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What Was Eliot Spitzer Thinking? How Some Men Rationalize Sex With a Prostitute

By March 11, 2008

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What was New York governor Eliot Spitzer thinking when he opted for the services of a high-priced call girl? Probably what three men in the UK thought when interviewed by reporter Finlo Rohrer about why they pay for sex.

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.

[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."

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.

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.

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....

As of this writing, Eliot Spitzer hadn't yet acknowledged what he'd done, although he apologized to his family.

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

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Comments

March 12, 2008 at 8:33 am
(1) Susan M. says:

I am glad to be able to read this. It pretty much indicates that what most of us (women) think about men is true..they more often and more easily separate the sex act from the relationship. On the other hand, women use prostitute workers, too. Also makes it easier to understand why women “suddenly” seek out a gay lifestyle…

March 12, 2008 at 8:33 am
(2) Mark Wilson says:

I have to laugh! On the page of comment re Eliot’s Spitzer’s adventures is a sponsored link: “Married female seeks male.”

March 12, 2008 at 5:50 pm
(3) Z says:

I dont agree or disagree with prostitution. It’s a personal choice that someone makes. I do however have a huge problem with married men doing it. Instead of going home and talking with your wife about whatever it is you think that your sex life is missing, you would rather take money from your family and spend it on another woman. Lets call it what it is. CHEATING. Not to mention the fact that your selfishness could put your family health at stake. HVP can be contacted with or without a condom. You dont know how many guys this particular woman has been with and what they have. It amazing how quickly we are to justify our wrong doing, instead of admitting it was wrong. If you are going to pay for it, do your wife a favor and file for a divorce so that she can move on and be with someone who wants to be with her in that way. It makes us men look like sex crazed animals. To Susan, not all of us men are that way. Some of us do actually have morals and respect our wives or girlfriends. We do believe in family and what it means to have one. There will always be rotten apples in the bucket, but just remember, there are some good ones in there too. Not all of us view women as sex objects. We do respect your minds and opinions and we value you and everything that a woman brings to this world.

January 31, 2009 at 11:23 am
(4) John Nutter says:

Here’s what I like about the oldest Profession
No fighting, no screaming, no yelling, no black eyes, no fat lips, no broken bones, no stabbing, no bullet holes, no dead wives, no shaken babies, no abandoned children, no ferial children, no dead children, no lawyers, no judges, no courts, no divorce, no alimony, no child support, no prison time, no in-laws, no screwy relatives, no lying, no cheating, no letting someone down, no hating of your partner, no maneuvering for power, no back stabbing, no back biting, no whining, no expensive rituals.Itís not for everybody thatís for sure but we are becoming more of a single population every year. Itís just an exchange of sex and companionship for money, for a mutually beneficial relationship. If we can just pull prostitution out of the gutter and make it a clean, safe, heathy, friendly situation for both men and women, putting it in a safe clinical format (men, womenís and gayís clinics). Please lets look at the oldest profession in a different light.

September 19, 2009 at 11:45 pm
(5) pam says:

john Nutter is obviously a NUT. and a PIG :)

“oh please everyone.. lets just make it ‘safe’ and ‘clean’ ” – go to hel* oh wait, your already on that route :D

Many pigs like john seems to lack common sense.
NO women -wants- to be a sex slave .period.

why should we legalize this “profession” john?? so our daughters can have a career to look up to? I dont think so! your nothing but a scum.

I’m not going to list out all the reasons why no women wants to be a sex slave as a profession, anyone with half a brain can understand.

December 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm
(6) Aimee says:

Settle down, Pam. Believe it or not, prostitution does not always equal slavery. Obviously it does a lot, but that’s only because it’s an underground profession. Trying to stop it through the law is futile. If it were legal and regulated, it would be much harder to traffic children for the purpose of forced prostitution.

October 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm
(7) sarah mielleri says:

I really liked this articles. It shows why women choose a gay path and how bad it is to become a prostitute.

May 29, 2012 at 7:01 am
(8) Anne says:

My husband cheated on me not once but many times…I thought he will change after he said sorry, but I was wrong. Til now, he keeps doing it. My life becomes miserable and I don’t know what to do now coz its hurting me…

July 3, 2012 at 3:22 am
(9) Mea says:

Wouldn’t it be nice if there would be a bill penalizing married men who visits prostitues, the sentence would be castration.
Since men just cannot comprehend the meaning of love and commitment, and justify cheating all the time, it would be best to have them castrated so as to avoid further hurting their wives and family.

July 23, 2012 at 1:00 am
(10) Laura says:

Technically, cheating is illegal too. It’s a violation of a legal document saying that you would forsake all others.

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