chapter  2
19 Pages

What’s the problem with prostitution?

20Shifting problematisations of men and women selling sex
WithJens Rydström

The selling or procuring of sexual services was never an uncontroversial part of the everyday exchange of goods and services in Western culture. Instead, it has been represented as a problem since (at least) the Middle Ages, and the problem descriptions have had different functions as the social, economic and cultural organisation of society was changing. Men selling sex to men, on the other hand, have been made problematic in connection with shifting constructions of homosexuality. Moreover, agents have defined the problem differently. The Church, local authorities, public health officials, social scientists and sex sellers themselves have all had different interests in the trade and represented the problem in radically different ways.