ASHM Report Back

Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.

Samantha Stewart

Samantha Stewart

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Hilary Caldwell from UNSW presented qualitative research that utilised thematic analysis to interpret data from 17 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with sex workers who have female clientele. The participants were self-selecting volunteers who were sourced through their organisations and via Facebook. The participants were from varied backgrounds, genders and geographical locations. The data gathered demonstrated the demographic diversity of female clientele who utilised the services of the surveyed sex workers. According to the workers, female clientele had varied income levels, ethnicities and ages. The female clientele shared similar motivations for seeking these services as male clientele. Motivation was often focused on the women’s safety, the discretion of the professional and the desire to utilise the services of a “sexpert.” The surveyed sex workers made note of the ways in which women buy sex, noting the importance of mitigating risk. Most women counteract this risk by utilising agencies rather than brothels, seeing private sex workers, buying erotic massages and using referrals from other women who buy sex. Making note of the behaviour of their female clientele, the sex workers mentioned that the women were less likely to push the boundaries of the sex worker or haggle for discounts, but were more likely to bring up consent and “check in” with the sex worker during a session. Interestingly, this is the only empirical evidence of its kind in Australia. As the market increases for women buying sex in Australia, it will be interesting to see how the research keeps up with this burgeoning trend.

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