From Empowerment to Exploitation: Predicting Positive and Negative Associations with the Exchange of Sexual Services for Payment

Isabelle Johansson, Michael A. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Few existing studies have delved into individual-level attitudes towards the exchange of sexual services for payment, leaving a significant gap in our understanding. Various studies have speculated about how certain demographic factors and attitudes may shape people's perceptions of causes and consequences relating to such exchanges, but none have directly investigated this topic. To bridge this gap, we predict individual-level associations between the exchange of sexual services for payment and positive and negative concepts. Using an original survey involving a substantial sample size of adults in the U.S. (n = 611), we examine the extent to which respondents associate these exchanges with sexual freedom, companionship, women's empowerment, poverty, women's exploitation, and human trafficking. Our study reveals some compelling results. When predicting attitudes towards the exchange of sexual services for payment, we find that women exhibit a stronger association with the negative concepts than men. Furthermore, individuals who view the exchange of sexual services for payment as socially acceptable are more likely to have stronger associations with the positive concepts. Surprisingly, the acceptability of exchanging sexual services for payment has no discernable impact on association with the negative concepts. The results add to our understanding of how the public perceives the exchange of sexual services for payment. A more nuanced understanding of public perception can foster constructive dialogues and debates, allowing for a more comprehensive exploration of potential policy solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalSexuality and Culture
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023-Dec-11

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Sociology (504)

Keywords

  • Associations
  • Attitudes
  • Political attitudes
  • Prostitution
  • Sex industry/trade
  • Sex work
  • Sociodemographic factors

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