Limits of Prostitution

I realize this probably various by state and country, but let’s assuming for the moment that you’re somewhere in the US.

If you pay a stranger to have sex that’s considered prostitution, and in most states both the buyer and seller can be charged with a crime.

But let’s say for some reason I decide to pay my wife for sex. I don’t think that would be considered prostitution.

And what if I pay my fiancee for sex, would that be considered prostitution? What about my girlfriend?

So in other words, when is paying for sex not considered prostitution?

The more I think about this, the more interesting it gets.

Suppose I’m very good friends with Susie Sashay, and on a slow night she comes up and warms my bed. I give her $20 as a friend gift. Is any part of that illegal?

Or, if you videotape an act of prostitution, you just created porn. Which is legal.


Not necessarily true. Some states, such as California, define prostitution as engaging “in sexual conduct for money or other consideration, but does not include sexual conduct engaged in as a part of any stage performance, play, or other
entertainment open to the public.” Note there is no language indicating that wife-husband relationships are excluded from the statute.

In fact, the California Supreme Courthas stated:

Which is why, in Europe and most of the rest of the world, prostitution per se is not illegal.

It’s illegal in many places. Porn is produced in those locations where the local courts have decided it’s not illegal.

This question is a good illustration of why law hypotheticals seldom elicit good answers.

In the real world, the exact details of an incident are crucial to the determination of the statute under which it will be prosecuted and to the determination of guilt at the trial.

Where the line is crossed makes for lively discussion but not good law. That’s one major reason for the entire court system. And the courts themselves - not to mention the justices on an individual court - usually have differing opinions.

When is paying for sex not considered prostitution? It depends. And the arresting officer, the prosecutor, your defense lawyer, the judge, the jury, and the judges on the appeals courts all might have different answers for different reasons.

It is? European legislators are concerned that the jails might become overcrowded with married people who have paid, orbeen paid by, their spouses for sex? :dubious:

I don’t disagree that US prostitution laws are silly, but I do not think you have quite put your finger on the nub of the problem.

This question is not as interesting as it sounds. All you have to do is look up the statute in effect for your location and see if the requirements are met. If the law says that prostution is defined as A and B happened when C is true, then there you go. You might need to consider who is going to bring the charge, since any crime has to also be reported and prosecuted.

Gifts have a pretty narrow legal meaning and part of that meaning is that there’s no obligation. So if you buy a girl $100 of drinks and meals on a date, it’s not prostitution because no obligation exists. If it was literally true that she owed you sex in exchange for the meals, then that’s likely to meet some legal definition of prostitution.

If you’re claiming that you’re in the business of creating porn films… did you get a business license and file business returns? Did you sell the films? Do you have the necessary model releases in place? Are you keeping the necessary identification and verification of age? If pornography is legal, these are all likely to be requirements to define yourself as a business. It’s a pretty poorly written law that says something is legal just because there’s a camera in the room.

Because these things turn on such precise definition of legal statutes, anytime you get close to the edge of what might or might not be legal, you have to stop talking in generalities. What’s legal in California might not be legal in Oregon, even if legislators in the two states had the same intent or targeted the same behavior.

Usually not. Many states (Wisconsin for one) have the term “non-marital” in their prostitution statute. If it didn’t many of us would be in trouble. Prostitution laws tend to say “anything of value” (not just money) so that would probably include paying the mortgage.

So it’s legal to pay your wife for sex. I wouldn’t wise her up to that though. Being married costs a guy enough the way it is.:stuck_out_tongue:

Heh heh heh … I’m torn between “I see what you did there” or “That’s what she said.”

Isn’t all marriage essentially paying for sex?

Most vice laws don’t target the undesirable act directly, but the circumstances and transactions inherent in it. So while paying for sex itself may not be a crime, soliciting or offering is.

Exactly - as is living off immoral earnings [of others].

I think that the problem is simply one of definition: Ok - you could make it illegal for a wife to demand cash from her husband for sex, but what if she says: “Ooh darling, that bracelet looks wonderful, if you buy it for me, I will be specially nice to you tonight.”

What if a husband is the sole breadwinner and threatens to cut off the allowance if she refuses to have sex.

What is a rich female film star marries some poor, but really fit, guy.

I could think up these situations all day but I am sure you get the point. There is a similar problem when a client books an ‘escort’ for the evening. He/she pays the agency for the evening and for the dinner. What if they hit it off and spend the night together, and a generous tip is given in the morning?

My understanding is that this is the way escort services, as well as independent escorts who advertise, typically try to frame the transaction - the fee is just for the escort’s companionship, whatever else happens is merely the result of the “chemistry” between the two (or more) of you.


It was a joke.

“Sorry honey, I’ve decided to go with a lower bid.”

If you meant it as one, you should have given some indication of that.

Which never works any more, in the rare case such an encounter gets busted. I’d venture the matter hinges on whether or not you can prove you knew the escort before she knocked on your hotel door.

My case assumes both prior knowledge and established acquaintanceship - even if I “loan” her $20 or $100 when she leaves, is that enough to put it outside prostitution?