New research reveals male sex work may also be less stigmatized.
If you are a male sex worker or support those who are, a new line of research may be of interest to you. Male escorts are feeling less stigmatized and are opening up about what it takes to be successful in their craft.
Appearing in the December edition of American Journal of Men’s Health, researchers conducted personalized, 45-minute interviews with 20 Australian men who identified as sex workers.
Ages ranged from 20’s to 30’s with an average of 2.5 years working in the field. All were from middle-class backgrounds with most identifying bisexual or gay and one participant identifying as straight.
On average, participants saw five clients per week, charging approximately between $200.00 – $250.00 (US) per session.
Sexual activities with clients ran the gamut, including oral and anal behaviors – plus masturbation. One on one interaction and threesomes with couples appeared to be frequent activities as part of the work.
Two major themes emerged from the study: (1) Feelings of success and; (2) Less stigmatization.
Here are several quotes from the escorts about how they measure success, taken directly from the study:
Making money and making sure that people like think highly of me. The amount of clients, and that would be the success (Evan, gay).
40% of success can be the money. But also, a good one is someone who can keep getting the same client at the end (Philip, gay).
As an escort begins to build up his client-base, feelings of success seem to increase.
Once you start getting repeat clientele that’s when you know that you have done well. If you keep getting different people every time, then you are not doing your job (Nick, straight).
Overall, job success for male sex workers was defined by two markers: income and regular clientele. Participants then further elaborated on the attributes needed to achieve these measures of success.
According to one of the participants, the process of escorting requires mental toughness and the ability to tune out negative self-talk.
There are plenty of times something would happen in the field of escorting and I would go, “How can I be doing this?” But then you would and then that client would be good and show you that it’s actually something worth doing (Evan, gay).
Having a strong sense of confidence also helps in doing the work.
You have to be self-confident and care about yourself enough to have boundaries in place so that you feel safe (Peter, gay).
Confidence seemed key to escort success and allowed for clients to feel comfortable and relaxed:
Because confidence is pretty much everything. If you don’t have confidence, you don’t feel up to choosing clients, you don’t feel you are going to do well, you just feel bad about yourself (Malcolm, bisexual).
The study’s researchers also believe (based on their findings) that male sex work may be moving towards less stigmatization and more towards a professional occupation.
If so, this may help put the focus on escort welfare, helping to improve the health and well-being of sex workers. As investigators point out, this was a small study.
More research needs to be done in the future to help better understand the changing dynamics that are occurring in the field.
Source: AJMH Online