The Thing Of Legalized Prostitution

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A recent trip to Las Vegas Nevada began a whirring and wondering in my brain. How does Nevada work its legal sex for hire laws? And that question made me wonder how do I really feel about it all anyway? And should it be legalized elsewhere? I decided to research the topic and then to ask myself again.

As usual becoming informed about a thing changed the rigid black and white structure of what I thought I knew and believed. Nevada takes the oldest profession in the world and gives it some glitter, feathers, jazz hands, and some yee-haw for sure.

prostituteThe argument toward legalizing prostitution has some validity. I researched Nevada laws where prostitution has some legality in counties that don’t exceed a certain number of inhabitants. It’s legal there in licensed facilities. The working prostitutes are required to be licensed, this “workers card”, costs money for the prostitute initially and again yearly. The money goes back to the state. There is actually a fairly in-depth criminal and health background check involved in this process. Once working they are screened for health issues at their own cost. They are tested weekly for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Monthly blood tests for HIV and Syphilis screening, and yearly for the presence of Herpes II. Condoms are required by law and both the patron and prostitute will be asked to leave any establishment if caught without.

The prostitutes are trained to perform a visual exam of the genitals looking for HPV or Herpes before engaging in sexual activity with the customer. I have read that the sex workers are very adept, equal to a healthcare worker, at spotting these problems. Street walking is illegal everywhere anyone caught “working,” or patronizing, without a card will face the same criminal charges as a prostitute/patron in a state where it is illegal and fully prosecuted under Nevada state law. A sex worker must have a license to work as a prostitute and be subject to payments and health screenings by state law.

If the prostitute does not pay to renew her card or for her required health screenings, or if she fails her screenings, she is barred from working in any legal brothel in the state of Nevada. It has been debated whether there should be a tax on prostitution. It certainly is conceivable that it could be taxed and the benefits would go to the state.  And finally, the Nevada prostitution law website claims that there has never been a case of HIV or STD transmitted from a legal brothel reported by the CDC.

Hmm. This perhaps makes the Nevada prostitute SO misunderstood!  On paper, she’s really a civic-minded small town girl who gives back to her community.  She’s lived a good clean life, and, she carries a card that proves it! Where’s your card? Who has a headache? And as a final thought before you twist your panties completely up in a moral bind, here’s some more torque, doesn’t this just make her a far safer bet than your girlfriend of three months that you met in the bar who looked so adorable dancing on the pool table? Go ahead ask her for her card so you know what went on before you stepped so dapperly onto the scene. Just duck before you do.  And it probably also makes Miss Nevada a little safer than the unpaid girl your hubby could be seeing on the side for love in, oh say, New Jersey. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a card, weekly, monthly, yearly health screenings, or an absolutely iron clad condom rule either after a pina colada or two. Uh oh!  Who needs a drink?

While I question the morality of prostitution I am not so stupid as to think it doesn’t go on. If this were a question of would I engage or want a loved one of mine to engage in prostitution I would wholeheartedly and without reservation say, no, of course not! I am still pretty sure that behind even the most dedicated prostitute or stripper lays a covered up story of a broken, abandoned, or a hurt little girl. She covers the story of that up by uncovering her body.  I’m not sure how much attention she’s paid to her mental health but I do know the establishment she works for is not even closely as concerned with that as they are with keeping her body able to function sexually.

I do believe that in order for a person to engage in the activity there must be a massive disconnection between a person’s dreams, aspirations, and inner wants for self and that of the person’s body. It may, in fact, be so massive a disconnection that she herself doesn’t even believe that there could be more for her life. It may be so long since she’s dreamed her beautiful pink ballerina dreams that they are covered and buried deep in the inner dust and hidden completely from the light. She may be hardened now and unrecognizable as ever having been somebodies baby girl but I promise you that at one time in this child of God’s life no matter where she came from she dreamed up big little girl dreams. Where does being a prostitute fit in? How does she balance that weight of what she meant to be with what she’s become?  I could be wrong about all of these things it’s just my personal guess.

Still, with my disclaimer in place, I must ask what makes the exchange of money so much more repugnant than the all too common end of the night quickie hook up between near strangers that people so regularly accept? We know they do. People brag about these things without shame all of the time. It’s a widely accepted part of being young and alive, or wealthy older and having arrived, and for some reason that is considered perfectly alright. The motivation is just the same. In the sexual revolution, women have begun to “get their own” as aggressively as men. Ah, but I bet you the dollars she’s not making in this free exchange that she’s paying double from her own pocket and heart the expense of ignoring some childhood dream that she tries so hard to ignore and disdain as childish. That’s all perfectly alright though!

So, all that said, I have often wondered why the exchange of money should be anyone else’s business. Sex is a commodity for sure. Whether a person is paid in cash, security, or in fleeting terms of affection it sells big-time. It always has. Who am I, or you, really to question its right to be? Morals and money sometimes fight for the same causes but when they go head to head in a fight guess which will win? Nevada, whether it hurts my sensibilities or not, makes some sense of the whole thing especially when you consider that the heady forbidden softer art of prostitution always has and always will be.

The Thing Of Legalized Prostitution was last modified: October 2nd, 2017 by Cynthia Niswonger

11 Responses to "The Thing Of Legalized Prostitution"

  1. Myles Glaue  Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 0:59

    Interesting read, perhaps the best article I’ve browsed today. We learn everyday cheers to you!

    Reply
  2. Sharleen Calta  Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 3:44

    Hello, thanks for sharing this post, carry on, it’s a pleasure to read you

    Reply
  3. Juliet  Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 3:34

    I do currently work as an independent prostitute, and thus feel called upon to respond to your article.

    I’m a firm believer in the need for this industry to be legalized, regulated, and unionized. Workers of every kind were denied rights and abused by their employer before unions formed and the government set standards for health and safety. There is no inherent abuse that has to take place when somebody pays someone else for a sexual service. We pay people to provide services that involve physical intimacy – like a masseuse, or emotional labor – like a therapist, all the time. It’s the illegality, the fact that the industry operates entirely underground, that exposes sex workers to unnecessary risks.

    No one denies the existence of girls who want to get out of prostitution, were coerced into it, or are working to feed a habit. There are plenty of studies done on the estimated 10% of prostitutes who work on the street that prove their existence. Indeed there is a great deal more data on that 10% than on the remaining 90% of sex workers who are estimated to be working indoors (indoor sex workers’ experiences tend to differ, sometimes radically, from those who work the streets.) The few studies that do conduct research in brothels are still missing out on the unknown number of girls who work with one or two other girls or completely independently. As a sex worker, I just don’t show up in the statistics.

    So who knows how big my demographic is? Researchers do not even have an estimate of how many girls out there have chosen to work in the sex industry and, like me, are happily earning a nice living. We are a population completely excluded from most studies of prostitution. There are many reasons for this but consider this for a start: What incentive does a content and discrete working girl have to jeopardize her anonymity (and in America, risk prosecution!) by making contact with researchers or the media? Even less of an incentive when you remember that those working girls with positive experiences who go public are immediately targeted, completely discredited and shot down (even called ‘deluded’) by some so-called “feminists”. It’s ironic to think that some in the “feminist movement” have taken on the old patriarchal system, denying the legitimacy of a woman’s experiences if they don’t fit in with their expectations or preconceived notions. Many feminists already have an agenda based on the false belief that all prostitution must be a form of male domination – and they’re not going to let the fact that a lot of sex workers feel empowered and dominant in their work get in their way!

    I suppose I should also add that after years of working I’m yet to have felt threatened or degraded on the job. I’ve met a lot of forgettable men but also quite a few true gentlemen. I’ve always been treated with respect. In fact the only psychological trauma I believe I’ve incurred is the stress of living a double life because if it were public knowledge that I have sex for a living, it would somehow take away from my accomplishments as an honors graduate from a top university.

    I know quite a few other ‘middle-class’ working girls who feel this way. But with the stigma attached to this line of work, the risks of going public outweigh the benefits of being socially invisible. No one (including myself) can speak for all sex workers – but I think it’s time we found a way to involve sex workers’ voices in this debate. Everybody else seems to get their turn at the mic. Kind of ironic when you consider that all of this government policy is meant to be for our protection?

    Reply
  4. Poeticpiers  Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:02

    making prostituion illegal merely drives it underground where it can’t be regulated.
    Prostitutes fulfil a social need If there were no demand there would be no supply.. Hypocrisy is behind most attempts to eradicate sex workers. Why should a woman not cash in her assets instead of working for peanuts in some menial job.
    If it were legalised and regulated . and paing taxes like the rest of us it would be a far safer world I think

    Reply
  5. Cynthia Emily Griggs - Niswonger  Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:21

    Juliet–
    It is nice to meet you. I agree you are the missing voice. I also agree that there is a valid argument for legalizing and regulating prostitution. I would dearly have loved to speak with a person, like you, in the industry while I was gathering information but that seemed difficult to accomplish. I wish more people on all sides would speak out. It’s an issue that exists whether we talk about it or not. My basic belief that it is not an industry I’d want anyone I love to enter into hasn’t changed. The emotional cost of living the double life and avoiding the stigma attached by itself sounds high. Still, there is sense made on a lot of fronts in the idea of legalizing thereby protecting the worker and the patron, and giving back to the communities, on a practice that always has and always will go on. It’s a good topic and one that deserves more attention. Thank you for sharing your voice.

    Reply
  6. Angie  Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:37

    Dear Juliet,

    I’m very impressed with your comment!

    As the owner of this magazine, I would love to give you the opportunity to write not only about your views on the industry of prostitution, but also about your experiences in the field. Maybe supply valuable advice and tips to your colleagues?

    I hope you will!

    Angie

    Reply
  7. Juliet  Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 2:39

    Hi Angie,

    Yes, I’d love to. Please contact me at the email address I’ve supplied. This, would, of course, have to be done anonymously.

    Thanks!
    Juliet

    Reply
  8. tailpipe_banana  Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 6:42

    It’s almost impossible to approach us and ask us questions but when we see sincerity, we will come to you.

    I am against legalization and regulation but I am for decriminalization.

    The Nevada brothels offer some of the worst working conditions in the industry.

    In the event you want to re-visit the topic, you have my email address..

    Reply
    • Angie  Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 14:11

      Dear T.B.,

      I’ll be here for any comment or article you would like to share with us.
      AND…
      Thank you for recognizing our sincerity – that’s a wonderful compliment!

      Kiss, Angie

      Reply
  9. Cynthia Emily Griggs - Niswonger  Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 17:18

    Dear TB,
    I would love to revisit the topic. Or better yet to read any article you put out about it. I have a deep respect for people who reach outside of themselves to shed light on hidden things. I would read anything you cared to post with great interest. Thank you for your comments and compliments.
    ~Cynthia~

    Reply
  10. Stella Red  Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 15:22

    Cynthia,
    Nice overview of opinions, it certainly causes others to ponder individual beliefs. I adore the paragraph beginning with the MASSIIVE disconection of self. Very well put. Having survived this profession both legally and illegally, and escaping virtually unscathed physically, the deeper wounds penetrate the soul.
    Keep writing!
    Stacey

    Reply

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