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Should men should be prosecuted for paying for sex

(118 Posts)
ICanSeeTheSun Tue 25-Mar-14 19:26:30

On channel 4 news now.

I think they should.

There is also talk about legalising prostitution. Which in a way I think in a way it should because at least the women who does it would have more protection.

Toadinthehole Fri 28-Mar-14 06:13:00


The prevailing view historically was that sex outside marriage was wrong. Given that society was, until recent times, utterly male dominated, it is accordingly absurd to suggest that men historically believed they had an inalienable right to sex.

Otherwise, how do you account for things like abortion being illegal, and prostitution either illegal or heavily circumscribed historically? How do you account for the fact that rape (outside marriage) was a capital offence for most of English history? It was not some kind of polite facade - those were the social norms, notwithstanding the fact that some people broke them, and notwithstanding that disapproval was stronger during some periods and in some places than in others.

I am starting to think you don't know what you're talking about.

The truth is that in Europe it is only in recent times that sex has been seen generally as something that it is OK for anyone to enjoy, regardless of its procreative purpose. This is mainly due to the decline of traditional Christianity.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Mar-14 09:30:51

Yes, dear.

You do not seem to understand that there has always been (and still is) a distinction between what society has as overt rules (eg., 'sex is for within marriage') and what society condones or actively promotes ('prostitution is fine, son, I'll just nip down the road and buy you a prostitute').

As for rape being a capital offence ... yes, if you understand rape in a remarkably narrow way. If you think it's hard to get a conviction for rape now, you would be stunned to see how hard it was through history. Rape didn't even mean the same thing through much of history - it meant stealing some other man's 'property' (a woman) and not 'coerced sex'.

How do you account for century-old sex toys, pornography and prostitution if you believe people were not meant to enjoy sex?

Centuries of men have known perfectly well that they can exploit women for sex, and have done so. They may have wanted their daughters to remain virgins and their wives to remain chaste - because that preserves patrilineal models of inheritance and is also a neat way of continuing to treat women as objects. But other women? No, you could exploit those.

Why do you imagine prostitution happens, by the way? Do you think it has nothing to do with the patriarchy?

Toadinthehole Fri 28-Mar-14 10:10:05

Hmm. This is the sort of historical analysis based on the fallacy that the truth is a conspiracy theory.

Your claim that rape meant "stealing another man's property" is simply false. It's historical definition was forcing a person to have sex against their will. I really have no idea where you get your definition from. Mine comes from the law reports. Also, as a criminal offence, rape was prosecuted by the Crown, not the male "owner" of the victim.

How do I account for the historic existence of sex toys - and for that matter - prostitution? That's easy. There is no need for me to argue that at all times and in all places enjoyment of sex was entirely suppressed. A fair amount of what was allowed can of course be ascribed to the traditional privileges of the rich.

However, the original point I contested: that society has traditionally considered men to have a right to, and basic need for sex would, if true, have made for a very different sort of society - not one based around a church that taught sex was sinful and any pleasure gained from it highly dubious, not one that included a large class of celebate men in holy orders; not one that kept prostitution very much in the margins; not one that considered men who committed adultery criminals; not one that condemned women who had abortions, regardless of whether or not their pregnant child was illegitimate.

None of this amounts to denial of historical male supremacy and the exploitation of women. Why do I imagine prostitution happens? I detect a trap. My answer is that I really don't know, as it is not something I have had anything to do with. I will restrict myself to repeating the point that both being and using a prostitute is not something that European societies - right up to the present day - have ever approved of.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Mar-14 10:23:41

No, this is historical analysis based on knowing some history.

Go and read a textbook. Rape in medieval England referred to the crime of stealing a woman as another man's property. For example, both Chaucer and Malory were accused of rape, probably meaning abduction. It wasn't that unusual for men to abduct women who were actually quite keen on them, but that would still be 'rape' because the word did not mean 'coerced sex'. For rape as we would understand it, it was incredibly difficult to get a court case going, and the law was remarkably cruel. But I digress.

You now seem to admit my point that men have historically enjoyed sex outside marriage: now can we move on to the obvious follow-up that prostitution is probably part of all this? Right? It's not complicated.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 28-Mar-14 10:52:40

Toad - you also (since you're so keen on the repressive role of the church - and I actually agree on this: it was and is deeply oppressive in all sorts of respects) need to go and re-read the Book of Leviticus. In the Judaeo-Christian code of ethic, a man commits adultery when he sleeps with another man's wife. He does not (assuming he is married) commit adultery if he sleeps with a single woman. A married woman who sleeps with a man who is not her husband (regardless of whether that other man is single or married) has committed adultery. An interesting gender-based asymmetry, no?

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Mar-14 10:56:57

I completely agree that the Church is and was deeply oppressive.

I just think it is remarkably simplistic to make out that, before feminism, society did not hold to the view that men had a right to sex. That's an absurdity.

SolidGoldBrass Fri 28-Mar-14 17:54:05

A further viewpoint on anti-sex work law.

FloraFox Fri 28-Mar-14 18:53:19

Lurcio the gender-based asymmetry is interesting in Leviticus. It's so clear that women have been subjected to asymmetrical treatment when it comes to sex and sex-based oppression since at least biblical times. However, if you suggest that an asymmetrical response may be an effective solution, you are met with howls about it going against the fundamentals of fairness or whatever.

lifehasafunnywayofhelpinguout Fri 28-Mar-14 19:52:59

You're not B.U. However we'll have to agree to disagree as I do not think men should be prosecuted for paying for sex. If a women wants to sell her body and a man is prepared to pay then who are they hurting. Also prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world. Jesus Christ fell in love a prostitute. xx

FloraFox Fri 28-Mar-14 20:48:13

You don't think the incidence of PTSD in survivors in indicating that someone is being hurt? Or the prevalence of victims of sexual abuse or violence among women in prostitution would tell you something about harm? Or the incidences of addictions or mental health problems? That's not to speak of the increase in trafficking resulting from the increase in demand that comes from legalisation or decriminalisation.

What about the perpetuation of women's roles as being a sex class to service men?

PosyFossilsShoes Fri 28-Mar-14 21:07:47


The German model - where prostitution is treated as "any other work" and is regulated and taxed (in theory) has worked out REALLY badly for - guess what - the women, and REALLY well for - guess what - the pimps and brothel owners.

I found this article extremely illuminating (and I read it from the perspective of someone who was entirely undecided on the eternal Nordic model v legalisation debate):

FloraFox Fri 28-Mar-14 21:12:06

This one is also grim

Caitlin17 Sat 29-Mar-14 01:01:40

"The rape of the Sabine women" is referring to the abduction not sexual molestation of the women.

Alexander Pope's poem The Rape of the Lock written in 1712 is about someone cutting off a lock of hair.

Rape is derived from rapere meaning to seize , pillage, snatch. It has nothing to do worth forced sex.

As for it being a capital offence, well so were hundreds of others. I'm shamelessly quoting Wikipedia here.

In 1688 there were 50 offences on the statute book punishable by death, but that number had almost quadrupled by 1776,[1] and it reached 220 by the end of the century.[2] Most of the new laws introduced during that period were concerned with the defence of property, which some commentators have interpreted as a form of class suppression of the poor by the rich.[3] George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax, expressed a contemporary view when he said that "Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen".[4] Grand larceny was one of the crimes that attracted the death penalty, despite the fact that it was defined as the theft of goods worth more than 12 pence, which was only about one-twentieth of the weekly wage for a skilled worker at the time.[5] As the 18th century wore on, jurors often deliberately under-assessed the value of stolen goods, in order to avoid making a sentence of death mandatory.[5]

Caitlin17 Sat 29-Mar-14 01:07:42

Re the German model I can't remember what programme it was but husband and I were watching an interview with one of the workers in a legal German brothel-a pretty little thing of 20,who spoke flawless English talking about having sex with up to 6 different men every day.

It was heartbreaking. She looked so vulnerable and we just thought what happened in her life that that can be a lifestyle choice? My husband actually felt more strongly than me that it was wrong.

LillyAlien Sat 29-Mar-14 07:12:09

I think there is a basic problem with how people think about policy. Lots of things might be undesirable and cause problems. This doesn't necessarily mean they should be made illegal. This applies to buying sex, smoking in cars with children, legal highs.

If making something illegal is unlikely to change how much it goes on, forces people underground, creates a job for the police, leaves people open to persecution by the police when laws are selectively enforced, and makes it harder for people doing innocuous things to stay on the right side of the law, then we shouldn't bother.

brettgirl2 Sat 29-Mar-14 08:11:28

I like these threads on mn. Whenever I air my views on this in real life people are confused hmm .

My opinion is fine if an adult woman was really making this a career choice. However, in reality it is men abusing desperate and vulnerable women. I think it's disgraceful.

Oldest profession in the world. ... erm well up to 150-ish years ago if a woman was raped it was her fault. Just because it's previously been the case doesnt mean things can't change.

A man who has sex with a 15 year old is prosecuted but paying to abuse a girl of 18 who has been in care and is desperate for money for drugs is just fine sad . It makes me feel physically sick.

Joysmum Sat 29-Mar-14 08:29:38

Personally I see no problem with choosing to sell sex for money. I do see problems with a system that exploits vulnerable people.

So I'd like to see the sex industry regulated with high standards and not seedy and failing sex workers. It's the system I disagree with as it draws vulnerable people in. This needs changing, but as an on paper principle, I don't have a problem with prostitution or the sex industry.

Caitlin17 Sat 29-Mar-14 15:33:59

Brettgirl agree completely.

Joysmum it's buying and selling human beings however high standards apply.

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