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Of the Night 

Is it wrong to buy sex? Is it wrong for a woman to sell herself? While it’s easy to quickly respond with resounding “yes” answers to both questions, one has to ask why are so many people – most of whom don’t appear to be in any way evil – trading in this market? Could it be because it meets a need that has to be met, one way or the other? And before you rush to judgment, do you really know what you’re talking about, or is your opinion based on TV shows, or Hollywood’s version of the truth? The media tends to paint a picture either of ridiculous over-romanticization – see Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman – as oppressed women with only one opportunity to make a living and feed their babies, or as evil dragon ladies who victimize their clueless clients. Not surprisingly, the truth is much different and more nuanced.

Both the men and women who populate the sex trade as buyers and sellers are a varied lot; buyers include rich and those just scraping a few bucks together, good looking and ugly men, those with very conventional sexual tastes and those with bizarre interests. The men may be single and relying on pros as their only source of sexual satisfaction. Or they may have wives or girlfriends but are looking for the excitement of something different and novel – maybe a white man with a black pro – looking to escape the dull routine of monogamous sex life. Or it may be a guy that just can’t get a date. But the appeal is undeniable – look at a picture online, call a mobile phone number, and an hour or so later a woman shows up, prepared to have sex in exchange for the locally prevailing rate ($200 might be typical.) The picture the buyer saw might have been real, or not, so the woman might be very attractive, or frightening, but that’s part of the excitement – waiting to see what she really looks like.

A big part of the appeal of the sex trade is its, well, honesty and straightforwardness – in sharp contradiction to the dating game, and thus, brings some rays of light to the murky waters of dating. And ladies, just as you have always feared, what men really want is, yes, sex, at least initially.

Society sanctions a certain type of dating game, an elaborate process where, despite all the changes in society and the workplace, the predominant theme is that men court women to whom they are physically attracted. From the man’s point of view it is not initially about companionship, or friendship, although these things are certainly important. Men take women out to dinner, and call them up to chat and do the myriad other things required of them, primarily because they are driven by biology to have sex.

The popularity, and universal appeal of prostitutes in every type of society in every time period, shows that, when possible, men are very willing to dispense with courtship rituals and go straight for the prize. And if the main restraints on prostitution were removed – the fear of venereal disease, social condemnation, and legal harassment – there would be an explosion of this market, which would show just how much men resent the uncertainties, frustrations, inconveniences, and inequities of the dating process.

As for strippers and lap dancers, the logic is much the same, but without the immediate gratification of sexual satisfaction. Men see attractive women walking down the street, or in an office, or wherever, and wish they could see them without their clothes. Despite all the veneers that society imposes, men, including gentlemen, still have a good bit of the animal within – wouldn’t it be great to just rip off that women’s clothes, and take her right here? Yes! But gentleman don’t do that – we go to “Gentlemen’s clubs” where women will act out our fantasies for us, by taking off their clothes and rubbing their bodies against us. Or we watch strippers.

If you have a problem with all this, blame God or nature, depending on your personal theology. But men are not, by nature, unlike certain animals, monogamous – monogamy must be forced upon them, both by their women and by society. And this is in large part the purpose of marriage – to provide legal and social constraints on a man’s natural impulse towards sexual novelty. But men are designed to spread the seed, and women are designed, with very notable exceptions, to create and nourish offspring, an activity most often achieved with a dedicated male partner. There is an inherent and undeniable natural conflict between the biologically and culturally driven roles of men and women, and strippers and prostitutes are men’s attempts to indulge their instincts outside of the socially imposed constraints.

Prostitutes

As to the women, first and foremost, they are entrepreneurs, and of very different niches. (This discussion pertains to the United States, where the relatively vibrant economy allows most people some choice in how to make a living, unlike many developing countries where many women may be forced into prostitution because of a real lack of alternatives.) Actual streetwalkers form the bottom tier of this very stratified profession. We assume they have little alternative, and are most likely to be carrying venereal disease. Since this strata holds little allure to any but the most desperate and reckless of men, we’ll focus on call girls – ones you call to make an appointment with, rather than meeting on the streets. And within this category there is great variety. They may be bored and machinelike, perhaps a little sullen, or they may be animated and smiling. They may be surprisingly well-educated. Unlike streetwalkers, they are very likely to be very careful about their bodies, and, if they are not, you should look elsewhere, as it may well be a sign that they are not healthy.

But since this a book on manners and morals, we’ll skip most of the social science treatise as to how and why women engage in this profession, and move right to the germane questions: how to treat the ladies, if you choose to engage them. And for any gentleman, the answer is very simple – you treat them much like any other commercial relationship, with caution, but with courtesy, unless they act in such a manner as to deserve some other type of treatment. Remember that from their point of view this is strictly a business transaction. They are a service provider, and you are a customer. As in any other business situation, you should come to agreement on the price and the services to be provided before, not after or during, the transaction. As in all commercial transactions, there is the potential for fraud or ill use on either side of the transaction, but we would posit that the great majority of call girls are no more or less fraudulent than others engaging in risky commercial transactions.

You may have sex with a professional, but you never kiss them on the lips. In the movies you’ll often see a client kiss a pro, but that is not true to life. Kisses are very personal, and are for girlfriends and wives. A pro does not want to kiss you, and you should not want to kiss them.

There is no need to pretend affection; although you may come to like a regular provider, just as you establish personal relationships with other service providers over time. Only a fool falls in love with a pro; remember, this is a woman who sells herself; you are a client, nothing more. Sex is sex and love is love; if you’re fortunate enough to find them both in one person, so much the better. But a man, even a gentleman, can have sex without love, and love without sex.

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