Porn Verses Prostitution – What Makes One Legal and the Other a Criminal Offense?

If prostitution is illegal, why is porn legal? If I pay a woman to have sex with me, I get arrested, but if I pay her to have sex with me while I record it, it’s perfectly legal? What? (Note: That statement is exaggerated and there was actually a “film studio” that did this sort of thing that got busted for it, but you get the GENERAL idea). Needless to say, this question piqued my interest and so I tried to do a little research on the field Shibuya Kaho. As a reference, my major reading source is this article on CNN Porn vs Prostitution which did a great job of anticipating my questions and attempting to answer them as it went.

First, define the terms! Pornography:Pornography involves the customer of an adult film paying money to watch other people have sex with each other, while receiving no sexual favors himself in return. Prostitution: Prostitution is generally understood as the bilateral trading of sex for money. However, these simple definitions will prove to have some significant flaws which we will encounter as we progress.

First, looking in the state of New York, a prostitute is defined as someone “who engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.” Now I don’t know if anyone sees anything wrong with this, but… isn’t a porn star paid to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee?

Using this rational, aren’t porn actors just prostitutes on film? So looking at it in that light, it should be really easy to convict porn actors because they’ve compiled all of the necessary evidence to convict them on prostitution charges.

This leads to the next part of the answer. Who is paying whom? In prostitution, Person A pays Person B to have sex with A. In pornography, Person A pays Person B to have sex with Person C. If you’re like me, you’re probably saying right now “wait a minute! So I can just have my friends pay for my prostitutes and then I’m set? Success!” Wrong.

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