Monday, October 22, 2007

The Economics of Prostitution

When I was in school, in high school English class, we had to do public speaking. I thought it was just because English teachers were sadistic grownups. I mean, they make you diagram sentences, do public speaking, and read Sherwood Anderson.1

Well, in one such round of public speaking, someone did a speech on the costs of prostitution. Really. In high school. In Georgia. The guy that spoke was not really good. The subject matter was something that made him more nervous, and it was not a very well-chosen subject because of this.

Afterwards, we normally critiqued the speech. Even in high school, we were acutely aware that if you gave a really harsh critique, you would really get blasted when it was your turn. So we were normally very complimentary when giving critiques. And the sadistic grownup we called the English teacher was probably aware of that as well.

Anyway, after he gave the speech, instead of normal critiquing, the teacher said that we were to discuss the issue. And at the point, I was thinking to myself, "I don't really want to talk about prostitution."

Now, I don't remember the speech. And I don't remember most of the discussion, aside from not wanting to say anything. But I do remember one comment that a guy made, "If girls had more sex, there would be no need for prostitution." Well, that comment got a laugh, and at the time, I laughed too. But I did not believe the comment – just some jock wanting to be the class clown.

Now, some twenty years later, I thought about the comment, and if an economist made the same statement, I would think the statement was better thought-out and I would give their opinion more credence.

If you thought that prostitution was a really bad thing and wanted to eliminate it, you could by incentivizing women to be open to sex when men want sex. I am not saying that a man opens a door for you and you reward him by giving him a quick hand job. I am saying that if women were extremely open to sex, there would be no market for sex-for-money, and prostitution would completely dry up.

Me, I don't want to sacrifice sex with random men for cleaning up prostitution. Since we have more English teachers than prostitutes, perhaps we should just make the English teachers be more open to sex. Of course, I have a suspicion that they might actually enjoy it. It would beat reading Sherwood Anderson.

1I read Sherwood Anderson's The Egg when I was in 11th grade.


~Deb said...

Leesa, it's up to you and me to save this world of prostitution and take on many, many men to save the world!

Well, I'll take the women. :)

~gkw said...

I personally LOVE the idea!! I say You gals should get to work!!

LarryLilly said...

I thought sadistic middle school english teachers made you read the original old english Beowulf.

As far as prostitution goes, well, prostitutes dont sell sex, they sell control in the form of control of a woman by a man. Based on talking with lots of married women, its not lack of sex drive by a woman, in fact, most women in a married/committed relationship would say they dont get enough sex, especially after mid 30's. Its an incorrect male joke that they dont get enough by their woman.

I would guess that men that seek prostitutes are doing their egos a boost not from the actually sex, but the form of control they have for a moment over a woman that gives no grief over the control he has over them.

So economics of sex isnt about the selling of sex, its the selling of egotism.

Ian Lidster said...

Oh, Sherwood Anderson's not so bad.
Your suggestion reminds me of a newspaper interview I once conducted with the madam of an escort agency. We were talking about the existence of prostitution and why it fulfilled a function in society. She said: "If more wives or girlfriends would be prepared to put out or give a blowjob first thing in the morning when men are at their horniest, then they wouldn't have any need for my girls and I'd be out of business."

RWA said...


"...perhaps we should just make the English teachers be more open to sex."

I don't know about English teachers now, but when I was in school, I only recall ONE that I would have had even the slightest bit of interest in sleeping with.

And she was so stuck on herself that I probably wouldn't have done it if she had been "open" to it.

At least I don't think I would have.

LarryLilly said...

There is the blog "Post Secrets" that had an interesting secret posted a couple of weeks ago. It was from a woman that said "I was talking to my girlfreind the other day about my pending divorce, and she said that if I had given my husband all that I could, he would never have cheated on me. After my divorce was final I had sex with her husband."


Advizor said...

I disagree with LarryLilly about why men visit prostitutes.

I don't believe that men visit prostitutes for "control", they visit them for acceptance. We want to be accepted without questions, arguments, debates, judgment, or guilt.

If we want sex, we want sex without a discussion of weight gain, or job status, or the "honey-do" list, or a million things that women throw out to kill the mood and get out of sex.

If we want to gently tie you up and play with bondage, or ask you to dress a certain way, or even take on a new position, we do not want a debate over how your mother, God, or the Pope would feel about things.

LarryLilly seems to see these as control issues, and perhaps they are, but not for men. These are control issues for women. Most women want to control the entire sexual relationship, the frequency, position, emotional content, 'significance', and 'meaning' of sex has to carefully negotiated in accordance with HER terms, rarely his.

90% of the emotional overhead that women bring to sex is 100% irrelevant to men. We like sex because it feels good and because we feel connected to our partner. But it doesn't "mean" anything beyond that; we find meaning within the relationship in other ways.

So back to the original point. Prostitutes provide a judgment-free environment where men can ask for, and get, sexual intimacy and acceptance, without having to negotiate its significance or give up their dignity to appease an unwilling partner.

Women, as many have posted, would have fewer cheating husbands if they were able to empathize with, and understand how men experience sexual intimacy. This newfound empathy would most likely, but not always, result in more frequent sex, but undoubtedly, it would involve more spontaneous, uninhibited, and less stressful sex.

If women would stop giving a dose of guilt and grief with every orgasm, if they would stop making their men beg for it, if they would stop acting like they are doing their men some giant favor, they would get more of it themselves.

Then everybody would be happy.

LarryLilly said...

Sex Futures

I want to find investors that will join me in creating the Las Vegas Board of Sex Futures.

We would sell blow job, straight sex and kinky sex futures for starters.

You could get in on the ground floor of an exciting career!


colleen said...

I wonder what he would say about males reaching their sexual peak in their early 20's and women in the late 30's.

Leesa said...

~deb: Oh, and I thought that "woman's code" was to have sex with any lesbian that asked. That's what Kate told me.

~gwk: funny man.

larry: oh, that is too much thought. Sort of blows my idea.

ian: yeah, I sort of agree with the madam.

rwa: well, okay, another problem with my thoughts.

larry: wow!

advizor: acceptance. I guess I learned something the other day.

larry: sex futures.

colleen: he would be glad that he was nearer to his prime, I suppose.

RWA said...

Oh, I wouldn't say it is a problem with your thoughts. Just a bad draw of English teachers on my part...

Leesa said...

rwa: when I was in English, I was learning the rules of the language, not checking out the teachers. Well, most of them were women, anyway.

garyg said...

What a great entry! I love it!

I always thought I was born at the wrong time: there is no such thing these days similar to Belle's place in "Gone With The Wind", where men can go to release that seemingly inevitable frustration. I've been married twice, and have in both cases confirmed the sad truth of the consumption of wedding cake destroying libido. I don't understand that. My drive, and my level of attraction, has not and does not seem to wane, yet a wife's drive seems to have more moving parts than a Dyna-Flow automatic transmission. In fairness, I have learned that there is a combination of hormonal interactions going on inside a woman's body that would make Rube Goldberg gasp in confusion, and any little increase or decrease can lead to a cannonball into a vat of chocolate. So, patience seems to be best. Or handcuffs.

Leesa said...

garyg: for some women, sex is part of the cost of the relationship (trying to continue on the economics theme). But after marriage, sex does not have the same value. What my husband found out long ago was that oral sex on his part would get him what he wanted. Yeah, the love is there, but the oral sex seems to motivate me more.