Purchasing sex – Describing the lived experiences of men who buy sex in Australia through client narratives

Hilary Caldwell, Philip Birch, Zana Hossian

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


The current study examines the lived experiences of buying sex within the context of client’s daily lives and social situations. Using narratives of the experiences of purchasing sexual services, and an interpretive phenomenological analysis, this study investigates how clients conceptualise their experiences and choices including perceived risks, benefits and the effect on self-confidence/esteem. This presentation will provide historical background into the Australian sex industry demonstrating the influences which underpin how social mores, mythologies and stereotypes have emerged and continue to influence debate.

Client demographics, the prevalence and motivations of buying sex are essentially similar globally; however each country or region has different regulatory policies, cultural and social factors and local economies which have varying dependence on sex industry income. In Australia, there has been a growing trend towards legalisation or decriminalisation of the sex industry which reflects changing moral attitudes to sex work, recognition of the need to provide sex workers with access to services and growing support for harm minimisation approaches.

An online approach to data collection resulted in 137 responses, which allowed for in-depth analysis of 27 narratives of men’s accounts providing empirical evidence-based research about accessing commercial sexual services in Australia. This presentation discusses client motivations including; his perceived risks and benefits, the effect on his self-confidence, worth and esteem and his experiences of stereotyping, internalised stigma, and his own attitudes and perception of disclosure within the current Australian social context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-218
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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