Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Further research on prostitution from Chicago

One of the things that irritated me on the discussions in Pandagon on prostitution was the glib insistence by some (female) commentators on why men used hookers. I've never done so, nor wanted to do so, but I know several guys who have, and the comments just didn't ring true.

I've come across a reference to some research from an anti-prostitution group, interviewing regular clients in Chicago. Two cavaets here - the group is noted as being biased in their research, and the circumstances in Chicago may not apply elsewhere where prostitution is more licit. None the less, there's some interesting comment on the attitudes of males who buy sex:

SEX ACTS: 46-48% of interviewees purchased sex in order to obtain sex acts they either felt uncomfortable asking of their partner or which their partner refused to perform.

NO COMMITMENT: 36% of interviewees said that they purchased sex to avoid emotional involvement or commitment.

ADDICTION: 83% considered purchasing sex an addiction for the man buying.

PORNOGRAPHY: 39% of interviewees were regular pornography consumers. Interviewees frequently mentioned reenacting pornography with women in prostitution.

EMOTIONAL STATE: 27% preferred women who looked “lonely” in order to imagine the existence of an emotional bond.

RACE/ETHNICITY: 43% of interviewees selected a woman in prostitution based on her race and/or ethnicity.

MEN’S DOMINATION OVER WOMEN IN PROSTITUTION: 43% of interviewees stated that if the man pays the woman for sex, she should do anything he asks.

INTOXICATION: 42% of interviewees were regularly intoxicated during their encounters with women in prostitution. 19% said they were drunk or high during every encounter.

CONFLICTING FEELINGS: 22% of interviewees felt guilty and/or shameful the majority of the time they purchased sex.
HARM: 42% stated that prostitution causes both psychological and physical damage to women. 13% of interviewees had witnessed an act of extreme violence perpetrated against a woman in prostitution.

Make of it what you will. Note that I have previously mentioned the support for legalising sex work by the NZ Prostitutes Collective, which cited reducing violence against sex workers as one reason for making the trade licit.

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