SciFi Q of the Day: Prostitution

inara_serra_desktop_1280x1024_wallpaper-349541SciFi Question of the Day: You are part of a community that is going to found a third colony on a planet that already has two established colonies. The planet’s colonies each rule themselves, but are friendly and cooperative with each other. One of the original colonies has legalized prostitution. The other colony criminalizes prostitution. What laws would you consider regarding prostitution in your colony?

Facebook Answers:

  Gwendolyn Wilkins Legalized with guild-like protection and regulation

  Justus Stone Legalize it, tax it, and keep it safer for all involved. Also means a level of control in terms of where it occurs. I think it’s easier to police something out in the open as opposed to that which is hidden in the shadows. Maybe I’d consider locating my colony slightly closer to the colony with illegal prostitution. We can use their tourist dollars

  Geri Bressler Legallize it, tax the crap out of it, pay for the roads and infrastructure! LOL

  Charles Root Jr Certain morality issues aren’t worth and are to secretive to police, so it’s better to manage it openly than drive it underground. Prostitution is one of those things.

Google Plus Answers (Sci-Fi Community):

Probably institute a legal but well regulated system requiring education, training, significant health regulation and strict oversight to prevent forced “employment.”
Somewhat similar to the “companion” system in Serenity/Firefly.

   Daniel Page   Somehow I knew from the beginning of your response, +Christopher Wilke , I knew that was where you were headed.

   Christopher Pawelski   The question is interesting but needs more context. Like what are the cultural views on pregnancy, is there a population cap in place due to resource management policies, what is the cultural background of the seed culture. But the one i see that needs the most attention is where is your colony going to be located. Since there already is 2 opposing cities a fight is inevitable.

   Christopher Wilke   +Christopher Pawelski I don’t think conflict is inevitable… They are currently peaceful and cooperative. Lands can have different laws without fighting over it. As a colony, it is likely that resource management is restricted to food.And my expectation would be that as a colony, children would be highly encouraged (assuming food was not an issue). Another assumption would be that if I, myself, was leading a colony, then they would likely be from my own cultural background. With that said, if I get to decide the laws personally, that’s what I would say. However, I would likely put it up for a vote.

   João Rita   The “companion system” is probably the best, tbh. There’s no point trying to criminalize it; it’s an activity that will always exist. Denying it is useless and counterproductive. Criminalize it will simply punish those that work in it, and create a criminal class of pimps and related scum. Add the health issues involved, and you have the makings of a big problem. By legalizing it, you can control it, monitor it’s “workings” and the health of the workers involved. And the colony also gains from the taxes charged.

   Johann Du Toit   Only allow 3 breasted women to be prostitutes.

   Cristi Demene   As long as people can travel freely between colonies and prostitution is legal in one colony you don’t have to bother too much over this law.


Christopher Wilke .

To capitalize on +Cristi Demene‘s point…Making it illegal in one colony while you can travel at will to and from the one that has it legal is also counter productive. At least, if it’s done “at home” so to speak, then it can be better controlled.


+Johann Du Toit   nice reference to Total Recall – I agree! lol

I think that it should be voted upon by the residents of the colony being established, but I also think that the FACTS should be well known. Is there a revenue that can be taxed? By legalizing it, will it be regulated for safety and health? Does it have an impact (positive or negative) on the resources and morale of the colony?

I personally have no issues with prostitution. I lived in Nevada for many years and did not really see an adverse impact of the community, so to me, it’s no big deal in and of itself. Regulation capabilities do ensure all involved are safe from violence and disease as much as they can.

   Daniel Page   For it to work, I think you’d have to have laws and enforcement to prevent the mistreatment of the prostitutes.  Harming a companion, or trying to force her to do something against her wishes would have to be punished severely enough for it to become taboo.

   Sushanth Somayaji   I would probably provide with a secret transport service to the sex starved people of the anti-prostitution colony and hook them up with the prostitutes from the legalized prostitution colony.


Mandatory prostitution for everyone between ages of 18 to 21.

Google Plus Answers (Speculative Fiction Writers Community):


I think criminalizing prostitution is stupid, anyway–much safer for everyone if you legalize it and require brothel inspections and regular health checks. So that would be my vote.


Regular health checks, pimps would be limited to a 10% rake, and all public servants and politicians would be required to serve in the Whore Corps for no less than one year as a prerequisite for public service.

 . Micha Fire . prostitution is only allowed with robots 😉

human relationship has to be of equal respect and mutual love – not sex alone

 . Philippe Zanzer . If you live in a world where you can just simply start a new colony on another planet, isn’t it probable that they have machines advanced enough to give you pleasure in that way (it is proven that orgasms can be created by only applying electricity to the right regions)

If so => wouldn’t prostitution be a moot point?My reasoning:
It is a simple question that you should answer: if you have access to a computer, why would you need/use a typing machine
By analog reasoning =>
if you have a sex machine that can fulfill your every need, why would you need/use a prostitute?

 . AmyBeth Inverness . +Philippe Zanzer I would argue that, no matter how good the machine is, it could never fulfill the need for sex. Doctors can trigger an orgasm in a human’s brain, but that is not the only goal of sexual interaction.

The exception I can think of is a holodeck fantasy. If the person felt and acted completely real, that might be enough. Then again, that also begs the problem that people might abandon all hope of interacting with real people at all because they like their fantasies so much more.

  . Zachary Besterfield . A computer could provide for every desire. But what if a human needs to restrain desire? Would the computer withhold a desired service in order to provide for a greater need? What good is a tool that does not preformed as desired?
just to add to your remark: I see that you don’t fully understand what I’ve tried to say. I meant that it is already possible now to make machines that give you these kind of pleasures (I’ve seen prototypes). So by my reasoning, I tried to make clear that if a society has the technology to go to other planets to colonize, they would probably have machines that could fulfill every goal of sex and probably more accurately than a prostitute can 😉

 . Philippe Zanzer . +Zachary Besterfield a tool can only do what it’s meant for => if a tool has to fulfill every desire, than it will fulfill your desires and if a tool needs to  fulfill your needs it will fulfill your needs

=> so by combining our logic together: by default a tool cannot have the possibility to have both goals as to fulfill your needs and/or desires because a tool cannot have a conflicting goal and would be uselessso to answer your question: A user could not use both tools or a tool with both functions if it would imply that it would crash the instance it contradicts itself
I’m going to go out on a limb here and propose that prostitution will not be a profession criminal or legal in the future. If we can imagine creative scenarios in society and culture without it in the stories that are written now, it may ease the transition. This makes the assumption that the human race evolves and no longer needs or desires to pay for intercourse. Marge Percy’s “Women on the Edge of Time” I think is a good example of a future society that no longer relies on this antiquated system and still seems to meet the needs of the citizens. Maybe that is what your third colony would do. Just a suggestion

 . Zachary Besterfield . +Philippe Zanzer Correct. A new colony could not replace prostitutes with auto-masturbation machines simply because only humans can provide for both desire and need. Any attempt otherwise would lead to an unhealthy society, and in a colonial situation, unhealthy equates with unsustainable.

+AmyBeth Inverness Regardless of tech level, colonizing a planet would be both massively expensive and barely profitable. A colonist is not likely to squander energy rations on extremely expensive sex-bots. They would need them for things like shovels, plows, pesticides, livestock, etc. Of course, there are likely to be many daughters of bankrupt farmers and ranchers hanging around town looking to work cheap.
There’d be no need for prostitution in our colony, as none of us would be organic anymore.

Google Plus (Science Fiction Community):

 . Teague Tubach . I don’t think my (our) decision regarding prostitution would be dependent on the laws of other colonies, especially knowing that friendly relations are likely no matter my (our) policy.

 . AmyBeth Inverness . If you legalize it, you might get tourist income from the colony where it is criminalized.

If you pass laws against it, your population might go spend money in the colony where it is legal.
 . Teague Tubach . That’s true. If my people had no ethical barriers, then it would be legal, just like other commerce. It’s hard to imagine the decision being based on economics and not ethics. Those who oppose prostitution usually agree that it would make economic sense. They oppose it on moral grounds.
 . Teague Tubach . Or… I’d (we’d) secretly establish off-colony brothel forts to help fund AI philosophy.
 . Luci Peterson . I would consider banning prostitution and punishing those who prostitute by exiling them. If the citizens were feeling oppressed by a law they felt governed morals (and I don’t believe it is simply a moral issue) I would consider legalizing prostitution, but deterring it by imposing an impossible amount of regulation.
 . Luci Peterson . +Teague Tubach Prostitution actually physically harms people and causes social problems such as unwanted pregnancy. I am opposed on moral grounds but that is not the only reason I oppose it.
Kodos AmyBeth on introducing a very controversial topic.

So Luci, I understand your argument. You are also going to criminalize manual labour of every sort, household ladders, and french fries? Because each of those is far more hazardous to health and life than prostitution has ever been.

And socially, you would need to limit your colony to one or no religion, one language, one cultural group, and one race/ethnicity. Each of those has caused exponentially more social strife than prostitution.

Yours would be a very law-filled colony.

 . Luci Peterson . +Lisa Kratzmann I disagree with your argument, because you are arguing against something I did not say. I believe the term is red herring? I also disagree with your reasoning because 1) french fries are not manual labor 2) none of those things are more “hazardous” than prostitution, because prostitution hurts you and your community every single time you do it. It is a 100% chance of harming yourself or others. Something that will be understood in my future colony is that in a community, people care about each other. Anyone who is not on board with that idea is not welcome. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

 . Teague Tubach . +Luci Peterson What’s an example of another reason? Just curious. Because harm and unwanted pregnancy are both moral concerns too.


We’re talking about founding a colony on another planet. I want stability and control. Those may be moral concerns but they are first practical concerns.

 . Lisa Kratzmann . No, french fries are not manual labour, they are just both far more hazardous to an individuals health than prostitution.

I feel I did address the non-moral reasons for your “no prostitution” stance. You did say that those were additional reasons. Certainly, you can base a no prostitution stance on these practical reasons, but you very quickly paint yourself as a hypocrite when there are many other more dangerous activities in life.
The phrase “stability and control” is interesting. I can think of a large number of less than admirable world leaders in the past (and present?) who base their actions on these admirable goals.
To paraphrase the ever quotable Mal, “You can’t make people better.” It seems that you are assuming your colonists are no longer people as we know them on earth.
I additionally find the comment “…a community, people care about each other. Anyone who is not on board with that idea is not welcome…” to be telling. I won’t point out why. It’s kinda obvious.
What has what other people do got to do with what I do?  Why should it matter what the two existing colonies do?  You didn’t mention if either is human or what exactly constitutes prostitution to those aliens, or if one or both have mixed human/alien societies and even marriages.  So since each of THEM gets to live its own way, so do I get to live my own way, and so does the colony I am founding.
 . AmyBeth Inverness . One of the advantages to establishing a new colony is that a community of people can create the laws that they want to live by. For example, banning all tobacco would feel repressive to many, however there would be quite a few people who would gladly live with the “repressive law” because it would mean they would never have to dodge second hand smoke in order to get into a building.


+Lisa Kratzmann I said I would consider two different scenarios taking my citizens health, safety, and opinions into account. I simply feel that prostitution would be detrimental to a new colony. Besides, since there is already another colony that allows prostitution, why can’t the people that want to live in a culture of disrespect and chaos just go there? I never said the words “hazardous” or “dangerous” because those words imply that there is simply a risk of harm. I suppose the reason for that vocabulary choice was moral, but my practical concerns are real. When I say stability and control, I am talking about population control, disease control, and just an overall sense of security. In an economic sense, I would also add that prostitution provides an incentive to enslave innocent people. Can you explain why I would need to limit my colony to one set of beliefs and one race? (Which I would never do because I am not a racist and I do believe in religious freedom.) I’m not sure I see the connection.

 . Teague Tubach . Revised answer: in a move to attract progressive, adventurous types, I’d go with whatever my homeland did not do.

 . Lisa Kratzmann . Luci, if your goal is to have very high levels of stability and control within this hypothetical colony, to minimize “social problems”, and exert an “overall sense of security” then limiting race, language, religion, and culture is ideal.

Do I “believe” in prostitution or promote it? No. But it is impossible to effectively criminalize and just as difficult to regulate into non-existance. It is the oldest professional and is found in some form in every human culture that I have heard of.
And from a civil libertarian point of view, I strongly feel that individuals’ activities whose harm to others cannot be accurately and quatifiably measured should be legalized/decriminalized. I really don’t feel that I have the right to tell people how to live their lives and I certainly don’t feel that anyone has the right to tell me how to live mine. (The latter obviously being most important to me!)
We are on very different ends of this argument. And that is awesome; diverse opinions and view points are what makes life interesting. I have enjoyed the debate and I hope that you have too.
That said, I likely wouldn’t join your colony. lolTeague, I love the “whatever my homeland did not do” angle. Very clever. Excellent marketing!

 . Luci Peterson . I think its important to find the right balance between security and freedom. Because of this debate, I realize how important a topic prostitution is. I wasn’t thinking it was going to be a big deal. I hoped that on my colony people wouldn’t have to worry enough about money to resort to it anyway. That would mean the crime rate in that area would be low. Those who would be exiled would be the be rare cases who try to make a business out of it. Organized crime, perhaps. Certainly, it would depend on a number of factors: environmental conditions, the economy, relationships between the colonies, the goals for the colony, contact with home planet, etc. 

 . Andy Bennett . I would suggest people starting a colony would probably have dampening.drugs anyway! Sex/sexual motivation/jealousy cause conflict and the billions it took to send the colony I think the senders of colony would consider what ive just suggested.. My question is this tho, yr talking about a colony on another world and your question is about prostitution???? Hmmm…..

Google Plus Answers (Space Colonization Community):

 . Ian Lipsky . Easy one for me – govt has no business telling people what they can and can not do with their own bodies. The only time they can cross that line is if whatever you are doing endangers someone else (e.g. drunk driving) or infringes on someone else (e.g. blasting your music at 3am)

 . Clint Johnson . As a libertarian, it isn’t really a question at all. The state would be constitutionally barred from making a voluntary transaction between informed and consenting adults illegal. It would only be able to interfere when the contract is contravened in some way.

 . Paul Carr . Yeah, I don’t get why this is a difficult question.  Even where it’s illegal, prostitution is widely practiced and rarely severely punished.

 . Clint Johnson . That isn’t to say that there are no legitimate legal ramifications to prostitution. Unless a marriage contract has no provisions about fidelity, or has a specific clause allowing a spouse to avail themselves of the services of a prostitute… there is generally a clear and actionable contract violation involved when a married person engages their services.

 . Ian Lipsky . I think we’re going way off anything dealing with space colonization at this point in this discussion ;p

 . AmyBeth Inverness . Not necessarily, +Ian Lipsky … part of the appeal of space exploration and colonization is the idea that we leave the old behind and embrace the new. It’s a chance to look at the laws and customs we have, and ask “Why do we do this?” and then decide whether we want to change it when we establish a new community.

Google Plus Answers (Public Post):

 . Gwenny Todd . Legalize it, of course.  Keep the rules easy: Don’t hurt other people.

 . Lason Strike . Make participation mandatory.

 . Chris Andrews . Give everyone a licence?

 . Lason Strike . There.  We’ve covered the entire spectrum of libertarian thought.

 . Nathan V . Socialize it.

 . Lason Strike . “From each according to ability; to each according to need.”

 . Nathan V . +Lason Strike precisely.

 . Thomas Sanjurjo . In establishing a new colony, I think this is pretty far down my list of concerns.

 . David Grigg . Legalize. It’s the best way to keep it under control. It’s been legal here in Australia for a couple of decades now. Brothels put up billboard ads and advertise on late night TV.

Same should go for drugs. (Not that they are legal here, yet)

 . Mince Walsh . I would definitely legalize it. However it should have some controls in place for public health reasons. Also “rules of ettiquette” would need to be drawn up so it wouldn’t become an “occupation of degradation”. It should be as controlled as any other means of employment including fair practices, wages etc, to avoid the stigma currently attached to it in our society.

 . Usama Saqib . It depends on the type of society in the colony. And only a vote could answer this.

 . Lason Strike . Democracy?  Insane.  It’s the tyranny of the average.

SciFi Q of the Day plus comment

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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