The Complicated Feminism Of Sex Work

The Complicated Feminism Of Sex Work

Would decriminalization of the sex industry help or hurt the women involved?
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One of the most divisive issues among feminists today is that of sex work. Prominent feminists such as Gloria Steinem (who, although she has recently fallen from grace among many young women, is still an incredibly important and influential feminist icon), Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Maryl Streep, and Lena Dunham are opposed to sex work of any kind, and spoke out against Amnesty International's recent proposal to decriminalize sex work.

Their point of view is that the legalization of prostitution will only make it easier for women to be victimized and harder for women who are forced into the industry to find help. These celebrity activists are supported by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), which agrees that legalizing sex work would not help the women who need it the most.

This side of the argument believes that when a woman "chooses" a path of prostitution, there is actually very little free choice involved. Instead, this choice is made out of economic necessity or coercion, leading to what Gloria Steinem has called "commercial rape." The principle behind this phrase is that sex, when sold, is not an act of consent but an act of compliance. In accordance with this, the CATW states on their website that "a culture in which women can be bought for use is one in which rape flourishes." This contends that women who work in the sex industry are not exercising bodily autonomy or freedom of choice, but are instead being further objectified and marginalized by their work. The organization also argues that the decriminalization of prostitution would benefit pimps and clients, but not the women themselves, who are often forced into the profession and treated poorly by their higher-ups.

Aside from the complex issues of consent and exploitation involved in sex work, much opposition to its decriminalization comes from those who are concerned about the moral problems attached to the industry. There are those who believe that, above all else, prostitution is not and will never be morally justifiable, and should be illegal for that reason.

Now, let's look at the other side. In regards to the moral questions so frequently raised, Catherine La Croix, founder of the Seattle chapter of an organization called Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE), and a former sex worker herself, asks: "Why is it illegal to charge for what can be freely dispensed? Sex work is no more moral or immoral than the chocolate or distilling industries." Of course, this doesn't take into consideration the many moral violations that can and do occur internally in the sex industry -- injustices committed by pimps, clients, etc., -- but it does raise a good counterpoint. If a woman freely decides to work as a prostitute, who's to tell her she isn't morally allowed to use her body, the rights to which she exclusively possesses, to create a career for herself?

Those in support of sex work decriminalization also argue that it would hugely increase the safety of the women involved. Giving sex workers labor rights and legal protection could have a dramatic positive effect, allowing them to prosecute for mistreatment and abuse in a way that is not currently possible. Criminalizing the work these women do creates ideal conditions for them to be exploited, coerced, and trafficked, with no opportunity for any kind of help or support from law enforcement. It also creates a stigma around the work that leads to more secrecy and shame, creating a negative public perception of women who, aside from their chosen profession, are really no different from anyone else. This stigma only aids in making sex workers afraid and ashamed of seeking help when they end up in undesirable situations.

In an attempt to counteract this stigma, the Turn Off the Blue Light campaign, an Ireland-based sex worker rights association, has created ads that enforce a woman's right to choose a sex profession and still be afforded the dignity she deserves:

Of course, as the ads clearly state, these are women who chose their professions; for many women working in the industry, sex work is not something they would freely choose, and that's another issue in and of itself. Those who do choose it, however, should not be punished by law for their choice.

And in regards to all the high-profile opponents of decriminalizing this industry, as well-meaning and well-educated as they are, they largely do not have the support of the women they're trying so hard to help. In the words of a 30-year-old New York City sex worker, “If Kate Winslet and Lena Dunham are trading sex in a criminalized environment, then they should speak out [but] the role of an advocate and an ally is to step back and let these people speak." It is not the place of these big shot feminists to decide what is or isn't an appropriate way to address an issue with which they have no involvement. Instead, it would be much more beneficial for them to use their huge social platforms to give a voice to the women who are actually affected: the sex workers themselves.

In all, this is an incredibly complex and multifaceted issue, and I don't know if there's any right answer. However, I am inclined to agree with what Elizabeth Wurtzel says in her book "Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women":

"Pornography, prostitution and stripping exploit women, but women should be free to enter these professions just the same. [. . .] We should still support all efforts of any women wishing to escape life as sex workers without exacting a toll in shame (which, after all, is just more exploitation)."

So, yes, there are some dark and exploitative implications inherent in sex work, but that should not mean that we can't simultaneously provide sympathy and aid to those who wish to escape it and support and legal protection to those who do not.

Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

10 Things Every Couple Must Complete On Their Bucket List Before They Die

If you're interested in doing sexual things that are more outside of the box, here's an intricate list of things every couple should check off their sexual bucket list before they die.

Dr King
Dr King
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In my personal experience, I noticed that conversations centered around sexual exploration are talked about in terms of what we've already done. Countless times I've played the game "Never Have I Ever" to break the ice and find out what other people have done. Even then people mostly want to know who has done butt stuff, who have had threesomes, and who has hooked up with a certain amount of people already. However, we rarely talk about all the sexual things we'd like to embark in and even when we do, it's usually kind of basic or standard.

If you're interested in doing sexual things that are more outside of the box, here's an intricate list of things every couple should check off their sexual bucket list before they die.

1. Use weed lube

Foria Pleasure's enhancement product made of cannabis oil and coconut oil provides women with mind-blowing and longer lasting orgasms. The increasing popularity of the product has gotten featured on Cosmo, PopSugar, and VICE.

2. Have a sex marathon at the Secluded Intown Treehouse Airbnb

This Airbnb in Atlanta is the #1 most-wished listing worldwide and makes for gorgeous scenery considering you're surrounded by nature. The bed is centered directly in front of the best view of its lush woods so it would be insane not to use that to your advantage and have a marathon sex session to become one with your partner and the environment.

3. Kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower

What's sex without a little romance as well? If you can afford a romantic getaway to Paris which is arguably the most romantic city in the world, make sure to kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower as a mechanism for emotional foreplay.

4. Join the Mile High Club

If you're up for something daring, have sex with your partner while you're both on a plane. One of you can head straight there as the other follows about five minutes later. Then one of you can bend the other over the sink and keep going until you're both finished. To eliminate the risk of looking too suspicious, I would at least encourage for this to be done while most people are sleeping so that people aren't wondering why the bathroom is being occupied for so long.

5. Attend a sex party

This doesn't necessarily mean you have to partake in the festivities but it's worth checking out. What happens at sex parties vary but to my understanding, it's a social gathering where couples hang out or engage in whatever sexual activities they desire as long as consent is given by whichever parties are involved. Usually, these parties are hosted at people's homes or in hotel rooms at conventions.

6. Bang against your partner's desk at their corporate job

It's a thrilling fantasy to be bent over by your partner against their desk at their fancy executive job where they have to be professional toward others on the outside but all kinds of nasty with you behind closed doors. If your partner has a job as a general manager, data analyst, consultant, accountant, corporate controller, etc then this activity is perfect for you!

7. Have a sex marathon in a snow cabin

If you're looking for a baecation at a snow cabin during the winter, here a few Airbnbs to consider. Just don't forget to have some everlasting sex sessions while you're there.

8. Play "hide and go seek" in public

This isn't inherently sexual, but if you wanted to test the waters and see how creative you can get, you could go on a picnic in the park first. Then leave trackers—whether that be bread on the ground that the ducks can eventually eat or turn on your bitmoji's location on Snapchat to have your partner find you. Then when they finally meet up with you, you both can celebrate by having sex at your final destination.

9. Bang at a sex dungeon

In Chicago, there are some of the best underground sex dungeons to fulfill the deepest fantasies of those in the kink community. There are multiple playrooms that provide all the types of bondage accessories and plays you can think of.

10. Have a baecation at Desire Couples Resort

Embrace your adventurous side and indulge in an all-inclusive, clothing optional couples resort located on the glorious beaches of Cancun. This place is tailored toward couples who are apart of the swingers lifestyle but everyone is welcome to explore. Public sexual activity is permitted in some areas of the resort so it could be a great opportunity for the two of you to try things you've never even thought of before.

Dr King
Dr King

OMG, check these out

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I Used To Think Hormones Didn't Matter Until They Ruined My Life

Hormones have spent five years ruining my life but now I'm using them to get my life back.

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I've never been one of those girls that used "Sorry, I'm on my period" as an excuse for my behavior. I've always thought that saying that didn't make sense, that I should be in control of myself and my actions at all times and that blaming it on my hormones was an irresponsible cop-out.

Then, one day in high school, I woke up at a sleepover in excruciating pain, worse than any I'd ever had before in my life. After months of doctors visits, ultrasounds and CT scans, and even surgery, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that affects 5 to 10 percent of women worldwide.

My body's hormonal imbalance was causing me terrible symptoms: pain, mood swings, acne, irregular cycles, stress, and so much more. The doctor that ultimately diagnosed me was Catholic and anti-abortion and told me "Birth control would help manage your pain but I don't prescribe it." That was the moment that I truly felt hopelessness and devastation.

Right before I left for college, I decided to take my medical fate into my own hands. I went to a different doctor and was given an IUD. It worked great for a few months and then my body rejected it. I got a new one and it rejected again. A last-ditch third effort was also rejected and then it was time to attempt another method.

I spent six months on the shot, which left me feeling amazing for a few weeks right after I was given a major dose of hormones but made me miserable for about six weeks after that when the hormones started wearing off while I waited for my next batch.

Now, finally, I'm on the pill, which generally has been a great choice for me personally. There are still some days that I feel down. I still get bad acne and headaches and a plethora of other symptoms that are influenced by hormones but generally, I'm much happier and healthier now.

Hormones are fascinating. They control everything in our bodies and even the slightest imbalance can have dramatic effects and leave you feeling miserable. It's a great scientific achievement that we have medications such as birth control that we can use to manipulate hormone levels and their effects but this technology still has so far to go before it's perfect.

Now I know how important hormones truly are and how great their effects can be on every aspect of my day-to-day life. I'll still never say "Sorry, I'm on my period" but I'm a lot more comfortable now recognizing when I'm having a bad day or if I'm having physical symptoms like acne, pain, and headaches.

Hormones have spent five years ruining my life but now I'm using them to get my life back.

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