If Loving You is Wrong

A few days ago, J, wife of Prophylactic Paul, forwarded along another German sex story:

Demetrius Soupolos (29) and his wife were very keen to have a child together, but when doctors found that Demetrius is sterile, they began to seek other options to become parents.

The option the couple decided on was to hire their neighbor Frank Maus (34).

Frank, who was already married with two children, agreed to do the job for the fee of 2.000 euros. For three times a week for the next six months, a total of 72 times, Maus tried to impregnate the neighbor's wife.

After the unsuccessful six-month period Demetrius insisted that Frank take a medical examination. The doctor found that Frank was also sterile, which forced his wife into admitting that their two children did not belong to him.

What interested me was the validity of the agreement--which in essence concerned the exchange of money for sex-- seemed not to be in question.  Prostitution is legal in Germany, but often these transactions are still limited depending on the state and city, and I'm sure a lawyer could find some legal distinction between prostitution and this particular arrangement. In the US, for example, prostitution is almost everywhere illegal, but pornography is not. According to this article, the main legal distinction is that prostitution involves payment for sex, while pornography involves payment to watch (but not engage in) sex. I'm sure somebody somewhere finds that a meaningful distinction.

Legal arbitrariness aside, a debate was recently held on the morality of paying for sex. One of the debaters is a favorite economist of mine, Tyler Cowen. Part 1 is embedded below: