Sex workers exist because there is a demand for their services. In the United States, "John" is the label for the men of all backgrounds, ages, races, religions, and socioeco­nomic status who buy sex. One study found that most men buying sex were married or with a partner and ranged in age from 20 to 75, with an average age of 41 (Bennetts, 2011). How many men have sex with prostitutes? A study of a representative sample of men around the world found that about 10% of them had exchanged money for sex in the last 12 months (Carael et al., 2006). In the United States, 93% of the men who used prostitutes had contact with a prostitute at least once a month (Freund et al., 1991).

What appeals to men about paying for sex? Sex in exchange for money gives a cus­tomer sexual contact without any emotional involvement or future commitment; it elim­inates the risk of rejection and offers an opportunity to engage in sexual activities that the customer does not perform with a partner (Califia, 2002; Watson & Vidal, 2011). Some Johns seek the feeling of power from aggressive sex (Bennetts, 2011). Research has found that men purchase sex at a higher rate in regions where women’s sexuality is tightly controlled: Prostitution rates are highest in Africa and China. The researchers concluded that gender equality would significantly reduce prostitution (Wellings et al., 2006).

Women are far less likely than men to pay for sex. However, female sex tourism has increased. Single, divorced, and married White women, primarily from Europe and North America, travel to third – world locales for liaisons with "beach boys," who provide flattery, com­panionship, and sex for money or gifts. African American women are most likely to travel as sex tourists to Jamaica, and Japanese women usually go to Bali (Hari, 2006). One female sex tourist stated, "In f England, men our age aren’t remotely interested. . . . Here, the men make us feel like gorgeous, sexy women again" (Knight, 2006, p. 2). |

The female sex tourists and the men they hire often hold a benign | view of their commercial relationship. One researcher found that the men often imagine they receive gifts of appreciation for helping these women, and female sex tourists believe they are helping the men and the local economy by giving them money and gifts (Hari, 2006).