Under what Conditions, if any, is Prostitution morally acceptable?


Under what conditions, if any, is prostitution morally acceptable?

While prostitution is appreciated by some on all social aspects, itis abhorred by others as an immoral act. Prostitution has evolvedfrom an ancient trade to an activity that is practiced by both menand women. Emerging trends in this practice include male prostitutes,gay prostitutes, prostitute unions and the commercialization of thepractice. This paper seeks to highlight the situations in whichprostitution is justifiable through a strong background and readingreviews regarding prostitution.

1.Key Issues and Values.

  • The issue of sexual morality is at stake here. Some may argue that sex is sacred and therefore should be used for the sole reason of procreation. The same line of thought proposes that people should stop using birth control because they encourage sexual activity without the aim of procreating. A conflicting group argues that there is no problem in enjoying sex. Apart from dolphins, it is only humans that have sex for fun. It is simply how they were designed.

  • Chastity is a value that many societies hold dear. Chastity prohibits having sexual relations with multiple partners. However, as is the norm with prostitution, a commercial Sex worker can have sex with up to five different people in a night. The same applies to the clients. The next time they feel they urge to have sex they will seek another partner thereby increasing the number of sexual partners over time.

  • Prostitution also features in the issue of fornication. According to society, sex is only to be enjoyed by married couples. Of course, the prostitutes and their clients are not married. Young boys and girls that need to experiment with sex will only need to move to the nearest brothel to have first-hand experience. On the contrary, if young, unmarried people are not taught the importance of abstaining, they would still have sex even if there were no prostitutes in the society.

  • Female prostitution contravenes the values of feminism. Feminists have been fighting tooth and nail to destroy the notion of women as sex objects. They (feminists) claim that men, since time immemorial, have only attached sexual importance to women. Female prostitution enables perverted men to enhance their fetish of using women as sex objects.

  • Prostitution completely rubbishes the value of romantic love. It has been the norm for human beings that love each other to have sex. The sex is a result of knowing each other and developing a connection. In prostitution, the client barely knows the name of the service provider. They are not romantically connected. Theirs is more like mating, only difference being that they do not intend to conceive.

  • Some may argue that prostitution destroys human dignity. Human dignity is what separates us from other creatures. The act of peddling flesh on the cold streets or in the brothels rids the individual of self-pride. Most of those that engage in the trade are not particularly proud of what they do for money. Another school of thought compares prostitution to any other job. As long as it brings in money, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • The issue of extra- marital sex is also at stake here. Although not the primary reason, prostitution has encouraged married couples to seek sexual gratification elsewhere. It is more efficient than having affairs because of the little time it consumes. However, for a spouse to cheat, it will be a personal choice. Nobody has ever been forced to visit a brothel because they had sexual frustrations in their marriage. Prostitution supporters claim that those who cheat do it on their own volition but not because prostitution makes sex readily available. Even if there were no prostitutes, a determined spouse would still cheat with the next available person.

  1. Review of Readings

Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues, LewisVaughn

Argumentative conclusion (Thesis)

Making moral decisions is an active process that involves logicaltools.


  1. Morality of sexual acts like prostitution is the same for me and women, as it involves the same logical processes. Sex and the morality behind it are misrepresented in most writings, including philosophical writings. Therefore, the view about the morality of sex, and sexual practices like prostitution is biased. According Vaugh, morality of sexual acts is subject to different views because of the different perspective people have on the sexual acts.

  2. Sexual morality is affected by the interpretation influenced by love attachment to sexuality. Both women and men have emotional attachments that lead the definition of their individual needs. Using this perspective, prostitution can be said to be acceptable to those who gain from the act and unacceptable to those who feel they are not gaining.

Moral Crusade against prostitution, Ronald Weitzer

Argumentative conclusion (Thesis)

Prostitution is immoral and should not be allowed under anycircumstances.


  1. Female Prostitution is an example of male domination over women. The trade is marred with violence against women. Prostitution has never been, or can never be an arrangement in which both parties serve their interests. Female prostitutes will always get the bitter end of the bargain.

  2. Female prostitutes are victims who lack agency. The distinction between voluntary and forced prostitution is fallacious. No woman would enjoy repeated rape if she had an alternative means of survival.

Confessions of a Modern Male Prostitute, Andreas Glas

Argument: Male prostitutes undergo psychological trauma, despite whatmany may think.


  1. The writer is a gives the story of male prostitute. In a week, he makes about $6000. His life is money, women and sex- typically every man’s dream. However, at the end of the day, the male prostitute feels empty. He confesses to a feeling unworthiness.

  2. He also says he does not like the way some women treat him. They take him for a sex machine. He claims that some women may demand up to eight acts of sex in a night. Some demand that he does demeaning things to them. If he had an alternative, he would look for another job.

The ethics of prostitution, Michael LaBossiere

Argument: Prostitution is not entirely wrong.


  1. In a counterargument to feminists ideas, the author argues that female prostitution involves coercion by men. It may not be directly, but the patriarchal society somehow makes them feel it is okay to join the vice. The writer says that prostitution is justified if an individual decides to join freely. Using the feminists approach, it would mean that we are all coerced to work by the capitalists because they dominate the economy.

  2. The exploitative nature of prostitution is also experienced in any other job. Corporates make billions but pay peanuts to their employees. The same applies to pimps and brothel owners. The only difference between the pimps and other employers is that, the former is attacked by the public for engaging in an immoral business. No form of exploitation is better than the other.

Gender and economic interests in tourism prostitution, MichaelHall

Argumentative conclusion: prostitution is the major driving force insex tourism.


  1. Prostitution is making countries like Thailand to experience an upsurge in tourism. People visit the country because of sex. It is therefore wrong to underestimate the need for sex among the populace. Sex is almost a basic need. People are willing to cross borders just for sex.

  2. The only wrong thing with prostitution is if it involves slavery, violence, and coercion. Otherwise, it serves the interests of many than the masses would admit.

  1. Model Answer

Prostitution is morally acceptable because of the situations thatjustify it. For instance, prostitution is morally acceptable when aperson sees it as a way of getting sexual gratification whiletravelling. An example would be that of a person whose job involvestravelling around the world. People in this category cannot sustain amarriage, let alone a relationship. Without judging them, we allunderstand that they have sexual needs. It is justified for suchpeople to hire the services of a prostitute.

Prostitution is morally acceptable when it is practiced by a group ofpeople belonging to the category of those who cannot maintain arelationship. For instance, the people who are physically challengedand do not get nobody to fall in love with. Like any other humans,they have sexual needs too. It is justified for them to engage inprostitution.

Prostitution is morally acceptable because it is used to get incomefor livelihood and in situations of do or die. Picture a singlemother (or dad) of four in a third world country. The mother isunemployed and her kids need to eat. The only readily form of incomeis if she sells her body. If she does not, her kids will die. It isnot fair to judge such individuals because circumstances pushed themto.

Prostitution is morally acceptable or justified when it is done toavoid more harmful repercussions like violence or death. Forinstance, trafficked individuals have to engage in prostitutionbecause they are forced to. If they rebel, they might end up dead.They have to engage in prostitution if they desire to live. Suchpeople are forced into prostitution against their own will. It istherefore justifiable for them to engage in prostitution.

  1. Related Scenarios.

Why does it not raise eyebrows when people date because of money? Acase in point involves a man or a woman taking another man or a womanout on an expensive date. After the date, the book a hotel room orhead to the financier’s home for a night of sex. Without theexpensive date, there would be no sex on that particular night. Howdifferent is the culture of dating from prostitution? What about theyouth that enter into relationships with older people because ofmoney? Is that not prostitution in disguise?

  1. Paradigm Analysis


Rule Utilitarianism

Prostitution is not justified under anycircumstance

  • Degrades the dignity of women and men involved

  • Leads to sexual violence on both gender

  • Increases the male dominance over women

  • It is immoral to have sex for money

  • Encourages fornication in the society

Act Utilitarianism

Prostitution is justified under the followingcircumstances

  • Lack of a close sexual partner

  • Having a busy schedule

  • For sexual gratification

  • To generate income for a living