Survey: Fewer Men Are Paying for Sex

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 3 2013 11:20 AM

Survey: Fewer Men Are Paying for Sex

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Men, wearing T-shirts, offer photo leaflets advertising call-girls in Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

The number of men willing to pay a professional for sex appears to be on the decline. At least that’s what a national representative survey seems to suggest, reports the Los Angeles Times. Some are skeptical, but the numbers are startling when compared to a few decades ago and the ease of finding sex for free online may be playing a role.

In the first half of the 1990s, the General Social Survey, a project of the research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, found that around 17 percent of men said they had paid or received money for sex. That number dropped to 13.2 percent between 2006 and 2012, when it hit a record low of 9.1 percent since the survey first began questioning nearly 11,000 men about the issue in 1991.

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Experts have said there are several factors that could explain the decrease, including the websites and smartphone apps designed to help people hook up and a decrease in the number of men who serve in the military, among others. But others say the numbers are misleading and men haven’t actually stopped paying for sex—after all, the Internet has also made it easier to hook up prostitutes with clients—they’re just more scared to admit it as the practice has become less socially acceptable over the years.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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