Queering the ‘straight’ line: men’s talk on paying for sex

Monique Huysamen

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This paper presents a qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with eight men who identified as clients of women sex workers, but who also spoke about paying to secretly explore their sexual desires for trans women and men. I draw on queer theory to approach the question of how, and to what extent, men’s paid sexual encounters functioned as sites where they could resist the constraints of compulsory heterosexuality and navigate more fluid sexual identities. Highlighting the complex nature and meanings of paying for sex, I argue that the secrecy of the paid sexual encounter provided a space for ‘breaking out’ of the confines of heterosexuality whilst simultaneously being the very thing that allowed men to stay ‘in line’ with what was expected of them within the heteronormative realities of their everyday lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number5
Early online date19 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Sex work
  • bisexual
  • clients
  • masculinities
  • queer theory
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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