If we’re happy, we’re just the exceptions

This article in New York Magazine, titled “The Affairs of Men”, attempts to explore “the trouble with sex and marriage”.

I have no doubt that most readers on Bound, Not Gagged will find the entire article interesting, to say the least. But I want to call your attention to page 5 of this lengthy piece.

The author speaks with Sven-Axel Mansson, a man who “had spent many years studying prostitutes in Sweden and argued that the desire of men for prostitutes had nothing to do with sexual “needs.” Rather, the drive is socially ordained: because men need to project their own sexual feelings onto a “dirty whore,” or because powerful men like Spitzer want to give up power for an hour or two.”

Armed with print-outs from Debauchette’s blog, the author asks Mansson “about the implicit argument in Debauchette’s writings that prostitution can be legalized, dignified.”

To which Mansson replied:

“I have a hard time from the research I’ve been doing to valorize this as a social institution … [But] I have met women who said that. Women who really think that they enjoy being prostitutes, being ‘sex workers,’ as they say. They would say, ‘I feel in command, I have determination over my life situation in a way I’ve never had it before. I’m loved by my customers.’ But these are the exceptions. They are not the main.” Had these women been given a choice, they would have chosen other things. “Because even among these women, you would find there it has a high cost. Problems with intimacy and sexuality after they quit their career. They dissociate their feelings in order to survive … The problem has been to make it whole again.”

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