What does sex have to do with… religion?

Many people argue that religion and sex do not intertwine. Sex is often portrayed as a ‘fragile’ or ‘sacred’ topic that is seldom talked about. Religions around the world all have different views on sexual intercourse.

The most popular religion worldwide, Roman Catholicism preaches that sex is a precious virtue that should happen only after marriage. Engaging in sexual activity before marriage in considered a mortal sin. In Catholicism, mortal sins are considered the most severe type of sin, and it is recommended to go to communion before you receive the Holy Communion after committing a sin of this kind. However, in most churches, it is advised that activities like cuddling, holding hands, and sometimes kissing are thought of as okay when dealing with intimacy before marriage. Sex within marriage for Catholics is completely normal. Couples are encouraged to have sex as it is said to unite them.

Some forms of birth control are also aloud, so that couple can engage in sex without the wife having to worry about constantly having children. However abortion is viewed as murder. To Catholics, the beginning of life starts at conception, making abortion a mortal sin.

Regarding sex in Buddhism, buddhism.about.com says sex is seen as an okay act, as long as it is not abusive, and if the couple loves one another. It is not okay if sex between a married couple is abusive. Desire to have sex is described as a type of suffering, and is called tanha, which is the second noble truth.

In Judaism, sex is considered to be virtually the same type of evil as hunger or thirst. However, sex does come from an evil impulse and is told to be controlled. The only permissible sex is between a husband and wife and is called a mitzvah. This is a significant combination of both love and desire. Sexual contact outside of marriage is not allowed, as Jews believe such acts will lead to sexual intercourse.

In India, there are a group of girls who dedicate their lives to a Hindu deity and they support their families through sex work. On independent.co.uk, Sarah Harris talks about her experience traveling to and talking to the girls. Otherwise known as Temple prostitutes, the Devadasi practice was made illegal in 1988. However, this practice still continues, and ceremonies are held underground. Girls who participate in the practice are usually ashamed of what they do, and typically very poor. Some girls join the practice as early as two or three years old, and are raised in Devadasi communities, where there are no men. This way, the girls grow up not expecting to marry and have a husband, because they have never had a father figure.




Here is a video link to a documentary about Hindu girls in the Indian city of Sangli that sell their bodies to Hindu Goddess Yellamma.


If you traveled to India, and saw this practice, would you try and talk to one of these girls?

How does this make you feel knowing that this happens, especially at such a young age?

Do you think this is considered okay because it is part of a religion?

Do you think that law enforcement should further push to make this illegal and not let it slide in some of the more poor, rural areas?

Do you think this should be legalized?

Are SD/SB relationships the same as prostitution?

Today many young girls are attracted to money, despite the circumstances. The typical Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby relationship seems to have taken over the whole world. Literally. From traveling worldwide, and spending cash, to hiring models, and flying private jets to Dubai, the SD/SB relationship requires a steady flow of money and a wild mindset. But when we take a step back, what does the whole concept align with? Prostitution. Today, in the United States, although it is considered illegal, prostitution still does happen.

According to Forbes.com, “A sample of 1,024 street prostitutes conducted between 1990 and 1991 found that streetwalkers made $23,845 per year, while female service workers made $17,192 per year.” While this study was done in over twenty years ago, it shows the economical benefits of not having to pay for marriage costs.

However, according to an interview with Elizabeth Bernstein in “Introducing New Sexuality Studies”, she stated that “sociologist Pierre Bourdieu cautions that when researches attempt to understand social others through a provisional and deliberate engagement with their with their worlds, the result is like to be perceptions of these worlds which still derive from the researchers own habits.” To be able to contradict what Bourdieu said, Bernstein, in her study of prostitution went undercover in order to achieve the most accurate results.

When researching the wages that prostitutes earn each year, I found many different answers from different studies. I think that Pierre Burdieu’s theory comes into play largely when different researches claim wages. According to Lina Eroh, on erohisms.com, sex workers make roughly $15 dollars a night when hooking up with a western guy. In contrast, businessinsider.com states prices at a brothel in Nevada: $200.00 for 40 minutes

$300.00 for one hour

$500.00 for two hours

$700.00 for an hour of a couple’s party (one hour minimum)

$2,000.00 for overnight stays

These prices starkly contrast the prices states on Eroh’s blog. Therefore, there is no set income, but I think we can conclude that location comes into play when dealing with money.

I feel that Sugar Babies are pretty similar to prostitutes, although some may disagree. Some Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy (SB/SD) relationships are based on different expectations than others. Having known someone who considered themselves a ‘sugar baby’, I feel that I can compare and contrast the lifestyle pretty somewhat accurate. There are different expectations from different Sugar Daddies. This aligns to prostitution where men pick and choose who they want. SD/SB relationships are often set up online, unlike prostitution, which is commonly done in person, through a business/brothel or on the street. Prostitution and being a ‘sugar baby’ require the same/similar emotional work. According to Bernstein’s interview, there are many different kinds of work that involve emotional labor, such as childcare, working at a nail salon, and being a hostess at a bar. Bernstein claims that work that requires such emotion means reinvesting emotions from one relationship, and using it through labor. Prostitution and SD/SB relationships both ‘draw on source of self’. Sugar Babies and Prostitutes alike most likely do not want to engage in the acts that they do, but they do it for the rewards at the end. The rewards may be money for both prostitutes and sugar babies, or may be gifts, travel or experiences for solely sugar babies.

Prostitutes receive business from all types of men. According to livescience.com, in 1948, “up to 69 percent of American men had paid for sex at some point in their lives.” But in 2010, a study was made that concluded 14% had previously paid for sex. Prostitute’s customers are considered mostly ‘hobbyists’ and livescience.com also said that most are white, earn over $120,000 a year, and are married. These men also claimed that they may think about sex more than other do.

The amount of commitment from a prostitute versus a Sugar Baby are pretty astounding. At first glance, you might think that prostitution requires more effort. However styleite.com does not agree. The writer claims that being a sugar baby requires far more effort. Her argument makes sense. Being a sugar baby requires a full time commitment, and companionship, meanwhile prostitution is a one and done kind of commitment. Some may not agree with this argument, but it is up to debate. However, sugar babies may be treated to nicer environment. The situation might be less sketchy as well. Prostitutes also have to put more time into getting hired, such as standing in the street, meanwhile Sugar babies more than likely have long time clients, and can easily apply for sugar daddies online.

In conclusion, I find that prostitution and sugar daddy/sugar baby relationships are pretty similar. Both involve high risk and commitment. Although the clientele might be different, the emotional and physical states while on job are pretty similar. I feel that both of the lifestyles are not talked about enough, and should be brought to light.

Do you think that prostitution and Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby relationships are similar?

Do you feel that being a Sugar Baby should be illegal?

Do you think that there are any at this school?

What kind of men do you think engage in this activity, and how do you think it differentiates between someone who hires a prostitute over a sugar baby?

Do you think prostitution should be legalized so that it can be regulated, because it does happen?


Buying Sex

In the film, Buying Sex addresses many women identifying themselves with the role of prostitution. As the video begins, a woman simply states that prostitution is about sex and money, so unless we stop money and stop sex it will never end. Women choose this lifestyle for many different reasons. Maybe because they enjoy it, or they are in need of financial support and that is the only option they have. It is proven that young and poor women are the main women who choose these actions for themselves.

Trisha Baptile, a former prostitute, speaks out saying that many hookers make prostitution their identity; others lead a double life keeping it hidden from those that they love. She chose to hide it from her children, telling them that she worked at a bar. Eventually her daughter figured it out when she was constantly coming home at two o’clock in the morning  In addition, she had not received child support while she was involved in prostitution. A very powerful point made by Trisha was that there is no talk of what forces women into prostitution.

Trisha’s argument was that the men are the reason these women are at harm. There should be criminalization of demand for paid sex, pimping, and trafficking and decriminalization of the women to stand up for the violence resulting in so many of these cases.

Angel is a daughter of one of the victims taken to a farm and murdered by Robert Pickton. She admits that she was not proud to be her mother’s daughter and that she had hatred for her mother for choosing “that life over us” Evidently, Angel’s mother was leading two identies involving prostitution which resulted in losing her life. Angel says, “I have to forgive her now because that was not who she was.” At the time, Angel could not understand why her mother would choose prostitution, but after meeting up with Trisha she took a stand to try to help regulate the laws.

Sex workers can work for themselves, in brothels, or on the streets. The business that the woman owned containing sex workers was a major standout for me. Whether people view prostitution as moral or immoral is their decision, but to teach these young women certain acts is astonishing to me. She states that she is like their mother, but would a mother actually want their daughter to be a prostitute? If a client attends the business eleven times, they receive a free session. At one point the boss compared these sessions to receiving a free coffee after purchasing a certain amount of cups. She views her job as a sort of recruitment during the time period in which she is in search for another worker. She generally looks for girls under 20, blonde or brunette, with a body type of a six to an eight.

When the clients called, they mainly had a preference of young women (as young as they can get them) and they want the new worker because they aren’t as familiar with the rules. The session is very expensive, 160 dollars for a half an hour or 180 for an hour, which was a Christmas special at the time of this video. They have different types of rooms for the client to choose from including: an erotic room, or a room providing a girlfriend experience.

We are searching for a brunette near the age of twenty:

Riley Parks

Buying Sex correlates with a Lifetime drama, The Client List. Riley’s husband walked away from her and their two children leaving her with many financial issues. She applied for a job at a day spa to find out that there were sexual favors on the side. Riley had to accept the offer because she had no other way of producing the money she needed to be able to afford her two children. Riley knew that her family would be disappointed so she keeps the sexual aspect of the job away from them. However, that is not the only reason she is leading a double life. The spa she works for is not known for giving sexual pleasure to men and if police find out then the spa will be shut down and the owner will face extreme repercussions. It’s interesting that in the film the men described that attend the business are often corporate and-clean cut. Riley is also a pretty, young brunette whose body is within the size of the expectations by many. She also plays many different roles and incorporates S&M in order to satisfy the man who is generally a business man or in this case, a professional football player.


Should business owners be teaching and encouraging young girls to be prositutes? Do you think it is challenging for these sex workers to lead a double life? Do you think it is common for them to make prostitution their identity? Is it discriminative to expect certain sizes or looks from women who work in these businesses? Should media be an influence on the issue of leading a double life? Will girls who watched this show will be influenced by these sex workers?

What’s sex have to do with … Ed Sheeran?

Rape Culture is a phrase used to represent the normalization of rape. It categorizes people who don’t take responsibility for sexual assault but rather accepts it. There are many factors that help contribute to rape culture and one include prostitution. Sexual labor is a norm for people of the rape culture. Most people who participate in prostitution are/were forced into it. Human trafficking is an example.

In the interview with Elizabeth Bernstein on “The political economy of sexual labor,” she gives her point of view on prostitution. She thinks that practices of sexual commerce ought to be situated squarely within contemporary economic and cultural currents, rather than regarded as exceptions to be judged apart (319). She wants people to see past the social and moral parts of prostitution but focus on the economic and intimacy views.

Here is a link to the Ed Sheeran “The A Team” music video.



In Ed Sheeran’s music video called “The A Team”, he tells the story of a girl who was born into prostitution. She has a home but doesn’t have a job, so the rent doesn’t get paid. She lives out on the street selling magazines and newspapers. At night, she puts on her fancy clothes and becomes a sex worker. In the lyrics, “Struggling to pay rent. Long nights, strange men”, it means that due to her addiction to drugs, she can’t keep a job to pay for the rent. She spends long nights with men she doesn’t know, as a part of her sexual labor.

In the morning, she wakes up with a bittersweet expression on her face. The viewers think she is upset for her having to hand her body over, but also satisfied to have money for rent. The lyrics state “Slowly sinking, wasting. Crumbling like pastries,” meaning that her life is crashing down on her. Everything that she once dreamed about is no longer possible, and she is starting to see that life isn’t important anymore. At the end of the music video, it shows her using the money from her sexual labor to buy drugs. In her room, she takes the drugs and kills herself.

When you see the story of this prostitute, how does your view of prostitution change? Or does it? People have reasons for their actions and it isn’t our job to judge them. Although I feel like these situations can be avoided, we don’t know her childhood. Should prostitution be legal? The fact that it made her kill herself mean anything?

Prostitution and the United States

I believe that prostitution should be legalized. I see benefits outweighing the problems. I personally feel that there are societal norms set in place regarding the common individual and sex acts. I feel that if it becomes legal, crime rates for other things, such as rape, might drop. To me, since sex work does happen regardless of laws set in place, making it illegal poses a more dangerous scene for many women who partake in the act. This summer I heard the devastating news of a local girl in Southern California that was about my age, and a prostitute. She had been killed by a man and left in a bag in the streets. Her mother had no idea that she was a prostitute and still denied it post death. Because of this, it show that prostitution is looked down on in society by a lot of people, and many girls are forced to make this a dangerous act when it could be made safer if it was legal. Prostitution should be a personal choice, but I don’t think that it should control one’s life. I think that there should be a limited number of years that someone should be able to work as a prostitute. In addition, there should be many standards and regulations made in brothels. Special actions should be taken in order to prevent “creepers” or dangerous people from hiring a prostitute, such as someone masturbating as they make the phone call, and background checks.

Issues in the US that rise from prostitution being passed as a law include discrimination and image that comes along with legalizing prostitution. People might also discriminate those who enforce and take part in the act of prostitution. I feel prostitution is a personal choice, and that someone can easily make a choice not to be a part of it they don’t like it. I personally do not see how it effects outsiders, and why people who are against it would choose this unless they had a bad experience from it and were personally victimized.

Prostitution can definitely be seen as immoral as a norm, and because of this, people of the US will say that the image of the nation is disrupted. Legalization might cause uproars in many religions. Considering all of the commotion caused because of anti-abortion laws, human rights regarding sex is becoming a big controversy. If the United States ever even considered passing prostitution as legal, it would take a huge effort and would receive a lot of criticism.

This past Summer, I watch the movie titled, “Whore’s Glory” on Netflix. This really opened my eyes about prostitution worldwide, and how it is in fact seen as religious in India to some people, as they are devadasi, and considered ‘prostitutes of God’. After watching this video, it made me realize how different prostitution is in every country. It also gave me a lot of empathy towards prostitutes and their stories. In the book, “Introducing the New Sexuality Studies”, there is an interview with Wendy Chapkis regarding her opinions and views on sex workers. In this article, she talks about her education regarding sex, how and why she decided to study sex work, and describes the trust she had to earn, and the situations she faced when finding out more information regarding prostitutes personal lives. Some of the questions posed were about: problems encountered, ideas about prostitution before and after her research, prostitutes seeing their work as “just work”, typical sex work, US and Netherland differences, feminist views, and prospective sex work movements in the US.
In summary, the author makes many good points. She starts the interview talking about how like many other girls, she grew up to think of sex as both pleasure and dangerous. Growing up in the 70’s, the many difficulties dealing with sex slowly diminished, yet she still wondered why women were made criminals when they charged money for sex. Interested in Dutch ways of life, she moved to Netherlands to study sex work, which is legal. In the 1990’s, Netherlands had a woman’s rights movement, as well as little poverty and individual rights. Further discussed are problems involved with her research. Prostitution in Netherlands is legal, yet still considered disgraceful and gaining trust from the women seemed to be the biggest issue in receiving accurate information about the sex worker’s lives. The author wanted to make sure she was talking to women who worked prostitution for solely work purpose. Prior to research, she made many assumptions which were all true. Yet she quoted, “Women’s lives are rarely models of complete victimization or absolute empowerment. Prostitutes are no exception.”(Chapkis 329). This demonstrates that sex workers are just like any other women. They have feelings and are often categorized as “things”, and people need to consider that they have the same priorities and rights as any other woman. The interview then continues to talk about how the prostitutes get the job done solely as work. Something I found intriguing was the quote, “But it is my sense that it is not the exchange of sex for money that is the cause of most difficulty within prostitution: instead it is the poor conditions under which that exchange takes place.” This opinion proves that with regulation, sex work can be made legal and safe, with the correct conditions. The United States can benefit from a regulated and safe system of prostitution if the conditions are safe and adequately supervised.
I leave you with these questions:
What is the reason for prostitution?
Do you feel prostitution should be legal in the United States?
Do you think that prostitution is a personal choice for most women?
Who benefits from making prostitution illegal?

Should Prostitution be Illegal?

After watching this the film “Buying sex” by Teresa Macinnes and Kent Nason I believe prostitution should be illegal. Canada has many prostitutes in the country and from this it is affecting the society and streets around it. The true definition of prostitution is the act or practice of engaging in sexual intercourse for money (dictionary.com).


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It’s My Body, I’ll Sell It If Want To

The documentary “Buying Sex” provided a detailed, in-depth, and compelling look into the Canadian legal systems attempts to make the legal system safer. It was quickly made apparent that not all parties agreed on the best way to make safety a reality, with advocates in favor of legalization (at least for bawdy-houses) heavily clashing with advocates in favor of criminalizing the purchasers of sexual services. While both sides desire the same end result, both vehemently believe that their opponent’s methods will cause more harm to the sex workers. Each method has precedent, with legalization having been successfully implemented in the Netherlands, New Zealand, and even 11 counties in Nevada and criminalization of those who purchase sexual services having been successfully implemented in Sweden. Canada’s desire to make sex work safer for the women, and men though they are fewer in number, involved was driven by the findings on the farm of Robert Pickton, where body parts and DNA of 33 different women (many were identified as prostitutes at the time of their disappearance) were found. When looking at the different sides of the debate, it was extremely interesting to see what the women who worked in the sex industry called themselves. Valerie Scott, who was in favor of legalizing prostitution, called herself a sex worker whereas Trisha Baptie, who was in favor of making the act of purchasing sex illegal, referred to herself as having been a hooker.

The documentary tied in directly with the transcript of the interview with Wendy Chapkis entitled Sex Workers. Just like in the documentary, during the course of her work Chapkis found that there were many different views on prostitution amongst those advocating for women. Chapkis discussed a political alliance she created in California between sex workers and feminist activists, stating ” Regardless of our views on prostitution (and they were very mixed within the alliance), we all agreed that closing women’s places of employment did nothing to empower them and, in fact, meant that many of them had to resort to working in more isolated and dangerous settings” showing the same issues faced in Canada are faced here in the United States (Chapkis 329). Activists have the same goal, safety for women, but there are always greatly varying view points on the best way to achieve that goal. The question that comes to mind is how do we achieve greater safety for sex workers? Do we follow the Swedish model or the the Netherlands model? Should this be an issue for the states or an issue for the federal government?

If we look at the United States there is precedent set in Nevada that states will determine their own laws on prostitution where, as the map above shows, there are 11 counties in which sex work is legalized. In Nevada, legal brothels can only exist in counties with 400,000 or less people, prostitutes must be 21 (except in two counties where they must be 18), sex work can only be done in a brothel, earnings are split evenly between the sex workers and the brothel owners, and mandatory health checks for STIs are required weekly. This is one procedure that has been put into place to legalize sex work in the United States and some of the regulations it involves, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Each state has very different issues to address in relation to sex work, and therefore must determine the best way to make sex work legal based off of the issues the state faces. I firmly believe that the first step towards making sex work a safe job is to legalize prostitution. It is only through legalization that proper regulation and safety standards. Indeed, as stated by Carol Leigh of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network, “If prostitution were not an underground activity it would allow us to much more effectively address the serious problem of forced prostitution and juvenile prostitution and the other abuses which are part of an industry that operates completely in the shadows”. It is through legalization that regulation can be made possible, that women and men won’t be forced into the sex trade and that health care and methods of prevention against STIs can be consistently administered.

Prostitution goes on in the United States, according to information from procon.org 20% of men have admitted to paying for sex at least once. This is a huge amount of men, and indeed generates a huge amount of profit for an industry that can’t be taxed. For purely economic reasons, the United States would be better off if prostitution was legal and therefore taxable like any other service and industry. Sexual health for sex workers and clients of sex workers would be improved if the industry was legalized and put under health code laws and protections to prevent the spread of STIs, with studies around the world showing that legal sex workers have better sexual health than their illegal counterparts. Finally, sex work should be legal simply so that women have the right to use their bodies as they see fit and make money in the most profitable ways they can find. It seems illogical that an athlete can sell their body to the dangers and pains of athletics, with injuries such as concussions being revealed as more damaging the more information the scientific community uncovers, but people can’t sell their body to a partner for safe, consensual sex.

There is no clear answer regarding how to make sex work safely legal nationally, but it is clear that prostitution must be legalized for safety to be an option and women to be allowed full control over their bodies. Why wouldn’t we legalize an industry if the rate of STIs would be lowered? Why wouldn’t we legalize an industry the could be taxed and regulated? Why is it that women can choose to get paid to have sex in a film the world can see, but cannot make the choice to get paid for sex behind closed doors in a private transaction?