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Prostitution: The Non-Deviant Behavior

There might be several definitions of deviant behavior and what is considered deviant in general. In the framework of the study, the most appropriate would be to characterize it as a social construct for deviance cannot exist outside the society. Both for society and the individual, the understanding of the deviant behavior can differ and form according to the cultural and mental background, according to the inside of which the distinct behavior is observed. From the many options of marginalized attitudes, prostitution takes the leading position. For many centuries this kind of behavior was embraced as sinful and shameful. The public’s reaction has been so strongly adverse that numerous debates and arguments are going on around the topic. Thereby, considering the deviant behavior theories and the many cultural and moral aspects, this paper aims to analyze and identify the premises of prostitution as deviance and proof that it should be perceived as a non-deviant.

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Since there are several theories on deviance, particularly in that work, prostitution will be perceived from the sociological and individualistic theories. Sociological theories imply the social reactions and rules to the specific action and the moral and ethical measurement scale existing inside it (Clinard & Meier, 2015). Thus, the sociological theory is more about the conformity to social norms that the people have formed. The individualistic approach states that deviant behavior results from the personal conditions of a specific individual, such as family, genes, and biological predisposition. Therefore, it is not determined marginal by society but appeared initially the persons’ choices and their decision. It may relate to the tendency for violence, fraud, or abuse. However, prostitution can also be viewed from the individualistic theory, but the sociological in that particular case seems more applying.

One of the most widespread opinions on prostitution is that this is the result of the patriarchal structure and male dominance of women. The historical predominance of prostitution comes from globalization and international trade between the countries (Benoit et al., 2019). When men were going abroad into the distant counties for better perspectives, their families sometimes were left without the means for a living. To survive and feed their children, women had to sell their bodies to wealthy sellers and traders abroad. It is crucial to mention that women involved in this kind of job were from the lower classes because they had to work to keep their families safe and alive, unlike the bourgeoisie and elite (McKinley, 2019). Eventually, prostitution also became associated with poorness and the bottom of the social ladder, contributing to the negative attitude towards prostitution.

Nowadays the prostitution is almost worldwide considered deviant behavior. Even in those areas when it is legal, society has a negative image of the women and men involved. Predominantly the job is penalized by the law, and those who perform it pay fines, go to jail, and are imprisoned. However, when sex workers can act legally, there always be a decent amount of social disapproval and disparaging attitude towards them, and it still might cause harm for the workers (Pruitt, 2018). The family may refuse to accept the member participating in the prostitution. Romantic partners avoid or abandon them, and the clients may act disrespectfully and aggressively.

Reasons for the sex work to consider deviant behavior have mainly come from the old prejudices of the traditional family and moral values when sex is allowed to happen only between the loving couple. However, the times have changed, and sexual liberation has provided people with opportunities to experience sexual and romantic experiences without getting married or committing to serious relationships. Nevertheless, those who perform such acts for money are rejected by society and considered immoral though they do all the same as everyone; instead, they charge for that. Moreover, sex work is a real job and is accompanied by numerous physical and mental health threats. Another reason for the negative attitude towards prostitution is that women are more affected and at a higher risk of being sexed, trafficked, and enslaved. Yet this paper emphasizes the women’s free choice predominantly to engage in prostitution, mainly under the challenging circumstances, sometimes they do not have an option and are being forced into the job.

If to assume that prostitution results from capitalistic tendencies, male dominance, and social inequalities. After the legislation of prostitution, society might start moving towards more favorable economic and cultural changes. Sex work is strongly connected with racial and sexist issues, and the legislation of prostitution can shift the focus of attention to other important problems. The true deviance is in the inability of the male population to dispose of the old habits and wish to control women and feel empowered by dominating them. Also, men are the ones who buy sex services, which raises the question of women that try to earn a living and provide services that are demanded considered deviant. In turn, men who seek that kind of service are rarely being judged. It all comes from the deep historical roots of misogyny and patriarchy ruling in society for far too long. Thus, the answer to that social phenomenon is not the one behavior that should be considered deviant.

The legalization of prostitution would undoubtedly improve the working conditions and make the job safer. Several reasons for this contribution to the increase in the overall well-being of sex workers. First of all, in their current position, sex workers cannot get protection from the law or police. One of the reasons is that their job is illegal, and they may be penalized for providing sex services. Also, prostitution is still very stigmatized. The majority of society treats and reacts to sex workers negatively and with massive judgment. Therefore, sex workers do not get respect or good treatment from the police since they are biased. In the worst cases, women who perform prostitution face regular mental and physical abuse from the police along with sexual assault (North, 2019). Despite the social disapproval, police treat sex workers with a more incredible amount of disrespect due to the illegality of their job.

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Therefore, they perceive sex workers as the lower humankind that is why they can, without any consequences, mistreat them and abuse women who provide sex services. Since they are dehumanized and, due to their forbidden work account, complain about anything. In addition, the clients themselves might be brutal sometimes. They might feel empowered over the sex workers and project on the inner aggression and anger without further responsibility for the outcome. Customers can verbally and physically abuse them, rape them, or even murder them. However, since sex workers have no protection from the government, the offenders can avoid responsibility for their actions. In the case of the legalization of prostitution, men and women involved in the industry can have easier access to healthcare. The government can create programs for more affordable and regular medical check appointments.

Therefore, the legalization would impact the current working conditions for women in the prostitution field and improve their well-being. The states where prostitution became legal was noticed the better attitude to the sex workers from the police. Also, women do not have to hide anymore and move to dangerous districts and unsafe places to hide from the police and perform their work (The Economist, 2021). The number of accidents will reduce since the sex workers will be under the protection of the law, and those who decide to treat them abusively will get punished. It will prevent some clients from violent actions and provide the women involved in sex work with justice.

Considering the topic of sexuality and its affection from the legalization of prostitution, it will only contribute to positive changes. When the natural desires and impulses are stigmatized, suppressed, and shamed. Eventually, it can cause several issues to the particular person and society in general. The forbidden of the essential human aspiration might lead to low self-esteem, develop healthy fantasies, and stimulate destructive behavioral patterns such as the tendency for abuse and rape. Sex is something humankind will always desire and try to get in different ways. Thus, it would be better for everyone if the ability to get the services from the sex workers would be supplemented with the right number of appropriate conditions for both sides. The women performing the job should be protected, and the client will have to carry full responsibility for their choices and decisions.

Eventually, some people might feel more comfortable and less ashamed of their sexuality and manage to express and satisfy it the healthiest way possible. However, the side of sex workers is not as bright as it seems because even with the safety conditions and government protection, this kind of job might be traumatic to them somehow. Women can feel less affection and attraction towards their romantic partners and experience less pleasure during intimate and physical connections. It can also result in psychological trauma, low self-esteem, and family disapproval or complete refusal from those who decided to start prostitution.

Undoubtedly, legitimizing sex work will make women feel safer, more secure, and respected. Although, despite all the proc that have been listed before, some negative consequences can be expected. Several people believe that fully legalized prostitution will increase the number of women involved. The job is supplemented with specific difficulties, primarily phycological. If a woman decides to leave the industry one day, the past job will stick to her for a long time.

Nevertheless, it is more the problem of society’s perception of prostitution as deviant behavior and hence the hateful view of the sex workers. For women outside the industry, the legislation also affects them quite reasonably. Since prostitution is no longer forbidden and as time goes by, such behavior is becoming less deviant more women may start to consider the work in the field. Mainly it may touch those of the young age who just gratified from school or study in the university and they willing to gain financial independence. Young girls can view this as an opportunity for an easy and profitable way of earning money in a short time. Students, in particular, that very often struggle with costly payments for college can be the primary audience that will decide to start the career of sex workers.

However, this decision might be motivated not by the sincere desire and clear interest in the job but by the desperation and accessibility of the easy income. Nevertheless, that kind of expression might not meet reality because, in that case, the market will be overflooded. The work will require much more effort to build a name and an audience to consistently earn at least a little more than on a regular job. To guarantee a more conscious and deliberated choice of women to begin the career the sex work, the policies should allow it at least from the age of twenty-one. Therefore, very young women who barely turn eighteen will be limited from quick and spontaneous decisions. Considering the changes that might appear in the male clientele of both female and male sex workers, there can be both opposite sides.

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When the people in the field become recognized by the law, society’s attitude shifts. Men have always been the main consumers of sex services, and their attitude towards those who perform the job will increase tolerance and acceptance. After gaining law and government protection and public recognition, sex workers are becoming one step closer to being perceived more like a human rather than an object. Female and male sex workers, in general, are viewed as more equal since, after the legislation, they have a voice and protection on the legislative level. Their interest is considered, respected, and heard, so there is much less possibility to treat them inappropriately without any consequences. People involved in prostitution and different kinds of sex work will have the power to stand for themselves and protect themselves so that the male clients will lose their dominance and control over the sex workers.

In conclusion, prostitution has been viewed from an individualistic and sociological point of view. The individualistic approach suggests the person’s willingness to get involved in prostitution made from the destructive family, poorness, or personal phycological reasons. Since society is still dominated by the patriarchy and in order to survive, women tend to perform some highly disapproved jobs when they do not see other options. The sociological theory implies that prostitution is considered deviant due to society’s historical attitude and perception towards it. Since centuries ago, prostitution was considered a sinful act, but it has stayed that way until nowadays. However, prostitution should be considered a non-deviant behavior due to the many reasons connected with cultural and moral aspects.

Sex work is another kind of job that has always been required. Since it seems impossible to lower or eliminate men’s needs in it and until the population will not be provided with a decent number of well-paid jobs, sex work will remain. Women who perform sex services in that way should be protected and guaranteed with fundamental human rights and the government’s patronage. Instead, those who buy sex services have to be penalized for reducing the amount of consumption of the sexual services. The leading customer segment, men, might get the proper education and awareness on how to deal with anger, accept their sexuality, improve self-esteem and find other ways of fulfilling their needs and building healthy relationships. Prostitution is not an evil act or deviant behavior but a symptom of the real problem: inequality, capitalistic tendencies, and lack of phycological and behavioral education.


Benoit, C., Smith, M., Jansson, M., Healey, P., & Magnuson, D. (2019). “The prostitution problem”: Claims, evidence, and policy outcomes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48(7), 1905-1923. Web.

Clinard, M. B., & Meier, R. F. (2015). Sociology of deviant behavior. Cengage Learning.

McKinley, J. (2019). Could prostitution be next to be decriminalized? The New York Times. Web.

North, A. (2019). The movement to decriminalize sex work explained. Vox. Web.

Prostitution in America: How to bring sex work out of the shadows. (2021). The Economist. Web.

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Pruitt, M. (2018). The social implications of prostitution. Sociology Class Publications. Web.

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