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Porn Stars vs. Olympic Athletes: Who’s Really Winning the Gold?

Sports vs. Sex? Why the celebration for one and not the other.
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Photo: Eugene Chystiakov via Pexels

Two babes wearing bathing suits hop into the hot tub before their big scene. Sounds like some porn stars getting ready for a scene, right?

Nope, it’s the Olympics. To be more specific, the twin-like duo readying themselves to perform were Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao, Olympic teammates from China, who have now won multiple gold medals for synchronized diving in London.

For the past week, I have heard the same conversation over and over, whether I’m at the gym, standing in the elevator, or eating at a restaurant. The exchange goes something like this:

“My husband has the TV parked on NBC, so all I’m seeing is the Olympics,” says a brunette in her 40s.

“Oh, I hear you. It’s the same at my apartment,” responds another married lady. “But I just have to say, I’m so fascinated! I mean, how do they do that with their bodies? It’s remarkable!”

The women continue to chatter back and forth about how incredible the human body is and how interesting it must be to be an athlete. I’ve heard the same talk happening between people of all ages, races, and genders. But do you know what I’m pondering? I sit back and think, “I wonder how these people feel about prostitution?”

Sex Work is Work

Why is it that sex work is not recognized as a legitimate career option? Aren’t Olympic athletes selling their bodies to sponsors? Why do we perceive that porn stars and prostitutes are debasing themselves by using their bodies to make money?

To be clear, I am not arguing that porn should become an Olympic sport. What I am questioning is why we feel that expressions of athleticism, physical stamina, and agility should be lauded while sexual expressions are demonized.

I’ve posed these kinds of questions before. I ask regularly why people are scared of sex. I seek to understand why women hate porn, and I’ve even written about what happens when a normal sex act is deemed illegal and forbidden.

An Inconsistent Worldview

We are often unaware of the unjust inconsistencies with which we view the world. We don’t realize that when we reject parts of ourselves, we become smaller and weaker—not stronger.

Olympic medals reward courage and discipline in achieving the greatest performance among their competition. I think that sex workers deserve similar recognition for their courage in facing a dichotomous world in which corporate advertisers make millions selling sex as a concept while the sex worker is jailed for selling sex in actuality.

Excuse me, but I’ve got to get back to the office, where I’m developing a porn film about Olympic ice dancing.

Only kidding.

Originally published by the Huffington Post on Aug 3, 2012

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