If two unmarried consenting adults have sexual relations with each other, in all states but one (Mississippi) they violate no law. Such an act might be considered immoral by some, but that doesn’t mean that it should be a criminal offense.
If the man pays the woman for sex with dinners, a movie, flowers, etc. again there is no crime involved, at least not in civilized countries.
However, if he compensates her for her services in the form of a monetary payment, this is called prostitution and is illegal in most jurisdictions.
This is more than passing curious. Why should the form of payment play such an important, nay overwhelming, role? Money is purchasing power, more efficient than bartering goods and services, unless the recipient is going to purchase that exact combination of items in any case. For instance, for the price of a movie, dinner and flowers, the woman might prefer a pair of shoes. She could obtain the footwear, but only if she were paid in the form of money.
But the weirdness does not end there. If money changes hands, it converts an act that would be licit into a crime. The amazing thing is that the act in the two cases is identical. The only difference is the transfer of money.
The weirdness now escalates to unimaginable heights. Or depths of irrationality. If during this sex act, one for which money duly changes hands, but a camera is employed, then, suddenly, and amazingly, this occurrence then, once again, becomes legal. Well, not exactly legal. Pornography remains illegal, but, as a practical matter, is no longer enforced. Why, you might ask? Please sit down, now, lest you keel over when I answer this question. The response is that this sex act then becomes not one of evil intolerable prostitution, an awful illegal occurrence, but one of pornography, an act of free speech protected by law, or, at least, not enforced by law.
Are we living in an insane asylum? Sex and nothing but sex? Legal. Sex paid for with movies, dinners, flowers? Again non criminal. The very same act accompanied by monetary payment? A vicious act, prohibited by law, with severe penalties for violators. The same act, once again, money again is transferred from one party to the other, but a camera is utilized to record the goings on? We once again return to the realm not of the legal but of the non-enforced illegal. Preposterous is not too extreme a characterization of this concatenation.
When prostitution is prohibited by law, it does not disappear. It is not for nothing that it is considered the oldest profession. Rather it is driven underground. The women involved (there are a few male gigolos) are molested and brutalized. When it is legal, as it is in most of Nevada, this changes dramatically. Now, in terms of treatment it becomes similar to other job pursuits.
With legalization, rights violations now become the exception, not the rule. Have we learned nothing from alcohol prohibition? Under this system, people died from bathtub gin, violence, shootings over turf. Nowadays, under legalization, you go to the supermarket for booze. Let us employ the lessons we should have learned from this episode concerning alcohol to sex between consenting adults.