Male sex workers in three Australian cities: Socio-demographic and sex work characteristics Academic Article uri icon


  • This article describes the socio-demographic and sex work characteristics of sex workers in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. A total of 185 male sex workers completed the questionnaire component of the study. The results of this study serve to debunk many of the myths surrounding the popular view of the male sex worker (MSW). The respondents in this study were on average 27 years old, and the majority had completed secondary education, with 30% having gained some form of tertiary qualification. Interestingly, those MSWs who had not completed secondary education were mostly street workers and were generally aged under 25 years. The majority of sex workers lived in rented accommodation, with only 6% reporting to be homeless. Half of all respondents identified as being "gay," 31% as "bisexual" and 5.5% as "straight." More than half of the respondents were in a permanent relationship. Only 7.3% of this group reported using heroin daily, although the majority consumed alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and ecstasy. The majority of sex workers had been in the profession for less than six months, although some had been working in the industry for more than ten years. Most of the sex workers reported having taken an HIV test and a preference to offer safer sex. The article highlights ways in which the work context of MSW can be better understood and supported by education and public policy programs.


  • Minichiello, V
  • Mariño, R
  • Browne, J
  • Jamieson, M
  • Peterson, K
  • Reuter, B
  • Robinson, K

publication date

  • January 1, 2001