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Telling Children About Prostitution:

The Albany Times-Union discusses what parents should say if children hear about the Spitzer scandal and start asking questions. Here's one particular recommendation:

Judy Kuriansky, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Teachers College, said parents should be ready if children ask what a prostitute is.

"If they ask," she said, "You say, 'Sadly there are some women who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it. This is something that is not healthy, and I don't accept it or condone it.'"

Then, Kuriansky said, parents should steer the conversation toward the kind of healthy relationship children should aspire to. "Shift it to what is positive," she said.

For young children, she said — under the age of about 8 — it should be enough to say that Spitzer did something bad and had to quit his job.

As Prof. Julie Novkov mentioned (on a discussion list I'm on), "Yeesh. I hope it was taken out of context ...." What does "intimate experience" mean to a 9-year-old? [UPDATE: Plus, as several commenters have pointed out, why focus just on the women and not on the men?]

I appreciate the problem this poses, and can envision having to talk about this to my boys one day. But it seems to me that either the kid knows about sex, in which case the best option is to explain this bluntly to him (especially since he's likely to hear something about it elsewhere, so it's better that he get the straight dope — coupled with relevant moral commentary — from you); or he doesn't know about sex, in which case talking about being paid for "intimate experience[s]" isn't terribly helpful.

I'd love to hear what others think, though.

Adam J:
"Sadly there are some women who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it"- This doesn't even sound accurate to me- sex with a john for prostitutes isn't an "intimate experience" at all- it's business.
3.13.2008 3:53pm
Anderson (mail):
Hopefully no one lets that man anywhere near children, in his professional capacity.

"Paying a lady money to be his girlfriend" would work nicely. Because you shouldn't pay people to be your friends, right?
3.13.2008 3:55pm
Brian Mac:
What's wrong with an old fashioned "ask your mother"?
3.13.2008 3:56pm
Aundria (mail):
"Sadly there are some women who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it"

I would hope that my child would respond with "Isn't it just as sad that some men feel that they have to pay for it? Why are you blaming the woman only, mommy?"
3.13.2008 4:01pm
CJColucci:
What's wrong with an old fashioned "ask your mother"?

Depends on what she knows and how she knows it.
3.13.2008 4:02pm
theobromophile (www):
Call me a crazy feminist, but I really hate that response. Some women feel like they need to be paid? Um, as if the fact that this entire industry exists because men will happily pay up to $5,000/hour for sex is totally irrelevant? As if the money exchanging hands is the bad part of this? Or that she would happily have this "intimate experience" anyway, but is just browbeating him for some cash?

So if you're a guy, the lesson you get from the Spitzer scandal and your parent's explanation is that it's okay to have all the sex you want, whether or not you are married, with whomever you want, so long as money does not exchange hands?
3.13.2008 4:04pm
alias:
The visceral reaction I have upon reading that is that the guy's saying that prostitutes are selfish for asking for money.
3.13.2008 4:08pm
Thales (mail) (www):
I think the explanation is both gendered (there are male prostitutes) and glib (it ignores the motivations of the johns/consumers driving the illicit market, and the generally pretty nefarious circumstances that drive most prostitutes to what they do). How about an explanation that sex is a great thing for consenting, non-paying adults? Also, frank discussion of the legal and health risks of these encounters. Once the kid is mature enough, an explanation of the very real, heartbreaking problem of global child prostitution.
3.13.2008 4:09pm
CDU (mail) (www):
I wouldn't call you a crazy feminist, theobromophile. I had the same reaction. Setting aside the "intimate experience" euphemism, the whole explanation struck me as kind of backwards. If I were asked to explain prostitution to a 9 year old, it would start with the john, rather than the prostitute.
3.13.2008 4:10pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Note, those of you who seem to be assuming that the guy who said this is a guy, that Judy Kuriansky seems to be a woman.
3.13.2008 4:10pm
alias:
yeah... basically the last paragraph of what bromophile said. promiscuity is fine or even worthy of encouragement but do not, under any circumstances, ask for money.


"The difference between a hooker and a ho ain't nothing but a fee."
-Salt-N-Pepa, None of Your Business, on Very Necessary (Polygram Records 1993)
3.13.2008 4:12pm
Hoosier:
"He paid far too much for a hotel room."
3.13.2008 4:13pm
_:
I suggest explaining that people think they know what's best for other people, and as a result, pass laws prohibiting trade between consenting adults. And then explain that the mysterious right to privacy "in" the Constitution doesn't protect people's right to use drugs or exchange sexual favors for money; rather, it only protects the right to kill what many believe to be a human being. If they tell you this doesn't make any sense, tell them they're wiser than most Supreme Court justices.
3.13.2008 4:19pm
BU2L:
I am reminded of the Boondocks' commentary on cheddar biscuits for the fam. ;)
3.13.2008 4:19pm
Boyd (mail) (www):
Anderson: Concur, with the addition (inspired by some of the other comments) that it's bad to pay or be paid.
3.13.2008 4:21pm
R:
This is the answer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQr0AffTpdE
3.13.2008 4:27pm
Thief (mail) (www):
From South Park (couldn't find the video)


Chef: Hello there, children!
Children: Hey, Chef!
Stan: Chef, what's a prostitute?
Chef:Dag-nabbit children! How come every time you come in here you gotta be askin' me questons that I shouldn't be answering?! [high-pitched] "Chef, what's a clitoris?" "What's a lesbian, Chef?" "How come they call it a rim job, Chef?" For ONCE, can't just come in here and say, "Hi Chef. Nice day, isn't it?" Stan: Hi Chef. Nice day, isn't it?
Chef: It sure is! Thank you.
Stan: Chef, what's a prostitute?
Chef: Nuh uh! You children are gonna get me in trouble with the principal again.
Cartman: Lunchtime! I'm starved!
Chef: Oh my God. Eric?
Cartman: That's me.
Stan: Chef was just about to tell us what a prostitute is.
Chef: Why do you need to know what a prostitute is anyway?
Stan: Because Jesus told us that Kenny's a prostitute. Is he?
Kenny: Mmmph! Ammph Amh?
Chef: Well, no, of course Kenny is not a prostitute.
Kyle: But why?
Chef: Well, because, children, a prostitute is someone who…
you could pay for certain services.
Stan: Like what?
Chef: Like keeping you company. Understand?
Stan: No.
Chef: You see, children, sometimes a man needs to be with a woman.
But sometimes, when the lovin' is over, the woman just wants to talk and talk and talk and talk.

[song]
But a prostitute is someone who would love you
No matter who you are, or what you look like
Yes, it's true, children!
But that's not why you pay a prostitute,
No, you don't pay her to stay, you pay her to leave afterwards
That's why I praise the Lord for prostitutes! Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James Taylor!
[James Taylor enters]
James Taylor: A prostitute is like any other woman
They all trade something for sex and they do it well.
Chef: And that's why I say-
Chef and James Taylor: Prostitutes! Prostitutes! They-
Chef: [sees Principal]....awwwwww! James Taylor, what the hell are you doin' in here singin' about prostitutes to the children! Get out of here!
[James Taylor leaves. Principal looks very annoyed.]
Chef: These children tricked me!
3.13.2008 4:33pm
Jam:
Outside of a Christian or religious context, good luck trying to explain it.

I guess from an Ayn Rand, objectivist, point of view you can say: it is like having to pay/buy a best bud for playing time. Nothing necessarily wrong with it but kind of sad.
3.13.2008 4:33pm
Temp Guest (mail):
How about, "It's a woman a man pays to have sex with." What's sex?: "It's anything that a man and woman do together to have fun. It's the most fun when the man and woman like each other and are married."
3.13.2008 4:38pm
Ari Indik (mail):
Data point about the speaker: Judy Kuriansky used to co-host a radio show in the 90s called "Love Phones" on Top 40 station Z-100 in New York (and syndicated out elsewhere), where callers, usually teens, would call and ask her advice, usually about love or sex. She was known on the air as "Dr. Judy." It was similar to the show "Loveline" with Dr. Drew Pinsky (and, in the past, Adam Carolla), which is syndicated out of Los Angeles.
3.13.2008 4:41pm
Jim Kiley (mail):
"He paid women to go out on dates with him, even though he's married."
3.13.2008 4:42pm
AntonK (mail):
Good God! That this even needs discussion is, frankly, pathetic.

"Daddy, what is all the talk about on TV about the head of new york having to quite his job over prostitutes?"

Son (daughter), Mr. Spitzer is a self-centered narcissist who doesn't care a wit about his wife or children. He's a pig of a man who lacks even a modicum of self-control. He is everything, everything that you never, ever want to be.

"Thanks Dad, I knew there must be something terribly wrong with him. Just look at him!"

Indeed.
3.13.2008 4:48pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
A prostitute is a woman who has noted a deficiency in the market place and taken steps to capitalize on it, much to the annoyance of other women who believe that prostitutes engage in unfair practices that undermine the other women's position in the market.
3.13.2008 4:48pm
Freddy Hill:
It seems like the perfect opportunity to introduce your 9 year old to the important concept of free markets.

Or maybe not.
3.13.2008 4:53pm
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
EV

To get back to the original question: My 4 yo wouldn't register this; my 6 you would probably be satisfied with the "he broke the law, which makes him the wrong man to be governor" approach; my 9 yo (only girl) could probably handle the blunt approach - fortunately I get to think about this until the next Time magazine comes to figure it out.

Thank goodness, the baby still hath no capacity to ask.

HGB
3.13.2008 4:53pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
I vote for "I'm not sure, ask you mom".

Or

"Look, a unicorn."
3.13.2008 4:59pm
Anderson (mail):
What's sex?: "It's anything that a man and woman do together to have fun.

Okay, someone obviously needs to have The Talk with TempGuest.
3.13.2008 4:59pm
magoo (mail):
Proposed addendum:

"If they ask about this word on the SATs, appropriate synonyms are courtesan, trollop, and strumpet."
3.13.2008 5:07pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Here, a woman who has sex for money, because there are men who have to pay money to have sex.
3.13.2008 5:08pm
Fub:
Eugene Volokh wrote:
I appreciate the problem this poses, and can envision having to talk about this to my boys one day. But it seems to me that either the kid knows about sex, in which case the best option is to explain this bluntly to him (especially since he's likely to hear something about it elsewhere, so it's better that he get the straight dope -- coupled with relevant moral commentary -- from you); or he doesn't know about sex, in which case talking about being paid for "intimate experience[s]" isn't terribly helpful
We were all kids once. By the time I could read I didn't ask such questions because I knew how to find the answer without embarrassing my parents. So my theory is:

If a kid (boy or girl) knows how to read, he will likely already know the answer or how to find it, and won't likely ask the question. If a kid asks the question anyhow, look it up in a dictionary with him. He'll get the added benefit of discovering dictionaries.

If a kid doesn't know how to read, he will likely be quite happy with an answer like "she was a lady that Mr. Spitzer paid to help him run away from home for a while", or something similar. It's factually true, and can lead to a fruitful, and non-sexually related, discussion of why running away from home isn't a good idea.

Bringing up sexuality explicitly isn't really necessary, or even a good idea, if they aren't particularly interested in that aspect of the question. There is plenty of time to talk about sex directly and educationally usefully when they ask direct questions, not untypically "where do babies come from?"

That's not hiding the subject of sex from a kid. It's just not pointing and shouting about it when they're not particularly interested in it.
3.13.2008 5:12pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
The proposed answer is absurd and it puts the blame on women.

What's wrong with the truth: A prostitute is a women who has sex in exchange for money. If you have some difficulty explaining what sex is to your children, then the prostitution question isn't really the problem, is it?
3.13.2008 5:24pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
This is an aside, but I've seen people wondering why Spitzer's wife is sticking by him. I'm not saying this is true, but suppose it is: Spitzer stands to inherit a ton of money from his dad -- money he doesn't now have access to him. By standing by him, his wife might gain access to a large portion of that money. If she dumped him now, she wouldn't have any claim on the inherited money. So maybe she's sticking by him for the money. If so, how do you judge the difference between her and Kristen?
3.13.2008 5:32pm
Houston Lawyer:
When explaining anything to children, always ascertain their knowledge base first. They may be so far off that you can easily duck the question.

Just think, all those children who had to learn about the President's actions 10 years ago don't have to have this one explained to them. We just have to explain this one to the next group of kids.
3.13.2008 5:35pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

why Spitzer's wife is sticking by him.

They have been married for 20 years.
He is the father of her three children.
They have made a home and a life together.
She took a vow including the words, "till death do you part".
3.13.2008 5:36pm
D Spencer (mail):



Son (daughter), Mr. Spitzer is a self-centered narcissist who doesn't care a wit about his wife or children. He's a pig of a man who lacks even a modicum of self-control. He is everything, everything that you never, ever want to be.


That is essentially what I said to my 14-year-old son.

I've had frank discussions with him about sex and lust and respect. I've never talked with him about prostitution, because the subject hasn't come up.

Last night, I asked him if he understood what prostitution is and why what Governor Spitzer did was wrong. He was clear on both points. I decided it was a teaching opportunity:

"You are being raised in great privilege. We aren't rich, but we can afford to live in a nice home and send you to a good school.

"Governor Spitzer was also raised in great privilege. It appears to have taught him that he was entitled to anything he wanted, and that he was not bound by ordinary law or morality or duty to his family or his public trust. Although I never expected that he frequented prostitutes, his contempt for ordinary law and morality has been a hallmark of his career.

"In the course of your life, you are going to come into contact with a lot of people who are like that. It is wrong. Whatever the law may say, and whatever your acquaintances may do or say, you are responsible to act with the highest degree of respect for the law, morality and the trust of others."

The Kuriansky recommendation is a spectacular example of Just Missing the Point.

Thus endeth the lesson.
3.13.2008 5:38pm
Dave N (mail):
I think Anderson got it exactly right (in the second comment on the thread, no less) and I agree with Boyd's amplification as well.

Any normal 9 year-old is going to think that sex is gross--and really doesn't want to talk about it other than in the abstract concept of where babies come from.
3.13.2008 5:45pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
"If they ask," she said, "You say, 'Sadly there are some women who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it. This is something that is not healthy, and I don't accept it or condone it.'"


I now have an additional datum regarding some of the strange views of the world held by some the children of mental health professionals I have encountered in my practice, and which bring them to me as family law clients.


One further thought: if you are forthright with a child, particularly a male child, who's got enough knowledge of the world to understand your forthright explanation, expect additional questions, such as the following, from my own son, several years ago (these may be asked in the presence of his friends, for maximum effect):
"How much does it COST to rent a prostitute?" (His term...)
"Where do they rent prostitutes in this town?"
"Have YOU ever rented a prostitute?"
"Do you KNOW anyone who ever rented a prostitute?"
3.13.2008 5:50pm
theobromophile (www):
I guess from an Ayn Rand, objectivist, point of view you can say: it is like having to pay/buy a best bud for playing time. Nothing necessarily wrong with it but kind of sad.

Did you miss both the sex scenes and the speeches about the sexual act in her books? According to Ayn Rand, sex is the ultimate expression of values, the means by which humans respond to each other's love of life, by which capitalists express appreciation for the existence of the other.

Sadly, my copy of Atlas is in California (and I'm not) and my copy of Fountainhead is heaven only knows where, so I can't quote relevant passages at you. Suffice to say that Ms. Rand would believe prostitution to be a perversion - or an outward expression of one's utter lack of values.
3.13.2008 5:57pm
Waldensian (mail):

What's sex?: "It's anything that a man and woman do together to have fun. It's the most fun when the man and woman like each other and are married."

I have bolded the only part of this passage that is even potentially accurate.
3.13.2008 6:00pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Brian Mac,

Brilliant. That is the first thing I thought of. Obviously, brilliance goes with the name.
3.13.2008 6:04pm
Teh Anonymous:
TempGuest: "[Sex is] anything that a man and woman do together to have fun."

Whoa. My boyfriend and I had sex in front of several thousand other people last night. Many of whom were having sex as well. (We attended a hockey game.)
3.13.2008 6:05pm
Cornellian (mail):
Any normal 9 year old will have no clue as to who the Governor is, or what a Governor does, or why he should care about either of those things.
3.13.2008 6:05pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
All right, I'll broach the subject, since y'all have chickened out ...

The difference between a prostitute and a woman who marries for the "security" and because "he's a good provider"?

The time duration of the contract! And the ability to get a court to enforce it.
3.13.2008 6:17pm
Holly:
When I was a child, I heard the term on the news and asked my parents. My mother simply said it was a woman who sold her body and invited me to go look it up.
3.13.2008 6:21pm
Eli (mail):

A prostitute is a woman who has noted a deficiency in the market place and taken steps to capitalize on it, much to the annoyance of other women who believe that prostitutes engage in unfair practices that undermine the other women's position in the market.



We have a winner.
3.13.2008 6:23pm
CJColucci:
Did it escape everyone's attention that one of our commenters called Silda Wall Spitzer a whore and nobody called him on it? He did say that he doesn't actually know it to be true, though why that mitigates rather than aggravates the offense eludes me. Eliot deserves whatever he gets out of this. Taking shots at Silda is just cheap.
3.13.2008 6:25pm
Cornellian (mail):
"It's anything that a man and woman do together to have fun. It's the most fun when the man and woman like each other and are married."

Not that sex with a hot woman you dislike is necessarily a bad thing . . .
3.13.2008 6:27pm
john w. (mail):
IIRC, that question came up once in my household when the children were still in the slightly pre-birds &bees age bracket ( ~ 8 to 12); and my reply was something like this:

"A prostitute is a lady who asks for money to go on dates with men that she doesn't really like very much, and she's only doing it for the money ... which is kind of tacky."
3.13.2008 6:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Hopefully no one lets that man anywhere near children, in his professional capacity. "

Why would that be a concern? He hasn't had any interest in children, has he? Anyone who thinks that having a romp with a hooker makes a person unfit to be with children are themselves unfit to be around children. Because kids are already surrounded by enough stupidity.

As for what to tell kids, I don't think it's such a problem. When I was little, my grandparents operated a motel. They often spoke of 'the cheaters' and how many we had this week, etc. Cheaters are great because you can rent the same room twice in one week.

Finally, I asked my sister who are cheaters, and she explained that they are people who cheat on their husbands and wives. Made perfect sense, and I wasn't traumatized in the slightest. In anything, I thought it funny.

(It was especially funny when the motel signed said "Truckers Welcome" Only someone had changed the TR to an F.)
3.13.2008 6:48pm
john w. (mail):
Taking shots at Silda is just cheap.

That's certainly true, but on the other hand, it really does strain the imagination to believe that these political wives are the naive waifs that they make themselves out to be. If I ever came home with a single strand of blonde hair on my jacket, or one microgram of some other woman's perfume in my hair, my wife would be giving me the third degree before I had even finished parking the car.

It's almost impossible to believe that these (supposedly) super-intelligent women with their fancy-schmancy Ivy-league law degrees are so clueless that they can't figure out when their husbands are *repeatedly* sodomizing hookers or raping
interns, or whatever, on a regular basis. I mean, how the Hell can anybody be so rich that they don't even notice when there's $80,000 missing from the cookie jar??

The more plausible explanation is that they know exactly what's going on, but they don't care, because the benefits of power and prestige are worth more to them than the exclusivity of the physical relationship with the husband.
3.13.2008 7:03pm
Kevin P. (mail):

Sadly there are some women who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it.

Isn't this backwards? It really is that some women (and some men) need or want money and are willing to trade intimate experiences for the money. What a silly explanation. And she's a professor at a teacher's college. Ivory tower par excellence!
3.13.2008 7:05pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Cornellian has it right. Here's the question parents need to be prepared for:

Judy Kuriansky, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Teachers College, said parents should be ready if children ask what a governor is.

"If they ask," she said, "You say, 'Sadly there are some men who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to pay them for it. This is something that is not healthy, and I don't accept it or condone it.'"

Then, Kuriansky said, parents should steer the conversation toward the kind of healthy relationship children should aspire to. "Shift it to what is positive," she said. "The first legally blind person will become the chief executive of New York State, thanks to Spitzer's lack of common sense."
3.13.2008 7:11pm
BladeDoc (mail):

I mean, how the Hell can anybody be so rich that they don't even notice when there's $80,000 missing from the cookie jar??



Lesse, 80,000 divided by 50,000,000 = 0.16% over 10 years. Which would be like someone who had a $50K net worth spending 80 bucks -- over 10 years. And he used multiple different techniques to hide the transactions (which as we know was what tripped him up). Were those transactions to hide the money from the feds alone?
3.13.2008 7:38pm
eyesay:
D Spencer wrote "I decided it was a teaching opportunity: ... 'In the course of your life, ... you are responsible to act with the highest degree of respect for the law, morality and the trust of others.'"

Sometimes, the law may come in conflict with morality. For example, there was a time that there were laws against interracial marriage. And sometimes, moral principles themselves come into conflict. It's important to understand that "respect for" does not mean "blind obedience to."
3.13.2008 7:48pm
DiverDan (mail):
Daddy, why do you still pay Mommy alimony if she won't live with you anymore?



"If they ask," she said, "You say, 'Sadly there are some women who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it. This is something that is not healthy, and I don't accept it or condone it.'"



Seriously, I think South Park got it dead on here - most sexual liasons involve some time of a trade; sex for intimacy, a mutual trade of sexual satisfaction, sex in exchange for an implicit promise of future caretaking, sex in exchange for the fact that the guy just dropped $300 on a great dinner &a night of all-you-can-drink club-hopping. It just so happens that with prostitution, the trade is explicit, and the terms are set up front. The man knows what he wants and is willing to pay a fixed sum of currency for it. The woman knows what she wants, and is willing to perform certain personal services in exchange. Now, if the man is married and the act of visiting a prostitute is a violation of explicit promises of marital fidelity, that's a matter between the man and his wife. Why should any of the rest of us care? Unless, of course you opposed to honesty in sexual commerce.
3.13.2008 8:26pm
Ross Grimes:
Gosh I hope that's not a child psychology professor, because the answer is just short of ridiculous. Anyone old enough to understand the term "intimate experience" is highly likely to understand the term "sex," so stop beating around the bush and be honest about it. If you really can't handle the word sex (a situation which makes "intimate experience" hard to think of as preferably enlightened), just say someone pays someone else to love them or something like that. At least then you're being equally vague but still managing to use something a kid might actually understand. There's a difference between using kid-friendly language and using dumbed down language.
3.13.2008 8:34pm
FantasiaWHT:
When I was around 10 or so, there was a Murphy Brown episode where Candice Bergen dressed up like a hooker (and the word was used). I already had a pretty good idea of what one was, but I asked my dad anyway.

"It's a woman who gets paid to go on dates with men. It's really stupid."

I laughed on the inside.
3.13.2008 9:05pm
Anderson (mail):
The time duration of the contract! And the ability to get a court to enforce it.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman may (she of "The Yellow Wallpaper" fame) not've been the first to make that point, but she was making it a good 100 years ago.

She would be of some interest to the typical VC reader as a radical feminist who believed in carrying, and did carry, a revolver with her on a daily basis.

Reproached by a gentleman friend who told her she should instead rely on her natural protectors, the male sex, Gilman retorted that it was precisely for safety from her natural protectors that she was carrying the gun.
3.13.2008 9:19pm
Gaius Marius:
Kids today know about sex by the second grade.
3.13.2008 9:20pm
Benjamin R. George (mail):
‘Sadly there are some women who feel that when they have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it.’

Even if we forgive the psychological speculation (‘feel’), the dubious euphemism (’intimate experience’), and the bit about gender (there are male prostitutes, after all), this seems inaccurate at the most basic level. On this definition, you're not a prostitute unless payment is always a prerequisite for sex with you. That is, if you have an active non-commercial sex life with people you actually find attractive, but also sell sex to pay the bills, then you pretty clearly don't ‘feel that when [you] have an intimate experience with someone they need to get paid for it’, but i think most of us would agree that in this situation you're still a prostitute.
3.13.2008 9:52pm
Toby:
SOmehow during this entire discussion, I was channeling the report this week that more that 20% of all teen girls now have occult STDs, ones that may cause permanent infertility if untreated. And that a significant issue is that they do not consider acts declared not to be sex during the 90's to be sex, so that they do not have to be concerned about infection.

But the remote cynical view is so much fun.
3.13.2008 10:04pm
CJColucci:
john w., you've just got to get out more. Then your imagination will be better equipped to deal with the "strain" of comprehending the real-world psychology of troubled relationships.
3.13.2008 10:31pm
armchairpunter (mail):
So, for those inclined to a more abstract economic explanation of the phenomenon, are those who perform such services for less than market* rate compensation guilty of the nefarious antitrust/trade treaty violation of dumping?

For that matter, along other antitrust-related lines of inquiry, the institution of marriage might be understood as a matter of tying (and not just the knot), that is, bundling unrelated goods and/or services to leverage the seller's advantageous position in a particular market. (Not precisely the notion of buying the whole cow when one wants a glass of milk, but in the same ball park...)

*accepting, for the sake of argument, the tortured distinction in antitrust law between markets and actual individual economic behavior

NOTE: The view expressed in this post are not necessarily those of the author, in the event the author's spouse or antitrust professor should happen upon this post...
3.13.2008 11:01pm
ForestGirl (mail):
What you shouldn't tell your children is what my mother told me when I was eight: "Hookers are women who play games for money." It was a long time before I realized I shouldn't be dreaming of being a hooker when I grew up.
3.14.2008 12:19am
Suzy (mail):
The answer given by the psychologist strikes me as both false and ludicrous.

I think it's a terrible thing when we condemn or question the motives of the wife who chooses to stand up with her husband. She could just as easily be standing there to show her three daughters that the experience has not broken her.
3.14.2008 1:02am
Shlomoh Sherman (mail):
Parents can tell their children that there are people, both men and women, who choose to engage in sex in order to make money. No need to put postitutes in a bad light. But they should tel children that currently this type of business is illegal although it's really no one's business what anyone else chooses to do with his or her sexuality. As to the govenor's use of postitutes, no he should have been more discreet and not used public funds for his pleasures. Moreover, a married man who patonizes whores pobably has a wife who is not giving him what he needs in bed.
3.14.2008 1:52am
David Chesler (mail) (www):
What Benjamin George said. When I heard the definition with "feel they need to" I thought "Like your mother."

Like the old joke, the two women chatting in the evening, and the one says "Oh no, here comes my husband, and he's carrying flowers. That means he expect me to spend the weekend with my knees up in the air?"
"What's a matter, you don't have a vase?"

That was an ongoing discussion in our house:
"Men always pay for it."
"Oh you'll be paying for that, you'll be paying for the rest of your life."

Prostitutes can give it away. It is Objectivists who feel it is wrong to not get paid.

My kids knew what a governor was by a lot younger than 7 (he's like the president, only for Massachusetts.) The question of whores came up, and we used a simple and truthful answer that she would go with any man who paid her to do so. That is the operative part, any man. What it meant to "go with" had more or less questions and details depending on age, but we started with "kiss and go on a date and stuff".

Did you ever go with a prostitute?
The right answer would have been "That's none of your business" but that ship had sailed, so I described a vacation to a foreign land, explaining it was before I'd met Mom.

Can it be a man? "Yes, but it's usually a woman. It's not fair, but people think it's bad when a woman goes with a lot of men, and not so bad when a man goes with a lot of women." If we'd already discussed sexual orientation, that would be added in this context.

Kuriansky got hung up on the birds and the bees issue, but that's largely orthogonal to what went on here. Even among adults, we know Spitzer was paying for the date, not the sex. Men can take care of the sex aspect alone -- maybe he has cabinet members to take care of it -- and if that's all it's about, why is he paying her for the other 55 minutes?
The major issues to explain to the children is that as a married man he wasn't supposed to be going out with women other than his wife, and that it is against the law and while it's a bad law, people are angry because he used put people in jail for doing the same thing. (I have a harder time explaining the difference between jail, prison, and criminal prosecution than I do explaining sex.)
3.14.2008 8:54am
David M. Nieporent (www):
She took a vow including the words, "till death do you part".
Possibly. Very possibly not. She's Christian (Baptist) but he's Jewish. Who knows what kind of ceremony they had? That isn't a Jewish vow.
3.14.2008 11:15am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Eliot and Silda were married on October 17, 1987 in a civil ceremony performed by U.S. district judge Robert Sweet at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City. (marriage.about.com)
Source: Brooke A. Masters, Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer, page 33. There is no particular form of ceremony in New York State, so who knows?
3.14.2008 12:41pm
theobromophile (www):
Moreover, a married man who patonizes whores pobably has a wife who is not giving him what he needs in bed.

Probably not. If his wife isn't giving him what he needs, he'll probably cheat with someone else, long-term, not hire anonymous prostitutes. The men I know in unfulfiling marriages tend to find women their own age (roughly), whom they establish both an emotional and sexual relationship with. The type of person to be satisfied by prostitutes (on such a regular basis as Mr. Spitzer) isn't the type of guy to be satisfied by his wife, no matter how good she is in bed.

In short - look at the woman he cheats with to see the problem, not whether or not he is cheating.
3.14.2008 12:41pm
MMF:
I thought all kids already learned everything about sex by hearing the news during the Clinton-Lewinsky days. Remember when just putting on the car radio risked kids in the back seat piping up:"Hey Mom, what's oral sex?"
3.14.2008 1:29pm
Sagar:
Most kids are taught about good touch, bad touch in schools or at the pediatrician or by parents. So, the simple response would be to say "she let him touch her in a bad way for money" - certainly not this "being intimate" roundabout.
3.14.2008 4:05pm