But what this article is talking about, and what going online and ordering up a prostitute would be about, is the exploitation of desperate people (overwhelmingly women). There is no way for anyone to buy into that industry and not be contributing to the systematic abuse and dehumanisation of human beings (mostly women).

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 22:59:02


I can only conclude you keep saying this to annoy me. Well done, its working. I can barely concentrate on my new episode of Buffy.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:00:59

LRD - sorry who said what about what?

I am making probably the rookie error of trying to contribute to a very interesting thread whilst at the same time being distracted by James Marsters.

MooncupGoddess Sun 14-Apr-13 23:02:52

The psychological risks of prostitution are quite high, though... at least judging from the testimony I've heard/read from prostitutes. That's why I made the parallel. (Of course there are all sorts of physical risks for prostitutes too; I don't know to what extent these risks would also apply to sex surrogates.)

The received wisdom is that it takes an average of five years after leaving prostitution before a former prostitute can give a balanced assessment of its effect on her life. I'd be interested to hear from a former sex surrogate about how she viewed the whole phenomenon.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:04:15

Linus, I agree, I am not at all happy with the idea that I can order up a gigolo in the same way I would order a Chinese takeaway.

Of course, going down that route makes it almost inevitable that you will be engaging someone who is not willingly offering services but who is desparate and/or being forced by someone else.

But I like your suggestion about a therapist who offers services in a more sexual area. Presumably people would be more reassured that someone with professional training and regulation is genuinely consenting and not exploited in anyway.

grin I'm often distracted by James Marsters! What are you watching?

I meant this bit: 'Quite right women are not inanimate. We are thinking, intelligent beings with moral agency.

Which is why I am so puzzled that it is apparently impossible for an adult women ever to consent to take money in return for offering sex.'

I don't follow this.

The issue isn't whether or not some hookers are happy hookers. It may be some are (and god knows I'm not about to get into second-guessing because it's pointless). The issue is, some women are demonstrably and obviously not happy being prostituted. They are abused or trafficked and they don't consent. I do not see how it can be possible to support any kind of prostitution while the whole industry condones abuse of women. It is like saying that a little bit of genocide is ok really.

(Ok, that was an extremely angry example, but before you jump on it, you should know I've been reading about women killed in bits of Latin America and it is certainly enough to make you feel there's a war on these women. sad I know we'd all like to think this is 'off topic', but it isn't.)

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 23:07:09


Spero, when you recount your previous experiences you sound like you think the world owes you something .

There a many, many people, able bodied and otherwise, who have/have had similar issues.

It does not mean you are exempt from the same moral issues/considerations as anyone else.

MooncupGoddess Sun 14-Apr-13 23:08:55

Leithlurker - the whole idea of people being 'forced into celibacy' is just weird. This really does imply that people have a right to sex (sorry Spero - we all know you don't think this).

Lots of people go without sex for years or decades because they can't find anyone they desire who also desires them. I feel very sympathetic to people who suffer as a result, but they are not being 'forced into celibacy'.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:10:19

I do think this is the heart of the debate.

It is saying that prostitution is so evil that no one should engage with it ever, even if they are fully aware and consenting and can bring great joy to someone else, who may never otherwise get the experience of being touched sexually by another human.

I don't agree with that. I would rather energies went into regulating and protecting sex workers, hunting down and imprisoning the traffickers and pimps. Trying to educate and change the attitudes of men towards women - look at the appalling Canadian case of the teenager who committed suicide after photos were circulated of her being raped. I don't think prostitution per se is responsible for these kind of neanderthal attitudes.

James Marsters is just declaring his love for Buffy and the fool is rejecting him. I'm over here James!

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:11:58

Mariane - I am well aware the world owes me nothing. Many parts of the world are keen to remind me of this on a daily basis.

What I don't understand is why you think you have the right to dictate to other adults what they chose to do with their bodies.

That is real arrogance. I don't think I have ever displayed anything close to that.

I disagree, but I understand what you are saying and I can certainly respect it, spero.

(And, very nice! grin Oooh, he has cheekbones you could cut yourself on. Gorgeous. On that note I shall go off to watch something daft with DH!)

LinusVanPelt Sun 14-Apr-13 23:15:28

the notion that we now have put forward that disabled women and men should be forced in to celibacy if no one would willingly fuck them needs to be explored

No, Leith that really does not need to be explored. Of course someone - anyone - should be celibate "if no one would willingly fuck them." WTF else would you suggest?

For Spero, the crux of the argument seems to be on whether a transaction involving sex and money can still be a transaction between two willing, consenting people. That is an interesting ethical question and one worth discussing.

You on the other hand seem fairly unconcerned with the question of whether a prostituted person is really "willing". And in the quote above, you seem to acknowledge that they're probably not. And yet you still think you have a point to make about how really, using them is okay if you're disabled.

I think I'm done engaging with you on this subject.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 23:16:39

I don't think there is anything arrogant about saying prostitution is wrong.

However much individual people might benefit from it or try to justify it.

It is still exploitation.

I have every right to express that opinion.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:18:04

And I understand what you are saying LRD.

I read 'So much pretty' last month (shamefully I recommendation of India Knight). It made me feel quite sick. I do think that a lot of men really hate women and do commodify them. And the exploitation of vulnerable women into prostitution is certainly part of this.

But I think professional sex surrogates are a million miles away from this. But I can understand why people don't agree with this.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 23:20:33

Mooncup lots of people CHOOSE not to have sex, having no choice being dictated to as to what is permisable is how forced anything, celibacy, abortion, FMG works. Having no choice is the issue it reinforces the second class nature and the oppression of disabled people, what are human rights for if they are not to give individuals the freedom of thought and expression. Should women be forced in to sterilisation after 2 children?

Also mooncup like I said to Maryaanne earlier, spero and at least three others have said exactly the same as I have, or turn that round I have agreed with Spero and many others on what we mean by "rights" please stop trying to make out I have any other different agenda from spero. I find it to be goady and since it appears it is up to the perceiver as to what they think the intention of a poster is, that is my perception of you and Mariaan who continuously try and personalise this issue. Please do go back and check I am absolutly certain you will find I have not endorsed prostitution or the right of men disabled or not to have access to an unwilling female body, or male one come to that.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:20:46

Linus you seem to have misunderstood my point so completely, I am at a loss how you interpreted what I was saying as that.

I was saying I agreed it would be wrong and dangerous to expect you could ring up and order a prostitute. I recognise the very real risk that you are then engaging with someone who is not invovled in their career of choice.

I went on to say that a trained and professional sex surrogate must be very far away from that scenario. I agreed with what you said about therapists.

And yet you tell me that I am saying something very different? Don't understand. Sorry you have reached that conclusion but I hope if you re read and reconsider you will agree it is profoundly wrong.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:22:13

ooops sorry Liinus, I think you were talking to LL there.

Please ignore post. I think I have now clearly demonstrated the foolishness of attempting to multi task in this arena.

MarianneM Sun 14-Apr-13 23:23:06

Leith, could you try to make your posts a bit more legible?

My head hurts just trying to decipher what you are saying.

LinusVanPelt Sun 14-Apr-13 23:24:03

Spero, my last post was addressed to Leith. Sorry it wasn't clear. I mentioned you in the middle bit because I think I do understand your argument and I was using it to contrast with his/hers.

The "You on the other hand" bit is a response to Leith's comment which I quoted at the top of my post. Sorry again for being unclear about who I was talking to blush

LinusVanPelt Sun 14-Apr-13 23:25:00

X-post Spero smile

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:25:49

It wasn't your fault! I am watching TV, the dog is having a loud dream about chasing something and I am not giving this topic the respect it deserves by not giving it my full attention.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 23:28:14

Linus where have I said or how have I given the impression that my stance differs from spero's? We have both said time and again that both partners need to be willing, is this another attempt to suggest I condone rape?

I've not read 'So much pretty' - I will look out for it, thanks.

'lots of people CHOOSE not to have sex, having no choice being dictated to as to what is permisable is how forced anything, celibacy, abortion, FMG works.'

Did you mean to compare celibacy to abortion and FGM?

That is disgusting.

There is an obvious and basic difference between being forced to do something, or having something done to you, and a lack of something.

Celibacy is not 'forced' on anyone. That is not what the word means.

FGM is forced on women.

Abortion is forced on women.

Celibacy is an absence of sex.

You cannot force an absence on someone, can you?

AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 23:33:36

LL , several different people have said now how uncomfortable your repeated assertion that "disabled people should not be forced into celibacy" makes them

you might want to modify your language, if you are concerned that people are getting the wrong impression from your posts

because how would you visualise your solution to that dilemma ?

"forced" or undoing that scenario no more signifies a consensual transaction than "prostituted woman" does

don't you get that ?

AnyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 23:35:35

cross posted with LRD

and several others who are rather aghast at the term "forced" being anywhere near appropriate

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:46:28

I can understand why LL uses the word 'forced' when talking about celibacy and I would ask for some understanding from the able bodied.

I can see why you feel uncomfortable with it, but for those of us who grew up knowing that we were treated as something 'other' and were not able to join in with the rites of passage that others seemed to attain so effortlessly... it makes you hurt. Celibacy is not something we have chosen, I can see how it feels like something 'forced' upon you.

Yes, yes, I know I am not alone, I am nothing special, LOTS of people don't get to have sex with anyone they really like. But the problem with a visible physical disability is there will be lots of people as you grow up quite keen to point out to you WHY they wouldn't have sex with you. I don't know what kind of pain those sorts of people are in and I don't really care. They seem to want to hurt and to rub your nose in why you are different.

It can be very difficult. Someone at college slept with me for a bet. That hurt quite a lot, as you can imagine.

so I think we all need to cut each other a little slack.

I don't feel uncomfortable about it - I'm sorry, maybe I should, but I don't.

I can't know how what you describe feels and I respect that you are talking about something I can't know about. And that is disgusting that someone slept with you for a bet. That's appalling.

But, sorry, 'forced celibacy' compared to FGM or abortion really bothers and upsets me. And I think it touches on a central issue here.

The only way celibacy could be 'forced', is if you think sex is a right. And if you think sex is a right, you are faced with a problem, because sex is about consent and rape is about the right to have sex.

I am not trying to say it's not shit, and I do understand where you are coming from, and I honestly don't know where I'd stand on all of this if I were disabled. It'd be absurd for me to pretend I did.

What I do hope I wouldn't do, is to compare a lack of sex to someone aborting a pregnancy against the mother's will or peforming FGM.

CuckooBird Sun 14-Apr-13 23:53:34

Spero, I have only read the first page of this thread but after reading your comments I need go no further. I welled up reading your posts; not because I pity you but because I can feel your rage at having to deal with some of the arseholes on here and in RL who would dare to pretend they know what the fuck they are talking about with regards to being a disabled person denied a sex life.

Leithlurker Sun 14-Apr-13 23:54:13

Thank you AF:, point taken.

Spero Sun 14-Apr-13 23:58:32

Thanks Cuckoo.

Its not just about being denied sex, I think this is the point LL has been making.

Denial of sex is part of being denied your humanity. I won't have sex with you because you are disabled - I won't marry you, I don't want a family with you, I don't want my friends to see me with you...

Its all on a continuum. Yes, that sounds pretty bleak, I am not trying to claim my experiences are universal to all disabled people. They are not. But I know I am not alone.

So it pushes big buttons and does cause a fair amount of introspection and probably self pity. Which will influence use of language and examples given which may strike someone without that particular back story as ill judged.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:05:20


I don't accept that

I would only accept the misguided use of terms like "forced" from an uneducated person, an immature person, someone who has no understanding of the issues

I don't accept it, and no-one else should

Disability is not a get out clause for using such terms, if the understanding is there

I don't believe that is the case on this thread, so no special considerations from me, sorry

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:08:14

Sorry you won't accept that. Peoples experiences mould them in many ways, not all of them pleasant.

But who is denying sex?

Either it is society, or it is the responsibility of all people - collectively - to give you, or me, or anyone who can't get it, sex.

If it is society, then fine, let's educate society, let's break down these ideas that idiots have.

If it's people - then how do you cope with the fact that they have to consent, and they have to consent in such a way that doesn't condone rape of other people?

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:11:40

Individuals deny sex - which they have every right to do. That they do so often in a deliberately cruel way is a reflection of the way that people generally think of disabled people which must be a societal problem, the way we organise ourselves, what is given prominence and respect.

I went to a Romanian orphanage in 1991. People there still threw stones at the disabled children. We are not so very far from that even now.

I repeat, I genuinely do not see how professional and trained sex surrogates can be seen as endorsing rape. So that is how I deal with that problem.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:13:57

Linus, are you actually trying to dictate the circumstances under which it would not be acceptable to sell one's body for sex? Rent, for fuck's sake..must be enjoying it (that rules out most able-bodied married women, then). Who are you to set the parameters of what constitutes non-exploitative sex?

It is appallingly sad.

I do see that.

I think that any situation where someone pays for sex, makes the idea of paying for sex more acceptable.

Perhaps if we lived in a world where prostitution wasn't the way it is, it could theoretically work, I don't know. But I'm sure it can't in our world, because in our world, people will always justify abuse of women with this sort of thing. IMO.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:17:33

Even it it was seen more in a therapeutic context? As a way of helping disabled people attain a better self image?

People seem to be getting confused about terminology again (as invariably happens on threads to do with the sex industry). I fully agree that no one has the right to have sex with another person unless the person is willing/a willing person is available. But I do think that human beings have a right to seek sex, and not to be told that they should just learn to do without it, because it doesn't matter. It does matter to some people, a great deal, and to be written off as sexual beings - because of the squeamishness of mundanes and people who are absolutely obsessed with the heteronormative concept of sex as indivisible from 'love' rather than an activity people can happily engage in for all sorts of reasons including status, fun, curiosity and money - is actually a really horrible thing.

It's not wrong to have sex for money any more than it's wrong to play a musical instrument for money, or cook a meal for someone who is neither a friend or a relative. Exploitation and coercion in any industry need to be fought against, but prohibiting the entire industry is never going to improve the lives of those forced into it by economic circumstances or criminal predators.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:18:58

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Leithlurker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:19:16

You certainly can enforce an absence, many threads on her about the motional abuse by parents when there is an absence of warmth and love.

And no I do not apologise for the word forced, I am also sorry if peoples sensitiveness are bruised, but the bottom line is that the Chinese forced abortions on women. Some cultural practices force girls to have FGM, these are wrong and an abuse of power both by the state and society.

If prostitution did not exist or if the law was changed to criminalise the buyer. The effect would be to force many more disabled people in to celibacy. In other words the state colluding with society would remove the freedom of choice and the autonomy of the individual. If this is not on the same par as fgm then your right of course you are, but the roots are exactly the same. The subjugation of one part of the community by another. It is only in the last 30 years that both the state and society stopped colluding in denying disabled people the human right of freedom of association, the freedom to live where they want to live, the freedom to vote. Again maybe not on a par with fgm in terms of physicle damage but every bit emotionally and mentally debilitating with the same intention of denying them full status as equals.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:21:21

I agree with SGB.

Yes, for me, even so.

I know I might be wrong about this. It's not like it's something where I'm thinking 'ha, it's so easy', not at all.

I also wonder (very, very ignorantly here) - if we did live in a society where it was accepted that, with disabilities 39-47 you got state-paid sex therapy, wouldn't you end up with a culture where people assumed disabled people weren't able to have sex with anyone untrained, or that no-one except a therapist would have sex with them? Like when people used to assume that the only parents who would want to bring up a child with disabilities, would be people who couldn't otherwise find a child to bring up? I mean - we're still seeing that legacy, right, from when parents were encouraged to put a baby with severe disabilities in a home to 'protect' his or her siblings. I cannot see it's had a positive effect, and i worry this would be the same?

(My last was in reply to spero at 00:17)

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:22:32

It does matter to some people, a great deal, and to be written off as sexual beings - because of the squeamishness of mundanes and people who are absolutely obsessed with the heteronormative concept of sex as indivisible from 'love' rather than an activity people can happily engage in for all sorts of reasons including status, fun, curiosity and money - is actually a really horrible thing.

Fucking brilliant. I salute you.

SGB - totally agree, everyone has the right to seek sex.

Not seen anyone suggest different, though.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:25:59

I haven't been arguing that it is a 'right' that should be State funded. I am saying there should be the opportunity if people wish to spend their money that way. In the current climate I don't think sex can make it on the heirarchy of needs the state should fund - not when people don't have anywhere to live or enough to eat.

I see the risk in what you describe - there is always the law of unintended consequences for everything - but as so many disabled people are denied an active sex life, it is probably not a huge risk.

'You certainly can enforce an absence, many threads on her about the motional abuse by parents when there is an absence of warmth and love.'


Sorry, that doesn't make sense to me.

Children are children. They deserve care. This has nothing at all to do with sex and comparing sex with care of children is, well, distasteful to say the least.

spero - no, I know, sorry, I didn't mean to suggest you had been arguing those things. I was trying to imagine what the implications would be, what kind of society it'd be, that's all.

I mean, obviously it cannot be ad hoc - if at the moment someone pays a prostitute, they are very likely to be paying an abused woman, possibly a woman who's been trafficked.

In order to have sex therapists who were definitely not abused or trafficked, I think there would need to be an infrastructure, right?

I follow what you say about risk and it not being a huge issue comparatively. sad

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:28:39

sorry LRD but in reality people havebeen saying disabled people do not have the right to seek sex, because they re denying the one realistic route for many should even exist i.e. to pay someone.

It really isn't fair to say - o but I am not denying your right to seek sex! When the opportunities of successfully finding any are so limited if not utterly out of reach. You can't go to a night club and shake your thang in an iron lung.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:28:45

wouldn't you end up with a culture where people assumed disabled people weren't able to have sex with anyone untrained, or that no-one except a therapist would have sex with them?

LRD, can't you see that behemoth of an elephant in the room? Some disabled people are not getting sex and they would rather like some.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:29:31

Nobody has suggested anything different

It seems if you oppose disabled people having the "right" to buy sex for the exact same reasons as the able-bodied you are at risk of being seen as disablist and "squeamish" about the concept of disabled people shagging

Absolutely not so, and really fucking patronising towards people with disabilities, tbh

If I were disabled, and some do-gooder tried to tell me I had more right to engage the services of sex workers because of my disability I would be enraged

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:30:19

Yes, totally an infrastructure, in fact it would be a good opportunity to shake up the whole therapy industry and have some proper robust state regulation and checks. Far too many crap therapists out there. I imagine a dodgy sex therapist could do enormous harm to a vulnerable disabled person.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:31:09

Lots of people without disabilities are not getting sex either

you are making this into a divisive issue, cuckoo

I know lots of disabled people who are getting plenty of sex with consensual partners, and no money changing hands

Leithlurker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:31:16

Oh Pleeeaaasee, LRD you have seen the threads as have I were a poster has a fucked up life because their parents either withheld love and affection from them, or treated them less well than other siblings that is enforced absence, denial if a change of word helps it works the same.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:31:41

Well AF you are not disabled are you?

I am feeling rather befuddled at the notion that I am patronising myself here.

I don't speak for all disabled people but I imagine I have rather more insight and experience over 40 years than someone who isn't a disabled person.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:34:31

Because I am not disabled I don't deserve an opinion ?


spero - sorry, I really still do disagree that paying someone is a realistic way for anyone to get sex.

If you think there needs to be an infrastructure - that's why I was talking about government and state-sanctioning. That's all. I am not recommending it, I'm saying, these (from my POV) would be the risks. But you're right, there would be huge potential for abuse of the system on both sides.

I'm really sorry, I really am not trying to be an arsehole, but I do honestly and truly think that no-one has the right to sex. If seeking it is harder for some people, that is shit, for whatever reasons that might be - and I would suggest that being a Muslim or Hindu woman is, at the moment, a leading difficulty in having consensual sex. But, while shit, it doesn't mean it's ok to do this. Sorry, but I just don't think it is.

I am thinking about what you are saying, I am not just dismissing it, honestly.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:35:39

Fucker, why am I being divisive? Because I am furious at some of you lot? Because I am swearing?

Lots of people without disabilities are not getting sex either. Oh, so that's okay then. Disabled people should just shut up and only ask for things they want if the rest of society is getting it too.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:35:45

No AF that is not what I said.

I was taken aback that you said my arguments were patronising to disabled people.

You are allowed any opinion you chose. But some opinions carry more weight than others because they are informed by actual experience.

LL - no, parents withholding love and care from a child is not the same as abusers witholding sex from an abused person.


CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:37:43

I know lots of disabled people who are getting plenty of sex with consensual partners, and no money changing hands. Oh, right. You see, Spero? You have absolutely nothing to worry about. your needs are being met vicariously through other, obviously luckier, disabled people. For fuck's sake..

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:39:03

I don't know how I can say this more clearly. I will try one more time before bed.

No one has a right to sex.

But we all have a right to chose what we do with our own bodies.

And if someone agrees to have sex with me for money, and that person is freely, willingly consenting, without any exploitative pimp lurking in the background then I don't understand why me and her/him can't just be allowed to get on with it, as consenting adults with moral agency.

I see there is a visceral distaste for prostitution in any form, and I can understand that. Just as I hope others can understand my position.

Not asking for special privileges or pleading for the disabled. Just some compassion and recognition that sometimes life deals us a shit hand and it jmay not always be good enough to say shut up and put up with it.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:39:51

Yes, Cuckoo, I would love to know where all these shag happy disabled pepole hang out. Never met any at university, at work... still waiting. Maybe I am just doubly unlucky.

I've got to say ... it seems obvious to me that, yes, non-disabled people do get a say here - at the very least, what about the people who would be being sex therapists? Would they all be required to be disabled too, or would people like AF be allowed in so long as they didn't express any opinion or assume their consent mattered in this debate?

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:40:06

LRD, you have no right to declare sex as 'not a right' when it is freely available to you as an able-bodied person. The arrogance on here is staggering.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 00:41:15

Night all.

spero - sorry, I cross posted ... but honestly ... yes, you have the right to do what you like with your body. So does anyone. No, no-one has the right (IMO) to have sex with someone who doesn't want it. A financial transaction fouls consent. If someone consented, they wouldn't need paying.

LinusVanPelt Mon 15-Apr-13 00:41:27

Who are you to set the parameters of what constitues non-exploitative sex?

Er, I'm a person with an opinion on the matter, Cuckoo - isn't that the question that we're all discussing here? Who am I to express an opinion on the subject being discussed? A stranger on a forum, that's who. What's your point?

My point, since you didn't seem to understand it the first time, is that I think I can respect Spero's perspective that transactional sex, in theory, doesn't necessarily have to be exploitative or otherwise 'wrong'. Not a million miles away from what SGB said which you just applauded.

And to illustrate my point I tried to think of a few examples where it might be the case that sex is transactional, but not exploitative.

But knowing what I know about brothels and street prostitution and 'call girl' agencies (I work in a related field and have supported many women who are or who have been prostituted, all of them either trafficked, addicted, or prostituted from before the age of legal consent), yes, I think it's fairly fucking obvious that there are "parameters of what constitutes non-exploitative sex". And prostitution, as it is experienced by most women desperate enough or controlled enough to become involved in it, is exploitative, abusive, and devastating.

If you're going to make any kind of argument at all that it's okay to buy sex, which it seems is the view you're taking, then of course there are "parameters" hmm - what's the alternative? To say that it's okay to pay for sex in any and all circumstances, regardless of the vulnerability of the person you're buying it from? Is that your opinion?

LinusVanPelt Mon 15-Apr-13 00:42:23

Good night, Spero. Thanks for your thought-provoking posts and for sharing your perspective and experiences.

Sex is not a right.

Sex without consent is rape.

This is not me declaring anything - it is the law. It is very basic. Rapists who force people to have sex against their will are criminals. No-one has the right to have sex with someone else against their will.


It has nothing to do with whether or not I am disabled.

Leithlurker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:42:41

I am afraid it is a devisive issue as feminist and disability rights activist have diffrent ideaologies on this and other issues. It is always my hope that by recognising that this conflict exists, and that it is never a question of one set of rights trumping another, that we reach compromise. We need each other far more now than we ever did, the society that both groups want is not that different, but any hope of ever getting the society that we both need and want is being ripped away from us by capitalism and conservatism, and the patriarchy, and a disabelist mindset.

How is it that seeking sex is ok but having it is not? So we can find it, we know where it is and we know who will supply it, we just cannot have it? weird!

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:42:54

Sex is not "freely available" to anyone, unless you feel it is your right to take it without consent

Some people do not regard prostitution as sex without consent

Opposers of prostitution feel this way, it's not a new concept

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:43:30

sorry, I should have said some people do not view prostitution as sex with consent

'How is it that seeking sex is ok but having it is not? So we can find it, we know where it is and we know who will supply it, we just cannot have it? weird!'

Erm, because the first bit is where you seek consent. And the second bit is dependent on getting consent.

It's like, the first one ... isn't rape ... and the second one is ... um ... rape unless you get consent?

Crikey, do I really have to explain this?

No, you cannot 'just have it'.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 00:50:25

It's quite basic stuff, that people feel should be waived if someone has a disability ?


CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:54:44

Linus, I took umbrage at the patronising tone of your post to Spero: 'See? Look, here are the ways in which some women are exploited. Can you see how this may be harmful, dear? She is only doing this to pay her rent' This post-feminist obsession with stamping out exploitation drives me nuts. Do you have a cleaner? A lady who does your ironing? Ever paid anyone to look after your kids?: all of them women forced into slavery by white, middle-class women.

For some disabled people, the only way to explore their sexual identity/get their rocks off, whatever, is to pay for it. It is liberal bullshittery to pretend otherwise. So..are you - this champion of eradicating prostitution - prepared to rescue exploited sex workers and volunteer your sexual services to disabled men? No..I thought not.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 15-Apr-13 00:55:27

You were right enough with "Some people do not regard prostitution as sex without consent", AF, just as you were right enough with your correction.

For all of those repeating claims that any given prostitute is "very likely" to be trafficked, can you give us a link, please? Because Operations Pentameter I and II found very little evidence of this, despite raiding every known brothel in the UK.

Um ... I clean, I iron. I've occasionally been paid to do it.

We're not all as privileged as you obviously are.

If you read the thread, you will find that people have already addressed the issue of whether or not it's crucial to change society so that disabled people have more options than recourse to prostitutes.

You'll find the answer was 'yes', it is crucial.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 00:59:17

Goodnight, Spero, I'm off to bed, too. Can't take any more of this disingenuity disguised as feminism.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 01:06:44

OldLady, thank fuck for a voice of reason. The wimmin on here are bloody obsessed with trafficking and yet they've never met a prostitute (or been disabled) in their lives.

LinusVanPelt Mon 15-Apr-13 01:08:28

I don't know why you decided to put quotes around the first part of that post addressed to me, Cuckoo, seeing as you were not quoting me, but just making shit up that you imagined I'd said.

And no, I don't have someone else to do my cleaning and ironing.

And no, I don't want to volunteer my sexual services.

What the Fuck?

I've met both prostitutes and disabled people.

What rubbish you are talking.

Much of my ideas about all this come from listening to prostituted women. And the people I know who're disabled would be disgusted by what you seem to imagine they want.

LinusVanPelt Mon 15-Apr-13 01:10:59

BTW, It's odd that you took umbrage on Spero's behalf and found my tone patronising toward her, when she did not appear to have anything like that reaction. Because I guess she read what I actually said, and didn't imagine "can you see?"s and "dear"s where there were none.

Your reaction is completely bizarre.

LinusVanPelt Mon 15-Apr-13 01:11:40

That post is addressed to Cuckoo , of course. Though I really don't know why I'm bothering.

vera99 Mon 15-Apr-13 08:47:16

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 09:10:35

Just skimmed through the comments on that punternet thread and it rather depressingly confirms what I believe about a lot of internet discussions - most people are simply enjoying writing up their own prejudice without any real attempt to engage or expand their argument.

What a waste of the internet.

Had they bothered to read I think they could have acknowledged the basis of a real discussion had happened here, but o no it is much more fun to simply trot out tired out tropes about frustrated mumsnetters.

One person appears to have attempted to point this out to them, but they do not appear to be able to process that comment.

Ignore them, might as well.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 09:53:49

But I don't want to ignore people just because they have different views to me. I am genuinely interested in how those views come about and how they are sustained. Never before in the history of human endeavour have we had this opportunity to be exposed so widely and so quickly to others experiences.

I think it is such a shame it often degenerates into swapping stereotypes.

Fair enough, I got the impression you were a bit fed up and I don't think any of us has a responsibility to engage. Not saying you shouldn't if you fancy it.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 10:39:53

If I am fed up with a discussion I will just leave it and go and watch a bit of Buffy instead.

I have found this thread very interesting, not just because of the topic but also as an illustration of this rather odd mumsnet thing that engagement in discussions is somehow forced upon people - for eg LL getting ticked off for mentioning posters by name and therefore pressurising them to respond? I really don't get that. Is this common response on other sites?

But possibly an interesting topic for whole other thread....

I do bloody wish however I had had the Internet whilst growing up. It would have made sharing experiences, getting advice etc so much easier.

I don't think engagement in discussions is forced on anyone, no.

I thought, since you were complaining about the thread on the other site, you might be feeling down about it. It is a fairly nasty, misogynistic thread on that site. However, god knows, if you're absolutely fine and just complaining without wanting anyone to reply in any way whatsoever, that is fine too.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 10:53:19

Thank you for being worried! But as I regularly venture on similar sites nothing really shocks me any more. Although it does make me sad particularly as i have a daughter. The amount of hatred out there for women, particularly women over 40 is disturbing.

Yep, it is.

I have a real problem with the statement that being paid for sexual activity makes it impossible to consent. That's basically saying that a woman who chooses to do something you wouldn't want to do is incapable of knowing her own mind, and that therefore you want to make her act as you would rather than as she chooses.

It's a fairly fundamental human right to choose to sell your labour/your skills for a fair price. Exchanging sexual acts for cash is selling your labour and your skills, not your body. The person who pays you has no rights over anything you do once the agreed time is up, the customer doesn't get to take the seller home in a bag after the money has changed hands, any more than the client of a builder/hairdresser/accountant gets to keep the supplier in a box after paying for the service agreed.

Some jobs are more dangerous than others, and the healthy response to this is to insist that safeguards are in place as much as possible, not to insist that the job not be done. Some jobs involve bodily contact with other human beings eg physiotherapy, medical professional, care worker. If you are a care worker looking after a patient who can't attend to his/her own toilet needs, then your job may involve touching his/her genitals and anus. Not everyone would choose to do such a job, and most people would say that if you find the idea of doing that disgusting or distressing, you should seek another job. It's worth considering, at least briefly, that care work is badly paid on the whole, and mostly done by women, and often done out of economic desperation.

'That's basically saying that a woman who chooses to do something you wouldn't want to do is incapable of knowing her own mind, and that therefore you want to make her act as you would rather than as she chooses.'

No, it really, really isn't.

This is a really common response which I think people make purely because they like how it sounds, as if it's terribly cool and laissez-faire to be supportive of women being abused. It isn't.

I know you don't think all prostitution is abusive. I am even willing to believe there are women out there who are joyful and fulfilled or even just plain workaday fine, with selling sex. However, there are demonstrably also many women who are not. I fail to see how legitimizing the whole industry helps them.

It isn't that I think those joyful and/or fine, happy women are poor shrinking violets whom I don't trust to know their own minds. It's that I really can't bring myself to care that they are joyful and happy while they're propping up an industry in which many women are abused.

(This argument, btw, reminds me of the same arguments about 'but how dare you be mean about men who cat-call women, I love it so I don't give a shit that you feel threatened' ... 'you're all mean to criticize men who enjoy surprise sex, I love doing it and I'm not a rapist so you have no right to feel raped' etc. etc.

I do not understand why it is so important for the people to bang on about how perfectly A-OK they are with something demonstrably misogynistic and crappy, as if that somehow cancels out other people being really not ok with it.)

Xenia Mon 15-Apr-13 12:19:55

There is an argument that allowing women to be paid for sex and exploit their sexuality to generate work more widely is a more honest transaction than the 4 in 5 women who live off male earnings in marriage perhaps. If you take away the ability to sell the sexual services and require that instead they must provide them for nothing in return for a man deigning to marry them in a way you deprive women of one of their assets. In some cases it is their most valuable asset - their sexual capital.

That's pretty misogynistic though, isn't it? The Catherine Hakim stuff about 'sexual capital'.

Most women I know enjoy sex, and I think this is because women generally enjoy sex just as much as men. Most married women I know enjoy sex with their husbands. They don't sit on the bed making 1950s big eyes and hoping it'll all be over soon so they can go out and spend the pin money. Isn't it a little insulting to suggest that's what it's about?

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 12:30:26

Sorry LRD, I don't think your examples stand up. You are talking about someone doing something potentially nasty to someone else - surprise sex- or someone being subject to possibly unwanted and certainly unrequested attention - cat calling. It is irrelevant how I feel about these things as to the impact on the woman subjected to them who does not want to be.

That is not the scenario for a woman who decides to engage in a commercial transaction, that she feels safe with.

I do not see why this is necessarily or automatically 'propping up' or condoning the rape, exploitation or trafficking of other women.

Isn't the answer to go after those who do rape, traffick etc. I agree with SGB - protect people from dangers rather than prevent people exercising autonomy.

Ok, look, you say 'something potentially nasty', right?

Then you talk about 'a woman who decides to engage in a commercial transaction that she feels safe with'.

Sure, those two things are not the same - but only because you've only focussed on one side of the issue. Which is precisely what I have the problem with.

Yes, if you ignore the women who are not feeling safe, then prostitution may well seem fine. Just as my other examples feel fine for someone who feels safe and happy.

But the point is that the experience of the person who feels safe and happy doesn't really help the person who feels upset, threatened, or abused, does it? The person who gets a warm glow from being cat-called, and who insists on telling the person who feels threatened and upset by it about that, is only being smug and insensitive. They're not cancelling each other out.

I do think that supporting one kind of prostitution supports all kinds. Sorry, but I do. We do not currently have an extensive system for making sure prostituted women are safe and healthy and happy, do we? So there is no possible way anyone can currently be confident they're with someone who is happy with what is going on, let alone consenting.

It's not like you're going to find a woman who says 'shit, I've just been trafficked across from Romania, someone has threatened my children if I don't pretend to be consenting and happy, but, hey, I'll spill my honest-truth story to the nearest punter', are you?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic with that (I know I come across as sarcastic sometimes when I'm not) - but I do think it's the basic important point.

All that happens when someone promotes one niche area of prostitution as safe or valuable or pleasant, is that unscrupulous people will make their brand of abuse look as much like that as possible, and people who don't care to enquire too much will happily give up their minor qualms and go ahead with abusing women.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 12:48:40

I think this is the one bridge we will never cross. I simply don't accept that one woman exercising her autonomy is allowing others to say well then, my trafficking and raping of this 14 year old is ok.

Well, I am sure some would say it it that doesn't make it true nor would anyone with half a brain cell agree that it was ok.

Prostitutes are not safe on this country because a lot are vulnerable and desparate and have little choice but to work in dangerous and isolated areas. Again, I simply do not see why a woman who had the economic power to work in safe and comfortable environment (say a therapists office?) could ever be held up as someone encouraging or legitimising dangerous and lonely street work.

That is why I think we can't agree. I am not trying to be deliberately obtuse for the fun of it. I really, really don't see why a woman can't make a choice because some men behave in inhuman ways. I would rather go after those men.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 12:56:24

Linus, what is your take on Operation Parameter I and II as mentioned by OldLady? Oh, and, I was giving an example of the kind of patronising tone you had used, which is why I didn't use quotation marks.

Fucker, when I suggested sex was freely available to the able-bodied surely you understood that I meant able-bodied people who want sex are not thwarted by a disability which the rest of society would see as off-limits in a sexual context.

Yes, I can see this is why we can't agree. I don't think you're being obtuse and I don't think (I hope) I'm not either.

I would much rather go after those men, too (obviously, I hope). I just have to address the 'happy hooker' side of it because it completely bemuses me that it is brought up time and again.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 13:16:01

I think we have adopted different positions after a genuine examination of our views and the evidence - and that is perfectly legitimate. As long as people continue to examine their views then disagreement is healthy - it pushes us to carefully define and consider our arguments which is never a bad thing.

I have certainly had to think about my arguments more fully, so that's been good for me. I don't think his has led me to any fundamental shift but hopefully I can also now appreciate more fully the nuance of the opposing stance.

CuckooBird Mon 15-Apr-13 13:18:16

It bemuses me, LRD, that you would wish to wipe out all prostitution but happily allow degraded and underpaid cleaners and sweat shop workers to continue under some of their horrific circumstances.

Just because the penis is the ultimate weapon of destruction for you feminists does not mean that female autonomy can not be exercised within the sex industry.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 13:22:05

Cuckoo, why are being so antagonistic ?

You seem unhappy the conversation has reached a conciliatory tone.

Leithlurker Mon 15-Apr-13 13:27:23

LRD and spero perhaps for the first time in the history of these debates you have arrived at the central point of departure between the both sides, thank you both. The barrier is fundamental as it would always have been, however actually exploring what the barrier to agreement is, has often been made impossible by blanket assertions from both camps.

I am not saying before anyone jumps on it that a great truth or secrete has been uncovered all I am saying is that for a change calmly and with tolerance both sides come to the point of knowing what they disagree about.

It bemuses you, cuckoo, because it's not true. You've made that up, haven't you?

It doesn't tend to speak well for your position (whatever that may be, other than having cracks at feminism) if you have to make up stories in order to find something to disagree with.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 13:32:05

This is the point at which everyone on the thread, despite their own stance, tells cuckoo that level of vitriol and aggression is jarring and unwelcome

Off you hop, little bird.

Xenia Mon 15-Apr-13 14:03:26

On the sex deficit I agree that a lot of women like sex and plenty want more sex than their husbands provide however on the whole in just about all cultures and perhaps caused by the conditioning of girls or mothers being tired, more men than women want more sex. Men often pay for sex and women rarely do so and that is not just because men control their wife's sexuality and women have less money than men to pay to buy it in.

Now there may be a way to change things so that there is just as much demand from women as men but it does not seem to be changing any time soon. Many women marry men who are good providers. They may feel it is about love but the reality is that he also had a car and house and he will be a good provider who will keep them. There is a commercial transaction in there.

A while back, LL said "I am afraid it is a devisive issue as feminist and disability rights activist have diffrent ideaologies on this and other issues ...the society that both groups want is not that different, but any hope of ever getting the society that we both need and want is being ripped away from us by capitalism and conservatism, and the patriarchy, and a disabelist mindset"

I'm thinking that the finger of blame could be pointed at capitalism in this debate. Bear with me!

It has been argued that disabled people have the right to seek sex, and to pay for it if they wish to. Similarly, other people are free to provide that service, if they wish.

Concurrently, I don't think anyone on this thread agrees with the exploitation of prostituted women.

The capitalism comes into play when other people see the potential for profit and don't care who gets hurt. So, unless the people who are willing to sell sexual services to disabled people are a completely separate 'industry' from those who sell sex to able bodied people (mostly men, as I understand) the problem of exploitation will exist and it will become a women versus disabled people version of rights top trumps.

It's a practical rather than ideological problem, when examined this way.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 15-Apr-13 14:27:46

I really tire of the prostitution is similar to care work argument (I've seen it used a lot elsewhere) as I find it demeaning. Care work is attending to people's needs without which people would not be able to live. It seems to be ok to compare virtually any job that mainly women do to prostitution, yet people never seem to mention miners and plumbers in these comparisons.

I also think it helps to normalise prostitution, because if prostitution is just like cleaning, care work etc, then why don't women choose prostitution if it is so much better paid? There is also the fact of prostitution having far higher rates of PTSD and assault for those who work in it. Some might argue that legalisation would alleviate this, but I think that ignores the violence and contempt inherent in a man thinking he has the right to use someone's body in that way. You only have to look at punternet to see that.

I agree, it's definitely a capitalism issue, at least partly.

I agree, gosh.

Episode Mon 15-Apr-13 14:49:36

An important aspect of LRD's arguement is the actual context in which sexual services are accessed (including porn for instance). Since there are no checks you can undertake to ascertain how somebody has become a sex worker (previous sexual abuse, often child, relationship abuse/dv, poverty, drug addiction, trafficking) then unfortunately you are condoning abuse in an industry which makes no secret of its ugly side! My sister works with prostitutes and only ONCE has she EVER met somebody who said it was a concious choice she made as she wanted to put her son through private school, not state and her decent and stable job would not pay for that! NEVER has she met somebody who enjoyed it. She works closely with police and in some areas prostitution is made up of 80% once trafficked women! The 'facts' are there and whilst I can see why anybody would naturally want a sex life I can personally not condone paying for it when you can NEVER know what your paying for and quite often who your actually paying! Having sex with volunteers is of no issue to me but something about that rings odd and I hope it's not some sought of reverse exploitation! Hopefully these are just nice people but I wonder what the response would be if a regular man offered these services to single mothers for example?

HullMum Mon 15-Apr-13 14:50:28

Xenia, I'm very tired, so correct me if I have misunderstood but are you comparing married women who have less money than their partners to prostitutes? You do realize that a married woman has no legal binding obligation to fuck anyone, don't you? Or is this just the last straw in your trolling? is it time to admit your plumber named Wayne from Croydon?

episode - interesting you say that. My brother used to work with homeless people and asylum seekers, and occasionally therefore with prostitutes (although he wasn't supposed to as he didn't have the training, which made it pretty horrific for him and probably wasn't ideal for them at all, but that's another story). He is a pretty open-eyed person and as you can imagine you don't get the lovely fluffy side of life on a job like that, but he found pimps far the scariest and creepiest people he had to deal with.

I agree with you that this is the issue, you cannot know. And I think that this is something that almost certainly won't ever change. I do believe (possibly this sounds old-fashioned or plain naive) that sex is fundamentally something that you cannot commercialize without hurting people.

Episode Mon 15-Apr-13 14:56:45

Hullmum Ha ha I've often found her opinions a bit basic compared to all her 'success'. At least I'm not alone in thinking she is not real! If you are I apologise for any offence caused but I can't believe your not Wayne from Croydon wink

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 15-Apr-13 15:05:59

Hullmum - Xenia is real, but I just ignore her.

Episode Mon 15-Apr-13 15:07:29

LRD my mum works in a similar industry but she gets to see the 'international' side of this sought of thing! I challenge anyone to hear some of these daily stories (often including children, boys and girls) and think that feeding these industries in any form is not harmful. Some stories have made me physically sick and when you know what these people go through, paying for anything with even the slightest chance of being related to abuse (current, previous and potential) can never be justified for a gratification which is NOT a human right when taken before somebody elses!

HullMum Mon 15-Apr-13 15:07:46



I totally agree (though I obviously know a heck of a lot less about it than you). You must be proud of your mum. My brother stuck his job our for three years then got signed off with clinical depression, and at the moment in all honesty I am really hoping he doesn't go back. Which is selfish, I know, and utterly absurd in the context of what people go through, but I think it is tough to see it all, too. Good for your mum.

zzzzz Mon 15-Apr-13 15:15:36

I can't. Get the link to work to read the original Guardian piece, but perhaps that's a blessing. I think it's a revolting idea. Prostitution hurts everyone involved, and as had been said up thread sex is not a human right.

Episode Mon 15-Apr-13 15:19:32

It's not selfish! Your of no use to anybody depressed and I say that from experience. I'm a strong strong woman but I am not strong enough to emotionally detatch from such situations which you need to do to be of use and do your job effectively with clarity! I always wanted to work in related industries but it's not 'professionally' for me! I'm the type if person who would temporarily foster a child and three years later have a house of 20 cause I can't switch off when 'needed'! My mums very proffesional and my sister is too! They can draw the line whilst caring and being effected but seeing the bigger picture and getting on with the next job iykwim!

That's true, yes, it would not be good for him to work if he wasn't up to it - good way to put it. And these people deserve the best.

If the women who choose sex work are so wicked and such supporters of trafficking and exploitation, and so uncaring about the fate of other women, that their voices must be silenced and their experiences dismissed, then given the amount of domestic violence, marital rape and women being killed by their husbands and partners, shouldn't those of you who are in happy/satisfactory relationships take a bit of a look at yourselves and consider whether or not you are propping up and condoning institutionalized male violence against women?

No one said women sex workers are wicked.

No one said they are uncaring.

No one said their voices must be silenced.

Where are you getting this from?

I get that you are frustrated, but FFS, how about addressing what other people are saying and not what you wish they were saying because you don't like the debate?

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 17:44:33

To be fair, a large proportion of contributors have been saying that ANY prostitution is condoning and 'propping up' the evil of the worst aspects of the trade, so I don't think she is being unduly over the top. You must logically therefore be critical of a woman who claims to chose prostitution, because you say her choice provides validation for the suffering of many others.

So her other example I also think is worth consideration. As so many women are beaten and killed in relationships by men then isn't any woman who enters into a relationship an apologist for the whole thing?

Of course I don't believe that but it parallels the argument that sex therapist = condones trafficking and rape, which I think is just wrong.

My knowledge of feminist history is shakey but wasn't this precisely Andrea Dworkins view? All men are rapists, all men are the enemy?

MooncupGoddess Mon 15-Apr-13 17:59:41

No, Dworkin never said that - like today's rad fems she is much misrepresented.

Couple relationships can be genuinely equal - whereas a prostitute/client relationship, however carefully managed, is still a commercial transaction with the resulting power imbalances.

Episode Mon 15-Apr-13 18:02:10

I have little knowledge if feminism but I do have knowledge of the sex industry, particularly prostitution and trafficking! I second LRD in that your fighting a minor part of an arguement that to my knowledge was not the principal part of the point made! No one is saying sex workers are evil and have to be silenced????? In fact, If they were listned to more often I am 100% sure your arguement would hold less weight! Having skimmed the thread I seem to gather the general consensus of those against it, is it has very little to do with accessing prostitution for those disabled OR able bodied but about accessing paid for sexual services when whether you like it or not there IS a high (actually probable) chance of abuse in the prostitutes present, future or previous life as well as drugs etc! My morals dictate that blind sex (because I was more concerned with my gratification than the situations which would have occurred to bring a prostitute to being one) is not and could never be worth it! It's sex not breathing and your personal situation has nothing to do with whether you have a right to access a fucked up, abuse ridden industry! Look for accounts of previous prostitutes online and see whether you think you'd want to be viewed by them even, the way they view there customers! 99.9% of the industry is nothing like belle de jor (or whatever her bloody name was) or pretty woman ffs!

Episode Mon 15-Apr-13 18:03:46

Excuse any typos on phone!

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 18:05:27

Andrea Dworkin had sound reasons to criticise men. She was a battered wife, a fugitive to get away from him after he stalked, harassed and attacked her repeatedly and worked for a while as a prostitute. She was quite vocal about the abuse she suffered throughout that time.

I would say she knew what she was talking about.

She called pornography "woman hating dehumanisation" and I agree with her. Many of her early warnings about the rise of pornography in popular raunch culture have come frighteningly true.

Somebody will come along to discredit her in a moment, however. It's how it goes. She was campaigning from before I was born, and before her time in many ways.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 18:06:37

Campaigning against the sex industry, for abortion rights and the rights of women, I should have added.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 18:15:20

So what did Andrea Dworkin say? I thought she said all sex was rape.

MooncupGoddess Mon 15-Apr-13 18:20:15

Am on my phone so can't link, but she was much nuanced than that. You can google it.

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 18:56:19

Apparently she said 'a commitment to sexual equality with men is a commitment to the rich instead of the poor, the rapist instead of the raped, the murderer insteadof the murdered'.

Which sounds a more 'literary' way of saying all men are rapists.

Or am I missing the nuance?

namechangeguy Mon 15-Apr-13 18:58:09

I found the following short precis of Dworkin and some of her work;

It is doubtless unfair to judge the works of someone with a large academic output against a few choice quotes. They are always subject to twisting and misinterpretation. Apparently the 'all sex is rape' mis-quote came from actually saying "Violation is a synonym for intercourse" (there is a reference for this quote, so I assume it's true.)

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 20:08:34

AFAIK, she never said "all sex is rape"

her detractors attributed that quote to her, by twisting and mashin gtogether some of the things she did say

she had a problem with only heterosexual penetration being classed as "real sex" which many feminists still subscribe to (and so should anyone with half a brain cell)

Spero Mon 15-Apr-13 20:26:04

If she didn't intend to say that all men are rapists then its a great pity she said stuff like this

'under patriarchy, every woman's son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman'

It is becoming less of a mystery to me why so many women refuse to identify as 'feminist'.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 20:32:38

Dworkin isn't the only prominent feminist in history and it isn't necessary to subscribe to everything she allegedly said to speak up if you think she has been misrepresented. What with her no longer being around'n'all.

Refusing to identify as a feminist because of her is like saying you will never like Germans because of Hitler.

OK, let's look at it this way - if you pay a musician to perform for you, does that inevitably put you in a position of power over the musician? Sure, you could perhaps withold the fee if you don't like the tune, but the musician, as a free agent, could equally decide that you are rude, or that the tune you request is one the musician doesn't want to play, therefore the musician declines the gig. That's how the relationship between sex worker and client should be - the sex worker respected for providing a valuable and desirable service, and also having the right to refuse a rude client or one who wants services the sex worker does not offer.

We're a long way off reaching that level but we won't get there any quicker by stigmatizing sex work:if people wanted to set up a network of 'hands on sex therapists', for instance, some people would insist it was 'prostitution' ^because someone might touch someone else's genitalia eek yuk aargh!^and should be forbidden even when the therapists were all consenting and enthusiastic about the job.

I find equating sex with music a more useful comparison than comparing sex with food/shelter/water: not an actual need but something that matters a great deal to a great many people. Sure, everyone can live without music, and some people really wouldn't notice if music disappeared from their own lives, but others would feel utterly bereft without it.

Dworkin has been dead for quite some time.

As have many feminist writers I admire.

I also rather like that John Donne bloke - he's both dead and not a feminist.

Leaving aside paraphrases of people who can't speak for themselves: SGB, yes, if you employ someone, you are in a position of power over them. This is why we have all sorts of laws to try to give some power back to employees. It still doesn't always work well.

If your 'musician' is a person desperate for money and threatened, they will not have a great deal of power.

To say this isn't equating sex and music, as they are quite different - the list of musically-transmitted diseases is an indicator here - but, insofar as the person with the money has the power, yes, they are the same. And yes, this doesn't bode well for the person who's being exploited.

Why on earth would we suddenly decide exploitation is ok if it's music? confused

That's an interesting analogy SGB and on some levels it works for me. On other levels though, and as far as I can think, sexual services are the only services that give your customer access to intimate areas of your body. Unless I'm missing something? Even fairly intimate services like therapeutic (not yoni!) massages and health professionals who may touch the genitals of their patients have strict boundaries and ethical codes that mean the touch is not reciprocated. And I do think that this aspect makes sex a unique commercial commodity.

I really don't know which 'side' of this debate has the right of it, and there's no fence sitting really, is there, because either you agree with disabled people having the right to pay for sex or you do not. There's no half way.

To an extent, LRD, musicians sometimes do get threatened and exploited, or they certainly used to a few decades back - between the 'casting couch' and the type of contracts that somehow gave all the monetary rights to the publisher and sod all to the musician. However, most people would agree that this should be dealt with by awarding more rights and protections to musicians, not by insisting that it's wrong to hire them.

I'm sure musicians sometimes do get threatened.

I am not pretty sure it is not quite the same routine level of trauma that a woman who is forced into prostititon faces.

I can see that if we could all believe all prostitutes were happy, it'd be lovely and we could all buy into another bit of profit-making. I do see that.

I just don't think that you can sensibly compare the level of abuse your average musician gets with the level of abuse your average prostitute gets.

If your plan is to legitimize prostitution, where do you plan to get the money to clamp down on 'fake' prostitutes - ie., women forced into it, ie., many women working as prostitutes today? What funds the financing of this business? Do you honestly think people will pay for 'ethical hookers' and won't be tempted by the cheap, illegal, abusive option? Like they are with everything else? What is it about sex that you believe is so different from everything else, that in your ideal world no-one would ever exploit it, yet it would function like a business?

NiceTabard Mon 15-Apr-13 21:12:06

Not sure about the musicians vs selling sex either.

I'm thinking about seeing if my DD1 (6) wants to learn an instrument soon
Maybe she would go on to play for other people
maybe she would join an orchestra
Some young children produce music professionally / for money

Analogy kind of falls down there. For the majority of people (and for a vast number of reasons) sex is different to other activities / hobbies / jobs.

Sure in an ideal world every person selling sex would be doing through for the love of the job, through genuine choice and freedom to choose clients etc etc but we're just so so very far from there. I think we need to sort out society's issues with sex / inequality and so on and concentrate on helping women (girls, men and boys) who are working in the sex trade not through genuine choice before thinking about what the rules might be in some idyllic situation which we are simply a million miles from.

NiceTabard Mon 15-Apr-13 21:14:09

On choosing clients etc saw this on BBC the other day:


"A report says that sex workers in Westminster are at greater risk of violence because of a fall in demand and an increase in those selling sex.

The study by Westminster Council shows the recession has led sex workers to cut their prices, accept more clients and take greater risks."

Market forces for you.

TBH, even if for you sex is the same kind of hobby as playing the cello, the analogy doesn't work. You have to try very, very hard to get an STD playing cello and you have to try even harder to be told you must play, against your will, when you're flat broke.

Obviously it'd be nice if everyone who was desperate for money was pondering whether or not to make a living with a little work in a jazz trio, but to me the differences seem quite stark!

MooncupGoddess Mon 15-Apr-13 21:34:11

I have to admit I did feel slightly soiled when singing Rule Britannia with my choir at the institute of tax accountants' annual dinner. And it's true that we did it for the money, and had to smile and look keen while not actually feeling it.

But I really think I would have felt much more soiled by being penetrated by one of the tax accountants for money. And I doubt I'm alone here.

Xenia Mon 15-Apr-13 22:00:06

Accountants do God's work and ensure we have the funds to pay disability benefits to the poor. We are so useless in this country as we so often knock what is good.

Gosh the number of mumsnetters who provide sex to accountant husbands some on £1m a year who provide sex to their husbands in return for a nice house. There are transactions all over the place where sex is at the core which is why women the world over try to marry up, men who earn more and families pay dowries to take girls off their hands, sadly. Only when mumsnetters stop being housewives and earn proper livings and exceed their husbands will be get over these problems of women as property who provide domestic service and look after men in return for their allowance and shoes in the hope he will not run off with a younger model who provides better sex. I don't see why allowing women to sell what is just about the only thing of value many have to sell is any worse than many a bargain based marriage.

Xenia does have a bit of a point: the only real difference between an unequal marriage and taking up sex work is that, in the marriage, you might only have one client but you are that client's property 24/7: if you are a sex worker (excepting trafficked people), you have lots of different clients but you get to do the job and go home at the end of the working day/night.

Zarrk Mon 15-Apr-13 23:53:30

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Zarrk Mon 15-Apr-13 23:53:48

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And another link that's relevant to this thread.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 16-Apr-13 00:26:14

I might have to go and post "accountants do God's work" on the MN quotes thread (and call my uncle the accountant to tell him the Good News)

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 16-Apr-13 01:19:21

Pffft that privilege checklist is that same old guff about it being the fault of nasty feminists and stigma, that prostitution isn't nearly as wonderful as it could be.

I am not arsed about some future possible utopia where the sex industry is fluffy and not at all harmful. In this world, it is a hideously exploitative industry, regardless of whether it is legalised/decriminalised/whatever, hence there are still abuses occurring in Nevada and Amsterdam to give just two examples.

By supporting the sex industry, the grotesque sense or entitlement many men feel towards women is supported and encouraged. People also seem to forget that the sex industry is exactly that - an industry, one that wants to grow ever bigger, ever popular and the way to do that is to normalise it mock and undermine any dissent towards it.

You only have to look at shite like the Turn Off Blue Light campaign (started by a pimp), to look at how pernicious this thinking is: especially disgusting, considering we're in a recession, with women bearing the brunt of financial pressures. How great it would be for pimps if they had more women working for them hmm

Note of course, that there's no equivalent campaign telling men that being a rent boy is a nice little earner. Funny that.

Zarrk Tue 16-Apr-13 01:24:57

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Zarrk Tue 16-Apr-13 01:31:31

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GoshAnneGorilla Tue 16-Apr-13 03:41:03

Zarrk - you are doing yourself no favours.

So being anti-prostitution is hysterical and crazy?

No. You can roll up pretending to be all about agency and whatever, but I can see what you are really about.

Zarrk Tue 16-Apr-13 03:53:15

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OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 16-Apr-13 04:00:24

Still haven't had an answer to my plea for stats re "it's more likely than not", that a prostitute will be trafficked/pimped/whatever.

Two comprehensive police campaigns, which raided every known brothel in the UK, and cost millions of pounds, failed to find these women/children.

Anyone? Any recent, Uk-based, stats at all? Maybe a peer-reviewed and published report?

Zarrk Tue 16-Apr-13 04:17:02

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Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 07:57:42

Ok, so I should disregard what Dworkin says because a) it was all a long time ago and b) she is dead and can't argue with me or c) despite the unambiguous clarity of her words, that is not actually what she meant?

So feminists who are alive and can speak for yourselves, is this your view? Are your sons all inevitably the rapists or exploiters of other women?

I assume you will say of course not - but for me this is another example of the frustrating difficulties of these debates. As LL said, it all becomes polarised so quickly.

What are the statistics to prove the assertion it is 'more likely than not' a prostitute has been trafficked? And how likely is it that any woman trained as a therapist would be providing sex because she was coerced to do so?

And if I was able to find a man prepared to have sex with me for money, do your objections to paid for sex still apply for to him? Am I then the rapist and the exploiter or does this no longer apply as he might be penetrating me?

PromQueenWithin Tue 16-Apr-13 09:09:23

This Guardian article from 2009 seems to summarise the issue with statistics.

Having been involved in a peripheral way with research that attempts to uncover the scale of FGM in this country, I would be surprised if there were reliable figures about trafficked / coerced prostituted women. Being illegal, there isn't a database where these things are registered!

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 09:44:37

To add to The range of useful links that Theoldlady has given I will add not just one voice but a umbrella group that speak for many sexworkers. Incidently despite Goths assertions about organisations started and run by pimps (Turn of the blue lamp) which in that instance looks to be true, the English collective was actually started by a marxist group as a off shoot from wages for housework campaign. Like scotpep and other organisations they do speak for and with women and mean doing sexwork,

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 16-Apr-13 12:25:41

Have to grin at Denis McShane talking about statistics.

But yes, of course it's hard to figure out what the true numbers are, so why the repeated parrotting of "it's more likely than not that she's trafficked/abused/a slave"? I can believe that some trafficked (and indeed, homegrown) women want out, and of course there must be help available for them. But if we only look at stats provided by people who are providing that help, we're not seeing the full picture.

The fact is that "happy hookers", whether a minority or majority, are extremely unlikely to come to the attention of anyone counting.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 13:56:42

Whilst agreeing that trafficking in human of any gender and age is wrong and should be condemned, it appears that as a main plank of the anti sexwork case so often that it skews both the participants and the case for how to get rid of it. For example saying that stopping the sex trade would end trafficking is not true as people are trafficked for many reasons, it would also not address those that choose to pay to be smuggled then enter the sexwork business as they find no other viable employment yet they need to make money to pay off the debt they owe the smugglers.

It also denies a discussion about those people who are born in this country who are sexworkers, irrespective of the reason or motivation for doing so. In short it's a catch all argument used to close down those who would like a proper debate about how we end slavery and sexwork.

It is also nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the central issue that this thread was started on, which was about the supplying of sexworkers to people with physical impairments. This in it;s self led to the discussion about how should disabled people best be facilitated to experience a part of every day life that abled bodied people take for granted, and feel entitled to deny others of.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 13:58:08

Dennis McShane was indeed pwnd by paso and The rep from the English collective. But thats what happens when you rely on dodgy stats.

Bonita12 Tue 16-Apr-13 15:52:25

Some interesting posts on this thread, shame some of them are based on extremely ill informed opinions.

Before I go any further I have to say that I know the best part of a hundred escorts on a personal level. I speak to many of them on a daily basis and would like to say to the poster who has a sister that works with prostitutes and has only ever met one that did it out of free choice (can't remember who the poster is) but I have to assume that his sister is working at street level if this is her experience of the industry.

Mine is very different, the vast majority of the women I work with actually work from homes. They are your average housewife that do the job for a whole host of reasons that can vary from financial pressures to just simple boredom. A large proportion of these women earn an average of around £120 an hour, but can get as much as £500 and do pay tax on that. They have websites that they pay for and pay for a large amount of advertising too.

These women run their business like any other business, they work discretely in the privacy of their homes, privately rented accommodation or hotels and could be in your own street without you even knowing they are there, in fact there could possibly be more than one. They could be your sisters, mothers, cousins, neighbours or friends, you would never know because they become masters at hiding their true identity from clients and their working identity from family and friends.

These women (and their clients) police their industry in a very effective way. They use the internet to share information on dangerous clients, pimps and other undesirables that they may not want to come into contact with. They share information this way with regards to sexual health issues and possibly the most important aspect to their policing, is the fact that these women are going to find out about and help trafficked, abused and girls at risk, long before the police or other bodies are likely to.

A huge number of these ladies do come from caring backgrounds looking for a way to boost their income, so with that in mind, it stands to reason that they can and do cater for disabled clients quite comfortably. As to whether it's morally right for them to do so is neither here nor there. As consenting adults they legally have to right to do so.

On a personal level I'm a bit perplexed at the moralistic arguments on here with regards to sexual rights. I totally agree that nobody has the right to force anyone into having sex against their will, that goes without saying, but I also strongly believe that nobody has the right to sit in moral judgement and tell another what they can and can't do with their own body.

I wonder how many women here would start shouting if they were told that masturbation was immoral or that vibrators were being banned from sale (bet most of you have them). Orgasms are not a human right but we all chase/expect/enjoy them. We are all sexual beings and to deny that for somebody that may not be able to do it for themselves because of disability, IMHO is just plain wrong. I admire the ladies at TLC and other places that can accommodate these people.

Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 16:14:27

I would still like to know what is the view taken of me paying for a male prostitute.

Does the 'celibacy rather than prostitution' argument still apply? Is a male prostitute seen as 'propping up' and condoning the sexual exploitation of young girls?

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 17:40:04

The problem with trying to answer this issue with statistics is that first you would need a comprehensive understanding of what the overall demographic is before you can even begin to construct a representative sample of the experience of the group. This is impossible with prostitution for a number of reasons - either they are "happy hookers" who don't come to the attention of social services or the police (for once I agree with one thing OLKN says), they are abused/trafficked/hidden from social services, they have stopped doing it and want nothing more to do with it and there are also issues of cognitive dissonance. This issue has become bogged down in unreliable statistics for years. Based on people I know who have been involved at various levels, two prostitutes did it to support a heroin addiction, four lapdancers with abusive relationships and one lap-dancer who was a pro-sex feminist and lasted two days. From their experiences told to me as a friend, not a professional or punter, I believe most women are abused before or after or have mental health, drug or addiction problems. Incidentally, in discussing various aspects of their experiences, no-one ever mentioned shame and abuse from feminists as an issue they faced - because it's fucking laughable to suggest such a thing is even real.

This issue is ultimately a political and moral issue. I am opposed to prostitution for the political reasons outlined by LRD above and the ethical / moral reasons outlined by NiceTabard and others. Just because one thing (e.g. masturbation) used to be considered wrong and is no longer, doesn't mean nothing should be considered wrong. That argument is not even logical.

As for agency, there is no such thing as complete free agency in a society governed by the rule of law. We are all subject to restraints on agency. I cannot agree to work for £3 per hour even if I could live off that. I cannot use heroin even if I could manage my health and life while doing so. My DH and I can drive with just under .8 blood alcohol even though I would be incapable before that level and he would be fine after it. I can't drive at 120mpg on the motorway although some people could do this safely.

So yes, in my view, celibacy rather than prostitution does still apply.

PromQueenWithin Tue 16-Apr-13 17:50:10

This debate has been really interesting, and I think many of my opinions contradict one another. For example:

Do I think Spero should be able to pay a male prostitute: Yes, if that's what she wants to do.

Do I like the way that access to prostitution normalises the sexual availability of women? No.

Do I believe that all sex workers are exploited? No, though I do think that their choices impact upon the rest of us in a way that isn't wholly positive. And I believe the evidence that suggests that a significant proportion are exploited.

Do I think women should be prevented from selling sex if that's what they wish to do, or otherwise abused or stigmatised for doing so? No.

Would I like the attitudes of some men towards women as sexually available objects to change? Yes.

Do I think its fair that disabled people find it more difficult to achieve a fulfilling sex life? No.

Do I think that disabled people have the right to access services that are legally available to them to satisfy themselves sexually? Yes.

Do I think that the care workers / therapists that would provide these services to disabled people will be trafficked sex slaves or at risk of abuse? Probably less likely to be so in the circumstances described.

Do I think that a female paying a male for sex is the same as the other way around? It should be, but it isn't because of all the social and cultural factors surrounding gender and inequality.

Do I think that disabled people should be allowed to pay for sex when able bodied people are not? No.

My conclusion is that in order to solve this problem, first we need to remove the gender inequality that makes men purchasing sex from women something that's more complicated that individual choice. Simple!

Finally, throughout this thread I've been thinking about the issue of "rights" in this context, and it occurs to me that nobody has pointed out that a disabled person without the means to pay for a sex worker won't have access to their "right" to seek or receive sexual services. I can't decide whether that's a relevant point though.

Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 18:26:28

Good post promqueen.

I don't think the masturbation argument at all illogical. The Victorians condemned it as immoral and disgusting and tried to argue that it caused physical and moral harm to the masturbator, even that excessive masturbation could lead to death.

Because they didn't like a practice they made up arguments about how harmful it was even though it should be an individuals choice what they do with their body.

I thought SGB link to the blog of a sex worker really interesting, particularly re flora foxes comment that sex workers never face shame and abuse from feminists. Did you read it?

FoR those who blithely say celibacy rather than prostituion, think on this. I am 42 years old. Luckily for me I have a very low libido. But others in my position may not. Thats probably 20 or 30 years of trying to shut down your sex drive.

If you prohibit down legal and safe ways for sexual expression, is there not a risk that people may still attempt to meet their sexual needs and desires? And thus operate outside state regualtion and protection?

Forcing prostitutes on the streets has done nothing to end prostitution, just made it more dangerous and unpleasant for the really vulnerable and allowed criminal gangs to take over a large part of the market.

It's like the 'just say no' campaign re drugs. People will always want to take drugs. All we have done now is handed over responsibility for the manufacture and supply of dangerous substances into the hands of criminals.

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 19:34:38

It is illogical because the two are unrelated. We believe that all sexual activity between adults and children is wrong and between two children is wrong. We define children as those under 16. This has not always been the case in the UK and is not the case in every other country. There are people who believe that sexual activity with children is not necessarily harmful to children and this was part of the civil rights movement in the UK in the 70s, which seems quite unbelievable now. I believe we, as a society, are much more against child sexual behaviour than we were in the past (and quite right, in my view). I'm making this point to show that just because values and attitudes change about one aspect of sexual behaviour, it doesn't mean that we are not allowed as a society to form views about behaviour and set laws to create the sort of society we want to live in. We do this all the time both socially and commercially with a multitude of laws and regulations that govern how we deal with each other.

I did read the blog linked by SGB and did not see any complaints of shame or abuse by feminists. Not sure what you were reading Spero.

As for celibacy, many, many people live with it for long periods. They do so for many reasons - some because they don't fancy the people who would willingly have sex with them (that goes for men and women) and they wouldn't overcome the lack of consent of a person who would not willingly have sex with them by paying for it.

The route of legalising prostitution has been tried in a number of places including the Netherlands. So far, the outcome does not seem positive. I would favour criminalising the purchase of sex but not the sale of it.

aeroio Tue 16-Apr-13 20:21:58

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aeroio Tue 16-Apr-13 20:22:55

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FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 20:25:05

More pro-pimp lies. That Guardian article was amended as you can see from the bottom paragraph and the Guardian published this:

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 20:27:35

That is not a joke.


aeroio Tue 16-Apr-13 20:29:12

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AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 20:40:19

I wonder why threads like this always attract absolute twats like that.

Actually, that was a rhetorical question.

Xenia Tue 16-Apr-13 21:00:01

Yes as seen above plenty of female escorts are happy and willing. If we stop that ability to earn we are anti women in my view and we are reducing not improving women's rights.

FF not everyone believes 16 should be the age of consent. I would lower it to 14 as long as your partner is no more than say 3 years older. That is a children's rights issue but absolutely no one on mumsnet which has no topic at which it is more censorious than the idea that children may have sexual feelings - it is the hot topic of our age.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 21:01:59

So ok lets think about how this celibacy rule would be explained to disabled people.
"Sorry X as all brothels and women who sell sexual services live on the top floor, you are banned from having a sexworker visit your home."
"What's that you say?" "Able bodied people can climb the stairs, pay there money and get on with it"
Ah well see since your disabled and there fore unable to get up the stairs it's far easier to impose a celibacy rule on you than it is on the able bodied population."
"No X we are not doing this to pick on you as you have a disability, we are doing this because we are protecting women, I am sorry if that makes you feel that your life is shit."

All we need is to train social workers to have that chat, or possibly some volunteers could be found.

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 21:16:07


Darkesteyes Tue 16-Apr-13 21:16:41

Bloody hell Xenia that is an awful idea. Those laws are there to protect children.

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 21:23:56

Lowering the age of consent will put more children at risk.

yes, under-16's have sex, we know that and there is already some leeway in the law for over 13's for what an abuser can get prosecuted for and when the ages of two protagonists are very similar

but lowering the AOC will whittle away at the lower limit even further

that is why, despite my misgivings about successive UK govts, they have never ever entertained the idea of doing such a dangerous thing

awful, awful, awful

Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 21:36:37

Flora, I was thinking particularly of paras 12 a and 12 b of the link posted by SGB.

I am intrigued as to how a discussion on whether the disabled should be allowed to purchase sex from a trained professional in a safe environment has somehow segued into child prostitution. Not really seeing the link I must confess.

As the saddest irony of all, by shutting down consideration of how the purchase of sexual services could be safe and regulated you almost guarantee - if what you say of the likelihood of trafficking and exploitation is true - that the people sought out to provide paid for gratification will be working on the margins of society, desparate and unrecognised.

Yet I and others like me must chose celibacy otherwise we are direct players in the game of exploitation and rape?

This is what I am finding really hard to take. That the blame is on me for maybe having a perfectly natural urge that someone might be willing to help me with in return for money (hey! Maybe I could buy him dinner! Cos that's ok isn't it, thousands of women chose to do that)

Instead of going after the lonely and desparate with the easy moral certainties of the privileged, why aren't we going after these criminals who treat women as less than human? Why are we so intent on shipping trafficked children back to their country of origin without any proper safeguards as to what they go back to?

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 21:38:59

After a quick google it seems that the AOC, is widely spread though out the EU. Two notable countries that have 14 as their age is Germany and Italy, Spain opts for 13. Ireland is 17 where as Malta and Turkey are the highest at 18.

Do you think AF that our society is the main reason that lowering the AOC would endanger children, in terms of more people would abuse even younger children. It seems Spain, Germany, and Italy may have far diffrent and possibly better attitudes to young people (i.e. not raping or abusing them.)

PromQueenWithin Tue 16-Apr-13 21:41:34

Leith, my reading of this thread is that nobody is suggesting that disabled people should be banned from paying for sex. Either people are arguing that everybody should be banned or that everybody should be allowed.

My reading of the celibacy issue isn't that posters are saying that disabled people should be celibate, they're saying that anybody who can't for whatever reason persuade someone to have sex with them without money changing hands unfortunately has no option other than celibacy.

The issue of wealthy men "paying" their wives for sex I find deeply offensive from a feminist perspective. It speaks to the issue that traditional "women's work" isn't valuable. DH has just been made redundant and thus I'm the main breadwinner. I have a good job. Is he now a male prostitute if we have sex or is that a false equivalence?

That said, I can't argue with the fact that many old unattractive men who happen to also be wealthy seem to have no trouble in attracting young attractive partners. This is, I admit, somewhat of a thorn in the side of my previous statements...

Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 21:45:13

And if you are so upset about age of consent being lowered to 14 can you please start agitating and campaigning for police to actually enforce the existing law? NEVER in all my years of care proceedings have the police ever prosecuted the boyfriend of a pregnant 15 year old, even though there is pretty conclusive evidence in the form of her baby that he put his penis up her vagina.

Loads of young teenage girls are having sex and they are being utterly betrayed by their rubbish parents, ineffectual law enforcement and utterly putrid society.

I fail to see any link between this and disabled people being able to buy sexual relief from another adult who is autonomous, trained, safe and well - and crikey, may even get some genuine satisfaction from their work.

I can see I have reached the useful limits for me of this discussion and while I am fateful to all of those who engaged with me respectfully and well, and have me much to ponder, I now think I will just be bashing my head against the cold hard wall of moral 'certainty' - just as the Victorians did with maturation and homosexuality.

So time to take my own advice and leave before I get angry and say something unhelpful. But on the whole, a worthwhile discussion I think.

Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 21:45:58

grateful not fateful

Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 21:46:53

Just noticed loads of other typos. Bastard ipad. Bye now.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 21:47:10

Exactly Spero, my crude example above is the kind of chat that someone would have to have with all disabled people. Perhaps with the rider that if they can get someone to agree to have sex with them willingly then thats fine. Otherwise they are denied any choice and need to forget and somehow ignore the daily reminders that other people are able to enjoy part of their human existence that they are not. Mainly as we would rather stop a problem by not addressing it.

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 21:48:15

Spero, before you go, how do you know what I campaign or don't campaign for ?

Thankfully, the AOC is not going to be lowered. But when I see people advocating for it, people who are intelligent and should know better, I feel impelled to put my opinion on here too.

WhentheRed Tue 16-Apr-13 21:48:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 21:50:11

Challenging the political and ethical basis of prostitution is not the same as shaming and abuse.

There has been no discussion about child prostitution - the point is about changing attitudes towards sexual behaviour. Some behaviour is more tolerated now than before (e.g. masturbation, homosexuality) while other is less tolerated (e.g. child sexual activity). Nothing to do with child prostitution.

I don't agree that legalising and regulating prostitution would make it safer. If I did, I would support that route despite my political and moral objections. I would still consider pimps and punters to be exploiting prostitutes.

I don't agree that these are the "easy moral certainties of the privileged". I don't agree that the wishes of the "loney and desperate" to have sex nor the precious agency of a small number of willing prostitutes outweigh the harm done by prostitution.

Spero Tue 16-Apr-13 21:52:53

I have no idea what you or anyone campaigns for. If you are campaigning, bloody good for you.

If you are not, you are a hypocrite and your angsting is misplaced. I think point about AOC in other countries is very good. Be interesting to find statistics on child abuse in Germany but I bet it is a lot, lot less. I have heard of no Rochdale scandals in Germany for eg.

Really must go now. New level on candycrush I hope.

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 21:53:30

and Spero, if you are so upset to see someone talking about the AOC on a thread about the rights of disabled people to buy sex...take it up with the poster who introduced it

I will counter it where I see it, even if it is a departure from the main point

personally, I believe Raunch Culture and the normalisation of the sex industry contributes to young girls and boys having sex too early

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 21:58:26

Prom: The point is, as always it has been. That for the majority of disabled people they cannot act on their impulses as the able bodied do. No masterbation, no chchatting up a potential sex partner, no opportunity to use any of the online dating/shag sites. They need to have reasonable adjustments to use the legal term. So if the moral certaintity of some posters on this thread were to be translated in to action, it would mean that despite the ability of able bodied people to use sexworkers, and that a as yet existing sex industry exists. It would be a careworker, social worker, member of the family, a volunteer, who would have to have that chat.

MooncupGoddess Tue 16-Apr-13 22:00:52

Leith, I've just googled and there are lots of dating sites specifically aimed at dating sites! And I've seen profiles from disabled people on mainstream dating sites too.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 22:00:59

Is there any evidence that there is less child abuse in Germany, Spain and italy?

Given that it is a very under-reported crime generally, and in the UK we don't know the true picture, I would be very interested in learning more about how that conclusion was arrived at.

the argument that lowering the age of consent will reduce the incidence of child abuse is a new one on me TBH, but always interested to hear new ideas if they can help with this stuff.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 22:02:32

"That for the majority of disabled people they cannot act on their impulses as the able bodied do. No masterbation, no chchatting up a potential sex partner, no opportunity to use any of the online dating/shag sites. "

Erm, What?

That is a tremendously sweeping statement, and incorrect I might add. Shows a very narrow view of disability.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 22:05:54

Good lord just seen another poster now convinced with no data whatsoever that child abuse is much reduced in countries with a lower age of consent.

Am surprised.

MooncupGoddess Tue 16-Apr-13 22:06:16

I've just realised I said 'dating sites aimed at dating' sites. Der. Obviously I meant 'dating sites aimed at disabled people'.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 22:09:05

According to Wiki the age of consent in Malawi is 14, and in DRC is 14 for girls.

I do not think that this has resulted in a low amount of child sexual abuse. What with, you know, having seen the news and all.

PromQueenWithin Tue 16-Apr-13 22:09:15

So Leith, are you suggesting that the provision of sexual services for disabled people is actually a different "industry" (for want of a more tasteful term) than the sex workers that able bodied people can access if they so wish?

Your POV is starting to make more sense to me now. Before I was equating disabled people with the able bodied people that struggle to find willing sexual partners. Perhaps this was unthinking ablest privilege on my part.

That's an interesting thought...

It brings up other issues like (as I mentioned earlier) what about disabled people without the means to pay for these services? Do they miss out?

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:09:16

Would you like to explain Tabard why those who were interviewed for the articles said what they did, or perhaps would you like to explain when scope/capability/ and Disability Now have conducted research on the subject of relationships disabled people of all kinds report that they find it harder to both find a partner and to achieve a sexual relationship.

It is your level of ignorance about the lifes of other disabled people that is sweeping.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:12:27

Mooncup: I presume the ads said that the person was disabled? Did they also say they were specificly looking for sex?

WhenTheRed: there are various circumstances other than sex work when a professional is seen as having the right to refuse a client (or vice versa) for reasons of preference or indeed prejudice. If the service being provided involves A visiting B in B's home (whether it's sex, a pedicure or a tarot reading) then A doesn't have to give an actual, provable, demonstrable reason for cancelling the service. Nor, for that matter, does B. Counsellors can refuse individual clients on vague grounds such as 'personality clash' or 'a different counsellor might be more suitable' even when what the refusing party really means is 'I don't want to deal with you because of your ethnicity/sexuality/religious belief/ugliness/you smell'.
The professionals who have got themselves in trouble under equality laws have been the ones stupid enough to make a big fuss about it and demonstrate what bigots they are. I see no reason why the same general set of exemptions-from-the-rule wouldn't apply to sex workers, on the same grounds - that a person is entitled to feel safe in his/her home or in the workplace (when the workplace is the client's home) and with certain types of personal service, client and professional need to feel comfortable with one another.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 22:16:35

You just said that "the majority of disabled people they cannot act on their impulses as the able bodied do. No masterbation, no chchatting up a potential sex partner, no opportunity to use any of the online dating/shag sites."

That is incorrect and, frankly, narrow-minded and ignorant.

You also stated that countries such as spain, italy and germany have much lower rates of child sex abuse which is a random guess on your part as far as I can see given that there is no accurate way of measuring this heavily under-reported crime even in our country and any stats that re available will not be comparable due to different religious, societal norms and the approach of police etc. I have no idea how you can even begin to back this up in any meaningful way and yet you state it as fact and an argument for reducing the age of consent.

For those who want the age of consent reduced this will presumably feed through into laws about who can work as a prostitute.

Got to wonder about agenda here, given the juxtaposition of those 2 points. Pro-prostitution and pro-lower age of consent = not a great picture from where I'm sitting. If that's not something you (and others presenting this argument) are comfortable with then prob best to make that clear I think.

MooncupGoddess Tue 16-Apr-13 22:18:29

Yes, something like 'I should just mention I'm a wheelchair user'. They certainly didn't say explicitly they were looking for sex... people rarely do on dating profiles. (Well, not on Guardian Soulmates anyway.)

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 22:19:36

SGB difficulty is that there are people (many? majority? I don't know) who do not have the luxury of picking and choosing their clients.

The article I linked upthread just the other day shows that quite starkly.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 22:24:22

I remember there was an article (last year?) about where staff in a care home were calling prostitutes in to the residents. The care home were quick to point out that they carried out risk assessments on behalf of the residents they were calling women in for, as they were vulnerable. But at no point was the possibility that the women going in might be vulnerable even raised. As long as the residents were fine then that was the end of the story.

That kind of encompassed the problem for me.

Darkesteyes Tue 16-Apr-13 22:26:43

It seems Spain, Germany, and Italy may have far diffrent and possibly better attitudes to young people (i.e. not raping or abusing them.

Id rather not go into details on this thread but i have had about three close shaves with Italian males at the ages of ten , 16 and 17.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:27:15

Prom: I know this is a very long thread and it would take a long time to trawl through it, but no where have I or Spero said that disabled people should be using sexworkers AT ALL. This is the result of the moral certantity that the only paid for provision of intimate hands on services must mean prostitution. Spero and I have argued that a "surrogacy" model would be the way to go. We were then advised that since this is still going to lead to the trafficking of women and children that we should have a situation that those disabled people unable to make use of sexworkers in the standard way, they would then be forced in to celibacy not as a result of choosing it, but as a result of the inability to get someone to facilitate it.

On the financial issue, 3 thoughts.
1. Those who are the most severly disabled will have both DLA, and some will have the new PIP. This is specificly awarded to impaired people to use as and when they like for what ever they like. However as the new benefit is harder to get it would leave more people unable to afford it.
2. If we were to as you say have a diffrent type of service which is more along the therapeutic model, that might be aforded either by state funding, or charity funding.
3. Since the system would need to be regulated and those surrogates who choose to do so will need specific training in handling, lifting, understanding advanced techniques in communication and emotional issues. It could be that these surrogates may be able to charge different less expensive rates, but since they are more regulated and better trained they would be more likely to have regular work. Plus it might be that those attracted to this type of work would not be motivated by money alone.

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:31:33

NT, as you say, referred to in that disgusting story was that one of the excuses the care staff gave for calling in sex workers was because they were fed up of being groped, mauled and otherwise sexually assaulted by the residents

you can see the thought processes "hey, let's get some women in to substitute for the staff as sex objects and blow up dolls, cooool"

it's akin to the idea that the presence of sex work establishments reduce sex crimes in the area

perhaps they do...but what sort of fucked up thinking is that ?

it simply kow tows to the idea that some people cannot control their sexual urges and really, they can in most cases

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:32:55

the alternative and correct and solution, of course, is obvious to people who do not rationalise and excuse sexual assaults

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 22:36:31


I consider a pedicurist, tarot card reader, counsellor or any other service provider who turned someone away because of their ethnicity/sexuality etc. to be a disgusting bigot, regardless of whether they are allowed in law to do so.

I consider applying the same standards to the provision of sex - that a person should have sex with person A because she (or he) has had sex for money with person B, to be repugnant.

Because sex is different.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:40:08

Moncup: That kind of defines the problem, people with disabilities who use mainstream sites feel they need to identify that they have an impairment for many reasons. It should make no difference but I assure you that if it is not said upfront the chance is better than even that on meeting someone the other person is likely to say something like "Oh your a disabled person". Not great for self confidence.

You did remind me though that their are specialised dating sites for people with impairments I have no knowledge about them so I dunno who uses it, or how people negotiate meeting up. My main point is, if you have a hidden disability you can go most places when you want. Start chatting and maybe pull. Then back to someone's where at some point if a conditions sever enough, inhalers, tablets, injections. Panic attacks, tourets, the issue of the impairment will be broached and negotiated. Sometimes it wont matter some times it's the door.

For those with a very obvious disability, or learning disability, they cannot even start the process with out a huge logistical hoopla, which for some is just to much hassle or dispiriting when no contacts are made. These are the practicals

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 22:43:46

Flora, you will get people arguing that sex is actually exactly the same as providing a service like a manicure, or a haircut

WhentheRed Tue 16-Apr-13 22:46:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PromQueenWithin Tue 16-Apr-13 22:55:28

Leith, I think I may have used the wrong terminology in my last post. I didn't mean to imply anything about your opinions on prostitution, was just asking if you thought the workers / therapists assisting disabled people would work differently to prostitutes. I guess you'd say yes to this?

WhentheRed Tue 16-Apr-13 23:07:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 23:12:21

LL: firstly, I think you've been fairly clear on a number of threads that you are generally in favour of legalised prostitution. Correct me if I'm wrong. If I'm not, you're splitting hairs somewhat in your response to Prom.

Secondly, if you are not generally in favour of legalised prostitution, it is nonsensical to argue there can be a legal "surrogacy service" available for disabled people but no equivalent for the many, many other people who are not inundated with offers of sex from attractive partners.

Thirdly, your financial arguments are very odd. You want specially trained regulated providers who will charge less? Economics don't work that way.

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 23:14:27

Perhaps ALL prostitution could be replaced with this utopia of "sex surrogacy" ?

That'll drive the prices right down. What with there being no "danger money" involved'n'that. hmm

As I said upthread, there are some people who want to take up sex work because they consider it a vocation and themselves as therapists. What's so terrible about that?

Also, WRT the sex workers who were asked to attend clients in a care home, it's unlikely that these particular sex workers would have been trafficking victims. Traffickers generally want to keep their victims indoors, not let them make calls to customers, as that might give the victim the opportunity to ask for help or escape.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 23:41:31

Prom: The two posts above mine prove the point spero and myself were making. I am sorry if I was short with you, again as the above posts demonstrate we spero and I have spent a huge amount of time making our case clear only to have to confront the same accusations all over again

No Flora I have not argued for legalised prostitution, in fact I have argued against prostitution. The reason you still cannot grasp that is connected to your inability to conceive of any service provided by someone that involves sex as anything other than prostitution. The splitting hairs as you call it is a difference in philosophy, it is not a difference in end result.

As for economics, forgive me for wandering in to capitalism 101, but I always though you charged what the market could stand? If in a city the size of London their was only 100 surrogates, the need to charge huge amounts would be negated by having a very large number of clients so ensuring no shortage of work and only minimal competition. The market then may not have much disposable income but the service provider would have access to large amounts of potential customers.

See my earlier response to mooncup as to why I am indeed saying this should be on offer to disabled people and not fat unattractive, smelly, able bodied people.

Whenthe red: Would you trust your child to someone with out any training at a nursery? I suggest you readjust your able bodied privilege and go and learn more about disabled people.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 23:42:25

There is a range of situations between trafficked and vocation.

The people in the BBC report upthread were not at either extreme, which is where I suspect the majority of people who work in prostitution in the UK lie.

There is nothing terrible at all with people doing a job they love and earn enough at. The problem comes in that is not the case for so many people involved in this work that looking out for the people who are not there through vocation / genuine choice etc has (for me) to take priority.

The few things I have read and seen about disabled people (and they were always men) paying for sex (and it was always with women) were accessing the same pool of prostitutes used by the rest of the population (or going abroad to access them there) rather than seeking out ethical free-range type services.

NiceTabard Tue 16-Apr-13 23:47:32

Not to say that's always the case, but.

It's about the right of all people (usually men) to access prostitutes (usually women).

The rights of the women engaged in this work, their stories concerns backgrounds etc never seem to be even touched on.

It seems all one or the other, which is where the arguments come in.

Incidentally I know a bloke who told me about paying for sex on stags etc and when I asked him why he said it was due to his disability meaning he was too embarrassed to go to bed with a woman he wasn't paying. Bollocks, I thought at the time, this is an excuse. And now he's married and no worries there. For some people at least this is a justification. The vast majority of situations where this is arising, is not situations where people who are incapable of finding relief otherwise are finding it with people with a vocation for their work. That is all utpoia-ville and it's just not where we're at now.

Leithlurker Tue 16-Apr-13 23:51:33

AF: What would really drive the prices down, in fact what would drive prostitution to be less exploitative is for the whole of society to be much more open and honest about sex. You post a lot on the relationship boards in support of women who partners have been shagging someone else. We know that women, probably not as many, also have affairs, we know young people these days tend to have multiple partners and will if they do not form a pair bonding go on having multiple partners. We know from history that infidelity happened. My point here is that despite what we wish would happen humans seem to have a very hard time being monogamous.

Maybe as a society we need to think about that, and also about what we expect from each other given that we have a long history of both men and women choosing to have sex with people they are not supposed to. This though is a digression.

FloraFox Tue 16-Apr-13 23:53:51

LL: so are you saying only disabled people should be allowed to pay for sex but it should be illegal otherwise? How bizarre.

Regulated markets function differently from unregulated ones due to the cost of compliance. Regulated services will always cost more than unregulated ones in the same general market. This also creates a demand for an unregulated/illegal cheaper market. Even aside from that your example is the wrong way round. If there was no unregulated/illegal activity to meet the demand, the cost charged by the 100 "surrogates" would be far higher. Low supply + high demand = higher charges.

But the very notion that you are dreaming of women being in a position of having to charge less but have more customers is really yuk TBH.

You are right about one thing though. Sex provided for money is prostitution.

AnyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 23:59:43

There have been lots of digressions on this thread.

Indeed there is a long history of men and women choosing to have sex with people they are not supposed to.

However, this is where I take issue, and you apparently would disagree with me.

Multiple partners, infidelity, a hard time being monogamous still requires mutual, uncoerced consent

I do not, and never will, believe that cold hard cash exchanging hands is true consent

I could not ever, no matter what difficulties I had attracting a sexual partner nor whatever physical restriction I had in completing a sex act, pay someone else to perform it for me or to pretend to enjoy it so I could get my rocks off. The whole idea is a contradiction in terms for me.

Leithlurker Wed 17-Apr-13 00:06:38

There you go Flora nicely demonstrated, your lack of ability to even apply the simple logic of the market in relation to a specalist market means yours is a dogmatic anf fixed point of view, not interested or capable of thinking from diffrent perspectives.

One example and I am out of here.
"Regulated markets function differently from unregulated ones due to the cost of compliance. Regulated services will always cost more than unregulated ones in the same general market."
There is no general market because many people with a range of impairments cannot access it, just as I have said many times. This means ONLY the surrogates would operate in the market, not all sexworkers will want to or even can become surrogates, reducing the number and keeping the two markets seperate. No general market means your whole thesis fails apart. If you even thought about what you were saying you would realise that people who would use the surrogates would not have a need for any illegal activity so again your thesis fails, the market will pay what it can afford, nothing stopping surrogates from changing from one market to the other if they just want to make loads of money.

NiceTabard Wed 17-Apr-13 00:08:54

Agree with AF post there. Esp about cash changing hands not equalling real consent. Exchange of money means you agree to have sex that you would not otherwise consent to (in vast vast vast majority of cases before anyone nitpicks). That is not the same as the usual meaning of consent ie you want it because you physically want to have sex with them at that time. Esp in a one-time type scenario.

FloraFox Wed 17-Apr-13 00:18:30

Leithlurker, arf at you trying to insult my logical abilities. It's economics, not dogma. If there is no illegal unregulated market, the price for the regulated one would be even higher. You're too busy dreaming of shagging all these cheap prostitutes you can't do the maths.

Are you now saying there would be a legal non-surrogate market? Try to keep your position consistent. It's getting tiresome with all your twisting.

NiceTabard Wed 17-Apr-13 00:19:22


1. It is not illegal to pay for sex in the UK.
2. At the moment the "general market" is being used to supply sex fairly widely across the entire community. the inclusion of a small number of people who want to pay for sex and cannot at the moment (or whose parents / carers want to pay for sex on their behalf which is another can of worms surely) will make zilch difference to prices
3. You say "the market will pay what it can afford" - you think that people with disabilities are more wealthy non-disabled clients?
4. "Nothing stopping surrogates from changing from one market to the other" - indicating that a surrogate isn't a specially trained type of professional as indicated upthread but simply that people who sell sex to disabled people will have a more "acceptable" name than people who sell sex to non disabled people??!!???
5. "If they just want to make loads of money" - surely if you can "just make loads of money" by having sex with disabled people then all prostitutes would do that as everyone will choose more money over less. Unless you think that women selling sex would be less inclined to have sex with disabled men (majority of transactions) just...because? Because what, exactly? You claim to be "on the side" of disabled people but you're not half coming out with some nasty stuff.

WhentheRed Wed 17-Apr-13 01:43:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

masterchef1 Thu 02-May-13 03:44:06

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

freta Thu 09-May-13 22:09:50

Interesting that there seems to have been no direct comment on the post by Bonita12 - does it say something you don't want to hear? That the vast majority of women DO enter the industry with their eyes open.
And try this link....

freta Thu 09-May-13 22:29:05

I think I'm getting a glimpse in Alice's looking've all got it back to front

FloraFox Fri 10-May-13 00:05:35

Bonita's post is not evidence that the vast majority of women enter the industry willingly and with their eyes open. At best, it is evidence that some do. At best.

namechangedatm Fri 10-May-13 13:09:12

I have name changed for this as i post on another section of the forum where I don't want judging for my job....anyway I'm a prostitute and I thought I'd give you some info from the horses mouth about how I ended up doing this.

I'm from a pretty poor area of the north west but my family isn't really poor, my dad is rich and lives abroad and my mum has a decent job, own house etc and iv been used to a decent standard of living my entire life.

I first had sex aged 13, it was a peer pressure type of situation but I did like the lad. He went on to seriously sexually assault me with a few of his friends a few months later. I was bullied about this at school, mostly by other girls. One of the lads went to my school and once he chased me with his school friends, they were trying to grab me and take me into the boys changing rooms as some kind of joke. Anyway I was that terrified after that and sick of the bullying i left the school. I hated school, stayed at home or out with friends and was out of control. This is how I ended up with no qualifications.

During my teens my mum was married to a man I hated and this made everything worse, I moved out at 16/17 and this was when I was skint even though my dad sent me money every month and I got benefits.

Anyway I started thinking about escorting and reading up on it when I just turned 18. However I was still with my first love I met at 16 so didn't go ahead. I spent close to a year reading sites like saafe and punternet as I didn't want to start without knowing what I was doing. I was living in a crappy council flat and just wanted nice things I suppose.

I've been doing this for 3 years now and TBH cant see me able to quit anytime soon, I have no qualifications beside a mere level 2 English. I tried studying at college at 18 before I turned to prostitution. I had to quit as I was going to lose my benefits for not being available for work. What was I meant to do?

Escorting is not that bad but then again I've had lots of casual sex and do enjoy sex. I've never been raped or assaulted whilst prostituting but my first love did rape me when I left him aged 19 (I was already escorting then) and my so called teen 'friends' did aswell. I was also sexually exploited by groups of Pakistan men when I was 14 and knew no better and was living with a friend in Oldham.

I make decent money from escorting and only see about 2/3 clients a day a few times a week. I mostly see regular and return clients which I prefer. I give a good service to my clients and if I don't like them they don't get to see me again. The men are mostly nice, just horny. I would like to work with animals or beauty but I can't make the same money I can doing sex work. Sometimes I get annoyed things like this are the best way for women to make money. It shouldn't be like that. I am planning on studying soon but I'm comfortable and experienced in escorting now.

I work from home, now I live in a nice house like one I wanted, I have everything I need and now money isn't really an issue. If I need money I just have to text back a client on my phone. It makes life easier. I've never caught an sti from work but I use condoms, I do give oral without though. I don't have to give it but I choose too, it's pretty low risk. Most clients are 30-50 and mostly married with kids though some are single too.

I get warning texts from ugly mugs when a girl is assaulted, the warnings always regard an incident with a street worker. I choose and vet my own clients before I meet them, certain types I avoid, I get nice guys this week. They simply want sex and for some reason not getting what they want. I'm good looking with a nice figure and this is the best option for me now. I wanted the standard of living i deserve and was used to when younger.

Anyway this is getting long so if you have any questions fire away.

namechangedatm Fri 10-May-13 13:12:47

I get nice guys this way I meant lol! It's bad you can't edit your posts here ha smile

grimbletart Fri 10-May-13 17:16:30

* Sometimes I get annoyed things like this are the best way for women to make money. It shouldn't be like that.*

There we have it. sad

namechangedatm Fri 10-May-13 17:32:36

Yeah, I just thought I'd share my story because I don't really fit into any typical stereotype of prostitute. I've worked in massage parlours at one point and my story is similar with other girls iv worked with, mostly they were working class mums, immigrants, the odd student and older woman supplementing their income from elsewhere. There were issues in some of the girls lives but they were working there of their own free will. I only worked with one drug addict who sadly passed away from overdose, I think drug addicts usually are on the streets so I haven't met any others.

But yes it all boils down to the fact that for many women its the best way to earn some money, and money brings choices and better quality of life. My family are ok with my job, except my dad. He came from a poor family and built his way up, and doesn't believe in something for nothing which is why he sends me money but not enough to actually live off, just to help me.

mousik Fri 16-Aug-13 09:23:25

I think you should read the articles on the blog

Boosterseat Fri 16-Aug-13 11:04:55

Mousik - Is this your link or something? 2nd thread today you've posted this? 2nd zombie thread today!

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