Sunday, May 11, 2008

Editorial: Some Men Say Using Prostitutes an Addiction

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - As anti-prostitution groups try to thwart sex trade by going after customers, they said they have faced a big problem: researchers have only the crudest grasp of why men buy sex.

Even scholarly understanding of prostitution demand has been colored by a boys-will-be-boys attitude toward sex, activists said.

To get a better understanding, a group of researchers—most of them young women—invited more than 100 Chicago-area men who frequently use prostitutes to talk about their attitudes and experiences.

They were overwhelmed by the response. More than 200 men answered the ads the researchers placed in local sex-service classifieds and were willing to sit down with strangers to discuss at length their illegal sexual practices.

While the survey, which is not peer-reviewed, is likely to draw criticism from some academics, the project offers a window into the attitudes of men who buy sex in Chicago.

The results, to be made public Wednesday, show men are often deeply conflicted about their behavior, said Rachel Durchslag, director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, which conducted the survey in Chicago with the Evanston-based Justice Project Against Sexual Harm.

Though most of the men interviewed said they believe there is nothing wrong with prostitution, a large majority, 83 percent, view buying sex as a form of addiction, according to the study...


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