A writer in the human shop

The illustrious French writer Gustave Flaubert was a common frequenter of brothels.  He wrote, “A man has missed something if he has never woken up in an anonymous bed beside a face he will never see again, and if he has never left a brothel at dawn feeling like jumping off a bridge into the river in sheer disgust with life.”


Of course, Flaubert paid for his full life with a number of doses of venereal disease. 

Even poor old Kafka tried the joys of mercenary sex.  Typically, it was not a great success and he records in his diary, “Lonely, long, absurd walk home.”


Hans Christian Anderson was afraid of sex almost all his life.  He finally visited a brothel when he was aged 62 – but he didn’t touch, just paid 12 francs and left.  He referred to the brothel as “a human shop.”


Is prostitution exploitation?  If I am a prostitute by choice, can I be exploited?  What if I am poor?  Or a drug addict?  Is my choice still free?



Filed under art, Prostitution, sex

3 responses to “A writer in the human shop

  1. shewalksinbeauty

    Naturally, I would have something to say.

    Everyone makes choices at every point in their lives. If you are poor are there choices that were made earlier in life that led to that? Are there choices that can be made to get out of it? A person choses to do drugs or not to. As long as there is free will there will be people making poor decisions. As far as prositition goes? No yay or nay from me. To each his, or her, own.

  2. Is physical prostitution any more demeaning than mental the prostitution almost all of us endure daily? Pretending to like and respect those we work with and for even when we do not.

    Realising daily how we squash the truth in us and our ideas and innovations and support the lies of those more powerful around us?

    Perhaps people are against prostitution because it is all those phallacies (ha) made physical. Harder to sweep under the carpet (but easier to clean up with a wet sponge).


    ps. look up the dilbertblog. Dilbert’s writer tackles stuff like free will. Also interesting in regard to the cowardice piece.


  3. Thanks for the dilbertblog reference, Jester – I’ll check it out. And, yes, if we define prosititution as the sale of self for the pleasure and gain of others, as the appearance of attachment for financial gain, as the facade of connection in return for reward – then we have all been guilty of prosititution in some form. Perhaps everyday…

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