Should I have sex with a prostitute?
5 things we can learn from a prostitute
The discussion about sex work is a central point of contention for feminism. While Alice Schwarzer has been fighting for the abolition of prostitution for decades and sees it as one of the greatest problems in our society, there are many others who argue for the self-determination of women. There are sex workers who speak up and even enjoy their job, who do not want to be excluded from society and who see their job as a job like any other, or even their personal fulfillment. There are self-determined prostitutes without pimps and without coercion, but of course there are also a large number of forced prostitutes who are forced to sell their bodies by outside influences or their circumstances. The fact is: prostitution exists, there is demand and more people than you might think pay for sex at least once in their lives - it is assumed that every second to fourth man becomes a suitor at least once in his life. Regardless of your opinion on prostitution: It exists and it is worth thinking about. And maybe not to form a final opinion, but at least learn a lot from it.
With this aim in mind, I bought the book some time ago “Dear and dear” by Ilan Stephani. The model student from good parents decided in her twenties to work in a Berlin brothel in addition to studying philosophy, which she did for two years. She recorded all of her experiences and insights in this book, which gave me a few aha moments. After quitting prostitution, she devoted herself intensively to the female body and now works as a sex therapist. Here are the 5 key takeaways I took from your book:
1. Sex work is not the same as forced prostitution
The differentiated consideration of prostitution in all its facets is such a fundamental and important topic that this question is the basis of the book. The bottom line: prostitution is often associated with coercion. For many women and men, prostitution is not based on a free choice of occupation. But prostitution can also take place voluntarily, consciously and without coercion. Ilan's two-year time as a sex worker took place in a Berlin brothel, where there was a family atmosphere with the female colleagues - and even with the suitors. Thanks to a clever curtain concept, the prostitutes were able to take a look at the suitor before he saw them, and thus not even make a choice if they did not want to have sex with him. There are such and similar concepts of prostitution in our society, through internet portals alone women have more control of their sex work than the pimp cliché suggests. Prostitution does not have to be approved, but prostitutes need to be treated with respect - by all of us. And are not generally perceived as poor figures on the fringes of society, but simply as people whose job is sex work. There are prostitutes who enjoy their job and even have orgasms while having sex with suitors. But there are also a large number of sex workers who feel compelled to do this work due to various factors. In order to really understand prostitution, one must at least begin to differentiate and see all sides.
2. How do we influence our sexuality? The vagina and its memory
Every reaction from friends or family members to their new job was exciting, every entrustment took Ilan to overcome. But one reaction got stuck: “Do you actually know what that does to your sexuality?” This question is crucial, and not only in relation to prostitution. But in relation to everything that we experience sexually, allow ourselves to be done. Because everything we experience is stored not only in psychological, but also in physical memory - Ilan even calls it the memory of the vagina. Positive experiences and memories can be brought out suddenly through similar touches and situations, which also results in positive physical reactions. But the same is not true of negative memories or those that dull us. “As a prostitute, don't you get some kind of callus at some point?” Some ask. A cornea does not grow, but figuratively speaking, not only the psyche but also the physique can become dull, which makes us feel less. For what the vagina feels, emotions and thoughts play such a big role that experiences in which we force ourselves not to feel anything can influence this feeling - or, even more extreme, negative experiences. It was only through an abusive and violent experience with a suitor that Ilan became aware of what that means: for months she could no longer feel anything during sex. At this point her path to self-discovery of her body and her sexuality began, in which yoni massages, tantra and slow sex play a major role.
3. 45 minutes of prelude
This is the recommended time in tantra practice for the woman to prepare before penetration even occurs. 45 minutes in which all the nerve endings of the vagina and clitoris can slowly swell in order to really feel the entire possible spectrum during penetration - while this swelling goes relatively quickly in men, the anatomy of women is structured somewhat differently. Here the nerve endings are more widely distributed, but at the same time more can be put into the erect state, but the whole thing takes longer. 45 minutes of foreplay may be a bit generous for some, but when you consider that 45 minutes of arriving, paying, saying hello, showering, touching, sex, talking and saying goodbye, it becomes clear that there is little room for that female pleasure factor remains. And if you then make your assumptions about the average sex sequence behind far too many bedroom doors and ask around a little, we are talking about a not that much different time scale, if not less for the entire sequence. More time means more relaxation, more lust and more love, on both sides. So what could it be worth more than taking a little time than your own sexuality?
4. Men want to be allowed to be soft
Men use prostitutes to exercise power, they buy bodies like a commodity in order to be able to do what they want with them, and in this constellation the superior is of course the one who pays - these are the common prejudices about the suitor -Sex worker construct floating around like that. There are and always will be suitors who want to exercise power. However, what Ilan experienced in her two years in the Berlin brothel was, with a few exceptions, anything but this picture - to be precise, the opposite. The men who bought time with a prostitute were not only respectful, soft and affectionate, but in this parallel world of the brothel they seemed to have shed the roles of their masculinity. Even today it is still important for men in our society to be tough and strong, not to cry and not to talk about their feelings. To be the "strong sex", to press the woman against the wall with strong arms and to be sex-driven instead of emotional-driven. That men are inwardly just as in need of love as any other person is of course clear anyway, and interestingly, that's exactly what seems to come out in the shielded room of the brothel. Because men who buy time with a prostitute just to cuddle and talk, or who focus on cuddling after sex, is not a myth, but precisely the tendency that was the norm in Ilan's experience.
5. Really good sex
If prostitution is not always associated with coercion, if women can also enjoy prostitution and if prostitution can even save one or the other relationship or marriage, should it be rejected in principle? This question is fundamentally illuminated in the book, and everyone can form an informed opinion afterwards. Prostitution does not have to be abolished for Ilan - but a world in which there is no prostitution would be desirable for them too. In her opinion, this utopia could only become a reality in one way: if everyone had the experience of really good sex. And faster sex in the brothel could be seen for what it actually is: boring and not even close to exhausting the possibilities that are there. For Ilan, “slow sex” was the enlightenment that overshadowed everything else: you learn together with your (sexual) partner to practice sex without any expectations. In the beginning, this can mean “lying in one another” for hours without doing anything and falling asleep while doing so. But that can also mean letting go completely, which frees sex from all doubts, expectations and self-doubt. Slow sex doesn't have to be the epitome of really good sex for everyone, but the essence that distinguishes really good sex from prostitution sex are topics such as time, leisure, self-love, letting go and trust. That everyone can find this for themselves at the push of a button is utopia - but you can at least start with it!
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