The human body is not a possession; it is - to use the theological term - an incarnation. It is a subject, the focus and source of personal love, and not a mere object to be used. A woman doesn't own her body, any more than she owns herself. She is inextricably mingled with it, and what is done to her body is done to her. If she sells her body for sex, it is not sex that she is selling. For sex can be sincerely offered only if it is sincerely wanted by the one who offers it. Both prostitute and client are therefore engaged in an elaborate deception, each cheating the other, one by pretending to sell sex, the other by pretending to buy it. Sex and contempt are adjacent regions in the psyche of the typical client; and a prostitute must willingly accept that she is being spat upon.
Roger Scruton makes several very interesting points here. The context was in the blosssoming of the profession of prostitution in Europe, with all these new countries to kidnap young girls from and sell them in metropolitan Western Europe. But I find the reasoning he uses oddly resonant with my many conversations with other people, both about their own lives and their town.
Anyone else think he's on to something?