Men’s constructions of masculinity and male sexuality through talk of buying sex

Monique Huysamen, Floretta Boonzaier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (SciVal)


Commercial sex is an everyday occurrence across a range of contexts in South Africa. In this paper we turn our attention to the often-marginalised role of the buyers of sex by drawing on narrative interviews with male clients of female sex workers recruited through online advertisements in order to explore the ways in which heterosexual men construct, negotiate and perform their masculinity and sexuality through talking about their experiences of paying for sex. We highlight parallels between men’s narratives of paying for sex and dominant discourses of gender and heterosexuality. We show how men draw on heteronormative sexual scripts in constructing and making sense of paid sexual encounters and how men are simultaneously able to construct and enact a particular idealised version of masculinity and male sexuality through their talk on paying for sex. Finally, we discuss how online resources could be used more extensively in future research with the male clients of sex workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-554
Number of pages14
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • clients
  • masculinity
  • online research
  • sex work
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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