The list of clichés still lives on. Prostitution is probably a term that has probably suffered from the cancer of being a cliché, thus has evolved to mean a whole lot than what it was originally perceived to be. And that will be exemplified when the following forms/types of prostitution is outlined in here later. Be that as it may, the most common idea that comes to mind when prostitution is mentioned is simply “a supposed business when one [usually known to be a female] offers sexual intercourse to another for monetary returns“. “Prostitution is the business or practise of engaging in sexual relations or sex acts in exchange for payment” (Wikipedia, 2016). According to Edward G. Armstrong’s scientific paper titled “The Sociology of Prostitution” [presented to the field of Sociology in 1980 and published online in 2010], it is sociologically defined as “an occupation in which an individual sells sex in a promiscuous and emotionally indifferent manner.” However, Kingsley Davis [internationally recognized American sociologist and demographer] disagreed with giving the term simple definitions like those outlined above and thus, stretched his definition to entail situations the average person was less likely to perceive as an instance involved with prostitution; “We cannot, however, define human prostitution simply as the use of sexual responses for an ulterior purpose. This would include a great portion of all social behaviour, especially that of women. It would include marriage, for example, wherein women trade their sexual favours for an economic and social status supplied by men. It would include the employment of pretty girls in stores, cafes, charity drives, and advertisements. It would include all the feminine arts that women use in pursuing ends that require men as intermediaries, are that permeate daily life, and, while not generally involving actual intercourse, contain and utilize erotic stimulation.” Kingsley added “But looking at the subject in this way reveals one thing. The basic element in what we actually call prostitution-the employment of sex for non-sexual ends…”
The concept of prostitution is so universal and that has developed many other names and types/forms attributed to it. For instance, prostitution depending on the meanings and forms attached to it can also be called the following when a lady perpetrates the act; call girl, trollop, B-girl, whore, hooker, pooley (Ghanaian term), ashawo (Nigerian term) strumpet, escort, courtesan, doxy, tramp, harlot, drab, lady of the evening et al. However, being a male also has the following names; Male escort, sporting boy, rent boy, lad model, gent of the night, weeping willy, gigolo et al. Just like the names, there are various types and forms of prostitution, but the common ones will be outlined briefly.
Street Prostitution: This is the most common form and involves prostitutes who stand along streets usually dressed in exposing-skimpy attires; they are more poised to bargain with drivers [customers] when their car stops till there’s a mutual agreement, then there’s sex in the customer’s car, in a rented room or a nearby alley. However, some prostitutes (especially those at the Osu Oxford Street, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Bantama [commonly known as Bonsamgyiem] etc) do not give special attention to only those in vehicles but spread tentacles to involve walkers by.
Escorts: This usually thrives in the computer age because of the way it is advertised as ads on selected web pages. However, payment made to escorts is for the escort’s time and companionship. Thus, the customer determines what the time in question is used for, which usually comes in the form of sex. Some escort sites are as follows; DaddysList, EuroGirlsEscort, EscortGuide, Eros, SexTrader etc.
Brothels: This is usually an establishment dedicated to the act of prostitution. There are many girls and already prepared rooms, from which the customer is allowed to select from. An example of a brothel will be that which is found in the Game of Thrones owned by Lord Petyr Baelish. But brothels can also be called bordello, whorehouse, cathouse, general houses and knocking houses. Some famous brothels around the world are Nana [Bangkok, Thailand], FKK Oase [Frankfurt, Germany] and Tiffany’s [Sydney, Australia].
Among the others are Sex tourism (where customers go on tours for sex with prostitutes), Virtual Sex (the most common of this type is the phone sex. Now with this, sexual acts are portrayed by messages rather than physical) et al.
Who is the actual perpetrator? The Giver or the Receiver?
Knowing the actual perpetrators of prostitution has always been a topic for debate. While some countries (Saudi Arabia etc) arrest, flog and even kill women (givers) involved in the act, others (like in the case of Dubai courts) rather hold male customers (receivers) responsible as well and in effect, punish them. Now, perspective is everything. Some in the light of an idea upon the thoughts on choice and freewill assert that the customer can never be a perpetrator so long as the service provider (prostitute) willingly offers the service. But since the issue on prostitution is generally seen as an ill, others with inspiration from the same line of free thought also argue that it was the choice of the customer to seek for pleasure in that which is more poised to be illegal and thus, should be punished for selecting an illegal ordeal, regardless of whether or not the prostitute in question really wanted to offer such services. Be that as it may, cases involving minors/children as service providers automatically have the customers as perpetrators. So in a nutshell, the determinant on the actual perpetrator is usually dependent on the nature of the case in question.
Why Prostitution is functionally needed.
Prostitution is functional or dysfunctional depending upon perspective. But I will highlight on what makes it functional before proceeding into the contrary. First and foremost, there’s a need to peruse what actually accounts for the ever growing rate of cases in prostitution in spite of the high abomination attached to it in close to all societies. The customer aims to experience pleasure or release stress while the service provider might go beyond the need of pleasure in favour of survival. By survival, I mean making ends meat or selecting prostitution as a financially paying job. In that respect, prostitution is functional to the customer, as it makes his/her aim of attaining pleasure possible and equally functional to the service provider so long as the focus is on the provider’s focus on making some more greens. Aside that, prostitution might serve another functional purpose, that which might not augur well with strong religiously moral fundamentalists, but the point is on what is actually there rather than what a sect feels about what is actually there. Prostitution gives one outside the confines of marriage a chance to taste the fun of sexual pleasure. Thus, in most African societies, where marriage is perceived as the only legitimate means to have sex, prostitution gives those who do not have the means to marry, rare benefits to gaining the same pleasure supposedly restricted within the context of marriage. Another functional need can be exemplified with demographics and I derived such inspiration from what the supposed Islamic Scholar, Dr. Zakir Naik said relating to his argument for a need for polygamy. Since on the average, the population of females ready for marriage is supposedly and usually higher than that of males, polygamy is there to solve the problem of surplus women [who will not be able to marry due to the determinants of demographics in a monogamous system where one is supposed to marry just one] being prepared as public property. Thus, prostitution is functional because it serves the purpose of providing joyrides to surplus women who unfortunately fall victim to restrictions correlated to a monogamous society and an incommensurate nature of the human sex ratio.
Why loathe Prostitution?
There are strong dysfunctional traits of prostitution to social systems though. Taking the family system for instance, prostitution is more likely to break social relationships and ties among members. A husband upon realization that his wife was a sex worker is more likely to divorce her in a normal situation, thus, causing instability so long as the nature of the family system is concerned. On the other side, a woman upon realization that her husband receives services might also divorce him. Then there are others cases of dysfunctional effects on the health system. Prostitution has been known not just by thoughts but by observations in trends, to be a strong hub for circulating STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), most likely because of indiscriminate sex. For instance, countries like South Africa have been recorded to have more cases of prostitution and STIs, AIDs, for sure. Now, not only does viruses like HIV reduce the human expectancy and poses threats to the survival of our species, but that adds to the already existing pressure on our health systems. Thus, prostitution in a nutshell adds to problems that brought forth the need for the social health systems in the first place; that which can negatively affect the efficiency of the health system. About the religious system, there is no doubt almost all religious and cultural systems perceive prostitution as perversion or deviant behaviour. Thus, according to religious thoughts, not only does prostitution corrupts the flesh but it also kills one’s efficiency to be spiritually stable. Be that as it may, that never presents the proposition that ONLY religions can find ills with the act of prostitution. Deists, Atheists, Agnostics and other freethinkers can look at prostitution from a moral perspective [based upon empathy in relation to rational thought] and still find ills with the act.
To conclude from a sociological eye, there should be no judgement on whether prostitution is absolutely RIGHT or WRONG. Thus, one must rather make judgements [if needs be] with inspiration from the context within which both parties faced involvement.
Achaab Daniel ABALANSA