Empowerment of women has created a “male sex deficit” which prostitution could usefully fill, argues sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim in paper published by leading free-market research group
The sex trade should be fully decriminalised because feminism has left modern men starved of sex, one of Baroness Thatchers favourirte think-tanks claims.
A controversial new paper published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) calls for Britain’s prostitution laws to be scrapped, insisting it is “inevitable” that men will resort to paying for sex as women become more empowered through participation in the workplace.
The paper by the outspoken sociologist and author Dr Catherine Hakim claims that men effectively have twice as much sexual desire as women but that it is no longer being met at home.
Most controversially, it claims that the link between prostitution and human trafficking has been overstated and it argues that legalisation of the sex trade could actually reduce rape and sexual crime against women.
But campaigners against gender violence dismissed the report as “alarmingly one-sided” and dismissed the arguments about the differences between men and women as “laughable”.
Dr Hakim previously attracted controversy with a book advocating extra marital affairs, likening faithful husbands and wives to “caged animals” who, she said, should be free to explore their “wild side” without the threat of divorce.
In her latest publication she argues that male sexual desire in the 21st Century continues to “greatly outstrip non-commercial female supply”.
She also takes aim at liberal Sweden, claiming that its restrictions on prostitution are driving desperate men to more “sex positive” countries.
Drawing from a series of international sex surveys, she argues: “Male sexual desire is manifested at least twice as often as female desire, and men would like to have sex twice as often as women.
“This gap in sexual desire between men and women is growing over time and cannot be dismissed as an outdated patriarchal myth as argued by some feminists.
“Demand for commercial sex is therefore inevitable and the sex industry is likely to continue to flourish in the 21st century.”
She adds that what she calls the “male sex deficit” is likely to grow in the 21st century as women become increasingly economically independent and withdraw from “sexual markets and relationships that they perceive to offer unfair bargains”.
“One supposed ‘myth’ that was shown to be a continuing solid reality in the 21st Century, long after the contraceptive revolution, is the idea that men typically have stronger libidos than women,” she adds.
“Male demand for sexual entertainments and activity greatly outstrips female sexual interest, even in liberal cultures – this gives women an edge, although many are still unaware of it.”
She goes on to reject the belief that prostitutes are predominantly victims of human trafficking as “outdated” and adds: “All the available evidence points in the direction of prostitution and erotic entertainments having no noxious psychological or social effects, and they may even help to reduce sexual crime rates.”
Photo: DAVID BEBBERDr Catherine Hakim
Sarah Green, acting director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “The report argues that it is difficult and costly to enforce the criminalisation of prostitution but then goes on to say that decriminalising it will reduce harm to women – when this is not at all the same thing.
“It selects evidence in an alarmingly one-sided way, omitting entirely for example what is known about early age of entry into prostitution and sexual violence suffered by women in prostitution.”
She added: “The claims about men’s greater interest in sex, the ‘sexual deficit’, are laughable.
“A contemporary teenager could explain to the author how and why men make greater claims about their sexual interests and experiences and women downplay theirs.
“We welcome an economist’s view on prostitution, which might let us see the structural factors, based on women’s ongoing material and social inequality, as to the abstract individual transaction. This report is a missed opportunity to do that.”