Letter to the Gazette: “Addressing prostitution, promiscuity in war on AIDS”

Today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette publishes a letter from Jendi Reiter. Jendi is a co-founder of NoPornNorthampton. One can characterize prostitution and promiscuity as ‘personal choices’, but the problem of containing serious diseases remains. The fact that third parties, such as the spouses of men who frequent prostitutes, are affected by these diseases must also be confronted.

To the editor:

Laurie Garrett’s column on the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (“Perils of Moralizing Foreign Aid” , May 5-6) wrongly minimizes the social costs of prostitution and promiscuity. Garrett argues that the Bush administration is imposing arbitrary, repressive religious values when it conditions AIDS funding on a nation’s willingness to denounce prostitution. She also criticizes the government for supporting AIDS programs that encourage abstinence outside marriage and faithfulness within it.

Most sex workers in developing nations are more like slaves than they are like the “D.C. Madam”. Trafficking in women is a human rights violation that self-styled progressives like Garrett should oppose. Moreover, heterosexual women in the Third World, who lack the social power to enforce safe-sex guidelines in their relationships, are being infected with AIDS at an alarming rate by husbands who patronize prostitutes.

The connection between AIDS, prostitution and infidelity is not an invention of the religious right. Gay activist and journalist Gabriel Rotello, in his groundbreaking book “Sexual Ecology”, concluded, after careful study of the epidemiological data, that the “condom code” had failed and that only monogamy (or, as a second-best, a serious reduction in the number of partners) could prevent AIDS and other STDs from wiping out the gay male community. Like the highly promiscuous men he studied, prostitutes who engage in unsafe sex – in their case, generally not by choice – constitute a “core group” that sustains an epidemic and allows it to cross over to the general population. If Garrett is not concerned about the morality of selling women’s bodies, she should at least take the science of disease prevention seriously, instead of hijacking this issue to advance a naive agenda of sexual liberation.
See also:

Realities of Teen Prostitution Mock Notions of ‘Sex Work’, ‘Sex-Positive’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empowerment’; Media Glamorizes Pimps
Advocates for ‘sex work’ say it is or should be about free choice and the empowerment of women. They claim that if prostitutes have troubled lives, this stems from the fact that many (unenlightened) people find prostitution offensive and the government doesn’t care enough about prostitutes’ working conditions, rather than anything inherent in exchanging sex for money or the common power differences between prostitutes vs. pimps and johns. They ignore the fact that a large proportion of prostitutes begin when they are underage…

Pornography Trains and Indoctrinates Prostitutes
In a study of 475 people in prostitution (including women, men, and the transgendered) from five countries (South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, USA, and Zambia)…92% stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately…

Porn Use Correlates with Infidelity, Prostitution, Aggression, Rape-Supportive Beliefs

In 2004, researchers reported in Social Science Quarterly that “People who have engaged in paid sex (i.e. used prostitution) or had extramarital affairs were three times as likely to have used cyberporn than those who did not.”

In 2004, researchers also reported in Social Science Quarterly that “Individuals who have had an extramarital affair are 3.18 times more likely to have used Internet pornography than individuals who did not have affairs.”

Carol Queen: Time for the Porn Film Industry to Stop Being a Poster Child of Heterosexual HIV Transmission
Extremely risky acts are safer when condoms are correctly used. To porn fans for whom the sight of a condom is pleasure-squelching, I say: Get used to it. The (heterosexual) adult industry has for 20 years shirked an opportunity to help normalize condom use. This doesn’t just put its own talent at risk. It puts viewers and their partners at risk as well.

Martin Amis: “A rough trade” (explicit)
“I have herpes,” said [porn actress] Chloe as she drove me to a smoker-friendly bar. “After you’ve been in this business for a while, you have herpes. Everyone has herpes…. My movies are all-condom, but condoms won’t protect you from herpes. They don’t cover the base. Sometimes when you’re doing girl-girl you’ll say, ‘Honey, I think you should go and see someone.’ It can be a very stinky scene down there….”

What Capital Video Sells (explicit language)
Movies that promote infidelity, despair, call women “sluts” and “whores”

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