As we discussed earlier, clients of prostitutes are often referred to as “johns,” “tricks,” or even “kerb crawlers” (Brooks-Gordon & Geisthorpe, 2003). The term trick has also been used to describe the behavior requested by the client. This term originated from the idea that the client was being “tricked” out of something, mainly his money (Goode, 1994).
What motivates people to go to prostitutes? An abnormally high sex drive? Variety in their sexual lives? Sigmund Freud believed that some men preferred sex with prostitutes because they were incapable of sexual arousal without feeling that their partner was inferior or a “bad” woman. Carl Jung went a step further and claimed that prostitution was tied to various unconscious archetypes, such as the “Great Mother.” This archetype includes feelings of hatred and sexuality, which are connected to mother figures. This in turn leads men to have impersonal sex with partners whom they do not love or to whom they have no attraction.
There is much confusion about clients and the reasons they visit prostitutes (Brooks – Gordon & Geisthorpe, 2003). What we do know is that the majority of clients of prostitutes are male (Monto, 2001); and they visit prostitutes for a variety of reasons: for guaranteed sex, to eliminate the risk of rejection, for greater control in sexual encounters, for
companionship, to have the undivided attention of the prostitute, because they have no other sexual outlets, because of physical or mental handicaps, and for adventure, curiosity, or to relieve loneliness (Jordan, 1997; McKeganey & Bernard, 1996; Monto, 2000). They may also be turned on by engaging in the illicit or risky sex with prostitutes (Monto,
2001) . Married men sometimes seek out prostitutes when their wives will not perform certain behaviors, when they feel guilty about asking their wives to engage in an activity, or when they feel the behaviors are too deviant to discuss with their wives (Jordan, 1997).
When men who were arrested for prostitution were asked which sexual behaviors they engaged in with a prostitute, 81% had received fellatio, 55% had engaged in sexual intercourse, while others engaged in a little of both, or manual masturbation (i. e., hand jobs; Monto, 2001). Clients from this study also reported that they believed that oral sex had a lower risk of STI or AIDS transmission than other sexual behaviors.
Sadomasochistic behavior, with the woman as dominant and the man submissive, is the most common form of “kinky” sexual behavior requested from prostitutes (Goode,
1994) . Other commonly requested behaviors from prostitutes include clients dressing as women, masturbating in front of nude clients, and rubber fetishes. One prostitute recalled a job in which she was paid $300 to dress up in a long gown and urinate in a cup while her client masturbated, and another was asked to have sex with a client in his daughter’s bed (Dalla, 2002).
Clients may also seek out prostitutes because they are afraid of emotional commitments and want to keep things uninvolved; to build up their egos (many prostitutes fake orgasm and act very sexually satisfied); because they are starved for affection and intimacy; or because they travel a great deal or work in heavily male-populated areas (such as in the armed services) and desire sexual activity.
Kinsey found that clients of prostitutes are predominantly white, middle-class, married men who are between the ages of 30 and 60 (Kinsey et al., 1948). More recent research supports Kinsey’s findings—the majority of men who visit prostitutes are middle – aged and unmarried (or unhappily married; Monto & McRee, 2005). They also tend to be regular or repeat clients: almost 100% go monthly or more frequently, and half of these go weekly or more frequently (M. Freund et al., 1991). “Regulars” often pay more than new customers and are a consistent source of income (Dalla, 2002).
Male clients are most often solicited in their car on street corners in areas where female prostitution is common, but solicitation can also happen in hotels or transportation stops (Riccio, 1992). Of the clients who seek male prostitutes, almost 75% also go to female prostitutes for sex (Morse et al., 1992). Anal sex and oral sex are the two most popular sexual behaviors requested from male prostitutes (M. Freund et al., 1991).
The majority of clients are not concerned with the police because law enforcement is usually directed at prostitutes rather than clients. However, today more and more police are turning to the clients in order to stop prostitution. Some authorities have gone so far as videotaping license plates and enrolling clients in “John school” to stop their behaviors (B. Fisher et al., 2002).