Why do married men visit prostitutes? It’s a question that has perplexed women for centuries. Why would any man go to a prostitute and not only cheat on his wife, but risk disease for himself and her? It’s an unforgivable sin in many people’s eyes.
So, in the interests of science and overwhelming curiosity, I carried out a not-so-scientific poll with my Facebook friends to see what they thought. Unsurprisingly, as most were married or in long-term relationships, the majority thought they did it because they were “cheating, lying scumbags”.
But is it a more complex subject than that? Well, yes, according to a 1959 report by world renowned psychologist and sexologist, Dr Albert Ellis. In it, he lists ten main reasons why men visit prostitutes:
1) Their wives are unadventurous in bed and unwilling to have anything but face-to-face sex
2) Many men liked having a variety of partners
3) Some men would rather go to a prostitute than have an affair if they feel they weren’t getting enough sex at home
4) Going to a prostitute was thought of as being “safe, less involving and more loyal than having non-prostitutional affairs”
5) Some men cannot satisfy their wives in bed so go to prostitutes with whom they are “not ashamed to be poor lovers”
6) Occasionally a wife will refuse to take proper birth control so the husband will go to prostitutes rather than having sex with her and risking having children
7) For some, it’s lack of affection from their wives that drive them into the open arms of a street walker
8) There are times when a man will become fond of the prostitute and would rather spend time with her
9) There are men, particularly those with low self-esteem, that convince themselves that even paying for sex is a conquest.
10) For “neurotic reasons”, some men go to prostitutes to vent their anger at their wives, to degrade themselves or because they can’t be satisfied in bed with a “good woman”. Others love the thrill and danger of it.
This survey was carried out 60 years ago, so do these reasons still stack up today? It seems the answer may also be yes. In 2014, the BBC carried out interviews with men who used prostitutes and many participants cited at least one of the reasons above.
But there’s another reason not listed and it’s more to do with a relaxing of social values. Research carried out in 2005 found that the number of men paying for sex had doubled in a decade and the main reason given? Well, it was because of a “greater acceptability of commercial sex contact”.
So, is there a particular type of man who is more likely to visit a lady of the night? According to Drs Marilena Locatelli of the University of Turin and Steinar Strom of the University of Oslo, there is.
In a recent survey of more than 5000 British men aged between 20 and 74, they discovered of those surveyed, 12% admitted to using prostitutes at least once. Of these, most did it whilst travelling abroad and men from the London area were more likely to pay for sex than those elsewhere in the country.
Interestingly, it wasn’t the top earners who were most likely to use a prostitute. That honour goes to men in the middling wage bracket.
Dr Locatelli said: “Risky behaviour (unsafe sex, drug use, heavy smoking and high consumption of alcohol) is found to be positively and significantly related to demand for paid sex. We also found positive and significant effect of ‘belonging to any religion’. This seems to rend a misleading consideration believing that the individual moral values is a restraint on participation in the sex market.”
For those who had had sex education at school, the findings were opposite. They were less like to use a prostitute than those who had poor or no sex education in their formative years.
So, there you go girls, it’s a complex subject and not one that’s easily explained. The one thing I can say is that without a doubt — and again this is non-scientific, just what I know by being one — women are not impressed by men who pay for sex. In fact, most are put off by it. Bear that in mind, lads, the next time you feel the urge to visit the red-light district.