Is it wrong to buy sex?

The Intelligence Squared debate is now on YouTube.  If you will recall, Lionel Tiger and the Mayflower Madam were on my side, against Wendy Shalit, Catherine Mackinnon, and Melissa Farley.  They won and you will find Alex's interpretation here.  A few observations:

1. Catherine Mackinnon's closer was I thought the single best speech in the debate.

2. I was very pleased to have met and chatted with Wendy Shalit, as we hit it off very well; you'll find her books here.

3. I believed throughout that it would hurt my side of the debate to suggest that men would enjoy the experience of buying sex; the sociology of that fact is itself interesting.

4. During Q&A I was asked whether a woman raped at a very young age can later be said to have exercised autonomous choice in her decision to become a prostitute.  The premise of the question was "obviously not" but is it so simple?  Does everyone who was once a helpless victim, in a terrible way, lose autonomy?  The implications of that world view frighten me.

5. Legalization advocates still could use a better account of why this market, even when it is legal or quasi-legal, seems so prone to abuse.


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