Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states
Quotation: Anonymous: “Prostitutes have very improperly been styled women of pleasure; they are women of pain, or sorrow, of grief, of bitter and continual repentance,…”
This anonymous quote describe the suffering of women who sell their bodies. But, what of the men who buy sex?
For example, why would a married man visit a prostitute or a “call girl” and pay money for sex when his wife is available at home? Why would a single man purchase sex when he can be with his girl friend who is more than willing to engage in this most intimate of acts?
The December to January 2008-2009 issue of Scientific American Mind, a magazine published by Scientific American, contained an article attempting to answer the above question. The writers point out that experts hotly debate the reasons for this without being able to come to a consensus. I believe the failure to come to agreement about is do to the fact that the motivating factors towards visiting prostitutes is varied and complex. In other words, it is my notion that there is no single reason for this behavior. Let’s look at this issue and explore some of the factors involved.
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Various studies cited in the article estimate that the percentage of men who visit prostitutes varies from one nation to the next with the range estimated to from 16%, in countries like the United States, to 90% in places like Thailand. A more accurate range is probably from 16 to 39% of men worldwide visit prostitutes.
Those men who frequent prostitutes cut across all racial, economic social class and age lines. One recent example was that of the former governor of New York State who was married and had children. In other words, from truck drivers to teachers, politicians, doctors, lawyers and even law enforcement officials, people visit prostitutes.
Let’s examine some of the many possible reasons, remembering that there is no single explanation for all men.
1. There are people who are driven by a compulsive need for sex. This can be true for men or women. In this case, the men driven by this compulsion can never get enough and frequent prostitutes in an attempt to get as much sex as they can.
2. Related to number one in this list, there are men driven by an insatiable need for sexual pleasure. Without it they are in a perpetual state of frustration.
3. There are men who find real relationships too risky for a variety of reasons including the fear of real intimacy. For these individuals there are frequent visits to the same prostitute and the fantasy of a real relationship with the woman. One aspect of this fantasy relationship is that the prostitute, unlike a real girl friend or wife, is not demanding of anything emotional in return. In a way, the prostitute is “soothing the psyche” of that man.
4. Misogyny is the hatred of women and there are those experts in the field who believe that men who frequent prostitute have a real hatred of women. For these hate filled men, women are made submissive and are even humiliated through the process of purchasing sexual favors.
Impact on women:
While the motivating factors for men seeking prostitutes are debated, there is general agreement among experts that prostitution takes a heavy toll on the physical and emotional health of the women involved.
These women have to separate block their emotions in order to be able to work at what they do. Also, they are subject to physical abuse at the hands of johns and the pimps who sell their bodies.
Why do women get involved in prostitution? It is pointed out by experts that this is rarely, if ever, a matter of choice. Forces such as poverty, drug addiction, and fear of being beaten by pimps who often dupe them into the sex trade when they are extremely young, cause them to become entrapped.
There are many people who are convinced that it is male demand that really causes prostitution and all the suffering involved. Therefore, it is believed that such things as educating men and reducing the demand for the sex trade are the real solution to this extreme problem.
This is a difficult and serious topic that needs to be explored and understood. Your comments and thoughts are encouraged but, please remember, this is less than a moral or religious and more a social and criminal issue than anything else.
This article has been updated and I suggest readers go to this URL:
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Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, PhD
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