Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 346–360 | Cite as

Misunderstanding (Mis)Understandings: Male Sex Workers and the Canadian Criminal Code

  • Patrice CorriveauEmail author
  • Christopher Greco
Original Paper


Despite evidence that the Canadian government’s attempt to deter prostitution, by criminalizing the behaviour that facilitates its occurrence, has been largely unsuccessful and detrimental to the safety and security of those who ‘sell sex’, members of parliament have done little to change course. Their commitment to a flawed paradoxical approach has forced many sex workers to provide their services in ways that increase their risk of being victimized. To date, there is little published research on how adult male sex workers understand and work around the law relating to sex work. In an effort to address this void, we present the views of 19 adult male escorts on two related issues: (1) the ambiguity of the criminal law relating to their trade and its enforcement; and (2) the use of strategies to cope with the dangers posed by the current legal climate. We show that although adult male escorts misunderstood the law, their comprehension of and experience with its enforcement gave them the impression that they must take precautionary measures to decrease their risk of being charged with a criminal offence and/or victimized by clients or the police.


Male sex workers Escorts Prostitution Criminalization Canadian Criminal Code 



We would like to thank Christine Bruckert and Colette Parent for heading the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded research upon which this paper is based. We would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and our colleague Prashan Ranasinghe for their suggestions and help in improving this work.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CriminologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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