Paying for Pleasure: Men Who Buy Sex, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Paying for Pleasure

Men Who Buy Sex, 1st Edition

By Teela Sanders


256 pages

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Drawing on original empirical data with men who buy sex, this book takes a fresh look at the relationships clients have with female sex workers. The core questions that form the backbone of the research are not only the expected inquiry into 'why men buy sex', but also into the sociological and psychological processes that men encounter in order to enter an assumed 'deviant' sexual behaviour as part of their everyday lives.

These sociological processes of finding, negotiating and buying sexual services are complicated by the stigma directed towards men who buy sex. Exactly how do men behave with sex workers; what are their relationships like; what emotions are involved and can intimacy be bought?

Questioning the dichotomy made between commercial and non-commercial relationships, the data suggests that intimacy and commerce are compatible. Managing secrecy, stigma and the consumption of intimacy takes this book into some of the more challenging theoretical areas of masculinity and emotional consumption in contemporary society.

Drawing some parallels from the author's earlier book Sex Work: A Risky Business, the book offers insights into why engagement in commercial sex is prolific as sexual culture is transformed in late modernity.


'This text is nothing short of gripping and offers fresh insights into a much misunderstood and under studied area.' - Chris Ashford, University of Sunderland, in The Law Teacher

'Sanders’ intention is towards greater exposure, the offer of a deeper, more comprehensive, account of prostitution. This is rather refreshing. She deals with scarcely contemplated aspects of participation in the industry and so her text is useful for our better understanding of some additional nuances in purchased intimacy. Her chosen structure works well: the themes are well categorized and quite simple, and her writing is both fluent and accessible.'

'[Sanders] gives a thorough, synthesized analysis of what she implies underpins, even determines, the sex industry and our traditional, if incomplete, impressions of it. In spite of her unabashed assertions, she has been academically rigorous.'

'This text provides a valuable contribution to the disciplines of criminology, gender studies, sociology and social policy. Sanders has provided an interesting and challenging critique for each, in terms of both theoretical and empirical methodologies, and has done so in an interesting manner.'

-Heather M. Morgan, University of Aberdeen, in Sociology vol 44 no 4 p.791-792

Table of Contents

Preface 1. The Genesis of the Study 2. Researching Men Who Buy Sex 3. Client Conduct: Motivations, Markets and Morality 4. Buying Sex Online: Virtual Regulation 5. Buying Intimacy: Pleasure, Commerce and the Self 6. Against Respectability: Stigma, Secrecy and the Self 7. Criminalizing the Customer: Moral Messages 8. Moral Panic: The 'Punter' as Danger 9. Shifting Sexual Cultures, Moving Masculinities. Appendix: List of Interviewees

About the Author

Teela Sanders is a Reader in Sociology at the University of Leeds. Her research explores the inter-relationship between human sexuality and socio-legal structures. Her books include Prostitution: Sex work, policy and practice (Sage, 2009), and Sex Work: A risky business (Willan, 2005).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology