Erotic work is ethical—here’s why

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      Have you ever thought about the number of paying jobs that involve touching, examining, and managing the needs of human genitals (AKA “jennies”)? I certainly have. 

      Nursing; personal care for the disabled, incapacitated, and elderly; midwifing; birthing; gynecology; and specialized cancer care—all of these professions involve the jennies. Often butts, too.

      These fields are viewed as ethical because they provide necessary care and attention to these important body parts. Turn the conversation to any job that involves pleasuring jennies or butts, though, and everyone erupts with indignation. By the public’s reaction, you’d think orgasmic pleasure isn’t the source of life itself.

      But it is.

      Everyone came from an orgasm. Think about that.

      Sexual pleasure and its enjoyment is the main source of life. It is, in fact, necessary.

      Pleasure is very important to humans, and we actually possess the right to experience it. International human rights treaties declare that all people should be safe to live; to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions; to express their sexuality and gender freely without persecution; and to work and make money freely with their own labour.

      Given the multitude of jobs that focus on maintaining and treating human sexual parts for necessary functional reasons, there should be no ethical problem with jobs that involve those same parts for pleasure. 

      Sexual expression and work go hand in hand. That’s why sex work the oldest profession in the world. Erotic services range from entertainment; to light, sensual massage; to mutually-interactive nude massage; to fully interactive penetrative and oral sex. Sex work is no more exploitative than acting else—nannying, being a stunt person, or cleaning toilets for a living. 

      By sex work, I mean services provided by and for consenting adults. I’m not referring to anything underage, exploitative, drug-induced, or forced. In other words, I’m not talking about sexual assault. I’m talking about employment in the pleasure sector.

      For an erotic companion, sex work is usually a safe, lucrative, and relatively enjoyable job that includes offering a lot of connection and care to the client. For the client, it’s a safe and consensual container for getting their erotic needs fulfilled when they might not be able to do so elsewhere. 

      I find that when average people encounter the notion of sex work, they become alarmed, disgusted, and afraid. They view it as dirty and denigrating to all parties involved.

      But erotic companionship is completely normal, warranted, and ethical.

      Most people want sex and desire in their lives. A lot of folks watch porn, visit strip clubs, attend sex parties, or engage in sex play with one or multiple partners behind closed doors. Guess what? We’re even allowed to put things in each other’s butts now without getting arrested for sodomy. Progress!

      The right to sexual expression means you don’t have to be married or in a relationship to experience pleasure. It means people who are single, lonely, disabled, or otherwise suffering any dearth of sexuality possess full rights to safely procure it.

      The real problem is how our society finds eroticism so shameful and disgusting. In his book The Politics Of Lust, Vancouver lawyer and sex-positive activist John Ince describes this unnatural aversion to our jennies and sexual pleasure as “erotophobia”: fear of all things erotic.

      Our society suffers from an extreme case of erotophobia. But this doesn’t make sex work illegitimate or unethical. And it certainly shouldn’t be illegal in any way.

      The last time I checked, the church and the state officially separated somewhere in the 20th century with the rise of secularism. The government has absolutely no jurisdiction over what people do with their bodies. 

      This includes being an electrician on top of a pole, risking death by electrocution; being shot out of a cannon as a stunt person; getting beaten to a pulp as a professional wrestler; and dancing naked in front of people at a bar. And yes, it includes offering up your body for sexual pleasure with another human being, for pay.

      Things to consider:

      Why is it okay to go on Tinder and have (often bad) sex with a complete stranger, but not to hire a sex worker to play with you? 

      Why is it acceptable to watch countless videos of other people being paid to have sex with each other, yet it’s wrong to pay someone to have sex with you?

      Why is it ethical for nurses and personal care attendants to clean, dress, and tend other people’s bodies for money, but if someone’s practice involves anything pleasurable to the body, it’s “gross”? 

      If the notion of erotic work makes you squeamish, check in and notice how your own pelvic muscles feel constricted. That’s your erotophobia—it has nothing to do with sex work itself.