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Young Dutch People's Experiences of Trading Sex: A Qualitative Study

An article in the Journal of Sex Research, 0(0), 1–11, 2011.

In recent years, the subject of transactional sex among young Dutch people has generated a heated social debate in the Netherlands. However, accurate data on this phenomenon are scarce. This article describes the findings of a qualitative study on young Dutch people’s experiences of having sex in return for money or a material reward. Thirty in-depth interviews were conducted with young Dutch men and women aged 14 to 24. Participants came from diverse backgrounds in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Experiences of trading sex differed in terms of the motivation to trade sex, the presence or absence of coercion, and the availability of other options for earning money.

Participants’ feelings about their experiences varied. For most participants, the sex itself was unpleasant and required considerable emotion management. Still, some felt adequately compensated by the reward or felt trading sex was preferable to other jobs. Gender played an important role, with feelings of disgust or shame reported especially by female participants, whereas male participants reported more positive experiences. Interactions involving coercion or financial dependence on trading sex generally had a negative emotional impact. Participants stressed the differences between their own experiences and professional prostitution.

(abstract authors’ own)


Human Rights and Law


Robert van de Wallea, Charles Picaveta, Willy van Berloa & Arnoud Verhoeffbc