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Thread: Sex as a currency

  1. #1
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    Question Sex as a currency



    Here is an abstract from Ally McBeal, Season 1, Episode 5. The scene happens in court. A call-girl is being trialed for "committing" prostitution, a crime in the United States of America.

    --
    District Attorney : "Sitting over there is a prostitute. Proud and rich, I grant you. But still a person who gives sex for a fee. That's a crime. You all know it."

    John Cage (defense attorney) : "Hypocrisy troubles me greatly. Today's biggest and brightest film actresses make upwards of $10 million per picture. They only rise to that level however if they are willing to simulate sex acts on camera. I say simulate. That's merely for the intercourse. They're kissing, nibbling on nipples, sticking their tongues in ears and mouths, groping of breasts and thighs, hands on penises, groins... that's real. That's actually going on. These actresses may tell us are doing it for some redeeming social value. Well, that and a million bucks.
    It happens at lesser levels. Women employees sometimes gratify their male superiors in hopes that a promotion may ensue. It's not a noble thing, but it happens. Sometimes. We don't jail them.
    I know many women who wouldn't consider a man marriage material unless his income's in a certain bracket. I know it happens. Women marry for money. We don't jail them.
    The truth is sex has always been a currency for women. Always. Though often at a quid pro-blurry-quo, my client was honest. She told the truth to that man, and to you."
    --

    John Cage's defense greatly impresses me. First of all, I do not understand why prostitution is considered as a crime in the US (and enforced), while not in most other developed countries (or at least not de facto, like in Japan).

    I certainly agree with him that if it is a crime to sleep with someone in exchange for money, it is also a crime to do it in exchange for favours, presents, or a combination of these (like in a marriage). The problem is that if we go down that path, soon logic will demand that even marrying someone who makes or has much more money than oneself should also be considered as a crime. It is obviously not a practical path. So my question is : "Should prostitution be allowed ? Can sex be used as a currency ?". Think about the consequences of your answer.
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    Prostitution will always go on wether you legalise it or not- it just means if you make it illegal, the women that lead that way of life will probably have less protection from the real criminals out there.
    The police often couldn't care less if a prostitute gets raped because they say "she was asking for it".
    There's no dignity in prostitution, but then again thats true for a lot of legal jobs out there.

    I think there's a massive difference in porno posters though and actually doing it for real for money. I don't think women should be frowned upon though by society if they decide to get paid a couple of thousand dollars/pounds for showing their tits to a photographer.

    I'm undecided on the morality of prostitution, wether it be having sex for money, or just simply showing some guy your boobs, you cannot judge everybody as the same thing as everyone's situation and circumstances is different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokis-Phoenix
    I'm undecided on the morality of prostitution, wether it be having sex for money, or just simply showing some guy your boobs, you cannot judge everybody as the same thing as everyone's situation and circumstances is different.
    Then you are undecided on whether male hormones and loneliness are moral or not. It takes two people to have prostitution. Not just the offering side.

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    Initially " the sexual inclination " was necessary in mutual relations of the man and the woman, as aspiration to natural transition in the complex emotional - psychological conditions which are lieing down in a basis of duplication and development of the person...
    Prostitution is a defilement of the essence of mutual relations between the man and the woman...
    Body are sheets " Books of the Life "...
    Imitation is only game...
    And the reality is " the entered pages in the history of the Book of the Life "... And it on eternal...
    Not speaking already about money...
    P.S.
    In the practice of the photographer I frequently photographed photos about "titmouses"... As a rule are there were ordinary " training of photomodels " on a theme " works with a body "... I like to observe a naked nature of the woman... But I do not test any " positive emotions " when I see photos of "acts"... Frequently catching of on ideas when I see photos of this or that photomodel in "act", that her "charm" was replaced by " a grimace of physiology "...(The play of behaviour disappears... )

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    I feel very strongly that prostitution should be illegal.

    If it is legal, that permits women to be exploited.

    The quotation is true:
    Today's biggest and brightest film actresses make upwards of $10 million per picture. They only rise to that level however if they are willing to simulate sex acts on camera. I say simulate. That's merely for the intercourse. They're kissing, nibbling on nipples, sticking their tongues in ears and mouths, groping of breasts and thighs, hands on penises, groins... that's real. That's actually going on.
    But just because it's true doesn't make that right either.
    I am not saying acting in movies is 'wrong'. But when that becomes to the level of exploitation, that also is wrong. If the actress really is making a free choice, that's fine, and I would guess that is what happens in the majority of cases (I'm talking about regular movies with some sexual content, not specific porn movies).

    It becomes an issue often in professions connected with entertainment. I have thought on this subject often. It's a kind of weird set-up, because in lots of entertainment professions, what you are actually selling is you. Not 'your body' in the sense of being paid to have sex, but your body as an object for entertainment. If you dance, if you act, if you sing, your main (sometimes your only) instrument is your self.

    Does that mean you are 'prostitute'? Of course not! But it does make you think about your identity and about your 'worth'. At times it can be depressing. It can be belittling, disturbing and distressing. It can also be empowering and uplifting. And I think that if someone has freely chosen to go into the entertainment industry (that is, not because they are on drugs, under pressure from someone, or some other reason which might render them unable to choose 'freely'), then as long as their choice is free, and they are gaining the positive feelings and are under control of their own lives and psyche - then that is fine. (Examples include actresses in sex scenes as stated in the quotation, exotic dancers, etc.) However, if they are feeling the negative effects - doubt, low self-esteem, feeling of being used, etc. - then this is wrong and not good for them. Of course, everyone has times of doubt and when they don't feel so good about themselves or what they do (and that happens in any profession too). But when these times prevail rather than being a brief phase, that's the time to know something is really wrong.

    All that hasn't really addressed the main point of this thread, which was about actual SEX as a 'currency', or, more simply perhaps, prostitution and whether it should be legal. I still stand by my first statement which is a resounding NO. Why would somebody sell sex? Not because they enjoy sex a lot, you can bet your bottom dollar! -_- For money, of course. (Well duuh.) Isn't it more important to address the issues of why they need that money so badly that they are prepared to have sex they don't particularly want in order to get it? They could want the money for any number of reasons - for drugs, to send to their family 'back home', to pay off a debt. Isn't it more important to deal with social issues such as drug addiction/trading, immigration/asylum, and credit, rather than mask them, as they would be (even more) if prostitution was legal?

    Maybe I'm not making sense, and maybe my last part of the post doesn't tie in with the first. Anyway, there's my argument for picking at...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I certainly agree with him that if it is a crime to sleep with someone in exchange for money, it is also a crime to do it in exchange for favours, presents, or a combination of these (like in a marriage).
    Is marital sex offered in exchange for favours? Sometimes maybe, but I doubt it's the norm. That implies that women 'put up with' sex if they think they can get something out of it, but women like sex too you know!

    To answer the question, I think it's an oversimplification to compare sexual favours offered in complex social situations to prostitution, and I'm not even sure those situations are legal anyway. The first thing that troubles me in this quote is the focus on women selling and men buying. It's outdated and sexist. Women and men use all kinds of strategies to get what they want - men flirt just as much as women. It might be more common for women to use sexual favours to climb the career ladder, but I suspect that's because there are more men at the top. If all bosses were women it would be men on the casting couch! Don't forget that (here at least) sexual harrassment - including offering or demanding sexual favours in the workplace - is illegal. It is quite right that it's illegal too, as sexual morality has no bearing on someone's ability to do a job, so it shouldn't be used as an aid to progression.

    Marrying someone for money does not equate to selling sex. That implies that men only marry for sex, which is certainly not true. A young woman might marry a rich old man for his money, but sex would be only one of the things he got in return, and not necessarily the most important. Again, I'm not sure of the legality of it anyway - I think it would at least count as grounds for divorce if a man found out subsequently that his wife only wanted his money.

    Portraying sex as entertainment is less simple. What is it that the actors (male and female!) are selling? I guess it's their ability to portray a character in all the situations that the script demands. Since sex is a big part of life, it's bound to be a big part of entertainment. It's simplistic to say that they're selling sex - and I don't think it's even true. Look at the highest paid Hollywood actresses - are they most famous for their sex scenes? I'd argue that (these days) people like Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Jodie Foster are most famous for portraying strong women who don't fit the stereotypes suggested by the quote.

    So what about prostitution? I think it's a lot less reprehensible than using sex to get a promotion. That part of the quote I'll agree with - a prostitute is honest about what she's selling. I think prostitution should be legal in a highly regulated form. Women involved should be counselled intensely to ensure they are making a free choice. Illegal prostitution will still happen, but in those cases the women should not be criminalised - as Kinsao suggests, it would be more appropriate to find out why they are involved in illegal prostitution and seek to remedy that instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao
    I feel very strongly that prostitution should be illegal.
    If it is legal, that permits women to be exploited.
    Oh, I am totally against the exploitation of women. But this is a different problem. It is very possible to have legal prostitution and no women exploitation. In fact, like for drug dealing, it is often the very fact that it is illegal that causes underground activities, with pimps threatening or using violence against the women. Independent prostitutes (e.g. call girls) are not exploited. Selling one's body is prostitution. Selling somebody else's body for one's own profit is exploitation.

    While it is undeniable that human exploitation, trafficking and (sex) slavery must be prohibited, I don't see why prostitution (i.e. voluntary one) should be punished if it happens between free consenting adults.

    If prostitution is illegal, then I will make a new career in suing any woman (or man) who ever slept with someone in exchange for favours, presents, money, marriage or whatever else than love, desire or physical attraction. If something is considered as a crime, there is no need for a plaintiff. Even if there is a mutual consent between two adults, it would mean that the police can arrest you, and the government can sue you. Just think about the implications for so many ordinary people. In some ways it would be nice, as all the bitches who use sex to manipulate people or obtain favours will end up in jails. But we don't have enough jails for all these people !

    But just because it's true doesn't make that right either.
    If you had to send to jail all the people who had done things that were of dubbious morality there would be much fewer people in the streets ! Keep in mind that morality is an extremely relative subject. In many cultures, sleeping with someone before being married is as immoral as prostitution is for you.

    Why would somebody sell sex? Not because they enjoy sex a lot, you can bet your bottom dollar! -_- For money, of course. (Well duuh.) Isn't it more important to address the issues of why they need that money so badly that they are prepared to have sex they don't particularly want in order to get it?
    You are reacting this way because it would make you feel terrible to sell your body. But some people don't mind. Look at all those Japanese girls who sleep with men old enough to be their father in exchange for brand bags or clothes, a trip overseas, eating at an expensive restaurant, or simply money. Why should this be illegal (as immoral as it is), if they really want to of their own free-will, and nobody else is profiting from it ? It's not because they are poor or need to pay back some debts, not because they need drugs, and not because they are illegal immigrants. It's just greed ! Sometimes it's just because they enjoy the sex, and know some not-to-bad looking men are ready to "compensate" them for it anyway. That's a very different mentality from Western countries, but to stick to the original question : "should this be illegal, and why ?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    The first thing that troubles me in this quote is the focus on women selling and men buying. It's outdated and sexist. Women and men use all kinds of strategies to get what they want - men flirt just as much as women. It might be more common for women to use sexual favours to climb the career ladder, but I suspect that's because there are more men at the top. If all bosses were women it would be men on the casting couch!
    I know. That's why I am trying to use the word "people" instead.
    Marrying someone for money does not equate to selling sex. That implies that men only marry for sex, which is certainly not true. A young woman might marry a rich old man for his money, but sex would be only one of the things he got in return, and not necessarily the most important.
    Good point. You mean that if a rich and well-educated man were to find a poor and poorly educated woman from a developing country, they shared very little in common, just met and she agreed very easily to marry him because he is rich, it would not be considered as prostitution because she can also offers him other services than sex, like cooking, taking care of the house or having children. Is that right ?
    Portraying sex as entertainment is less simple. What is it that the actors (male and female!) are selling? I guess it's their ability to portray a character in all the situations that the script demands. Since sex is a big part of life, it's bound to be a big part of entertainment. It's simplistic to say that they're selling sex - and I don't think it's even true. Look at the highest paid Hollywood actresses - are they most famous for their sex scenes? I'd argue that (these days) people like Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Jodie Foster are most famous for portraying strong women who don't fit the stereotypes suggested by the quote.
    Of course, not all rich actors and actresses did sex scenes. That is not the point. Was there even a single rich actor or actress who got rich because he/she accepted to do sex scenes in some film(s), it would be enough to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the US authorities not to sue/arrest that person as somebody "having sex in exchange for money". Why turn a blind eye when someone is famous ? Just wondering, are porn actors and actresses also considered as prostitutes in the US or not ? That's still sex for money, isn't it ? It makes absolutely no sense to allow "sex for money" in front of a camera and call it a crime (not even an offence) when there is no camera. If that is so, then prostitutes should record their business on a camera (maybe in a special "prostitution/porn/sex" studio) to be able to do their job legally.
    I think prostitution should be legal in a highly regulated form.
    Like in a special sex studio in front of a camera ?
    Illegal prostitution will still happen, but in those cases the women should not be criminalised - as Kinsao suggests, it would be more appropriate to find out why they are involved in illegal prostitution and seek to remedy that instead.
    I especially wouldn't understand how someone forced to sell their body for somebody else's profit should be seen as a criminal. First of all, this is not prostitution but sex slavery (a VERY different thing). Secondly, the prostitute in such a case is the victim, as they have no freedom to decide.

    I think that those who see prostitution as a crime just think that prostitution means sexual slavery or exploitation. So it is more a matter of erroneous definition or vocabulary.

    I still want to hear the arguments (except moral, which is too relative) against free, voluntary prostitution, like my example of enjo kosai in Japan.

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    Independent prostitutes (e.g. call girls) are not exploited.
    I disagree. Just because that sort of prostitution is done up to look somehow higher-class doesn't mean the women who take part in it are any more 'free' than those who sell sex more cheaply and in different situations.

    I have sometimes seen magazine and newspaper articles where higher-class prostitutes are interviewed about their job. They are always represented as saying they enjoy their work and the financial rewards it brings, that they are doing it out of choice, etc. etc. These kinds of articles make me angry. They are bulls**t. That kind of representation only serves to glamourize prostitution, and support the argument that it is ok (oh, but only under some circumstances... -_-). Just because something is made to look all nice and shiny on the surface, are people really so stupid to be conned into thinking it's like that underneath? :

    If prostitution is illegal, then I will make a new career in suing any woman (or man) who ever slept with someone in exchange for favours, presents, money, marriage or whatever else than love, desire or physical attraction.
    Marriage can contain love, desire and physical attraction as well as favours, presents and money. (It's nice if it contains all 6 actually! ^^)
    I've always viewed sleeping with someone in exchange for favours or presents as on a par with sleeping with them for money. I don't see the difference (as in the title of the thread, it's 'currency'). For example, if someone gives you quite an expensive gift, you can sell it for money (if it's jewellery for example). It's just the man who is using a different currency then (and it usually works out cheaper for them -_-). But of course, no one can see into people's minds, so it's not possible to jail everyone who slept with anyone for the 'wrong' motives! (And people shouldn't be jailed for their motives anyway... -_-)

    are porn actors and actresses also considered as prostitutes in the US or not ?
    I don't know about in the US, but in the UK, they are considered so, yes.

    I especially wouldn't understand how someone forced to sell their body for somebody else's profit should be seen as a criminal. First of all, this is not prostitution but sex slavery (a VERY different thing). Secondly, the prostitute in such a case is the victim, as they have no freedom to decide.
    You are absolutely right here.

    I still want to hear the arguments (except moral, which is too relative) against free, voluntary prostitution
    I find it impossible to believe in a 'free, voluntary prostitution', as I cannot help myself from believing instead that it is undertaken under pressures and never in a truly free way. Is greed not also the result of pressures? And does that not lead to an intense unhappiness, which going into prostitution only feeds in the long-term?

    Well, that's just my view.

    Arguments might include health risks and social issues (such as falling birth rates and family instability).

    Anyway, I am likely to step out of this discussion, as I feel unable to discuss on this in a balanced way. I told you my fuse was becoming shorter these days!

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    A person who can legally sell drugs is a pharmacist. A person who cannot is a drug dealer.
    A person who can legally have sex for money is a porn star. A person who cannot is a prostitute.

    I don't see much difference in porn stars and prostitutes. The only difference being that one is mildy socially acceptable in society, while the other isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokis-Phoenix
    A person who can legally sell drugs is a pharmacist. A person who cannot is a drug dealer.
    A person who can legally have sex for money is a porn star. A person who cannot is a prostitute.
    I don't see much difference in porn stars and prostitutes. The only difference being that one is mildy socially acceptable in society, while the other isn't.
    May I remind you that :

    1) drugs and medicines aren't the same things. In English can the drugs be used to mean medicine too, but that's an informal corruption of the word. It's not the case in most other languages.

    2) Some drugs (e.g. cannabis, magic mushrooms...) can be sold legally in the Netherlands or India, and not in pharmacy.

    3) Prostitution is legal in many European countries (e.g. Benelux, Germany...).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao
    I disagree. Just because that sort of prostitution is done up to look somehow higher-class doesn't mean the women who take part in it are any more 'free' than those who sell sex more cheaply and in different situations.
    I have sometimes seen magazine and newspaper articles where higher-class prostitutes are interviewed about their job. They are always represented as saying they enjoy their work and the financial rewards it brings, that they are doing it out of choice, etc. etc. These kinds of articles make me angry. They are bulls**t. That kind of representation only serves to glamourize prostitution, and support the argument that it is ok (oh, but only under some circumstances... -_-). Just because something is made to look all nice and shiny on the surface, are people really so stupid to be conned into thinking it's like that underneath? :
    The cases you are citing are clearly not independent prostitues. I have seen a French TV programmes where (ex) prostitutes talked about their experiences. Some of them were completely independent, without pimps or other people involved. In the Netherlands or Germany, prostitutes have to declare their revenues and pay taxes, as it is considered as a "normal" job.

    Marriage can contain love, desire and physical attraction as well as favours, presents and money. (It's nice if it contains all 6 actually! ^^)
    Yes, but what if doesn't have the 3 first, and only the 3 last ? What if the only things the woman gives is sex, and the favours, presents and money always come from the man ? Maybe rare, but I am sure it exists.

    I find it impossible to believe in a 'free, voluntary prostitution', as I cannot help myself from believing instead that it is undertaken under pressures and never in a truly free way.
    What about my example of enjo kosai in Japan ? There are tens of thousands of girls who do that. What about the French examples I gave you above ?

    Is greed not also the result of pressures? And does that not lead to an intense unhappiness, which going into prostitution only feeds in the long-term?
    No, greed in Japan's case is the result of a too materialistic, too status-conscious society.

    Arguments might include health risks and social issues (such as falling birth rates and family instability).
    Health risk don't seem to worry the Japanese (who tend to believe that only foreigners have STD's), not birth rate as most do it when they are teen, or in their early twenties. After that anyway they become "undesirable" for many Japanese men. (did you see that thread about Japanese Adult Videos ?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What about my example of enjo kosai in Japan ? There are tens of thousands of girls who do that. What about the French examples I gave you above ?
    Oh yes, indeed. I was saying "I find it impossible to believe in a 'free, voluntary prostitution', as I cannot help myself from believing instead that it is undertaken under pressures and never in a truly free way."
    I didn't intend to say 'you are wrong', but rather 'I cannot find it in myself to believe that'. I'm perfectly willing to say that the truth may be on your side (I can't know that for a fact, but whatever...), but any emotional deficiency is on my side. In that part, I'm not attempting to put forward any rational argument.

    Anyway, for once I will keep by what I have said in future and keep my nose out of this thread.

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    P.S. about Japan...
    ... One of problems of Japan still has " influence of the western culture "... In merge with " Japanese Culture of " adherence of a way " ", it gets " specific forms "... It " the sad price " for neglect to sources " the Japanese culture of search of a niche for those or other displays of an individual "... It only " chaos in the lost souls "...
    ... People which centuries lived in close relations of a community, aspiring to " the nature of individualism " - in many respects "were lost"...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao
    Oh yes, indeed. I was saying "I find it impossible to believe in a 'free, voluntary prostitution', as I cannot help myself from believing instead that it is undertaken under pressures and never in a truly free way."
    I didn't intend to say 'you are wrong', but rather 'I cannot find it in myself to believe that'. I'm perfectly willing to say that the truth may be on your side (I can't know that for a fact, but whatever...), but any emotional deficiency is on my side. In that part, I'm not attempting to put forward any rational argument.

    Anyway, for once I will keep by what I have said in future and keep my nose out of this thread.
    What are your views on porn stars though before you leave this thread? They are people who legally have sex for money, to me i see little difference in them and prostitutes.

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    P.S.
    The citation from prompt of a cartoon film "Mahoromatic":
    - " the Porno it is bad! "

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I certainly agree with him that if it is a crime to sleep with someone in exchange for money, it is also a crime to do it in exchange for favours, presents, or a combination of these (like in a marriage). The problem is that if we go down that path, soon logic will demand that even marrying someone who makes or has much more money than oneself should also be considered as a crime. It is obviously not a practical path. So my question is : "Should prostitution be allowed ? Can sex be used as a currency ?". Think about the consequences of your answer.
    I think there is a big difference between being in a legal partnership formalised in law in which sexual activity occurs is totally different from a woman having sex with strangers for money.

    It would be a pretty sad marriage if the one partner had to do 'a favour' in order to engage in sexual activity.

    So no I think legalisation of prostitution is a lowering of standards. While criminalisation of sex workers isn't helpful, these are people that need help but at the same time lines have to be drawn.

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    Think this comes down to a cultural notion of sex. Sex is still by in large a sin deep down in the fabric of society.

    A lot of our world is based on trade of our labor for money. And if you se sex as a basic need for humans. Then why cant someone service that need.

    Many se it as a demeaning act and unthinkable to do… but for me there are millions of things I cant imagine doing for money. Cutting up people to se why they died – Helping elderly people with their personal hygiene. All necessary jobs that we need and it cool that some want to do it.

    So if a man or woman wants to provide sex for money of their free will. I don’t se it any different then a Massage, haircut or pedicure.

    In Denmark we have some that specialize in servicing the handicapped people. We believe they have the right to an orgasm just as much as a right that someone come and help them with washing them.

    Sex is just sex… physical need like eating drinking and socializing.

    And if you make it legal you can have certification that the government can give. That way its easier to stop illegal human trade.

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    If technology created realistic robots for sexual pleasure, would you have an issue with a partner using it's services?

    Sounds ridiculous but it would be technology meeting a human need, is it ethical?

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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    If technology created realistic robots for sexual pleasure, would you have an issue with a partner using it's services?

    Sounds ridiculous but it would be technology meeting a human need, is it ethical?
    If you asked me then: We use ”technology” wife and me but that’s more for fun and spice to love life.

    If there came a time were I can’t fulfill my wife’s needs then I can’t imagine I would be threatened by a robot or anything like that. If it makes her happy then why not.

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    Now, we have here a very "spicy" thread, don't we?

    Regarding the possibility of sex as currency... I would say that it would devalue incredibly fast as soon it is adopted.

    Sex as a service/merchandize/currency... At the bottom, it is an non-necessary item for immediate objective needs of average humans.

    Paid sex or sexual services have value only in direct proportion to the sexual repression and sexual disatisfaction of the society at large.

    (i.e. scarcity)

    But I will read and elaborate in more datail, later.

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