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The World’s Oldest Profession – A History of Prostitution

Prostitution is widely referred to as the world’s oldest profession. Some say this is far from the truth but nevertheless, it may still be realized that prostitutes have been engaging in the oldest profession or trade the world has ever known.

The practice of selling sex in exchange for cash has existed across time and cultures, from the ancient periods up until today. Prostitution also crosses class lines separating a high-class escort from the common everyday prostitute.

Prostitution has prevailed in the ancient world and history abounds with examples of prostitution that are mostly associated with religious beliefs and customs. For instance, prostitution in ancient Rome was legal and widespread. In ancient Babylonia, females were required to offer themselves sexually to strangers in a worship ceremony at the temple. Prostitution among ancient Jews was considered acceptable without any moral condemnation. In Phoenician temples, women practiced prostitution in the service of religion believing that by this conduct they appeased the goddess and won her favour. In ancient Cyprus, women became prostitutes as prerequisite for marriage.  The Amorites had a law that every woman who was about to marry should sit in fornication seven days by the gate of the temple. In the Orient, prostitution thrived by 300B.C. and Greek prostitutes included high-class mistresses and slaves. Young girls were also subjected to forced prostitution in ancient times. Undeniably, many societies back then considered the practice to be proper.

Most people have a common misconception about prostitution – that prostitutes are only women. In actuality, male prostitution has existed alongside female prostitution since the time of the ancient Greeks. It was just never really a subject most people research about or study.

In our world today, social tolerance for prostitution has varied widely. Some cultures have accepted and regulated it whilst other cultures are still working to eliminate it.

There are a few people that regard prostitution as a legitimate profession. Many are drawn to it because it’s easy money and there are no professional skills, degree or training required. The reality is, prostitution remains a steady and sustainable occupation for many women and men, and it seems likely to continue.