Is this your idea of someone who pays for sex: a figure living in the shadows who contacts his “purchases” on weekend evenings? New research on German sex clients presents a different picture. Most sex purchases are planned on Mondays – in the daylight, and with no erotic overtones. Harriet Langanke is a doctoral candidate at Malmö University in Sweden, and in her research she has established contact with German male sex clients.
She has examined in detail what the logistics and planning look like in connection with consuming sex services. The picture is clear: sex purchases are planned in roughly the same way as other activities during the week. On Monday afternoons, once the week’s work schedule has arrived (and late enough for co-workers to start heading home) – that’s when the sex purchase is planned and booked.
“This surprised me. I thought this would be done on Thursday-Friday, ahead of the weekend,” says Harriet Langanke.
She is the founder of the German GSSG Foundation, which works to promote sexual health. The Foundation collaborates with Internet forums where sex clients, “johns,” meet. These forums are partly designed to allow clients to find sexual services.
“But they also provide a place to discuss their shared ‘hobby’ and exchange tips and advice. There’s also a clear component of mentoring, with inexperienced johns receiving guidance from more experienced ones.”
This field of research has been relatively easy for Langanke to pursue under German legislation, which does not forbid prostitution or sex purchases. Sites for sex clients are gathered together at the platform sexsicher.de, thanks to the efforts of the GSSG. Langanke and her colleagues have gathered valuable statistics from this platform.
In small focus groups, Harriet Langanke has subsequently met with sex clients, sex sellers, and social workers. They all confirm the picture that it is on Monday afternoons that sex purchases are planned.
“The women often don’t sell sex services on Mondays, because they have to answer the phone and make reservations for clients,” she says.
Besides placing orders for sex as such, the johns revealed in the focus groups that there are other strong reasons to log in to the Net forums on Mondays. They have often spent the weekend with their families, and they are eager to look and see “what’s new” – what have other people been doing? Are there any experiences to be inspired by?
“According to the focus groups, visiting the forum is not associated with erotic feelings. It’s about planning and structure. And the sense of community seems to be extremely important,” says Harriet Langanke.
Contact: Harriet Langanke +49 (0)221-340 80 40, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Facts about this research:
Forums for German sex clients are brought together in the platform sexsicher.de. Seven of these forums have a total of 200 000 registered users.
In the course of a half hour, on a recent Monday between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., some 1 600 users were logged in to these seven forums. However, it is not known how many of them actually purchase sex. Sunday is the second most common day for planning sex purchases. The fewest sex purchases are planned on Saturdays.
Harriet Langanke is a German journalist and the founder of GSSG (Gemeinnützige Stiftung Sexualität und Gesundheit), which works to promote sexual health.
She has embarked on a doctoral studentship at Malmö University, with the Department of Social Work research platform Kössa – Kön, sexualitet och socialt arbete (Gender, Sexuality, and Social Work).