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Economies of Desire: Sexuality and the Sex Industry in the 21st Century

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  • Catherine Hakim

Abstract

New data from sex surveys confirm that demand for commercial sex is based on permanent disparities between male and female desire, and is therefore ineradicable. Demand and supply are growing, facilitated by economic growth, the Internet, globalisation and changing sexual attitudes. A key objection to the sex industry is that pornography, lap dancing and prostitution promote rape and other kinds of violence against women. However, the evidence contradicts this contention. The commercial sex industry is impervious to prohibitions and cannot be eliminated. Laws which constrain sellers of sexual services or criminalise purchasers are not evidence-based, and are bound to fail, wasting public resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Hakim, 2015. "Economies of Desire: Sexuality and the Sex Industry in the 21st Century," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 329-348, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecaffa:v:35:y:2015:i:3:p:329-348
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    1. Marina Giusta & Maria Tommaso & Steinar Strøm, 2009. "Who is watching? The market for prostitution services," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 501-516, April.
    2. Raj Arunachalam & Manisha Shah, 2008. "Prostitutes and Brides?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 516-522, May.
    3. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
    4. Kate Hardy & Teela Sanders, 2015. "The political economy of ‘lap dancing’: contested careers and women’s work in the stripping industry," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 29(1), pages 119-136, February.
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