Sexual Welfare

by Chris Bodenner

A disabled man in Britain plans to use part of his government-issued allowance to lose his virginity to a prostitute. Tracy Clark-Flory reacts in all the right ways:

Paying for sex in Britain is not illegal -- unless it is with a woman forced into prostitution, or if it's done through "kerb crawling" or solicitation -- so this isn't a question of whether this man should be allowed to do so himself. It is his legal right. The real issue is whether taxpayers should be paying his way. Since very little is known about this anonymous man, we are left to speculate about his condition. We know he is learning disabled, but we don't know to what degree. Presumably it is severe enough to make employment a challenge and to warrant state assistance; and perhaps his condition makes it awfully difficult to meet women. Assuming that all this is true, the question becomes: Is access to sex a fundamental right? Is it on par with, say, access to medical care? (Remember: We're talking about the U.K., where that is actually the case.)

Sex work can be healing and humane. As a fundamental principle, I think it's possible for money to be exchanged for human warmth and touch without either party being exploited. When I think in such terms, the idea of allowing a disabled man to allocate some of his limited funds toward sex with a prostitute -- as opposed to, say, a visit to a masseuse or a physical therapist -- makes sense to me.

I wonder if similar controversies have come up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation (not necessarily sex-related, but any dying wish that may be morally questionable to the people who fund it).

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