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Male prostitution in Ireland: the "two tiered system".


Shqiptar

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The thread dealing with the "Myth of the Happy Hooker" story got me thinking about the other side of the coin: male prostitution. Ruhama doesn't seem to deal with guys: their website only mentions offering support for women.

Many of ye will probably have heard of Gaydar, a website gay guys use to contact each other. There is a section in the website called "Commercial" used by businesses who wish to target the gay demographic. You will - for example - see entries there for major pornography shops advertising their wares. However, most of the ads are for what are, quite frankly, male prostitutes.

Most of the guys in the Dublin area seem to be non-Irish. They seem to jet in for a week or so, ply their trade and move on. Their profile very often contains a schedule: Dublin April 14-21, Berlin April 21-28, Sitges April 28 - May 5 etc. Leaving aside the seedy aspect, it almost seems glamorous and with their fit physiques and perfect grooming, they don't appear to be particularly vulnerable or in need of help.

I met a male prostitute once. He was a big strapping guy from up north, certainly not the sort of guy anyone would push around easily. He had a medium term plan to get out of the rent boy scene and the plan was to set up an online gambling business (very lucrative back then) but he needed someone with a background in IT. He contacted me one night via Gaydar because I had browsed his profile a couple of days previously and he'd seen from my profile that I was in information technology. (Yeah, yeah, I do sometimes look - I don't buy.)

So we met and it turned out that I wasn't able to help him (as I'd suspected). The sort of technologies needed were areas I had little experience in - I'm a mainframe geek. Anyway, everything from his designer clothes to his well-manicured nails suggested someone who was doing very well indeed. I'm no expert on northern accents but this chap was not from the red-bricked streets of Belfast or Derry, north County Down would have been closest to his pronunciation.

Of course, the male prostitution scene in Ireland isn't just about well-heeled guys earning hundreds of euro per day. The Irish Health article below (which I think is from 2002) mentions a "two-tiered system", the lower tier consisting of guys from far more impoverished backgrounds soliciting in public spaces with all the risks that that entails. That's a scene that remains far more hidden. There doesn't seem to be the same level of assistance out there for male sex workers and the few policy documents (sources 4 and 5) I've seen on the internet seem to be over a decade old - hardly a positive state of affairs.


Sources:
1. Male prostitution & health - irishhealth.com
2. Married men are main clients of male prostitutes | Irish Examiner
3. Confessions of a male escort - Independent.ie
4. http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Find_a_Service/Sexualhealth/Gay_Men's_Health_Service/Research_Reports/Such_a_Taboo_service_needs_for_males_in_prostitution_Ireland_2001.pdf
5. Stigma of male prostitution hampers health aid - irishhealth.com
 


Dame_Enda

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And yet under the Swedish model these big strong men - in the name of protecting women (!) - would find their trade criminalised too.

The case for criminalising customers of adult male prostitutes is far weaker than their female counterparts. Ruhama cannot argue they are being pimped out against their will, or forced to work in the sex industry.
 

blokesbloke

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To be honest there are what are often called "high-class" female prostitutes who would tend to call themselves escorts, call girls etc. etc. who are pretty similar to the guy you mentioned.

They can command very high fees and live a nice lifestyle.

Prostitution covers a whole spectrum, from vulnerable unhappy prostitutes, male and female, who ply their trade on the streets because they have no other choice - homeless, drug addicts etc.

Then you go right up to people who actively choose it as a job, make an absolute fortune at it and often have a plan for the money they make for when they get older and move on from the prostitution lifestyle - for example the business your bloke set up.

The trouble with the reform agenda on prostitution is that is tends to refuse to admit to this difference, and treats all prostitutes as helpless victims who are vulnerable, desperate and hate what they are doing, and the clients as rapacious, nasty exploiters who are the real criminals.

That is sometimes true, but not always.

Not all prostitutes are unhappy, and they certainly aren't vulnerable or exploited.

However if you have an issue with prostitution in general and frame it in terms of morality, feminism etc. then you are refusing to face this reality and any legislation you pass will ultimately be unhelpful.
 

Shqiptar

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And yet under the Swedish model these big strong men - in the name of protecting women (!) - would find their trade criminalised too.

The case for criminalising customers of adult male prostitutes is far weaker than their female counterparts. Ruhama cannot argue they are being pimped out against their will, or forced to work in the sex industry.
But there is the "lower tier" of male prostitutes who are far more vulnerable. They're more likely to be drug addicts, they have little choice over where they offer their services. They're probably less healthy and hence, less able to defend themselves if attacked.
 

tigerben

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Stop, labour will be setting up Ruhmalea next, in their quest for total equality! On a serious note the media and woman's groups would have you think only woman were "pushed" in to prostitution and only woman suffer from domestic violence, and yet their always on about equality in the work place or in politics. Men in these situations have very little help or support.
 

blokesbloke

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And yet under the Swedish model these big strong men - in the name of protecting women (!) - would find their trade criminalised too.

The case for criminalising customers of adult male prostitutes is far weaker than their female counterparts. Ruhama cannot argue they are being pimped out against their will, or forced to work in the sex industry.
Again - not true. There are plenty of unhappy young rent-boys who went into the sex industry because they felt they had no choice and are exploited, and plenty of "high-class" women who made an active choice and are very happy.

This shows the danger of generalising and creating one-size-fits-all laws.
 

zakalwe1

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i suspect, given ruhama's origins, they won't be a fan of any gay activity, whether is a "paid service" or not.
 

Shqiptar

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To be honest there are what are often called "high-class" female prostitutes who would tend to call themselves escorts, call girls etc. etc. who are pretty similar to the guy you mentioned.

They can command very high fees and live a nice lifestyle.

Prostitution covers a whole spectrum, from vulnerable unhappy prostitutes, male and female, who ply their trade on the streets because they have no other choice - homeless, drug addicts etc.

Then you go right up to people who actively choose it as a job, make an absolute fortune at it and often have a plan for the money they make for when they get older and move on from the prostitution lifestyle - for example the business your bloke set up.

The trouble with the reform agenda on prostitution is that is tends to refuse to admit to this difference, and treats all prostitutes as helpless victims who are vulnerable, desperate and hate what they are doing, and the clients as rapacious, nasty exploiters who are the real criminals.

That is sometimes true, but not always.

Not all prostitutes are unhappy, and they certainly aren't vulnerable or exploited.

However if you have an issue with prostitution in general and frame it in terms of morality, feminism etc. then you are refusing to face this reality and any legislation you pass will ultimately be unhelpful.
I had a look at the other thread and decided I was't going to get involved. I think there is a difference between male and female prostitutes. With male prostitutes, they're generally better able to look after themselves because a guy can almost always defend himself better than a woman can - especially if the client is a man.

The main point I'm making is that there are vulnerable male sex workers out there and there seems to be relatively little in terms of assistance for them. I don't know why that is. Perhaps it's because people think all guys can look after themselves.
 

blokesbloke

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I had a look at the other thread and decided I was't going to get involved. I think there is a difference between male and female prostitutes. With male prostitutes, they're generally better able to look after themselves because a guy can almost always defend himself better than a woman can - especially if the client is a man.

The main point I'm making is that there are vulnerable male sex workers out there and there seems to be relatively little in terms of assistance for them. I don't know why that is. Perhaps it's because people think all guys can look after themselves.
I am aware of some services for them in the UK. Not sure if any in Ireland?
 

Shqiptar

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I am aware of some services for them in the UK. Not sure if any in Ireland?
I haven't seen anything suggesting that there are dedicated services. I mean those that are on drugs will get assistance with their addiction but they need tailored services that deal with their underlying issues. The (admittedly old) documents I've seen suggest that they're still considered criminals so that won't make them more likely to come forward!
 

blokesbloke

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I haven't seen anything suggesting that there are dedicated services. I mean those that are on drugs will get assistance with their addiction but they need tailored services that deal with their underlying issues. The (admittedly old) documents I've seen suggest that they're still considered criminals so that won't make them more likely to come forward!
Certainly male sex workers need to have access to the same support services females do. If they are offered to females and not males, that is unacceptable discrimination.

Whilst it may appear that men are more able to defend themselves all other things being equal, in these days of knives or guns that's not necessarily such an issue. Drug addiction and bad health also means they are not necessarily particularly strong, and the drug addiction and exploitation can mean they are unable to fight back not necessarily physically, but because of other consequences.
 

Dame_Enda

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I have never heard of a male prostitute being murdered in this country blokesbloke.
 

Dame_Enda

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It is not a productive use of resources to have the Gardai policing adult's bedrooms where there is consent. You can argue that some are involved to support a drug habit, but that is not something confined to prostitution.
 
L

lochlannach

I had a look at the other thread and decided I was't going to get involved. I think there is a difference between male and female prostitutes. With male prostitutes, they're generally better able to look after themselves because a guy can almost always defend himself better than a woman can - especially if the client is a man.

The main point I'm making is that there are vulnerable male sex workers out there and there seems to be relatively little in terms of assistance for them. I don't know why that is. Perhaps it's because people think all guys can look after themselves.
Using terms like client and service provider normalizes the whole scene. They're not accountants or chiropodists - they're selling their bodies for sex with all the risks that involves. From a health point of view, I'd be more worried about male prostitutes TBH.
 

Dame_Enda

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Using terms like client and service provider normalizes the whole scene. They're not accountants or chiropodists - they're selling their bodies for sex with all the risks that involves. From a health point of view, I'd be more worried about male prostitutes TBH.
If it was legalised the State could regulate it so that condoms are used, thereby cutting down on STD transmission this way. And as with straight people there are people that can't get it for free, meaning there will always be a market just like alcohol during Prohibition.
 

Ribeye

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Using terms like client and service provider normalizes the whole scene. They're not accountants or chiropodists - they're selling their bodies for sex with all the risks that involves. From a health point of view, I'd be more worried about male prostitutes TBH.
Can you please explain how someone choosing to be an accountant or a prostitute has any impact whatsoever on your life?

Now, I would hate to do it myself, in fact the thoughts of it makes me sick,

But some people like being accountants, so why not just leave them to it?
 
L

lochlannach

If it was legalised the State could regulate it so that condoms are used, thereby cutting down on STD transmission this way. And as with straight people there are people that can't get it for free, meaning there will always be a market just like alcohol during Prohibition.
Even if condoms are used, penetrative anal sex is risky behavior. It usually necessitates the use of certain muscle relaxants that can be dangerous.
 

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