In Part 1 of Men Who Buy Sex, Jay Stringer discussed the idea that it is not only women sold for sex who are trafficked in the economy of evil. The men who solicit prostitution also experience the hijacking of dignity and beauty. Read Part 1here. This post originally appeared on redtentliving.com, a community of women from across the world reading, writing, reflecting, and responding to one another daily as we re-frame what it means to be feminine.
Jonathan* is a professor at a local university who started therapy after he was tested for a sexually transmitted infection. The results were negative, but his doctor encouraged him to pursue help if he had any sense of his behavior getting out of control. The doctor recognized that men who buy sex, far more than seeking out pleasure, tend to become reckless with their lives. You become reckless with your body, your family, your career—essentially anything that has the potential of bringing goodness and meaning to your life. All of this becomes terrain for sabotage. The data around Jonathan was compelling; his wife divorced him three years prior after discovering pornography and emails to escort services, he narrowly missed being afflicted with a sexual infection, and his declining mental health made him question his ability to continue teaching courses. The paradox of buying sex is that, in the end, it brings misery and shame far more than it brings gratification and relief.
In our second session, Jonathan talked openly about the trajectory of his sexual behaviors that escalated into his decision to buy sex for the first time. He noted that his “porn use” was a significant factor (I am not implying that if you watch porn you will buy sex), but he was caught off guard when I asked him about the particular words and phrases he chooses to type into his search engine to view pornography. Embarrassed, he said, “It is so strange to talk about. I’ve never had anyone ask. Is that even important?” I responded by saying that all of us have an arousal template, a constellation of thoughts, images, fantasies, objects, and situations that arouse us sexually. For some of the clients I work with, an arousal template could be the anonymity that a business trip provides, or it could a wallet full of cash, which becomes a symbol to them of power and possibility.