Sexual health principles and the procurement of sexual services: Evidence of the interface between sexual health and criminal justice

Philip Birch, Doug Braun-Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between sexual health principles and theprocurement of sexual services. Most that has been written about sex work has been done so from theperspective of deviancy; in contrast, recent work examining the practice of sex work has explored andevidenced how emotional and intimacy needs are met through procurement. Recognising the conventionalaspects of procuring sexual services, this paper seeks to examine and understand this social practicethrough applying Braun-Harvey and Vigorito’s (2015) six principles of sexual health. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a mixed method approach, this paper presents findingsfrom a survey consisting of a sample of 309 men who procure sexual services and 20 interviews from asub-sample of the men who were surveyed and female sex workers who provide such services.Findings – The findings illustrate the reasons for men’s procurement of sexual services, which corroboratewith the accounts of women who sell the services and reflect how the procurement of sexual services alignwith principles of sexual health, which, in turn, challenge the stigma of buying sex.Practical implications – The practical implications of this study are: provision of examining andunderstanding sex work through the principles of sexual health; provision of a framework to examineand understand sex work in a less stigmatising way; support for the growth of sexual health andcriminal justice research; and provision of a platform for further research examining sexual health, sex workand decriminalisation.Originality/value – This study is unique as it brings together principles of sexual health as a tool forexamining the procurement of sexual services, a practice that is demonised in many parts of the globe.A consequence of this study is its presentation of a novel understanding for the social practice ofprocurement that aides in both challenging the stigmatisation and criminalisation of sex work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-157
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Forensic Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019


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