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The construction of intimacy in long-term commercial relationships in Sweden
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA). Malmö University, Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies (CSS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4122-3350
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA). Malmö University, Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies (CSS).
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA). Malmö University, Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies (CSS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4663-4004
2022 (English)In: Culture, Health and Sexuality, ISSN 1369-1058, E-ISSN 1464-5351, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 451-465Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research on commercial sex has described fluidity between different forms of relationships, whereby commercial sexual relationships can be both long-term and viewed as intimate from the buyer's perspective. This article explores the construction of intimacy in long-term commercial relationships. More specifically, it examines the meaning of transactions in long-term paid sexual relationships in Sweden. Interviews were conducted with 23 Swedish men with experience purchasing sex as 'regulars'. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted. Findings show that the emotional experience is a key focus for these men when they purchase sex. The emotions involved are not delimited in time and space but are experienced both within and outside of the actual sexual encounter. Such emotions can be understood as the very precondition for the experiences of intimacy, while at the same time they create difficulties for the men who purchase sex. Experiences of intimacy are experienced in the ambiguity between unbounded and bounded authenticity and by not drawing a clear line between emotional subjectivity and consumer subjectivity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2022. Vol. 24, no 4, p. 451-465
Keywords [en]
Buying sex, emodities, emotional labour, intimacy, purchase of sex
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-39074DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2020.1857844ISI: 000605381600001PubMedID: 33404353Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85099108890OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-39074DiVA, id: diva2:1516542
Available from: 2021-01-12 Created: 2021-01-12 Last updated: 2024-02-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Purchase of Sex: Perceptions, Experiences, and Social Work Practices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Purchase of Sex: Perceptions, Experiences, and Social Work Practices
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to explore sex buyers’ perceptions and experiences of purchasing sex, and to study how the purchase of sex is constructed as a social problem in Swedish social work practice. The empirical material consists of interviews with 30 men with experiences of purchasing sex and with ten social workers conducting counselling or outreach work with men who purchase sex. The dissertation is a compilation thesis that consists of four papers, that have been published in international peer-review journals. The first paper focuses on how men who buy sex as one-time visitors navigate between commercialization and intimacy in a national context criminalizing their actions. The paper explores the construction of meaning and intimacy in commercial relationships for Swedish men buying sex, and how these men describe relational practices and strategies used when they purchased sex. The second paper explores the construction of intimacy among men engaged in longterm transactional relationships with women. The paper focuses on the meaning of transactions for intimacy in long-term paid sexual relationships. The third paper explores how men who purchase sex in a context in which their activities are criminalized understand and perceive risk. The paper focuses on individual assessments of risk in relation to experiences of crime, exploitation, and stigma. The fourth paper aims at exploring social workers’ understanding of the purchase of sex as a social problem. The study focuses on social workers’ approaches to the purchase of sex in relation to values, professional practices, and political goals, and how they navigate these aspects in their encounters with individuals who purchase sex. The four papers show how individual experiences are understood, navigated, and conceptualized in relation to social interaction and social norms. The participants in both sub-studies navigate between their own experiences and perceptions, moral values, and social norms in regard to the purchase of sex in Sweden. Both the sex buyers and the social workers conceptualize and make sense of the purchase of sex based on their individual experiences as sex buyers or as social workers meeting sex buyers, but they also relate to normative ideas about the purchase of sex and about ‘sex buyers’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Malmö University Press, 2024. p. 130
Series
Malmö University Health and Society Dissertations, ISSN 1653-5383 ; 2
Keywords
buying sex, the purchase of sex, prostitution, commercial sex, sex work, social work
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-65801 (URN)10.24834/isbn.9789178774418 (DOI)978-91-7877-440-1 (ISBN)978-91-7877-441-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-02-02, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-02-07 Created: 2024-02-07 Last updated: 2024-02-07Bibliographically approved

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Grönvall, YlvaHolmström, CharlottaPlantin, Lars

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