Prostitution vs. Pornography Background

Prostitutionvs. Pornography


Prostitutionand pornography are two topics that have sparked controversialdebates in the contemporary world where freedom is the order of theday. Debates touching on the legality and moral basis of the twocannot go unnoticed. Pornography has been used in reference toexposing of sexual subjects or matter with the objective of arousingindividuals sexual feelings (Koppelman, 2016). From the past,pornography has always been presented through various media rangingfrom audiovisuals like movies to print magazines, books, cards toaudios, like soundtracks. Primarily, the subjects of pornography arethe models who pose for cameras to take nude photos and pornographicactors who take part in the pornographic films. On the moral basis,individuals have struggled to suppress such depictions since they arenot only immoral but can also lead to addiction? It is clear thatpornography, though the actors are paid for sexual practices, islegalized unlike prostitution which is considered illegal.Prostitution is used to describe the exchange of sexual services forcash (Farley, 2016). In my case, I think the two fall under the samebroad industry of sexual services. Why it is that prostitution isillegal and pornography is legalized on legal grounds? Are theremoral differences between the two aspects? Do they result in any formof exploitation?

Distinctionsbetween pornography and prostitution

Theconcept of the legality of pornography and prostitution came into thelimelight and formed a topic of discussion after the trial of JennyPaulino who was accused of operating a prostitute brothel in theupper Eastern side of Manhattan (Sherry, 2005). In an attempt todefend herself, she argued that it was necessary for the law of equalprotection to take its course. She said that the Attorney wasselectively targeting the prostitution sector in his prosecutions andturned a blind eye to those who engaged in the distribution ofpornographic, films which was on the same level with what he wasoperating. In his ruling, Justice Budd refuted the claim and arguedthat at no point will prostitution be subjected on the same legalgrounds with pornography. Referring to the New York statute, heconfirmed that there is a difference between the two and they are notthe same (Sherry, 2005).

Ideally,from the introduction, prostitution is when a client pays for sexualservices rendered by a prostitute. It, therefore, gets the impressionthat pornography, on the other hand, the client is paying an actorwho is rendering sexual services to a fellow actor. In simple words,prostitution is seen as the mutual exchange of sex in return formoney and in pornography the client pays his money to watchindividuals having sex. In pornography, the client does not get anysexual favors in return apart from being aroused.

Thedistinction between prostitution and pornography is very clear onlegal grounds and this can be affirmed by the fact that theperformances carried out by pornographic subjects are artistic andare, therefore, protected by the provisions of the First Amendment(, 2016). From a theoretical perspective, actors are paid foracting while prostitutes are paid for sex services.

Pornstars engage in sexual intercourse since it is the role they aresupposed to play and this cannot amount to hired sex. Under the firstamendment, those who engage in sexual activities, in the context ofshooting a film, are protected by the law. It, is, therefore, clearthat when one is paying money for the act it is totally differentfrom when he is paying to have benefited from the act itself whichdraws a clear line between prostitution and pornography. This haspoked free speech advocates to call for protection from legalentities of the first person movies. Notably, however, they are yetto file a case in relation to this before any court of law.

However,live sexual performances have received little protection as comparedto the recorded ones. The major transition in the legality ofporn-prostitution argument was in the 1980s (, 2016).Prosecutors criticized Harold Freeman was an adult film producer forhiring a total of five women to take part in the film he wasproducing. They argued that he was guilty of pimping. However, thestate of California highest court released him and affirmed that theant-pimping laws were not applicable in the porn industry. The courtwent ahead to explain that the Freeman was not paying the women forthe sexual benefits neither to them nor to him but for the artisticroles they were playing in the film. It also asserted that even ifthey were engaging in prostitution, the essence of the act being inan acted performance did not subject them to the anti-pimping law andapplying it to them will be going against the provisions contained inthe First Amendment. The court was keen on the application of theprostitution laws in this context as it will lead to certainregulations that will lead to unfair judgments even to those takepart in love scenes in the artistic films.

The“noble” rapport concerning pornography and the legal systems canbe traced back to the middle of the Twentieth Century in the UnitedStates of America which was ruled in the US Supreme Court (,2016). Referring to the First Amendment, Justice William legitimizedthe acts of pornography by narrowing down the definition ofobscenity. It is clear that the legal distinction betweenprostitution and pornography is intact and most states legal systemshave avoided challenging it in their rulings.


Fromthe above discussion, it is clear that although the two concepts fallunder the sex industry, one is on the better side of the law.However, on the moral grounds, there is no room for suchdistinctions. Prostitution and pornography are both features of animmoral society that need to be stamped out if sanity has to berestored. There cannot be any moral justification of the two vices.Lastly, it is clear that the primary subjects within the two fieldsare always subjected to some levels of exploitation as they go onwith their “businesses”. In fact, the two have always treated byclients to the extreme of being killed (Reeve, 2016). In cases wherethey work under brothels, they are supposed to work for long hourswith low pay. Though porn stars have tried to evade the bitter truthof exploitation, it is clear that there is massive exploitation inthe field. For instance, they are forced to work under the influenceof drugs for maximum performance. Some are also subjected to low payfor the benefit of the producers.


Farley,M. (2016). THE PROSTITUTION AND TRAFFICKING OF AMERICAN INDIAN/ALASKANATIVEWOMEN IN MINNESOTA.&nbspAmericanIndian &amp Alaska Native Mental Health Research: The Journal of theNational Center,&nbsp23(1),65-104. Whyis Pornography Legal and Prostitution is Not. HG.orgLegal Resources.

Koppelman,A. (2016). REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY AND FIRST AMENDMENT EXCEPTIONS.&nbspEmoryLaw Journal,&nbsp65(3),661-693.

Reeve,K. (2013). The Morality of the “Immoral”: The Case of Homeless,Drug-Using Street Prostitutes.&nbspDeviantBehavior,&nbsp34(10),824-840. doi:10.1080/01639625.2013.781442.

&nbspSherryF. (2005). Thelegal line between porn and prostitution.