To have sex with another person, purely for financial gain. Where money exchanges hand for specific sexual acts or encounters.
Known as the 'world's oldest profession' it is the act where one person will charge another person for performing various sexual acts.
There is no relationship, other than monetary between the participants.
Many Ancient Civilizations, cultures had forms of Prostitution, as practiced today.
History (Legend): It is believed that the name 'johns' to describe those using the service of a prostitute, was from many males giving their name as 'john' to insure their anonymity.
John is a very common name in English nations.
Street Prostitution is the most common, and accessible form available.
This is where those offering themselves, locate at various street corners, or establishments, in order to display themselves.
Usually dressing in outfits that enhance or highlight their more sexual body parts, they solicit business, from passer bys.
Fees for specific sex acts are negotiated, usually prior to the worker going with the client, though it can vary from person to person.
Time of night, and season, can impact the fees being charged, nor is there any set fee schedule.
High drug use is associated with those working the streets, though there is no actual study to prove or disprove that claim.
Most urban regions have areas where these type of 'business people' will congregate.
It is usually a tacit agreement with law enforcement, and is known as the 'red light district' which may also cater to other sexual needs. This means that shops selling sex toys, magazines, explicit adult videos, are located in this area.
Customers (in most English speaking countries) are referred to as tricks or johns or punters.
Those who cruise for Prostitutes are referred to as Kerb Crawlers.
For those who work specialized areas, such as those who frequent trucker stops, are called Lot Lizards.
Practice (Associated Acts):
While Street Prostitution is the more common, there is also the agency route, or brothel style of prostitution. Normally referred to as an Out Call service.
More communal, in that these are available in a specific building, or available by pre arranged contact.
Generally referred to as 'call girls, call boys, or escorts' it should be noted, not all who are employed as escorts, engage in sexual activity with their clients.
Massage Parlors were also notorious for providing more meaningful and intimate massages, for the right price.
Many of these 'agencies' would arrange for a client to meet a specific employee, for a contact fee.
This was a means for the agency to attempt to avoid prosecution for procurement, though rarely did it work.
Many such agencies today use normal advertising techniques to solicit customers, such as newspaper ads, yellow page ads, and entire web sites.
In a legal sense (depending on one's country) the act of paying for sex, and filming it for distribution or sale, is not considered prostitution, but is in fact legal.
Even though a person is being paid to perform sexual acts, if for use as in a video or website, it is considered legal and not Prostitution.
In the Sudan, a third time offender for prostitution can carry the death sentence, while in Hungary and the Netherlands, Prostitutes pay taxes, and are unionized.
Laws are confusing, for example in Sweden it is legal to sell sex, but illegal to buy.
So while one can legally agree to sell their bodies for sexual pleasures of another, the person doing the purchasing is committing an illegal act.
Prostitution has been observed to occur in Penguins and Hangingflies.
In countries that have a more liberalized approach to Prostitution, as well as to sexual education, the spread of STDs (including HIV) are less, than in those countries or areas that are more conservative or backwards.
Human Trafficking is considered to be a fast growing industry, in which many of those being trafficked, are forced into Prostitution. The majority of those are also believed to be minors.
Poverty is considered to be the leading instance of why many willingly enter the sex trade profession, especially in the poorer regions of the world.
Advocates for making Prostitution Legal claim that it is the illegality that encourages violence against workers in that trade, and that it would reduce the trade in human lives, as well as provide for a lessening of the risk of the transmission of diseases, such as HIV.
In some context, the word has been used to describe someone who engages in unethical or unacceptable behavior as having prostituted themselves.