Best News & Current Affairs Blog (2011 & 2012) and Jamaican Blogger of the Year (2011) at The Jamaica Blog Awards.

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)

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34 responses

  1. The_Dude

    Its a business. Women want to sell for the highest possible price, while men seek to pay the lowest price for the best possible product.

    June 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    • Even though that was very un-diplomatic, yes. That’s the idea.
      And some women embrace that while some find it abhorrent to even consider it. I guess because they think of the gifts as something they are entitled to.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:54 am

    • socialmedic

      I have always said I am not for sale. Today I am 54, single, no boyfriend, 150,000$ in debt for my education and too old to have children. That is where living the honest life gets you. If men wanted women to be independent means would be provided for them to become independent and I promise you six figures in student loan debt is not any kind of reward or incentive. I am glad I am not stuck with some man I can’t stand for life or for even a day. But staring into the abyss is no alternative. And from what I can tell, men are just as good whoring is women, a fact I had the privilege to observe while a student at Harvard. Rich girls are never left alone to rot with their student loan bills.

      February 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  2. G

    2 things are similar but one of them doesn’t belong…..

    The difference is, 1 to 30 minutes of physical activity vs forever and ever of….. fill in the blanks

    June 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  3. Neller

    A friend once told me wives are legal prostitutes and what they are doing isnt a crime because they are entitled to things from their husband and the difference between a wife and a prostitute is the ring. But seriously with the wife you can have sex with her for an entire month and doh give her a gift, how much pros you can try that with yuh mussi wah she chop off yuh balls the second week. And not every girl expect things from a man *point at self* maybe i should start enuh hmmmmm

    June 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm

  4. I have no problem with being a married prostitute innu….cuz hear wha…if I don’t satisfy my husband someone else will and get the money that I need to take care of my household! As a matter of fact more women should be like prostitutes with their husbands because I knopw when I am done flogging out that penis him cyaa get it up for nobody else….afterall mi have kids fi tek care of!

    June 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    • Hear! Hear! More women should think like you.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:56 am

    • Asphinctersayswhat

      Youz Ignent

      June 22, 2012 at 4:11 am

  5. Floydie

    Ooh Shit!!! This was alot to absorb that i had to read it twice. Ummm, all ladies who will read this might take offence for real, but when you sit and think it thru, you do have a point because the way you put it and explain, it makes sense.

    The Wife –> Has sex with husband, husband takes her out, gives her gifts etc and they live a happy life (hopefully) but yea.

    The Prostitute –> Has sex with guy (mayb a husband) based on her level of work, she gets paid in return whether its with cash or anything thats beneficial to her as “payment” as one put it

    What im basically saying is that informally wives are prostitutes (mayb not all) but in reality we dont really look at it that way because for me to look at my wife or gf and call her a prostitute, mi might get a bax or a kick in the bawls lol. Reasoning this way it makes total sense. I just hope the ladies dont get all ignorant.

    The difference tho that i picked out is that the wife and husband are prostitutes to each other with reason and right but the prostitute is just open to everybody. Like a parasite have “Mutual Relationship”

    *Runs and crawls back under rock*

    June 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm

  6. TinyDivaNas

    *sigh* All my comments were tweeted to you. It is clear that there is a plausible argument based on whatever similarity there lies but this similarity can be found in any relationship that has an exchange or some form of symbiosis. As I said we’re all whores- male and female- if we want to go this route. The issue now is figuring out who is/are our ‘john(s)’. For some it’s a husband/ wife- (please note that you are being as sexist as you accused me of being in that you failed to mention how many ‘kept men/husbands’ are out there now), for some it’s an employer. If you’re about unveiling the uncomfortable truth, please do it without bias.
    I think that the offense with calling a wife a prostitute is that there is a sacredness to marriage vows that clearly highlights the need for a ‘fair exchange’. It’s about a commitment- ‘for richer or for poorer’. What is there to use to pay when the couple is poor, when the husband is laid off? Does the wife then stop being a prostitute and is classed as a wife until the husband can start paying her again?
    Finally and most importantly, is sex solely for the enjoyment of the husband? In such a liberated time, I’m sure you’ve realized that the answer is no. This statement or notion of a wife being no more than a legal prostitute is archaic and offensive and any man who thinks of his wife as such is disgusting. If the script was flipped (n it’s on its way of being so), I wouldn’t think of my partner as such. Let it be noted that you cannot pay a prostitute or anyone to love you and while you can pay anyone (arguably) for sex since we all apparently have a price, a relationship like a marriage is about more and to trivialize it to something as this is tacky.

    June 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    • Andre

      Noting is sacred! the only reason marriage is held in high esteem is because religion supports it. Also nowa days when husbands get laid off wives leave them, just the way a prostitute will not have sex with a man who does not have money.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

  7. Deborah

    I think that I agree with TinyDiva in the sense that:
    1) Sex is mutually beneficial. So it shouldn’t be viewed as payment.

    2) A lot of men are in the same position that you’ve ascribed to women in this post. So yh, a bit sexist.

    However, I have always been revolted by our Jamaican culture of wanting to be sustained by men in exchange for sex so bringing up the issue is indeed relevant. Jamaican women, Caribbean women, hell, African women on a whole, used to be icons of strength, always standing up for themselves and taking charge of themselves. The music perpetrates this behaviour, artistes like Cecile and those Gaza girls sicken me. It needs to change but, nothing’s changing for the better nowadays anyway huh?

    June 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm

  8. BooWHOO

    to me it all leads down to the person intentions n what they r aiming for….me might luv she but she jus wan d money (wife) while the prositute u kno its a way of life (a job), i do however agree with the fact that some WIFE r infact informal prostitues those r the WIFES with one intention MONEY MONEY N MORE MONEY…they dnt wash cook clean ntn just dash out a fuck n den ask fi guh hairdresser the next day…Prostitues just serve one purpose a one night ((FUCK)) n thats that..

    June 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  9. TinyDivaNas

    On the point of African women bn icons of strength, let me just say that black women would be on the lowest rung of sex and race. It goes white man, white woman, black man the black woman. Women were treated as possessions and therefore, were and still are inclined to feel mentally inferior and dependent. I tweeted to Ricardo that this tradition of the man paying cud be resultant of the fact that men have better and more high-paying jobs than women. We are trying to catch up but we aren’t near. They have the power in that aspect so the scale is tipped in their favour. They have the money and so they are the ones who can give it. Let’s visit this topic when things are more balanced and then we’ll see how many wives still remain “informal prostitutes”

    July 1, 2011 at 1:11 am

  10. Kemoi Burke

    This is my two pence….

    I agree with what you are saying based on the line of reasoning you have adopted BUT I think it is one sided.

    I can speak for myself when I say that I don’t view sex just a physical act. (not saying that it has never just been physical for me, that is, I’m not saying I haven’t been around the block). I am of the belief that sex SHOULD be an expression of love! I view sex as the ultimate way to show your love for another person as it is a time where two people become one.

    Sex (again I speak for myself) is where both partners are expressing themselves and emotions by extension to the other. It is where we totally give of ourselves to someone, the most unselfish thing one can do. This takes a lot of trust in the person and true love alleviates that feeling of fear as we know that our partner will treat us with respect, care and compassion.

    I say this to say that when a relationship is based on love and not physical possessions sex is had to to receive gifts or gestures nor is gifts or gestures given with the goal of receiving sex but instead it is an expression of feelings.

    I also generally separate sex from just giving of getting a f*@k.

    A f*@k is solely physical and all about climaxing while sex is about caressing, caring, respecting and creating further happiness through this expression of love.

    So, if a relationship is mainly/solely based the physical things – whether its giving, getting or being in that relationship without the love of each other being the sole foundation upon which the relationship is built for both persons then those partners don’t have sex, they just f*@k each other out of convenience (like that of prostitution).

    However, if the relationship is built on the love both partners have sex is an expression of each persons love (what sex in marriages should be).

    I think I have said enough now….looking forward to getting some feed back! 🙂

    July 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    • Your position seems to be one that is reasoned based on a mutually beneficial relationship. What about the relationships where it isn’t mutual? The ones where the woman just always expects and all she has to offer is perhaps sex and companionship? How do we view that kind of relationship?

      July 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      • Kemoi Burke

        I said I agree with you on that base…. (Y)

        July 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  11. Nasylum

    Again, Ricardo shows his bias with the use of the female for hid example. TinyDivaNas aka Nasylum done talk

    July 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm

  12. Rocky 12345

    There is a lot of truth to this blog, its just that using the word ‘prostitute’ sounds harsh. There many women who are living the life of an informal prostitute, sad but TRUE. I would hope that Mr. Editor consider those women and men who are genuine to love and are not selling or paying for sex; though this may be the minority lets not forget them.

    But what is said true Mr Editor, the majority of women like being paid for sex. I have heard women who are very close to me say that “fi dem husband cant get nuh pussy till him drop at least 5 grand fi di front’. They probably won’t admit it but thank God we have ppl like you who are not afraid to be frank and be str8.

    But what does this say though, that when i become a wife, i will be a prostitute ???? I guess it would depend on how i view my relationship. In an earlier comment, someone said that she and her partner are both exclusive prostitutes (cute); so guess it depends on how the relationship goes.

    To be honest i would prefer to be called a personal ‘whore’ or ‘slut’ when i get married. I not afraid of being called that at all (considering the world that my husband will be entering once he’s with me)…smile

    April 12, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    • Thank for your insight Rocky. I wish more women would be opened minded and start to look at the facts of the situation. I’m not saying that all wives are prostitutes – I’m saying it’s a plausible comparison in some cases.

      April 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm

  13. noconsequence

    The first and obvious difference between a wife and prostitute is a legal one relative to property rights. A prostitute gets one off payments, but a wife, once a marriage is consumated is theoretically entitled to the whole enchilada. Note, if a child results from the act,then an heir is created,thus, a wife transitions from an object for sex to a storage facility for a duplicate/replicate of the inseminator. In prostitution the child that might become the result of the same act is considered a bastard with no property rights. The function is not of sexual gratification but property rights, which is the reason why we have such high rates of divorce. People would rather abdicate their property than be engaged in a marriage. Now, this being said, the distinction between a girlfriend and a prostitute are much more difficult to distinguish.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

  14. L

    What’s the difference between a housewife and a hooker?
    The hooker is honest about her intentions….

    July 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

  15. Derek

    So what about alimony, how does that figure into the deal.

    January 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm

  16. socialmedic

    They don’t call prostitution the world’s oldest profession for nothing. It is the basis for nearly every male female relationship that has ever existed on planet earth. Lasting relationships founded on pure love where there is no exchange of money or goods are extremely rare, if they have existed at all to any degree. Religious institutions have always been pimps as have been parents bartering their daughters off in marriage to the highest bidder. It is doubtful that whether a woman is sold to one male by the parent or church pimp or sold to many men by the street pimp are much different from each other, other than the way the money and property is to be distributed between the individuals and their offspring. The daughters of women who have become rich by virtue of nothing other than bedding with the right wallet in turn marry the right wallets and so it goes that prostitution is passed from generation to generation. And there are no women more eager to marry the right wallet than the daughters of women who have married the right wallet. The competition for rich men among women born to the rich is fierce and can be deadly. The cure for poverty on the planet is the empowerment of women which neither the church pimps (nor their wealthy donors) nor the street pimps nor even some women want to see happen. Forced dependency is a sad state of womanhood that has never been overcome no matter how much lip service has been given to women’s suffrage in the world. Men still own most of the money, most of the means of earning money and the very last thing in the world they want to do is make it possible for women to earn a REAL LIVING WAGE by which she can assume REAL financial independence. That includes having enough dental coverage to avert becoming included in the large number of people who no longer have their teeth at age 65. Many women find it far easier to screw and lounge around the house and spend other people’s money than to adopt the rigors of becoming skilled … and for the few who do their skills are painfully under-compensated so much so they give up. Moreover, women who give up their bodies for the sake of emotion and passion are seldom respected by men. Small wonder then that the biggest whores in the world are the virgins holding out for the marriage bed lest they be caught being the fools of fools trading love for disparagement and disrespect. In the end men like being used for money because it saves them the trouble of having to FEEL anything and it hands economic power directly over to them, where they want it. For the last 35 years in America EVERYTHING has worked against the empowerment of women. The highest paid women in the country are those who bare a certain degree of their cleavage on the covers of fashion magazines. Men will pay women thousands an hour to uncover their breasts, they will give thousands to put a mink on a whore …. but you will never find a man who would help a girl through college or offer relief her of her student loans because he cares about her being able to achiever her independence, not because she if fucking him. It is only from that state of independence that a woman can be honest with herself about her feelings about a man. However, men do not crave that kind of honesty; their own intentions toward women are not that honest.

    January 18, 2013 at 12:51 am

  17. James

    Lets put it this way.. Your mother is a prostitute, ur, wife is a prostitute. your daighters are to be prostitutes. Mr editor. You are stupid by sugesting. Get your priorities in life straight! U sound like an empty soul n i pitty u. I work hard to provide for my family (wife n children) see sex isnt marige. Mariage is companionship in this long tough cruel road called life! U child of a prostitute! Quench your lies with truth. Its sad that alot of the readers conquer with u so that they may sound enlightened and objective. U brother to prostitute, child of a prostitute! Grow up!

    September 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    • LOL, thanks for your thoughts. It was unnecessary to be offensive – but your perspective is appreciated.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  18. Man

    The biggest difference is in the marriage contract. A prostitute has to deliver every time she expects to get paid and what she gets paid depends on current quality of what’s delivered. A wife can (and normally does) hook the guy in the same way, get him to sign over half his wealth and income and within a few months drop of the quality of service, first maybe dropping off oral sex, being “not in the mood” more and more until she only has to deliver what say a communist government delivers to its citizens or a unionize worker would . . . i.e. nothing at all – you’re stuck with me now buddy.

    December 14, 2013 at 5:28 am

  19. I know women who like sex as much as I do and consider an encounter to be an equal trade. I even know a few who like it perhaps more than I do and they might give me gifts. I have no interest in women outside of these groups.

    December 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm

  20. Zeck

    I totally agree with the article! No difference!

    February 2, 2014 at 5:34 am

  21. DakotaKid

    If you have played Dungeons and Dragons you understand allignment and the difference is clear: The whore dose anything for gain the alignment is chaotic evil. The hooker does what is necessary for money the alignment is chaotic neutral. The Prostitute gives value for money the alignment is ordely neurtral. The lover does what is needed to make the person the best they can be, the lover is orderly good.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm

  22. I disagree there is BIG difference between a prostitute and a Wife..

    A wife is an emotional&financial parasite… a prostitute isn’t!

    March 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

  23. bernie

    In any relationship sex is a basic . For a prostitute it is a hourly rate with extra pay for
    extra services.
    In marriage it is glue that holds the contract together. The wife is paid a set wage with
    perks.
    We as humans are so good at saying what think describes reality.

    if the truth is so disgusting — why deny it — change society !!!

    April 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm

  24. songswithshants

    Reblogged this on Live in the music and commented:
    Interesting thoughts. Social exchange theory much? – People who use other people solely for the rewards that they will receive. I think he makes a valid point because people get into relationships these days for all the wrong reasons. They are selfish in that they only want to see what they can get out of it. This not only goes for women but for men as well.

    April 18, 2015 at 2:29 pm

  25. songswithshants

    This reminds me of social exchange theory, where people stay/enter into relationships based on the rewards that they get out of it. Additionally, it’s sad to know that there was a sex course that I could have done in my final year 😦 that must’ve been so much fun

    April 18, 2015 at 2:34 pm

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