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Meet the academic who thinks prostitution should be legalised because men need more sex

Thursday 13 August 2015

Dr Catherine Hakim caused controversy last week for suggesting that young women should sell their bodies to take advantage of the "male sex deficit". She talks to Martin Daubney

By Martin Daubney 10 Aug 2015

We all know the old cliché: when a woman hits 30 – and even more so if she has children – she completely loses interest in sex. Then, her man’s eye begins to wander, until he is either drawn to a younger, more virile model; or he goes the full monty and pays for sex on the side.

Yet according to controversial sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim, not only are such dalliances our destiny – because we are evolutionarily and biologically hard wired this way – but they should be embraced.

Dr Hakim calls this gender difference in libido “the male sex deficit”. To cater for it, she believes we need to not only legalise prostitution but encourage women to “cash in” by making money as escorts while they are still “young and attractive”.

Last week Dr Hakim published her outspoken opinions in a paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs – one of Baroness Thatcher’s favourite think-tanks.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in certain parts, her comments went down like a ton of salt at a slug convention.

“Women have equality in the workplace, but they do not have they equality in private relationships,” says Dr Hakim, whose previous book, The New Rules, compared married men to “caged animals”.

“It’s a shocking difference: men are twice as interested in sex as women and it is the same around the world. Surveys show we see the male sex deficit in Sweden, France, Spain, Japan and South America.

“It is hard-wired into us: men, on average, are more highly sexed than women. You can’t call it biological, as that implies it is animalistic: it allows critics to dismiss it.

“It’s across all age groups, but as soon as you hit 30, the gap starts growing dramatically. For a lot of women, the decline in sexual interest is closely linked to having children and they just don’t regain it afterwards. But the evidence is it happens as we age even without children”.

Thus Dr Hakim argues older men are drawn to younger women not just for their looks, but for their libidos.

“With a 20-year age gap, you get women who have the same level of sexual interest as men,” she says. “You would expect that as women get richer and more powerful as they get older there would be a strong demand for buying toy boys – but there isn’t.”

Hakim argues this biological difference means we should legalise prostitution, a financial trade she likens to a man going to a restaurant for a different dish.

“The sex deficit means there will be an ineradicable sex entertainment industry: be it porn, lap dancing or sexual services, and that is never going to disappear,” says Dr Hakim. “Trying to stop prostitution through criminalising it – as has been proposed in Sweden – is a complete waste of public money. It is bound to fail.

“Paid-for sex is the solution as there’s a law of supply and demand. Not all young women will be interested in older men. In developing countries they solve this problem by having huge age gaps between husband and wife, or by polygamy where the husband takes another younger wife.

“There is an additional male demand for sex and preferably they have multiple partners. In monogamous societies like ours, the easy way to achieve this is to pay for the service – just as you would if you pay to eat a different type of cuisine from what’s available at home.”

It sounds like a depressing lot for women, who are faced with the seeming inevitability that their partners are hard-wired to play away as they age. Is there anything women can do about this?

“They can exploit the male sexual deficit by making huge amounts of money when they’re young and attractive by offering sexual services,” says Dr Hakim. “That’s exactly what’s happening. Students are dabbling part time in the sex industry and make a fortune. They quite like the idea of lots of sex: they have raging hormones like young men.

“Men do this in the City – 16 hour days and hope to make a million – then they retire and hope to do something more amusing. Men do this and nobody seems to comment. But if women do it’s seen as shocking”.

Dr Hakim claims the root problem is our “sex negative” mindset – and adds it is North European and American feminist academics and journalists who are most resistant to embracing the idea of female sexual liberation through paid-for sex.

“In the West we still have a problem that sex can be used for recreation,” she says. “All our moral rules are based upon the fact that sexuality and fertility are linked.

“Even since the contraceptive revolution in the 60s, we still have one set of ethics that are tied to reproductive sexuality. We need to recognise recreational sexuality as a completely separate animal.

“Northern Europe and America – the angle Saxon cultures – are profoundly sex-negative, whereas southern Europe, Japan, China are sex positive cultures.

“It is very difficult to get more than a sour discussion in Britain. I’ve been attacked by women for my views even though Amnesty International have recommended decriminalisation, as have the United Nations.

“Why can’t we celebrate success stories in this field rather than focusing on misery and oppression? Sex is one of life’s great joys”.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2015

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