Invisible Men


[Photo courtesy of Recycled Rita]

You may aware of a project called Invisible Men which is frequently quoted to ‘prove’ that all sex work is harmful, and all those who purchase sexual services are abusers.

Do you think all men (and it appears here only women sell sex, and only men buy…) who have ‘free’ sex adore women and respect them? Do you think all unpaid sexual acts are done out of mutual respect, pleasure and consent? This is often how these debates are framed. Nearly every woman I know can recount a tale of when it was ‘easier to have sex than say no’, or they felt ‘used’ for sex, or they had sex with a man who didn’t care about the woman’s pleasure or indeed pain. Misogynists exist all around us. Separating them into those who pay for sex and those who don’t is fruitless.

I hate the Invisible Men Tumblr, it is misleading, lazy and one of those dreaded zombie stats that won’t go away.

It also seems fixated on migration and ‘trafficking’ with several nationalities mentioned in the posts they select from thousands online.

It is also based on the premise that paying for sex is morally wrong and all those who do so are deviants. And all sex workers are victims who cannot speak for themselves.

Do I think some clients think these thoughts? Yes. Do I think many men say these vile things about their girlfriends/ wives/ lovers? Yes I do.

Minxy Lydia, a sex worker and blogger writes her take on the Invisible Men blog.

Jemima also blogs here.

I think we should focus on abuse and misogyny wherever it appears. Why don’t we see sites or campaigns like this about unpaid sex? About men who coerce their girlfriends, ‘coax’ their wives, demand from their lovers? An alarming percentage of men believe they have ‘rights’ to sex whether or not the woman wishes to engage. A frightening number think it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore a female’s limits. Let’s talk about this rather than using sex workers as a convenient scapegoat for wider issues and abolitionist agendas.