The common myth that “any man” (ie., that a sex buyer is a random everyman, an anonymous male who deserves the common name, john) might buy sex is simply not supported by research. Sex buyers share certain attitudes, life experiences, and behavioral tendencies that distinguish them from their non-buying peers in socially and statistically significant ways. By understanding sex buyers, we can better craft the legal and policy prescriptions, preventative education, and cultural norms needed to eliminate demand for illegal commercial sex.
Boston Sex Buyers Report
Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex, a report by Prostitution Research and Education, compared 100 sex buyers to 100 non-buyers in the Boston area. The groundbreaking report brings to light significant findings, including what would deter men from purchasing sex. Demand Abolition provided financial and logistical support to PRE.
Read the full report »
Did you know?
- Sex buyers self-report a greater likelihood to rape;
- they perpetrate sexually coercive acts against women more often;
- buyers are more likely to abuse substances, commit assault, and possess weapons;
- and almost three times as many buyers report prior felony convictions.
Deterrents to Prostitution
We asked 200 men in the Boston area, half of whom admit to buying sex, “What would deter you from buying sex?” Here’s what they said.
|Added to a sex offender registry||91%||88%||1|
|Photo or name in local newspaper||85%||82%||2|
|Photo or name on a billboard or poster||83%||84%||2|
|Time in prison||83%||80%||3|
|Picture or name on Internet||85%||84%||3|
|Letter sent to family members||76%||88%||4|
|Suspension of driver’s license||84%||73%||5|
|Greater criminal penalty||81%||70%||6|
|Greater monetary fine||79%||66%||8|
|Attend an educational program||54%||38%||9|
For Law Enforcement
Our research shows that sex buyers engaged in significantly more criminal activity than non-sex buyers. Also, buyers hold extensive information about pimps, coercion, trafficking, and the harms of prostitution to the women in it. This information is not yet fully used by law enforcement and could be useful.
According to our research, many of the men who do not buy sex are surprisingly tolerant of prostitution for men who do. These findings suggest that efforts to deter sex buyers should expand their focus from men who buy sex to the general public’s attitudes that support prostitution.
About half of men who purchase sex believe that most men do it, our research finds, but non-buyers do not make this incorrect assumption. Men report feeling just as many negative feelings after buying sex as they did before, and rightfully so. Prostitution is not a victimless crime.