Commercial Versus Intimate Sex: Etzioni's Communitarian Letter

I believe that your column ignores the statistic that women tend to marry for security while men marry for sex. If that statistic is correct, then it would support the view of The New York Times. You cite terrible side-effects of commercially sold sex. But are marriages not fraught with similar problems? What about the wife in economic dependence? Is that not a condition that approximates economic slavery? Where lies the difference between spousal abuse and marital rape that characterize many a marriage on the one hand and the coerced sex-worker on the other? All of the dire consequences you cite can hold as well for marital relationships.

Many of the dire consequences that you cite have to do with the criminalized status of prostitution in our culture. Nevada and Europe have different systems that include regular medical examinations, proper taxation of income, and an elimination of the parasitic relationship to pimps since the state can assure the safety of sex workers.

I think that the fundamental problem with your argument is that none of your premises are compelling. Some relationships are terrible in either the commercial or the marital relationship; and some relationships have great promise in either relationship as well. None of these relationships tend to produce horror exclusively nor does either one produce great glory exclusively. The man or the woman who prefers not to be straight-jacketed into a relationship might find the occasional, uncomplicated relationship much more satisfying. I think that we must non-judgmentally allow for individual variations in these as in all other human interrelationships.

            Reinhold Schlieper