by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder
Regardless of historical gender roles and all the arguable inequities and legalized oppression of women, including pay gaps for equal work, we as women should not degrade ourselves by engaging in passive prostitution by using sex as a means to additional income or gratuities (i.e. gifts). And, we do ourselves a disservice by engaging in such conduct, manipulating men out of vindictiveness while rationalizing it as a way to force equality in areas of finance, while failing to take responsibility for our own finances or recognizing that when you love someone you don't manipulate them.
For the sake of gender equality and to avoid anyone being unnecessarily hurt by unmet expectations, it remains the best idea to go Dutch/split expenses equally or proportionally rather than engage in passive prostitution by demanding or expecting more financial or gratuitous rewards than one offers in exchange. Those who place importance or particular value on their own body over the body of those they may date or love, are engaging in self-objectification and if in exchange for financial or gratuitous rewards, suggests consciously, or even subconsciously, that you see yourself as a prostitute. If you do not wish for others to see you as a prostitute, consciously choosing not to engage in such conduct would aid in correcting that impression.
As a woman who doesn't engage in that conduct and enjoys sex, I find that I don't expect payment or gratuities from a man when I love him and want to be with him because I love him so much. So, it seems many women might use the idea of love and proving love to withhold sex when payment or gratuities are not happening at the preferred frequency for passive prostitutes. And, I find the conduct degrading to women and causing a setback in women's true liberation.
Men see it as being hypocritical. You act like a woman who wants a provider and understands traditionally that entails you provide too in your own way. If you are in love, then everyone should be happy making each other happy in all ways to the best of your ability. And, if you love someone beyond reason, then you might be happy just making the one you love happy. But, if you want independence and don't need a provider, then you should cover your own expenses at least proportionally. If not, then you are being a hypocrite. Because, you either like patriarchy or when men are the providers and women don't have to contribute financially or you want gender equality and understand that contributing proportionally to all expenses is reasonable given the goal of gender equality.
It remains unfair to blame an entire gender for historical inequities at law given we now have resources and access to remedy any such inequities through diligent advocacy where the law needs amending. Taking your frustrations out on a man you love or should love by demanding payment or gratuities for your company, is passive prostitution. And, if you don't want men to see women as prostitutes, you'll stop doing this immediately out of respect for all womankind, if not your own self-respect.
In addition, if you support modern slavery or don't bother to help the poor in any material sense, you ought not suggest you deserve better when you clearly don't effectively act to demand or address the oppression of others worse off than you. So, it would seem this form of passive prostitution may involve some narcissism in thinking only of what you want rather than what is best for everyone involved or how your own actions in life don't reflect your supposed commitment to equality or economic survival.
Excited about your designer clothes made by enslaved people around the globe? Did your husband or boyfriend buy it for you? Was it a reward for a "nice evening" of your company? Where's his reward. His company should be as enjoyable to you as your company is to him or it likely isn't anything close to love. So, when promoting gender equality we must consider whether our own individual commitment is leading by example and establishes we are equal and that love is about love, not financial or gratuitous rewards from either side.
Compromise is great. But, it should be done reasonably and with everyone being honest with themselves and each other regarding expectations. Women are often dishonest or fail to disclose we want a commitment and expect one prior to engaging in intercourse. We rationalize that men should just know that's the expectation. But, that's unreasonable and lends itself to delusion, denial, and heartache. Women must be assertive and state our intentions upfront as well as our expectations. If we rationalize or concede that doing so might hinder the potential relationship, we are starting the relationship without the foundation of trust established by being honest and direct which dooms any relationship to misery or utter destruction.
Men expect everyone knows that until you know each other well you are not in love and any sex is based on infatuation or a biological drive unless you know each other well enough to say you truly love each other and feel the love while knowing reasonably it is mutually shared. But, the men's biological drive coupled with women's proclivities to engage in intellectual and emotional dishonesty for financial or gratuitous rewards in exchange when love is uncertain, results in serious disharmony. So, to avoid that, being honest helps even though most appear to be conditioned to do it the vicious way rather than the virtuous way which is why progress on women's liberation hasn't progressed further.
So, men can help by demanding that expenses be split at least proportionally until both are prepared for a commitment and even then responsibilities must be split equally regardless of proportional sharing of expenses dependent on income. And, women can help by demanding that too. If you are attracted, feel love (even with a good friend), and want to have sex, it should be alright as long as money isn't involved. But, if you lack any of that criteria and expect compensation of any kind, you are a passive prostitute and not acting in a manner respectable or that will result in lasting joy. And, men will treat you like one too even if initially everyone is so infatuated and conditioned to it they don't realize until later that it is passive prostitution and the relationship was doomed because it was founded on falsehood.
We all have to be responsible, reasonable, and as virtuous as possible which includes being honest. Failing to do so results in a lot of heartache and disharmony. We can do better and men and women should commit to it. And, "honesty is the best policy" has been a well known phrase for quite some time and choosing to ignore the suggestion while engaging in vice is why you get so upset if you ignore it. See, sometimes when we ignore virtue it is at our own peril even if we engage in self-righteousness (another vice) regarding the issue of women's liberation in light of historical inequities and oppression. We can't reasonably demand more of others than we are willing to give ourselves, even proportionally to the best of our ability. Otherwise, it is hypocrisy and leads to unhappiness when the infatuation wears thin and the annoying stuff coupled with feeling used or disillusioned comes into play. Being reasonable and responsible ourselves, we can help prevent our future suffering as long as we remain honest and reasonable enough to recognize when someone else isn't being honest. In such an event, we must remain reasonable and understand that if someone isn't honest, it's best not to be in a relationship with them. And, if everyone's honest, a great foundation of trust for friendship and much more.
It's up to you and your ability to reason, discern fact from fiction, and be honest. Otherwise, no one cares about your relationship woes and if you engage in passive prostitution, don't expect any sympathy from those you adversely effect that experience the continued objectification as a result of your refusal to be reasonable and responsible. If you do expect it, you are a narcissist and not worthy of the time or consideration required for sympathy. But, extremely virtuous people may advise the same as this article if they feel particularly inclined to be generous enough to listen. And, if you don't, you likely want to find yet another person to talk to about it next time as you've been given quite a few examples for how to be happier through honesty and decided you'd keep trying vice instead.