• Dorte Venø Jakobsen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
English summary Prostitution is a phenomenon defined as a social problem in Denmark, and yet very little knowledge – as well as social programs – exist which specifically target this group. My motivation for writing this thesis was therefore to enrich the available knowledge regarding this social group in Danish society. This study is based on 5 qualitative interviews, as well as a number of internet-chats with male prostitutes. All of the informants were recruited via the internet. Very little of the existing research on male prostitution includes the voices of the prostitutes themselves, and are often solely based on structured interviews. I wish to go against this tradition by producing data which is as unregulated as possible, and have therefore processed my data phenomenologically. The analytical themes have been processed inductively and are therefore based on the themes emphasized by the informants themselves during the interviews. My two-part analysis is hermeneutical; in the first part the informants’ stories are analyzed in relation to existing research on prostitution, while in the second part the findings are discussed in relation to different cross-disciplinary theoretical perspectives. My study has revealed that three of the informants debuted selling a sexual service respectively as 12, 13 and 15 year olds. My internet-chats also revealed that many of the men selling sex are quite young – in several cases under 15 years of age. The informants describe themselves as being rebellious, sexually as well as generally. This, in addition to the money they earned through prostitution, were the primary reasons they experimented with prostitution at a very young age. This is in contradiction to the existing research, which indicates that the majority of individuals are between 18-20 years old when debuting in prostitution. The informants disclosed that acquiring clients had become more difficult the older they were which for many of them resulted in their personal boundaries at times being compromised. Many lie about their age, just as some of the very young informants lied to me about their age. The study has also revealed that the prostitution-relationship provided all of the informants with feelings of affirmation, either via the money earned or their ability to satisfy a client. And yet there was a degree of ambivalence regarding the client-affirmation; many of the informants described clients as being ‘disgusting’, explaining that they didn’t like to prostitute themselves, but did it only for the money, or in attempts to hurt themselves. Despite this, the stories also reveal that the informants’ self-esteem was positively affected by the affirmation gained from the prostitution-relationship, becoming a significant motivation for their continued prostitution. None of the informants had disclosed their experiences in prostitution to their families or social circles. Many of them explain that they live out their sexualities through prostitution, and that three of them also conceal their bi- or homosexuality. The existing research shows that a double-life often leads to social isolation and loneliness. And yet this is contradictory to my findings which indicate that it is unproblematic for the informants to separate their prostitution from their private lives. The informants explain that they ‘choose’ to live a double life in order to maintain their normal everyday life. Four of the informants have large social circles which have not reduced since their prostitution debut. Furthermore, four have a high school- or university education. One informant experiences loneliness and social isolation as a consequence of prostitution. The existing research indicates that male prostitutes often maintain social relationships with their clients. This is also inconsistent with my findings; only one informant describes socializing with his clients, while the other four explain that the client-relation is short and focuses solely on the sexual aspect of the act. If there is social contact it is based on the expressed need of the client – not the prostitutes’. This could be explained by the informants’ ability - despite their involvement in prostitution- to maintain their existing social networks. Despite the informants not experiencing social problems as a result of the secrecy surrounding their prostitution, four experienced emotional difficulties – either regarding their private sexual relations or general feelings towards other people. Only one of the informants was socially - as well as emotionally – unaffected by his prostitution.
Publication date2010
Number of pages110
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 19213492