Streetwalkers' profession on its last legs

'With a prostitute it's pure sex'
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"It's easier to ask a prostitute to do things because she's there to service you, you know you're paying her for the service. It's like going to have your car done, you tell them what you want done, they don't ask ... if they don't do it, you go down the road to someone else."

This is the view of a man who regularly pays women for sex, who is among a group of prostitutes' clients interviewed in a new study of Glasgow prostitutes and their clients.

Half of the 143 men questioned were married or living with their partner. One man had been paying for sex from the same woman for more than 13 years - longer than he had been married.

One of the key attractions of using prostitutes, the men said, was that they "could ask [them] to do anything". One man said: "My wife is not very interested in anything other than straight sex and with a prostitute the world is your oyster."

"I quite enjoy dressing up in ladies' underwear which I would not ask a partner to do," said another.

Prostitutes also offered the men the opportunity to have sex with specific types of women. "She's got to look a bit bitchy," said one man, "a bit of a tart."

For some the appeal was the opportunity to have sex with a number of women, and manywere attracted by the uninvolved nature of the contact. "If I go to a club or something I have to work for it but with a prostitute it's pure sex, no-one's kidding the other."

When asked what would happen if their partner found out about their activities, most of the men, whose average age was 36 with the youngest being 21 and the oldest 63, said it would be disastrous: "It would probably end our marriage," said one.

Researchers obtained interviews from nine men by approaching them on the street, 68 who were contacted via health clinics, and a further 66 who responded to advertisements in a local newspaper.

Most of the men said they had paid for vaginal sex; 89 had paid for masturbation, 87 for oral sex, 11 for anal sex. Seventeen men said they had not used a condom on the last occasion they paid for vaginal sex and 14 said their condom burst.

Of 66 women interviewed on one night they were found to have had vaginal sex 147 times, oral sex 200 times and carried out masturbation on 58 occasions.

t Sex Work on the Streets; Neil McKeganey and Marina Barnard; Open University Press; pounds 12.99