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Allegations that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer met with a high-priced prostitute have shined a fresh light on the most expensive side of the world's oldest profession. Many scholars have investigated the attitudes, beliefs, motives, and behavior of male clients of female sex workers.
However, few have examined individual differences in major dimensions of personality expressed by men who purchase prostitution compared to those who do not. Although several evolutionary psychologists have studied prostitution and those involved in sex work, to our knowledge, none have explicitly considered the utility of an evolutionary personality perspective in trying to understand why particular men pay for sex. Prostitution is often called the oldest profession in the world, although I suspect politics came first.
Of course, there are strong similarities between the two professions — we tend to get screwed by both, but politicians end up being a lot more expensive. Politics is also a safer career choice, but apart from the odd assassination, politicians tend not to get physically attacked or killed.
Prostitutes, on the other hand, get killed on a regular basis.
The next riskiest jobs in the country were male taxicab drivers 29 perand female liquor store workers 4 perContrary to general belief, women are just as capable of cruelty and murder as men, but men are more likely to be physically violent and destructive. Read: 'Munchausen by internet' — mother kills son for attention. Women tend to be personally involved with their victims: husband or boyfriend, child or parent.
Men seem more likely to murder randomly, opportunistically, wanting to get away with it, to do it again. Maybe to a minor degree such ideas may help other killers feel justified, even though their motives are deeper and darker. Such people are more likely to be mentally disturbed, even psychotic, with garbled explanations why they need to play the role of executioner. Coincidentally, the dedicated detective who caught him, Timothy Dowd, died very recently, aged The main reason prostitutes get killed is probably because they are uniquely vulnerable, which means that their killers may have a better chance of escaping justice.
These are marginalised people who tend to steer clear of the police and their disappearance is therefore unlikely to be reported.
When Joel Rifkin confessed to killing 17 prostitutes around New York from tonot one of them had ever been reported missing. Read: Famous serial killers. The relationship between sexual activity and murder varies: some killers may attack the woman after they have had sex, or during sex, and some may prefer to have sex after killing them. The can get muddled in complex ways. Last year there was a case in Australia where a man who worked as a gigolo, and also a male hustler, murdered his transgender wife who also worked as an escort. Do homosexual clients kill male hustlers?
Apparently so, as in the case of the brutal robbery and murder of a gay flight attendant during a layover in Mexico City, but much less commonly than straight men kill hookers.
Read: Hate crimes burden the health of transgender people in SA. There are relatively few media reports of prostitutes killing clients. One is the recent case of the aptly named Ms Tichelman who was arrested last year in California for killing the rich man who hired her for sex on his yacht.
During their festivities, she injected him with so much heroin that he died on the spot. A security camera showed her, as he lay dying, sipping a glass of wine as she stepped back and forth over him to gather her belongings, rather than calling an ambulance.
The figures show major differences according to where and how the women work. Street prostitutes are at much higher risk than call girls and those who work in massage parlours and brothels. This means that the risk is ificantly lower where sex work is legal, though there are still occasional attacks on women working in legal brothels.
In more accepting and regulated societies, conditions are definitely safer.
In Amsterdam, only two prostitutes have been murdered during the last 5 years. Sometimes sex work is legal only when the women work alone, rather than in groups, increasing the degree of risk. Read: Durban prostitute decapitated for traditional medicine. Other policing attempts to discourage prostitution also increase risk of assault or murder.
Apart from violent clients, the women are also at risk from pimps who protect themselves and their profits rather than the women who supposedly pay them for protection. Where sex work is illegal, the police tend to focus on arresting them as criminals, and are less likely to investigate attacks on sex workers.
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People forget that a prostitute can also be raped, just as someone selling anything else can be robbed. Prostitution has always been present within society, and almost always regarded with disapproval. It is also a very dangerous occupation — so dangerous that it almost amounts to an acceptance of capital punishment for those who engage in it.
It seems anomalous that other activities that cause more harm to individuals and society, while dangerous, are considerably less dangerous. Drug dealers, for instance, are not often killed by their clients, and they arguably cause much more harm to society than prostitutes. Read: Drug abuse. In a sense we behave as though prostitutes are solely responsible for what goes on between them and their clients, even though in reality their clients are equally involved.
Rappers, pop stars and sportsmen also provide the public with a lot of pleasure, but because their activities are not of an overtly sexual nature they are allowed to charge a much higher price for their efforts with much less risk to themselves. Men are physically violent and destructive.
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