Because sex is pleasurable, it isn’t surprising that there are people who try to make money with it. People who sell themselves to other people for sex are called prostitutes. Other terms used in the Bible for these people are harlot and whore. While most prostitutes are selling sex for money, some prostitutes use sex to gain favors. Prostitutes can be male or female (see Deuteronomy 23:17-18), young or old.
People who engage in prostitution have taken an act that expresses the bond between a man and a woman in a committed relationship and have lowered it to the level of animals. Most animals will mate in response to instincts. They do not require love and commitment before they have sex. This is why male prostitutes are referred to as dogs in Deuteronomy 23:17-18. In Jeremiah 13:27, the city of Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness to God is compared to the willingness of a prostitute to take in any man. The prostitutes in turn are compared to horses loudly neighing their desire to mate in the fields. Men who use the services of a prostitute are also compared to lustful stallions pursuing mares (Jeremiah 5:7-8). Judah’s strong desire to worship idols and make treaties with foreign nations is compared to a woman looking to have sex with men with large genitals (Ezekiel 23:20). The men’s sexual organs are compared to donkeys and horses.
All of this shows the degradation of the beauty of human sex within a marriage to raw animalistic intercourse. This is one of the reasons Dinah’s brothers were upset with Shechem. His treatment of Dinah was no better than a man using the services of a prostitute (Genesis 34:31). He may have come to love her afterward, but he had treated her no better than an animal.
The primary excuse for engaging in prostitution is the money that is paid (Hosea 2:2-7, 9:1). However, some are prostitutes because they desire sex. The nation of Israel was compared to a woman who lusts after young men, allowed them to fondle her breasts, and have sex with her (Ezekiel 23:5-10). Israel was eventually destroyed for her sins. Rather than learning from the fall of her sister nation, Judah also takes up the life of a harlot. If anything, she behaves even worse than Israel, hotly pursuing any young stud she fancied (Ezekiel 23:11-21). Both of these reasons are poor excuses for a lack of self-control.
Prostitution not only violates the laws of God, but it also brings danger to those engaging in it. Since prostitutes often have multiple partners, and those partners often have sex with multiple partners, diseases spread quickly among these people. For this reason, harlotry is called an unclean practice (Psalm 106:39). These diseases will shorten the life of those engaging in prostitution (Job 36:14). Even with today’s modern medicines, most promiscuous people die young. We are unable to prevent all the damage caused by sexually transmitted diseases.
However, there is a more hidden danger to prostitution. Anytime a man or a woman engages in sex, there is a physical uniting of the two bodies and there is an emotional uniting of the two souls (I Corinthians 6:15-20). Since prostitutes bond with many men, they become calloused and are unable to form a relationship if they ever try to get married. Think about it this way: Take two pieces of duct tape and put the sticky sides together. It is nearly impossible to pull them apart. However, take two more pieces of tape and start sticking them to other things (the chair, the floor, your clothes, etc.). Now when you put them together, they easily separate. The tape was soiled by its previous contacts. The same thing happens when men and women soil themselves with uncommitted sex.
Even though the danger is real, prostitutes ignore it. They don’t believe they have done anything wrong (Proverbs 30:20). For this reason, they are called simple-minded (Proverbs 9:13). Harlotry, like alcoholic drinks, takes away the reasoning ability of those who use it (Hosea 4:11). Her soul is in danger, she is walking the path to Hell, and she doesn’t even know it (Proverbs 5:5-6).
All prostitution is not just for money. Some women engage in it for favors. A woman may decide to have sex with her boss so he will favor her in a future promotion. Others use it as a way of gaining power over men. Some foolish girls think that allowing a boy to have sex with her will keep him by her. All of these are just other forms of harlotry. The man involved is just getting sexual gratification and he doesn’t even have to pay for it. The relationship has decayed to one of animalistic desire, and like an animal, the man will easily leave to find new places to relieve his desires.
It is foolish to have sex with anyone who is not your husband. Therefore it would be wise to avoid the behavior of those who sell themselves for sex. While fashions change, there have always been styles of clothing that advertise a woman is a prostitute. At one point it was the wearing of a veil (Genesis 38:13-26). It could be other things (see Proverbs 7:1-27 and note verse 10). Prostitutes also advertise themselves through certain behaviors. In Song of Solomon 1:7-8, the young woman wanted to know when was the best time to meet Solomon on his lunch break. She did not want to wander aimlessly on the hills, approaching different shepherds as if she was a harlot. Instead of helping her, the ladies of the court tell her she should do just that and make sure she leads a goat along too. A goat was considered the standard payment for the service of a prostitute, so a woman leading goats was advertising her trade. In Paul’s day prostitutes wore their hair very short (I Corinthians 11:6) – probably to cut down on lice.
Don’t flaunt your beauty and your finery like a harlot looking for customers (Ezekiel 16:15-16; Proverbs 6:25). Do not act brazenly around men (Proverbs 7:11, 13) or they may mistake your intentions. And obviously, don’t allow men to fondle you (Ezekiel 23:3). Yes, a man is wrong to be looking for sex outside the realm of marriage, but it is also wrong to advertise your willingness to engage in sex, whether intentionally or not.
Consider this article written by high school educator Elizabeth Schuett.
Sally’s standing in front of my desk, tugging at her painted-on mini skirt, the one that’s smaller than my favorite dishtowel, and complaining. “Arthur is sexually harassing me.”
I hate it when that happens. Occasionally, I regret encouraging 14-year-olds to read. Too many seem to think Grandma’s grocery store tabloid is the Midwest equivalent of The Wall Street Journal.
But I’m obliged to investigate. “What has Arthur done?”
“He looks at my legs.” I try not to splutter or roll my eyes. Objectivity is my job. “He said my skirt was too short.”
I encourage her to get on to the harassment part. She says that’s it.
We have a dress code where I teach, and most of our kids come to school looking just fine. Of course, there are a couple of guys who have bought into what someone has told them is the gang look. They come to school dressed like derelicts with their outsized pants dragging the floor.
Kind of makes you wonder if their mothers watch them going out the door looking like that or if the kid is changing clothes in the alley, stashing his Levis in a handy hedge.
They want to wear their ball caps turned around backwards because they think it makes them look “really bad” and continually test and protest the school rule of no hats in the building.
Sally’s skirt is too short. And it’s too tight. I ask her if it’s comfortable.
“Oh sure. It’s great.”
“Then why are you constantly tugging at it?”
Are you ready for the answer? “Because that’s what they do in the movies. Guys like it.” Being an educator is an education.
“Then maybe Arthur was doing exactly what you wanted him to do,” I suggested.
You know what she says? She says it wasn’t Arthur’s attention she was trying to attract.
I explain to her that virtual nudity is not selective and if she’s going to go around with her backside hanging out she’ll have to learn to deal with unprogrammed responses.
Sally says I ought to do something about Arthur. I ask her what she would suggest. Paint his eyeballs black and buy him a guide dog?
Sally’s not too happy with my lack of sympathy and informs me, rather shortly, that her mother encourages her expressions of individuality. I suggest her search for singularity is going to land her in the pneumonia ward.
Sally demands to know what I’m going to do about Arthur. I tell her nothing. I ask what she’s going to do about her skirt. She says she’s going to tell her mother on me.
Sure, why not? I’m thinking. Briefly, the question crosses my mind: Is this what I went to college for? So I can explain to somebody’s out-to-lunch mother why her daughter, the one with her fanny fanning the breeze, has no harassment case?
If there’s a victim here, it’s Arthur. He’s got hormones, too, you know.
The problem as I see it, is the simple fact that I’m not Sally’s parent. I’m her teacher. It is my responsibility to see to it that Sally can read, write, and enjoy literature. I’m professionally bound to introduce Sally to three-point, five-paragraph essays and descriptive writing. Compare, contrast, write a letter to the editor; that’s what I do, and I feel twice blessed if I can help her enjoy it along the way.
However, it is not my job to have to explain to a grown woman why her teenage daughter should not come to school wearing clothes that would be more appropriate on a street hooker.
I’d like to let her know the injustice she’s doing her daughter by not only allowing such absurd behavior but encouraging it and then, when the outcome doesn’t meet expectations, blaming it all on Arthur. I’d like to accuse her of depriving her daughter of a childhood and causing a 14-year-old to make grownup decisions.
But most of all, I guess I’m curious to know why she’s willing to sit back and let someone else raise her child.
- What is a prostitute?
- How does a prostitute attract customers?
- How can you avoid appearing to be a prostitute?
- Why do some women engage in prostitution?
- Fornication is not only a sin against God, but it is also a sin against who?
- What are the physical consequences of being a prostitute?
- Recall the man who let men rape his wife in Judges 19. While not excusing his sin, what caused him to lose his affection for his wife (see Judges 19:2)?
- Why would the possibility of being caught make sins more appealing?
- Why is it difficult to stop sinning once you start?
- What excuses do people give to justify being a prostitute? Are they legitimate?
- Why is prostitution associated with so many diseases?
- What are the spiritual damages caused by having sex with a prostitute?