Our friends over at Jezebel reported today on the British government’s decision to pay to send a 21-year-old, disabled man to Amsterdam to get it on with a prostitute.
Yes, you read that sentence right — the government is now in the business of funding sex. Which is both a massive breakthrough, and a curious twist.
First of all, the idea of encouraging healthy sexual expression among everyone — able-bodied or otherwise — is a massive step in the right direction. And as the original article in the Daily Mail points out, “Sex for those with disabilities is one of the last taboos.” So the fact that the government is acknowledging that this young man would want to have sex, and encouraging him to learn about his own sexuality, is the good part of the story.
The flip side — of which there are many, so maybe I should say, one of the flip sides — is the gender question: 1. the same thing would probably never be done for a 21-year-old woman, and 2. the sex worker who he is going to visit receives no such fair treatment under UK law.
A quick Google search reveals that in the UK, prostitution itself is legal, but streetwalking — or “kerb crawling,” is illegal, as is running a brothel. So the government thinks that it’s perfectly OK to use the services provided in a brothel, but still keep brothels criminal and therefore make the work less safe for women. So — want to go have sex with some nameless, faceless foreign woman? We’ll pay for it! Want to offer sex in a brothel in our own country? No fucking way. The hypocrisy of sex work laws, highlighted and underlined in black ink! Men have the right to get sex by any means necessary, but women do not have the right to have sex for any reason they want.