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.   

Resources

  • Ain't I a Woman? A Global Dialogue between the Sex Workers’ Rights movement and the Stop Violence Against Women Movement - 2011

    This is a resource written by Bishakha Datta and sponsored by CASAM and CREA. The report documents a meeting entitled "Ain't I A Woman? A Global Dialogue between the Sex Workers Rights Movement and the Stop Violence against Women Movement" from 12-14 March 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. 


    The report features the presentations from many great speakers including , Ruth Morgan Thomas, Anna-Louise Crago, Kaythi Win, Hua Sittipham Boonyapisomparn, Swapna Gayen and Meenakshi Kamble,Cheryl Overs and  Meena Seshu

  • An Exploratory Study of the Social Contexts, Practices and Risks of Men Who Sell Sex in Southern and Eastern Africa - 2011

    The aim of the research presented in this report was to explore the social contexts, life experiences, vulnerabilities and sexual risks experienced by men who sell sex in Southern and Eastern Africa, with a focus on five countries; Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It sought to better understand differing and similar socio-cultural scenarios and personal life stories of male sex workers in these countries and to improve the representation of male sex workers in relevant regional organisations, particularly within the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA).

  • Beyond compassion: Children of sex workers in Kolkata’s Sonagachi - 2011

    Article in Childhood August 2011 vol. 18, no. 3, 333-349.

    In 2005, children of sex workers from Kolkata’s Sonagachi red-light district formed their own collective, Amra Padatik (‘We are Foot Soldiers’), to work to gain dignity for their mothers and claim their own rights as children of sex workers. In this article the authors speak to Amra Padatik’s founder members to demystify the culture of fear associated with their lives — perpetuated through popular representations. This is not to underplay their acute experiences of disadvantage, but to foreground them as politically astute citizens and decision-makers in policies that concern and affect them.

  • Buying the Girlfriend Experience: An Exploration of the Consumption Experiences of Male Customers of Escorts - 2011

    Article in Russell W. Belk, Kent Grayson, Albert M. Muñiz, Hope Jensen Schau (ed.) Research in Consumer Behavior (Research in Consumer Behavior, Volume 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.111-126. 

    This research explored the experiences of male customers of escorts who provide a sexual service known as the “girlfriend experience” or GFE.

    Methodology/approach: A combination of depth interviews and netnography is used to study how men experience the GFE.

  • Can rights stop the wrongs? Exploring the connections between framings of sex workers’ rights and sexual and reproductive health - 2011

    Background

    There is growing interest in the ways in which legal and human rights issues related to sex work affect sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV and abuses including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. International agencies, such as UNAIDS, have called for decriminalisation of sex work because the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services is affected by criminalisation and social exclusion as experienced by sex workers.

  • Commercial Sex Worker Use Among Male Chinese Rural-Urban Migrants - 2011

    To explore HIV/AIDS sexual risk behaviors and specifically the use of commercial sex workers among Chinese male rural-urban migrants. Methods:

  • Continued Sexual Risk Behaviour in African American and Latino Male-to-Female Transgender Adolescents Living with HIV/AIDS: A Case Study - 2011

    Article in AIDS Clinic Res S1:002.

    Purpose: This study examined the social and contextual factors associated with continued high risk sexual behaviors among male-to-female transgender (MTFTG) adolescents living with HIV/AIDS. The study is part of a larger qualitative study of 59 racial/ethnic minority adolescents living with HIV/AIDS.

    Methods: In-depth focused interviews were conducted with five MTFTG adolescents (16-24 years) living with HIV. Content analysis was conducted to identify themes related to continued sexual risk behaviors.

  • CREA research on violence against women in India, Bangladesh and Nepal - 2011

    A research study on violence against lesbian women, female sex workers, and disabled women in three countries in South Asia—Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. The study investigated the hypothesis that women who are outside the mainstream of the South Asian society suffer high rates of violence and are often unable to seek and receive protection from State agencies.

  • Demystifying Sex Work and Sex Workers - 2011

    Wagadu, an open access online feminist journal, has released a special issue 'Demystifying sex work and sex workers.' With articles from activist scholars the special issue, focuses on the everyday lives of sex workers.

    Susan Dewey of the University of Wyoming who edited the issue explains, "While recent years have witnessed a dramatic outpouring of feminist scholarship that situates sex work within its broader socioeconomic and political contexts cross-culturally, there remains a tendency for academic scholarship to unconsciously reinforce the social stigmatization of sex workers by depicting them solely through their income-earning activities. This burgeoning research has convincingly demonstrated that sex work is embedded in a complex social matrix that often centers upon sex workers’ perceptions of their individual choices and responsibilities...Public policy on sex work is often shown to be seriously lacking when contextualized within the broader realities of many sex workers’ everyday life experiences throughout the world. As such, contributors to this special issue offer sound ethnographic evidence that clearly demonstrates the global need for policy and legal reform with respect to sex work."

  • Different stage, different performance: the protective strategy of role play on emotional health in sex work - 2011

    An article in Social Science & Medicine Volume 72, Issue 7, April 2011, Pages 1177-1184.

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