The Wife vs The Prostitute : What’s The Difference?
Last year I did a Philosophy course titled “The Philosophy of Sex and Love”. The course sought to explore philosophical theories on sex and love and the function of these two things in human existence. The class was basically an excuse to be sexually explicit in an academic setting. The subject matter ranged from oral sex, to homosexuality, to beastiality, to masturbation, to pornography. Just to name a few. I encourage all final year UWI students to register for this course. Very informative and insightful, and did I mention slack? Yes, very slack.
Anyhow, one of the theories we explored in the course was that of a wife being no different from a prostitute. Armed with this knowledge, I ventured into the deep as I wrote “The Confessions of a Whore”, and suggested that girlfriends and wives were really not that different from prostitutes. The backlash from my female readers was overwhelming.
Here’s the paragraph that ignited the debate :
“When she told me she knew a guy that sold his body, I laughed. My response was, so what? All girls do, at least informally. Yes ladies, when men sleep with you and then you get your favourite pair of shoes or you get that little “allowance”; he’s saying “job well done, get yourself something nice.” (The only thing left for him to do is throw a dollar bill at you.) That makes you a prostitute in everything but name. Try a little independence. After all, the sex is payment enough.”
The reactions were strong and sustained. My female readers found it abhorrent that I could compare their “love” and “relationship” to prostitution. But what is prostitution? And why did I make such a comparison?
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “prostitution” as : “the act or practice of engaging in sexual relations for money or gifts. This may be formal or informal.”
One girl mentioned that the gifts she received were “tokens of affection“, not payment; and therefore it cannot be compared to a prostitutes wages. Another offered that the expectation of money or gifts had become a “tradition“. Is this true? And why should women have that expectation? Isn’t it because they have done their part and require compensation? And isn’t it true that the prostitute did her part and therefore was compensated? What about the women who demand money? I’ve heard some girls declare that “pum pum nuh free, mi naah gi it whe.” In short, they expect “tokens of affection” or payment because they are having sex with the man.
I’m putting forward that this is a reward, a reward for sleeping with him, a reward for making him feel good, a reward for washing, cooking, cleaning etc etc. Whatsoever the reason he offers you money, I’m proposing that it is payment. This naturally would not apply to a mutually beneficial relationship. That is, a relationship where both partners take care of each other, but how many of these exist? We have created a culture or “tradition”, as one reader said, where the man is expected to sustain the woman and all she does is provide her feminine charms. A prostitute does the same thing, she uses her feminine charms to please the man, albeit in a car or on the roadside or in some abandoned building. Then again, so many “legitimate couples” are taking to these venues in search of the thrill of outdoors sex, but I digress. See what I just did there? No? Okay. Moving on.
The only difference is that the exclusivity of your relationship perhaps entitles you, and this is debatable, to his money.
“A wife gets a salary and a prostitute gets wages”
That is how one of my male readers put it. What is this wife being paid for though? Simply being his wife? Keeping the house? What? What entitles her to our money gentlemen? I know some of my females are just dying to tell me they are independent and they take nothing from a man. What about the “kept wives” though? Those who stay home, have no income, except the allowance the man grants, and does precious very little because there exists a helper for house work. What is her task in that scenario? I submit it is for the man’s sexual fulfilment. And that is informal prostitution, as far as I see and understand it.
Then there are women who use vagina as a bargaining tool. A tool to punish or to teach a lesson. If they want a particular amount of money, they will use their vagina to entice and to seduce the man. What do we call women like that? Innovative? Go-get-ers? Or informal prostitutes? You tell me.
I was also alerted to the fact that in our culture most men either give gifts and expect that they’ll be rewarded with sex OR don’t pay for a single thing until they’ve been given sex. In both sense, money is being exchanged with an expectation that there will be sex. A transaction has been made. This, in a very plain sense, is prostitution. We men believe that our money is in exchange for your sex. The better the sex, the more money you’ll probably earn. And yes, I am deliberately using provocative words such as “earn”. It’s time we look at it seriously. I know this is hard to digest ladies and believe me, I do not mean to be offensive, but I honestly believe this. It is informal prostitution.
I should also point out that in my thinking it is the expectation of money or gifts that creates the perception of informal prostitution. That is, when you expect that there should be compensation of some sort. That creates the transactional picture. You’ve done your work, and you’ve done it well and so you expect payment. You’ve earned your salary. And let me hasten to add the only reason why this notion is so hard to accept is because we believe that the veil of exclusivity in marriage or a relationship is such that it should never be tarnished by a comparison to prostitution. I beg you though, Consider it with an open mind. And then share your thoughts with me. Do you see any similarities? And do you see very many differences?
“The women who take husbands not out of love but out of greed, to get their bills paid, to get a fine house and clothes and jewels; the women who marry to get out of a tiresome job, or to get away from disagreeable relatives, or to avoid being called an old maid — these are whores in everything but name. The only difference between them and my girls is that my girls gave a man his money’s worth.” – Polly Adler (Brothel Owner)