READING ROOM

Male Sex Workers Reveal The Truth About Their Lives And Clients

9781939594013“The male body has become an object of consumption, and as a result the idea of men selling their bodies for sex is becoming increasingly acceptable,” co-editor John Scott says of the new book Male Sex Work and Society.

The book, edited by Australian academics Victor Minichiello and John Scott, takes an in-depth peek at the lives of male sex workers from all around the world, offering a fascinating and complex portrait of the men’s daily experiences, the criticisms they face from both mainstream society and the gay community, and the way they’ve utilized the internet to build their businesses.

Minichiello and Scott studied more than 250 men in countries ranging from China to Australia to Germany to Brazil. They say their hope is to break down the stereotype that all male sex workers are “deviants” or “crazy,” and instead show that many of them are smart, rational people who have made a conscious decision to enter the sex industry.

Here are just some of the things Minichiello and Scott uncovered in their research:

Prostitution is a young person’s game.

Most male sex workers skew younger, usually between 20 to 30 years old. They tend to describe themselves as “fit” and “good-looking.” A large number of them call themselves “Jake,” and more often than not have brown hair and brown eyes.

“To succeed, these young men need to be skilled negotiators, small business operators, engaging conversationalists and fit, active and appealing,” Scott says.

Most clients are older, married men.

Clients tend to be predominantly middle-aged, married men who identify as “straight.”

“I discovered a side of my personality that I didn’t know existed,” one male client revealed in an interview. “And I discovered that I love to be sexually dominated by another man. For a long time, I was in relationships with women and had what I would call ‘traditional sex’, but somehow with time this stopped working for me.”

The majority of male sex workers are entrepreneurs.

“Street workers” represent very small portion of male sex workers. Some of the men work in brothels, though this requires paying brothel owners a commission. As a result, many of the men work independently.

Technology has revolutionized the sex industry.

Many male sex workers locate clients through various online escort sites and hookup apps. 

“Technology has seen a huge shift in both male and female sex industries,” Scott says. “Mobile phones allowed the escort market to expand and enabled greater flexibility; street work began to vanish and sex workers came to rural areas for the first time.”

Sex workers are healthier than you might think.

In Australia, at least. Records show that the rates of STDs among the country’s sex workers are significantly lower than among the country’s general population.

So there you have it, folks. Male sex workers. They’re just like you.

Male Sex Work and Society edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott, is out now. Harrington Park Press. $50.

h/t: The Age

Related stories:

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WATCH: Tampa’s Gay Male Prostitutes Ready For RNC’s Closeted GOPs

If You’ve Ever Paid For A Prostitute, You’ll Probably Commit A Felony At Some Point

Graham Gremore is a columnist and contributor for Queerty and Life of the Law. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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53 Comments

  • radagastthe3rd

    I wish someone would explain how these guys found work. I’ve searched the internet to find info about gay escorts and I can’t find any info anywhere.

  • Trippy

    @radagastthe3rd: Maybe ask a college career counselor. They probably have a good lead on sex work openings with the traditional job market so weak.

    By the way… Since prostitution is legal in most of Nevada, are there brothels there catering to men looking for men or women looking for men? Just curious.

  • badtungsten

    @Trippy: Prostitution is only legal in rural counties outside of Las Vegas and Reno, and then only in legally sanctioned brothels. To answer your question, there are currently no brothels catering to gay men in Nevada.

  • ladnek

    Age only matters if you’re the bottom. Older TOP whores are welcome. Most of them are NOT straight and married despite what they tell you. Most gay (closeted) guys who can’t get laid normally LOVE to claim to be straight and married. Some even put on fake rings to further the act. The longer you see them, the more you realize they are closeted self-loathing gay men. They will pay more money to suck the dick of an average “gay4pay” guy than they will to fuck a gorgeous out gay hooker. So as a result, all the gay hookers pretend to be straight or bisexual at most. For example, an out hot gay guy can charge let’s say 350 an hour for BB anal sex, YET an slightly above average “straight” guy can charge that for oral only plus no kissing. The “gay4pay” guys build up to anal and since they are straight” the self-loathing closeted gay guy will drop for it. A majority of clients were bullied in HS, so they love to go for the jock look and will believe any lie yo tell t hem because they desperately want to make up for having been rejected by “that” jock.

  • NoCagada

    @ladnek: WHAT THE HELL WAS ALL THAT…YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY?!?!?!?

  • badtungsten

    @ladnek: Wow, you must have analyzed these johns pretty extensively to have developed this theory. It couldn’t possibly be that the john sees a hot guy with a big dick and simply wants a taste? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  • Saint Law

    I suppose at a push I could imagine why men might use rent boys prior to the internet – but now? Wot saddos.

  • Mikah

    “Most clients are older married men”.No suprise there.A lot of older “straight” men begin to act on same sex desires that they supressed in their youth.

  • Zodinsbrother

    @ladnek: Um…..I think you read the article wrong. He says the CLIENTS are mostly married men not the sex workers. So yeah, wrong tangent. Sorry.

  • jwtraveler

    Male sex workers are NOT just like me.

  • jason smeds

    I don’t think we should be encouraging prostitution. Prostitution is awful. It is exploitation. It is sleazy. It is ugly.

    A friend of mine had clients who did not wipe their behinds sufficiently after going to the toilet. When they got together, he was faced with the stench of swamp ass.

  • asby

    @radagastthe3rd: try a website called rent boy.com

  • vive

    @jason smeds, an argument can be made that in many cases sex work is certainly more dignified, lucrative, and healthy than working several jobs simultaneously at places like Walmart, McDonalds, or Amazon warehouse sweat shops that don’t pay living wages. Amazon, for example, is notorious for preferring to park ambulances outside warehouses for workers who keel over from heat exhaustion because it is cheaper than spending the money on air conditioning. Compare this to a sex worker who can support himself by working a few hours a week.

  • MacAdvisor

    “Male sex workers. They’re just like you.”

    Except I am named Stephen, not Jake. I am 57, not “between 20 to 30 years old.” I describe myself as “fat,” not “fit.” I have blue eyes and grey hair, not “brown hair and brown eyes.” Other than that, just like me.

  • QJ201

    First, Queerty is late to the party.
    This book has been covered on almost EVERY other LGBT website in the USA, UK and AUS.

    Second, judgy much? I mean really, this isn’t the comment section at TowleRoad

    Lastly, get over it, sex work is here, we might as well figure out the way to make it safe for both worker and client.

    After gay marriage, comes legal weed, then legal sex work, welcome to the 21st Century.

  • Cam

    @jason smeds: Your posts have a very high percentage that reference things having to do with the bathroom.

  • Cam

    “”“I discovered a side of my personality that I didn’t know existed,” one male client revealed in an interview. “And I discovered that I love to be sexually dominated by another man. For a long time, I was in relationships with women and had what I would call ‘traditional sex’, but somehow with time this stopped working for me.”””
    ______________________

    Yeah, how SHOCKING that traditional hetrosexual stopped working for you, um, when you’re a big closet case.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    St. Matthews Episcopal Day School…smeds…traumatic experiences at the age of five…c’mon, Cam….The BAU is counting on you.

  • domen8r

    dang, QJ201, wish this site had “like” options for posts. U nailed it. I’d posit that the challenges with prostitution and the stereotypes covered by this book and in this comment thread stem from it being illegal…and thus has overwhelming elements of negative connotations. Much like some drug use. If such human folly, which is ageless and isn’t going anywhere, were more normalized, many of the stigmas assigned to them would likely recede. At least for rationally-minded people.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    domen8r, It’s a little more than the practice being illegal. Prostitution is usury, using someone else’s flesh for one’s own sexual gratification. Even if the person is relishing the money being made, it doesn’t edify either party. The damage is subjugation, if even for an hour.

  • onthemark

    Jake? Married men? So that’s why the wife on that TV commercial is so mad at “Jake from State Farm” at 3 in the morning.

  • Stache99

    @1EqualityUSA:Your argument is a bit dated and prudish. It applies more for women and their pimps or the child sex trade. It could also be extended to anyone working any other job. Each one uses the other for their benefit.

  • Stache99

    @onthemark: I like the name Jake. It’s got a certain manliness to it. Like my names Jake and I fuck like a real man. Yah….

  • Merv

    Hopefully, we in the US will start becoming rational about prostitution and legalize it, like we’re starting to legalize marijuana. Prostitution is legal in almost every civilized country in the world (although, not in Sweden last time I checked, for some strange reason), and that helps minimize the negative aspects. It’s not like outlawing prostitution gets rid of it. It just drives it underground and invites in the hard-core criminal element.

  • vive

    @1EqualityUSA, “usury” doesn’t mean what you think it means. Google a dictionary.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    I liked the definition and opted to go ahead with it, because of the unfairness of being the one buggered for cash. The immoral, unethical emphasis appealed to me when writing that word and, yes, I understand the monetary spin on this word. Thanks for mentioning it. I’ma bit dated and prudish. I love people too much to use them like this. As for using children for this purpose, that is utterly criminal.

  • onthemark

    @1EqualityUSA: At least prostitutes aren’t forced to work on Thanksgiving, which is more than you can say for the poor schmucks who are stuck working at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and most of the big retailers nowadays. Prostitutes respect the sanctity of our family holidays!

  • 1EqualityUSA

    That’s funny, onthemark! I volunteer to work Christmas, so that the ones who have children can stay home on that day. I’ve done that my whole career. My favorite day of the year is January 2nd, because I have a whole year before these damned holiday come around again.

  • jason smeds

    I don’t think we should be legalizing prostitution at all. Prostitution is de-humanizing. It is the ultimate form of self-abuse. It opens you up to exploitation by others. It feeds horrendous drug habits.

  • Alan down in Florida

    @MacAdvisor: Are you saying you are a sex worker? You’re cute enough.

    • Stache99

      @jason smeds: So is trolling yet here you still are..

  • Cameron Cox

    his book has been heavily criticised in Australia by male sex workers as being out of touch and out of date. Even the quote from John Scott “men selling their bodies for sex” shows how out of touch the authors are with modern thinking where sex work is now seen as the selling of skills and services; not bodies.

    The most egregious point however is that despite Male Sex Work and Society being published only a few months ago the study to which the review refers in “Prostitution is a young person’s game” was actually collected in 1998 and is now 16 years out of date with the largest number of male sex workers now being in the 30-40 age bracket in Australia.

  • Saint Law

    @jason smeds: But what would you do for sex if you couldn’t pay anyone?

  • David Bolton

    I created a profile just to respond to this article, to clarify some statements make about male sex workers and sex work in general.

    “Prostitution is a young person’s game.
    Most male sex workers skew younger, usually between 20 to 30 years old.”

    Prostitution may be a younger person’s game, but it’s an older person’s profession. I can assure you that 1) most escorts lie about their ages and are anywhere from 3-10 years older, and 2) the most popular escorts in America are 40+ men who have been working for several years at a minimum. I should know, since I’m one of them. Take a look at the major review sites to get a sense of who is being hired and reviewed and who is most desirable in the eyes of the typical client. Another thing, porn and escorting go hand in hand, and while there are obviously young, popular porn stars—a HUGE amount of gay porn (and therefore, escorts) is centered around the 30s-40s (and even 50s) set of men.

    “Most clients are older, married men.
    Clients tend to be predominantly middle-aged, married men who identify as ‘straight.'”
    “I discovered a side of my personality that I didn’t know existed,” one male client revealed in an interview. “And I discovered that I love to be sexually dominated by another man. For a long time, I was in relationships with women and had what I would call ‘traditional sex’, but somehow with time this stopped working for me.”

    This is true. The vast majority of clients are married, and many are quite happy with that side of their lives. I’ve seen thousands of clients, and the breakdown from most to least runs like this: married/straight, married/gay, single/gay, partnered/gay.

    “The majority of male sex workers are entrepreneurs.
    ‘Street workers’ represent very small portion of male sex workers. Some of the men work in brothels, though this requires paying brothel owners a commission. As a result, many of the men work independently.”

    Most guys are independent and use the three major websites—Rentboy, M4RN, and Rentmen—plus many have their own sites available as well for further information. Daddy’s Reviews is the main review website for gay male escorts and has been for about fifteen years. Adam4Adam, CL and Backpage represent a very small percentage of guys who are hired, mostly because of the danger of police stings and the prevalence of scam artists. Very little activity goes on app sites because it’s too easy to find sexual activity for free. A limited number of escorts are available through agencies, but most of these have died off due to lack of profitability.

    “Technology has revolutionized the sex industry.
    Many male sex workers locate clients through various online escort sites and hookup apps.”
    “Technology has seen a huge shift in both male and female sex industries,” Scott says. “Mobile phones allowed the escort market to expand and enabled greater flexibility; street work began to vanish and sex workers came to rural areas for the first time.”

    Well, it’s actually the other way around, as many clients locate escorts through various online sites. Hookup apps have increased the traffic for low-cost escorts, but have had little to no positive impact on higher end providers. Websites are regional in nature and have high impact in some areas and virtually none in others. For example, Rentboy controls the NYC market, and has virtually no presence in many smaller cities—particularly in the South, where M4RN dominates. Also, the female and male escort markets are completely different animals, especially in the way that clients approach the process of hiring. Clients for female escorts pay MUCH more on average and are also themselves vetted much more, just to make contact with a potential hire. It’s far easier to complete the process of hiring a male escort, and much cheaper by comparison, even with high-end providers.

    “Sex workers are healthier than you might think.
    In Australia, at least. Records show that the rates of STDs among the country’s sex workers are significantly lower than among the country’s general population.
    So there you have it, folks. Male sex workers. They’re just like you.”

    Of course, this depends on the individual sex worker. You might be surprised at how many clients request barebacking and partying, despite the inherent danger.

  • David Bolton

    @radagastthe3rd: What exactly would you like to know, a how-to for getting started?

  • Ridpathos

    50 dollars for a book about male prostitution? I feel like for that price I should receive a complimentary blow job.

  • vive

    @David Bolton: “Prostitution may be a younger person’s game, but it’s an older person’s profession. ”

    So there is still hope for me in this field. :) It sounds better paying and more dignified than my current profession (university lecturer who works for peanuts). At least it has the potential to make a nice adjunct income (pun intended).

  • Cam

    @jason smeds: said… “I don’t think we should be legalizing prostitution at all. Prostitution is de-humanizing. It is the ultimate form of self-abuse. It opens you up to exploitation by others. It feeds horrendous drug habits.”
    __________________________

    Actually everything you wrote are the consequences of ILLEGAL prostitution. Those issues dwindle when it is legal.

    • Cameron Cox

      Different countries and often different states within those countries employ different legal frameworks around sex work. Broadly these can be divided into criminalisation (as in most of the US, legalisation/regulation and decriminalisation.

      Legalisation is better than sex workers than criminalisation but it is far from ideal. Decriminalisation is the best system and is lobbied for by sex workers worldwide and exists only in New Zealand and New South Wales Australia (where I live and sex work.

      Decriminalisation removes all sex work specific criminal laws and allows sex workers to operate in the same manner as all other people who work (which is most people. sex work is work.

  • seaguy

    @jwtraveler: If they were they wouldn’t be getting many customers being so judgemental.

  • jason smeds

    Cam,

    I don’t agree with you at all. You are patently wrong. Regardless of whether prostitution is legal or not, it is still self-abuse and de-humanizing, not to mention dangerous to one’s health. Making it legal doesn’t suddenly impart upon it a patina of glory.

    • domen8r

      Smeds and 1Equality (particularly Smeds): you speak with such authority and certainty. Have you lived as a sexworker both legal and illegal? done research with such to back up your conception?

  • 1EqualityUSA

    “Patina of glory,” waxing poetic, eh, smeds, St. Matthews Episcopal Day School. I agree with you on this one.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Alright, smeds, I’ll elaborate, but then I must boogie. This mindset is derived from the notion, the belief that our bodies are a sack of molecules drawn together, under the dominion of spirit. The use of someone else’s molecules for the purpose of sexual gratification is demeaning. It glorifies the lesser components of a human, reducing them to mere molecules, rather than the energy force that brought the flesh together from the start.

  • vive

    @1EqualityUSA, it is no more demeaning than using other people’s bodies to clean our toilets, collect our trash, pack our meat, fulfill our Amazon orders, or pick our oranges. Sex work (of the kind this article is about) provides a better livelihood under much better and healthier working conditions than those a migrant farm worker or Amazon warehouse worker is subjected to.

    • Stache99

      @1EqualityUSA:Wow. That was really good BS.

  • David Bolton

    @jason smeds: No, I’m good with it. I’ve enjoyed the experiences I’ve had, met a shit-ton of people I’ve had some genuinely great times with, and grown in a lot of ways.

    Before I diss the garbage man or the ditch digger, maybe I should try being a garbage man or a ditch digger first. And even then—if it doesn’t work for me, it might for them.

  • jason smeds

    Prostitution is not about sex. It’s about the cash transaction.

  • David Bolton

    @jason smeds: Mmmm, nope. While I get paid for doing what I do, I also have a great deal of satisfaction when someone enjoys my company. I’ve actually met clients for free. I’m sure that with any activity that some people do it for the money and some do not.

  • o.codone

    It’s too bad that there isn’t more access to sex workers, because I for one would be a regular consumer of the product. I know that some readers are uncomfortable with the objectification of young men, but relax, it’s not the only area where such objectification exists, porn being another (fashion, marketing, etc.).

    The industry has it’s problems. These guys are usually not sensibly priced. $200.- $350/hr is too expensive. And, what if the guy isn’t hot? What if you catch him on an off day? What if he’s a “meh”? Money down the drain.

    Let’s get more guys hired in this field and get them out there working hard. Competition would be an asset to the industry.

  • vive

    @o.codone: “Let’s get more guys hired in this field and get them out there working hard. Competition would be an asset to the industry.”

    I’m not sure there is lack of supply. You must not have been to your average local porn store lately. The hustlers there are always significantly cheaper than $200, based on the propositions I have received. :)

  • Clark35

    *yawn* Another ‘article’ by queerty that glorifies prostitution and ignores the fact that prostitution is something people are forced into and many people are trafficked.

Comments are closed.