The Average Woman is a Prostitute.

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Warning: adult language and content ahead!

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pros·ti·tute (ˈprästəˌt(y)o͞ot/)

(noun) 1. a person, in particular a woman, who engages in sexual activity for payment.

The above is Google’s definition of a prostitute, and this is the common definition across many sites.

A person engaging in sexual activity for some form of payment. By this definition, today’s average woman is a prostitute. Married, single, in partnership, it doesn’t matter: we have become a gender that sells our bodies.

Let me tell you a little personal story from a few years back. I had been out on three dates with a very nice man. He would take me to some fancy restaurants; we would have good conversation. On the fourth date, he even brought me some beautiful flowers. I liked him as a person and enjoyed our time together, but wasn’t feeling a particularly strong sexual connection—and so, I hadn’t “gone there” with him.

However, I began to feel guilty. He had taken me out on these nice dates and even started to jokingly mention that he had taken me out, bought me some nice flowers, but yet we still had not had sex. So despite my disinterest in sex with him, on this fourth date with flowers, I caved. I felt because of the time and money he had spent on me, I somehow owed him sex if I wanted to keep going on dates with him.

I let him buy me a beautiful dinner, and then afterward, let him have sex with me. Not surprisingly, it was a disconnected and meaningless experience—and in a way, he had purchased my body at that moment.

I had prostituted myself for some food, flowers, conversation, and attention.

Years later, as a sex and relationship coach, I cannot say I have ever had a woman come into my office who has not, in some way, sold her sex to a partner. And if I’m brutally honest, married women are often the biggest offenders. It does not matter if you are selling your sex for actual money (including financial security), physical objects (a home, a car), experiences (restaurants, events, plays), or in exchange for a false sense of connection.

When we use sex as any form of commerce, we are doing just what we shame, demoralize, and technically incarcerate women around the world for daily: prostitution.

I know there are probably some women out there reading this and thinking, “That’s not the same thing!” And we can try to convince ourselves with this reason or that, or let our ego use tons of excuses, or separate ourselves because you have a diamond ring on your finger, but that does not get you off the hook energetically!

The moment our bodies and sex become a bargaining chip, whether for gain, or out of a sense of duty, we are entering the land of prostituting our bodies, minds, and most of all, our spirits.

I’ve had several Christian clients tell me that their “job” from a Christian perspective is to take care of their man in this way and live up to their “wifely duties.” I am calling bullshit on this. God did not create the beautiful, sensual, and magnificent female body to be sold, but to be cherished. The Creator wants us to share ourselves from a deep, meaningful, and purely loving space, and not in order to get something in return.

So when we say yes when we either don’t want sex or are ambivalent about it, then we are not only using our bodies, we are raping ourselves.

Harsh, but still the truth.

This is not to make all women shame themselves—goodness knows we already do enough of that—but instead to bring awareness. Being upfront and honest about this fact instead of hiding it under layers of excuses, self-separation, and judgment can be of benefit to us all.

From a personal perspective, I have way more respect for a woman who knows that she is using her sexuality as a tool and/or that she desires to use it as a tool, than I do for a woman who hides and tries to cover this fact up and doesn’t own her power. At least these women are tapping into themselves in some way, as opposed to the women who have “duty sex” or give their bodies away for things, feelings, or experiences while chalking it up to religion or obligation, or from merely feeling a lack of empowerment! I would much rather a woman stand in her power and directly ask for money for her body than having obligational duty sex and disempowering herself. This isn’t necessarily ideal, but she is at least owning that she is choosing to sell her body, unlike the average woman.

Although I stated at the beginning of this piece that all women have prostituted themselves in some way, at some point in time, I don’t believe that all women continue to do this throughout their lives. I believe the average woman in America has engaged in this because we are raised in a society that promotes this type of thinking through media, pornography, religious doctrines, and teaching our girls to separate themselves from their desires, needs, and emotions while teaching our young boys in a backhanded way that sex is somehow their birthright.

Women have been given a uniquely divine power and beauty in our sexuality that, when not used from a place pure of heart, is diminished, disrespected, and inevitably leads us to disconnection from self.

The second a woman understands and accepts that her sexuality is indeed powerful and begins to live in alignment with her true desires, she has begun to take a step out of the societal conditioning that renders her a de facto prostitute.

When we start to only have sex when we truly desire it and refuse to allow it to be an obligation or something we owe someone else, then sex becomes something deeper. By also recognizing and forgiving ourselves when we “fall down” and do indeed use our sex or bodies as a form of commerce, we also take a step forward. So too is there a step away from this cultural standard the moment we begin to revel in our sexuality and bodies in the way that God meant, and to delight in our passions and desire.

And if you do choose to continue to have commerce be an element of your sex life, then at the very least, own it! Own it as an empowered choice and something you desire, rather than a bullshit excuse or a lack of strength or voice.

This all does not mean that you’re not ever going to accept a man buying you a drink, taking you out for an evening, or giving you a gift. No, this means that you allow yourself to be in the feminine and receptive mode, but only step into sex if your heart is in it. It means that you ask for what you desire at the moment, whether that is to have sex or not. It means that if you’re married, you don’t give your man oral sex just to get him off your back, or because it is a special occasion. It is allowing yourself to play in your sexuality, sensuality, and allowing it to be powerful—but knowing you do not owe your sex, body, or sensuality to anyone.

This is how we step out of being the average prostitute. Where in your life are you selling yourself? Where are you using your sex and your body as a means of commerce? And if you are a man, then where might you be expecting the woman in your life to prostitute herself?

 

Bonus: What to Do when Our Relationships get Tough.

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Author: Addison Bell
Image: micadew/Flickr
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Addison Bell

Addison Bell is a tantric practitioner, experiential sex coach, and body image expert. Clients feel refreshed by her open and honest approach to issues surrounding body image, sexuality, desire, and shame. Catch up with Addison on her website.

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Laura Colliton Sep 5, 2018 1:01pm

I mean, in this context, the only way to avoid being able to be seen as a prostitute would be to either never have sex, or only have sex with people who don't do nice things for you. Neither of those sound very empowering.

Laura Colliton Sep 5, 2018 12:56pm

Prostitution is a profession. It's an actual job, whether it be legal everywhere or not. Saying every woman is a prostitute because some of them have sex after a guy they're in a relationship with takes them on a date (for all you know, the date just put them in the mood...romance can do that...not to mention the "mating ritual" that's a thing in almost every animal species) would be like saying me giving my fiancé cough syrup makes me a medical professional. 🙄

Mariah Eccleston-Banwer Aug 21, 2018 7:28pm

Nicole Trista Oh man, I read this so long ago, but you just reminded me of how pissed off this piece made me. lol. I hope this writer took some time to reflect and has since amended or recanted the entire article. Disgusting! And reading comments from the women who think it was an accurate and meaningful viewpoint makes me very sad. Oh well, at least I can go back to my fulfilling life where I make my own way and have sex for pleasure instead of leverage. :)

Nicole Trista Aug 21, 2018 5:02am

I agree. The title pulled me in and the article was so disgusting in so many ways. This prolongs societies idea that women need a man to survive and the only way to get one is to use your body. If you change it around in another sexist spin, you could explain it is the men who are weak. They use sex, money etc. to get what they want. A woman to take care of them, have their children, keep their home. This article is old school bs. I think you need to get out more.

Daniel Gould Jul 27, 2018 1:40pm

I think it would be worthwhile to go deeper into what it means "prefers sex daily". There's much more subtle things going on behind this broad statement. Often the desire for sex actually has to do with craving real intimacy, craving love and reassurance, to be held and seen with a loving gaze of unconditional accptance. Most people in today's society are starving for such a connection. And even if it is purely a physical thing (which is rarely the case) and the partner "simply" has a very strong sexual drive while the other does not, then in that case there is nothing bad or wrong with the one with the strong drive pleasuring themselves at those times when the other doesn't feel the urge to. And it can be a very intimate, loving and fulfilling moment as well, if the other is fully present at that time, fully giving their love and attention to how the other is pleasring him/herself. That is, assuming the connection between the two is of real love and caring (which is rare) and not simply a transactional connection based on pleasure and convenience and expectations to fulfill one's desires. When there is real love and care for each other, then the question of demanding/forcing the other to do something they don't want for my pleasure, simply does not arise. Real love does not force or compromise. That is simply not in the nature of this extraordinary thing called love. But then again, real love is exceedingly rare today, in a society where most people care about their pleasure first and foremost.

Wesley Sinclair Mar 26, 2018 5:33pm

I was wondering that too. Or in long term marriages where a partner has become ambiguous and the only way to overcome that is by making themselves have sex

Adriane McCaffrey Mar 22, 2018 10:28am

Also wondering!

Stephanie Steele Mar 22, 2018 4:02am

That is what I have been wondering for the past five months....

Stephanie Steele Mar 22, 2018 4:01am

Maybe this could be the way I could get my guy to sleep with me....

Mariah Eccleston-Banwer Mar 22, 2018 2:29am

Umm, what?! I have never commented on one of these articles before, but the title pissed me off and pulled me in, and I thought you might have reversed that statement at some point but instead repeated the VERY insulting statement that all women are prostitutes througout. Additionally, I don't care what Google dictionary says, it is incorrect to define that profession as held primarily by females. It would be just as wrong if you were defining doctors as a male profession. I actually appreciate what you are attempting to achieve with this piece; to empower women, and regard their bodies as having more value than luxuries or money, and not as a commodity to be bartered for items, or for improved treatment. However, I feel that this entire narrative would be more appropriate if written, maybe, back in the 50s?! I may be overly optimistic, or just fortunate enough to have only met women who don't view their bodies with this antiquated perception, but I don't believe that the vast majority or maybe any of the women I know have ever traded sex in this manner. I absolutely have not. When I date, I tend to prefer to pay my own way, but I'm friends with many women who opt for the traditional man paying dating method and would never consider it their duty reciprocate with sex. It's true that young girls are still being taught that their sexual appeal is a valuable commodity, but not the literal act of having sexual intercourse. Young girls are showing more skin in their fashion choices, and some enjoy dancing provocatively, but this doesn't mean they are having sex. I've seen seven year olds gleefully twerk their little butts off, and I guarantee that they are not associating the dance move with sex. If women do truly still feel this way, I am genuinely disturbed and very sad for them. Thinking of your body as a prize for men to try to win through money, disingenuous behavior, or security, is not only harmful for a woman's self esteem, but it perpetuates rape culture by teaching men to have a competitive mindset when wooing a desirable object. It tells them to just keep trying harder, spend more, act out of normal character, lie, manipulate, and even threaten to succeed at the game of getting into a woman's pants. Legitimate prostitution is NOT the same as trading sex with unsuspecting men. If done right, I assume it is accomplished like all good business transactions. Parameters and fees are discussed before commitment or action takes place and both responsible parties agree on the terms they are comfortable with. Please God don't tell me there are women trading themselves for mere food unless they are starving and desperate! I believe that thinking of sex as a manipulative tool also decreases pleasure for women. Even if you are in the mood, you may choose to withhold in favor of getting something else out of it. How can women be expected to truly enjoy sex if they are thinking about what else they can get instead of being thankful to just have the opportunity to engage in one of the most pleasurable activities a human can experience. I realize I may be reflecting some of your previous points, but I don't think you are completely wrong. I DO think you are stuck in the completely wrong century though. Most women I know are aware that nothing ever obligates them to have sex when they don't want to. Those who may feel guilted or pressured into having sex despite their preference to abstain are most likely suffering from an emotional or psychological disorder that requires immediate and extensive therapy. What is completely infuriating me about your paper is your insistence that most women suffer this negative thinking pattern and that ALL of us have prostituted ourselves. That sort of glib blanket statement about women further indicates to men that this type of relationship and courting method is acceptable and allows them treat us like the manipulative whores you accuse us all of being. Again, I have NEVER used sex for anything other than to have a mutually pleasurable experience with another person. I don't even have to think about it..."oh wait, maybe that one time," NO! Not ever! I'm not saying this because I think I am better than those who have, I am trying to make a strong point that I don't think most women have, and assuming they have is extremely denigrating to women. It makes us look like a very helpless group with self esteem issues who think they can only get what they need by depending on men. I think that not only is your estimate incorrect but extremely insulting to me as a woman with sisters, nieces, and friends whom you have also placed in this category.

Chuck Miller Mar 21, 2018 2:33pm

I enjoyed your article, Addison, but as a sex coach I'm curious to know your perspective on couples with mismatched sexual desire. If one prefers sex daily and the other only weekly, won't the higher desire partner often feel neglected and the lower desire partner often feel like they're prostituting themselves?

Leslie Morrell Mar 21, 2018 2:19pm

Nail on the head, here. The old saying goes "women give sex for 'love' and men give 'love' for sex. A bargain made in hell, so to speak. There's a huge expectation on both sides of the fence in the situation you describe. Guy takes woman out on a few dates (at least that one could take you to nice restaurants and bought flowers!!) and the unspoken expectation hangs heavy in the air that if not on the first date ( though scarily its there too often) then after a few of them it is expected that sex should follow. If it doesn't, then that is the end of the "dating". No time is given for the possibility of a real relationship to develop. I've been on that shitty side of the fence too often and I would rather stay single than go there again. Don't know how we're to change this but it needs to change. Thanks for speaking the truth.

Allena Gabosch Mar 21, 2018 2:07pm

I love your perspective and agree with it, for the most part. I feel that some of your comments are unintentinally shaming of sex workers, overall. This sentence " This isn’t necessarily ideal, but she is at least owning that she is choosing to sell her body, unlike the average woman." is problematic, because many sex workers concider their work healthy, positive and imporant and is "ideal" for them. Otherwise, I like you sentiment.

Alex Obed Mar 21, 2018 3:55am

Powerful piece, Addison!