Paying for se_x is taboo – nobody wants to admit doing it. It is gross, weird, or even perverse. At least that is what some people say. But there is a huge market for paid se_x. Love Matters Africa’s Stephanie Haase takes a look at some of the things you should know about paid se_x.

1. What is paid se_x and where does it happen?

Paid se_x, or prostitution, means paying someone for se_xual services. The payment can be cash, but it can also be through gifts and favors. The person who is getting paid is called a se_x worker, pros_titute or a range of other, often demeaning, words.

Se_x workers can be either woman or men. Male se_x workers offer their services to other men, too. If they are not gay themselves, this is sometimes called ‘gay-to-pay’. Se_x workers sell se_x for a variety of reasons, and sometimes it can be a means to buy drugs or because of poverty. This is known as ‘survival se_x’.

There are many places for paid se_x. Some se_x workers offer their services on the streets, others work in brothels, or as escorts, who offer their services in hotels or private homes.

2. Condo_mise!
Most prostitutes service over  five clients a night and only use condoms 60% of the time.

Because se_x workers get in contact with many different clients, there is a relatively high risk of getting an STDs from a visit. And because that’s not what you are paying for, using condo_ms is even more important in the se_x trade than in other casual se_x encounters.

3. Paid se_x and the law

Prostitution is  illegal in many countries, our included.

Whether or not you think paying for se_x is okay is up to your personal beliefs and ideas. But depending on where you live, paying for se_x, or being paid for se_x, can be illegal.

In some countries, like in Russia or China, prosti_tution is illegal and considered a crime. Elsewhere, like in the Netherlands, prosti_tution is a legitimate, but regulated, business.

A local UNICEF reports, estimates that 30% of children between ages 12 and 18 have engaged in some kind of se_x work!

Having se_x with someone without their consent is rape, which is of course a crime. This is also true if you know that the person is being forced to have se_x with you for money against their will.

4. Paid se_x in numbers
The oldest trade in the world will never be eradicated, it will continue to thrive as long as men are willing to pay. A simple supply-and-demand equation

Finding out how many people are buying se_x is even more difficult. Anywhere between 8 and 80% of men will buy se_x at least once – but as so often with se_x research, it is hard to know what and whom to believe.

In terms of countries, Cambodia seems to have the most men buying se_x, with an estimated 59 to 80% having paid at least once in their lives.

5. Paid se_x outside the box
Se_x tourism, on the other hand, brings tourists, often from Western countries, in contact with se_x workers abroad.

Paid se_x can also be somewhat heart-warming: there are prosti_tutes specializing in offering services to people with disabilities or the elderly, so they can experience pleasure, too.

Similarly, a few years back, nurses, patient organisations and patients in the Netherlands debated whether se_xual services should be part of home nursing schemes – so far, they have not reached any conclusions.

Se_x tourism, on the other hand, brings tourists, often from Western countries, in contact with se_x workers abroad. It is a multi-billion dollar business, and, as long as all people involved are consenting adults in countries where prosti_tution is legal, it is fine, but it often gets associated with child prostitution and human trafficking.

And humans are not the only ones engaging in prosti_tution – some penguin and monkey species also exchange se_x for favours!

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