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      Selling sex: what determines rates and popularity?\\ An analysis of 11.5 thousand online profiles

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      Sex work, Labor and demographic economics , Popularity dynamics, Gender, Online market

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          Abstract

          Sex work, or the exchange of sexual services for money or goods, is ubiquitous across eras and cultures. However, the practice of selling sex is often hidden due to stigma and the varying legal status of sex work. Online platforms that sex workers use to advertise services have become an increasingly important tool in studying a market that is largely hidden. Although prior literature has primarily shed light on sex work from a public health or policy perspective (focusing largely on female sex workers), there are few studies that empirically research patterns of service provision in online sex work. Little research has been done on understanding pricing and popularity in the market for commercial sex work. This study investigates the determinants of pricing and popularity in the market for commercial sexual services online by using data from the largest UK network of online sexual services, a platform that is the "industry-standard" for sex workers. While the size of these influences vary across genders, nationality, age, and services provided are shown to be primary drivers of rates and popularity in sex work.

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          Most cited references 7

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          THE DYNAMICS OF SELLER REPUTATION: EVIDENCE FROM EBAY

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            The Price of Sex: Condom Use and the Determinants of the Price of Sex Among Female Sex Workers in Eastern Zimbabwe

            Background.  Higher prices for unprotected sex threaten the high levels of condom use that contributed to the decline in Zimbabwe's human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic. To improve understanding of financial pressures competing against safer sex, we explore factors associated with the price of commercial sex in rural eastern Zimbabwe. Methods.  We collected and analyzed cross-sectional data on 311 women, recruited during October–December 2010, who reported that they received payment for their most-recent or second-most-recent sex acts in the past year. Zero-inflated negative binomial models with robust standard errors clustered on female sex worker (FSW) were used to explore social and behavioral determinants of price. Results.  The median price of sex was $10 (interquartile range [IQR], $5–$20) per night and $10 (IQR, $5–$15) per act. Amounts paid in cash and commodities did not differ significantly. At the most-recent sex act, more-educated FSWs received 30%–74% higher payments. Client requests for condom use significantly predicted protected sex (P < .01), but clients paid on average 42.9% more for unprotected sex. Conclusions.  Within a work environment where clients' preferences determine condom use, FSWs effectively use their individual capital to negotiate the terms of condom use. Strengthening FSWs' preferences for protected sex could help maintain high levels of condom use.
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              The SAGE Handbook of Social Media

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ScienceOpen Preprints
                ScienceOpen
                23 October 2019
                Affiliations
                [1 ] University of Oxford
                Article
                10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-.PPPVGRD.v1

                This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .

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