Whatever you may think of the ethics, morality, or aesthetics of sex work, the prohibitionist approach doesn’t work any better in the context of sex than it does in the context of booze, guns, or drugs. Prohibition of sex work puts sex workers at risk, even when criminal sanctions are aimed at the clients rather than the providers. And that, according to Margaret Corvid, is Why It’s OK To Pay For Sex:

This essay isn’t about how nice my sex work clients usually are, how sex work can be therapeutic, or how we sex workers often work with disabled clients. It isn’t about the etiquette or morality of paying for sex, and it doesn’t offer advice to prospective clients or their loved ones.

These things are sometimes important and vital to this discussion, but the biggest reason that paying for sex is okay has nothing to do with convincing anyone that it’s a virtuous, liberatory, or feminist act.

Paying for sex is okay because if you’re for shaming and arresting our clients — owing to the fact that you think sex work is, for lack of a better word, gross — you’re for putting sex worker lives at risk in the name of a misguided moralism.

White feminism — tone policing, All-Lives-Matter spouting, pumpkin-spice-drinking white feminism –thinks it knows what’s best for everyone who isn’t itself, including sex workers, and it’s happy for the police to help it press its points home, no matter how many of our lives it destroys in the process.

Intersectional feminism, however, tries to have a different relationship with police. We’ll critique them, but we don’t turn to police as a tool to transform our racist and sexist society. Intersectional feminism demands that it’s okay to sell sex and to pay for it, because no other approach serves the human rights of sex workers and the reduction of risk and harm in our work.

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