Etymology and terminology Prostitute c. Some sources cite the verb as a composition of "pro" meaning "up front" or "forward" and "situere", defined as "to offer up for sale". A literal translation therefore is: The Online Etymology Dictionary states, "The notion of 'sex for hire' is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one 'exposed to lust' or sex 'indiscriminately offered. Most sex worker activists groups reject the word prostitute and since the late s have used the term sex worker instead.
However, sex worker can also mean anyone who works within the sex industry or whose work is of a sexual nature and is not limited solely to prostitutes. Common alternatives for prostitute include escort and whore; however, not all professional escorts are prostitutes. Use of the word whore is widely considered pejorative , especially in its modern slang form of ho.
In Germany, however, most prostitutes' organizations deliberately use the word Hure whore since they feel that prostitute is a bureaucratic term. Those seeking to remove the social stigma associated with prostitution often promote terminology such as sex worker , commercial sex worker CSW or sex trade worker.
Another commonly used word for a prostitute is hooker. Although a popular etymology connects "hooker" with Joseph Hooker , a Union general in the American Civil War , the word more likely comes from the concentration of prostitutes around the shipyards and ferry terminal of the Corlear's Hook area of Manhattan in the s, who came to be referred to as "hookers".
Correctly or not, use of the word prostitute without specifying a sex may commonly be assumed to be female; compound terms such as male prostitution or male escort are therefore often used to identify males.
Those offering services to female customers are commonly known as gigolos; those offering services to male customers are hustlers or rent boys. Procuring prostitution Organizers of prostitution may be known as pimps if male and madams or Mama-san if female.
More formally, one who is said to practice procuring is a procurer, or procuress. Clients "Mongering" redirects here. For those who monger, see Monger disambiguation. Clients of prostitutes, most often men by prevalence , are sometimes known as johns or tricks in North America and punters in the British Isles.
These slang terms are used among both prostitutes and law enforcement for persons who solicit prostitutes. In some places, men who drive around red-light districts for the purpose of soliciting prostitutes are also known as kerb crawlers.
Female clients of prostitutes are sometimes referred to as janes or sugar mamas. If there's one thing I hate, it's the movies. Don't even mention them to me. The prostitution metaphor, "traditionally used to signify political inconstancy, unreliability, fickleness, a lack of firm values and integrity, and venality, has long been a staple of Russian political rhetoric.
For the sake of the longed alliance with imperialist democracies [Stalin] has brought the Comintern to the last stages of political prostitution. In , a Russian caricature depicted the Baltic states as three "ladies of the night", "vying for the attentions of Uncle Sam, since the Russian client has run out of money".
Trump was "prostituting himself to feed his ego and gain power" when he ran for President of the United States. History of prostitution Ancient Near East Customer and a prostitute illustrated on an ancient Greek wine cup ; an act of prostitution is indicated by the coin purse above the figures In the Ancient Near East along the Tigris—Euphrates river system there were many shrines and temples or "houses of heaven" dedicated to various deities documented by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in The Histories  where sacred prostitution was a common practice.
In the Code of Hammurabi , provisions were found that addressed inheritance rights of women, including female prostitutes. They were required to wear distinctive dresses and had to pay taxes. Some similarities have been found between the Greek hetaera , the Japanese oiran , and also the Indian tawaif.
Some prostitutes in ancient Greece, such as Lais were as famous for their company as their beauty, and some of these women charged extraordinary sums for their services. Ancient Rome Fresco from the Pompeii brothel Prostitution in ancient Rome was legal, public, and widespread. A registered prostitute was called a meretrix while the unregistered one fell under the broad category prostibulae. There were some commonalities with the Greek system, but as the Empire grew, prostitutes were often foreign slaves , captured, purchased, or raised for that purpose, sometimes by large-scale "prostitute farmers" who took abandoned children.
Indeed, abandoned children were almost always raised as prostitutes. Buyers were allowed to inspect naked men and women for sale in private and there was no stigma attached to the purchase of males by a male aristocrat. An oiran preparing herself for a client, ukiyo-e print by Suzuki Haronubu Asia According to Shia Muslims, Muhammad sanctioned fixed-term marriage — muta'a in Iraq and sigheh in Iran — which has instead been used as a legitimizing cover for sex workers, in a culture where prostitution is otherwise forbidden.
Sunnis regard prostitution as sinful and forbidden. French prostitutes being taken to the police station. In the early 17th century, there was widespread male and female prostitution throughout the cities of Kyoto , Edo , and Osaka , Japan. Oiran were courtesans in Japan during the Edo period. To entertain their clients, oiran practiced the arts of dance, music, poetry, and calligraphy as well as sexual services, and an educated wit was considered essential for sophisticated conversation.
Many became celebrities of their times outside the pleasure districts. Their art and fashions often set trends among wealthy women. The last recorded oiran was in Although illegal in modern Japan, the definition of prostitution does not extend to a "private agreement" reached between a woman and a man in a brothel. Yoshiwara has a large number of soaplands that began when explicit prostitution in Japan became illegal, where women washed men's bodies.
They were originally known as toruko-buro, meaning Turkish bath. A tawaif was a courtesan who catered to the nobility of South Asia, particularly during the era of the Mughal Empire. These courtesans danced, sang, recited poetry and entertained their suitors at mehfils.
Like the geisha tradition in Japan, their main purpose was to professionally entertain their guests, and while sex was often incidental, it was not assured contractually. High-class or the most popular tawaifs could often pick and choose between the best of their suitors. They contributed to music, dance, theatre, film, and the Urdu literary tradition. Courtesan Throughout the Middle Ages the definition of a prostitute has been ambiguous, with various secular and canonical organizations defining prostitution in constantly evolving terms.
Even though medieval secular authorities created legislation to deal with the phenomenon of prostitution, they rarely attempted to define what a prostitute was because it was deemed unnecessary "to specify exactly who fell into that [specific] category" of a prostitute. Women usually alternated their career of prostitution with "petty retailing, and victualing," or only occasionally turning to prostitution in times of great financial need.
With the establishment of prostitution men were less likely to collectively rape honest women of marriageable and re-marriageable age. Augustine 's claim that "the removal of the institution would bring lust into all aspects of the world. In urban societies there was an erroneous view that prostitution was flourishing more in rural regions rather than in cities, however it has been proven that prostitution was more rampant in cities and large towns.
Cities tended to draw more prostitutes due to the sheer size of the population and the institutionalization of prostitution in urban areas which made it more rampant in metropolitan regions. Furthermore, brothels theoretically banned the patronage of married men and clergy also, but it was sporadically enforced and there is evidence of clergymen present in brawls that were documented in brothels. Brothels also settled the "obsessive fear of the sharing of women" and solved the issue of "collective security.
For example, the law that "forbid brothel keepers [from] beat[ing] them. An outbreak of syphilis in Naples which later swept across Europe, and which may have originated from the Columbian Exchange ,  and the prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases from the earlier 16th century may have been causes of this change in attitude. By the early 16th century the association between prostitutes, plague, and contagion emerged, causing brothels and prostitution to be outlawed by secular authority.
The Church used Mary Magdalene's biblical history of being a reformed harlot to encourage prostitutes to repent and mend their ways. Ancient codes regulated in this case the crime of a prostitute that dissimulated her profession.
In some cultures, prostitutes were the sole women allowed to sing in public or act in theatrical performances. They also worked as sex workers. During the British East India Company 's rule in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it was initially fairly common for British soldiers to engage in inter-ethnic prostitution in India , where they frequently visited local Indian nautch dancers.
This legislation applied not only to the United Kingdom and France, but also to their overseas colonies. France, instead of trying to outlaw prostitution began to view prostitution as an evil necessary for society to function. France chose to regulate prostitution, introducing a Morals Brigade onto the streets of Paris. A major work, Prostitution, Considered in Its Moral, Social, and Sanitary Aspects , was published by William Acton in , which estimated that the County of London had 80, prostitutes and that 1 house in 60 was serving as a brothel.
During this period, prostitution was also very prominent in the Barbary Coast, San Francisco as the population was mainly men, due to the influx from the Gold Rush. Communist governments often attempted to repress the practice immediately after obtaining power, although it always persisted. In contemporary Communist countries, it remains illegal but is nonetheless common.
Prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between and largely due to the influence of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. On the other hand, prostitution generated much national revenue in South Korea, hence the military government encouraged prostitution for the U.
While this law did not criminalise the act of prostitution in the United Kingdom itself, it prohibited such activities as running a brothel. Soliciting was made illegal by the Street Offences Act Beginning in the late s, many states in the US increased the penalties for prostitution in cases where the prostitute is knowingly HIV-positive.
Penalties for felony prostitution vary, with maximum sentences of typically 10 to 15 years in prison. Sex tourism emerged in the late 20th century as a controversial aspect of Western tourism and globalization. The BBC wrote in that devadasis are "sanctified prostitutes". Prostitutes who usually have foreign clients, such as business travelers, depend on good foreign economic conditions. Laws A detail from plate 1 of William Hogarth 's — The Harlot's Progress , showing brothel-keeper Elizabeth Needham , on the right, procuring a young woman who has just arrived in London.
Attitudes Roughly speaking, the possible attitudes are: Sex industry premises should not be subject to any special regulation or laws", the current situation in New Zealand; the laws against operating a brothel, pimping and street prostitution are struck down, but prostitution is hardly regulated at all.
Proponents of this view often cite instances of government regulation under legalization that they consider intrusive, demeaning, or violent, but feel that criminalization adversely affects sex workers. The degree of regulation varies very much; for example, in the Netherlands, prostitutes are not required to undergo mandatory health checks see Prostitution in the Netherlands , while in Nevada , the regulations are very strict see Prostitution in Nevada "Prostitution should not be tolerated": For instance, the legal stance of punishing pimping while keeping sex work legal but "underground" and risky is often denounced as hypocritical; opponents suggest either going the full abolition route and criminalize clients or making sex work a regulated business.
Prostitution Information Centre, in Amsterdam Many countries have sex worker advocacy groups which lobby against criminalization and discrimination of prostitutes.
These groups generally oppose Nevada-style regulation and oversight, stating that prostitution should be treated like other professions. Prostitution is a significant issue in feminist thought and activism.
Many feminists are opposed to prostitution, which they see as a form of exploitation of women and male dominance over women, and as a practice which is the result of the existing patriarchal societal order. These feminists argue that prostitution has a very negative effect, both on the prostitutes themselves and on society as a whole, as it reinforces stereotypical views about women, who are seen as sex objects which can be used and abused by men.