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There was a thoroughly depressing article on the BBC news magazine pages last Friday, focusing on men who say they are not ashamed to use prostitutes, and their justification for their ‘hobby’.

If reading that makes you despair for the male sex, this riposte by Nottingham’s Mr Sex on Todger Talk may cheer you up a little:

Well, that puts a new spin on ‘trickle-down’ economics.Yes Patrick, all of these women desperately wanted to grow up to make a living by sucking on some sweaty, half a century-old IT spod-cock. Presumably, this twat also thinks that, by racking up another line of Wanker Powder on a toilet seat, he’s helping to put a Playstation 3 in the hands of some poor Bolivian urchin.

Thank God at least one man gets it. I’ve said it before, Laura’s said it before, hell everyone has said it before, but as long as men like ‘Patrick’ think this:

I want to pay and someone wants to sell. As long as I’m not hurting them in any way what harm am I doing. I’m distributing my wealth to people who don’t have it.

then it bears repeating.

The OVERWHELMING majority of women working as prostitutes – effectively all of them – are in it against their will. Either explicitly because they’ve been trafficked, or indirectly because they are hostage to substance abuse or poverty. There may be a handful of women out there who enjoy it – probably those who aren’t so desperate for the cash they can’t afford to pick and choose their clients, times and locations – but they’re few and far between. The chances that you’ll pick one of those women up off the street or from a calling card have got to be monumentally small. Facts on this sort of stuff are everywhere, but doubting Thomases can start with the Home Office prostitution strategy, which finds that 95% of prostitutes are drug users, homeless or both.

The question is not whether it’s theoretically possible for sex to reduced to an economic transaction, but whether in the real world anyone can ever be reasonably sure that the transaction they’re involved in right now is consensual. If a man cannot establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the woman he is paying for sex is doing it of her own free will – and I would argue that he almost never will be able to – then he is not taking part in some benign free market transaction, he is a rapist. The next time someone tells you ‘it’s just supply and demand, innit?’, remind them of that.