30 Minute Talks on Research: Commercial sex markets in the digital age

  • Wed 16 Mar 22

    13:00 - 13:30

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Dr Helen Rand

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Faculty of Social Sciences

  • Contact details

    Claire Hudson

Sex markets, like many service industries, have been transformed by the digital revolution. I used digital multimethods, grounded in an ethnographic approach to examine the technological changes that have fundamentally changed the organisation of sex markets. Specifically, the research analyses digitally mediated sexual services from the perspectives of customers and workers and how their experiences inter-relate with the legal and regulatory structures. The findings suggest technological changes have created more fluidity between roles specially amongst men in the study, than has been recognised before. I suggest the legal framework legitimises digital sex work as entrepreneurial, while condemning public forms of sex work, yet all sex workers continue to navigate stigma associated with commercial sex. I conclude that the legal structures create uncertainty for sex workers and customers, and ultimately sex workers look to the platforms for safety rather than the police. This work is important as it revealed digital sex work could be better understood as a form of digital labour in the ‘gig economy’ showing the gender blindness of much of the mainstream literature on digital labour.

This talk will precede a talk from Dr Angus Holford, Institute for Social and Economic Research - Study time, work and volunteering experience and during university at 1.30pm

Register for both talks
A lecture being held in the Ivor Crewe building, University of Essex, with students listening.
Explore the full 30 minute research talks series

This series of talks is open to students and staff within the Faculty of Social Science and is a chance to find out about the varied and exciting areas of research that are being conducted by research staff within the University of Essex. You’re invited to register for all events, or individual talks that may interest you, and there may be a chance in some talks to ask questions at the end of the session.

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