A BBC News Magazine article, "The men who sleep with prostitutes," provides a disturbing look at the justifications the men gave for their actions and the betrayal of their marriage vows:
Patrick, Pete and Mark....are all successful, professional men, who work long hours and have to travel away from home. But what really unites them is that they all use prostitutes and are utterly unashamed about it.Rationalizations aside, the reality is that men are rarely prosecuted for soliciting a prostitute. In a crime that takes two to commit, the woman bears the burden of punishment when the law comes down on her.
[For] Patrick, an IT worker in his 50s....there is not a granule of remorse in [his] voice. He cannot see any reason why there should be. "I've been totally monogamous in my life, with one partner. I wanted to know what is it like to have sex with somebody who isn't your partner....I was quite elated afterwards. From the sexual side, which was better physically than what I would normally get at home, and also the conversation with the woman." He does not appear to have a problem leading a double life with his partner....
Management consultant Pete, 40, from Oxfordshire, is blunt about his motivation for buying sex. "I've not had sex with my wife for at least five years," he says. "In simple terms, it's how I get sex. I've not noticed a change in our relationship at all. There is no emotional involvement [with the prostitutes]. At the risk of sounding cruel and heartless I don't think I do have a moral issue with it. If I did I wouldn't have done it...."
Mark says he used to spend a lot of time trying to pick women up in clubs and bars. Now the 31-year-old business consultant from London doesn't have the time. "It is a mixture of the convenience and the time aspect. I work very, very long hours....Some of my friends are fully aware that I visit prostitutes. Many of them do themselves. There is this fear that it is in some way abusive. I would disagree with the idea that nobody chooses to do it for a living."
In the article "Sex Workers and Civil Rights," Kari Lyderson writes:
Sex workers' customers, the vast majority of whom are men, may be vilified by their spouses or communities when it is discovered that they regularly visit or have visited sex workers, but this behavior is treated as an individual act, not a condemnation of the manís entire existence.As of this writing, Eliot Spitzer hadn't yet acknowledged what he'd done, although he apologized to his family.
Women, on the other hand, are treated as if sex work is not just their "job" or even their "crime," but their entire existence. Police officers and judges donít treat sex workers as women who have violated a law, they treat them as "prostitutes," actually often referring to them in much cruder terms....
This societal treatment of sex workers on the moral level is mirrored on the judicial level, where sex workers bear the brunt of the criminal justice system while johns usually get off relatively lightly. In 2002, the Chicago police department made 4,486 arrests for prostitution-related offenses. That included 953 john-related arrests and 67 arrests for pimping/pandering, so...women were arrested at about four times the rate men were.
In Chicago and many other cities, johns are usually charged with violating city ordinances rather than actual crimes. They will have to pay about $700 in fines and to recover their impounded cars, but the incident wonít go on their criminal record and if theyíre lucky their wives and neighbors will never even find out. Women, meanwhile, will spend at least a night or two in jail and may end up with months-long sentences and felony charges....
I don't like to kick a person when he or she is down. But I can't help but feel disgusted by the mental and emotional disconnect of a male politician who could make such a foolish decision...and wonder why women rarely make that same dumb mistake.
Photo of Eliot Spitzer © Mario Tama/Getty Images