Prostitution – Secret Service Scandal – Mental Health View

Prostitution– a hot topic in the news as of late, given the scandal of prostitution allegations of the men of secret service for the Obama administration. We all know that prostitution is not a new topic. Perhaps it is due time this psychotherapist shares her insights on this age old topic – a mental health view point. Often the view of men is; “if she wants to sell her body, it is her choice, then it is ok”.  This perspective is as though the woman is simply selling a product that she owns and wants to sell. So why is it such a topic of debate? Answer:  because it is not that simple. For many women there appears to be confusion as often there appears to be a discrepancy as to what women feel/believe, in contrast to what they agree with. Specifically, there are many women who feel/believe prostitution is not morally “okay”, but it is those same women who will often report their agreement with men that it is a woman’s “choice”. Below are 7 talking points.

Talking Points:
  1. He Said She Said: Men want to believe women ‘choose’ to sell their body. In fact, there are some men who believe not only do women choose to sell their body because that is their job choice, but there are those of who believe women love sexual relations so much that they choose to sell sex to fill that passion. Men want to believe this, because they want and physiologically and emotionally need sex. I will tell you that these reasons are not what is going on in the mind of the prostitute. Women who truly love sexual relations do not sell sex. In contrast, there are some women who understand that women who sell their body for money is not truly a choice. It is a forced situation due to circumstances combined with an ‘unwell’ state of mind. Hence the ‘he said she said’ debate.
  2. Mental Health Angle – The Sexual Destruction of 2 NOT So Consenting Adults: From an analytical point of view, I do not see prostitution as sex among consenting adults. My perspective of the prostitute is as follows; A) Prostitutes are not mentally well/emotionally stable at the time of prostitution. B) Being a prostitute is a form of impairment (not unlike while using drugs or alcohol, one is impaired). C) Prostitutes are victims. In contrast, the person purchasing the sexual act may or may not be “well” by the standards of mental wellness. Although there are several different reasons why men hire a prostitute, the most common reported is  because they are feeling lonely (hm not such a “well” feeling is that?) or to satisfy an immediate sexual urge. The man is thus consenting, rather I see the woman as emotionally unwell, impaired if you will, and thus not consenting from one’s healthy frame of mind. What one “consents” to when one is not okay, is far different then what one would consent to when one is okay.
  3. Feminist Perspective Is Dangerous: Some feminists state selling one’s body for sex allows women to take back their bodies. As a mental health expert who is a woman, counsels women, men, couples, and families I say that perspective is dangerous to take. Rather, selling one’s body for sex  from my understanding of mental wellness, my expertise in understanding the relationship dynamic between people, research, and those women I have met through the years who have shared their stories, is; prostitution strips women of their dignity!
  4. The Prostitute: Studies show most prostitutes have been physically or sexually abused as children and will be physically assaulted while as a prostitute. Is this something we as a society want to support?
  5. Prostitutes Demonstrate Some Of The Same Characteristics As Soldiers Returning From Battle: Prostitution re-traumatizes the already traumatized woman. It also eats at her self worth.
  6. Another Political Sex Scandal – Sex Is A Drug: Every few months, different in its form but the same theme that there is another political sex scandal. Sex can be like a drug for men which manipulates them putting themselves in harms way and thus puts those of who they are supposed to protect (their children, the nation, the president) at risk.
  7. Do not legalize – The 3-Way Harmful Destruction: Prostitution harms the prostitute, the user, and the families connected on both sides. The more we show acceptance (legalization is one way to show acceptance) of what is harmful for us as individuals, as families, as a culture, the further decline of our society will occur. Standards- where are our standards?
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