Culture in Mind

Mental health, culture, and ethnicity

Sex and the Stigma of Money

The question of whether or not prostitution should be legalized is a conundrum for many feminists and non-feminists alike who believe that women should be free to do with their bodies what they wish and yet there is an acknowledgement that gender power disparity muddies the waters of who is in control of the basic forces of supply and demand. Read More

Taxes? Really?

"Regulation equals taxation (and perhaps licensure) and increased income for the state."

I've got to challenge this point, because this is actually a huge reason why prostitution should NOT be legalized.

How, exactly, would one collect such a tax? Will every woman now have to keep a scrupulous record of all acts which might be construed as sexual in nature, so as to prove to the IRS that no exchange of property or services took place? What would keep prostitutes from simply claiming they were on a date, or that their pay was an unrelated gift? How might the law legally distinguish non-taxable sexual interaction from two prostitutes negotiating an exchange of services?

For that matter, what constitutes a sexual interaction in the first place? Mutual genital contact? The stimulation of one party's genitals? What about groping non-genital regions? Is the groper or the groped performing the taxable service? Is BDSM a sexual interaction if no genital contact takes place? What about stripteases or voyeuristic exhibition?

Setting aside privacy concerns, have you considered the impact putting a law like this might have on governments trying to enforce it? As a rule, you suggest taxes that can't be enforced, because governments are all-too-happy to spend money they can't collect.

A tax on prostitution

Like so many other services between individuals that are taxed, the government has to rely on the individuals providing the service to claim their correct income. (Lots of service providers under-report their income). It's not about the profession but about the integrity of the service provider. If you get licensure or some form of registration (which would require regular medical checkups) then they would be accountable for their income.

As for what constitutes sexual interaction, that is between the two adults in the transaction. She has her own price points like any other service business.

And btw, lots of prostitutes pay taxes but for 'escort services' of course. They can't be taking in money and not account for it to Uncle Sam.

Re; Taxes? Really?

Your argument is actually a good reason why prostitution SHOULD be legalized. As you point out, currently the difficulty is what constitutes sex. Nude cuddling while the client self-stimulates is not prostitution, etc. By making all such interactions legal, a detailed breakdown is no more necessary than it would be for a housecleaner, who does not have to break it down by number of sinks cleaned, whether Ajax was used, with a towel or a rag, etc. The transaction is simply for "personal services", period.

And to further negate your argument, look at the legal brothels in Nevada. A huge reason for their existence is the fact that they pay taxes. And no, they do not have to keep records of every sexual act. The government only wants their share of the money. And no, the government doesn't have trouble enforcing it any more than for any other business.

One brave lady

Hello Dr White
Thank you for your post.
You are one brave lady because in the USA, prostitution bad, guns good (generally).
Takes courage to question your own society's moral certainties.
Good luck in your endeavours in this area.

We all know what will be the

We all know what will be the case:

Young women will hook for extra money and then lie about ever doing it when they meet "Mr. Right."

Doesn't sound like a good future for anyone but the whores.


Lying about the past

With legitimacy the need to lie slowly goes away because the judgment that goes with it will decrease. That said, people lie about all sorts of past behaviors.

Don't quit your day job just yet.

In 1960, a man had to give a woman marriage in order to get sex.

By 1970, a man had to give a woman an engagement ring in order to get sex.

By 1980, a man had to give a woman a going-steady commitment in order to get sex.

By 1990, a man had to give a woman a third date in order to get sex.

By 2000, a man had to give a woman a date in order to get sex.

By 2010, a man only had to give a woman a long-distance wink (sext message) in order to get sex. And still there were so many idle sluts they were marching in the streets in 2011 for the right to give away for free what no one wants anymore.

Fifty years of feminism has completely trashed women's sexual value, so now you want to give it up for whoring instead? Great idea!

didn't know whoring was a new thing

Oh, thanks for the info. I didn't know whoring was a new thing. I had been told it was the world's oldest profession. So you got your timeline backwards.

sex as a gift

Consider the possibility that some women enjoy sex and don't give it out as a reward for 'good' behavior. Note your discussion of "women's sexual value". Do men have sexual value that women need earn? You make my point very well. I guess a sext is not 'enough' of a reason. Women couldn't just want sex just for its pleasure instead of as a prize.


Alright, if you wanna release the prostitution train for feminism, then I want to increase the pick-up artist train for masculism. My argument is that women are earning too much power today under unfair circumstances. First of all, men are more motivated by sex than women. When women open their legs for less circumstances, men are not as motivated to make money, get a degree, and climb the social ladder. Secondly, men are more motivated for personal satisfaction than social relationships. So, when the education system involves females who try to motivate their students with, "Look at Jill, she is a good example of a good student," or ",Be good, everyone is watching." Such education is geared towards women. No wonder why women are getting more degrees than men!

No, what I said above is as wrong is any feminist that spouts female oppression is wrong. Perhaps there is a ring of truth to both. However, the real reason both are wrong is because both fall away from the Nash Equilibrium. Both lead to a sub-optimal result in society. If I am allowed a stab at a prediction, I predict a war of the sexes will end up kind of like Japan today. I just point to a blog level correlation that they have a violent feminist and masculine war and decreasing birth rates. At least, that is something I recommend we look into.

Discounting Japan, I doubt it is a good idea to introduce any social function over the desire to be liberated. After Russia was liberated from Communism, they got better yet they didn't. Putin, after his term is over, still holds all the cards and the mafia still holds all the dough. After France was liberated from their king, they had one heck of a revolution that became a dictatorship, then a monarchy again. It was only an act of a childless monarch to turn France republic after his death, that caused France to stay republic. This happened 86 years after the initial revolution of course.

So, instead of war, lets admit we are different. Let us work with our differences instead of beating each other in the head. Let us play the, "Son, is this the life you want for yourself?" and the, "Sally, I'm ashamed for you." One philosophy does not fit all anyway.

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Ruth C. White, Ph.D., M.S.W., and M.P.H., is the author of Bipolar 101 and is an associate clinical professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. 


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