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Early sexual experience as a factor in prostitution

Abstract

Using the literature of the early sexual histories of “normal” women and two recent studies on the sexual histories of prostitutes, this article examines the pattern of early sexual experience among prostitutes and how it differs from that common to nonprostitute women. Some significant differences found between the samples of prostitutes and the samples of “normal” women were that the prostitute samples, on the whole, learned less about sex from parents and more from personal experiences, as children experienced more sexual advances by elders, were more victimized by incest, generally initiated sexual activity at a younger age, more often had no further relationship with their first coital partner, and experienced a higher incidence of rape. The analysis of these data on early sexual history concentrates on abusive sexual experiences such as incest and rape. The authors believe that an abusive sexual self-identity relates to the development of an adult female pattern of occupational deviance such as prostitution.

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Research funded through the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Division of Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Grant No. 1 R01 DA 00918.

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James, J., Meyerding, J. Early sexual experience as a factor in prostitution. Arch Sex Behav 7, 31–42 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01541896

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Key words

  • prostitutes
  • sexual abuse
  • sexual history
  • sex offenders