Sexual health principles and the procurement of sexual services: evidence of the interface between sexual health and criminal justice

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Forensic Practice, 2019, 21, (2), pp. 145-157
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between sexual health principles and the procurement of sexual services. Most that has been written about sex work has been done so from the perspective of deviancy; in contrast, recent work examining the practice of sex work has explored and evidenced how emotional and intimacy needs are met through procurement. Recognising the conventional aspects of procuring sexual services, this paper seeks to examine and understand this social practice through applying Braun-Harvey and Vigorito’s (2015) six principles of sexual health. Design/methodology/approach: Based on a mixed method approach, this paper presents findings from a survey consisting of a sample of 309 men who procure sexual services and 20 interviews from a sub-sample of the men who were surveyed and female sex workers who provide such services. Findings: The findings illustrate the reasons for men’s procurement of sexual services, which corroborate with the accounts of women who sell the services and reflect how the procurement of sexual services align with principles of sexual health, which, in turn, challenge the stigma of buying sex. Practical implications: The practical implications of this study are: provision of examining and understanding sex work through the principles of sexual health; provision of a framework to examine and understand sex work in a less stigmatising way; support for the growth of sexual health and criminal justice research; and provision of a platform for further research examining sexual health, sex work and decriminalisation. Originality/value: This study is unique as it brings together principles of sexual health as a tool for examining the procurement of sexual services, a practice that is demonised in many parts of the globe. A consequence of this study is its presentation of a novel understanding for the social practice of procurement that aides in both challenging the stigmatisation and criminalisation of sex work.
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