Last week, Beauty in Baltimore asked me, Whats the
difference between a woman who charges [for sex]
and a woman who goes home with dudes from the
club from free? While I had a response, I knew that by
the nature of comments that followed that the very
question deserved its own post.
The intersection of sex and commerce has always been
present here on Model Minority. It has come up in the Duke
Rape case, the R-Kellychild molestation case, the discussion
of Karrine Stephens book and Spitzergate.
I have always been interested in labor and compensation,
so this is right up my alley. However, while had some ideas,
I didn't have the language to concisely describe
the difference between a prostitute and a woman who goes
home with a guy from the club because she is trying to get
some rent money.
So, I had to reach out to Birkhold to get some clarity on the
As a result of my conversation with him, I have narrowed down
three fundamental distinctions between the two groups.
The first distinction is that for a prostitute, her vagina is
a commodity. The john is literally paying for what is in
between her legs. The prostitute-John relationship turns
on the fact that she has been bought.
This notion underscores the fact that paying for sex
with a prostituteis renting a womans sexual labor. Sex
becomes labor for sell.
The second distinction is that the prostitute cannot say no.
Her sex-labor has been purchased. To say no is to invite
not only violence, but the police and scars and bruises to
her body that will impact her ability to work. Whereas, the
lady going home with a dude, or even me, the hungry grad
student with a penchant for Thai can always say no. We
have leverage that a prostitute never has.
Many times we haven't made up our mind on what we are
going to do. If I am sitting in a Tribeca Thai spot with a banker,
I can always decide if I do or do not want to go back to his
loft. The prostitute has no such option.
The third distinction is that, conceivably, neither me, nor
the club lady would be eating or going home with someone
that we didn't find reasonably attractive in the first place.
The prostitute, has no say in choosing whether he is attractive
or not, the sex-labor has been purchased. Her attraction
to him is irrelevant.
So there it is, short and sweet, Sex-Labor 101.
You convinced or am I blowing hot air?
Does the distinction resonate?
What do you think of the idea of Sex as Labor?