Sex workers don’t sell their bodies.
Sex workers. Do not. Sell. Their bodies.
Sex workers sell services, in an equivalent manner to a massage therapist. We are like ANYONE ELSE WHO DOES ANY JOB EVER—we are paid for our time, energy, and expertise. One of the most appropriate euphemisms for “sex worker” is “service provider.” When a guy pays me to fuck him, that does not mean he has any claim on my body. It’s still mine.
It’s also important to note that the johns understand this. They know that they’re not buying the sex worker’s body; they understand the difference between slavery and the exchange of money for the services of a professional. (Since the difference between the two is vast, one would expect it to be easily understood, but unfortunately that is not the case.)
One of the related arguments I’ve heard against sex work, especially prostitution, is the accusation that it gives men the impression that women are always available for them sexually, and are simply there for the taking. This would be true if sex workers’ services were free, but they’re NOT. This assertion is ridiculous; it’s equivalent to stating that people assume that massage therapists are always available to provide physical relief, and that any massage therapist can be stopped on the street and forced to perform.
One of the best ways to illustrate the stigma of sex work is to compare being an escort to being a massage therapist. Both are body-workers who provide a sensual, enjoyable, physical experience that is intended to relax. And yet, which one of these professions is not legal? Which one prompts assumptions and accusations and hostility? Oh yeah, the one that involves the sexual organs; the one that involves sexual pleasure and sexual release.
We (English-speaking Tumblr) live in a society shaped by layers and layers of sex negativity instilled in us as part of the legacy of Judeo-Christian supremacy. Being against sex work as a whole carries that attitude.
One more argument to refute: I’ve often heard the “well 90+% of sex workers are trafficked/exploited/raped” spiel. This is TRUE. The percentage may not be exactly right, but the idea behind that statement is factual. I agree that work needs to be done to change the industry, much in the way work has been and is being done to help agricultural workers gain rights and be more fairly compensated. It’s a parallel problem, and yet no one suggests that agricultural production should be shut down because most of its workers are exploited.
I say, fuck sex negativity.