Thursday 14 October 2010

The Causes of Prostitution

Noticing that Belle De Jour is promoting her latest book at Waterstones, I am reminded of Dr. William Acton, the Victorian moralist. He famously outlined the causes of prostitution thus:
"The demand for prostitution arises, then, from ill-regulated and uncontrolled desire, and may be referred to the following heads:
  • The natural instinct of man.
  • His sinful nature.
  • The artificial state of society rendering early marriages difficult if not impossible.
  • The unwillingness of many, who can afford marriage, to submit to its restraint, and incur its obligations.
  • To a man's calling preventing him from marrying, or debarring him when married from conjugal intercourse.
The unrestrained want and lawless demand, call for the infamous supply; but want and demand are insufficient of themselves to create supply; there are strong provoking causes, but not creative. We must go a step further to discover the sources of supply. It is derived from the vice of women, which is occasioned by:
  • Natural desire.
  • Natural sinfulness.
  • The preferment of indolent ease to labour.
  • Vicious inclinations strengthened and ingrained by early neglect, or evil training, bad associates, and an indecent mode of life.
  • Necessity, imbued by the inability to obtain a living by honest means consequent on a fall from virtue.
  • Extreme poverty.

To this black list may be added love of drink, love of dress, love of amusement, while the fall from virtue may result either from a woman's love being bestowed on an unworthy object, who fulfils his professions of attachment by deliberately accomplishing her ruin, or from the woman's calling peculiarly exposing her to temptation. ...

I don't think he'd be a natural reader for Belle De Jour's Guide to Men.

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