Street Safe does not support nor oppose policies that deter customers from buying sex. Support for such policies would mean we endorse taking income away from the women we serve. At the same time, selling sex on the street is inherently dangerous and often deadly. Ideally, the women we serve would have all employment options available to them and could determine for themselves — free of financial, safety, and educational considerations — if they want to sell sex.

  • 11-16% of U.S. men report having paid for sex at least once in their lives 1,2

  • 25-34% of male U.S. veterans report having paid for sex at least once in their lives 2​​

  1. Michael, R., Gagnon, J., Laumann, E., & Kolata, G. “Sex in America: A definitive survey.” 1994. Boston: Little Brown. (16% of U.S. men reported having paid for sex)

  2. London A., and Wilmoth J. “Veteran Status and Paid Sex Among American Men: Results from Three National Surveys.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2015;44:997–1009 (Percentage of veterans who paid for sex was 25.27 to 33.92 % while non-veterans was 10.86 to 14.57 %)

“She has no rights because you are paying for a sex act- she gives up the right to say no.”

“...she gave up her rights when she accepted my money.”

“Prostitutes are like a product, like cereal. You go to the grocery, pick the brand you want, and pay for it. It’s business.”

“She feels a lot of force between her legs, because I’m not going to be lenient. I’m going to give her everything I’ve got. You can pound them, she don’t mind.”

“Something at your job makes you mad, you can‘t beat your wife, you can’t beat your kids, and so you go out and have sex to take your frustration out.”

Durchslag, R. & Goswami, S. Deconstructing the Demand for Prostitution: Preliminary Insights from Interviews with Chicago Men Who Purchase Sex.” 2008. Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. (The research initiative was launched by the Prostitution Research and Education; the Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation; and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless)

What are the traits of men who buy sex? Are they rich? Educated? What do they think of the women selling sex? What do they think of prostitution in general?

Three groups in Chicago wanted to find out.

Between 2006-2007 they put ads in the “Erotic Services” section of online sex-purchasing sites the Chicago and more than 100 men — 113 to be exact — responded. All of them admitted to buying sex. The wide-ranging interviews, which lasted over an hour and a half for each respondent, provide a detailed snapshot of men who buy sex:

PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

Age: Average age of respondents was 39, with a range of 20 to 71 years

Education: 79% had attended some college or obtained a college or graduate school degree.

Income: 62% made more than $40,000 a year

Regular sex partner: 62% said they had a girlfriend or wife

Frequency of buying sex: 53% purchased sex at least once a month up to several times a week

Age when men first bought sex: Average age of the men first purchased sex was 21, with a range from age 10 and 52. 55% first bought sex between the ages of 18 and 23.

Circumstance when first purchasing sex: 54% of interviewees bought sex for the first time by themselves. For those who bought sex while with other people, 36% did so with a group of friends and 17% with a relative. For 29% of interviewees, the first time they had sex was with someone they bought it from

Sex acts: 46-48% of interviewees purchased sex in order to obtain sex acts they either felt uncomfortable asking of their partner or which their partner refused to perform

No commitment: 36% of interviewees said they purchased sex to avoid emotional involvement or commitment.

Addiction: 83% of respondents consider purchasing sex an addiction

Pornography: 39% of interviewees were regular pornography consumers. Interviewees frequently mentioned reenacting pornography with women in prostitution.

Emotional state: 27% preferred women who looked “lonely” in order to imagine the existence of an emotional bond

Race/ethnicity: 43% of interviewees selected a woman in prostitution based on her race and/or ethnicity

Men’s domination over women: 43% stated that if the man pays a woman for sex, she should do anything he asks. 21% of interviewees did not think that it was possible for women in prostitution to be raped. 27% of these men acknowledged that they had committed sexually coercive acts against women. 13% said they would rape a woman if they knew they could get away with it. 19% admitted that they had raped a woman

Intoxication: 42% were regularly intoxicated during their encounters with women in prostitution. 19% said they were drunk or high during every encounter.

Conflicting feelings: 22% of interviewees felt guilty and/or shameful the majority of the time they purchased sex.

 

Poverty: 66% said women sell sex out of economic necessity and 27% thought the majority of women in the sex trade are homeless.

 

Childhood abuse: 57% believed that the majority of women who sell sex had experienced some type of childhood abuse

 

Youth: 32% of interviewees thought that the majority of women in prostitution entered the sex trade before the age of 18.

 

Traffickers: 75% of men had observed a woman who was selling sex with a trafficker, and 40% had bought sex from a women who they said had a trafficker. 27% of interviewees described the prostitute-trafficker relationship as exploitative and harmful to the woman.

 

Harm: 42% stated that selling sex causes both psychological and physical damage to women. 13% of interviewees had witnessed an act of extreme violence perpetrated against a woman in prostitution.

 

Marriage: 75% stated marriage is harmed if the husband buys sex, even if the wife does not know about it.

 

Consequences that would serve to deter men from buying sex: 87% said some form of public exposure, such as having their name or photo in a newspaper, would deter them from buying sex. 83% said jail time and 79% said a letter sent to their family would be a deterrent.

Durchslag, R. & Goswami, S. Deconstructing the Demand for Prostitution: Preliminary Insights from Interviews with Chicago Men Who Purchase Sex.” 2008. Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. (The research initiative was launched by the Prostitution Research and Education; the Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation; and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless)

MEN WHO BUY SEX