Sexuality and making sex work

Michael's picture

In her New Year's message, Elizabeth reflects on the place of sex work within an internet site dedicated to public discussion of sexuality and its place in our culture. I agree with her that this site was not designed to just be a sex work forum. However discussions on sexuality inevitably bring sex work in all its manifestations and diversity into their ambit.

While it is easy to discuss sex work merely as a rights based issue, a more nuanced understanding cannot be achieved without considering how our knowledge of and attitudes to sexuality inform and are informed by sex work.

Academics from many disciplines such as law, political science, psychology, gender studies, sociology, geography, philosophy, and health sciences to name but a few, find themselves addressing sex work and the social and political reactions to it. We can learn much from studying sex work and from listening to sex workers, and I and my colleagues' lives have been much enriched by meeting with and listening to what Elizabeth Pisani has called the Wisdom of Whores. We have also made many good friends within this wide community.

So, while Sex in the Public Square will continue to address a wide variety of issues around human sexuality, it will inevitably draw lessons from our understanding of sex work and its place in our lives and society.

In the same light I doubt that the lives and working conditions of sex workers will change substantially without a very broad evolution of how we understand and relate to sexuality in our lives, and without changes in many aspects of how our societies function and are regulated. 

I look forward to readers' input on this perspective over the comming year.

 

   

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