What It Is Like to Be a Sex Worker

Jeannette Cooperman in The Common Reader:

It is the oldest profession, I say. No, someone reminds me, hunting is the oldest profession. Exactly. But if the quarry is willing, is the hunt ethical? I cannot decide. Does a woman have the right to sell her body freely and legally? Models do. Lady Gaga sells her vocal cords. LeBron James sells his height. In a world that tells us to forge a personal brand and sell ourselves, surely a woman skilled in the art of physical pleasure ought to be able to use that talent to make a living?

Those appalled by that proposition say the act is too intimate. What innocence I have left wants to agree. But all told, I suspect such a transaction is less intimate than a hopeful first date or a thorough physical exam. Certainly, it is less intimate than writing a memoir. And with criminal penalties lifted, sex work would be cleaner and safer.

I want to approve. It seems cooler, more modern and relaxed. But like abortion, this issue renders me a hypocrite: I say yes for everybody else and breathe relief that it never had to be me. There but for the grace.

Feminist scholars, it turns out, are as ambivalent as I am.

More here.