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  • Hilary Caldwell

Lily Allen buys sex from female escorts in Australia, and that's Okay.

Updated: Sep 18, 2018

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/lily-allen-lesbian-escort-sex-workers-decriminalisation-shame-a8522416.html

What happens when women speak out about buying sex?


Kuba Shand-Baptise writes:

Ahead of the release of her upcoming memoir My Thoughts Exactly (as well as the subsequent release of the story in The Mail on Sunday), the singer revealed that she slept with female escorts during her 2014 Sheezus tour, because she was “lost and lonely and looking for something”. It didn’t take long for the backlash to ensue.

Every day, women are buying sex in Australia. From all genders. For a multitude of reasons. But speaking out about engaging a sexuality professional carries risks.


Women buying sex are not in general Australian's consciousness. These women are thought to be rare or abnormal. They are perhaps considered undesirable.


Unpacking society's coercion to prevent women speaking out about commercial sex reveals that people are typically concerned about female sexual agency and/or working conditions of sex workers.


Kuba says:

One commenter on Instagram suggested that paying “to use other women's bodies as if they were commodities” stood in direct opposition to her feminist ideals. Others made the observation that if it’s not okay for men, it’s certainly not okay for women
If this debate has revealed anything, it’s that we have a tremendously long way to go when it comes to respecting sex workers and the sex work industry at large. Let’s not go backwards by shaming people like Allen for admitting to using those services, nor by making people like her the martyrs of causes they haven’t spearheaded.

Lily should be championed for coming out about buying sex. She has social capital and much to lose, and also has capacity to help millions of people understand the sex industry as more diverse than they might expect.


Sex is upheld as a healthy pursuit for mind and body. Sex is also upheld as a sacred act belonging only to those who follow strict social rules about love. Conflict about the benefits of sex and who can enjoy it sees many people suffer. Women suffer more authoritarian rules about expressing their sexuality than men. These rules are governed through the act of slut shaming.


Buying sex is also seen as taboo for men, not for expressing their sexuality, but because they are considered to be exploiting the sexuality of another (usually, assumed to be a female). See how adopting an attitude about men exploiting sex workers is still slut shaming? Female sex workers are sometimes considered unable to consent to commercial sex because...well? Receiving remuneration for sexual services is not considered a good enough reason to consent to sex. Consent in commercial sex may be contingent on payment, and multiple other motivations, such as pleasure, helping another, or validation may also apply. Punishing men for buying sex rests on who they are having sex with, whereas women buying sex are punished for asserting their own sexuality.


Women in Australia are buying sex. If everybody knew this, there might be more compassion for people who just want to experience sex as a healthy activity.


Where to from here?

Help people to understand that all genders buy consensual adult sex from all genders, and this benefits our society. Share this post or the original. Share this webpage and blog.


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Research conducted through University of New South Wales and University of Sydney

Website written and created by Hilary Caldwell, 2018

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