A whore by any other name…

 Posted by on October 2, 2011
Oct 022011
 

By Bex vanKoot

No doubt even those among us who aren’t privy to the sacred sex newswire have heard about the raids on Goddess Temples in Pheonix and Sedona recently. The debate among the local community and pagan community alike have been greatly divided, with comments ranging from the greatest depths of sex-negativity all the way to complete libertarian permissiveness.

What the debate seems to be boiling down to is what I think will be the downfall of this particular sacred sex community and of a great detriment to sexual autonomy across the US: what makes a whore?

I am the first in line to say that I believe prostitution should not be illegal, that coming to terms with the economics of sexuality (and other things, but that’s a whole other bag of cats!) can help prevent the abuse and trafficking that are inevitable in a black market system.

But it seems the trend for backers of this great temple is to make statements claiming that charging money for sexual experiences isn’t prostitution if it’s done in sacred space and with sacred intent. Attempting to legalize the sacred whore by differentiating her from the secular prostitute does not help either group. Solidarity is what we need now, in the fight for body autonomy and personal freedom, not divisive shaming of the millions of men, women and transgender individuals who sell sex without invoking a deity first.

Sex is sacred. It does not have to involve healing past trauma to be a sacred experience. It does not have to be done in a temple to be sacred, it does not have to be done in persona daea (having invoked deity) or with someone calling themselves Aphrodite. All consensual sex is sacred, paid for or not, healing or not. Making the excuse that “healing” sex and “temple” sex is better and more deserving of legalization than brothel sex draws a distinct line in the sand and calls for the government to regulate, to decide who is “sacred” enough and “holy” enough to engage in consensual sex for money. Do we want a government to be able to tell us what religion we must belong to and what spiritual practices we must include in our sexual services and worship in order to qualify as a legal “sacred whore” or do we want to assert our rights to body autonomy and continue to fight for the rights to make a living in any safe and consensual environment we see fit?

We have to face the truth here. In the US and much of the rest of the world, prostitution is illegal. If there is sexual contact, there can be no monetary exchange. If there is monetary exchange, there can be no sexual contact…. unless you are prepared to challenge the ruling government in a court of law. If money changes hands and someone has an orgasm, it doesn’t matter what God or Goddess was there guiding those hands, it is still prostitution.

Think of it this way. There are many churches and spiritual groups that assert it is their right to use specific psychoactive substances that are otherwise illegal in the area where they live. If they are quite lucky indeed, they may win the right to cultivate and use said substance for personal spiritual exploration. This does not give them the legal right to start mass producing, advertising and selling the illicit substance to patrons off the street. If this group was arrested for drug trafficking, would we say that they should be allowed to sell scheduled substances to whoever happened to see their ad on Criagslist, when others are not, because they are “sacred” drug dealers? Or would we simply assert that if these people are allowed to cultivate a substance for their own purposes, so should we all be allowed to do put whatever we want into our own flesh.

Arguments suggesting that sacred sex work is better, more legal or somehow more deserving of respect and support denigrates and debases prostitutes to make sacred sex feel more viable an option. If you truly believe that the sacred whore deserves the right to teach, heal and most importantly, simply share in the sacrament that is sex, then gear up to fight for the rights of all humans everywhere to do as they please with their own bodies.

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