Tenth of British men admit paying for sex
19th November 2014
sex lifeA new study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections has given further insight into the sexual habits of British men, finding over one in ten men has previously paid for sex. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of the 11% of men in the study that had admitted paying for sex had done so at notorious sex tourism hotspots for such activity – 60% of those that had paid for the services had done this outside of the UK, particularly in Amsterdam and Bangkok. “It could be down to opportunistic reasons such as a lads' weekend away, paid-for sex is available, it's something they wouldn't necessarily do at home, but in that situation it happens, but there are other reasons as well,” said Dr Cath Mercer, lead researcher of the study. “What we do in the UK won't stop men paying for sex, we may push them abroad even more.” Dr Mercer added that she believed sexual health clinics should begin to view paying for sex as a red flag for other risky behaviour for spreading infections, such as having multiple sexual partners. The report described how the act of parting with money for sex can be closely tied to other such “hedonistic and risky behaviours” like binge drinking and drug use. Those who admitted to heavily drinking on at least one day per week or had took hard drugs within the last year were more probably going to pay for sex, with 6 and 14% (respectively) doing so in the previous five years. Overall, 3.6% of the 6,108 men surveyed said they had frequented prostitutes at some point within the previous five years and 1.1% in the previous 12 months. Those quizzed varied in age from 17 all the way to 74, and answered questions on the computer in a self-interview. The self-interviews were part of the “National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles” study that was carried out between 2010 and 2012 by researchers based at UCL, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and NatCen Social Research. The men most likely to pay for sex appeared to be 25 to 34-year-old single males in managerial or professional positions, or those that have had a high number of partners; 16% with five or more in the past five years said they had paid for sex. More findings to come from the study include the fact that men who paid for sex had an average total of 31.6 sexual partners during their lifetime (18% of these were paid for), compared to the male average of just 13.6. Despite adjusting for their high tally, those men that had paid for sex during the previous five years were found to be more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia, HIV, gonorrhoea, or syphilis. Sexual health charity FPA's director of health and wellbeing Natika Halil said: “This study shows that men who have paid for sex are disproportionately affected by STIs, and it's vital we reinforce 'prevention over cure' sexual health messages. “We heard from many men over the years that had paid for sex abroad and returned to Britain in a panic because they didn't know if they had an STI. “The best way to avoid this is to keep a supply of condoms with you, and if you do have sex make sure you use them. If you know you have taken a risk, it's important to get tested as soon as possible.”