I see sex work as somewhat analogous to coal mining. It’s not that it isn’t real work, or that those who work in that capacity don’t deserve rights, dignity, or a society that works for them. The problem, of course, is the ever-present exploitation of the workers coupled with the severe unpleasantness of the occupation which ensures that the people who do work these jobs are those with few other options. That isn’t to say that all sex workers and/or coal miners are miserable. Even so, the patterns around this kind of work are unmistakable.

Given these facts, I think most reasonable people understand that sex work should go extinct. That isn’t to say that you can’t make pornography or have sex with strangers. However, it’s impossible to gauge enthusiastic consent when money is changing hands, and enthusiastic consent is a vital component for an ethical sexual encounter.

My question for the community is how exactly this is meant to be accomplished. How can sex work be abolished without harming the very people it’s meant to protect? The number one problem western sex workers face, more so than creepy clients, is the cops, who profile them, steal their wages, and arrest them on a whim. Clearly, criminalizing sex work hasn’t done much for sex workers. What are some alternatives?


Discussion so heated some comments burned

As much as I strongly dislike the idea of women selling sex and prostitutes, I am afraid I am confronted with the reality of such being the result of poverty and stigmatization. We should address poverty, add education, and stop the stigma.

Legalize it, regulate it, address poverty, and have open access to educational and career change opportunities. Hit all of these and sex work will naturally fall away. Just banning it only drives it underground making the lives of those forced into by circumstance worse. Its important to keep in mind that sex work is a symptom of larger societal problems, not a direct cause in and of itself.

I have a similar line of thinking when it comes to abortion

You dislike abortion?

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There is a difference between liking something and viewing it neutrally. I don’t “like” abortion but I don’t view it negatively. Its ultimately just a routine medical procedure. I feel about abortion the same way I feel about surgery. Its good we know how to do it, sucks it needs to happen and it should ultimately be between the patient and medical provider to choose to do it.

Also abortions are very safe procedures. Its not wire hangers in a back alley.

If you replace “bourgeois” with “Jew” you take a communist and make a fascist, as it turns out replacing words changes the meaning of a sentence. Shocker I know.

I understand the line of thinking, whether you think it is negative morally or slightly annoying, most people will agree it’s better to reduce the need for abortions by addressing the reasons people get them. Is it not desireable to have fewer unwanted pregnancies? Even if you are completely pro-choice you’re not going to convince all the Catholics immediately, why not do what is positive for both? Also, many people would like to have children, but don’t have the means to do such, and therefore abort. This is why abortion was originally supported by eugenicists.

most people will agree it’s better to reduce the need for abortions

For what reason? I’m genuinely wondering here.

Even if you are completely pro-choice you’re not going to convince all the Catholics immediately, why not do what is positive for both?

This line gives me centrist vibes for some reason.

Also, why do we need to appease to the religious anyway? Not like most of them would support LGBT rights either anyway, let alone basic rights for women such as the right to have full control to their own wombs. By that logic, we should continue to also oppress LGBT people like in Stalin’s USSR just because most religious people find gays and trans people “icky”.

Also, many people would like to have children, but don’t have the means to do such, and therefore abort. This is why abortion was originally supported by eugenicists.

So what, we should keep women from having control over their own wombs just because a few eugenicists supported it? Jesus.

I’m not opposed to abortion, i was saying that it would be better that people have resources to raise children if they’d like, rather than abortion being the only option.

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The argument was not to prohibit abortion so that the babies could be given to others who cannot have children. The words were (emphasis added):

many people would like to have children, but don’t have the means to do such, and therefore abort.

Okay, then why did they say in the next line that that’s why abortion was originally supported by eugenicists? How is [being forced to abort for not having the means to raise a kid] even equatable to eugenics? I thought Eugenics was about only having humans with the most “pure/good” genes live?

My point about eugenics is that some eugenicists support contraception and abortion because they see it as a positive if (poorer) non-white people will reproduce less. For example a lot of WEF types support such things being promoted in the third world because they think they’re overpopulating the planet, and people will choose to (or be forced to) use such more.

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is this our site’s own little recurrent struggle session?

No, it is every single leftist space recurring struggle session*. For some reason nothing else cause so much emotion so fast and so often.

*In the internet that is, IRL it is discussed much much less often.

I think “what constitutes genuine socialist patriotism” is more of a recurrent struggle session on this site, along with the somewhat related “is the Russian Federation just a useful ally at this point, or a based anti-imperialist country which is on the way back to socialism?”

But with regard to the sex work question – I honestly don’t get why it’s such an emotional topic, or why so many otherwise intelligent people start arguing like liberals the moment it’s broached. We can argue all day about whether sex is “sacred” or not, but the fact of the matter is, it’s certainly something having to do with human connection, and connection on a deeply personal level. Now when any other type of personal relationship becomes an industry, Marxists are rightly angry. If some enterprising capitalist, for instance, started a “Friend for Hire” service, each one of us here would mock and denounce it as a heartless commodification of a basic human interaction. However, when sex (something much less essential to human beings than friendship) is introduced into the equation, so many self-proclaimed Marxists start commodifying right alongside the dumbest NYT liberals.

However, when sex (something much less essential to human beings than friendship)

I don’t understand why some people say sex is something less essential than friendship. If this were really the case:

Sure, you could suggest that people could just pleasure themselves (or not) to control their sexual drives, but most religions forbid it; forcing the religious to seek the above two methods.

You could even suggest people to “channel” their horniness to something more productive, but most people wouldn’t be able to get that done, likely because the horniness would cloud/distract your brain from getting things done.


Because plenty of people can function normally without sex, and a few even willingly give it up (Ho Chi Minh was one). People who are completely without friends, on the other hand, tend almost always to sink into deep depression, and even suicide. I’m aware that there are people who have killed themselves over sexlessness, but you almost always find that these individuals are isolated in other ways, and are in fact making sexual desire a sort of proxy for their natural desire for companionship. Look at Elliot Rogers. Sexlessness was clearly not the root cause of this guy’s issues.

Of course people are horny; nobody is denying that. But people have an even stronger drive for companionship, because humans are species beings. Ask yourself: would you, given the choice, either have (1) no friends, but all the one-night stands you could possibly desire, or (2) friends, but no sex for the rest of your life? Depending on one’s level of sexual drive (this varies between individuals), it might not be an easy choice, but most people over 14 would ultimately choose the latter.

Because plenty of people can function normally without sex

Is that why so much rape/sexual abuse happen around the world? Because plenty of people can function without sex?

But people have an even stronger drive for companionship,

Then why do some people cheat on their partners, end their relationships after a few flings or have fights/don’t hesitate to end their companionship/cheat on them if their companion is unable to satisfy their sexual goal/desire? If companionship really has a stronger drive among “everyone”.

Generalizing everyone to be this pure-hearted group of people is wrong honestly.


Hardly anyone is pure, and most people will take sex when they can get it – it’s just that they suffer more from friendlessness than they do from sexlessness. And nobody commits rape out of some sort of need. That they do is honestly incel rhetoric.

I think rape usually happens when someone can’t keep it in their pants anymore and they are extremely desperate (asides from trying to “assert dominance” in a horrific manner to another; or as “revenge/punishment”), but if this comes across as “incel rhetoric” to you, then do educate me on why you think rape happens.

Note that I’m not trying to justify rape. In the end it’s still a horrible thing to do to another person.

You would denounce “friend for hire” as heartless commodification? Do you oppose professional therapists?

They never have an answer for this.

I’d like to add to the overall discussion that the sex trade has been legalized, in Turkiye and Germany, and yet they remain top spots for human trafficking victims and the supposed rights afforded to people within the trade often look more like infringements. Brothels being state-run is just a double whammy that has effectively turned both states into mega-pimps.

Germany was and still is the main destination of human trafficking in Europe.

In Poland getting paid for sex is legal, but pimping and brothels are illegal. Of course that don’t stopped nothing at all. Pimps are “bodyguards” and brothels are “dance clubs” or “resteurations” which hire rooms for people “wanting” to spend some time with eachother. As long as there is something else to officially pay for, it’s operating in the open.

Btw this is used in a peculiar small time tax evasion method. The argument of state being a pimp was actually used, and sex services are not taxed. Therefore i heard about few cases where some otherwise legit income or gifts was declared “sex service” in order to evade tax.

I don’t believe any sex worker unions support the German model. The workers I’ve listened to are asking for the New Zealand solution, which is decriminalization.

Thanks for the added, harrowing context. One of the funniest (not funny haha) justifications Wikipedia, “non-SWERFs” et al. seem to like to make for this legalization is that it allows the state to more accurately track STDs like HIV and AIDS. You know, a great alternative to fucking subsidizing and nationalizing the healthcare system is to fund and create spaces where people are 100x more likely to catch said STDs, right? 🙄

Sex work

100+ comments, checks out


100+ comments? Check. People banned in the comments? Check. Porn being mentioned again? Check.

It’s sex workers question time

Sex work is exploitation. It is the commodification of sex which, like all other commodities, was intended for use and not for exchange to make a profit from the exploitation of the sex worker. Sex workers should be treated the same as any other exploited worker. Still, it only differentiates in how they are exploited, i.e. a wage worker is exploited through the extraction of surplus value. In contrast, the sex worker is exploited due to the fact the sex worker and the buyer of the sex enter into a relationship where money is exchanged; therefore, due to money being the reason for the sex and not individual want, it can not be considered consensual, hence exploitative, you have other examples like this but on a bigger scale with the porn industry etc.

  1. Coal is (or at least was) a necessary product. Sex isn’t and never was. And the people who can’t function without it need psychiatric treatment, not reinforcement of their illness which will absolutely make it worse.

  2. The issue of consent. If you can’t get paid for your blood because that constitutes coersion and therefore invalidates consent, why should it be different for sex, where the propensity for permanent, life ruining harm is orders of magnitudes higher than blood?

If two consenting adults just want to have recreational sex with each other, why is payment a necessary element? And if they wouldn’t have had sex without the payment aspect, then it isn’t recreational sex. Just find a person (or people) you vibe well with and who is interested in having sex with you if you want to do it in moderation, or if you suffer from sex addiction, seek professional help and bring yourself past that.

And for that “well these people are doing sex work to provide for themselves and their family” the fact that there are people doing that is a sign of a broken system that is utterly failing to support them and their families through other ways. If they like it, it’s not the paid sex they like, they like the fact that they and their family are not starving. It’s basically Stockholm syndrome.

That’s the important part: banning sex work is not banning recreational or extramarital sex. Adults can still have sex with each other if they want, and by taking the payment aspect out of it, it can be even more fulfilling and conducive to forming long-term bonds. A la Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, get the survival requirements squared away, then people can move onto deciding if they want to have sex for free on top of that, and if they do, they can find confidence in knowing that they’re likely doing it of their own accord, because they like doing it or because they like the person they’re with, and not because they need money.


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I’ve read quite a few testimonies on the page, and they don’t seem to be glamorising or even saying they enjoy prostitution; what most seem to be saying is that they would like not to be seen as criminals, which is a fair demand as it prevents them from accessing resources.

Sleepless One

Several people in the thread either were sex workers or know sex workers. One of the proletarian feminist writers linked to in another thread, Esperanza, was formerly a sex worker. It’s not like they’re being ignored.

non-diegetic screams

Intrinsic enjoyment of this job is possible.

There are more than 4 million victims of sex trafficking globally


Good points

There is no abolition in a society dictated by profit

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

I’ve got a spicy hot take: I think sex work freaks out Marxists because there is a fear that even in a post capitalist society, sex workers can still operate as petty bourgeosie capitalists, sneaking around and getting money, undermining the idea of an anticapitalist society. I think it just causes a deep fear of women’s ability to ‘exploit’ the system of solidarity, because in reality most of these people are women, and even if not women most of the people consuming are men. It kinda begs the question, "how much regulation and force can and should be used in society to stop sex work or any other petty bourgeosie business endeavor. If its a streetside vendor - easy, shut it down. But shutting down sex work is much harder, much like drugs. It’s a really hard one which leads to question like the limits of police powers in a communist society, and it makes us confront ‘greed’ and especially ‘women want money’ prejudices head on. This isn’t an answer to the question of ‘what are the alternatives’ but just a musing about how it’s so hard.

TBH I appreciate you OP asking about alternatives. What about sex bars much like milk bars? Just a thought. Or sex only for people who have game? I hope this isn’t too controversial, just musing about why I think this question is really TOUGH

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You want to know how I can tell you didn’t read any of the links in this thread, or even the posts?

Someone selling services as an individual isn’t a capitalist.

we have this specific fight a lot and its nice to see a firm party line on the question being represented. I got tired arguing the last one too lol.

I see it as quite different to coal-mining in many ways. The coal miner never digs coal in their personal lives just for fulfillment or fun, sex is absolutely a human interaction and any commodification of that special human connection is fucking disgusting. I’m no “sex is between a loving couple” type, I could give less than one single shit about who is fucking, if people are putting out quickly or not, I don’t care. But when sex becomes a way of making money, and sex is obviously a private thing, abuse is inevitable. And that’s not even to mention how prostitution’s consent works. I am absolutely not a “Sex work is work” person. Yes it is work, but is it socially necessary or even helpful to the people that do it? I would argue that it doesn’t. It’s an illegal industry(I in no way want it to be misconstrued or misinterpreted, I absolutely support the prostitute’s struggle and they should not be arrested for this) that has no testing or training whatsoever, it has no basis for wages or benefits or unionization. I absolutely hope all prostitutes can get to a better place in life, because I don’t think anyone should be in the sex industry. Obviously some people DO get into this industry on purpose, hats off to them I suppose but if it meant kicking out all the consenting prostitutes in exchange for freeing the marginalized masses that are forced ( “voluntarily” or totally involuntarily) into sex, the answer is pretty obvious to me.

The coal miner never digs coal in their personal lives just for fulfillment or fun, sex is absolutely a human interaction and any commodification of that special human connection is fucking disgusting.

You can make this same critique against any service industry work that involves intimate, personal human interaction: hair care, therapy, life coaching, etc. Some people need more trust and connection to another person for these services than they do for sex.

As comrade juchebot said, non-essential things must be evaluated on a case by case basis, some things like therapy or art are socially positive despite being materially unnecessary, unlike the sex industry which is neither.

Prostitution is indeed not work. In a work or labour relationship, the proletariat sells their labour power; their capacity to work is their commodity. Prostitutes are those who have not even that labour power to sell and so they must resort to selling the only thing they have left, their own body. Thus they live on the fringe of the proletariat class and experience oppression in its purest, harshest form. This comes from Esperanza’s medium article, an ex-prostitute. She also doesn’t use the term sex work because she was a prostitute meeting up with clients in their cars or motels, not an onlyfans content creator or a camgirl.

And this relationship of being even below the oppressed class has existed throughout history. Some slaves were not r*ped, but many slave women were. In feudalism, serfs were tied to the land and had to work on it. Prostitutes were even lower than the serf as they could not work on the land for whatever reason, which meant they were of no use to the lord and thus not allowed his protection.

Prostitutes are even exploited by the proletariat itself (and indeed were exploited by their own class in history); proletarian men create a false consciousness for themselves where they seek to attain bourgeois status and thus buy the services of the prostitute. It is inter-class warfare.

Prostitutes are proletariat but do not perform labour. Tbh there’s some marxism that goes out the window in some people the moment this topic comes up, as if prostitution was something inherently different or special to consider under its own rules. There’s petit-bourgeois women in porn, and there’s the proletarian victims that get trafficked by pimps. The two never intersect even if their job is the same. The victims need help to get out of this situation and an actual solution. The petit bourgeois will get with the program and get an actually productive job no matter how much they loathe it.

I in no way mean this as being crude, it’s literally just the best way I can describe it. I feel like prostitutes that have no pimp that essentially owns them and their labor, the ones that sell their sex by themselves, I view it almost like a street vendor that owns their own stand on the sidewalk of a busy city, insofar as they are not selling their labor to any other individual but they still further a market economy nonetheless. Obviously I still take issue with my comparison as these street vendors DO (like I mentioned in another comment before) have standards that they must adhere to. If a street vendor has a rat in their ketchup and cockroaches all over their buns and hot dogs, they will be shut down and have their permit removed. The same protection does not exist for prostitution as it is a black(some would argue gray market due to “meet-up services” that duck the law by promising an encounter rather than promising sex which is illegal, but obv those are just bourgeois routes of legality, it’s still prostitution but under another name of companionship) market and the law treats the sex worker as a criminal rather than a small business owner that would be revoked for lets say getting an STI, I still don’t really know what “sex work advocates” want when it comes to STIs, which I imagine are unfortunately common. If they are tested and are positive for an STI, under this legal market of sex, either it becomes a very dark dystopia where you pay extra for “clean prostitutes” while the “infected” ones go broke while still legally working and spreading STIs all the while suffering through their exploitative job, desperately needing a cure but not being deemed worthy enough by the market to afford to live, Or is this regulated better and you just lay off the ones with STIs? Then the people who had turned to prostitution because they have no other viable alternatives(I.E, most of them), they probably go homeless if they aren’t already and they most likely die. In any legal situation for prostitution I just see things going horribly wrong in so many ways. And that’s just dealing with the topic of STIs, I don’t even wanna talk about how they would have to go about dealing with abuse. Sorry for the long rambling message, it’s just that you brought up good points and it made me think more. Thanks comrade

Exactly. Coal-mining (or whatever form of extraction the current form of energy-production requires) is materially necessary for the reproduction of society. Thus it is linked to real wealth production and real economic growth, the material base from which all of human society arises. Now are there legitimate human enterprises, and legitimate forms of economic activity, which do not work to advance the economic base? Of course there are – owning a mom-and-pop restaurant, for example, or being a concert violinist. But as these sorts of enterprises are materially unnecessary, they have no particular right to exist, and are to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; if they are or become exploitative, the state should shut them down. As you pointed out, sex work seems to be the sort of thing which is almost automatically exploitative. Since it fulfills no materially useful function (i.e., it is something we can very well do without), it has no place under socialism.

Also, why are we rehashing this topic again? I would have thought we’d done it enough on r/genzedong.

If you’re tired of this now. Just wait until this place is linked with a certain oddly shaped bear lemmy instance. They are going to throw multiple, probably monthly shit-fits about the Marxist take on that and break into angry rants about us being “Swerfs”.

I get not having the Marxist take on it for a place like that, I don’t get banning the Marxist take as “reactionary” which they do.

Is the site majority anarchist? I know it’s riddled with them, but overall I haven’t seen disastrous foreign policy takes.


Most of the people who run it, and a good amount of their userbase, are based Marxists. They do have some anarchists, new leftists, or streamer-brained liberals, but that wouldn’t mean that we wouldn’t federate with them, nor is it required that our two instances adopt the exact same policies or moderation styles. We have a good relationship with them, and there’s zero reason to have isolated islands rather than a united left fediverse.

Once we do federate, if there are specific users that are so liberal that they become a problem, they can be banned, but that doesn’t mean we’d de-federate by any means.

Oh I know, I’m so excited to federate with them, I just was curious with the much more unhinged nature of it, but that could also be size, if it was majority anarchist.

Don’t get me wrong I love Hexbear, just a little taken aback with the “Swerf” take.

Also I completely agree, a mom and pop restaurant, while not entirely socially necessary, does have a standard to follow, if they have rats running around the kitchen they get shut down, if a prostitute is lied to by a client and receives an STI, they are hampered by their new health risk and they are likely not able to leave their corner because they need to pay for treatment. It’s a sad reality but how can we as humans make an excuse for this by saying “sex work is work”? I personally think there are too many glaring flaws in prostitution and sex work to support it.

When you type my username into the search bar on Lemmygrad, my top comment from r/genzedong is literally on this topic😂🤣it’s about how Sexting is not a problem imo, it’s just 2 people fulfilling a kink and since no money is traded, why make an imaginary issue of what is essentially just people sending pictures to one another.


RIP r/genzedong, but the site did have a certain measure of that overall reddit horniness

My head is hurting today so please nobody Horny bonk me but I kinda missed it lmao


Stalin says: when you stop the horny, the bonking stops, and when bonking stops, the hurting stops…

But seriously, feel better soon comrade!

Lol I was just joking, my head is fine, but I WAS serious about not being horny bonked😈 /s


All right, no excuse, here they come:

Step 1: Depose capitalism and liberate the working class.

That’s it. You can do anything you like to abolish sex work, but if capitalism remains fhen economic coercion will remain and sex work will eventually come back. When capitalism is gone, the economic coercion that makes transactional sex exploitative/unethical is gone.

This is 100% it. In a society that has moved past capitalism into socialism/communism there won’t be sex work because people won’t need it for income.

Sex work is work and deserves all rights and respect as all workers.

Saying it should go extinct is a personal preference and nothing more. It’s based on society devaluing and view sex as an evil rather than a normal bodily function.


Consent cannot be purchased for money, which means that prostitution and “sex work” is by definition, rape.

In the “sex work contract”, the primary contradiction is not between two seemingly “consenting” parties, and “cops”, or society, as anarchists and liberals claim. The primary contradiction is between the “bought woman” and her rapist: the john trying to get as much control / pleasure from her body as he can, for as little money as possible, and the bought trying to preserve their bodily autonomy, and come out of the interaction unharmed.

The battleground is over the body of the “bought” person.

Sex work is work and deserves all rights and respect as all workers.

No one, especially men, are entitled to rape or sex. “Sex work” IE the rape economy, isn’t necessary, or productive labor. No one needs sex to survive. If the rape economy stopped worldwide, all that would do is alleviate the suffering of millions of women trapped in the sex trade.

It’s based on society devaluing and view sex as an evil rather than a normal bodily function.

This is the classic repackaging of women’s oppression as “liberating” and “freeing”, all to create a multi-billion dollar industry based around men’s pleasure at the expense of women’s sexual autonomy.

Saying it should go extinct is a personal preference and nothing more.

Tell that to the 99% of women trapped in the sex trade in the third world, unable to escape this horrid system, or to the escorts and camgirls of the first world, who have to devote their lives to pleasing men in order to make sure they can pay their rent and not starve.

I think you’re underestimating the number of people who prefer this form of work to others.

The elimination of sexual distraction and distress is productive and we should make testosterone-blockers available over the counter free of charge to everyone so people don’t have to plan their lives around sating a biological drive that doesn’t serve their interests


These two statements don’t really go together. If you respect the rights of sex workers, you’ll aim to abolish the system which oppresses and rapes them. It really has nothing to do with moralizing over sex.

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