Sociology of Sex Work

  title={Sociology of Sex Work},
  author={Ronald Weitzer},
  journal={Annual Review of Sociology},
  • Ronald Weitzer
  • Published 1 August 2009
  • Sociology
  • Annual Review of Sociology
This review examines key dimensions of contemporary sex work, particularly prostitution. Most research focuses exclusively on street prostitution and female workers, with much less attention devoted to indoor prostitution, male and transgender workers, customers, and managers. Furthermore, most of the literature examines prostitution where it is illegal, neglecting contexts where it is legal and regulated by the government. The review demonstrates how research on these topics can enrich our… 

Revanchist Masculinity: Gender Attitudes in Sex Work Management

Pimps, or male managers of female sex workers, are commonly represented in popular culture as hypermasculine and as a ubiquitous part of sex work. However, there is little empirical scholarship on

Researching Sex Work in the Twenty-First Century

The field of sex work refers to the individuals and organizations involved in sexual commerce, which includes prostitution, pornography, stripping, and erotic telephone or webcam enterprises. The

Responding to Academic Critiques of Sex Work: Practical Suggestions from a Sex- Positive Perspective

While the prevalence of sex workers and the size and growth of the sex industry is regularly disputed and/or misrepresented (Weitzer, 2007), by all accounts, sex work forms a significant part of the

Privileging Work Not Sex: Flexibility and Employment in the Sexual Services Industry

We present findings from a study of sex workers recruited in indoor licensed premises in Victoria. While the study addressed regulation, enforcement and working conditions, we focus on the value of

Gender, Victimization, and Commercial Sex: A Comparative Study

This article critically examines and compares adult male and female experiences selling sex in Canada’s off-street sex industry. Findings indicate that gender disparities exist when it comes to the

Prostitution, Sex Work, and Violence: Lessons From the Cambodian Context

This article highlights notable contributions of 4 studies on sex work in Cambodia. By addressing different issues and varieties of sex work, they demonstrate how sex work is shaped by global and

Developing an occupational perspective of women involved in sex work: A discussion paper

ABSTRACT Sex work is a commonplace form of work that is variably tolerated, or not, worldwide. Perceived by many to be a complex social issue, sex work is interpreted and performed differently,

Researching Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Comparatively

This article examines different types of comparative research designs as applied to either prostitution or sex trafficking. I first present several comparative approaches that are found to be deeply

Mental Health and Transphobia among Transwomen Sex Workers: Application and Extension of Minority Stress Models

The aims of this chapter are to (1) describe the literature on mental health problems and their social determinants among transwomen sex workers, including findings from a study of 573 transgender

Disability and sex work: developing affinities through decriminalization

Abstract This article argues that strong policy frameworks are required to support the health and well-being of sex workers, disabled people, and disabled sex workers. Through an examination of the



The Work of Sex Work: Elite Prostitutes' Vocational Orientations and Experiences

ABSTRACT Based on data obtained from open-ended interviews with call girls and escorts, this article examines prostitutes' views of prostitution as paid work. Although the meaning of conventional

Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor

Prostitution and the meaning of sex trafficking in women - prostitution as "sexual slavery" working it - the emotional labour of sex working it - locating the conditions of labour strategic responses

Professional male prostitution: A neglected phenomenon

Male prostitution is generally regarded as a problematic phenomenon. This paper refutes this view by showing that most researchers have consistently selected only the problematic categories of male

The Anatomy of ‘Free Choice’ Prostitution

This paper draws on an ethnographic study of a self-employed prostitute, her receptionists and her clients. It describes the prostitute's business and her working life, and considers the dynamics of

Violence by clients towards female prostitutes in different work settings: questionnaire survey

This report reports on the prevalence of violence by clients against female prostitutes working either outdoors or indoors in three major British cities.

The Idea of Prostitution

From the white-slave traffic of the 19th century to present-day business practices, this well-researched report examines the changing concept of prostitution, exploring its initial roles as a form of

Sex Work and “Date” Violence

Characteristics and sex work-related behaviors of 294 female street-based sex workers in Miami that make them more likely to be victimized by their clients or “dates” are examined.

Examining Sex Work from the Client's Perspective: Assessing Johns Using on-line Data

Academic research on prostitution focuses on the prostitute, rather than the clients, who are called johns. This limits our understanding of the methods and reasons individuals solicit sex. However,

The social and work context of commercial sex between men: a research note

A qualitative approach was used to explore the social and work contexts of the commercial sexual encounter between male sex workers and their clients. Male sex workers aged between 19 and 34 were

The Sex Sector : the economic and social bases of prostitution in Southeast Asia

Focuses on the commercial sex sector and its institutional structures and connections with the national and international economies. Case studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand