Danes want “help for sex addicts to reduce prostitution”
If sex addicts get more help to stop buying sex, there will be less prostitution, several Danes believe. The findings lead to a new debate about policy.
Studies show that one in five Danish men has paid for sex at some point in time. Yet, there are only a few possibilities to get help if someone wants to stop. Furthermore, the general public does not seem to know that the option is even there, Kristeligt Dagblad reports.
Sex addicts who want to quit going to prostitutes can get help from a private psychologist. Jesper Roesgaard Mogensen, who works at the Sexology Clinic in Copenhagen, is one of those who help men battle their sexual addictions. "You can be treated if you have a diagnosis", he says to Kristeligt Dagblad.
Threshold is high
The issue with psychological help for sex addicts is that the threshold to get it is quite high. To receive treatment, someone must have a referral from his family doctor. Thus, one must realise he has a problem and then also know about the possibility of help.
The realisation of having a problem is the biggest hurdle. "I'm absolutely sure that the problem is much bigger than what we face here", psychologist Jesper Roesgaard Mogensen says. "There are many people who buy sex and do not come to us because they don't see it as a problem", he points out. One of the reasons why people do not realise the negative side of their sex addiction is that they get an "enjoyable benefit" from their actions, he adds.
Sociologist Claus Lautrup studied men's sex-buying habits in 2005. He finds it amazing that nothing seems to happen in the prostitution field. Research is still limited on the topic.
Lautrup agrees that there should be more help for sex buyers. "I believe that helping those men is a means to achieve the goal, which is to reduce the demand for prostitution and ensure that fewer women end up in prostitution and are trafficked", he says to Kristeligt Dagblad.
The Danish Women Association sees prostitution as a problem as well. "We must help those whose addiction harms others", Maria Søndergaard, director of the Danish Women's Association's crisis centres and forewoman of the Danish Women's Association, says. "And I believe this men's addiction can harm the prostitute."
The little amount of help to sex addicts that is available in Denmark does not surprise her. "We have a very liberal approach to prostitution in Denmark. We have almost taken on the view that it is man's nature and right that he should be able to pay for sex. If we think it is fine, why should there be an aid effort?"
Lack of political will
There is also no political will to combat sex addiction, Kristeligt Dagblad found out. Whereas the Social Democrats were always fervent supporters of a ban on prostitution, leader Mette Frederiksen changed that view in 2016.
Only the Socialist Party is still in favour of a ban. "We know that selling sex has widespread harmful effects for the sex sellers, and for ethical reasons, we don't think you should be able to buy another human being", Karina Lorentzen, Social Affairs Commissioner for the party, told Kristeligt Dagblad.
The Conservative Party explains its opposition to a ban by pointing out that prostitution will exist regardless of a ban. "The most important thing for us is to ensure better rights for women who sell sex. It is important to prevent women from ending up in prostitution. Still, they should not be pushed into the dark and be alone because of a ban on the purchase of sex", Brigitte Klintskov Jerkel, social affairs representative of the party, states.
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