What’s worse: An affair or a prostitute?

The Eliot Spitzer scandal touched a nerve with men and women all over the world.

And while many of us were aghast at the idea of spending $80,000 on sex (hell-o!
That’s a new car! Or a couple of years worth of mortgage payments!), others believed
sex with a prostitute to be more palatable than an ordinary affair.

A recent Lavalife poll of more than 6,000 daters revealed that 61
per cent thought an affair was worse than a prostitute. In fact, only 34 per
cent of men and 43 per cent of women thought sleeping with a prostitute was


Lucia, host of the Los Angeles-based TV talk show, The
Art of Love
believes having an affair, whether physical or emotional, is
worse than seeing a prostitute. She says, “Seeing a prostitute is a business
transaction — pay for play. No feelings involved. However, an affair, especially
an emotional one means it’s more than just sex. There are feelings involved.”

Lucia says, “Men can separate sex from love, while most women can’t. Look
at it this way: Would you rather your partner have sex with you and be thinking
of someone else or have sex with someone else and be thinking of you? It’s not
about the physical act but where the person’s heart lies.”

Alan, a publicist, agrees. “I definitely think that an affair is worse.
Seeing a hooker is just a one-time thing, like a business transaction — only
it involves sex. There’s no emotion involved. That’s my take.”

But what about a prostitute’s repeat customers, like Spitzer, a customer so
loyal that he’d earned the obviously affectionate moniker, “Client number
9?” Is it still a business transaction? Closer to an affair? Or somewhere
in the middle?

Alan says, “I think it’s still business. You have a favorite restaurant
that you frequent? You like the restaurant, the food, the atmosphere. But is
there a relationship between you and the restaurant? I don’t think so.”

Abby, a dater, disagrees. “Prostitution is much worse, if only for the
risk of dangerous diseases. A personal, emotional affair, on the other hand,
can actually be a healing experience, allowing a frustrated person to re-evaluate
how the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the hill.”

Jenny Gardiner, author of Sleeping
with Ward Cleaver
says, “Both are deal-breakers for me. An affair
is a huge betrayal of trust, and once trust is broken it’s irrevocable. Sleeping
with a prostitute is a huge betrayal of physical safety, which to me demonstrates
incredible selfishness on the part of the partner.

“Either way the person has severed the trust that must come with a relationship
or marriage. Personally I’d kill my husband for either betrayal — I’m not that

Elizabeth, a former sex industry worker, disagrees.

She says, “In fairness to pros, it’s actually quite common knowledge that
most working girls — particularly those at the level of Spitzer’s favorite,
Ashley Dupre a.k.a. “Kristen” — are meticulous about safer sex. True,
one might be taking a risk with a crack addicted girl on the street, but when
talking about higher levels of sex work it could be argued and has been by many,
that one is probably safer going to a pro with a sophisticated knowledge of
safer sex practices than to say, Molly in accounts payable.”

Although Molly in accounts payable might (or might not) be a more likely carrier
of crabs or HIV, sleeping with her probably isn’t going to get your mug shot
on the 7 o’clock news, or provide an up-close introduction to the wonderful
world of pimps.

Either way, there is a certain degree of risk. But why someone, especially
someone like Spitzer with so much to lose, gamble everything on sex?

A groundbreaking book, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, written
by two evolutionary psychologists, Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa, both
men, claims that we should not be shocked that male politicians are willing
to risk their careers for sex.

In the book, Darwinian historian Laura L. Betzig offers this explanation: “Men
strive to attain political power, consciously or unconsciously, in order to
have reproductive access to a larger number of women. Reproductive access to
women is the goal, political office but one means. To ask why the President
of the United States would have a sexual encounter with a young woman is like
asking why someone who worked very hard to earn a large sum of money would then
spend it.”

Ah huh, right — the whole reason to become President or Governor or Prime
Minister in the first place is for the chicks.

Female politicians, on the other hand, rarely risk their careers for sex, according
to the authors. While there are hundreds of incidences of male political sex
scandals, the female sex scandal is a rare occurrence.

In fact, I could only find a handful when researching this story: a Taiwanese
councilwoman (sex tape), former Charlotte, NC mayor Sue Myrick (affair with
her future husband while he was married to someone else), Idaho congresswoman
Helen Chenoweth (affair) and Utah congresswoman Katherine Bryson (affair). Granted,
there are many more male than female politicians.

Far more men than women pay for sex in general (of course). According to Sex
for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry
by Ronald Weitzer,
a 1994 national poll found that 18 per cent of American men and 2 per cent of
women had paid for sex. The book also reports a study in 2000 that 10 per cent
of British men under age 35 had “bought sex from a prostitute” and
7 per cent of Canadian men reported they had “paid for sex.”

Columnist Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Finding
Grace when You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear
comments, “Powerful
women don’t have the time, energy or brain-power to have sex with their own
husbands, much less start trolling for someone new. No smart woman in her right
mind is going to waste a bunch of money or shut-eye time on meaningless sex
when she can get it at home for free.”

McLeod adds, “The reason women don’t pay hookers is because we know that
can get more lasting satisfaction from expensive shoes.”

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/Dan Brandenburg

Dating expert Lisa Daily is the bestselling author of Stop Getting
Dumped! and a new novel, Fifteen Minutes of Shame.

Article courtesy of Click by Lavalife.

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