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542 CHAPTER 18
Pornography
How is pornography dened, and what are different types of
pornography?
Since the Middle Ages, what technological developments have made
pornography more accessible to the general population?
How has pornography been used for social criticism?
How have obscenity and indecency been determined?
What is the current focus of the censorship/free speech controversy?
What are some indications of the “pornication” of mainstream
culture?
What arguments can be made as to whether pornography is helpful
or harmful to individuals and couples?
Prostitution and Sex Work
What are the different types of male and female prostitutes and sex
workers?
To what kinds of locations do female sex tourists travel?
What percentage of sex workers enter the business before age 18?
What is the primary reason that people become sex workers?
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
How have the health and safety of sex workers in New Zealand
changed following decriminalization?
542
Laurence Dutton/Getty Images
18
Sex For Sale
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Sex for Sale543
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I really don’t appreciate pornography, it does nothing for me. I love naked
women in person and in bed, but seeing them in porn is a pointless turn-on.
Pornography is really degrading toward women, and it gives young people the
wrong ideas about women. (Authors’ files)
I have found that when my partner and I watch porn I get extremely aroused
and let myself go wild with my sexuality. One time I got so turned on that I took
control of the evening by making him do everything I wanted, like being rough,
domineering, or sensitive. We also tried different areas in the room, like the
coffee table, recliner, and couch. It wore us out so bad that we fell asleep naked
in the middle of the floor tangled in each others embrace. I feel that my partner
and I have really benefited from including porn in our sex. We have become so
comfortable, close, and in love knowing that sex is a good thing. (Authors’ files)
Throughout this text, we have explored many aspects of sexuality—from biology and
behavior to sexual problems and their treatment. One topic we have not yet investigated
is sex as business—the exchange of money for sexual stimulation. As we will see in this
chapter, a great deal of controversy surrounds sex in the marketplace. In the following
pages, we examine pornography and sex work in depth. We explore some of the social
and legal issues surrounding these activities and the ways in which digital technology
has changed the business of pornography and sex work. We look first at pornography.
Pornography
The term pornography refers to any written, visual, or spoken material depicting sex-
ual activity or genital exposure that is intended to be sexually arousing. Pornography
is usually considered hard-core when explicit images of genitals are shown, whereas
soft-core stops short of revealing genitals. We can separate pornography into two addi-
tional categories. Degrading pornography objectifies and denigrates its subjects. Racial
stereotypes presented in interracial pornography are one form of degradation (Cowan
& Campbell, 1994). Violent pornography involves aggression and brutality; the vio-
lence might take the form of rape, beatings, dismemberment, and even murder. Violent
and abusive fantasies are common in chat rooms; titles such as Torture Females or
Daughter Blows Dad” can easily be found (Michaels, 1997).
Erotica
A subtype of sexually explicit materials is erotica. Erotica can be either soft- or hard-
core, but it is a distinct kind of pornography, regardless of how explicit the material is.
The word erotica is rooted in eros, or “passionate love (Steinem, 1998). Erotica consists
of depictions of sexuality which display mutuality, respect, affection, and a balance of
power” (Stock, 1985, p. 13). Often, pornographic films directed by women are similar
to those directed by men, but some women who have been involved in the making
of sexually explicit materials have changed the themes of those materials (Sun et al.,
2008; Milne, 2005). For example, Femme Productions’ hard-core adult films empha-
size sensuality and womens pleasure and assertiveness. Films such as Nina Hartley’s
Guide to Better Cunnilingus and The Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop promote the
development and expression of womens desire and arousal.
Is erotica appealing to women but not men? Not according to research on college
students. e subjects, who were at least 21 years old, watched four video segments,
pornography
Sexually explicit material (e.g., images
or text) intended to cause sexual
arousal.
erotica
Respectful, affectionate depictions of
sexuality.
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544 CHAPTER 18
each of which represented dierent combinations of high versus low expressions
of love and aection in conjunction with high versus moderate sexual explicitness
(hard-core versus soft-core X-rated material). e study found that both male and
female subjects rated most arousing the video that was both highly romantic, dis-
playing love and aection, and highly sexually explicit. e researchers speculated
that these results indicate that college-educated men and women have integrated
love and aection with sexual arousal (Quackenbush et al., 1995). Another study of
interviews with 150 men in the United States, Canada, and Europe found that men
enjoyed pornography the most when men and women were equal participants or
when men were recipients of female sexual assertion. For the men to enjoy watching
the material, they consistently emphasized the importance of the women appearing
to experience genuine pleasure (Loftus, 2002).
Variations in Straight, Gay, and Lesbian
Pornographic Films
Sexually explicit films developed for heterosexual, gay, or lesbian consumers differ
in some of their general characteristics. Much of straight porn is based on a formula
of close-up views of various positions of intercourse and oral and anal sex. Two
women having sex, threesomes, and group sex are often part of the formula. Wom-
ens bodies are the primary focus of the film. Most of the female porn stars have
stereotypical underweight bodies with implant-enhanced large breasts. Eroticism
of the male body is rare, and the male actors are often, sometimes at best, ordinary
looking. The money shot, a close-up of the man ejaculating outside of the womans
vagina or mouth, is a marker of straight porn (Paul, 2005).
e gay porn industry is comparable in size to the straight porn industry and
shows the same range of low-cost to well-made lms. Most of today’s gay porn is made
with well-groomed, muscular, good-looking men. Gay porn emphasizes eroticism of the
male body and unfettered lust that ranges from aggressive to tender. Subgenres include
more variation in body type. For example, bear porn features large men with extensive
body hair (Blue, 2003).
Far fewer lesbian porn lms are made, and they tend to be low-budget and unpol-
ished compared with straight and gay porn. Most lesbian porn lms feature real-life
lovers. ey realistically portray diverse and powerful lesbian sexual interaction instead
of a performance for the viewer. A dierent style of beauty and sex is evident: A great
variety of body types and a range of butch and femme styles pervade the lms (Stites,
2007). Role-playing, talking, costuming, and sex toys take precedence over plot. Safer-
sex practices are often included in the sexual activity (Blue, 2003).
To Each His or Her Own
Straight, gay, and lesbian porn are broad categories that do not begin to include the
enormous variety of sexually explicit topics. Specialty pornography “is a mighty testa-
ment to the infinite variety of human imagination (Hanus, 2006b, p. 59). It caters to
the wide range of interests in bondage and discipline; sadomasochism fetishes; trans-
gender, pregnant, old/mature, and interracial sex; orgies; pornographic Japanese ani-
mation; and almost any other imaginable topic.
e various categories of pornography previously described are useful as a working
model to conceptualize dierent types of sexually explicit material, but we should stress
that in real life, individual reactions to pornography have more variations than any spe-
cic category. “One persons pornography is another persons erotica, and one persons
Candida Royalle began producing
porn videos designed for women and
couples in the 1980s. Stud Hunters
is a lighthearted look at the adult
entertainment industry.
Courtesy of Adam & Eve
Cyber-dyke is a website by lesbian
and bisexual women to create a
network of high-quality erotic sites.
© 2001-2012, CyberDyke.net. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
Sex for Sale545
545
erotica can cause someone else to lose her lunch (Kipnis, 1996, p. 64). And what may
be harmless in one context (for instance, a couple using an erotic DVD to explore dif-
ferent ways of making love) may be potentially damaging in another context (such as a
young child nding the DVD and watching it).
Child Pornography
Child pornography is excluded from the First Amendment protection of free speech.
The production, sale, and distribution of sexual images of children under the age of 18
are illegal under numerous federal and state laws. Even offering to provide or request-
ing to obtain child pornography carries a mandatory 5-year prison sentence (Sherman,
2008). Federal law also prohibits the sale or distribution of images of adult women
pretending to be under age 18.
Internet child pornography is a $20 billion-per-year industry that continues to expand
throughout the world (Brockman, 2006). e Internet provides individuals drawn to
child pornography with greatly increased access to illegal materials. e majority of child
porn consumers who are apprehended are White males of all ages and educational and
occupational backgrounds. Most have no prior criminal history or evidence of pedophilia
(McGlone, 2011). Internet sting operations can be very successful and have resulted in
many arrests of child pornographers and consumers of child pornography.
Sexting involves adolescents using primarily cell phones to take and send sexually
explicit photos and text messages to other teens. In the last few years legislators in most
states have been trying to determine how to respond to sexting. Under some states’ laws,
sexting is considered to be child pornography and sending or receiving it is a felony sex
crime. Many states have amended these laws to allow minors to be charged with mis-
demeanor or lesser oenses and oer educational and diversion programs (J. Homan,
2011; Wolf & Ripley, 2012).
e Internet has exponentially expanded access to sexually explicit material. How-
ever, as we see in the following section, throughout history, advances in technology
have both expanded access to and reduced control of sexual materials by the governing
church or state.
Historical Overview
Pictorial and written representations of sexuality are not modern
inventions; even prehistoric cave drawings depict sexual activity. The
ancient Indian love manual Kama Sutra, dating from about 400 CE,
summarized philosophies of sexuality and spirituality in its
descriptions of specific sexual techniques. Ancient Greek
and Roman societies extensively used sexual themes to
decorate housewares and public architecture. Graphic
representations of coitus in Japanese schunga paintings
and woodcuts from the 1600s and 1700s are regarded as
art masterpieces.
With the emergence of Christianity and the fall of the Roman
Empire, the Roman Catholic Church became the most signicant central
authority in the West. During the Middle Ages, Catholic monks handwrote
the books of the era, and the wealth of the Church enabled it to commission
the majority of artworks. is power made it possible for the
Church to control the production of both written materials and
ne art, and naturally these works reected the Catholic Churchs
Homoerotic scene on 5th century BC Greek pottery. Ashmolean
Museum, UK.
Ashmolean Museum, University
of Oxford, UK/The Bridgeman
Art Library
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
546 CHAPTER 18
restrictive attitudes toward sexuality. However, in 1450 Johannes Gutenberg’s introduction
of movable metal type in Europe ended the Churchs monopoly on the written word. After
the initial printings of the Bible, some presses became busy producing sexually explicit
stories, which are credited with helping bring literacy to the masses. By the 1550s, books
had veered so far from the Churchs inuence that Pope Paul IV established the Catholic
Churchs rst list of prohibited books (Lane, 2000).
e next technology to expand pornography was photography, developed before the
Civil War. With the advent of photography, sexual photographs proliferated so extensively
that Congress passed the rst U.S. law prohibiting the mailing of obscenity (Johnson,
1998). By the mid-1800s sexually explicit advice literature, the burgeoning production
of inexpensive pornographic novels, and the U.S. publication of the notorious English
novel Fanny Hill prompted civic leaders to establish laws against publishing and selling
pornographic materials. e champion of this cause was Anthony Comstock, who was
appointed to the Society for the Suppression of Vice and as a special agent for the U.S.
Post Oce. Comstock claimed to have convicted more than 3,600 individuals and to
have destroyed more than 160 tons of obscene literature. However, by the 1890s public
approval of Comstocks actions had waned, and he was dismissed as old-fashioned and
provincial. More importantly, the postal services monopoly on the country’s shipping was
eliminated by the development of the railroad and automobile, private shipping compa-
nies, and the subsequent emergence of the airplane—all of which made the distribution of
pornography much more dicult to control (Lane, 2000).
e transition of the pornography business from an underground enterprise to a
multibillion-dollar industry began in 1953, with the publication of the rst issue of Play-
boy magazine. e World War II generation bought 50,000 copies of the rst issue, and
the magazines growing readership throughout the next decade made its publisher, Hugh
Hefner, a multimillionaire. Another change involved sexually explicit movies. ese lms
had been distributed only in the underground stag-lm market until the 1973 lm Deep
roat, which was the rst adult lm that drew mainstream audiences, including women,
to X-rated movie houses. It generated $600 million in theater and video revenues. e
success of Deep roat launched the modern pornography industry and expanded the
boundaries of sexual content in mainstream lms. e increase in sexual explicitness also
led to increased opposition by conservative political and religious groups that believed
pornography was immoral, had a negative eect on adults, and increased crime around
porn shops and adult movie theaters. Supreme Court decisions and government com-
missions attempted to determine legal questions regarding sexually explicit materials.
Freedom of Speech Versus Censorship
The U.S. Constitutions First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and freedom
of the press. Do these constitutional protections apply to sexually explicit materials?
A 1957 Supreme Court decision declared that First Amendment guarantees of free
speech did not apply categorically to obscene materials. This ruling has remained con-
troversial to this day, beginning with the difficulty of clearly defining obscenity. Those
who oppose limits on free speech believe that any such laws violate the First Amend-
ment and infringe on freedom of personal expression and choice. Furthermore, they
argue, censorship is then at the discretion of those with the most political power, who
have the authority to interpret and rule on a wide variety of sexual images (Hudson
& Graham, 2004). In fact, those outside of mainstream political power have at times
employed pornography to challenge social norms and the hypocrisy of religion, poli-
tics, and the middle and upper classes (Beck, 1999; Kipnis, 1996; Penley, 1996). The
Sex and Politics box, Pornography as Social Criticism, discusses how sexually explicit
materials are at times used for another purpose than sexual arousal.
In 1973, Deep Throat was the rst
mainstream adult lm to attract both
men and women viewers.
Photofest
What examples have you seen of present-
day pornography that challenge social and
political hypocrisy?
Critical Thinking Question
obscenity
A term that implies a personal or
societal judgment that something is
offensive.
Copyright 2012 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. Due to electronic rights, some third party content may be suppressed from the eBook and/or eChapter(s).
Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
Sex for Sale547
547
Pornography as Social Criticism
sex &
POLITICS
Over the course of history, pornography has sometimes
played the role of social critic. During the French
Revolu-
tion, pornography, like the example shown in this box,
helped incite the poor to rebel against the king and queen.
Hundreds of pamphlets were printed and circulated that
linked “degenerate” sexual activity with the material
excesses and political corruption of royalty. The illustration
shows a man of the lower classes servicing Queen Marie
Antoinettes sexual appetites. This image challenged the
king’s ability to rule the country since he could not control
his wife’s sexual adventures (Beck, 1999).
The role of contemporary pornography in social and
political criticism is also evident. Hustler magazine some-
times fuses nudity and vulgarity with attacks on political
power, organized religion, and class privilege. For example,
stark social and political criticism was evident in a photomon-
tage titled “Farewell to
Reagan: Ronnies Last Bash.The faces
of the political elite of that era were superimposed on top
of naked bodies doing obscene” things to one another. The
accompanying text declares, “It’s been eight great years—for
the power elite, that is. . . . A radical tax plan that more than
halved taxes for the rich while doubling the working man’s
load; . . . and we’ll still get . . . sexual intimidation policies for
years to come, particularly with conservative whores posing
as Supreme Court justices” (Kipnis, 1996, pp. 152–153).
Another example is a relief sculpture erected in 2008
in a southern German town square. Five naked German
politicians, including current Chancellor Angela Merkel, are
laughing and holding one anothers genitals.
The sculptor,
Peter Lenk, intended the sculpture to symbolize scandals
involving politicians collaborating in the misuse of public
money for political and corporate gain.
Another form of social criticism found in some por-
nography can be seen in the violation of conventional
norms regarding what is “sexy.” Sexually explicit materials
featuring old people, such as
Promiscuous Granny,” defy
common views that older adults are asexual.
Transgender
pornography wreaks havoc with standard concepts of gen-
der or sexual orientation in its portrayals of transgender
individuals with breasts and penises engaging in sexual
interaction with same-sex and other-sex partners.
Perhaps the most dramatic example of pornography’s
deance of contemporary social norms is the subgenre
of fat pornography. Large (between 200- and 500-pound)
naked women in sexual situations are featured in an array
of magazines and videos with titles such as Life in the Fat
Lane and Jumbo Jezebel. Disbelief by many people that
fat, eshy bodies could be a turn-on shows how cultural
conformity seems universally “normal.
Actually, the
amount of body fat considered most sexually appealing
is historically and culturally relative. The 20th century’s
preference for thinness contrasts with the previous 400
years’ preference for hefty, rotund body types. Thinness
was not sexually attractive during those years because it
connoted lower-class poverty and ill health (Kipnis, 1996).
Pornography can be a form of political subver-
sion, linking “degenerate sexual activities
to political corruption. This illustration shows
a man of the lower classes servicing Queen
Marie Antoinette’s sexual appetites, implying
that the king could not control his wife’s sexual
adventures or be certain of the paternity of his
children. If he could not keep his own house
in order, his ability to rule a country and its
people could be challenged (Beck, 1999).
From Porn 101: Eroticism, Pornography, and the First Amendment edited by James Elias,
Veronica Diehl Elias, Gwen Brewer, Vern L. Bullough, Jeffrey J. Douglas, and Will Jarvis
(Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books). Copyright © 1999 by James Elias, Veronica Diehl Elias,
Gwen Brewer, Vern L. Bullough, Jeffrey J. Douglas, and Will Jarvis.
The contemporary German sculp-
tor, Peter Lenk, depicts politicians
collaborating for their own ben-
efit instead of for the public good.
PATRICK SEEGER/dpa/Landov
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
548 CHAPTER 18
What Constitutes Obscenity?
The 1957 Supreme Court decision defined obscenity in order to implement censorship.
It established the following three criteria for evaluating obscenity:
1. The dominant theme of the work as a whole must appeal to prurient interest
in sex.
2. The work must be patently offensive to contemporary community standards.
3. The work must be without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
(Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 [1957]).
Determining what materials are obscene and qualify for censorship has been plagued
by ambiguity because the criteria are highly subjective. The subjectivity of these criteria
is perhaps best reflected in Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s comment regarding
obscenity: It is difficult to define intelligently, but I know it when I see it” (Jacobelis v.
Ohio, 379 U.S. 197 [1965]).
In addition, community standards for obscenity vary dramatically from one loca-
tion to another. In small, rural communities, magazines such as Playboy have been
banned, and the books e Color Purple and Our Bodies, Ourselves and Ms. magazine
have been deemed obscene and consequently banned from high school libraries (Klein,
1999). Furthermore, the advent of cable TV, VCRs, DVDs, the Internet, and other
wireless technologies has made community standards even more nebulous because
people use these technologies in the privacy of their homes. In fact, some highly con-
servative communities have the highest rates of Internet access to pornography. For
example, according to the FBI, Salt Lake City, Utah, ranked number one for Internet
searches for adult-related content (Knox, 2006). A nationwide study of 2 years worth
of credit-card receipts from a major online provider of pornography found that states
whose residents consume the most pornography tend to have more conservative and
religious populations than states whose residents exhibit lower levels of consumption
(Callaway, 2009).
The Commissions on Obscenity and Pornography
In addition to Supreme Court rulings regarding sexually explicit
materials, since the late 1960s two presidential commissions have
been appointed to study pornography. They came to very different
conclusions. President Lyndon Johnson appointed the Commis-
sion on Obscenity and Pornography to study the effects of sexually
explicit materials, and its report was published in 1970. It ana-
lyzed the effects of legalizing pornography in Denmark (which had
occurred in 1967) and the findings of various studies done in the
United States. The commission found that the increased availabil-
ity of pornography after legalization did not result in an increase in
sex offenses. Furthermore, research with college-student subjects
in the United States found no significant, long-lasting changes in
behavior after they were exposed to pornography. On that basis,
this commission recommended repealing all laws prohibiting
access to pornography for adults. However, both President Nixon
and the U.S. Senate rejected these recommendations.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan appointed another commis-
sion to study pornography, the U.S. Attorney General’s Commission
on Pornography (sometimes called the Meese Commission, after
then attorney general Edwin Meese). It reached dierent conclu-
sions and made radically dierent recommendations from those of
The Japanese Hounen festival held in March, which
celebrates fertility and renewal with a procession to
the shrine of a female deity, would likely be considered
unacceptably pornographic in the United States.
A
13-foot-long, 885-pound phallus is the central focus of the
celebration. Would your hometown allow this procession?
Everett Kennedy Brown/epa/CORBIS
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
Sex for Sale549
549
the earlier commission. It claimed that pornography promoted promiscuity and that vio-
lent or degrading pornography caused sexually aggressive behavior toward women. It rec-
ommended prosecuting pornography vigorously and prohibiting dial-a-porn” telephone
services and sexual cable TV programs. However, leading researchers criticized the Meese
Commission report for basing its recommendations on politics instead of science, because
it did not produce adequate scientic evidence to support its conclusions (D’Amato, 2006).
e recommendations were not implemented, except for one making possession of child
pornography a felony (U.S. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, 1986).
e Supreme Court continues to address issues of censorship, especially in response
to technological developments. For example, in 1997, in Reno v. American Civil Liberties
Union et al., the Court gave free-speech protection to material on the Internet (except child
pornography). e decision was based on the Court’s opinion that the Internet is the most
participatory form of communication ever developed and therefore is entitled to the high-
est protection from governmental intrusion (Beck, 1999, p. 83).
The Marriage of Technology and Sexually Explicit Materials
The ease of access and privacy afforded by cable television and the VCR, followed
closely by the Internet and mobile wireless devices, has extended access to pornography
to people who previously would not have gone to an adult movie theater or bookstore.
This increase in availability may be especially true for women, who comprise one out of
every three visitors to porn sites (Ropelato, 2012). A group of adult television networks
has been developed exclusively for video-on-demand technology. Porns appearance on
cell phones, iPods, PDAs, and PSP game handhelds provides por-
table access to sexually explicit materials. Adult content on mobile
devices became a multinational billion-dollar business in less than
one year following its inception (Piccionelli, 2006; Ross, 2008).
Twenty-ve percent of all search engine requests are for sexual
imagery, and 4.2 million porn websites are available on the Inter-
net (Ropelato, 2012; Young, 2008). e U.S. pornography indus-
try released 13,588 hard-core porn video/DVDs in 2006, whereas
Hollywood averages 400 feature lms each year. In 2006 revenues
from video/DVD sales were $3.62 billion, and Internet pornog-
raphy generated $2.84 billion. ese gures indicate that view-
ing pornography is a form of mainstream entertainment (Klein,
2012a). According to news and research organizations, worldwide
pornography revenues in 2006 were over $97 billion, more than
the revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple,
and Netix combined (Ropelato, 2012).
Figure 18.1 indicates the
countries where individuals spend the most for pornography.
However, beginning in 2006 YouTube-type sites with free porn
have caused adult industry prots from lms and pay websites to
drop signicantly (free sites make money by selling advertising space
instead of charging for access). e proliferation of webcam sites
where a viewer can video-chat with a live model also contributed
to less use of lm sites. Anyone with a camera and a web connec-
tion can set up a one-person operation (Alexander, 2008; Wallace,
2011). e adult industry also estimates that piracy of explicit
material results in a $2 billion loss each year (Ross, 2008). By 2009
DVD sales had decreased by at least 25%, and pay-for-membership
websites had a record low of new subscribers (Lucido, 2009).
0100 200 300 400 500 600
Canada
United Kingdom
Taiwan
United States
Czech Republic
Brazil
Australia
Finland
Japan
South Korea
$30
$32
$44
$45
$45
$53
$99
$115
$157
$527
Which Country Spends the Most
per Person on Pornography?*
*rounded to the nearest dollar
Figure 18.1 Dollars spent per person for pornography
(
Ropelato, 2012).
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
550 CHAPTER 18
ThePornification” of U.S. Culture
Graphic sexual images have become so ubiquitous that many university literature, film,
anthropology, law, and womens studies departments offer porn curriculum courses
that delve into pornography issues (Cullen, 2006). The mainstreaming of aspects of
pornography and sex work into U.S. culture is so prevalent that author Ariel Levy has
described today’s culture as raunch culture” (Levy, 2005). For example, on her talk
show, Oprah Winfrey featured a stripper instructor whose program has taught over
12,000 women how to strip and pole dance, and TV programs demonstrate and teach
how to lap dance a man to orgasm. Hundreds of young women cheerfully strip and
mimic pornographic poses for Girls Gone Wild videos that generate an estimated $40
million a year (Deveny, 2007). Preadolescent girls wear T-shirts with PORN STAR
written in rhinestones on the front. Porn stars have hosted programs on cable TV,
including the reality show Can You Be a Porn Star? (Paul, 2005).
Is Pornography Helpful?
One important issue is the impact of pornography on those who use it. Arguments have
been advanced on both sides of the question of whether and how pornography is helpful or
harmful. Pornography can provide an endless variety of sexual fantasy material for arousal
during masturbation without the potential of being rejected, being criticized by a partner,
becoming pregnant, or contracting an STI (Peter & Valkenburg, 2011). When individuals
in a couple have significant differences in how frequently they want to be sexual, pornogra-
phy can also facilitate sexual arousal for masturbation for the partner with the higher sex
drive. Watching sexually explicit materials before sexual intimacy can help an individual
who has difficulty getting in the mood for sex with a partner do so more easily.
Some couples nd that watching mainstream pornography or erotica together has
improved their sexual experiences. One study found that almost half of unmarried
couples sometimes viewed sexually explicit materials together. Unmarried couples who
only viewed sexually explicit materials with their partners reported more dedication and
higher sexual satisfaction than those who viewed similar materials alone (Maddox et
al., 2011). Studies have found that viewing pornography and engaging in online sexual
activities helped individuals expand their previous sexual repertoire by being open to
and exploring new sexual behaviors (Gowen, 2005; Grov et al., 2011). For example, a
woman watching porn will see that it is common for porn actresses to stimulate their
own clitorises during intercourse and may feel more comfortable doing this herself.
Individuals may also increase their communication about sex in their intimate rela-
tionships after revealing their sexual interests anonymously online (Grov et al., 2011):
One study found that about 50% of women and 44% of men told their partners about
sexual desires they had previously concealed after online sexual communication with
others (Gowen, 2005).
Is Pornography Harmful?
In contrast with research discussed in the previous Is Pornography Helpful?” sec-
tion, other studies report correlations between Internet pornography use and dimin-
ished quality of relationships. One study of heterosexual college students found that
higher use of pornography was associated with less sexual and relationship satisfaction
(Morgan, 2011). A study of unmarried couples reported that individuals who viewed
sexually explicit materials alone had lower relationship quality on measures of commu-
nication, relationship adjustment, commitment, sexual satisfaction, and fidelity com-
pared to couples where individuals never viewed sexually explicit materials (Maddox
The “reality TV” show Can You Be a
Porn Star? with hosts
Tabitha Stevens
and Mary Carey began airing on pay-
per-view in early 2004, illustrating a
trend toward mainstreaming of the
porn industry.
AP Photo/Keith Shimada
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Sex for Sale551
551
et al., 2011). Divorce attorneys and marital therapists have seen a great increase in the
number of couples for whom Internet pornography played a significant part in bring-
ing them to counseling or divorce (Eberstadt, 2009; Hanus, 2006b).
A concern about exposure to pornography is that viewers will come to assume that
what they see is normal” and represents what sex should be like (Bowater, 2011; Lofgren-
Martenson & Mansson, 2010). Ordinarily, the more often individuals see something, the
more likely they are to view it as typical. A survey of heterosexual college students found
that those who used sexually explicit materials most frequently also had a greater prefer-
ence for the types of sexual practices typically presented in pornography (Morgan, 2011).
At the very least, typical scenarios in most of pornography are bad sex education
and a very misleading guide to mutually pleasurable and satisfying sexual experiences
(Castleman, 2008). e standard porn sexual style is impersonal, unfriendly, nonsen-
sual, mechanical, and almost exclusively genitally focused. Oral sex to both men and
women is portrayed as fast and rough. Women are instantly and continuously turned on
and quickly want intercourse, but never experience orgasm. Commercial porn uses men
whose penises are extra-large, and the men always have instant, continuous, long-lasting
erections. Anal sex to women is aggressive, and the penis often goes directly from anus
to vagina—almost a guarantee for vaginal and bladder infections. Viewers never see the
actors use lubrication for vaginal or anal intercourse.
Researchers are also nding that young male adults—and adult males in general—are
experiencing sexual problems related to extensive use of pornography. In some cases a
mans arousal becomes dependent on the intense, varied sexual stimulation provided by
pornography, and when he is sexual with a partner, he has diculty experiencing or sus-
taining an erection. He may be unable to ejaculate and may resort to faking orgasm to con-
ceal his diculty (Robinson, 2011; Rothbart, 2011). Sex therapists have begun to see men
who prefer to masturbate to pornography instead of having actual sex (Albright, 2008).
Another problem arises when individuals justify coercing their partners to engage
in typical behaviors found in pornography (including, perhaps, ejaculating on a wom-
ans face or body or having anal or group sex) (Morris, 2011; Paul, 2005). Research
has found that in heterosexual relationships men are more likely than women to pres-
sure their partners to engage in sexual behaviors they have seen in pornographic lms
(Albright, 2008). Further, because pornography portrays women as wildly responsive
to anything men do, but real-life women do not react in such a manner, men may feel
inadequate or cheated, and both men and women may doubt the normality of their
own sexuality. For example, a woman may believe that there is something wrong with
her when she does not experience anal sex as unrealistically pain-free and pleasurable as
portrayed in porn (Castleman, 2008; Drey et al., 2009). ese kinds of inuences may
help cause a relationship to deteriorate, as reected in the following account:
During my early and mid-twenties I spent a lot of time (and a fair bit of change)
paying women with Web cam businesses to role-play sexual scenarios I liked
to masturbate to. I considered it a healthy, safe, simple way to take care of my
needs instead of counting on dating for sex. Then I met Jennifer and fell for her.
After several months I started getting bored with our vanilla sex and asked her
to do the “schoolgirl” role-play I’d liked via Web cam. She tried her best, but
I was kind of pissed that she didn’t do it “right,” and I made her feel like she
wasn’t sexy enough for me. I hadn’t figured out that I couldn’t expect her to
pull off a fantasy like the Web cam professionals. It’s a trade-off, but I’d rather
have sex with a woman who really cares about me than one who’s a good actor.
(Authors’ files)
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552 CHAPTER 18
Internet-related sexual diculties occur in both adults and young people. How-
ever, the consequences of this dramatic social change will likely have a more signicant
impact on the sexual development of young people than on that of adults who came
of age prior to the advent of the Internet. In the United States, 90% of young people
have seen Internet porn by age 16. e average age of their rst exposure was 11 years
(Ropelato, 2012). Unlike the pre-Internet era, when a young person might see a Playboy
magazine before his or her rst kiss, signicant numbers of young people in developed
countries are exposed to a wide range of pornography on the Internet and other wire-
less technologies before they begin having sexual experiences with other young people.
Viewing pornography on the Internet can also negatively inuence how people feel
about their genitals. For example,
Figure 18.2 shows that the more often young people
watch pornography, the more likely they are to believe that their own genitals should
look like a porn stars penis or vulva. (Even 5.2% of male and 11.8% of female young
adults who have never seen pornography believe that their genitals should look like a
porn star’s.) Young women are more likely than young men to believe that porn star vul-
vas are the “ideal, as demonstrated in the gure (Drey et al., 2009). Many of the young
women who consider having plastic surgery to alter the shape of their labia do so for
that reason, instead of appreciating the uniqueness of the shape and size of their labia
(Gohman, 2009). In addition, after viewing pornography, heterosexual men and women
are more likely to be critical of the womans body in general (Albright, 2008).
Prostitution and Sex Work
Prostitution is the exchange of sexual services for money. Prostitution is typically
thought of in terms of a woman selling sexual services to a man, although transac-
tions between two males are also common. Payment for a mans services to a woman
is less common. Sex worker is a term for a person involved in prostitution and related
DailyWeekly Monthly Less than
once a month
Never
0
10
5
15
20
25
30
35
40
Men
Woman
13.50%
7.40%
7.60%
6.40%
5.20%
37.30%
19.20%
14.80%
11.20%
11.80%
Figure 18.2 Percentage of adolescents who believe their genitals should look like a
porn stars genitals, correlated by frequency of pornography use.
prostitution
The exchange of sexual services for
money.
sex worker
A person involved in prostitution and
related activities, such as phone sex,
nude dancing, erotic massage, Inter-
net sex, and acting in porn movies.
© Cengage Learning
Should My Genitals Look Like a Porn Star's?
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Sex for Sale553
553
activities, such as phone sex, nude dancing, erotic massage, Internet sex, and acting in
porn movies. Most people who are sex workers for more than a few months often move
from one type of commercial sex work to another (Farley, 2004).
Relationships that involve exchanging sex for money also occur outside sex work.
Advertising frequently portrays the trade goods for sex” theme, and in 2000, one of the rst
reality-TV shows, Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, highlighted the prostitution-
like aspects sometimes present in common male/female relationships (Peyser, 2000). A
case could be made that the wife who is especially sexually pleasing before asking for extra
money from her husband, or the woman who wants out of her marriage but stays in order
to maintain her standard of living, plays out the dynamics of prostitution (Ridgeway, 1996).
History of Prostitution and Sex Work
Prostitution has existed throughout history and has been called the oldest profession.
However, the importance and meaning of prostitution have varied in different times
and societies. Evidence shows that men sold sexual services to other men as far back
as the ancient Sumerian and Greek civilizations (Pandey, 2007). During some periods
of ancient Greek history, certain types of prostitutes were valued for their intellectual,
social, and sexual companionship. In other ancient societies, female prostitution was
part of revered religious rituals in which sexual relations between prostitutes and men
were seen as sacred acts. In medieval Europe prostitution was tolerated, and public baths
provided opportunities for contact between customers and prostitutes. At times, some
types of prostitution were a means for women to acquire status and power. For example,
in Renaissance Italy courtesans provided social, intellectual, and sexual companionship
to the most powerful men of the time. Courtesans often gained significant political
influence through these relationships, while the mens upper-class wives were unedu-
cated and sequestered in their homes. Courtesans were well-educated, charming, and
witty women who were performers, artists, and writers (Valhouli, 2000). In Victorian
Imperia, a statue in the harbor of
Konstanz, Germany, represents
a 15th-century Italian courtesan.
She holds a naked pope and king
in each of her hands, representing
her power over leaders of church
and state. Imperia was created by
sculptor
Peter Lenk and installed
in 1993.
Courtesy of Stephen Romero
Courtesy of Stephen Romero
Courtesy of Stephen Romero
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554 CHAPTER 18
Great Britain, prostitution was viewed as a scandalous but necessary sexual and social
outlet for men: It was a lesser evil for a middle-class man to have sexual relations with a
prostitute than with another middle-class mans wife or daughter (Taylor, 1970).
Adult Male and Female Prostitutes
Adult sex workers vary from one another in characteristics such as public visibility, the
amount of money they make, and social class. A critical distinction between sex work-
ers is the degree to which they chose the work (Lieberman, 2011). Some sex workers
pursue sex work in spite of having other viable options for a livelihood. However, most
resort to sex work from economic incentive and necessity (Kempner, 2005; Shaver et
al., 2011). For example, research has found that in the United States a majority of indi-
viduals became involved in sex work because they were unable to find work that paid
a living wage (Hafer, 2011). Many had previously held babysitting, food service, and
cleaning jobs (Thukral, 2008). Melissa Farley’s comprehensive research on sex work-
ers in nine countries (Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand,
Turkey, the United States, and Zambia) found that the most common and compelling
reason that individuals from both developed and developing countries enter sex work
is to earn money. Most are in dire need of resources for survival needs: 75% were home-
less when they became prostitutes (Farley, 2004). Others have been forced into sex
work by pimps and traffickers, as we will discuss in detail in later sections.
Some sex workers work part-time and otherwise pursue conventional school,
work, or social lifestyles. People who work as prostitutes on a temporary, part-time
basis and have other occupational skills can leave sex work more easily than other
prostitutes can. Many of these women and men have not identied themselves as pro-
fessionals. In contrast, the full-time sex worker who has identied herself or himself
as part of the prostitute subculture (being arrested and having a criminal record facili-
tates this identication) typically has little education and few marketable skills. One
study found that 89% of sex workers wanted to leave the profession (
Table 18.1),
but without other resources and economic opportunities, many nd it dif-
cult to become successfully independent of prostitution (Burnette et al.,
2009; Farley, 2004; ukral, 2008).
Female streetwalkers and male hustlers solicit straight and gay male cus-
tomers, respectively, on the street or in bars. Hustlers extend their search for
business into gay bathhouses, public parks, and restrooms. Streetwalkers and
hustlers charge the least of all sex workers for their services. For example,
in New York, a streetwalker charges an average of $75 for traditional inter-
course, with a percentage going to the sex workers pimp (Venkatesh, 2011).
Hustlers rarely work for pimps, but streetwalkers usually do and must share
a large portion of their earnings with them.
Hustlers and streetwalkers are most likely to be victims of abuse and rob-
bery by customers or pimps (Valera et al., 2001). News stories frequently
describe the discovery of a murdered prostitute or a hunt for a serial killer of
sex workers. In addition, due to their visibility, streetwalkers and hustlers are
easily subject to arrest. Most repeat the cycle of arrest, short jail sentences,
and release many times throughout their careers.
A brothel is a house in which a group of female prostitutes work. Broth-
els were common in the United States during much of its history and are legal
in some areas of Nevada today. A madam usually acts as the hostess and is
usually the business manager of the brothel. Prostitutes who work in broth-
els where prostitution is illegal are somewhat more protected from arrest
than are streetwalkers, because they are less visible to the police. In order to
Advertisements often demonstrate
prostitution’s sex-for-sale basis of
relationships.
Courtesy of The Advertising Archives
At a Glance
TABLE 18.1 Responses of Women Sex
Workers to the Question “What Do You
Need in Order to Leave Prostitution?”
(in descending order of importance)
Job training
Home or safe place
Health care
Individual counseling
Legal assistance
Peer support
Drug/alcohol treatment
Self-defense training
Child care
Legalization of prostitution
Physical protection from pimp
SOURCE: Farley (2004).
brothel
A house in which a group of prosti-
tutes work.
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Sex for Sale555
555
reduce street prostitution and oer greater safety to sex workers, the province
of Ontario in Canada recently established that sex workers can legally work in
brothels (Makin, 2012).
Massage parlors are often seen as a modern quick service version of broth-
els. Manual stimulation (a local or hand nishing”) or oral stimulation to
orgasm is often arranged for a fee once the customer is in the massage room.
In addition, the customer can often dictate in what state of dress or undress he
would like his masseuse to be. Intercourse may occur as part of the massage.
e types of sex workers who earn more than others are call girls and call
boys, who provide services for men, and gigolos, who service women. Call girls,
or escorts, often come from middle-class backgrounds and are sometimes edu-
cated, auent women making a choice to enter sex work for money, autonomy,
and job satisfaction (Hafer, 2011). Contacts are usually made by personal refer-
ral, through escort services, or by independent ads on Internet sites, includ-
ing Facebook. ey commonly have several regular customers and frequently
provide social and intellectual companionship as well as sexual services for their
typically wealthy, middle-aged, and older customers (Blackmun, 1996). Regu-
lar customers are likely to give them goods, such as clothing, jewelry, and liv-
ing accommodations. High-end escorts might have four to six regular clients,
each of whom pays the escort a minimum of $20,000 a year (Venkatesh, 2011).
Public visibility for these prostitutes is minimal, and their risk of arrest is much
lower than that for the sex worker on the street.
One study found that call boys working through an escort agency had an
average of six clients a month, client calls lasted about an hour, and oral sex was
the most common sexual service they provided. Most of the escorts avoided
anal sex. About 80% of the escorts disliked having sex with clients; the escorts
preferred clients who were seeking nonsexual companionship for conversation,
entertainment, or travel (Hagen, 2006).
The Internet and Sex Work
The Internet has transformed the world’s oldest profession. Male and female sex work-
ers are increasingly operating independently through individual websites. For example,
by 2011 approximately 83% of sex workers in New York City advertised their ser-
vices on Facebook (Venkatesh, 2011). The sex worker and customer negotiate through
e-mail, which eliminates the need for part of the prostitutes fees to go to website com-
panies, pimps, or brothels (Reynolds, 2006).
Whether working through a company or an individual website, sex workers on the
Internet have far safer and less oppressive working conditions than other sex workers.
While arrests of Internet sex workers are uncommon, the Internet does provide easy
leads for arrest by police posing as customers (Linskey, 2006). e Internet has also
created an easy and accessible venue for the commercial sexual exploitation of children
(Saar, 2010), as discussed further in the next section.
Teenagers in Sex Work
The U.S. Department of Justices Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section estimates
that in the United States, the median age of entry into the sex industry is between 12 and
14 years of age (Lloyd, 2010). Statistics from the National Incident-Based Reporting
System indicate that in the United States, of the total number of juvenile sex workers,
male juvenile sex workers outnumber female juvenile sex workers by 61% to 39% (Finkel-
hor & Ormrod, 2004). Teenagers often become sex workers as a means of survival after
they have run away from home. Approximately 100,000 children who leave their homes
Streetwalkers are at high risk for abuse by
customers, pimps, and police.
Michael Goldman/Getty Images
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556 CHAPTER 18
each year are sexually exploited as sex workers (Salario, 2011). Research indicates that
approximately 95% have been victims of sexual abuse, and most have been rejected by
their families, sometimes after parents found out their children are gay, lesbian, bisexual,
or transgendered (Mok, 2006). Journalist Nicholas Kristof describes a common scenario:
Typically, she’s a 13-year-old girl of color from a troubled home who is on bad terms
with her mother. en her moms boyfriend hits on her, and she runs away to the
bus station, where the only person on the lookout for girls like her is a pimp. He
buys her dinner, gives her a place to stay and next thing she knows shes earning him
$1,550 a day (2011, p. 2).
Young women in this situation are routinely raped, beaten into submission, and utterly
controlled by pimps who take the money they earn (Saar, 2010).
Many Americans perceive the teenage girls they may see on the streets as voluntarily
selling sex, but most are exploited by pimps (Kristof, 2011). Pimps seek out young girls
because they can charge higher prices and make more money than with adults (Loupe,
2011). Unfortunately, although many of the teens are too young to legally consent to
sex, when apprehended by law enforcement, they will be charged with an act of pros-
titution and sent to a juvenile detention center or jail (Lloyd, 2010). Sixty-three per-
cent of girls in the juvenile justice system are there due to prostitution (Saar, 2010).
In 2008 New York passed the Safe Harbor for Exploited Youth Act, protecting them
from prosecution and recognizing that underage prostituted girls are victims (Salario,
2011). Unfortunately, laws and programs to help prostituted teens heal from the trauma
of sexual victimization and establish new lives are only in their infancy (Loupe, 2011).
While the awareness of sex tracking in the United States has been limited, in
recent years the problem of sex tracking across the globe has received increasingly
more attention, as discussed in the next section.
Worldwide Trafficking of Women
and Children in Prostitution
The 60-year history of modern sex trafficking includes the brothels for U.S. troops
that Japanese police officials and businessmen established at the end of World War II.
Thousands of Japanese women provided cheap sex for 15–60 U.S. troops a day. The
leadership of the U.S. occupation initially condoned the troops use of the prostitutes
and provided penicillin for the women and condoms for the
servicemen. In the spring of 1946, however, General Doug-
las MacArthur shut the brothels down due to complaints
from military chaplains, concern about bad publicity for the
military, and the high rate of sexually transmitted infections
among the troops (Talmadge, 2007). However, troops serv-
ing today in South Korea visit camp towns” adjacent to U.S.
military bases; these towns are filled with more than 1 mil-
lion sex workers, primarily women brought in from Eastern
Europe and the Philippines (Farr, 2004).
Sex trackers are criminals who buy or kidnap women
and children from underdeveloped and socially, economically,
or politically unstable nations or entice them by promising
legitimate employment. Trackers range from mom-and-pop
operations to networks of highly sophisticated, multinational
crime groups, but organized crime is increasingly dominating
global sex tracking (Hodge, 2008). Corrupt individuals in
legitimate positions of trust—police ocers, border guards,
One of the posters developed by the Campaign to Rescue and
Restore Victims of Human Trafcking to promote public awareness
about, identication of, and assistance to victims of trafcking.
Courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration for
Children & Families
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Sex for Sale557
557
immigration ocials, travel agents, and bankers—are also involved (Finnegan, 2008).
e fact that one tracked sex worker can earn between $75,000 and $250,000 a year
for her employer provides enormous nancial incentives to all involved (Farr, 2004).
e worldwide exploitation of children and women through sex tracking is estimated
to generate $7 billion to $10 billion in prots each year (Cwikel & Hoban, 2005).
Instead of giving people the legitimate employment they have promised, trackers
sell them to others who force them into sex work, primarily in wealthier, more stable
nations or in locales known for sex tourism (Farr, 2004). For example, after the fall of
communism in Europe during the 1990s, trackers falsely promised legitimate employ-
ment in Western Europe to Eastern European women facing poverty in their home
countries (ompson, 2008). Some women are lured into prostitution by promises of
marriage in a foreign country. Trackers also rely on kidnapping. Due to the chaos
caused by the U.S. occupation of Iraq, for example, by 2011 criminal tracking gangs
had abducted an estimated 5,000 Iraqi women and girls (Naili, 2011b). Iraqi women
and children who ed Iraq to escape the U.S. war also face the fear of being sold into
prostitution by male relatives who are desperate for money (Soguel, 2010).
Trackers also buy children from parents when the children are more of a nancial
burden than the family can manage. Orphans whose parents died of AIDS or were
killed in the ethnic and tribal wars of Africa and Eastern Europe are highly vulnerable
to exploitation (Hodge, 2008; Rios, 1996). Younger and younger children are sought
for prostitution because customers regard them as more likely to be free of HIV. It is
estimated that in Nepal each year about 7,000 girls as young as 9 years old are sold to
employers” who promise them good jobs; they end up in brothels in Mumbai, India,
where HIV-positive men have sex with them, believing that having sex with a virgin will
cure them (Kottler, 2008). Once the girls are infected, they are often sent back home.
Consequently, sex tracking plays a major role in the spread of HIV and other sexually
transmitted infections across South Asia (Silverman et al., 2008).
It is impossible to know how many women and children are tracked across the
world. e U.S. State Department estimates that 2 million children are subjected to
prostitution across the globe (Spitzer, 2011). Destination countries tend to be wealthy
and/or industrialized nations. A CIA–State Depart-
ment report estimated that within the United States
alone, 50,000 women and children from more than
40 dierent countries of origin are essentially slaves
in the sex industry, and more are imported each year.
In tourist and convention cities across the nation, it is
estimated that one third of street prostitutes are chil-
dren (Hodge, 2008; Leuchtag, 2003). Cities where
major sports and entertainment events occur, such as
the Super Bowl, bring a surge in tracked sex work-
ers (Goldberg, 2011b).
e harm to women and children who have been
tracked is severe. Studies of women from various
countries who have been tracked found that the
slave-like existence of connement, abuse, and sys-
tematic rape these women endured over months or
years resulted in continued psychological and physical
problems even after they found a way out of being traf-
cked (Zimmerman et al., 2011). e women often
blamed themselves for failing to recognize deceptive
recruitment tactics. During transit, women faced the
risk of arrest and death from dangerous modes of
These young prostitutes in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, must endure the
hardships of a life they probably would not have chosen for themselves if
they had other work to support their families.
CHOR SOKUNTHEA/Reuters/Landov
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558 CHAPTER 18
transport and border crossings. Trackers conscated their identity papers and threat-
ened to kill them or their families back home if they tried to escape. ey were deprived
of food, held in solitary connement, and forced to use drugs to coerce their compliance.
Over 96% were physically or sexually assaulted, and 100% were coerced into sex acts,
including unprotected sex, anal and oral sex, and gang rape. Most had to service 10 to 25
clients a night; some had as many as 40 to 50. Twenty-ve percent had at least one unin-
tended pregnancy and abortion. Nearly 40% had suicidal thoughts during or after their
ordeal (Tsutsumi et al., 2008; Van Hook et al., 2006; Zimmerman et al., 2003).
Poverty provides trackers with unlimited opportunities to exploit vulnerable
individuals (Footner, 2008; Gjermeni et al., 2008). Womens organizations and other
human rights groups have consistently advocated for womens educational and eco-
nomic empowerment to eradicate the connection between poverty and sexual exploita-
tion. Private organizations in many countries have developed programs to assist women
escaping from tracking (Katongo, 2012). In 2011 Google donated $11.5 million to
help leading organizations combat human tracking (Horn, 2011).
e United States made human tracking a federal crime in the Tracking Vic-
tims Protection Act of 2000, which denes human sex tracking as a commercial sex
act involving a minor or induced by force, fraud, or coercion (Spitzer, 2011). Prior to
that law, no comprehensive federal law existed to protect victims of tracking. How-
ever, many states continue to charge prostituted children and send them to juvenile
detention centers.
The Personal Costs of Sex Work
Sex workers have very diverse working conditions and experiences (Weitzer, 2007).
Decriminalization and legalization of sex work significantly improves the health and
safety of sex workers, but most sex workers across the world operate under the disadvan-
tages of criminal legal statutes. Sex workers can develop physical and mental health prob-
lems as a result of violence, chronic stress, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, and a
lack of control over their working conditions (Ward & Day, 2006; Wong et al., 2006). At
the worst, women in the sex trade are murdered by their customers (Pelisek, 2011). The
research in this section pertains to countries where prostitution is not decriminalized.
Two thirds of the sex workers in a nine-country study met diagnostic criteria for
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which develops when an individual experiences
overwhelming trauma. Some of the symptoms include recurrent nightmares, emotional
numbness or fear, diculty sleeping and concentrating, and ashbacks (feelings of reliv-
ing the original traumatic experience). According to this research, it is a misconception
that sex workers enter the business to support their drug habits. Various studies have
reported that prostitution precedes drug and alcohol abuse for 39–60% of individuals.
Sex workers often began to abuse drugs and alcohol to try to cope with overwhelming
negative feelings while working (Farley, 2004).
HIV/AIDS is another danger sex workers and their customers face. ere is strong
evidence that the number of infected prostitutes correlates with the HIV prevalence in
a country (Talbott, 2007). Customers often pressure sex workers not to use condoms,
and those in the United States who face the greatest pressures not to use condoms are
younger than 18, are under the inuence of drugs or alcohol, service customers in cars or
public spaces, are the most desperate for money, and are in the country illegally (Akarro,
2008; Shannon et al., 2009). A study in Mexico found that prostitutes receive a pre-
mium of between 23% and 46% for unprotected sex—an increase from over $14,000 to
$51,000 in income per year (Gertler et al., 2005). Programs that provide safe sex educa-
tion or give female condoms to sex workers have seen an increase in the numbers of sex
workers practicing safe sex (Hoke et al., 2007).
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Sex for Sale559
559
Customers of Sex Workers
Sex workers exist because there is a demand for their services. In the United States,
John is the label for the men of all backgrounds, ages, races, religions, and socioeco-
nomic status who buy sex. One study found that most men buying sex were married or
with a partner and ranged in age from 20 to 75, with an average age of 41 (Bennetts,
2011). How many men have sex with prostitutes? A study of a representative sample of
men around the world found that about 10% of them had exchanged money for sex in
the last 12 months (Carael et al., 2006). In the United States, 93% of the men who used
prostitutes had contact with a prostitute at least once a month (Freund et al., 1991).
What appeals to men about paying for sex? Sex in exchange for money gives a cus-
tomer sexual contact without any emotional involvement or future commitment; it elim-
inates the risk of rejection and oers an opportunity to engage in
sexual activities that the customer does not perform with a partner
(Calia, 2002; Watson & Vidal, 2011). Some Johns seek the feeling
of power from aggressive sex (Bennetts, 2011). Research has found
that men purchase sex at a higher rate in regions where womens
sexuality is tightly controlled: Prostitution rates are highest in Africa
and China. e researchers concluded that gender equality would
signicantly reduce prostitution (Wellings et al., 2006).
Women are far less likely than men to pay for sex. However,
female sex tourism has increased. Single, divorced, and married White
women, primarily from Europe and North America, travel to third-
world locales for liaisons with beach boys, who provide attery, com-
panionship, and sex for money or gifts. African American women are
most likely to travel as sex tourists to Jamaica, and Japanese women
usually go to Bali (Hari, 2006). One female sex tourist stated, In
England, men our age arent remotely interested. . . . Here, the men
make us feel like gorgeous, sexy women again (Knight, 2006, p. 2).
e female sex tourists and the men they hire often hold a benign
view of their commercial relationship. One researcher found that the
men often imagine they receive gifts of appreciation for helping these
women, and female sex tourists believe they are helping the men and
the local economy by giving them money and gifts (Hari, 2006).
Glorification of Pimps in the United States
Rachel Lloyd is an anti-trafficking advocate and founder of GEMS, the nations larg-
est service provider to commercial sexually exploited and trafficked girls and young
women. Pimps sell women to other men for sex, and Lloyd describes how pimping
and the adult men who seduce, kidnap, torture, brainwash then sell girls for sex” have
become a status business identity in the United States. Rappers glamorize pimping,
and corporate sponsors further popularize being a pimp. For example, in 2003, rapper
50 Cent released his song P.I.M.P and Reebok gave him a $50 million advertising
contract. Rapper Snoop Dogg bragged about his pimping career and was described as
Americas Most Lovable Pimp when featured on the December 2006 issue of Roll-
ing Stone. His corporate endorsement deals include Boost Mobile cell phones, Orbit
gum, and a commercial for Chrysler. The entertainment industry also contributes
to glorifying pimps. In 2006 It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp by Three 6 Mafia won
the Academy Award for Best Song. In reality, compared to other criminal behaviors,
pimping is not particularly hard” or risky and is usually a more profitable crime than
selling drugs (Kristof, 2011; Saar, 2010).
Jamaica is one of the countries to which women “sex
tourists” travel for their vacations to nd local men for
companionship and sex.
© Peter Dench/In Pictures/Corbis
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560 CHAPTER 18
Rachel Lloyd identies pimps as essentially trackers of girls and young women
and states, Frankly, it’s hard out here for a 13-year-old girl whos under the control of
an adult man who beats her daily, tattoos, brands his name on her body to mark her as
his property, who controls her every movement and forces her to have sex nightly with
dozens of adult men and then takes her money. If that’s not tracking and slavery I
dont know what is (Lloyd, 2010).
Legal Status and Sex Work
The legal status and the principles underlying the laws pertaining to the buying and sell-
ing of sexual services vary from place to place (Shaver, 2009). In most countries, includ-
ing the United States, prostitution is considered an immoral activity and is illegal under
criminal laws, except for some areas in Nevada. (Weitzer, 2007). In Sweden and some
other Nordic countries, prostitution is viewed as a social ill and a form of violence against
women (Månsson, 2009). Therefore, the purchase, not the sale, of sexual services is a
crime: Sex workers are not arrested, but their customers may be and can receive up to
6 months in jail if convicted. Also, assisting others to purchase sexual services—procuring
customers or running a brothel—is illegal under criminal law (Månsson, 2009).
In the United States a shift to prosecuting buyers of sexual services is developing
(Burleigh, 2012). In Illinois men arrested for soliciting sex must pay a ne up to $1,000.
Across the United States about 40 education programs emphasize the consequences
and human rights issues of sex work and sex tracking for men arrested for soliciting.
Some locations publish the names and photos of men arrested for solicitation in news-
papers as an attempt to deter men from purchasing sex (Salario, 2011).
In a few places, including some areas of Nevada, the Netherlands, and Germany,
prostitution has been legalized but continues to be regulated under criminal laws. With
legalization, sex work is usually viewed as morally repugnant, but an inevitable activity
between consenting adults. Some advantages accrue for prostitutes under legalization
when regulations for worker benets include pensions, sick leave, and unemployment
benets and when brothel regulations emphasize safety and better working conditions
(Weitzer, 2007). Generating tax revenues is a benet for governments that legalize pros-
titution. For example, the tax revenues from legalized prostitution in the Netherlands
are estimated to be $57 million per year (Global Agenda, 2003).
In contrast, New Zealand, New South Wales, and parts of Australia have decrimi-
nalized sex work, in large part due to public health concerns and the advocacy of sex
worker organizations. e ministry of health, police, other governmental organizations,
and citizens consulted in order to develop decriminalization standards. e basis for
decriminalization is the tenet that sex work is a private matter between consenting
adults. erefore, the appropriate role of government is to establish policies to protect
public health and to improve the health and safety of sex workers. Under decriminaliza-
tion in New Zealand, sex work is no longer a crime but is governed by regulations that
promote public health and working conditions of sex workers. Sex workers now have
the same employment, legal, health, and safety rights and responsibilities that other
workers have. When a sex worker wants to leave sex work for another occupation, she
is not burdened by a criminal record that makes nding new work very dicult. She is
also able to take advantage of education and training provided for sex workers who want
out of the industry. However, prostitution of anyone under 18 years of age, coercing
someone into prostitution, and sex tracking are still illegal under criminal law.
New Zealand completed a 5-year follow-up study of the impact on public health
and the welfare of sex workers since the decriminalization in 2003 (Gillian et al., 2009).
e report claried the benets of decriminalization. First, sex workers had a high
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
Sex for Sale561
561
level of condom use and safe sex practices, which supports both the sex worker and
public health by reducing the incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Regulations
require sex workers and customers to use condoms during sex, with a $2,000 ne for
noncompliance. A sex worker was able to go to court and successfully sue a customer
who secretly slipped o his condom prior to intercourse with her. Sex workers, whether
working on the street or in brothels, reported having a greater ability to control their
work environment to increase their safety. ey were more able to refuse individual
clients and to decline to engage in specic activities. ey could work on well-lit streets
and could utilize police as a resource for their protection instead of fearing arrest or
harassment. ey could declare their income and pay taxes and be involved in political
activism for sex workers without fear of revealing their occupation. One aspect of sex
work did not change: e social stigma of sex work remained the same. However, some
sex workers were able to maintain a psychological distance between their sex work and
their personal lives and to feel less stigmatization (Abel, 2011).
In spite of concerns raised by some prior to decriminalization in New Zealand, no
overall increase in the number of sex workers or underage sex workers occurred (Gillian
et al., 2009). e research ndings about decriminalization of sex work in New Zealand
indicate quite strongly that the most signicant risks to the health and safety of sex work-
ers are caused by sex work’s criminal status rather than by the work itself. Based partially
on New Zealand’s experience, the Canadian government declared anti-prostitution laws
unconstitutional in 2010 (Ansari, 2012). A report compiled from interviews with public
health advocates, 450 sex workers, and 40 law enforcement ocials recommended that
sex work be decriminalized in order to protect the social, psychological, and physical
rights of sex workers (Shaver et al, 2011).
Summary
Pornography
Pornography is broadly dened as sexually explicit material
(e.g., images or text) intended to cause sexual arousal.
Characteristics of erotica include mutual aection, respect,
and pleasure.
Pornographic materials developed for straight men, straight
women, gays, and lesbians have unique characteristics to
appeal to each group.
e Internet has both increased the availability of child
pornography and improved the ability to nd and prosecute
child pornographers.
Soon after the development of the printing press, photogra-
phy,lm, cable television, the VCR, the Internet, and wire-
less technologies, they were used to produce pornography.
e Supreme Court, in attempting to determine what is
obscene, established these criteria: e dominant theme
of the work as a whole must appeal to prurient interest, be
oensive to contemporary community standards, and be
without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientic value.
e U.S. Constitutions First Amendment guarantees of
freedom of speech and freedom of the press do not apply
categorically to obscene materials.
e increased availability and legalization of pornography in
Denmark were not followed by an increase in reported sex
oenses.
e 1970 report of the Commission on Obscenity and
Pornography recommended that laws prohibiting access to
pornography to adults should be repealed, but the recom-
mendations were rejected. e controversial 1986 report of
the Attorney Generals Commission on Pornography did
not produce adequate evidence to support its conclusions.
Indecency” prosecutions and nes against radio and televi-
sion broadcasters have increased in recent years.
Whether sexually explicit materials are helpful or harmful
to individuals and couples has arguments on each side.
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
562 CHAPTER 18
Prostitution and Sex Work
Prostitution refers to the exchange of sexual services for
money.
Research indicates that about 10% of men have exchanged
money for sex in the last year.
Female sex tourism has become common in some third-
world locations.
Streetwalkers, male hustlers, women in brothels or mas-
sage parlors, and call girls, call boys, and gigolos are general
categories of sex workers.
Almost half of sex workers enter the business before they
are 18 years old.
e Internet is transforming sex work, providing more
autonomy and safety to some sex workers.
e legal status of commercial sex varies, and the activity
can be illegal, legal, or decriminalized.
Decriminalization of sex work in New Zealand has
improved the health and safety of sex workers and has made
it easier for women to leave sex work.
Economic incentive and necessity are the usual compelling
reasons for individuals to do sex work.
A high percentage of sex workers develop posttraumatic
stress disorder as a result of the chronic stress, danger, and
violence inherent in commercial sex work.
Sex workers often receive more money if they agree to
unprotected sex.
Tracking of women and children is a worldwide problem,
and trackers prey on people who are vulnerable because of
poverty, war, and political instability.
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