Sex Work or Prostitution? Implications of Dominant Social Problems Vs. Activist Movements Discourses on Men Selling Sex to Men
In this paper, “the language of social problems” concerning commercial sex is put under scrutiny. The data of the study is qualitative: transcribed interviews with men selling sex to men. The analysis indicates that dominant discourses on commercial sex – whether centered on ‘victims’ or ‘agents’ – tends to be reductionist approaches, shaping the micro-practices of the actors involved. In conclusion, I argue that the ‘social problem discourse’ reflects a reaction among the interviewees to avoid the feminized ‘whore-stigma’ as contagious to their self-representation. Moreover, the ‘sex workers’-discourse appears as quite ambiguous, since participants almost unanimously depart from the pro-work feminist stance claiming to combat stigmatization for those involved in commercial sex.