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Prostitution as a Social Behavior

Criminology and theories of crime help law enforcement professionals to explain and understand the causes of criminal behavior and develop effective strategies to reduce crime rates and prevent criminal behavior. Prostitution is a social behavior identified as illegal sexual services for money. The problem of prostitution can be explained using two criminal theories: social structure theory and social process theory. In terms of social disorganization theory, many women have no possibilities to escape prostitution because of low-class location and lack of education. The law does not regulate the exact encounters or relationships between social classes, so it cannot regulate relationships that women from low classes have – mainly those women who are judged to be abusive.

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Researchers state that survival could be explained in terms of the simple issue of supply and demand – as long as there are men who want to use sexual services, there will always be prostitution (Brown et al 2004). In terms of social disorganization theory, a person’s thinking processes are determined by social environment and communication with other persons. So, if women communicate with other prostitutes it is likely that they will follow the same behavior patterns as other prostitutes.

Thus underpinning law on prostitution is a recognition of its survival, but an acceptance predicated on the issues that prostitutes and prostitution create a specific public difficulty and are consequently subject to legal intervention. Attitudes, held by prostitutes, are not innate but acquired during life. Though, since then there have been several attempts to identify the exact nature of the trouble caused by prostitution. In more recent publications it has been argued that prostitution causes a public concern because it supports a culture that increases both the fear of crime experienced by citizens, mainly women, in societies where prostitution is widespread (Samaha, 2005).

To the researchers, the behavior of women prostitutes is conditioned. In attempting to bring some sort of order to the complexity of causes, researchers find main distinctions: As soon as social learning components are unearthed in increasing number, schools of thought appeared, emphasizing this or that causal element. Although scientific arguments are not missing, the struggle goes on between the fatalistic and the optimistic points. Being emotionally rooted opinions, neither could persuade the other by pointing at its exclusive findings and by drawing different conclusions from the same facts. It is inevitable that the different views concerning the chief causes entailed different cures.

Logically and philosophically this distinction may be reasonable. However, from the point of view of criminology, every conditioning factor must be regarded as a real and genuine cause whose removal from the causal chain might alter the result so that a crime would not happen. Whether we succeed in changing a trait of nature or the configuration of surrounding issues, researchers have prevented a crime (Samaha, 2005).

Social learning theory states that individual learn their behavior patterns and imitate interaction patterns they observe. in terms of this theory, prostitution is a learned behavior influenced by neighborhood settings and friends. The effects of sexual experiences are sometimes as “split” as the minds of many women. No researcher would consider the association of a beginner in prostitution with an old confirmed criminal as good or desirable.

The weakness of the theory is that it does not explain economic and personal factors of influence on the individual. For instance, race and sex are also important factors of prostitution and crimes, thus social learning theory cannot explain these causes of crime. Also, the prisoners, the cell mate, the casual or chosen companions are a completely opposing set of determining forces (Brown et al 2004).

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In order to manage prostitution and sexual services, the state should introduce effective economic policies and improve education opportunities for women from low social classes. The very visibility of such women thus causes the public irritation that is the problem of prostitution (Brown et al 2004). The state and local communities should support these women and propose them alternative jobs in their community.

The problem is that prostitution is a social problem caused by economic factors and high unemployment rates. In other words, prostitutes’ lives are so unbalanced that these women have need of what has been thought of as an abusive relationship. They are unlike other citizens because behavior such as taking or challenging a woman’s earnings has a basically different meaning for prostitute women (Bowling and Phillips 2002).

An arrangement of social learning factors according to relative weight, manageability, and ambivalence must come later. For many researchers, immediate problem is to determine the causes, regardless of their interrelation or ability to remove them without detriment to other vital social relations. After having isolated theoretically the etiological elements, the researchers can start experimenting with new causal combinations, taking out this factor, adding perhaps that one.

If the analysis has been correct, crime-reducing results will not be long in coming. However, since females often attain their criminal ends through the medium of male crime and since abandonment to immoral life may be a substitute for serious property delinquency, statistical figures, even if they have been registered at the beginning of the trial, are of little value. This conclusion certainly holds true as far as the criminal disposition of the female sex is concerned. Indiscriminate sex relations for profit cannot be counted or ascertained by any statistical method. They are lost in the vast realm of sex escapades and fancies, without street publicity, without cash transactions, and without permanence. Social learning may be involved, but an undertone of profit making for the woman, or sometimes her male partner, is present.

This separate behavior is mounted on a women body. From the combination of social learning sexuality and grown-up organism it derives its criminological significance. Since it develops later and departs earlier its tempo is accelerated. The evolutional as well as the evolutional tendencies are shortened and intensified. In the male the process pursues a relatively even tenor of its wave. In contrast, in the female the slowly rising and slowly declining curve is broken by separate reproductive revolutions, which appear in the shape of grave bodily and mental crises. There are a few self-chosen all-male and all-female groups, but most of them are imposed by society.

Some social learning issues, such as convents, are all-female. The prototype is the prison of women, yet the effects are for the time being intramural and reach outer life only after release. The far-reaching consequences of this seclusion are well known.

In sum, prostitution is a problem which can be explained by social learning and social disorganization theories. Also, it is possible add that young women is not yet exhausted by pointing at the two great crises of puberty and growth. There is in addition a functional crisis, if we may call it so. This issue dominates the behavior patterns of the young women and is consequently directly connected with his delinquency. An energy is given to the young women in order that she may test all stimuli of life with a minimum of risk, that she may handle her body, drill her senses, accumulate experiences, and experiment with all kinds of change. This apparent excess of social environments is probably not so much real surplus as a temporary relaxing of inhibitions.

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The other problem of deviant behavior selected fro analysis is rape. In contrast to previous periods of time, when rape associated only with war and assaults, today rape is associated with family violence and psychological problems experienced y men. In order to analyze this behavior, biogenic and psychogenic theories of crime will be used. Biogenetic (biological) theory of crime suggests that genetic predisposition and biological factors are the main causes of rape behavior.

The cruel attack, and others like it has become a difficulty in most of cities and suburban areas, and chances are that the societies that have not reported a rape have remained soundless because police and families want to spare the victim embarrassment and further emotional trauma. Thus, this silence leads to further crimes against women in this area. In terms of biogenetic theory, a rapist cannot stop his criminal behavior predetermined by genetic factors outside his control.

Opposing to what many individuals think, rape is not only powerful satisfaction of a sexual desire. It is, to a certain extent, an aggressive crime, a hostile sexual act by an psychologically sick person. Rape, it is clear, causes both emotional and physical harm to the woman. These women usually have what researchers call rape trauma syndrome (Brownlee, 1998).

Psychogenic theory of crime suggests that rape is a result of emotional problems and psychological disorders experienced by the abuser. The psychological disorder leads to emotional conflict and as a result to crime. Researchers explain that rapists often suffer depression and nightmares and changes in their habits; they may become suddenly fearful if they see a woman who resembles their victim; the rapist may find it difficult to go out alone or may move or change their appearance frequently; and in a common difficulty, they may develop a dislike for communication with an opposite sex (Brownlee 1998).

In terms of psychogenic theory of crime The biological change has in some respects great social significance. With the coming of puberty dispersive impulses develop. They attack the unity of the family. They seem to be implanted by nature itself in all rape victims. Psychogenic theory explains that many rapists have profound dislike to kindred, to the danger of self-fertilization in plants and incestuous relations in animals, in human beings not only dismembers the family group but robs the young being of a powerful shelter and plunges him into social conflicts. Strong and primitive instincts of this kind admit no exception or requirement.

It is incidental to nature’s demands that this organic repulsion happens to turn the youthful individual against all established groupings, including the most imperious of them, society. The idea that psychogenic factors of crime may be closely connected with the organic ferociousness of puberty and is essentially a symptom of the teens crisis, can be maintained. The blind urge to dislike, to despise, and then to leave the “nest,” this family fear and this tendency to build up new protective groupings are traits of pubescence.

Looking at the idols of rapists, researchers see how naïve and simplified their imaginations are and how they adhere to a past which they have left behind. All people achievement is scorned except a few main qualities. The highest status is earned by “toughness” in whatever form it may appear, as criminal or as G-man, as “wolf” or as self-exalting saint (Bowling and Phillips 2002).

From one point of view of biogenic theory rape as an expression of the vital severance that nature provides to make room in the emptied nest for new generations and to prevent incest. This process is succeeded by an ersatz tendency to herd together in new groupings for mutual protection. These wild associations, while giving some degree of protection, simultaneously plunge the young being into new dangers. To define the complex situation in a few words, human evolution pursues the path of increasing socialization.

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One of the main factors in our society is the protective function of the intact family group. Yet life during puberty demands something totally different. It asks for dispersion, for release from family guardianship. Far from replacing the parental care, the substitutes produce new social norms and behavior patterns. In this fated conflict rapists are both battlefield and victim (Samaha, 2005).

Both of the theories, biogenic and psychogenic, explain rape as psychological and biological disorder caused by genetic predisposition and emotional distress. Both of the theories is the best combination to explain deviant behavior of a rapist and prevent crimes. The psychological meaning of rape is very different from assault. While both forms of abuse are basically acts of violence, and aggression, rape is an attack against the woman, touching the woman’s physical, psychological and emotional state (Bowling and Phillips 2002).

Though, rape is most often committed against women than men because of cultural and social factors including position of women in society and psychical weakness. Those women who have been raped experience of the same problems as women who have been beaten including loss of self-esteem and sexual disorders. Following psychiatrists explanations, the sexual desire comes not from self-satisfaction but from frightening the woman. Most rapists are aggressive men, often with criminal records for violent crimes (Brown et al 2004).

The proportions of the body undergo a strange displacement and replacement. Psychiatrists have noted that the skin of the youngster is much more sensitive than that of an adult. The organs of touch do not increase after birth, but in childhood they are close together, whereas in adults they have been drawn apart by the enlargement of the skin surface. A slap is thus much more painful to a child than to an adult. The growth of the brain progresses in such a way that some sections are retarded, while others are developing rapidly. Organic disharmonies, unexpected disfunctions, necessarily arise. Irregular performances of the brain become obvious by misconduct.

Growth starts in earliest age and goes on till maturity is reached. Oscillations in growth are observed (Samaha, 2005). The increase is considerable in boys of seven and eight years. It is reduced between nine and thirteen years. With fourteen and fifteen puberty sets in and at the same time there is a rapid increase in size and weight. The greatest change in weight occurs at the ages of sixteen and seventeen.

We might therefore regard the age of sixteen to seventeen as the culminating point of the growth crisis in boys. The issues causing enlargement and growth invade deeply the last reserves of the body. Like a hungry parasite, growth lives and gnaws at the body of the ill-fed youth, snatching away from him the substance of increase. Fat tissue is consumed, muscle cells are used up, as in real hunger finally heart and brain are affected (Bowling and Phillips 2002).

In sum, biogenic and psychogenic theories allow policemen to identify the profile of a typical rapist and introduce effective policies and strategies to monitor deviant behavior in local community. Biogenic and psychogenic theories are one of the theories which should be used by criminologists to determine causes of rape, but it should be used in conjunction with other theories of social problems. The contact should consequently be not completely ephemeral or one-sided. Sexual partners and family violence may constitute problem behavior. Such factors of sexual deviance, of course, by necessity can be used in conjunction of social learning theories and cultural change theories.


Brown, S.E., Esbensen, F.A., Geis, G. (2004). Criminology: Explaining Crime and its Context. Anderson Publishing Company.

Brownlee, I. (1998). Community Punishment: A Critical Introduction, Harlow: Longman.

Bowling, B. and Phillips, C. (2002). Racism, Crime an Justice, Harlow: Longman.

Samaha, J. (2005). Criminal Justice. Wadsworth Publishing; 7 edition.

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