There is an ongoing debate about prostitution in many countries around the world. The question is whether or not it should be legal. An interesting quirk of Canadian law is that prostitution isn’t illegal but solicitation is. You can pay for sex, but cannot talk about paying for sex and mean it.
On the legalization side there are a lot of positive arguments. Places from Amsterdam to New Zealand have legalized prostitution. There hasn’t been an explosion of drugs, violence, family break up, or any of the expected maladies that you might think would go along with legalization.
On the plus side, many places with legal regulated prostitution have less trouble with violence toward sex workers (police are now actually called), fewer sex workers addicted to drugs, and a better chance of controlling STD’s through regular health checks.
So why not just accept it legalize the open and honest exchange of sex for money? There are the usual moral objections and I can wrap my head around some of those.
But let’s put on our cynic hats for a moment. Let’s say we legalize prostitution. Who loses? In general it would mean a transfer of relationship power from people who withhold or limit sex. Think about this; you’re in a bar trying to woo someone and aren’t getting anywhere. If prostitutes are legal, safe, and not entirely shunned you aren’t going to put that much effort in at the bar. You likely won’t be buying drinks for somebody else all night, you’ll give up and go for the open exchange.
You likely won’t put up with a partner withholding sex to get what they want either – again you’ll just opt out. This means a significant reduction in power for anybody who holds out the possibility of sex as leverage. Makes you wonder about the true motives of some who object to legalization.