Last updated on: 2/15/2008 | Author:

Is Prostitution a Threat to Marriage?

PRO (yes)


In US v. Bitty (1908), the United States Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision written by Justice John Marshall Harlan, held that:

“There can be no doubt as to what class was aimed at by the clause forbidding the importation of alien women for purposes of ‘prostitution.’ It refers to women who, for hire or without hire, offer their bodies to indiscriminate intercourse with men. The lives and example of such persons are in hostility to ‘the idea of the family as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.'”

1908 - U.S. v. Bitty


Dorn Checkley, Director of the Pittsburg Coalition Against Pornography, wrote “Legalized Prostitution?” on the Wholehearted website, last accessed Jan. 22, 2007, which stated:

“Legalized prostitution will proliferate and gain legitimacy, just like pornography has, but legal and social acceptance will never ameliorate the negative consequences to marriage. Libertines can talk a good game, but no one really likes to be cheated on and no one really likes sexual competition. It will always hurt at a deep level. And the consequences of broken marriages have profound ramifications to society. We don’t need any more negative pressure on marriage in our culture.”

Jan. 22, 2007


Dave Quist, Executive Director of Focus on the Family’s Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, was quoted in the LifeSiteNews website on July 13, 2006 as having said:

“The concept that ‘mom’s job’ is having sex with strangers sets the wrong tone for family life. It hurts the woman, it hurts the children; that is an exploitative situation,. If prostitution is legal it affords men the ‘excuse’ to go find sex outside of marriage, when things in the marriage are difficult. That does nothing to enhance the relationship between a man and a woman.

[Prostitution] runs opposite to what relationships are supposed to be. Intimacy and love are not involved; it’s just a purely physical act. It lowers both people to the lowest common denominator.”

July 13, 2006

CON (no)


John Ince, Attorney and Leader of the Sex Party, in his 2003 The Politics of Lust, wrote:

“Some people claim that prostitution threatens committed relationships, marriage, and the family. The argument is that the ‘johns’ who patronize prostitutes will have less incentive to enter stable relationships. But such an argument is unfounded. Committed relationships have intrinsic rewards to both men and women. Most people report that sex within a committed relationship is superior to casual sexual contact. Further, such emotionally bonding sex costs no money. Commitment also offers continuing companionship, emotional security, and an opportunity to pool economic resources and share the responsibility for children. These positive outcomes will always make committed relationships appealing to most people, even those who have access to prostitutes. Further, sex workers can provide committed couples a way to gratify needs for sexual variety without risking the emotional attachments arising from sexual affairs.”



Paul Abramson, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of California Los Angeles, Steven Pinkerton, PhD, Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Mark Huppin, JD, PhD, co-author, in their 2003 Sexual Rights in America, wrote:

“[P]rostitution is consistent with the pursuit of happiness of both prostitutes and the men who visit them. Moreover, to the (somewhat questionable) extent that the availability of commercial sex partners channels excess male sexual energy away from the wives of other men (thereby preventing adultery) or unwilling sexual partners (thereby preventing rape and sexual assault), prostitution is beneficial in a broader sense.”



Tracy Quan, author and former prostitute, in a Sep. 7, 2001 interview on Court TV said:

“Prostitution has been around for eons, and so have families and so has marriage. Prostitution helps to maintain marital stability in my opinion.”

Sep. 7, 2007