Controlling intimacy: Sexual scripts among men and women in prostitution

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Inspired by sexual scripting theory, this article analyses intimacy and control in prostitution. The authors identify two strategies for maintaining control among male and female sex sellers. The first strategy is to restrict prostitution to relationships with as much sexual reciprocity as possible. The other is to maintain sexual/emotional distance from customers – yet often acting the opposite. The article questions prevailing stereotypes about male sex sellers being more agentic and autonomous than female sex sellers, arguing that control in prostitution can be achieved (and lost) in different ways. The analysis shows how scripting theory – with its differentiation between the cultural, interpersonal and intrapsychic levels of scripting – may be used to understand variations and contradictions in prostitution experiences. The article is based on 36 qualitative interviews with men and women in escort services, clinic prostitution and prostitution in private apartments in Denmark.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)353-371
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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