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Female and male escorts in the UK: A Comparative analysis of working practices, stigma and relationships

Redman, Scarlett (2016) Female and male escorts in the UK: A Comparative analysis of working practices, stigma and relationships. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The majority of sex industry research focuses upon the female seller and the male consumer. When research strays from this blueprint to include men as sexual service providers, it tends to be under the pretext of ‘homosexuality’; the client gender remains stable – male. Furthermore, very little research in this area compares the experiences of women and men working in the same sector of the sex industry (Weitzer, 2005b). I therefore seek to address these issues by asking ‘what are the experiences of female and male escorts (who work heteronormatively)?’ Using narrative research and storytelling, twenty in-depth interviews with escorts were conducted, from the perspective that sex work is work. Analyses are divided into four areas: working practices; the role of power in the escort-client dyad; ‘stigma’, and lastly, interpersonal relationships. I suggest that the ‘straight’ male escort market occupies a more ‘casual’ position in comparison to the ‘professionalised’ female sector, and this is reflected in the struggles male escorts encounter trying to secure a steady income stream from escorting alone. I argue that although women and men discuss similar escorting experiences, women benefit from the well-established female market (with its associated ‘unwritten rules’ of standard practice), whereas men are more likely to enact their work in non-standard and sometimes ambiguous ways. Stigma, when discussed, is most often attached to the female body (hence the female sex worker), although I mount a more theoretical challenge toward the academic tendency to assume the presence of stigma in sex workers’ lives. I then position participants’ experiences within their broader networks of relationships, and offer the suggestion that attitudes toward sex (not necessarily toward sex work) in society and interpersonal relationships are instrumental in how escorting is negotiated relationally. Lastly, I locate my findings within the recent shift toward recognising women as sexual consumers, set against a political backdrop of potential movement toward the decriminalisation of sex work in England and Wales.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr S Redman
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2017 12:40
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2017 12:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16774

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