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Tag Archives: Sex Work

Puente-Martínez, Alicia, Silvia Ubillos-Landa, Marina García-Zabala, and Darío Páez-Rovira. 2019. ‘“Mouth Wide Shut”: Strategies of Female Sex Workers for Coping With Intimate Partner Violence’. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 34 (16): 3414–37. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260516670180.
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The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between possible violence suffered by female sex workers in their intimate relationships, with their affects, coping strategies, and emotional regulation to overcome such violence and improve their well-being. Structured personal interviews were carried out with female sex workers in three different settings: street, club, and flats. The sample was composed of 137 Spanish female sex workers (85.4% are foreign and 20% Spanish-born sex workers). High levels of tension and problems with their partners were linked to an affective imbalance and poor well-being. Positive affectivity determined the use of adaptive strategies, whereas negative affectivity predicted dysfunctional strategies. Three different path analyses and theoretical support concluded that self-control was the only strategy related to improve well-being in female sex workers who reported lower potential tension and difficulty in their intimate relationships. In contrast, inhibition was associated with an increase on distress levels when negative affectivity predominated and sex workers had reported potential tension and difficulty situations with their partners. It was a cross-sectional study, and thus we cannot infer causality or direction from the observed associations. Given these findings, violence prevention strategies in the intimate relationships should be prioritized in the prostitution context.

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Berg, Rigmor C, Sol-Britt Molin, and Julie Nanavati. 2019. ‘Women Who Trade Sexual Services from Men: A Systematic Mapping Review’. The Journal of Sex Research, July, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1624680.
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Most research on transactional sex frame men as buyers and females as sellers of sex. We conducted a systematic mapping review of the empirical research on transactional sex where women form the demand (buyer) and men the supply (seller). We included 46 studies, of which 25 explicitly researched women as buyers of sex from male sellers, and 21 studies where this topic was a subset of larger topics. The majority of research on women who trade sexual services from men is published in the last 15 years, by female researchers, using cross-sectional or qualitative/ethnographic design, and from the perspective of males as sellers. While the women appear to be mature and financially independent, the men are young and socioeconomically vulnerable. Men’s main motivation for the sexual-economic exchanges with women is financial, whereas women’s motivations are largely satisfaction of sexual needs and a stereotyped erotic fantasy of black male hypersexuality. Condoms are often not used. Our review shows that there is a – possibly growing and diversifying – female consumer demand for male sexual services, and transactional sex where women trade sex from men is a complex social phenomenon firmly grounded in social, economic, political, and sexual relations.

Huysamen, Monique. 2019. ‘“There’s Massive Pressure to Please Her”: On the Discursive Production of Men’s Desire to Pay for Sex’. The Journal of Sex Research, August, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1645806.
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This article presents a discursive analysis of 43 men’s narratives about paying for sex, collected using a combination of online and traditional face-to-face interview methods. It argues that the societal pressures placed on men to “perform” sexually help to produce conditions that make paying for sex desirable. Paying for sex provided men with a “safe” space where they felt exempt from expectations to display sexual experience, skill, and stamina. Moreover, men valued paid sexual encounters with experienced sex workers as spaces where they could acquire sexual experience and skills to better approximate idealised versions of heteronormative male sexuality. The article explores the emotional aspects tied up in men’s desires to pay for sex and attends to the question of power within the paid sexual encounter, shedding light on the complexities, nuances and multiplicities within client-sex worker relationships. In conclusion, this paper discusses the value of addressing the broader social structures, sites such as media, online spaces, and medical industries, where heteronormative discourses on male sexual “performance” continue to be reproduced and maintained.

Pederson, Anna C., Madeline R. Stenersen, and Sara K. Bridges. 2019. ‘Toward Affirming Therapy: What Sex Workers Want and Need From Mental Health Providers’. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, August, 0022167819867767. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167819867767.
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Within the field of psychology, the development of a culture of competency both in training programs and, more specifically, related to working with historically underrepresented and underserved populations has been making significant progress. One group who has been neglected, however, consists of individuals who consensually work in the commercial sex trade industry (i.e., sex workers). The current Delphi study begins to address this gap. Using responses from eight sex workers to explore factors affecting disclosure of occupation to therapists, barriers and facilitators to receiving mental health care, and areas for educational growth among mental health professionals, the results reveal participants’ preference for therapists who take an affirming approach regarding their occupation (e.g., respecting the hard work, skill, and emotional labor) and do not assume that they are in therapy because of their work. Broadly, this article highlights the knowledge, skills, and attitudes sex workers believe comprise critical areas of competency for therapists working with this often-stigmatized population. Ultimately, these results can be used to advance competent, just, and effective therapy with this population.

Bettio, Francesca, Marina Della Giusta, and Maria Laura Di Tommaso. 2017. ‘Sex Work and Trafficking: Moving beyond Dichotomies’. Feminist Economics 23 (3): 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/13545701.2017.1330547.
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This contribution examines how feminist economists have conceptualized sex work and trafficking through the lens of agency and stigma. The ongoing debate about legalization has focused on sex workers’ agency and choice, and on the role of stigma in shaping the supply of and demand for sex work. Building on the analysis advanced by contributions to this special issue, this study contends that theoretical and policy debates about sex work are dominated by false dichotomies of agency and stigma. It argues that the relationship between stigma and agency operates along a continuum of contractual arrangements that underpins a high degree of segmentation in the industry. The higher the stigma, the lower tends to be the agency. Current policies toward sex work therefore need reconsideration – especially mounting support for criminalization of clients, which, by increasing stigma, is likely to detract from the agency and the well-being of sex workers, however unintentionally.

Heineman, Jenny. 2019. ‘Pussy Patrols in Academia: Towards a Disobedient, Sex-Worker Inclusive Feminist Praxis’. Feminist Formations 31 (1): 45–66. https://doi.org/10.1353/ff.2019.0008.
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The “pussy patrols” in academia are the economic, discursive, sexual, and epistemological forms of violence in academia that control, silence, and reroute all femmes—not just cis women—in higher education. Although feminists have long examined sexual harassment in educational and occupational spaces, very few have turned their attention to the specific, embodied experiences of sex-working academics. Employing “epistemic disobedience” and “Critical Life Story” interviewing methodologies, I look at the experiences of thirteen sex-working academics, including my own experiences as a sex-working undergraduate and graduate student. I disrupt the false dichotomy of empowerment/oppression in the sex industry; I ask if higher education is necessarily emancipatory; and I offer suggestions, based on the forced rerouting and silencing of sex-working academics, for moving forward as activist-academics. Indeed, the time for rebelling against the strict academic codes that rely on Cartesian dualism is now.

Petra Östergren (2017): From Zero-Tolerance to Full Integration: Rethinking Prostitution Policies. DemandAT Working Paper No. 10.
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This tenth DemandAT working paper by Petra Östergren fom Lund University develops a typology for prostitution policy regimes. Based on an inductive methodological approach, it presents a typology of three general prostitution policy models (or regimes), as repressive, restrictive or integrative. The intention of such a tripartite typology is that it can serve as a tool for assessing, evaluating and comparing prostitution policies, even in cases where they seem to contain contradictory or incoherent elements. Besides using the prostitution policy typology for analytical purposes, it can also serve as a tool for developing context-sensitive measures against violence, exploitation and trafficking in human beings in the sex work sector.