In front of the largest furniture store in Karlsruhe (a large city in southwestern Germany), two advertising placards stand side-by-side: one for a brothel and the other for a restaurant, promoting its venue for celebrations of marriage (See Figure). In Germany both stand together and apparently that does not shock anyone any more. However, prostitution does not only have disastrous conse- quences for the women in prostitution, but also has consequences for betrayed women in relationships with the buyers of sex.
A former buyer of sex contacted me, Ingeborg Kraus, a Karlsruhe, Germany psychologist and anti-prostitution advocate, after reading some of my work on the Internet. Eventually a telephone interview ensued.
The interviewee, an independent entrepreneur, is a 56-year-old man who was an active sex buyer for six-and-a-half years, quitting in 2015, nearly four years ago. Married for 36 years, with three adult children, his wife separated from him in 2017, and a divorce is in process.
In this interview, which follows, I focus on the realities of prostitution on society, and specifically on the harm of prostitution on the sex buyer’s wife and on relationships between men and women. The interview demonstrates that what the buyers are doing to their wives is an incredible harm, causing huge mental health damages. These collateral damages of prostitution have not come into focus until recently. Given the fact that there are a great number of married men, or those living in a firm relationship, who buy sexual services, the number of psychologically injured women in these relationships probably reaches the two-digit millions.
From his active participation on Internet forums, the interviewee tells me that he believes he is typical of many users of women in prostitution.