Age-Graded Thrill Seeking, Companionship, and Informal Social Control among the Clients of Street Prostitutes



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The majority of empirical attention concerning the sex trade has focused on sex workers and explaining victimization among prostituted women. While this victim centered approach has led to the development and adoption of various treatment initiatives for prostituted women (e.g. prostitution courts), there is limited understanding of the other party involved in the crime: men who purchase sex. In particular, little is known about the relationship between age, salient life events, and buyers’ motivations for seeking out women prostituted via the outdoor sex market. This is particularly interesting given that past research has shown that sex buyers do not follow the standard age-crime curve of offending; rather, purchasing sex often occurs intermittently throughout the life course and is shaped by the key determinants of informal social control. Using data from a multi-city survey of men who purchase sex, this dissertation begins to fill this gap in the literature by examining how age and life experiences influence sex buyers’ motivations and preferences throughout the life-course. The implications of these findings for future research and policy are also discussed.



Prostitution johns, Prostitution clients, Age-graded informal social control theory, Thrill seeking, Companionship