Minichiello, Victor and John Scott, editors. “Male Sex Work and Society”, Harrington Park, 2014.
Looking at Men in the Profession of Sex
This is the first volume to look at male sex work from different perspectives and disciplines from social studies to the humanities. Of late, this has been become quite an interesting field of study. Male sex work was, at one time, conflated (great word) with homosexuality and while women in the sex trade have been studied, by and large, men have not. It is certainly not news that men do work in the sex industry and have done so in the historical past. At one time, male prostitution was considered to be a deviancy and a pathological illness of some form. We now know that this is not true. It also seems that in the past we have ignored such aspects of the sex trade such as the taking care of female clients (where the man is referred to as a gigolo) or the escorting service and both of these have become quite popular of late and are not being paid attention too. There are the areas of literature and film where men work in the sexual aspects.
It is the goal of this volume to make the way we view male sex workers clearer and the sex trade here is taken as commerce. We also look at the men themselves. The contributors included here explore the field from both historical and cross-cultural points of view. The areas included here include public health, sociology, psychology, social services, history, filmography, economics, mental health, criminal justice, geography, and migration studies, as well as others. The editors introduce the selections and help us to understand the data, the implications and the conclusions that we are reached by the various researchers and writers.
The research alone is staggering and the findings are comprehensive and it seems to me, at least, that this is the authority on the subject. It is a deep and intense look at male prostitution from every possible angle. I need to emphasize that this not a book to be read for pleasure—it is a very serious study. The researchers go back into history and look at the present to give us the most complete study possible.
It also deals with the way that society looks at male sex workers throughout history. I understand that the writers used all of the research material that was available but there is still material out there I believe since no one has really accessed it before. I am sure that with time and because this book has broken ground that there will be more coming.
I learned here that male sex workers are not a particularly good subject for scientific research and this has to do with the various stages of sexuality. Some men lie about their line of work so as not to find disapproval. Yet there is good money to be made and some feel that this gives legitimacy to their work.
As complete as this volume is, it could cover everything especially in countries with different laws and traditions. To do puts both the researcher and the subject in danger. Of course, it is important to take know of the technology of today’s world that has made sex work so much easier.
I am sure that as we move forward there will be more studies but for an introduction the book fills the need and wonderfully so.