Sad reality behind Pretty Woman tale 12 Sept 2013
Prostitution is destroying relationships, writes Louise O’Neale*.

I left my partner a few months ago. He’s having an affair. Emails between them talk of love and being together forever. He’s bought her flowers, a ring, a dog and puts money in her bank account.

She is a prostitute.

Conservatively, there are tens of thousands of prostitutes in Australia. How many clients does that require in their business model to be profitable? How many men in supposedly monogamous relationships visit brothels, escort services or street workers?  The debate about this issue has centred on exploitation, the women and their pimps. Wives, partners and girlfriends of the men who have sex with these women are innocent and unwilling participants in this scenario.  How are we affected by this behaviour?

Research tells us that most prostitutes are themselves victims. Many have been sexually abused as children. Drug addicts abound. Worst are those trafficked as sex slaves. At the heart of this billion-dollar industry, which rivals the takings in oil, arms and illegal drugs worldwide, is sexism. Women are chattels to be bought. While there are people who claim sex work is a valid career choice, I dispute the argument that these women have made a legitimate choice. Selling sexual intimacy degrades us all.

Online posts tells us prostitutes are better: “Sex with prostitutes tends to prevent you from being too dependent, sexually or emotionally, on other women.” Or “Unless you are young, rich, tall, and handsome, you can probably have sex with prostitutes who are much younger and prettier than anyone you could date or marry.”