Family allowance

Norman White explains why he pays for his son to see prostitutes
September 2007

I can boast of over 50 years of a conspicuously successful marriage, but over the years I have (in various ways) met a number of sex workers. On the whole I found that they were decent, generous people. I remember one woman in particular who restricted herself to serving the physically handicapped, who couldn't find a partner without such help.

We have a son who has been married for more than 25 years. His wife and one of his children are both severely handicapped. Needless to say, they are always short of money, and he labours heroically to keep them, where less loyal and hardworking men might well give up and leave.

Recently his wife found herself unable to have sex, which is a serious deprivation to him. I had awful visions that this might be the last straw, and that frustration might lead him to fall for some other woman and so wreck his marriage.

To avoid this I pay him a small allowance in secret so that he can visit prostitutes without straining the family budget and without his wife finding out. With these girls there is no emotional attachment on either side, so they represent no threat to his marriage. In this way I hope to reduce the risk of his being defeated by the difficulties with which he has to cope in his daily life.

To subsidise my son's sex life may seem immoral to some, but I take the opposite view. He often tells me of his exploits (which gives me no pleasure - I suppose he wants me to know that I am getting value for my money!). The impression I have from these reports is that most of his girls are amiable people, probably because he in turn is rather nice to them. I see no harm coming to anyone, rather the reverse.

When prostitution is discussed, it usually deals with the criminal and disgusting sides, which undeniably exist. It seems, however, that most of the people involved in the sex trade - suppliers as well as consumers - are decent people, and that most prostitution is an exchange in which both parties are reasonably satisfied. The law should aim at supporting that, so that we can target those aspects which are unacceptable. As prohibition in the US showed, making such a trade (more or less) illegal just serves to promote its worst features.

Norman White is a pseudonym

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