Men, Prostitutes, and Safe Sex

Man hands money to hooker through car window
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In the area of sexuality, the interactions between men and prostitutes are generally understudied. It has been estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of men in the United States have paid for sex at least once in their lifetime. This range is more conservative than some estimates—some samples have suggested as many as 40 percent of the male population have visited or will visit a prostitute at some point in their life—but more recent studies have shown the 15-20 percent range to be more accurate.

Legality of Prostitution

How often men engage in sexual activity with prostitutes varies greatly globally, and rates are certainly dependent on prostitution's legality in society and how much it is tolerated. In Britain, for example, prostitution itself is not illegal; however, many activities that relate to it are, such as soliciting in a public place, pimping, and owning or managing a brothel are crimes. Scotland is looking at introducing tolerance zones to legitimize red light districts. In Europe, countries such as Holland have legitimized prostitution. This, they believe, has led to positive health safeguards for both the prostitute and his or her clients.

Tolerance and legality also affect whether men seek out health care advice in relation to sexual health. In countries and states where the government sanctions prostitutes selling their services, sex workers are required to attend clinics on a regular basis to check for evidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Availability of treatment for STDs helps prevent the spread of disease.

Safe Sex and Prostitution

Engaging in sexual activity with a prostitute is risky behavior, and safe sexual practices are essential for those who seek out prostitutes. Anyone can catch a sexually transmitted disease if they have unprotected sex with someone who is infected.

Safe sexual practices that will protect you and your partner include:

  • Always using a condom for vaginal or anal sex
  • Using a stronger condom for anal sex, and plenty of water-based lubricants (do not use oil-based lubricants with latex condoms as it can make the condom porous and prone to breaking)
  • For oral sex with a woman, use a dental dam. These can be obtained from internet retail sites, genito-urinary or other clinics.

Whether you are a worker or a user, stay safe and get regular medical check-ups.

Signs and Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Disease

These are common warning signs of a sexually transmitted disease. If you experience these, you should stop sexual contact to prevent spreading a possible infection, and seek out medical attention as soon as possible.

  • A discharge from the penis
  • Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • Feeling you need to urinate more often than normal
  • Rashes, lumps, itching, blisters or sores in the genital area
  • Sore testicles

Be aware that some infections do not show clear warning signs and symptoms, especially soon after infection, while others may produce symptoms that later disappear. Do not ignore symptoms, even if they go away—this does not mean the infection has passed. If left unchecked, serious health problems may result. Consult a doctor. Genito-urinary special clinics offer confidential advice and treatment.

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Article Sources

  • Michael, R.T., Gagnon, J.H., Laumann, E.O., & Kolata, G. (1994). Sex in American: A definitive survey. Boston: Little Brown.