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Red Light District Guide

Is it Safe to Sleep with a Prostitute in the Amsterdam?

Which one?

Oh, sorry, you mean in general … no.

What one must always bear in mind with prostitution is that it is an industrial operation, massively increasing the number of sexual partners an individual has and, therefore, massively increasing the chance that he or she will pick up some sort of sexually transmitted infection. So, don’t fool yourself, if you are going to sleep with any prostitute, anywhere, you must manfully accept the possibility that, later, your penis might drop off.

“ But, surely” you protest “surely, the whole point of prostitution being legal in Amsterdam is that it can be controlled, regulated, monitored and made safe?”

Well, yes, that is the theory … or, more accurately, that is the myth.

The truth is that there has been no serious attempt to enforce medical checks for sex workers since Napoleon lost control of The Netherlands. The window prostitutes are all meant to be registered, yes, and they are given access to medical advice if they want it, but they are under absolutely no compulsion to do anything.

Of course, they have no desire to catch anything from you and it is generally agreed about seasoned mongers that the sex workers in Amsterdam are among the most careful in the world. They insist upon condoms for everything, including blowjobs, and many will insist on examining your penis before getting down to business – they are checking for the many things that condoms cannot stop, such as crabs, genital warts and signs of herpes.

Some East European sex workers will even drag you over to a washbasin and brusquely wash your cock with anti-bacterial soap, even though this will do absolutely nothing to protect them. The sad fact is that not all infections are visible and no amount of soap can change the fact that they are engaging in a highly risky business, and that is not even taking into account the likelihood that a certain percentage of condoms will break during sex too. Pretty much all sex is risky, to some degree, but when you take it to industrial levels you can expect industrial-sized risks. It is a fair guess that almost all sex workers will pick up some sort of incurable sexually transmitted infection at some point during their career.

More worryingly, there is absolutely no mechanism to force infected sex workers to stop working or to warn their customers of the heightened risk. None. In interviews I have conducted with Red Light District prostitutes, they have been extremely matter-of-fact about what they would do if, hypothetically, they pick up a serious infection: they would continue working because, quite simply, they wouldn’t be doing this job in the first place unless they desperately needed the money. Their attitude towards the customers, and their risk of picking up the infection, is that it is not their responsibility, the customer should know that there is always a risk. One sex worker even expressed the almost biblical sentiment that “If one customer fucks up my life like that, the rest deserve to have their lives fucked up too”.

In one way, the spotlight on HIV/AIDS over the past two decades has distracted people from the many infections that condoms do nothing to stop, so, be sure to at least read up on Herpes and, most of all, be careful out there.

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