Women only Sell Sex Because They Have to

Actually, I sell sex because I am good at it, the money is great and the hours are easy. That would look less catchy on a billboard though. The quote above is from a new poster from sex work charity Ruhama.  I suppose the reality would look less catchy. I am a sex worker because I elected to be. Because unless you are carrying a pretty serious drug habit or are being crushed by heavy debt, pimped or trafficked, no woman has to sell sex. There are lots of women living in poverty, they aren’t all rushing out to sell sex. For practical purposes though, that is just not sexy enough. Its just not catchy enough. What happens to our right to choose what we do with our bodies, and when?







2 comments on “Women only Sell Sex Because They Have to

  1. Freedom of choice is becoming increasingly undashionable and not a fund raiser, perpetuating myths is a lot more powerful.

  2. Eileen Lang says:

    Please don’t dismiss the idea of some women selling sex because they have to completely. It does happen, there are people who sell sex through desperation in a long or short term crisis, and that crisis is not always something they ever had any choice in or control over (like an addiction or debt). I was one of those people, and may yet be again, and it was awful for me, and would be awful again…I dread it.

    Sometimes there are, genuinely, no better answers…which brings me neatly to my next two points. If a woman is selling sex because she has no better choice, if you take her income from sex work away you are taking away her life jacket and leaving her to drown, and I tghink a person has to be some kind of monster to actually evolve an advertising campaign centred on that principle.

    There is another kind of insult that frequently gets slyly trotted out by Ruhama and friends that women are only in sex work because they *think* they have no choices…as if they are imagining things or something…

    Can you believe that? These idiots from privileged backgrounds who fell straight from Uni into a cushy number in an NGO actually think they know better about the real choices available to capable, down to earth, realistic women, often mums who have had it hard and to make their own way and take care of themselves all their lives and know that there is nothing else for it.

    Of course I don’t want to see people cornered into a situation like that, but there will always be a few people who fall through the cracks, and, as the recession deepens, that will get worse. There should be more help to prevent that, but there won’t be any time soon, there is just not enough money to cover everybody.

    There is even a new category of sex worker for now, those who chose to be in sex work, but would want to be off their heads to get out of it in the current economic climate, even if they would like to. Of course, that doesn’t just apply to sex workers, it applies to plenty of other people too, but nobody is campaigning to destroy the stability of any other market that provides employment.

    Throwing money at Ruhama will not help any of those people…far from it. Apart from anything else, to be able to help someone you have to be able to see them and their situation realistically, and Ruhama cannot see that sex workers are mature adults, capable of evaluating their circumstances realistically and making the best choices for themselves (which applies equally to elective and survival sex workers), so any “help” they claim to offer, is the wrong help for the wrong people, in the wrong circumstances…and an arrogant, condescending waste of public money.

    When someone tells you that they want to give you choices they are also telling you, in a backhanded way, that you need their permission to have a choice. Sex workers, whether desperate or elective, do not, and never will, need Ruhama’s permission to make choices. They just need Ruhama to accept the choices they have already made and leave them, and their livelihood in peace.

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