Ordinary or peculiar men? Comparing the customers of prostitutes with a nationally representative sample of men”
While the media is replete with examples of “normal” men who seek out prostitutes regularly, how common are prostitute-seeking men and how much do they differ from men in the normal population? According to this study only about 14% of men across the U.S. have ever paid for sex in their lives and only 1% of those men had done so in the previous year. In addition, the majority of these men do not possess any “peculiar” qualities that distinguish them from the normal population. The study dissects whether customers are ordinary or peculiar by comparing a new sample of active customers who solicit sex on the Internet with an older sample of arrested customers, a sample of customers from the GSS, and a nationally representative sample of noncustomers.
Recent media attention implies that prostitution seeking is widespread, an “ordinary” aspect of masculine sexual behavior. Other accounts suggest that customers are “peculiar,” characterized by distinct qualities, perversions, or psychological impairments. Using the nationally representative General Social Survey (GSS), this study demonstrates that prostitution seeking is relatively uncommon. Only about 14% of men in the United States report having ever paid for sex, and only 1% report having done so during the previous year. Furthermore, this study dissects whether customers are ordinary or peculiar by comparing a new sample of active customers who solicit sex on the Internet with an older sample of arrested noncustomers. The customers of Internet sexual service providers differed greatly from men in general and also from other customers. The remaining samples of customers differed slightly from noncustomers in general. We argue for a balanced perspective that recognizes the significant variety among customers. There is no evidence of a peculiar quality that differentiates customers in general from men who have not paid for sex.
Monto, M., & Milrod, C. (2013). Ordinary or Peculiar Men? Comparing the Customers of Prostitutes With a Nationally Representative Sample of Men International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology DOI: 10.1177/0306624X13480487