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Social Problems Related to Sexual Behavior

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Presentation on theme: "Social Problems Related to Sexual Behavior"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Problems Related to Sexual Behavior
Ch. 3 Social Problems Related to Sexual Behavior

2 Prostitution Prostitution: The renting of one’s body for sexual purposes – “The world’s oldest profession” Attitudes toward prostitution have varied immensely throughout history Attitudes of Americans toward the legalization of prostitution vary People between the ages of 50 and 64 are the most likely to favor the legalization of prostitution

3 Prostitution Today In the United States, prostitution is only legal in parts of Nevada By Statutory definition, Prostitution is illegal in only one County, Clark County, location of Las Vegas Douglas and Lincoln Counties prohibit prostitution, Eureka County has no ordinance and 11 other counties specifically permit prostitution. However, some cities, including Reno and South Lake Tahoe, ban prostitution. Officials believe that legalized prostitution might drive away “family-type” gamblers Researchers estimate that there are: 23 prostitutes per 100,000 Americans Approximately 69,000 prostitutes in the U.S. Average prostitute serves 694 customers annually

4 Prostitution Today Issues in measuring prostitution:
Illegal nature Police reports are more likely to only reflect arrest rates of streetwalkers Temporary nature of the work Sex Tourism: Occurs when an individual engages in prostitution while visiting a foreign country Becoming so common, there is now a movement to create an international court to punish offenders

5 Continued on next slide


7 Prostitution Viewed Theoretically: Applying Functionalism
The social functions of prostitution Flourishes because it satisfies sexual needs that are not met elsewhere Prostitutes provide a sexual outlet for men who: Have difficulty establishing sexual relationships Cannot find long-term partners (travelers, military personnel) Have broken relationships (divorced) Seek sexual gratification that may be viewed as immoral or would be considered unacceptable by wives or girlfriends Sexual gratification without commitment Curiosity about sex or sexual acts - want to have sex with someone who has a specific body type, age, or race–ethnicity Sexually dissatisfied with current relationship

8 Elizabeth Bernstein (2001)
Studied the customers of prostitutes and found that some men find emotional connections with prostitutes Prostitution as a way of controlling sexual behavior Functionalists argue that, by meeting needs, prostitution functions as a form of social control over sexual behavior Sadists: achieve sexual gratification by inflicting pain on others Masochists: Having others inflict pain on them Most johns are “regular” married, middle- aged men

9 Functionalists stress: When people demand a service not supplied by legitimate sources, hidden, or “subterranean,” sources will develop to meet the need Underground channeling of illegitimate services is called a black market, built on symbiosis: a mutually beneficial relationship

10 The Conflict/Feminist Perspective
Feminists point out that prostitution is just one of the many ways that men exploit and degrade women Some men use prostitutes as objects for their own pleasure, other men (pimps, clients, and police “on the take”) exploit prostitutes for profit

11 Research on Prostitution
Types of prostitutes Call Girls, the elite Convention prostitutes specialize in conventions Apartment prostitutes set up a “business” while their husbands are away at work Stag party workers serve all-male parties Hotel prostitutes work out of a hotel and share their fees House prostitutes work in a “whorehouse” Bar girls, also known as “B-girls,” wait in bars Streetwalkers, lowest status among prostitutes and are most frequently arrested Parking lot lizards, frequent truck stops Male prostitutes who service women are known as “gigolos”

12 Becoming A Prostitute Researchers typically focus on streetwalkers
Means most research comes from poor women who have been arrested Simplest answer to why someone becomes a prostitute is money Abused as children, most often by men, these women become locked into a way of life in which they continue to be victimized

13 Three Stages In Becoming a Prostitute
First stage: women drift from casual sex to the first act of prostitution Second Stage: Transitional Deviance: experience role ambivalence, conflicting emotions regarding their decision to become a prostitute Many girls try to normalize their acts; try to convince themselves that what they are doing is normal Third stage: Professionalization: identify themselves as prostitutes


15 The Pimp And The Prostitute
Functionalists: Pimps serve the following purposes Locate customers, screen out sadistic johns, and bail arrested prostitutes out of jail In actuality: Pimps are not beneficial to their prostitutes – opposite of above Conflict–feminist theorists Male pimps have the power To control women, use physical strength and are ruthless Symbolic Interactionists Analyze what pimps represent to prostitutes Take into account the background of a typical street prostitute

16 Homosexual Prostitution
Often takes place in areas known as “meat racks” Face intense pressure, only those with best bodies remain employed Teenagers who act as prostitutes still maintained a heterosexual identity requiring an intricate mental balancing act No emotional attachment to the man Seeing money as the only motivator Tolerating nothing other than oral sex Never seeing a homosexual outside of work Having a girlfriend in public

17 Prostitution As A Social Problem
Subjective Concerns: Sociologists argue morality is primary reason Others view prostitution as immoral Prostitution ruins “good” neighborhoods, depressing property values by bringing in unsavory characters and illegal activities such as drug dealing Prostitution is a crime Profits from prostitution feed organized crime Profits are also used to corrupt police and judges Prostitutes spread disease Concern about aesthetics—the disgust that people feel when they see used condoms and tissues left in public places

18 Pornography Pornography: writings, pictures, or objects of a sexual nature that cause sexual arousal and people object to as being filthy or immoral Determining what is and what is not pornographic is difficult Lies in the eye of the beholder On one matter, almost everyone agrees Pornography, whatever it is, should be restricted 94% of Americans in favor of legal restrictions

19 Continued on next slide.


21 Pornography Viewed Theoretically: Applying Symbolic Interactionism
Roth v. United states ruled that materials are pornographic or obscene when 1. “taken as a whole,” the “dominant theme” appeals to “prurient” sex 2. the material affronts “contemporary community standards” 3. the material is “utterly without redeeming social value” Until people attach meaning, words are merely sounds and human acts merely behavior

22 California v. Miller Court tried to remove these ambiguities of Roth decision Social class is significant in helping to determine people’s perceptions of acts as pornographic or not

23 Child Pornography Magazines that depicted children in sex acts with adults or with other children used to be easily accessible Went underground, resurfacing on the Internet In the coming years it may be even more difficult to restrict child porn Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition Legal to possess virtual child pornography

24 Controversy and Research on Pornography
The National Commission on Obscenity and Pornography Concluded that pornography affects some people more than others The Meese Commission Concluded that pornography does indeed pose a serious threat to women Concluded that “common-sense” makes it evident that violent pornography causes sex crimes If all we need is common sense, we wouldn’t need science, and science requires evidence

25 A Question Of Cause And Effect
Does pornography cause sex crimes? Researchers have been able to document only correlations The matter of cause and effect is seldom simple, but is made more difficult because pornography has different effects on different people

26 Science Vs. Social ACTION
When research is published, it enters the “court” of science, where it is judged by a jury of critical scientific peers Some people find too slow Based on their ideas about what is right, wrong, and what they find offensive, they often take a stand Resistance to pornography, though strongly rooted, has lost to the porn industry

27 Safety Valve Or Trigger
Safety Valve Theory Do some types of pornography protect women and children from rape and other sexual violence by providing the private release of sexual fantasies Trigger Theory Do some types of pornography trigger sexual offenses by stimulating sexual appetites, often for deviance and violence Researchers have been unable to settle this question

28 Social Policy Victimless Crime: refers to illegal acts between consenting adults Not all prostitution and pornography involve victimless crimes Alternatives to Making Consensual Behavior Illegal: Legalizing prostitution The matter of privacy The matter of children

29 The Future Of The Problem
Prostitution and the Future Demand for the services of prostitutes will continue Although prostitution will continue to flourish, it will remain illegal in almost all areas of the United States We are likely to see an increase in an aspect of prostitution that upsets both the public and the police, the prostitution of children More laws will be passed, most of them will have little effect

30 Pornography and the Future
Changes in pornography are likely to be driven by two forces: Technology and Profits Because pornography is so profitable, it is likely that the mainstream media will embrace it even more As pornography becomes more mainstream, the line between pornography and art will become even more blurred Pornography is now so entrenched in our society it is likely that those who oppose it will limit themselves to occasional statements decrying the fall of American values and then retreat into enclaves of people who agree with their views

31 Pornography as a Social Problem
Conservatives treat sex as a moral issue Pornography is a social problem because it undermines society Liberals are divided over whether pornography is a social problem Some liberals contend that what people choose to read or view is their own business Others object to pornography as demeaning to women

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