The other night I watched a couple of episodes of “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” on Showtime. The first one was about gays in Boy Scouts, and made a darn good point: that as long as the Scouts get to use publicly funded buildings, they can’t discriminate the way a private organization can. They’re having it both ways, and that’s not right. Good episode.
But the second episode was a different story. It was on the benefits of legalized prostitution, and it missed a key point – maybe because they were too busy going for the sex factor by showing lots of completely naked women. Isn’t it strange how when people sigh and say “Oh, well – sex sells”, what they really mean by sex is “naked women”? Do you think if Showtime got some marketing research that indicated showing some cock would improve ratings by 150%, they’d show some? Me, neither.
And maybe if Penn & Teller thought more that way, they’d have gotten the point they so sorely missed: if being a legal hooker in Vegas is such a viable idea, why aren’t more men doing it? Why aren’t all those self-proclaimed horndogs – you know, those guys who say at parties “hehe, if I was a girl I’d be such a slut!” – flocking to Vegas in hopes of getting paid for getting laid? Is that not the ultimate male fantasy? So… what gives? What is it they get about the hooking industry that some women just haven’t figured out yet?
Answer: the sex trade isn’t about sex. If it was, believe me, women would be paying pros to give them really good sex, too, and in principle at least, I’d be completely in favor of it. Instead, the sex trade is about promoting the gender hierarchy. According to the prostitution industry, sex is something women give or sell to men. It is not something shared between two individuals. In some cases, it’s something young boys sell to men. Only in rare cases is it something men sell or give to women.
And it’s not just in prostitution. Look at how we frame the subject. How often do you hear people talk about a guy’s virginity as a precious gift to be given to a worthy female? How often is a cheated-upon husband admonished to blame himself for not putting out well enough to keep the little missus from straying?
Sex, according to our culture, is for women to give and men to take. No wonder most young men are surprised the first time they encounter a girlfriend who wants sex more often than they do, or who seems to enjoy it at least as much as they do. No wonder so many young women don’t realize they should be enjoying sex instead of performing it as a girlfriend or wife duty.