Some self-selection bias may have occurred given that escorts who developed self-efficacy and, therefore, remained on the job were more likely to have been interviewed than men who did not develop the skills and attitudes needed to remain with the agency. Given these issues, caution should be used when taking our results out of their original context and placing them into a larger cultural context. Future research is needed to replicate our findings and to test the conclusions that we have reached based on these data.
Despite such limitations, our examination of entry into male sex work using the perspective of social-cognitive theory offers an alternative to past approaches that have sought to label either individuals or societies instead of explaining how they might interact on the level of an individual decision maker. Our position does not exclude a deviance model as it does seem that anti-social histories may play a role for some predominantly heterosexual MSWs. Likewise, we do not disagree that some sex workers are exploited by a male-dominated sexual culture that objectifies and then commercializes intimate behavior, nor do we deny the horrific reality of sexual trafficking and slavery.
Instead, our data suggest that such pathways into sex work represent several possibilities out of a broad universe of available gateways. We argue that the social-cognitive perspective permits a diverse enough range of options to permit these more pathological explanations to coexist alongside descriptions emphasizing normative thought processes, behaviors, and environments—in other words, voluntary and rational entry into sex work.
Men working for the agency became more satisfied and empowered in their sex work over time, and most chose to enter the job because their values and self-perceptions were consistent with an opportunity to earn what appeared to them as a significant amount of money. It is likely that a variety of such entry points exist, and it would be illustrative to document and examine them all. Furthermore, this study did not attempt to examine more characterological elements of the decision-making process. Such variables as personality traits e. We believe that by employing a common social-cognitive framework for this research effort, social scientists will be able to explain the diversity of male sex work using a consistent language and analytic scheme.
Such a framework would permit examination of sex work from a more neutral, stigma-free perspective. Kelly, principal investigator and a faculty research grant from Susquehanna University Michael D. Smith, principal investigator. Michael D. Smith, Department of Psychology, Susquehanna University. David W. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. J Sex Res. Author manuscript; available in PMC Jun 2. Smith , Christian Grov , David W. Seal , and Peter McCall.
Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Smith, Department of Psychology, Susquehanna University;. Correspondence should be addressed to Michael D. Copyright notice. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract This study employed a social-cognitive theoretical perspective to assess the interactions of behavioral, cognitive, and situational factors to understand better how young male sex workers MSWs entered the sex trade industry.
A Long History of Deviance Models As Bimbi noted in his review, the studies that have examined entry into male prostitution have been based in deviance models. Social-Cognitive Theory Bandura proposed a model for human behavior in which actions, cognitions, and situations all mutually influence one another in a process termed reciprocal determinism. Current Focus A social-cognitive analysis of male sex work could incorporate the possibility of deviant characteristics and situations, but not be constrained by these pathological irregularities.
Method Participants As part of a larger study, quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews were collected at a male escort agency located within a small, mid-Atlantic city in the United States population 50, Materials and Procedure Potential participants were provided with information about the research project and study methodology by the agency manager. Results We first present information about participant demographics and characteristics before proceeding to the main body of this section. Participant Demographics As can be seen in Table 1 , the majority of the participants included in this set of analyses with 38 MSWs were White men in their early 20s age: Open in a separate window.
Environment and Behavior: Interactions between Situation and Action Possibilities and opportunities One cannot enter sex work until one knows about a the possibility of doing so and b the means of entry. One participant expressed a common perception of the role that friends played in cluing them into the possibilities presented by sex work: Social facilitation Once a prospective escort had learned of the opportunity to work for the agency, most men needed to utilize relationships with other escorts to actually begin seeing clients: Incentives Salient and rewarding aspects of the environment were a significant influence on behavior.
As one young man put it: Environment and Cognition: Interactions between Situation and Expectation Local versus global norms Potential escorts brought with them prevailing societal norms against prostitution and sex work.
MSWs with more positive initial views of sex work held several different moral positions about its ethical nature: Observational learning Escorts possessed ample opportunity to discover how to navigate the process of entering sex work once they were connected with the agency in some way.
Behavior and Cognition: Interactions between Action and Expectation Self-efficacy beliefs Nearly all escorts who stayed on the job after seeing more than a few clients grew in their self-confidence—what social-cognitive theorists have termed self-efficacy. Successful escorts did develop increased sexual self-efficacy with time: Comfort level Twenty-five Discussion We have argued that our data are consistent with a social-cognitive perspective of male sex work.
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Nearly One in Five Sex Workers Are Men - Tonic
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