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Industry & Economics

The Limits of Ethical Consumption in the Sex Industry

The limits of ethical consumption in the sex industry: An analysis of online brothel reviewsFull Article Name: The Limits of Ethical Consumption in the Sex Industry: An Analysis of Online Brothel Reviews

Open Access: No

Highlights

Claims of ethical consumption in the sex industry have been contested by feminists.
Notions of ethical consumption are embedded in brothel regulations in Victoria, Aust.
In online brothel reviews, sex buyers often note violating safe sex regulations.
Sex buyers also describe scenarios likely to constitute sexual assault.
The application of ethical consumption ideas to the sex industry is problematic.

Abstract

This article weighs arguments about individualised ethical consumption practices in the sex industry through an analysis of the narratives of men who buy sexual access to women in legal brothels in the state of Victoria, Australia. In order to consider claims of ethical consumption in the sex industry, a theoretical thematic analysis of 50 online brothel reviews is undertaken, focussing on potential expressions of “care and concern”. We find significant narratives of unprotected sex and questionable sexual consent, and that there is an almost complete lack of care or concern shown for the women described in these reviews. This calls into question the ethical consumption assumption in the legislation, and raises further questions about the applicability of ethical consumption concepts to the sex industry more broadly.

    Citation

    Tyler, M., & Jovanovski, N. (2018). The limits of ethical consumption in the sex industry: An analysis of online brothel reviews. Women’s Studies International Forum, 66, 9–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2017.11.004