Re-framing "demand" (part 1)

Part one of this very complex and diverse topic

"End Demand" has been a continuous topic among those involved in ending human trafficking.  The basic premise is: if you implement strategies to reduce the demand for sexual labor, you will end the need for the supply.  Most of these efforts focus on increasing attention on the consumers (the "demand"), and the idea that if they can get more men to stop purchasing sexual labor, of ANY kind (even legal forms like porn and going to strip clubs), that the incentive for the supply side will shrink, ergo making it no longer profitable for a trafficker to put effort in to exploiting laborers, and also reducing the number of persons engaging in selling of sex as a whole. 

This theory probably sounds really good on paper to those that have never worked in the sex trades, but it shows their
naiveté (at best), and lack of true understanding about the real reasons people buy and sell sex, not to mention the flexibility and endurance of the sex trades as a whole.  There is more then one reason it is the world's oldest profession, and part of that is because no other industry is able to morph and shift to accommodate the demand...a demand that will be ever-present, regardless of attempts by moralists to force humans into a subscribed way of thinking or living.  Since our sex drive is one of the basic instincts of humans (to varying degrees, for sure, but a part of each and every one of us), thinking you can eliminate the desire to satiate that need is like saying we can eliminate other instincts, such as eating.  Considering that human relationships (whether intimate, sexual or otherwise) often involve a lot of complexity, including negotiation and societal pressures, it seems logical (at least to me) as to why outlets for immediate, no-strings attached, professional outlets will always be needed to some degree in society.  Even in a perfect world of everyone being able to find a suitable partner (free from social phobias, disabilities, and other hindrances), being able to openly communicate their needs and desires with willing and accepting partners, we STILL have amazing and creative brains that CRAVE stimulation, get bored easily, and strive to tinker with almost any thought and invention that comes down the pike.  This is part of what makes our species so amazing!  This is how and why we have come so far in technology, medicine and we came from inventing fire to sending men and women up into space!  There is always something more to learn, and new land to explore, and new way of thinking, and this is of course applied towards our instincts and thinking with sex.  Reducing the "demand" for sex to simplified arguments of exploitation ignores all of this, and in the process of trying to push that myopic viewpoint, runs the risk of creating issues elsewhere, and on far greater numbers as a whole.

And I'm not trying to disregard the element of misogyny and oppression that plays a part in there...  Certainly not all reasons for seeking out commercialized sex are about nurturing, exploration and consensual fantasy roles.  So the question then becomes: how to we address the things that oppress and exploit without taking away the things that are needed and helpful to others?   



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