With the impending referendum on whether Britain should withdraw from the European Union – the so-called “Brexit” – it seems everyone has an opinion.
Even US President Obama got in on the act and tried to influence the Brits how to vote. To be honest, I thought his words came across more as a threat to the effect the US won’t play with the Brits any more if they leave the EU. Sorry Mr President – butt out – it’s none of your business. You’d be better off spending your time making sure “the Donald (Trump)” doesn’t take over your job – for all our sakes!!
But back to the Brexit debate. As expected, everyone has a particular perspective on what withdrawal from the EU means for their area of interest – be it trade and commerce; scientific research; travel and holidays; higher education; agriculture; security and defence; the environment; sport and culture – my god, there’s even a debate on what withdrawal from the EU means for Britain’s role in the Eurovision Sing Contest!!
When it comes to politics, I admit I’m no expert. However, my loyal followers will know I’m an expert in and passionate about sex and relationships. So, I thought I’d look into what withdrawal from the EU might mean for sex.
The manner in which the EU regulates sex work is a reasonable indicator of its approach to the issue.
I had assumed a body like the EU would have a fairly well organised and consistent
approach to the issue of sex – after all, sex ranks right up there with food as a fundamental want and need – just think Adam and Eve, who had two priorities – a quick bite & a shag!
Oh how wrong could I have been!! To my amazement, the Euro-pollies have really created a dog’s breakfast in terms of sex work regulation.
OMG, I had no idea Britain’s membership of the EU imposes so many rules and regulations on what we can and can’t do in the bedroom!
Whilst the detail below is a little dated, I think it makes fascinating reading and reflects the fact that the various members of the EU are far from united in their approach to sex work regulation.
To illustrate this, let’s look at the approach of some countries to the provision and procurement of sexual services for money and related issues.
Austria – Prostitution is legal. Sex workers are required to be registered and have weekly medical tests to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Procurement of sex for money is illegal.
Belgium – Prostitution is legal if it “does not disturb the public order” via openly providing sexual services. Oh, ok, that would be the “if you can’t see it, it can’t harm you” principle – kinda like cancer!! Procurement is illegal. Brothels are legal if the prostitutes do not make “abnormal profits”. What the f***???!!!
Seriously, what a compete shamozzel! Only the Belgians could come up with a system of sex work regulation like this. And, seeing as Brussels is the centre of the EU universe, is it any wonder the EU is completely rooted (pun completely intended!)
Denmark – Prostitution is legal. Curiously, it used to be legal “only as an extra income”, but now people can lawfully earn their entire income from prostitution. Prostitutes can register themselves as independent workers. The advertisement of sexual services is very open. Procurement is illegal.
Finland – Prostitution is legal but prohibited in public areas. Local municipalities can prohibit street prostitution. Procurement is legal but a proposal to adopt the Swedish law that penalises clients is being considered.
France – “Active prostitution” is illegal. Not sure what that means – maybe its lawful if a prostitute just lies still!!! LoL In practice, prostitution is tolerated as long as it does not disturb public order and therefore is restricted to certain areas. It is also okay for disabled persons.
Greece – Prostitution is legal but only in state-licensed brothels, and is highly regulated. Brothels are not allowed within 200 metres of public buildings.
Germany – Prostitution is legal. Berlin has regulated certain areas where prostitution may not be exercised – close to schools and child care centres, for instance. Prostitutes can have social insurance, be on paid sick leave and receive a pension, if they are hired by a brothel. “Foreign women” are not included by the law. Advertising is open.
Ireland – All kinds of prostitution is illegal. I guess we can thank the Catholic Church for Ireland’s less than enlightened view. Thank goodness they have a more liberal view on gay marriage!
Italy – Prostitution is legal but brothels and procurement are not. Prostitution is considered to be a problem of disturbing the public order. There is a proposal aimed at allowing brothels but not street prostitution.
Luxembourg – Prostitution is legal. Brothels and procurement are illegal.
The Netherlands – Prostitution is legal and considered a profession like any other. Prostitutes have the right to hygienic working conditions, security at the workplace and so on. They have to pay income tax. Brothels are legal and can advertise.
Portugal – Prostitution is legal. “Facilitating” prostitution and procurement are illegal. Curiously, the law doesn’t mention male prostitution, only female. So it’s all legal for men, I guess.
Spain – Prostitution and procurement are legal. It is illegal to force someone to work as a prostitute, to exploit someone’s weak position by making them work as a prostitute and to stop someone working as a prostitute. Brothels are illegal in some regions.
Sweden – It is illegal to buy or try to buy sexual services. Prostitution is considered to be gender related violence and an expression for unequal relations between women and men. The law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services is a part of the Womens Inviolable Rights Act (the catchily named “Kvinnofridslagstiftningen”) and includes laws on violence against women, sexual harassment, gender mutilation and so on.
United Kingdom – Prostitution is legal if the prostitute works independently without disturbing the public order. Men who are found several times in prostitution areas buying sex can be fined. It is illegal to advertise prostitution, run a brothel or recruit persons for prostitution. Members of the Scottish parliament have suggested “tolerance zones” in Scotland.
What the *** – I thought the EU was intended to make life simpler. Seriously, if you’re a working girl or a punter, you need a law degree just to give or get a shag in return for a few Euros!!
In all countries it is a criminal offence to buy sex from children under 18 – at least they got that one right!
Now we come to some silly stuff – the recent ban of face sitting in sex movies – banning face sitting – seriously!! Come on!!! This is one worth going to the barricades over and let the party police know we simply won’t stand – well, sit! – for them spoiling one of the most enjoyable positions we know. I can see it now – hundreds of activists protesting against these new laws by taking it in turns to sit on one another’s faces outside parliament and singing Monty Python’s “Sit on my face and tell me that you love me” or chanting “What do we want? Face-sitting! When do we want it? Now!”
And this from politicians of all people. After all, their profession is very well represented in the list of perverse sexual preferences – trust me, I’ve known quite a few! In fact, I’m sure I saw one prominent MP at a fetish party I attended – jut before he donned a pig mask and bent over for a good spanking and shagging! And now the same MP is preaching that a vote to leave the EU is “immoral” – oh, really?! – more immoral than being spanked and shagged as a pig?!
Do you really think we should allow ourselves to be dictated to by such a bunch of hypocrites!
The bottom line in my view is that we should all vote, and we should do so on the basis of what staying in or leaving the EU means for issues we care about, not on what our MPs tell us to.
Oh and by the way – Brussels is a fantastic city, but it needs to stick at what it does best – beer and chocolate – and leave governing to those with the ability to do it well!!