General Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What would be the advantages/disadvantages of legalizing prostitution in the U.S.A.?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (28034points) July 24th, 2010
88 responses
“Great Question” (6points)

Let’s face it…prostitution exists in the U.S. whether you support it or not. And it is not likely to go away. So, what are the pros and cons of having it legalized?

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cockswain's avatar

Pros are the women would be much safer, gov’t could tax the proceeds, maybe the prostitutes wouldn’t just be crackheads.

A con is it would be easier for our daughters to get into such a line of work.

semblance's avatar


1. A means to regulate it from a health perspective and limit the risk of disease.

2. Elimination of a whole category of non-violent crime.

3. Reduction of violent crimes associated with prostitution, such as robbery and assault of prostitutes by pimps and johns.


Primarily the continued exploitation of women. However, mitigating that are two offsetting factors: 1) prostitution will always be with us anywa; and 2) women are probably more exploited by their pimps now than they would be if the occupation were legal.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I can see no real advantages to such an action, and a multitude of disadvantages. Not the least of the “disadvantages” is it’s simply and utterly wrong from a moral and ethical perspective to leagalize the degradation of women.

marinelife's avatar

I agree with @CaptainHarley .

CMaz's avatar

We would all be legal whores.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@CaptainHarley and @marinelife I understand, and personally wouldn’t seek out their business be it a female or male prostitute, be it legal or not. I am curious as to what you feel the disadvantages would be to the U.S. society.

Hobbes's avatar

@CaptainHarley – The problem is that by making it illegal you actually increase the amount of degradation these women are subject to.

DominicX's avatar

I suppose it depends on how you are going to legalize it. Prostitution is legal in 12 of Nevada’s 17 counties, but it is only legal within licensed, regulated brothels. Independent prostitution on the street corner is still illegal.

Nevada law requires that brothel prostitutes be tested weekly for gonorrhea and chlamydia and be tested monthly for HIV and syphilis. Condoms are mandatory for sexual intercourse and brothel owners will be held liable if customers become infected with HIV after a prostitute has been tested positive for the virus.

I can see the advantages with legalizing it in licensed brothels, however, these are in rural areas, not in the major cities. Who knows how many people would be doing it if it were legal in the major cities. I would still not support legalizing random street-corner prostitution.

marinelife's avatar

Disadvantages to society:

1. It puts the imprimatur of society on men using women for sex.

2. It legalizes degradation of women.

josie's avatar

Advantages-Removes it from the underground and criminal element and provides legal protection to prostitutes. Fewer cases of violence against prostitutes. Allows registration and licensing of the practice, minimizing spread of disease and creating a source of revenue for governing jurisdiction (I can’t believe I am advocating giving government more money, but anyway….)
Disadvantage-Legitimizes the marketing of women as sexual toys, an image that most enlightened women do not appreciate. Can’t say that I blame them.

cockswain's avatar

Out of curiosity, to those who are opposed to legal prostitution on the grounds it is degrading to women, do you think strip clubs should be legal?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Why can’t men be prostitutes, too? I only saw the “degradation of women” in the above answers.

Safety for customer and seller
Tax for gov’t to administer: regular health inspections, drug tests, HIV tests, licensing.
Reduced drug use.
Reduced exploitation of underage victim
Reduced trafficking in slavery.
Money moves from someone willing to buy to someone willing to sell.
Government takes a cut of the profits instead of criminals.

Removes a stigma from a dangerous, unhealthy life style
Diseases might spread before health inspector finds it.

Hobbes's avatar

Of course, that lifestyle is only dangerous and unhealthy because the people involved in it face abuse, disease, and forced work, which arise mainly from its illegal status.

josie's avatar

@cockswain The principle is a little different, in my opinion. Since the pagans, human beings have in one way or another glorified the female form. One could make a (loose) argument that strip clubs are more an extension of that tradition than a subset of prostituiton. But, maybe not. You could have a point.

semblance's avatar

@worriedguy – Although I otherwise agree with you, your question “Why can’t men be prostitutes, too?” is just too silly. Take Nevada, where it is legal. I heard a story on the nightly news within the last month that, for the first time ever, a male prostitute was getting licensed. Like it or not, men are much more willing to pay for sex than women are. There are a few male prostitutes out there of course, but the law of supply and demand means that women are always going to be the vast majority of prostitutes.


Legalizing prostitution only promotes the idea that it is okay, when it is not. Like prostitution, stealing has always been around. Should we legalize that too? Both are immoral, so why should we legalize something that is immoral and clealy wrong? Legitimizing bad behavior is never a good thing, no matter what argument or rationale you may have in support for it.

beancrisp's avatar

@CaptainHarley In a free society a person should able to degrade them self if they do not infringe on another persons liberty.

Hobbes's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES – The difference between prostitution and stealing is that the only victims of prostitution are the prostitutes themselves. Legalizing it would prevent prostitutes from being victimized.

Otto_King's avatar

If it would be legalized, after a while it would be common and accepted that people had a “secondary” job. For example a nice looking flowerist would make her living more comfortable with selling her body. And it wouldn’t be weird to know for a 7 year old kid. I think it would lead to a moral shithole. Excuse my french.

Otto_King's avatar

Possible future conversation between mother and daughter: Listen to me kiddo, your granny was a hooker, I am a hooker, and when you grow up, I want you follow this beautiful tradition!

Hobbes's avatar

@Otto_King – If that florist decided to pursue prostitution, surely that is her choice. How would it harm you? If you didn’t wish to associate with her, that would be your choice. Do you really believe that the number of women who decided to become prostitutes would soar simply because it would be legal? Even if it did, who would that harm?

Zyx's avatar

Somehow I really want to get into the fact that legal and allowed are far from synonyms. Any legalization is basically just government exploitation and the government taking control of stuff like this is just going to lead to revolution, or prison riots, depending on who wins.

Hobbes's avatar

I’m not sure I follow you. Why do you believe that legalizing prostitution would lead to revolution or prison riots?

ETpro's avatar

The pros (you should pardon the pun) would be bringing a thriving business out from under the table and into the open where it can be taxed, regulated and protected. Currently, prostitutes are vulnerable to pimps and to shakedowns, robberies and beatings from customers because the thugs figure the lady can’t call the police. With regulation, regular health tests could spot venereal diseases early and help prevent their spread.

The Cons are legitimizing an activity many find morally repugnant. While it doesn’t seem to be borne out in the facts, there is the fear that legalizing a currently illicit activity will lead to an explosion in its practice.

CaptainHarley's avatar


No. The problem is that legalizaton constitutes ( in many people’s minds ) permission. It’s difficult enough trying to raise thoughtful, compassionate, moral young people in today’s world without having the legal system fight you by saying that “prostitution is ok.”

CaptainHarley's avatar


Unadulterated nonsense.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Legalizatin of prostitution is like legalization of drugs… all you’re doing is pandering to the weaknesses of human beings.

Hobbes's avatar

@CaptainHarley – I don’t think the social stigma would vanish if prostitution were legalized. Furthermore, even if it did, who would it hurt? I maintain that the only people I can see being hurt by prostitution are the prostitutes.

Why do you call beancrisp’s statement nonsense? What does it matter to you what someone else freely chooses to do with their own body so long as they’re not harming anyone?

Concerning your point about drugs, I do not think that a person’s relationship to addictive drugs has anything to do with personal weakness. It is not the fault of a person hooked on crack-cocaine or heroin that they keep taking the drug – the thing about addiction is that you become unable to control your own behavior. While people are sometimes able to “kick the habit” it takes an enormous amount of personal will along with the help and loving support of a network of friends and professionals.

As for drugs which are not addictive and do not harm the person or those around them, I ask again: hat does it matter to you what someone else freely chooses to do with their own body?

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley The social stigma would not evaporate if prostitution were legalized. It isn’t illegal to be a whore or a playboy. But it is socially stigmatized.

Drugs should be legalized, regulated and taxed as well. They should be treated no differently than alcohol, which is a legal psychoactive drug that does enormous harm to abusers and their immediate families as well as hapless people they crash into on the highway. Criminalize the misbehavior, not the substance. There are hundreds of millions of people today who enjoy alcohol responsibly and harm nobody in doing so. When alcohol was illegal, it led to organized crime, speakeasies and lead-laced bathtub gin. Criminalizing drugs has done the same, providing drug cartels with so much wealth they are now effectively battling the armies of Latin America for control of the countries.

Robot's avatar


disadvantages: multiply std’s, increase crime rate in rapes and murders. it also may increase someone to cheat on their spouse more if it were legal. however that is a problem of one’s individual self and/or relationship.


ETpro's avatar

@Robot Legalization, bringing things in from the shadows, does just the opposite. It would allow mandatory, regular testing for STDs. It would allow prostitutes who are robbed, beaten or raped by their Johns to call the police instead of having to shrink off into the shadows.

Robot's avatar

@ETpro i think it’s a terrible idea hands down. if anything, i think they should llegalize all drugs especially marijuana before they’d consider something like this. I don’t use anything really anymore, besides smoke mary J on rare ocassion. But thats my standpoint on it.

Hobbes's avatar

@Robot – I’m confused as to why you’d support the legalization of drugs but not this, since the same principle applies to both. Legalization allows for greater regulation, which means greater safety for both the consumer and the seller.

Otto_King's avatar

@Hobbes It wouldn’t hurt anybody, only those people whom are the prostitutes and related to them. It’s like you wouldn’t be proud to be a drug dealer, even if it’s legal. There is a border line between civilized and uncivilized life. The legalization of things by law is just a way to keep people in the civilized side of the line.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I don’t have either the time or the patience to argue this with anyone. Just let me say that it seems some people can justify any abberant or detrimental behavior despite evidence that they contribute to a general degrading of society. Certain things are wrong regardless of circumstances or justifying behavior. Are the lives of prostitutes worthless? Then how can we say that it’s ok for them to be “the only ones being degraded?” We know what addiction is, and we know that it destroys and kills, so why try to use the fact of addiction as justification for allowing people to continue using drugs?

Sometimes we just need to stand up on our hind legs and say that certain things are wrong, plain and simple.

Hobbes's avatar

@Otto_King – Who gets to decide what counts as “civilized” behavior? It seems to me that the line is largely arbitrary. I’m uncertain as to whether your concern is for the safety of the people involved or whether you wish to stop behavior you consider uncivilized, whether or not it results in harm.

@CaptainHarley – My point is that the illegal status of prostitution causes a great deal of the degradation prostitutes experience.

I don’t think it’s as simple as “allowing” people to use drugs. Making something illegal means that people can be punished for it if they are caught, but it does not stop them doing it. I do not see how punishing a person for taking an addictive drug will help them break that cycle of behavior. Similarly, I do not see how punishing prostitutes will help them break out of the cycle in which many of them are trapped.

Otto_King's avatar

@CaptainHarley If you referring at my comment, I was sarcastic there. But I couldn’t find a “sarcastic smiley”.

Otto_King's avatar

@Hobbes If you think that whores and drug addict people running around on the playground with children is civilized, then I shall follow @CaptainHarley and quit from this topic too.

Hobbes's avatar

I think that rules preventing potentially dangerous people from being around children should still be in place, but I don’t think decriminalizing prostitution or drug-addiction would cause said people to suddenly flock to playgrounds in mass numbers.

mrentropy's avatar

I could have sex, possibly without being refused, and not have to feel guilty about it or get into a relationship.

I’m sure there’s other legal and moral plus’ that go with it, too, but that’s not what I’m thinking of at the moment.

Iclamae's avatar

To be quite honest… the only thing I find repugnant about prostitutes is the conditions they currently work in. Very often, they are perfectly fine people. No I wouldn’t be one but that is because my goals are for science. There are plenty of people who enjoy sex and wouldn’t mind making a living out of it. As a concept, I see nothing wrong with that as a job. What I find wrong is the spread of disease, the abuse women face at the hands of their pimps/customers, and the conditions of the brothels/houses/alleys this takes place in. With legalized prostitution, you will still have prostitutes that work in those conditions (illegal pimps, like with restaurants that don’t follow inspection code) but the number will be sorely decreased and will give women that really want to be in this profession a healthier and cleaner option. It also means that the women in those brothels that fail inspection have the option of turning in the owner to force him to change the standards.

Actually, this discussion about prostitution being morally repugnant just sounds like a bunch of religious and conservative gospel that continues to make sex a disgusting and dangerous thing, when it isn’t.

rooeytoo's avatar

@CaptainHarley – I totally agree with you.

And if @Hobbes follows his usual course, the services of prostitutes and acquisition of drugs should be free provided by the taxpayers to all, because they represent basic needs of the segment of humanity who partakes of them!

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley There are current laws protecting children on playgrounds. It is perfectly legal to have sex consensually and without a money exchange, but it is certainly not legal on a playground. It’s legal to drink alcohol, but not to run around drunk on a playground. Alscoho, but the way, is quite addictive and can be terribly damaging to the lives of the addict and those around them. But we learned through bitter experience that outlawing something which so many people are going to do anyway only creates the degradation we claim to wish to avoid, fuels massive growth for crime, and backfires in our faces.

I am a libertarian on this. Teach people the consequences of foolish behavior in school. Put warning labels like we do on cigarettes and alcohol. But it people want to do it anyway, criminalize those who let their behavior become a problem, nit those who do it responsibly.

Robot's avatar

@Hobbes where is calvin? i like your books : )

and btw.. i see your point, i do. I just think it is very degrading to women and anyone who turns to that I don’t have words for. I can’t imagine.

Robot's avatar

@Hobbes and btw i couldn’t agree more with your earlier comment to someone else regarding drugs. this i know from experience with addiction.

sinscriven's avatar

It would legitimize an industry that has existed for ages, and will continue to exist. By bringing it to light, we can place laws and protections. Sex workers would be taxed on their income, and they can be required to be licensed to practice with required testing to ensure that they are clean. Also by accepting this as a reality that doesn’t live in the shadows, sex wokers wouldn’t be so easily the silent victims of rape, abuse, and murder by johns or manipulated and abused by pimps which is what people refer to when this practice “demeans women”.

Culturally the US is not ready for this. Americans are highly religious and it influences our politics more than other industrialized nations, and with the influence of protestant ethics, we as a whole still see sex is something shameful and disgusting if it’s not meant for procreation. It’s only been within the last 100 years that we’ve even come to terms with recreational sex between committed partners. The conservatives would throw a fit as well as the militant feminists.

But on the idea that this legitimizes the demeaning of women, people don’t seem to get that there are people (including men) who choose this profession because it’s something they want to do and enjoy. Sure there are horrible situations when people are forced to do this out of duress, but in nations where prostitution is legal, it’s just as much as a choice as it is to become a massage therapist. I wouldn’t call the women in say Amsterdam demeaned. If anything, they are empowered more than ever. They are unionized, they have representation in the Dutch government. They are paid well, and work in safe environments. They make their own money as independent businesswomen and have no pimp to answer to.

It’s practical, and it would save us a lot of money with wasted police resources, and it would generate income taxes for an under taxed portion of the population; but American attitudes about sexuality are too conservative for this to happen any time soon.

Iclamae's avatar

@sinscriven I find it ironic that as the “land of the free” we are still very behind on so many issues because we allow our religious bias to interfere. I am sorely tempted to move to one of those Netherland-like countries

ETpro's avatar

@Iclamae It’s interesting the vast difference in response to this topic between so many Americans who claim to be Christians and Jesus when the prostitute was brought before him to be stoned to death. Apparently we finally have a large cadre who really are free from guilt and can cast the first stone.


@Hobbes Lol——if you legalize prostitution, you don’t “prevent” prostitutes from being victimized! As a matter of fact, they “continue” to be victims! It becomes legalized victimization. Tricks continue to use them for their purpose, and the prostitutes themselves continue to be trapped and abused by the system. Both prostitute and customer are deluded into thinking it’s okay to do what they are doing just because it has legal status.

So as I reiterate my case, no argument can legitimize legalized prostitution, because anything that is wrong and immoral should never be viewed or accepted as okay, and legalizing it only masks it as okay, when it is clearly not.

mrentropy's avatar

My boss uses me for a purpose. Every employee gets used for a purpose.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I understand the ethical part. Isn’t using “victim” going a bit far, if prostitutes (male or female) choose to go into this profession? Sure, there will still be risks while working, but there are in many other jobs as well.

Iclamae's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I completely disagree

Hobbes's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES – “no argument can legitimize legalized prostitution, because anything that is wrong and immoral should never be viewed or accepted as okay, and legalizing it only masks it as okay, when it is clearly not.”

I think the problem here is that the ethical call may be very clear to you, but that doesn’t mean your standard of morality is one everybody agrees with. From the perspective of a person who makes a free choice to enter into prostitution, the act may not feel degrading. Why is it that MRSHINEYSHOES gets to decide the absolute standard of right and wrong?

But of course you won’t change your mind, since no argument can ever convince you.


@Pied_Pfeffer Yep, I agree, the word “victim” should not always be applied here, since many women (and guys) love what they do. It takes two to “tango”. :D

@Hobbes Sorry you feel like that, but that is correct my friend. And I’m sure no answer of mine will ever convince you either. Lol. ;)

Hobbes's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES – Well my whole point was that no perspective, including mine, has an absolute claim to truth or morality. If you presented an argument against prostitution I might indeed be convinced to change my position on the matter. I haven’t been convinced by any of your arguments yet, but that doesn’t mean I never could be. If people can’t change the way they see the world through a reasoned exchange of ideas, what’s the point of Fluther at all?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Damnit! No one in their right mind chooses a “profession” like prostitute. Either they get forced into it by someone else or life itself, or or they have no self-respect. That’s the last I have to say about the subject.

Great answers, @MRSHINYSHOES Too bad some don’t have the wisdom to see it.

Hobbes's avatar

I entirely agree that most prostitutes today are not prostitutes by choice. However I don’t think it follows that those who are forced into it should be punished by the law. I also think that some do choose it, mainly in places where it is legal, and that those who make the choice should be able to work safely and enjoy the same rights as any other businessperson.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I believe religious extremists who deign to dictate morality based on their narrow views typically ignore many of the teachings of whom they quote.

Their behaviours exhibit several of the “7 deadly sins” and teachings against judging others and bearing false witness.

They are prideful where they should be humble.

Despite what they claim to believe, these beliefs must not to applied to and demanded of others who do not agree. Your country is not a nation governed by your particular religion or even your notion of what and who is a deity.

When you and your fellow faithful truly live your faith to the fullest in every moment of your life, you will know better than to cast stones at others.

Untangled from pseudo-religious moralistic tyranny, the issue becomes quite manageable.

The issue of the legalization of prostitution is one of economics, personal freedom, and a public policy designed to protect and preserve the well being and rights of every single person.


ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Your claim that you are open minded is disingenuous. @Hobbes was kind enough to not point it out, but I will do so. Your own word were, “no argument can legitimize legalized prostitution.” To follow that up with a claim that you are open minded, but all others that disagree with you are obviously closed minded is rather a stretch.


@CaptainHarley Exactly! Wisdom——the young people of today so sorely lacking. Fervent at the mouth, and bitter in the mind, but wisdom? Only time will tell. Sigh. Lol. ;)

@ETpro Sorry my friend, but you either misread or you’re putting words in my mouth.
No where did I say I was open-minded, but I’m sure you want me to say that, so you can make a point of that too. So I reiterate again to both you and Hobbes——nothing I say here will convince you or Hobbes otherwise, so I will end my discussion here and not re-visit this thread. But I merely stand on the side of morality, and those who are eager to counter that, or question who decides what is moral and what is not, are merely evading using common sense——and common sense does not require a “who decides what is right and wrong” here. So long! ;)

Hobbes's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES – You may be gone already, but I’ll say it again: you can convince me! If you were to use arguments to support your point instead of claiming that you speak for an ultimate morality, there is no reason I might not be persuaded. I think that the reason you refuse to engage in debate is that you have no arguments with which to counter those others have made.

Iclamae's avatar

Yes, and if we followed all of the “wisdom” of the older generations, we’d still have country-wide slavery, misogyny, and racism. Only with open minds that aren’t solely spurred by religious mumbo jumbo can we improve our world so that everyone has personal freedom.

And yes, there are some women who go into prostitution as a choice. There are women who become strippers as a choice. And there are women who become porn stars as a choice as well. And many of those women have more self respect than any of the people in this thread. Your assumptions regarding these women show just how much “normal” people who would never consider paying a prostitute damage these women and make it worse. In fact, judgmental people like you are just as bad as the pimps and johns beating on these women.

for those of you who believe in a religion and also use logic as a way of thinking, I’m not talking to you.

ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Gone or not, I will say this for the benefit of others reading this thread. I am open to being convinced as most people here who know me over time will tell you. They have seen me publicly change tack when someone provides me a convincing argument. The fact you run from a debate suggests you are not that sort of person.

I will admit I took the fact you were accusing @Hobbes of being impossible to reason with as a suggestion you felt you were different. If you are happy being closed-minded and wish to remain so, be my guest. Just because you are convinced of your own rightness doesn’t mean all other people you interact with are the same.

Andreas's avatar

@Hobbes “what’s the point of Fluther at all?” We at least get to hear other viewpoints even if we can’t agree with them.

@CaptainHarley This is a very emotive subject and I’m sure many people have mixed feelings about it, even the prostitutes themselves. The whole subject is far more complex than a few Flutherites could solve!

@Iclamae “Yes, and if we followed all of the “wisdom” of the older generations, we’d still have country-wide slavery, misogyny, and racism.” We still DO have these things in our world society. Except now they’re called: Slavery = employment in underpaid and overworked jobs. Misogyny = women who have “careers” outside the home also have a “career” in the home where their husbands/partners and/or children expect them to do the majority of the work. Think about it! It may not exist in ALL families, but it certainly exists in many. Racism = racism, really. It is still alive and well, but maybe a little more underground. The races/nationalities of people who are subject to this MAY have changed, but that does NOT mean that racism has disappeared. It is ALIVE! Ugh! :-(

@Hobbes @ETpro If I understand you right, you are both open to considering other viewpoints. That’s admirable. As a suggestion: read up on the subject. The history, personal accounts, trial transcripts, police reports or whatever you can lay your hands and eyes on. Talk to people who deal with the industry as a whole. I am sure you will find enough information in these types of sources to give you food for thought.

@Dr_Lawrence “I believe religious extremists who deign to dictate morality based on their narrow views typically ignore many of the teachings of whom they quote.” That’s why it is so important for ANYONE who holds to ANY sort of religious belief to PERSONALLY satisfy themselves that what they practise/believe IS true, and not just what someone SAYS is true. I won’t expand on this viewpoint as that is another thread completely. You did, however, raise a valid point. :-)

@All The whole question of prostitution is far more involved than we who have no personal first-hand experience of could ever know or understand.

One point that has been missed is this: Currently the situation of prostitution has a certain set of problems/conditions, depending on which part of the world is being discussed.

If we change one aspect of that situation, then the whole dynamic may change, or at least some part(s) will, which results in a different set of problems/conditions.

Consider this for a moment: Prostitution becomes legal, provided health checks are done, condoms used and some other conditions as well. Don’t you think that criminals/pimps would still be there by offering their girls to men (at a higher price) to be available without such conditions being in place? Criminality and human nature being what it is, there will always be some sort of coercion in at least some cases, no matter what well-meaning individuals (like us and others) think and decide. This is probably one of those circular topics that will be evergreen because there is no way around human nature.

Also, from what I’ve read, there is not necessarily any reduction in rape or similar crimes as some men (and maybe some women) like it like that. The thrill (to them; not their victims) of the hunt and conquest, and the fact that it’s “free” is what excites and motivates them. And I suppose there are other factors as well that none of us can even perceive.

ETpro's avatar

@Andreas At one point in my life I was quite down and out in LA. I lived among prostitutes. I knew them well as persons. I even turned a trick myself a couple of times to buy food or cover rent. I am not talking out of school.

cockswain's avatar


BhacSsylan's avatar

@Andreas I’ve stayed mostly quiet through this, besides giving out some lurve, but since your post is so epic I felt i should offer a rebuttal to some points.

First comment, i have to agree with @Hobbes/ @ETpro / @Iclamae on this one. If you are willing to listen, but for some reason unwilling to allow the information to sway you, why are you even listening? Automatically assuming that “no argument can legitimize legalized prostitution” is a blanket refusal. It would be like me walking into a church and saying, “god doesn’t exist, but I’ll listen”. I mean, why would i even be there then? My presence would be a waste of time on both sides.

And, much more importantly, a refusal to change ones views leads to nothing more then fundamentalist nonsense. I don’t just mean that for religious fundamentalism. There are quite a few scientists that said “I’m right and am going to spend my life proving it” and ultimately failed because they were, in fact, wrong, but refused to listen to counter arguments. We need to listen and learn if we are to ever grow as a species. If everyone had always just gone around saying “I’m right, you’re wrong, and that’s just the way it is”, we would never have moved past, well, anything really. We would have died out as a species.

And @CaptainHarley and @MRSHINYSHOES. The main problem here, if you have not noticed, is that you give us no reason to change our opinion. That is why we may seem closed minded. Your reasoning so far given is ‘It’s wrong’ and ‘It’s because i’m wise and you’re not’, which are not exactly all that convincing. If you were to spend the time to create a valid argument, we could be more inclined to listen. And lastly, @CaptainHarley, you do not know every prostitute ever. Stereotyping is never good.

/Rant. Sorry, that sort of attitude just tends to strike a cord. Anyway, moving on:

On wisdom, just because such problems still exist doesn’t mean they should, and doesn’t mean that the ‘wisdom’ of older generations in that regard was admirable. She was, i believe, making a point that those of us that reject such ‘wisdom’ have managed to lessen those evils, not that they’ve been eradicated.

And i’ll skip the next two paragraphs, since I agree with them :-p

And now, back to prostitution. Your situation you offer is that if prostitution was legalized and restrictions put in place, that there would still be a criminal element. Well, I can’t argue with that at all. However, it would now, probably, be much easier to distinguish between those following the rules and those that don’t. Permits, records, etc. Which makes it much easier for police to shut down those that don’t comply. Will it eradicate them? Of course not. The existence of any law will never stop people from breaking it, no matter the penalty. However, a reduction in this ‘undesirable’ activity would be a benefit.

Also, keep in mind that a law against something can very likely lead to no reduction in activity, but a heightening of undesirable activity. Take the prohibition argument given above. It’s not very easy to be sure of the result, I’ll grant you, but there are precedents for illegalization being a problem.

As for the lack of reduction in rape, Sure, I’ll buy that. Most people who commit rape are not stand-up citizens who are simply doing it because they could not “get some”. They are doing it because of some psychological problem that drives them to it, willingly or unwillingly. So, chances are they will rape whether or not there are legal prostitutes available. However, this is not the fault of the prostitute or the profession, its the fault of the rapist. And even removing prostitution completely would not necessarily reduce rape, it would simply shift to a different person. At least, that would be what I would expect. if you have reason to believe otherwise I’d be happy to hear it.

Also, prostitutes now very often do not report being raped, as they would then be jailed for being a prostitute, or the perp can use that against them in court. A legalized prostitute would not have as much problem here (one would hope).

Also, keep in mind that some people do have rape fantasies on the other side. A sort of extension of Dom/Sub fetish, and so someone who feels the need but is more moral may be able to find a willing prostitute to role-play. But i won’t say that i have any idea if this would happen much or not.

Iclamae's avatar

@BhacSsylan GA. You covered my potential next response well.

ETpro's avatar

@BhacSsylan Very well said. I completely concur.

rooeytoo's avatar

Whether you are pro or con, there is one fact that doesn’t change, I can’t imagine anyone who would proudly stand up and say my mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, daughter, etc. is a whore!

It is and will always be deemed by most a less than desirable occupation. And again to most it is an occupation that is demeaning to women. Perhaps there are some men and some women who don’t agree with that assessment but they are in the minority along with those who believe that 2 + 2 = 5.

I would hope that at some point in time women will be empowered enough to know that they are in and of themselves enough. They don’t need a man to make them whole and they sure as hell are worth more to themselves and society than to be a receptacle for men who look upon them as not much different than a urinal, a place to dump bodily fluids when the need arises.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo Attitudes come and go. Concubines were once the prize job serving royalty. Thinking Africans were sub-human savages incapable of true human thought was widely accepted as the truth at one time. Thinking women were no more than property was also a near universal belief.

Prevailing attitudes grow from two places.

One is natural selection and is unchanging in the human heart. A mother’s love for her child. A man’s need for a woman. The desire to be loved and accepted for who we are. Granted such feelings may vary. You will find exceptions. But they are pretty universal across cultures and time.

The other is the impact of the culture we are in, its memes. I believe that the disapproval of sex workers is one of this types of widely held opinions. In other circumstances, I can see it being different.

As to bodily fluids, including urine, correct me if I am wrong, but don’t women produce those too? I wonder if your expression of disgust and revulsion at what is quite natural in sex is part of what colors your opinion on this question.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ETpro – I live in this era, what I said is the way most people of today think and the attitude that sex workers endure.

I don’t get your last paragraph, where did I say women did not produce urine? And I don’t know how you have sex but I prefer sex without urine involved. The point I was making is that when a person uses (appropriate word) a prostitute, she has no value except as a receptacle for the bodily fluid, which I assume would be semen unless there are watersports or weak bladders involved.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo Agreed that’s true for today.

“I would hope that at some point in time women will be empowered enough to know that… ...they sure as hell are worth more to themselves and society than to be a receptacle for men who look upon them as not much different than a urinal, a place to dump bodily fluids when the need arises.

rooeytoo's avatar

You copy and paste very well, but what is your point?

I am leaving now, it is time to take the pup to obedience class.

You will have to debate with yourself. I was simply stating my view, mho!

cockswain's avatar

@ETpro I don’t know where you find the unending patience.

Hobbes's avatar

@rooeytoo – I believe ETpro’s point was that your remark seemed to display a disgust for bodily fluids and the physical, squishy parts of sex.

It seems to me that the flaw there is that you imply women cannot be interested in casual sex unless they are somehow being victimized.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think you all must be projecting, what I said meant that men who use prostitutes are using them as they would a urinal, a dumping place for bodily fluids, no emotion, no anything except a physical release. That in my mind and in the minds of most of today’s society is demeaning to women, and again I think to the men as well, although I am sure they would argue that point.

Also @Hobbes I implied no such thing, however if you equate casual sex with prostitution, to me it once again, shows your naivete about life in the real world. I don’t think there is any comparison for the woman anyhow, perhaps that is how the customer would rationalize it.

Hobbes's avatar

Why can a women not use a man for physical release? Do all women require emotion to be involved in sex? Some do, certainly, just as some men wish for all their sex to happen in the context of a monogamous relationship. However some women see nothing wrong with sex in the context of business. I think this sort of sex is only demeaning if the person involved has been forced into their position. It is true that many women have been forced into prostitution and that is utterly and unarguably wrong, but it is also true that in countries where it is legal some women choose it freely and express no feelings of degradation.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo So what are we to make of a man who hires a prostitute because he wants only to go down on here, and his sincere hope is he can actually bring her to orgasm doing so? What of male prostitution, whether gigolos or gay males.

I take your point on the utter emotionless sex of prostitution. Before I was married, I ran into a couple of different women who actually pursued me till they bedded me, then were immediately off after other men. Both did want to get off, but were otherwise as coldly mechanical about it as a prostitute is. And yes, I learned how prostitutes are by hiring one on two occasions. I discovered that that sore of cold, mechanical sex was not my cup of tea. I also had some experiences with ladies who liked to sleep around but were wildly passionate and as good in bed as one can imagine. They just had no intention at that time of settling down. And when I was on the down and out in LA I had sex with a prostitute because we both just wanted to, no funds exchanged, and it was great sex for both of us. It’s a big world out there. I have lived in lots of it.

My argument for legalization is to better protect the people that do decide to be sex workers, to set up conditions where it truly can be their decision and it is much harder for pimps to shanghai them into the trade with threats of turning them in to police if they tell anyone, to take the criminal element out of it, regulate and health test workers, and tax it.

By the same token, I believe ending prohibition was the right thing to do even though I recognize alcohol can be life destroying and relationship destroying. There are just certain things that some people are going to do, and that if legal primarily hurt them and not others. I believe criminalizing those behaviors does more harm than good. Criminalize the misuse that does impact others, not the basic behavior.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ETpro – I assumed from your indignant reaction to my feelings about men who resorted to prostitutes that you must have been a user at some point.

Nothing you have said changes my mind, 1 night stands have nothing to do with prostitution. Whether a woman or man indulges in that is a completely different situation.

I answered the question as it was asked. Why do you feel you have to change my mind, I do not agree with you and if you had not hired prostitutes perhaps you would not be so defensive.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo I enjoy debating public policy and do it both because I want to hold forth for my beliefs and because I want to learn where my beliefs may need correcting. I have said nothing that changes your mind, and you have said nothing that changes mine. Let us agree to disagree then. I imagine in a public survey, you would have the solid majority with you.

JustmeAman's avatar

There are many issues involved in this question. There are moral issues, public issues, private issues, legal issues and much more. Where do we as human beings draw the line? Do we ignore the moral implications of right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t and true/false? When does using one’s own body amount to causing society in general difficulties? The fabrication of our society is involved in this type of change. Look at how things have changed over the years. There was a time when this kind of talk alone would be morally unacceptable and people would be opposed to it and it would almost be unheard of. Of course there has and will always be an underground that does whatever they like. Has our society changed for the better over the years? Like watching Little House on the Prairie and how they seemed to be a community that cared for each other and everyone knew each other and their business. Today we seem to think and I quote “To each his own.” When does this affect our society enough to become over done? Why are there laws that prevent us from lawlessness and just doing whatever we please because after all it is our own bodies and who do we hurt? Are there reasons for law, organization and keeping some sort of moral issues within a society? Should we be totally free to do anything that feels good or that we want to? I have been reading the answers to this question and does it really come down to the individual can do whatever they choose because it is their right or do the laws in place affect others and society? Where do things finally degrade and society begins to fail and fall apart? Is America now in that position, are we headed there? After time and seeing things over and over it seems to become acceptable in society. Little by little our limitations and morals decay and we lose sight of others and corruption becomes more and more the norm. In my life I have seen so many changes and if you were to tell me that I would see things in the WORLD today that we do I would have said I don’t believe that could ever happen. Well to answer your question I think the disadvantages vs. advantages are well in favor of keeping prostitution illegal. I really do see a correlation between society and the laws we keep.

ETpro's avatar

@JustmeAman I think there are things that nearly everyone would agree are the proper domain of law enforcement. Murder, rape, extortion, assault, robbery, arson, kidnapping, terrorism, destroying the property of others, fraud… All these are crimes with victims. Where society is beginning to drift away from the Little House on the Prairie world of yore is in being more tolerant of victimless crimes, and that is what this question explores.

When behavior that is victimless is criminalized, things may look tranquil and orderly on the outside, but people are being repressed and brutalized on the inside. Homosexuals, libertines, people of all sorts who didn’t fit the Little House on the Prairie fairy tale either conformed and suffered inwardly or rebelled and were treated as total pariahs by the “decent” people. Bit by bit, we are trying to find the place where tribal conformity ends and real morality begins. The process may not be pretty, but I think the end result is a more moral society, not a less moral one.

JustmeAman's avatar


There is much to what you say and some of it I agree with but I think as a society our freedoms coincide with each other and our interaction with same. I agree we are not a perfect society and will not become one. For instance when a young girl gets pregnant it is NOT her alone that deals with that, it is a couple of families, friends and also society. The Little House on the Prairie example was just that. I wanted to push a point across. As we begin to grow more as a society and change, the wayfaring man is left to himself as is everyone else. I think of another story I read where a man lays in the street hurt and bruised as people walk by him and ignore that fact. However there is a show on TV about “What Would You Do”. This show has shown me there are people still that will stick up for others and that mankind is not yet beyond love and care. I think if we try and change the laws to take away all constraints then society will become what Sodom and Gomorrah was portrayed as. What I was bringing out in my last statement was just that. When are we a free people and not a decayed society of chaos? How much is enough? We are getting to the point and excuse my French “They are going to legislate when and where we can pass gas”.

Now I guess to the exact point in question. I think prostitution is morally wrong and decays society as a whole. People are saying who is that hurting? Does it hurt the wife sitting at home while her husband goes out? Does it hurt the father and mother of the woman in the profession? Does is lesson how woman are seen in the world? Then the Big question “Is it morally wrong as a society?”? And I know everyone will say it is happening now but there is a difference. Our Laws right now do not support this and I believe should not support this. There are a few states looking at it and changing but again I think it is a further moral decay of our society and will impact us in the future.

ETpro's avatar

@JustmeAman I have never advocated “taking away all constraints.” Please don’t create a straw man. My post above listed a brief set of things that are crimes with victims. Rape was among the list. The crowd that gathered outside Lot’s house in Sodam demanded that the visitors be sent out so they could rape them. That, I fully agree, would be a crime.

If I were to list all crimes against person or property, the post would take up pages. I just offered a representative sample. Don’t read into it that the list should stop there. All crimes with victims should remain crimes.

What I do favor is paring back victimless crimes where it looks like it makes sense. I would not, for example, think that legalizing crystal methamphetamine makes sense. It is so addictive, and so rapidly destroys an addict, that it obviously impacts all those around the user. Pot, on the other hand, seems to be a victimless crime where criminalization hurts society more than the user smoking pot does. Like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition has not stopped consumption but has created a massive, violent and lucrative criminal enterprise supplying the people who insist on doing it legal or not. Criminalizing pot deprives society of control and tax of the marijuana trade, and helps make the US the world leader in locking up its citizens.

I discussed above the reasons I believe criminalizing prostitution does more harm than good to society. I would try legalizing, regulating and taxing it as I would marijuana and if the results turned out harmful to the greater good of society, then criminalize it knowing that we do so to protect society and not to impose a particular moral structure of a religion on all our people.

Response moderated
Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Prostitution is illegal for the following reason:
People with small minds like having someone to look down on, so as to feel better about themselves.

My male friends who have been with prostitutes are self loathing, and have limited success with women.

I do not personally know any prostitutes. I have known many women who take their clothes off for money; I took one to the prom. My female friends who are sexually promiscuous call strippers whores. My female friends who strip claim that they would never do porn or be whores.

The advantages would be immense to the health and safety of these women. They would cease to be victimized to the same extent. Tax revenue would be increased.

The only disadvantage I can see would be of impact to those who like to abuse women out of confused sexuality or self loathing.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought For all I know, your theory may be right. It just seems to be more of religious concern than practicality. Please take into account that I have done only a little research on this matter.

As for the disadvantage mentioned, it just seems like there would be more controls in place to prevent or stop this if prostitution were legal. In thinking about it, it might be a benefit. If prostitution was legal and abuse was prohibited in the contract, then it would be against the state or local law. The abuser could be relatively easy to track down. Today, that is not the case.

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