Gender and Sexuality

We explore commercial sex as enmeshed in power relationships and economies of desire that are inherent within all sexualities.

Contemporary gender and sexuality studies have much to offer the study of sex work which involves men, women and transgenders as buyer and sellers of sexual services. 

Recent work on the production of sexual subjectivities under neoliberalism highlights the potential of a political economy approach to sex work - one that goes beyond debates about coercion and choice to understand better the structures of constraint and scenarios of agency within which sex is bought, sold and traded.   


  • A Comparison of Male Sex Workers in Prague: Internet Escorts versus Men Who Work in Specialized Bars and Clubs - 2014

    Prague, the Czech Republic, is a popular sex tourism destination where sex work is decriminalized and young men offer sexual services at low prices relative to countries in Western Europe. This quantitative survey aimed to identify some of the demographic characteristics of these young men and their experiences in the sex industry. Internet escorts (N = 20) and sex workers in bars and clubs (N = 20) completed the survey anonymously in spring 2011. The results showed that sex workers in clubs often had troubled pasts and were forced into sex work to survive.

  • Participation in Prostitution: Associated Outcomes Within Familial Relationships - 2014

    An analysis if different political conceptualisations of sex work.

  • Youth, violence and non-injection drug use: nexus of vulnerabilities among lesbian and bisexual sex workers - 2014

    Despite increasing evidence of enhanced HIV risk among sexual minority populations, and sex workers (SWs) in particular, there remains a paucity of epidemiological data on the risk environments of SWs who identify as lesbian or bisexual. Therefore, this short report describes a study that examined the individual, interpersonal and structural associations with lesbian or bisexual identity among SWs in Vancouver, Canada.

  • ‘Sex’ – it’s not only women’s work: a case for refocusing on the functional role that sex plays in work for both women and men - 2014

    Mention of the term sex work often invokes images of marginalized women at risk for HIV infection. Such images, however, are counterintuitive to the functional role intended by the movement that spawned use of the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘sex worker.’ This article looks at the sexual practices of men in urban China to argue for a return to a functional definition of ‘sex work’, which was originally meant to legitimize the role sex plays in work.

  • Risk-Coping through Sexual Networks - 2012

    Why do women engage in transactional sex? While much of the explanation is that sex-for-money pays more than other jobs, we use a unique panel data set constructed from 192 self-reported diaries of sex workers in Western Kenya to show that women who supply transactional sex develop relationships with regular clients, and that these clients send transfers in response to negative income shocks.

  • Whore's Glory - 2012

    WHORES' GLORY is a film on prostitution: three countries, three languages, three religions. In Thailand, women wait for clients behind glass panes, staring at reflections of themselves. In Bangladesh, men go to a ghetto of love to satisfy their unfulfilled desires on indentured girls. And in Mexico, women pray to a female death to avoid facing their own reality.

  • Sex Work and Feminism - 2011

    This is a clear article that outlines debates around feminism and sex work by Australian activist Kate Holden.


  • Measuring perceived stigma in female sex workers in Chennai, India - 2011

    Although sex work is highly stigmatized throughout the world, a limited body of research has examined stigma among female sex workers (FSWs). We developed a Sex Worker Stigma (SWS) Index to measure perceived stigma among 150 FSWs in Chennai, India. These women were at a median age of 35 years and reported, on average, having engaged in sex work for nine out of the previous 12 months. The two-factor structure of the index was verified in both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses with acceptable goodness of fit.

  • A Psychosocial Study of Male-to-Female Transgendered and Male Hustler Sex Workers in São Paulo, Brazil - 2011

    This study examined sociodemographic variables, personality characteristics, and alcohol and drug misuse among male sex workers in the city of Santo André, São Paulo, Brazil. A total of 45 male-to-female transgender sex workers and 41 male hustlers were evaluated in face-to-face interviews at their place of work from 2008 to 2010. A “snowball” sampling procedure was used to access this hard-to-reach population.

  • Adolescent female sex workers: invisibility, violence and HIV - 2011

    Article in the Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/adc.2009.178715.

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