Dr. Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research and Education, with logistical support from Demand Abolition, conducted a study of sexual attitudes of men in the Boston area based on face-to-face interviews with 202 men. Those who bought sex were paired by age, education level and ethnicity to men who did not buy sex.
Men who buy sex from women self-report significantly more sexually coercive acts against women than non-buyers and they acknowledge the damage and violence of prostitution, yet remain largely indifferent, Farley says.
"Sixty-six of both sex buyers and non-sex buyers recognize that a majority of women are lured, tricked, or trafficked into prostitution," Farley says in a statement. "Although half of the study's sample does not buy sex, many of the non-sex buyers voice tolerance for men who do."
Although sex buyers note the coercive nature of prostitution, they rationalize their involvement in the sex industry in contradictory terms, declaring women in prostitution are essentially different than non-prostituted women.
"On the face of it, the prostitute has agreed to it. But deeper down, you can see that life circumstances have kind of forced her into that," a man who does not buy sex said. "It's like someone jumping from a burning building. You could say they made their choice to jump, but you could also say they had no choice."