Of all possible consumer choices, perhaps none yields as pronounced a sex difference as the soliciting of a prostitute. Numerous countries have historically been known for their sex tourism. These include Thailand, the Netherlands (Amsterdam in particular), Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Not surprisingly, in the great majority of cases, the patrons of such services are men although there have been a few studies that have explored the reverse trend (typically middle-aged women paying for the services of young men; see here
). That said I am unaware of a single culture that has ever been documented where women are more likely than men to seek the services of a prostitute. Incidentally, those who might be tempted to argue that the sex trade is a means for the evil patriarchy to exploit women will have to explain why male prostitutes cater their services almost exclusively to male customers. This universal sexual dimorphism is driven by innate biological differences regarding the desire to engage in unencumbered short-term mating. "Arbitrary and sexist socialized gender roles" have nothing to do with it.
How great is the sex difference? In a recent study, Morten Hesse and Sébastien Tutenges gauged this difference in the context of purchasing sex services whilst on vacation. One thousand one hundred and twenty-five young Danish tourists (55.9% male and 44.1% female) were surveyed (anonymously) at a Bulgarian airport at the end of their holidays. They were asked whether they had visited a strip club or brothel, and whether they had paid to have sex, while vacationing at a Bulgarian resort.
Here are the key results, as reported in Table 1 of their article.
While on holidays:
Visited a strip club or brothel 48.2% 8.4%
Paid for sex 12.5% 0.0%
When at home:
Visited a strip club or brothel 57.9% 17.9%
Paid for sex 13.7% 0.4%
Not surprisingly, women rarely if ever seek the services of a prostitute (and certainly not within this demographic group). Social constructivists will continue to engage in endless forms of contorted reasoning to explain away such a robust sex difference. However, they will have to explain why in the history of mankind (recall that prostitution is supposedly the "oldest profession"), not a single culture has been found where women constitute the majority of consumers in the sex trade.
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