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Just for argument's sake, let's say that I have this friend. Let's say that this friend's name is "Amy". Amy is a high-priced call girl. She is a very attractive, mid-20s woman who will do anything to/with a man in exchange for an absolutely obscene amount of money. You name it, she'll do it. She has a pimp, she has a website, and Amy told me about her new profession because she knew I wouldn't judge her.

Amy has been in this business for exactly 3 weeks.

She has already made $10 Fucking Thousand Dollars! When she was thinking about becoming an escort (because I'm not allowed to call her a "hooker" or a "prostitute", as per her directive), Amy came to me for advice. She'd been working at the same company for 3 years, essentially performing her manager's job and attempting to play by the rules. Although she'd been promoted twice, she recently applied for a new promotion and was denied. Even though Amy receives great health/dental benefits at this company, the pay is absolute shit. It's more than minimum wage, but not by much.

Her job simply doesn't pay a living wage in Boulder County. Amy cannot pay her rent, utilities, or other bills from the piss poor salary she receives from this suckass corporation.

Amy has an Associate's Degree, but it's in a field that will positively not provide what she needs in this economy, pure and simple. She has been relying on her parents for help for a few years now, but they can be abusive and she very much wants to get out from under their thumb.

Her parents assume, because they regularly give her money, that they own her. I've talked to her about this, and she agrees that this is true.

Amy wants to stop being controlled by her folks. Amy wants to make a life for herself. And she came to me almost a month ago to tell me that she'd found a pimp and, of course, to ask me if I thought this was a good idea.

I didn't know what to say. What do you say to something like this? I've never had a problem with prostitution on the whole, as long as it's consensual. But this was completely different because it involved a friend that I actually knew and cared about. In theory, for many liberals, prostitution is totally fine - her body, her right, right? But, in practice, it is simply surreal.

Several weeks ago, when Amy was preparing to take on this new job (complete with possible physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, not to mention potential murder, burglary, or stalking, which worried me to no end), we joked about how positively strange this entire situation was. Both of us couldn't believe that she was about to do this. Amy's pimp, a close friend that she trusted (whom I didn't know all that well, which also made me lose a fair amount of sleep), insisted that he could screen her "johns" and keep her safe. I wondered. I worried.

Amy and I talked about every single possible scenario. It is fair to say that, if nothing else, I empowered her to be educated regarding her new job, and forced her to talk about topics that made her uncomfortable. I felt that I had no choice. True friends don't tell you what you want to hear - true friends tell you what you need to hear.

Regularly now, Amy has 3-4 "appointments" (5 days a week) per day.

She averages about $1000 per day. I made her call me all the time, for the first few days, to make sure that she was alright. I felt that, goddamn, as her friend, it was the very least I could do. Plus, this entire thing has wigged me out on so many levels that I don't think it's possible to describe all of 'em.

Amy is now selling her body for sex.

And that sex gives her an enormous amount of power.

It's absolutely impossible to gauge how long women have been selling their own bodies for sexual favors, with much incentive to do so. What galls me, as a Democratic Socialist, is that Amy seemingly cannot get ahead in American culture any other way. She's tried the other legal, "forward"-thinking areas, but to no avail.

Even in the age of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, women still turn to prostitution in order to pay the bills. As WebMD dictates, men think about sex quite a bit more than women. I mean, c'mon, chicks aren't stupid. We use sex (or the promise of sex) to gain power when we need to, and sometimes when we don't need to, because it's a tried-and-true method of obtaining an imagined goalpost. They don't call prostitution "the oldest profession in the world" for nothin'.

I guess the newest, most politically correct phrase for Amy's position is sex worker but she'd just laugh if I called her that. I found very interesting etymology on Wiki. Check this out:

‘To prostitute’ is derived from a composition of two Latin words: (preposition) pro and (verb) statuere. A literal translation therefore would be: ‘to expose’, ‘to place up front’.

The English word whore derives from the Old English word hōra, from the Indo-European root meaning "desire".

I find it sad that those two, originally honest and beautiful words (respectively) have such negative and nefarious connotations now. It's not a big surprise to me - it's just sad.

Some would argue that female prostitution is unnecessary exploitation of women's bodies. Back in the early 80s, when I first learned what prostitution was, I felt that the women who were employed as prostitutes (or even strippers) had no clue that men were using them, or that they were too uneducated to realize any other way out.

What a load of horse crap. OF COURSE prostitutes know they're being exploited.

That's exactly why they do it: exploitation is lucrative. (Note: please don't confuse prostitution with sexual slavery. If anyone, male or female, is forced to do this, then I consider that slavery.)

There are, of course, women who enjoy being sex workers. I say, hell, more power to 'em, if that's the case. For the most part, Amy seems to enjoy it, and so did this woman(h/t LaFeminista). As a sex positive female myself, I am completely down with that.

The history of prostitution is very intriguing. For example, did you know this (again from Wiki)?

Originally, prostitution was widely legal in the United States. Prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between 1910 and 1915 largely due to the influence of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union which was influential in the banning of drug use and was a major force in the prohibition of alcohol. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson wanted all prostitution ended near any military and naval base as America prepared to enter World War I.

Geez. That's all I have to say to that: geez.

In the end, I decided to support Amy's decision because, ultimately, it's just not mine to make. It's her body and her choice. I want her to be happy and I want her to be safe. Presently, she's both of those things. I'm glad that Amy is taking control of her life, even if the vehicle with which she's using to do it is foreign to me. She'll glide along however she needs to, and I'll be here to provide an ear when she stumbles.

And no, you cannot have Amy's number, so don't ask. :)

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of Sex and Power. If my computer was operating correctly, I would have provided a much more thorough overview of the history of prostitution, with a helluva lot more links, but that will have to wait for another day. My apologies.

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