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Male Sex Work and Society edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott



In recent decades, male sex work has emerged as an important area of study, as well as a social activity in its own right. As new ways of thinking and speaking about male sex work have emerged, it is no longer conflated with homosexuality or the female sex industry. Historical and cultural variations in male sex work are now acknowledged, enabling this activity to be understood in complex and dynamic terms, thus challenging older perspectives that view male "prostitution" as deviant and pathological. Previously neglected aspects of male sex work, such as servicing a female clientele (the gigolo) and upper income types of service (escorts), have gained both scholarly and popular attention. Recent scholarly writing on the male sex industry has largely come from two areas: the social sciences (e.g., psychology and sociology) and the humanities (e.g., history). A range of popular works on male sex work in the visual arts has also emerged, including cinema and literature, most of which has not been accounted for in scholarly writing. For the first time, this work integrates these separate disciplinary approaches in one comprehensive volume. This book employs an innovative framework that melds scholarly accounts with biographical narratives. The contributors are leading scholars from developed and developing countries— including North and South America, Europe, East Asia and the Subcontinent, Oceania, and Africa. While each addresses the issues from the perspective of their separate fields, their work is integrated through editorial commentary that defines a narrow disciplinary terminology and allows for a thorough understanding of the field. To be added to our mailing list for pre-pub discount prices when they are set, Please vistit: Uk/europe/roW Clifford House, Suite 341 7-9 Clifford Street York YO1 9RA United Kingdom The first comprehensive interdisciplinary volume devoted to male sex work. A preview of the book can be seen at Some popular media articles on the book, see
The male sex industry. Uncovered.
Male sex work as a study is emerging. Male Sex Work and Society, edited
by Victor Minichiello and John Scott, represents the most comprehensive
work yet on this rarely covered subject.
The editors are internationally recognized social science, sexual health
and public health researchers with hundreds of books and journal articles.
This new book is the first to explore male sex work from a rich array of
perspectives and disciplines. The contributors are leading international
scholars from developed and developing countries.
The integration of separate disciplinary approaches in one volume is what
distinguishes this book from any other on the subject. It dares to take an
unabashed look at male sex work through many eyes with thoughtful
commentary from the expert editors.
Edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott
Published by Harrington Park Press and distributed
internationally by Columbia University Press.
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Supplementary resource (1)

... Studies show most people are sex workers for economic reasons (Sanders 2005;Whowell 2010;Hammond and Kingston 2014;Minichiello and Scott 2014). For Indigenous sex workers, financial independence is a key driver (Sullivan 2018a; Sullivan 2018b; Sullivan and Day 2019a). ...
... Fixed imaginations of women sex workers exclude other forms of sex work, reflecting a particular void in sexual and scholarly interest. Rarely included are men, trans or queer people as they disrupt preconceived imaginings of sex work (Whowell 2010;Minichiello and Scott 2014;Laing et al. 2015). ...
... Including male and transgender perspectives disrupts the 'typical narrative of sex workers, victimhood, prostitution as a women's domain, and women's disempowerment' (Sullivan 2018b(Sullivan : 1683. Men, trans and queer sex worker narratives unsettle heteronormative imaginings of sexually based services and complicate depictions of sex workers as victims (Minichiello and Scott 2014;Laing et al. 2015;Sullivan 2018b), highlighting clear and tangible rewards that are economic and otherwise (Whowell 2010). ...
The everyday lived experiences of Indigenous Australian sex workers are often made to be invisible. Frequently, they are embedded and left unrecognised within non-Indigenous sex workers’ experiences; alternately, stereotypes about Indigenous sex workers mean their experiences are often overgeneralised and relegated to discussion of exploitation and victimhood. Based on interviews with Indigenous Australians who identify as sex workers, this article examines what sex work means for Indigenous Australians, their views of sex work, and the factors influencing their reasons for engaging in sex work, to bring their experiences to the forefront of contemporary discussions. This research goes beyond the polarised and simplistic arguments which have circulated in sex workers’ research leading to important understandings of the complex and nuanced choices made in relation to work, finances, gender, sexuality and race.
... Terms, such as 'sex work', 'sex worker', and 'prostitute', generally conjure an image of a woman with the sexual interaction with a client, who is presumed to be a man, and is often seen as an entirely heterosexual affair (Minichiello and Scott 2014). This fixation on women sex workers excludes other forms of sex work, reflecting a particular void in sexual and scholarly interest. ...
... This fixation on women sex workers excludes other forms of sex work, reflecting a particular void in sexual and scholarly interest. These narratives often do not include men, trans or queer examples, as their inclusion disrupts preconceived imaginings of sex work (Minichiello and Scott 2014;Whowell 2010;Laing, Pilcher, and Smith 2015;Hart and Boulton 1995). The exclusion of diverse identities in the sex industry 'restricts the potentialities of the political agency of queer and trans sex workers but also reinforces the very gender dualisms that many feminist and queer scholars would wish to challenge' (Smith, Laing, and Pilcher 2015, 1). ...
This paper explores the lived experiences of Majesty. She is transgender, a former sex worker, and identifies as an Aboriginal Australian. Her status as a sex worker is embodied in both her previously held male identity and her transgender identity, however it is her transgender identity which challenges Majesty’s own notions and ideas about sex and sex work. The lines between intimacy, sex, and sex work are connected to Majesty’s identities in ways that are both fluid and complex. Drawing on Indigenous Standpoint Theory and trans geographies, this paper explores the tensions and possibilities of including Indigenous trans voices to unsettle the white and heteronormative thinking of sexually based services. In doing so, it complicates concepts of race, gender and sexuality, contributing a narrative from Indigenous Standpoints that enrich the trans geography literature.
... Studies on sex work in the Philippines have focused on issues concerning agency, ethics, antitrafficking, sexual health, and public policy (Camagay, 1988;Hwang, 2017;Klausner et al 1999;Parmanand, 2019;Urada and Simmons, 2014). In the recent years, there is an interest in studying the involvement of men as strippers, escorts, and sex workers, with a strong focus on the role of internet, social media, and smartphone applications in the West (Alcano, 2016;Logan, 2017;Ryan, 2019;Scott and Minichiello, 2014;Walby, 2012). While these new researches have allowed exploration and visibility for male sex workers, the use of these new technologies still keep them under the radar. ...
This study explored how men who work in gay bars and clubs as macho dancers, ledge dancers, and go-go dancers make sense of their own masculinities at a socio-cultural level. Pagkalalaki, as originally formulated by De Castro (1995), is a cultural concept that is psychological and sociological. This espouses Filipino values concerning masculinity and shapes how men should function in society. This research takes on this concept by showing how pagkalalaki demonstrates queerness of cultures and masculinities due to interaction of local and Western standards on maleness. Through the case of male dancers, I explore how these men use pagkalalaki in exercise of agency in navigating personal, social, and professional relationships, and how these interactions operate within the political economy of desire and its connections to sex work. Through the use of grounded theory and focused ethnography, this research presents that pagkalalaki of male dancers is queered based on the means to fulfill socio-cultural expectations of being a provider that is anchored on roles such as being a father, breadwinner, brother, husband, father, and/or son. Pagkalalaki, for male dancers, rests on how of panandalian, pangangailangan, and pangmatagalan shape aspirations for social and economic mobility for the self and the family, which reveals how these men view their jobs at the club and involve themselves to other opportunities, such as bookings, raket, and indecent proposals. At the same time, dancers must confront values such as marangal, disente, and respeto as outlooks, which tend to be conflicted and inconsistent. This study concludes that desire informs the dancers’ pursuit for social mobility because of how it affirms and queers one’s sense of pagkalalaki from personal to a social level.
... Additionally, much of the focus of sex work discourse is on women who sell sex. Others on the gender spectrum are often ignored or are doubly invisible within the discourse, and may explain why men experience different stigmas around the sale of sex, which may have less to do with amorality of selling sex itself and more to do with engaging in homosexual sex (eds Minichiello and Scott 2014). ...
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Adopting a governmentality framework, this research interrogates the Australian national imaginary. It does so via the experience of two iconic forms of labour inextricably linked throughout history, and yet with contrasting visibilities and anxieties: sex work and mining. Through technologies of power – the “authoritative and managerial structures … [with] the common objective of directing the actions of the governed in a particular way” (Dufty 2007: 28) – two iconic forms of labour constitute a distinctive axis of social marginalisation. In the national imaginary, mining has been elevated to heroic proportions, while sex work has been marginalised and stigmatised, or simply forgotten. The way these forms of labour are framed in the national imaginary affects the experiences of citizenship of those undertaking such work, and of how these two industries have come to impact our conception of ‘Australianness’. This thesis traces the contrasting visibilities and anxieties of sex work and mining, and the way their representations in the national imaginary have become deeply embedded within institutions, and are operationalized via technologies of power, intersecting with moral norms.
... Unifying the complex of sex-work experiences under a single signifier can embolden subordinating hierarchies. This is apparent in some strands of sex-work activism, wherein elite narratives of 'escorts' eclipse and sometimes actively negate street-based sex work (Lopes, 2006;Showden, 2011), or contribute to the widespread disavowal of male sex work (Laing et al., 2015;Minichiello and Scott, 2014). In addition, some groups also see themselves as representing a wider range of sex 'workers' than this article acknowledges, such as exotic dancers or telephone sex workers. ...
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This article introduces the concept of abnormativity as way of theorizing the realities of subjects who suffer from marginalization and/or erasure, specifically sex workers. It then develops livability as a playbook of political action which attends to the abnormative lives of sex workers by balancing resistance to institutionalized forms of marginalization with queer critical approaches to heteronormativity. It proposes this framework as suitable for frontline sex-worker support projects, outlining the limitations and benefits of three ethico-political models that aim to address the conditions of abnormativity: the politics of recognition, intersectional recognition, and critical intelligibility. It argues that each of these models is insufficient on its own, but that intersectional recognition and critical intelligibility can be mobilized productively together as the politics of livability.
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The sex industry literature predominantly focuses on the lived experiences of cisgender female sex workers, their customers, and work dynamics. Recently, there has been a shift in the discourse regarding sex work as the sex industry has been openly represented within art, fashion, and film. As such, there has been a growing number of qualitative studies dedicated to investigating cisgender men's experiences of the sex industry. This article seeks to identify and synthesize these emergent findings to identify possible gaps in the literature, aid in defining new research opportunities , and guide public health policy development. Using qualitative meta-synthesis, 66 original studies were identified and analyzed. Nine meta-themes emerged. Findings demonstrated that male sex workers (MSWs) encounter many of the same experiences that have been previously documented by female sex workers, such as work-related discrimination and the influence of economics on their interest and involvement in the industry. However, MSWs also experience areas of privilege and discrimination unique to their lived experiences. This was particularly salient for men who sold sex in countries where sexual minorities are criminalized or decriminalized but not legalized. These findings highlight the need for responsive sex worker resources tailored to address the unique issues faced by MSWs.
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Las ocupaciones sexuales son un excelente punto de partida para (re)pensar la forma en la que las personas y los grupos sociales atribuyen significados al cuerpo, a la intimidad, al placer y al poder. Por eso el trabajo de Guasch y Lizardo resulta bienvenido: porque además de ser un estudio sobre la situación y la evolución del trabajo sexual entre varones, también es un ejercicio de análisis en torno a las comunidades homosexuales y gais y sobre las subculturas que producen. Es un texto excelente que ofrece herramientas para revisar ciertos aspectos de las actuales maneras de atribuir significados y de generar ideologías.
Researchers have been moving toward understanding sex workers as agentic and career-based social actors for some time. However, while these modern sex work lenses are readily applied to a variety of high-end and emerging forms of sex work, the field has often been reluctant to frame impoverished and potentially exploitative sex work in the same manner. Here, I ask whether and how the frameworks of “agency” and “career” can be applied to a population of poor male-identified survival sex workers. I use data from an innovative mixed-methods community-based approach that yields a broad sample of majority African American male survival sex workers from a large US city. I argue that by privileging respondents’ own interpretation of their lives, it is possible to construct a nuanced understanding of sex work as a “career” and to conceive of their work as both a profession and a source of disadvantage. I conclude that we should continue to focus on the voices of sex workers themselves in defining what sex work means and how it affects their lives.
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Prostitution clients’ attitudes toward gender equality are important indicators of how masculinity relates to the demand for commercial sexual services. Research on male client misogyny has been inconclusive, and few studies compare men in different markets. Using an online survey of 519 clients of sexual services, we examine whether male client attitudes toward gender role equality are related to the main methods customers used to access prostitution services (i.e., through print or online media vs. in-person contact). We found no differences among men in these markets in attitudes toward gender role equality in the workplace and home. This is in a context where all clients had more egalitarian attitudes toward women’s roles than the U.S. male population in the General Social Survey (GSS). However, clients in in-person markets were less supportive of affirmative action than in online markets in a context where all clients were less supportive compared to the national average. These findings point to need to rethink how masculinity and gender role attitudes affect patterns of male demand for paid sex.
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