Why is the demand for sexual products increasing in developing countries? Is it a result of state efforts to curb male sexuality? Or is it a response to the growing popularity of pornography? The paradoxes of commercial sexual exchange can be understood in terms of post-industrial transformations, especially as the market for sex-related products has become a thriving industry? Here, we explore these questions in more detail. Let us look at the underlying socio-economic conditions that foster this thriving industry.
Many studies on prostitution have highlighted the simplifications that underlie state discourses on commercial sex. Such reductionism inevitably reproduces banal narratives about (female) sex and leads to the perpetuation of exclusion and stigma. De Lisio et al. discuss the construction of sexual commerce as a deviant or victim in the context of state surveillance. In a similar vein, Vuolajarvi’s article highlights the disconnect between policy makers and real lives in sexual commerce.
The transformation of San Francisco’s economy and social life led to a massive redistribution of urban space. Meanwhile, the white middle class reclaimed the inner city and pushed people living on the margins to the periphery. This led to the growth of the in-door sex industry and the emergence of spatially dispersed sexual services. Although the sex industry claims to be recession-proof, local sex workers report a slowdown in demand for their services. Indeed, some have even left the city.