Is it Wrong to Buy Sex?: A Debate

Angie Pepper, Holly Lawford-Smith

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


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 quint‑
essentially 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
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRoutledge: Taylor & Francis Group
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameLittle Debates about Big Questions


  • sex work
  • ethics
  • feminism
  • gender justice
  • autonomy
  • rights
  • radical feminism
  • sexual autonomy

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