Sex work as affirming ownership of the body

03 Jun

I was just looking at LoverofMaggie’s blog and it just reminded me, as I’ve thought sometimes, that prostituting myself has been the only big decision I’ve ever made only for me, to please and fulfil myself. All the other decisions like going to university were simply expected of me. I didn’t understand that I had a choice to go to university and as a first-year student I’d get confused when other students asked why I’d chosen to go to uni or what made me decide to go. As a three year old I’d been told I’d go to university. I’ve never felt as in control of my own life as I do now. I was always allowed, as a child and teen, to do anything I wanted as long as it wasn’t illegal or unsafe but somehow I always felt controlled although I was quite spoilt. I had panic attacks occassionally until I was about 16 but was never diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, as I never went to the doctor about it. I was criticized often for being emotional or weird, and lied that I thought I had Asperger’s Syndrome to avoid this, which didn’t work, but on the whole I was very happy and had a dream life, and all the toys, books and games that I wanted (I still have over 1000 books even though hundreds were given away to charity shops over the years!)

Anyway, prostitution is empowering for me (so far). This is my body, it is mine, so I shall use it to get the money I want.

Money is the one thing you can always trust.

Prostitution is liberating; it means you don’t need any emotional attachment whatsoever, you just get sex without any strings attached. And in my case you get to fulfil a fantasy and just be yourself and explore your personality and grow from it.

I’m not trying to say my experience is representative. When I studied prostitution at uni, I wrote in my exam a month ago a radical argument for using two terms and discourses to describe prostitution – one for streetwalking and another for all other types. I believe that you simply cannot formulate policy that covers educated prostitutes who earn hundreds or thousands off each client and may be sex activists and/or doing prostitution part time while studying or working other jobs and that also covers prostitutes earning £10-£30 off each client, who have no other job and use prostitution to pay for drug addictions, bills/rent or pay it to boyfriends or pimps. These women usually have a history of abuse and suffer from illness and sleep deprivation, and according to reports are often barely able to stand up as they negotiate with clients. Most were forced into it or started very young so their agency is doubtful, in contrast with sex activists who form coalitions such as PLAN, COYOTE or the UK Trade Union for sex workers. Streetwalkers usually fall into the second group, while those that work through agencies, from home or from massage parlours usually fall into the first. So you cannot have one policy to cover both situations. In the first category, the problem seems to be victimization by society and the criminal justice system itself; the solution is freedom/nonintervention. In the second category, a laissez-faire approach would be irresponsible.

(R Matthews’ books and articles, Scottish Government Report ‘Being Outside’, Home Office report on multidisciplinary handling of kerb-crawling, Ann Phoenix’s article)


Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Sex work


Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Sex work as affirming ownership of the body

  1. thedomnextdoor

    June 3, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Simply fascinating, and well presented.

  2. fieara

    June 10, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Thank you 🙂 It always annoyed me how in class we used the term “prostitute” for girls who started at age 12 or 15 (a documentary ‘the oldest profession’ features a woman who started at 6 with her grandparents as her pimps) and for women who have degree-level jobs and do it on the side. It didn’t make sense to even call victims of multiple abuse “sex workers” when they had been raped and beaten as kids, in and out of different foster homes and living with partners who beat them and they’re doing it to feed a drug habit, unable to get a ‘regular’ job because of mental illness…that’s not really working, it’s being trapped in a situation nobody wants to be in. I loved your latest posts about Marvin and Papa Smurf btw…it makes me wonder what you’d call a Rabbit. Roland says he will use a vibrator on me and I dunno how I feel about that…well it should be fun 😀


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