Sex and the Contract

From Infamous Commerce to the Market for Sexual Goods and Services


Sexual services and goods are regularly, and legally, offered in all Western countries. Although they are shunned through the age old maxims of in pari causa turpitudinis and nemo auditur, there is a growing tendency, both in legislation and case law, to recognize the effects of these contracts. The book analyzes the policies underlying the regulation of sexual services and goods and indicates some important conflicts: self-determination against human dignity, refusal of commodification of women’s bodies against protection of sex workers, regulatory approach against prohibition. The analysis touches sensitive issues such as zoning, sexual tourism, private sexual practices, consumers of sex enhancers. The volume takes a legal-realistic approach trying to see the private law aspects of what was considered only as ‘infamous commerce.'

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Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich is Professor of comparative law at the Law Faculty of Roma Tre University. He has published extensively in the field of comparative and European law of torts and contracts and on media and ICT law. Among his latest contributions is Freedom of expression. A critical and comparative analysis (Routledge-Cavendish 2008).
Lawyers, economists, and social scientists who are considering the role of gender and of sexual relations in contemporary societies, whatever the approach (laissez faire, regulatory, prohibitionist) may be.
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