1st Edition

Is It Wrong to Buy Sex? A Debate

By Holly Lawford-Smith, Angie Pepper Copyright 2024
    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    Is it wrong for a man to buy sex from a woman? In this book, Holly Lawford-Smith argues that it is wrong: commercial sex is quintessentially hierarchical sex, and it is wrong both to have, and to perpetuate a market in, hierarchical sex. Angie Pepper argues that it isn’t wrong: men are permitted to buy sex from those women who freely choose to sell it.

    Important but different interests are at stake in these two positions. According to the first, we should prioritize the interest of all women in securing a society that has achieved equality between the sexes, and we should make the changes needed to get there including prohibiting men from buying sex from women. In contrast, the second position prioritizes the protection of individuals' rights to engage in consensual commercial sex exchanges and demands that we strive for gender equality without compromising these rights. The two authors debate the ethical issues involved in the decision to buy sex, arguing passionately for very different conclusions, in a way that is lively, constructive, and sure to leave readers with a lot to think about.

    Key Features:

    • Focuses on the pressing moral issue of whether we’re morally permitted to buy sex
    • Advances two different normative ethical approaches to the issue and develops two competing arguments
    • Demonstrates how philosophical debate on controversial topics can be productive and easy-to-follow
    • Provides a glossary with definitions of key terms that are bolded in the main text
    • Includes section summaries that give an overview of the main arguments and a comprehensive bibliography for further reading

    Foreword by Michelle Madden Dempsey

    Holly Lawford-Smith and Angie Pepper

    Part I: Opening Statements

    1. It Is Wrong To Buy Sex
    Holly Lawford-Smith

    2. It is Not Wrong to Buy Sex
    Angie Pepper

    Part II: First Round of Replies

    3. No Such Thing As A Good Sex Buyer: First reply to Angie Pepper
    Holly Lawford-Smith

    4. Why It’s Still Not Wrong to Buy Sex: First Reply to Holly Lawford-Smith
    Angie Pepper

    Part III: Second Round of Replies

    5. What Women Owe to Each Other: Second reply to Angie Pepper
    Holly Lawford-Smith

    6. Finding Common Ground: Second Reply to Holly Lawford-Smith
    Angie Pepper

    Further Reading


    Holly Lawford-Smith is an Associate Professor in Political Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Gender-Critical Feminism (2022) and Sex Matters: Essays in Gender-Critical Philosophy (2023).

    Angie Pepper is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Roehampton.