By Mahin Hassibi
I have come to the conclusion — albeit reluctantly — that selling sex for money or a dollar-substitute, cannot be posed as an “either/or” question.
There are women who are forced, sold into slavery, deceived by promises, threatened by addicted husbands, low-life pimps or organized crime groups. There are war refugees who need to feed a family, little girls fleeing incest, or college graduates, calculating the cost-benefit of being a 9-5 seceretary or earning the same amount in fewer hours.
We all know that both hunger and desire for luxury may be motivating factors; therefore, the blanket judgment sounds superficial and irrelevant.
In some societies prostitution, legal or tolerated, used to be considered necessary in order to protect the sanctity of the family and the virtue of married women. At the same time, it was severely condemned by the respectable women and even some men.
I think perhaps a new chapter should be opened in this debate by asking the men why they are interested in buying sex, rather than earning it through hard work?
How could they earn it? They could earn it by giving women pleasure, discovering what makes women want to have sex with them. They could consider sex as a two-way communication, rather than an exercise of power over another person.
Without the demand for sex in exchange-for-money, there will be a decrease in women selling their bodies. Then, maybe women will learn to demand money for all the different ways that their labor contributes to society.
Mahin Hassibi is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (Ret.) at New York Medical College.