This article interrogates how the figure of the trans street-based sex worker is deployed to argue for positive intervention on behalf of trans individuals, in addition to how it is used at the expense of a variety of trans experiences of sex work. As a corollary, this article addresses how a nuanced account of trans sex work, responsive to these concerns, can provide the basis for a more robust conception of trans theory.

This is a call for syllaby for classes taught at universities (all levels) on sex work. We are specifically looking for:

  1. Syllaby of courses exclusively relating to sex work, prostitution and sexual labour (incl. human trafficking for sexual exploitation)
  2. Syllaby introducing students to other fields (feminism, sexuality, criminology, transnational migration, labour, social work, history, etc.) and which also include a section on sexual labour.
  3. Reading lists for short workshops or other class formats.

Please send your syllabus as a PDF to sexworkresearch at posteo dot org and we will upload them on a rolling basis to the website. If you send us the syllabus, you explicitly agree to the publication of the syllabus.

Feel free to anonymise your syllabus (although it is not required) by removing your name, the university, and the semester. Depending on how specific the syllabus is, it may make sense to change the title, too.

Last but not least:

A number of people regularly approach this website asking for a reading list. Therefore, we would like to compile a reading list of texts for students and interested researchers who are just starting out to work on sex work. Feel free to add a suggestion or two.

Abstract

The Amsterdam Red-Light district is a globalised mass-entertainment place for sex consumption. But the visitors touring the Red-Light district are far more diverse than sex tourists: men, women, gay, straight, stag or cultural tourists tour this place to feel the thrill of desire and disgust. The paper documents this process of commodification by these visitors, engaging with their lived experiences through ethnographic research and in-depth interviews. The paper shows the diversity of the consumption practices and representations of the spectacle of commodified sex, explaining how the emotions experienced by those touring the sex district draw on intersectional belongings (gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity). Intertwining affective and moral geographies, it concludes by arguing that the symbolic consumption of the Red-Light district cannot necessarily be predicted by virtue of standard categories of belonging, with identity formation and the consumption of sex being shaped by a complex dynamic of looks and gazes.

Body issues: The political economy of male sex work. Nicola J Smith. Sexualities Vol 15, Issue 5-6, pp. 586 – 603. First published date: September-24-2012

The analysis of global sexual economies has emerged as an important part of a wider feminist project to re-imagine the boundaries of what constitutes the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of globalisation and capitalism. Emphasising the importance of such an agenda, the article argues that continued understandings of commercial sex as ‘women’s work’ place male and transgender bodies on the outside rather than the inside of the analysis of global sexual economies. Highlighting the need to address this gap in contemporary theorising and empirical analysis, the article then offers an illustration of research into male sex work through discussion of how male escorts in San Francisco negotiate the complex meanings and practices surrounding gender, sexuality and political economy.

Full text of author’s original manuscript available here.

Abstract
This paper assesses determinants of habits and prices about sexual work in Germany. The paper alludes to a regional pattern, in particular, in pricing. This pattern varies with the size of cities and across as well as along the former East–West German border. In particular, the evidence suggests that there is a long shadow of the former Iron Curtain which leads to higher conditional prices in the former East than in the West, in particular, in larger agglomerations such as Berlin. Moreover, there is evidence of habit formation and spillovers within regions, which leads to regionally clustered prices as well as unsafe sex services being offered by sexworkers.
Abstract

As a rising economic power in East Asia, Taiwan once served as a destination of sex tourism, now gradually it is becoming a country of buyers seeking sex abroad. Currently, China appears to be one of the most popular destinations. Drawing on data from in-depth interviews with 40 Taiwanese male sex buyers and ethnographic data collected by traveling with a group of five men, this article aims to explore how buying sex abroad appears to be the complicated site of power struggles where sexuality intersects with gender, nationality, and global economic hierarchy. By conceptualizing men’s buying of sex abroad as sexual migration, I illustrate the ways in which men’s border crossings for buying sex are complexly embedded in the gender, sexuality, and class relations in Taiwan, and how their sexual encounters with Chinese women are always contaminated by the politics of nationalism which derive from the unsettled political atmospheres across the Taiwan Strait. I argue that sexual migration is made attractive mainly because of the sexual discontent caused by the stratification of the Taiwanese sex industry and the sexual constraints and routineness of heterosexual monogamy. Buying sex abroad therefore appears as a temporary escape from this mundaneness and banality. Conceptualizing men’s buying sex abroad in dynamic transnational contexts, we could illustrate how men actively negotiate sexual desires at both ends of the Taiwan Strait, and go further to analyse how sexuality serves to shape regional migration, and how it interweaves with gender, class and nationality.

Abstract

Sex work has enjoyed a wealth of sociological interest over the last three decades. However, sexual pleasure experienced by women sex workers with their clients has been largely missing from the conversation. This article seeks to redress this gap by looking at the qualitative narratives of nine women who were working in sex work in Victoria, Australia in 2009. By viewing these narratives through Foucault’s power/knowledge/discourse nexus, together with his later work on ethics of care of the self, it posits that sex worker women draw on and resist various discourses around intimacy, performance, and pleasure in regards to their sex work and their personal lives. With this interplay in mind, the analysis supports the third feminist perspective that sex work is a complex space where dominant and subjugated discourses mingle to produce myriad experiences traversing the exploitation/empowerment binary represented by the feminist sex wars.