By the same authors

Male escorting, safety and National Ugly Mugs M. Laing, K. Pilcher and N. Smith: Queering policy and practice on the reporting of crimes against sex workers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


  • Alex Bryce
  • Rosemary Campbell
  • Jane Pitcher
  • Mary Laing
  • Adele Irving
  • Josh Brandon
  • Kerri Swindells
  • Sophie Safrazyan


Publication details

Title of host publicationQueer Sex Work
DatePublished - 4 Mar 2015
Number of pages9
Place of PublicationLondon
EditorsMary Laing, Katy Pilcher, Nicola Smith
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Electronic)9780203761960
ISBN (Print)9781138288539, 9780415704557

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Crime and Society


Male sex work embodies varied practices in a plethora of spaces. Men work as escorts, porn stars, in fetish and BDSM, as ‘rent boys’, from brothels, via the Internet, in public sex environments and in a multiplicity of private spaces. Some men see female clients and couples, while others service male and trans* clients. Male sex workers often have complex relationships with their working and non-working sexualities and sexual practices. Despite the diversity of the male sex industry, men are often absent in discourse and debate in sex work research, policy and practice (Sanders et al., 2009; Whowell, 2010). In policy, violence against sex workers is considered a ‘gendered’ act, with men constructed either as pimps, abusive clients or traffickers. Rarely are they considered sex workers, labourers or victims (Gaffney, 2007; Whowell, 2010). This chapter draws on case studies and monitoring data from the UK Network of Sex Work Projects' (UKNSWP) ‘National Ugly Mugs’ (NUM) pilot scheme – a national reporting mechanism for crimes committed against sex workers – in order to explore the role of gender-nuanced and queer perspectives in challenging myths around male sex work and violence. The queer analytical framework used seeks to de-centre the hetero-normative framework through which sex work and violence against sex workers is commonly constructed, and offers an alternative to radical feminist perspectives which arguably perpetuate gendered readings of sex work and violence (Weitzer, 2005). It also seeks to question the limitations of a heterosexist framework when seeking to understand and respond to the needs of male and trans* sex workers in the context of violence. The chapter first outlines the conceptual landscape exploring male sex work and the invisibility of male sex work in policy and practice debates. This is followed by a discussion of the value of the NUM scheme for male sex workers. Finally, it considers the potential barriers male sex workers face to reporting work- related incidents and the utility of a queered perspective for understanding these issues.

    Research areas

  • Sex Work, Queer studies, Prostitution, Labour, Safety, Crime, Violence

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