Public Health and Male Escorting
Most of the information available on male escorting is about health issues. The high risks of HIV infections and sexually transmitted diseases and the fact that male escorting is associated with drug addiction are all factors that made researchers work in this area a lot.
The problem of such researches is that the researchers reach out to male escorts on street to be samples and most often the research is related to HIV-infections only so even the health information is not that accurate and comprehensive.
Jacques Pepin, the author of “the origins of AIDS”, describes the social and economic dynamics of male escorting that helped the spread of HIV among sex workers. The world jumped to the conclusion that HIV was spread by the male sex workers only because the first cases of HIV were among the male sex workers.
More researches were made and the results of the first researches reported that male sex workers are a threat to the public health as they were spreading HIV infections. The researches considered the male sex workers as the vectors of transmission of the disease. These researches missed serious data especially geographically.
The stigma of HIV viewed male sex workers as uncaring about giving the disease to their clients which in most cases is not true as the unprotected sex is done in these cases under the pressures of the clients. Male escorts know that using condoms is an important part of the job and having sex without condoms is risky. These are the most common reasons for unprotected sex between male escorts and their clients.
• The negative attitudes towards condoms.
• Lack of knowledge of both the male escort and the client about HIV.
• The “heaven trade” is when male escorts find a client that is so attractive so they have unprotected sex for more pleasure.
• Repeated sex with the same client builds up a sense of trust which may lead to unprotected sex.
• Sharing a needle is among the top reasons of HIV infections.
In order to avoid the risk of HIV infections among male sex workers and their clients, the WHO has made official recommendations to improve the health of the sex workers. The program includes the following points.
• Decriminalization of the sex work elimination of the unjust application of non-criminal laws and regulations against sex work.
• Establishment of anti-discrimination regulations and laws that guarantee the rights of sex workers to social, financial and health services. These laws will also protect against violence and other rights violation that sex workers especially male escorts face. They will also make them realize their human rights and reduce their vulnerability to drug addiction.
• Health services should be available, affordable and accessible. They should be based on the principles of non-discrimination, avoiding stigma and the right to good health.
• Violence against sex workers puts them at the risk of HIV infections.
The WHO recommends voluntary HIV testing and counseling for sex workers, anti-retroviral therapy for HIV-positive sex workers, correct and consistent use of condoms among sex workers and their clients and inclusion of sex workers in catch-up hepatitis immunization strategies for sex workers who didn’t receive these immunizations in infancy.
Regulations of Male Escorting
The issue of regulating the sex industry has been debated for a long time until now but all this attention is just given to the female sex industry while the male sex industry is completely neglected. Men in the sex industry are just clients of the female sex workers with no considerations to the male sex workers.
The reasons why male sex work does not receive enough attention socially or academically are many. Here are the top reasons:
• It is a clandestine community so it is difficult to reach samples to make studies.
• The lack of funding for such studies.
• There is no framework that is compelling theoretically to base the research on.
• The male escorting topic is sensationalist and may be misunderstood.
• Most researches focus on how male escorts start or the health issues.
That is a main reason why regulating male escorting is just limited to prohibition as the issue is not completely researched.
When it comes to the sex industry regulations, there are 4 main topics to be discussed; prohibition, harm minimization, rights-based actions and regulatory perspectives.
Prohibition wants to eradicate the sex work completely. They base their arguments on immorality of the sex industry and describe it as violence against sex workers.
Harm minimization argues more about the problems associated with the sex work. Drug addiction and sexually transmitted diseases are the main topics here.
Rights-based actions are considered more about regulations without any judgments on the sex workers.
Regulatory perspectives seek to shape the laws and regulations to control and make benefits of the sex industry. These people are pragmatic enough to think of it as a source of income so they care about developing strategies to deal about the sex work that include criminalization, partial and complete decriminalization and legalization of the industry. They also go through the specifics and argue about social and political opinions, license laws, advertisement rules, escort-agency relationship and nearly everything related to the sex industry.
There are three main types of male escorting; indoor, outdoor and online.
The outdoor male escorting is a problem. There are known public places where clients can seek male escorts. Such places are dangerous because police always arrest people and accuse them with prostitution even if the country allows it. Most countries have a law of indecent acts in public places. The law prohibits any kind of acts that may wound the feelings, resentment, arouse anger, disgust or outrage in the mind of the reasonable person.
The indoor male escorting is the most common and most acceptable. The escort and the client meet at a gay bar or a meeting arranged by a male escort agency and then they go to either the escort’s place or a hotel room or the client’s place.
The internet and online escorting is growing. For male escorts and their clients, the internet provides the easy access, the affordability and the anonymity. The internet also is not a place that will hurt anybody so the problem of public sex is solved through it.
Who are the clients of male escorts?
Female escorts’ clients are mainly men while male escorts’ clients can be males, females or a transgender. They may also be HIV positive, HIV negative, disabled, young or old.
There is so little information about clients of escorts generally as most societies consider buying sex is either a crime or a stigma and the clients of male escorts are even more stigmatized with homosexuality which is considered in many societies as a sin.
Most of the clients of male escorts were invisible until mid-20th century. A study that was made in Australia, where sex work is a crime, suggests that 16% of every 10000 men have bought sex at some point of their lives and about 3% of them have paid for a male sex worker. Statics suggest that about 10% of sex workers in the whole world are males and it is growing in the societies that do not consider buying sex and homosexuality as crimes but no similar estimate exists for their clients. A survey was made in 2012 on gay and bisexual men in Australia and said that about 3% of them were in the male escorting industry either buy buying sex or buy working as a male escort.
Due to the wide dangers of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, there is a recent attention given to both sex workers and their clients especially male escorts and their clients as the risks of getting infections are higher among them.
So what are the characteristics of the clients of male escorts? The online profiles of clients contain some information about them. About 26% of the clients are businessmen, 8% are bisexual, 7% are travelers, 3% are gays, 2% are old, retired men, 1% of the clients are singles and 1% of them are HIV-positive. 2% of the clients describe their personality characters as shy and discreet and 1% as educated. The body types and physicality of the male escorts are considered too in the profiles. 14% of the clients prefer the fit, athlete, muscular male escorts, 12% like the overweight escorts, 6% prefer the normal escorts and 5% want the handsome escorts.
The reasons for buying sex especially from male escorts are many. Researchers say that these are the main reasons:
• Sexual gratification.
• Dissatisfaction with the client’s existing relationships.
• Psychological and physiological incapacity.
• Desire to exercise control over the sexual experience.
• Incapability of forming real sexual or romantic connections.
• Seeking intimacy. Many clients do not just buy sex; they want an emotional connection too. They do not want to only receive pleasure; they want to give it too. The term girlfriend/boyfriend experience is used sometimes to define the relationship in order to indicate that it is not only about sex. A research that was specific to male escorts says that companionship and a desire for emotional support are main factors for purchasing sex from a male sex worker.
• Sexual variation. Some men want to experience everything and that includes purchasing sex and meeting all their sexual needs. It is not a main reason when it comes to female sex workers but it may consider a main reason when it comes to the process of buying sex from male sex workers.