Why is sexwork considered a shame based service by many?

JENN CLAMEN: Some good older interview comments with Arts and Opinion in Canada. She is an advocate in Canada the doomed mission of SWOP to give street hookers the right to be a public nuisance which hurt all efforts of reform of bawdy house (incall illegal but rarely enforced) laws just like it dooms all efforts of positive reforms in the U.S. but these points are good when related to PRIVATE consenting adult sexwork:

...bias that most people have about sex work, which is that the work is inherently shameful and that no willing person would work in the sex industry. I donít think that sex workers and clients are inherently ashamed of what they do. I think society has failed to cultivate a healthy perspective on sexuality and hence imposes a shame on those whose sexual activities deviate from that imposed norm. If and when sex workers do feel shame, I would argue that it is a result of internalized discrimination and the stigma that constantly casts an accusing shadow over the immorality of sex workersí lives and work. People hold sex up to unrealizable standards where the love component legitimizes sexual relations -- even though we know that a lot of people have sex outside of that limited context.

People approve of sex when itís an expression of love, or if it passes religious muster, but outside of that, weíve been taught to be ashamed of sex for sexís or pleasureís sake. All that being said, people continue to spend billions of dollars for the kind of sex society frowns upon. This is an unacceptable hypocrisy our sex workers rights movement is trying to bring down, and we feel the first step is to change the laws that criminalize the people who practice what is commonly regarded as Ďdeviantí Ė that being sex work.

ARTS & OPINION: Do you mean if our marriages and intimate relationships were more honest, the sex worker might disappear?

JENN CLAMEN: No, thatís not what Iím saying. I donít think itís only dishonest people who frequent sex workers. There will always be a place for sex workers because itís impossible for one person to satisfy another personís sexual needs and fantasies.

ARTS & OPINION: Isnít there something fundamentally degrading when a man, who because of his looks, or quirks, or whatever, cannot attract a woman, and has to pay her to have sex with him?

JENN CLAMEN: One of the biggest myths about clients of sex workers is that they are ugly, pathetic and desperate. A lot of people who frequent sex workers are either married or in relationships. There are many reasons why people seek out sex workers. It could be the kind of sex they want. As far as Iím concerned, better to seek the services of a sex worker than have a partner in a relationship take on a lover in secret. Again, if there is a sense of degradation in sex work I would suggest that this results from a value system that has been imposed on us that makes people feel guilty doing what they want to do. Guilt about indulging in sex is inauthentic guilt.

ARTS & OPINION: Is that what mystifies most of us about sex work, we just canít get past the idea that sex is what you make of it, that it is not subject to any prior laws or disposition?

JENN CLAMEN: Sex work is mystifying only if you work under the assumption that sex necessarily leads to bonding. Sexual relations facilitate bonding and help sustain a bond, but in and of themselves they donít constitute the bond that designates a couple. Many sex workers have boyfriends, even husbands. They will tell you that their work is work, and that they havenít necessarily developed any personal bond with their clients. Again, this depends on the type of service they offer and how often they see the same client because there are a lot of sex workers who will say they bond with their clients. The biggest mistake that people can make is using, as a matter of convenience, a single portrait to define sex workers and/or their clients. This kind of stereotyping usually doesnít help to further peopleís understanding of human nature.

The sex worker rights movement is big and strong, with over 60,000 sex workers in Calcutta alone! A lot of the clients, in fact, take part in the activities and celebrations of sex workers in India. The sex worker rights movement has brought forward in a single voice the just cause of sex work and sex workers rights, and has helped to educate the world at large in demystifying the life and work of the sex worker.

Full article at http://www.artsandopinion.com/2005_v4_n1/clamen.html