A new public health context to understand male sex work Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Researching male sex work offers insight into the sexual lives of men and women while developing a more realistic appreciation for the changing issues associated with male sex work. This type of research is important because it not only reflects a growing and diversifying consumer demand for male sex work, but also because it enables the construction of knowledge that is up-to-date with changing ideas around sex and sexualities.This paper discusses a range of issues emerging in the male sex industry. Notably, globalisation and technology have contributed to the normalisation of male sex work and reshaped the landscape in which the male sex industry operates. As part of this discussion, we review STI and HIV rates among male sex workers at a global level, which are widely disparate and geographically contextual, with rates of HIV among male sex workers ranging from 0% in some areas to 50% in others. The Internet has reshaped the way that male sex workers and clients connect and has been identified as a useful space for safer sex messages and research that seeks out hidden or commonly excluded populations.We argue for a public health context that recognises the emerging and changing nature of male sex work, which means programs and policies that are appropriate for this population group. Online communities relating to male sex work are important avenues for safer sexual messages and unique opportunities to reach often excluded sub-populations of both clients and male sex workers. The changing structure and organisation of male sex work alongside rapidly changing cultural, academic and medical discourses provide new insight but also new challenges to how we conceive the sexualities of men and male sex workers. Public health initiatives must reflect upon and incorporate this knowledge.

publication date

  • 2015