Prosititution on the Cutting Edge of Science

Apparently this prostitute reads New Scientist, volunteers in her community, and books by e-mail. Since, as the New Scientist reported, people lie more often by phone than e-mail, she gets fewer cancellations and people who pay for missed visits.

Mass hysteria! Dogs and cats living together! Prostitutes volunteering and having a missed appointment charge policy!

Thanks to Marginal Revolution for keeping on top of this vitally important social issue.

12 thoughts on “Prosititution on the Cutting Edge of Science

  1. Some people seem surprised that a prostitute reads a magazine like “New Scientist” and likes to help her community.

    I chose prostitution because it was the best way to earn the money to get a better life. Also got so fed-up with working in an office with all the back-stabbing and other office politics that go on.

    As I work for myself, I choose when I want to work. So I have time to voluteer for non-profit community organisations. This is a two-way thing – I can share my skills and I learn new things / help my community. After all, helping each other is what being human is all about.

    Yes, I like reading “New Scientist” and other magazines as I’m interested in what’s going on in the world.

    A prostitute is just like any other person with dreams, hopes, and needs. We are human.


  2. While I personally believe your profession should be legal between consenting adults, you have to admit that you’re a bit of an outlier, to use a “New Scientist”-esque term.

    It would be like discovering that your local crack house (or politician) received “Science News” and organized river-side cleanups. Sure, it could happen, but most crack houses (or houses of legislature) are not occupied by such people.


  3. Oh, I don’t know if Ms. Astre is such an “outlier”.

    I’m a transgender prostitute living in San Francisco who is also a political activist, for libertarian and sex worker causes; my primary interest off work is in fantasy role-playing gaming. I chose the Life because it was a place where my creative side could be rewarded or at least accepted, rather than punished… I originally turned out as my way to “go on strike” in protest against a world did not reward my intellectual or artistic efforts, then found I loved the work and truly found myself spiritually in it. Now I’ve decided to make prostituion my vocation and am happy for the first time in my life.

    Prostitutes are people like any one else, and although society’s treatment of prostitutes definitely gives a nasty tone to much of the business, there is still just a diversity of types out here. I don’t read “New Scientist”, but I am well read in Rand, Foucault, Strauss, and am generally quite educated. There’s nothing incompatible between being a working girl and being intellectual- the geishas and the hetaerae were virtually the only women in their societies permitted or encouraged to education.

    I don’t share all of Ms. Astre’s values, but I 100% percent agree with her when she says that “A prostitute is just like any other person with dreams, hopes, and needs. We are human.” Amen, sister. When people see inhumanity in prostitution they are seeing the inhumanity of fear and sex-hatred, state authority and patriarchy. There is no inhumanity a profession of pleasure.


    miss Shiris


  4. There may in fact be hundreds of such women/men/other out there. I even agree completely that prostitutes are people, too. I sometimes admit this about politicians. None of that invalidates my comment that intellectual prostitues are not the average for the profession.

    There are many computer programmers who are personable and fantastic with schmoozing. I myself do fairly well when talking to clients. However, that doesn’t make me representative of the profession. The software profession’s reputation as a storehouse of those who don’t do as well with social skills is well-earned.


  5. Nice to hear from you, miss Shiris. And I read your comments with interest, Sandy.

    I’m a transsexual woman prostitute and I quite agree prostitution is a business of giving pleasure.

    Down here in New Zealand prostitution is a legal profession since the passing of the Prostitution Reform Act last year.

    There are, I think, a number of reasons why prostitution is considered inhuman. First is the illegal nature of it in most countries. This is, in effect, saying women who want to charge for sex are not entitled to legal or human rights. Yet any woman who has many partners but does not receive money is considered to be moral.

    This is probably because a lot of men consider it is there god-given right to have sex when they want it. Hence the large number of rapes.

    It is also a power thing. Sex is the “Archilles Heal” of men and this is one area where women have control over men. Women who object to prostitution probably, deep down, envy these women who have power.

    And, of course, if one group of women are given rights then others will want them too. It wasn’t too long ago when women didn’t have the right to vote, etc. And in many countries women are still considered the property of men.

    And like working as a prostitute and consider it a good career move. No bowing and cowtowing to bosses, making them coffee, and the like. I am my own boss. I get the rewards of my efforts.

    And Sandy, many prostitutes are very intelligent capable women. We come from all walks of life. It is a sterotype that hookers are dim-witted and are only capable of opening their legs. They are like any other group of women, except they charge for what other women give free.


  6. I’m not sure, other than perhaps reflexive defensiveness borne of being in a profession that is looked down upon by many, how my comments are being interpreted as saying prostitutes are “inhuman” or even “dim-witted.”

    Since prostitution is illegal in most places (and bravo Kiwiland for joining Nevada and the Netherlands among the ranks of the sane), it tends to attract those who are in dire straits because they don’t have marketable skills or because of some other problem that renders it hard for them to get work, such as drug abuse (something I also think should be legal among consenting adults).

    Again, this is a consequence of prostitution being illegal. Were it legal, it would be more representative.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean it would be considered usual for intellectuals to take the job. Nobody looks down on secretaries (well, I’m sure some do, but not in the moral sense that some look down upon prostitution–and if you’ve worked in any large organization, you learn that good secretaries are worth far more than most of the management types “above” them), but secretaries are not known for reading Foucault at lunch. The job doesn’t necessarily demand an intellectual bent.

    Perhaps this line is giving people problems:

    “Mass hysteria! Dogs and cats living together! Prostitutes volunteering and having a missed appointment charge policy!”

    That’s a takeoff on a quote from Ghost Busters, and the intent was to be humorous. If you haven’t seen that movie, you won’t get the tone. I ask a lot of my readers, and traditional intellectuals are often surprised by the texts with which I expect they be familiar. But popular culture is also culture and a shared reference point just as the literary canon is.

    “Yet any woman who has many partners but does not receive money is considered to be moral.”

    Um, you’ve never lived in the American South, most of East Asia, Eastern Europe, or really any very small towns, have you? There are lots of people (I am not among them) who consider women with many partners to be immoral–or the word “slut” would not have remained in the English language.

    “And Sandy, many prostitutes are very intelligent capable women.”

    For the last time–I know this. But that doesn’t mean they are the average for the profession. See my above example of computer programmers.

    Perhaps the confusion is the equation in Europe or European-style areas, such as Boston, San Francisco , or apparently New Zealand, of intellectualism with moral superiority. There is no such equation in the US, for many and varied historical and cultural reasons. So it isn’t quite the moral disjunct that it may appear for those fighting against viewing prostitutes as immoral in other places. Perhaps for you, prostitutes are considered the lowest of the low and intellectuals the highest of the high.

    In the US, prostitues are generally (AGAIN, NOT BY FRICKIN’ ME–HOW MANY TIMES MUST I SAY THIS) considered immoral, but intellectuals have no particular moral place–in fact, in small towns they’re regarded as slightly suspect. But an indolent intellectual everywhere is considered to be a bit lower on the morality scale than, say, a very hard-working carpenter. Note that former US president Jimmy Carter is respected more for his picking up a hammer and building houses with Habitat for Humanity than he is for his articles on foreign policy.

    Perhaps my crack house (and legislature) example gave offence. A better one is the computer programmer example. It’s just unexpected, and legitimately so. I’d post it if a ditch digger utilized cutting-edge geometrical formulae to find the ideal shape of a ditch, too. Ditch diggers can be intelligent capable people…but it doesn’t mean they as a rule are.

    So to sum up: my opinion of the morality or humanity of a person is largely unaffected by what profession they choose, even if it’s one I wouldn’t choose myself (barring murder or, of course, anything to do with politics). I recognize that there are all sorts of people doing all sorts of things.

    But I refuse to let that recognition prevent me from calling attention to the unusual, and I refuse to be cast as pronouncing judgment when I do.


  7. Thanks for your comments, Sandy.

    No, I wasn’t casting aspersions against you or anything you said. I know you were not putting prostitutes down. Just doing a bit of stiring (one of my bad habits). And nothing you’ve said has caused me offence – I’ve taken it in the way you’ve intended (my sense of humour is another bad habit).

    I never consider any person to be superior or inferior according to the work they do. And, as you say, it’s amazing how some higher-ups in business keep their jobs. I agree, without secretaries business would be in a worse mess than it is now.

    I guess this is why I did a bit of lobbying to ge prostitution in Kiwiland decriminalised. Also have worked on transgender issues as well – very into human rights and abhore any form of discrimination, except perhaps against politicians (probably spelt that wrong – my brain has gone on strike here). But they’re quite different from people.

    The purpose of my note was tohopefully get others, not YOU Sandy, to see prostitutes in a better light.


  8. Ah, ok, I get it now–I should never post first thing in the morning, as my brain isn’t fully on.

    All this plus watching Joss Whedon’s short-lived show “Firefly” has got me thinking more about prostitution and legalization thereof. When I post my ramblings I’ll leave a comment with a link here, because as much as I can theorize and read articles, I’m not a prostitute (well, not for sex, anyway). And I don’t live in a place that is going to legalize it very soon, I’m afraid. So I’d be curious to get the reactions of both you, Yvette, and Miss Shiris, and well, anybody else who reads this.


  9. As a regular “New Scientist” reader I took the time to read this blog (something I do not regularly do). Miss Yvette’s stout comments are an inspiration, no matter what your moral or intellectual view point may (or may not) be. Keep up the good work, gal. N


  10. I am pleasantly surprised to see posting about prostitution on this site. We (prostitutes) have obviously spreading our wings further & wider than I realised! I am a Dominatrix from the UK, coming up to retirement now. What does a prostitute do when she/he retires? Well for me after years of being in the profession, as well as doing a degree in criminal psychology & setting up an agency for the homeless 14yrs ago. I have decided to write & use my art to underpin my writing. I write about changing the views that most people have about prostitutes & prostitution. The age old profession of prostitution despite all efforts to surpress/moralize/criminalize has failed & will always fail. The way forward must be to integrate this vital service into the communities at large. To be educated to understand more about these people & this profession than has been before. Ignorance breeds fear. Sexual fear is strong & fearsome in its nature. Hence the terrible attacks & murders on its victims. If we fail to realise this fact, we are doomed to generations of sex offenders, beyond anything we have ever seen before. Nor will these attacks just involve prostitutes, they have & are involving just women, regardless of what they do or who they are. I would go so far as to say we have an `obligation` to humanity & society as a whole to right this wrong & start to look at sex & those who work within those perimeters from a different angle than we have before. We as humanity suffer greatly from sexual disfunctions, wether we admit it or not! Prostitutes & those that work in the sex industry are the `sexual experts` of the future. Wow, what skills they hold within their capable psyche.


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