The sex industry (also called the sex trade) consists of businesses which either directly or indirectly provide sex-related products and services or adult entertainment. The sex industry provides sex-related products and services such as Prostitution, Call girls, adult movie theaters, pornography, Sex shops, Strip clubs, sex-oriented men's magazines, sex movies, sex channels for television and pre-paid sex movies for on demand. BDSM can also play a part in pornography and prostitution.
Prostitution is the main component of the sex industry, and may take place in a brothel, or at a facility provided by the prostitute or at a client's hotel room or other place, usually arranged through an escort agency. This activity involves a prostitute or sex worker providing sexual services to a client. In most cases the prostitute is at liberty to determine whether she or he will engage in a particular type of sexual activity, but forced prostitution exists in some places around the world as does sexual slavery.
Prostitution is legal in some places, but in other places it is illegal. In places where prostitution or the operation of brothels is illegal, establishments such as massage parlors, bars or strip clubs may offer sexual services to patrons. Even in places where prostitution is legal, it is subject to many restrictions. For example, forced prostitution is usually not permitted nor is prostitution by or with minors.
The sex industry employs hundreds of people each day. These range from the sex worker, also called adult service provider (ASP) or adult sex provider, who provides sexual services, to a multitude of support personnel. Sex workers can be prostitutes, call girl, pornographic film actors, pornographic models, sex show performers, erotic dancers, striptease dancers, telephone sex operators, cybersex operators, or amateur porn stars for online sex sesions and videos.
In addition, like any other industry, there are people who work in or service the sex industry as managers, film crews, photographers, those working in development and maintenance of websites, processing orders, producing and selling DVDs and other sex articles, printing magazines and books, etc. Some create business models, traffic trading, press releases, negotiate contracts with other owners, buy and sell content, technical support, servers, billing, payroll, organise trade shows and various events, marketing and sales forecasts, human resources, taxes and legal.
Usually, those in management or staff do not have direct dealings with sex workers, instead hiring photographers under contract who have a direct social network with the sex industry and sex workers. Pornography is a product that management and staff in the adult industry professionally markets and sells to adult webmasters for distribution on the Internet.
Pornography is the explicit portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction. A pornographic model poses for pornographic photographs. A pornographic actor or porn star performs in pornographic films. In cases where limited dramatic skills are involved, a performer in pornographic films may be called a pornographic model. Porn can be provided to the consumer in a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, or video game. However, when sexual acts are performed for a live audience, by definition it is not pornography, as the term applies to the depiction of the act, rather than the act itself. Thus, portrayals such as sex shows and striptease are not classified as pornography.
The first home-PCs capable of network communication prompted the arrival of online services for adults in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The wide-open early days of the World Wide Web quickly snowballed into the dot-com boom, in-part fueled by an incredible global increase in the demand for and consumption of porn and erotica.
Both men and women travel away from their home to engage in sex tourism, though the pattern of attraction tends to differ between them. Male sex tourism can create or augment demand for sex services in the host countries, while female sex tourism tends not to use existing sex facilities. Like tourism in general, sex tourism can make a significant contribution to local economies, especially in popular urban centers. Sex tourism may arise as a result of stringent anti-prostitution laws in a tourist's home country, but can create social problems in the host country.
Businesses that provide sex services tend to cluster around military bases. The British naval port of Portsmouth had a flourishing local sex industry in the 19th century, and until the early 1990s there were large red light districts near American military bases in the Philippines. The Monto red-light district of Dublin, one of the largest in Europe, gained most of its custom from the British soldiers stationed in the city; indeed it collapsed after Irish independence was achieved and the soldiers left. The notorious Patpong entertainment district in Bangkok, and the city of Pattaya, Thailand, started as R&R locations for US troops serving in the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.
The sex industry is very controversial, and many people, organizations and governments have strong moral objections to it, and, as a result, pornography, prostitution, striptease and other similar occupations are illegal in many countries.
Some feminists object to the sex industry, which they argue is exploitative of women who work in it and contributes to the male-centered objectification of women, increases sexual violence against women and undermines the objective of gender equality. They argue that prostitution is a form of male domination and violence against women. Feminists argue that, in most cases, prostitution is not a conscious and calculated choice. They say that most women who become prostitutes do so because they were forced or coerced by a pimp or by human trafficking, or, when it is an independent decision, it is generally the result of extreme poverty and lack of opportunity, or of serious underlying problems, such as drug addiction, past trauma and other unfortunate circumstances. Based on these arguments, Sweden, Norway and Iceland have criminalized the buying, but not the selling, of sexual services (the client commits a crime, but not the prostitute).
Some feminists are opposed to pornography, arguing that it is an industry which exploits women and which is complicit in violence against women, both in its production (where they charge that abuse and exploitation of women performing in pornography is rampant) and in its consumption (where they charge that pornography eroticizes the domination, humiliation, and coercion of women, and reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment). They charge that pornography contributes to the male-centered objectification of women and thus to sexism. However, other feminists are opposed to censorship, and have argued against the introduction of anti-porn legislation in the United States - among them Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, Karen DeCrow, Wendy Kaminer and Jamaica Kincaid.
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