Sociology of Prostitution

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Prostitution is one topic in which the causes have been debated by many. There are three theories that I will discuss throughout this paper. The theories include a functionalist, feminist, and social psychological view of the subject. The argument that appears more correct is a matter of opinion.

The functionalists believe there are two main reasons why a person would become a prostitute. The first reason deals with sexual morality. To break it down further the argument is that our sexual morality system, while condemning prostitution, actually and inadvertently encourages it. We live in a society that encourages the belief that sex with a spouse is “meaningful” while sex with a prostitute is “meaningless.” This idea may actually encourage men to seek sex with a prostitute if all they want is meaningless sex. Additionally certain sex acts, such as oral copulation or anal sex, are considered immoral by our society. This means that the common belief among society is that these acts should not be done with their spouse. This may motivate men who desire these acts to seek the services of an immoral prostitute. Another reason proposed by the functionalist is the belief that prostitution actually serves to strengthen sexual morality. Basically the sex industry keeps the “respectable” women pure because men can satisfy their immoral sexual desires elsewhere.

There is some evidence to support the functionalist view of prostitution. Studies have shown that in certain societies such as traditional Asian societies where prostitution is prevalent, respectable women are less likely to engage in immoral sex acts. On the other hand many western societies where prostitution is less common, respectable women are more likely to engage in immoral sex acts.

Now let’s look at the feminist view. Feminist believe that the functionalist theory is nothing more then a reflection of our society’s sexist views. They believe that the men partaking in the acts are just as immoral...
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