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The Geographical Mobility, Preferences and Pleasures of Prolific Punters: a Demonstration Study of the Activities of Prostitutes' Clients

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date31/03/2005
JournalSociological Research Online
Journal number1
Volume10
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Clients of prostitutes have been traditionally neglected in the study of prostitution. This demonstration study suggests that the Internet, particularly one prominent website for patrons of commercial sex in Britain, can assist in learning more about the activities of prostitutes' clients, their patterns of behaviour and the organisation of commercial sex in contemporary society. The specific focus here is on the geographical locations of the paid sexual encounters of the ten most prolific authors who contribute to a popular website. It reveals 105 different locations identified in the reports with some punters travelling extensively for their pleasures. The study then focuses on a comparison of the activities of two of these punters showing how they both largely inhabit different worlds of the sex industry but also share some experiences. This paper contributes additional knowledge about prostitution at several levels: first, a microanalysis of a small sample of clients' purchasing patterns highlights the habits of some prolific patrons; second, alongside these patterns, the website offers a window onto the hidden world of prostitution in late modernity which in turn reveals some organisational features of prostitution; and third, the use of the Internet as a qualitative data source is explored.