“In recent years, we have come to see a gradual normalization of independent escort prostitution, where sexual encounters have come to resemble quasi-dating relationships,” stated study author Christine Milrod.
“Our study shows that regular clients of a particular sex provider often come to experience feelings of deep affection, which can progress into an authentic love story,” Milrod said.
In this new study, Milrod and co-author Ronald Weitzer analyzed 2,442 postings on an online discussion board from a sex provider review site where more than a million clients of sex workers read and post about their experiences.
Approximately one-third included a discussion about emotional intimacy between sex workers and their clients, many of whom expressed a desire to grow their relationships beyond the physical level in the form of sharing private feelings and mutual love.
“These relationships follow a conventionally romantic script that normalizes the liaison and destigmatizes both provider and client,” stated Milrod.
“The study shows that this kind of normalization may manifest itself in a merger of finances, families and finally monogamous partnerships – the provider is no longer just a supplier of the girlfriend experience, but a real-life romantic partner,” Milrod added.
The study is published in a recent edition of Men and Masculinities, a SAGE journal.