Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Female Sexuality and Self-Empowerment
This chapter explores various dimensions of the female sexual power that the IFSW channels, enhances, and applies through her work. It surveys an interdisciplinary literature that ranges from sexuality research, psychology, and philosophies of self-empowerment to anthropology, sociology, women’s studies, law studies, and the history of ancient societies. The chapter begins with a historical overview of the courtesan-an independent, sexually powerful female figure who may in many ways be seen as a precursor to today’s IFSW-and her Asian analog, the Japanese geisha. We then turn to the key concept of self-empowerment-how it is achieved, what it means to possess it, and how it can impact the individual who attains it. Finally, the spiritual potential of sex work is explored via the history and cultural significance of the “Sacred Prostitute,” her healing power and energy, and the IFSW’s unique ability to connect to and use these therapeutic skills and spiritual energy within her work.