Introduction: This article explores explanations for attitudes towards the acceptability of transactional sex. The sparse research investigating attitudes towards transactional sex uncovers a link between gender equality, or feminism, and a lack of support for the trade in sex. However, there are no research agendas that attempt to explain variance in attitudes towards transactional sex where support for gender equality is widespread throughout a population.
Methods: We estimate regression models utilizing the 2017 Danish Values Survey (Den Danske Værdiundersøgelse) in order to predict views on the acceptability of transactional sex.
Results: While the trade in sex is legal in Denmark, we find that a majority of respondents hold negative attitudes towards transactional sex, which conveys a lack of congruence between public opinion and policy. Further, gender is a powerful predictor of attitudes towards transactional sex, with women finding it less acceptable. In addition, the analysis uncovers that general attitudes towards sexual behaviour are the largest predictor of views on the acceptability of transactional sex. That being said, we find that men’s views on the acceptability of transactional sex are more of a function of their general attitudes towards sexual behaviour than they are for women.
Conclusions: The findings indicate that, unlike men, women appear to differentiate between their attitudes towards general sexual behaviour and their views on sexual behaviour that they may associate with negative societal implications.
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