Who knew paying for sex was so divisive a topic. Last week, I told a reader seeking sex advice to "never, ever — ever! He had been given the "green light" from his wife, who has admitted to a low libido, to have casual, non-monogamous sex. I urged him to try harder with his wife, but, if he had to, seek a casual arrangement with a willing party on the Internet.
Story continues below advertisement "Repeat after me," I said, "do not pay a woman for sex. If he's looking for sex without the emotions, the e-mails and online comments and phone calls argued, a professional, monetary transaction is the way to go. Everyone has a talent! I thought most people were on the same page — I mean, we're talking about reducing someone's daughter to a paid means for sexual enjoyment. So I felt it important to clarify, to dig deeper into these pro-prostitution beliefs that had rattled me for days.
Story continues below advertisement Story continues below advertisement Let's be clear: This debate isn't about the criminality of sex work, a heavy and complex subject filled with grey areas — that's a matter for the Supreme Court of Canada, which is currently battling all sides of the debate.
At issue is what values embody worthwhile sex, and my philosophy is this: Whether it happens during a one-night stand, a summer fling, a friends-with-benefit arrangement or a life-long marriage, there must be a base human connection — two willing, interested humans agreeing to a good time — and a special, intimate experience.
Stephen de Wit, a sexologist I talked to last week about what makes good sex and with a PhD in human sexuality, he knows a thing or two about good sex. Even a casual, Internet-brokered one-night stand would be good for my reader in need, de Wit says. She's not there because she finds you attractive, charming or seductive, so what's the point? The reader may not be looking for love — but he is looking for good, mind-blowing sex. I've never been into a strip club, for related reasons: I'd likely end up talking the ladies into attending night school, or walking my dog for a nominal fee.
Story continues below advertisement Yes, I write this from my middle-class pedestal. I've never fallen on life-threatening hard times, but I know this: Women, every single one of them, are worth more than their bodies. In an ideal world, everyone would see that. But clearly, I'm a newbie in this world. In the interest of exploring all sides of the debate, I tracked down a friend-of-a-Facebook-friend who agreed to talk to me about his experience with prostitutes — or "prosties" as he called them — and why he frequents a Toronto brothel.
Tim, a divorced year-old from Mississauga who hasn't had free sex in over six months, met me at a pub. I was shocked at how easy it was to find someone with personal experience and didn't know exactly what to ask.
Thankfully, he wanted to share. Still, "doing it with someone I see a lot … that'd be better I guess. His eyes light up when he talks about their honeymoon heat — but they darken again when the conversation turns. He starts ranting about one lady in particular at the "house" he frequents. His emotional attachment to her is clear "she's pretty and really sweet, you'd like her, I swear" and he genuinely thinks she cares about him.
What about your safety? Tim's response is quick, and blunt: He uses protection, but admits, "when I get to that point and I'm there, I'm not worried about safety. The decision to pay someone for sex not only diminishes the act, I think to myself, but devalues both parties involved. Repeat after me… Have a sex question? Follow Amberly McAteer on Twitter amberlym.