I don't think anyone should be forced to do anything they don't care to do, but life circumstances generally do require that we perform some form of labor to support ourselves and our families. Is it any more intrinsically evil or degrading to collect garbage, or do others' laundry or housekeeping, or to spend 50-60 hours per week in a grey cubicle doing mindless, repetitive mental work than it is to fuck a stranger?While I agree in the very broadest of principles, I think her analysis is a little too shallow in this case.
I agree with the Sacred Slut: I object just as much to the coercion of physical necessity as I do to violent coercion (and I even have a plan for fixing it). But even in a relatively wealthy economy such as our own, the coercion of necessity is the reality, with considerable inertia. While I don't endorse cultural relativism as a universal principle, there are times when we have to make ethical decisions in the here and now, in a context that is manifestly suboptimal and non-ideal.
Prostitution is not universally (and therefore intrinsically) degrading or evil, but it is generally degrading, in the sense that most people do in fact consider it degrading. Similarly, we can might also intuitively consider serving coffee as not degrading, but having to do so in a bikini would be degrading.
We can reduce these intuitions to a consistent, fairly straightforward principle, The Principle of Luxury: If you would not do something in a pure luxury economy, where your physical necessities were given, it is degrading to do so from physical necessity. If you would do something in a luxury economy, it is still non-ideal to have to do so from necessity, but not degrading. Since a sufficient amount of luxury might persuade almost everyone to do almost anything, we might further refine this principle by comparing the amount of luxury one would require to do something vs. the actual compensation in a necessity economy: The difference is the degree of degradation and exploitation.
For example: I work as a computer programmer, manager and executive. Even if I didn't have to pay for rent and food, I would happily do the same work just for luxuries. Furthermore, I would do the same work for about the same amount of luxury I'm able to afford now, even after paying for rent and food. In this sense, I personally am not being degraded or exploited at all.
On the other hand, you'd have to pay me a hell of a lot of money—millions, really—to be a homosexual prostitute. If I had no other way to acquire necessities than to be a homosexual prostitute I would consider myself considerably degraded and exploited.
I don't think the above attitude toward being a homosexual prostitute stems from any sort of sex-negativity. I approve of people having all the responsible, consensual sex they want, with whomever they want, under whatever circumstances they want. One partner or many, men and/or women, missionary position or elaborate acrobatics, for money or for free; as far as I'm concerned it's none of my business.
But I personally don't enjoy homosexual sex. I'd rather work for a year as a computer programmer than have homosexual sex for an hour. Up the price to ten years, however, and I'd consider it. Therefore, if I had to have homosexual sex just to live, I'd consider myself at least ten years pay worth of exploited and degraded.
This principle seems both widely applicable and generally approvable (to anyone, I suppose, other than a die-hard chattel-slavery-approving Libertarian). It applies to both Iraqi prostitution as well as the somewhat less egregious attempted exploitation of coffee shop workers. It even applies in the opposite sense to truly consensual sex workers such as Renegade Evolution.