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Sexuality, Social Marginalization and Wounded Masculinity: A Male Sex Worker’s Case

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Author(s): Artūras Tereškinas

Journal: Culture and Society : Journal of Social Research
ISSN 2029-4573

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 37;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: masculinity | sex work | sexuality | sexual scripts | social exclusion

ABSTRACT
A great number of men affected by rapid social, economic and political developments suffer severe marginalization due to their age, class, sexuality, disability and ethnicity in Lithuania. This paper examines the intersection of social marginalization, sexuality and masculinity. Using a Lithuanian male sex worker’s case, it argues that a dysfunctional family, poor employment and educational history and low socioeconomic status made his choice of sex work the means of survival. Differently from studies conducted in Europe and North America that suggest that enjoyment of sex was, in many cases, a reason for working as an escort, pleasurable sexual interactions with clients were not a critical reason for involvement in escorting in this case. The paper is based on an extensive semi-structured interview with a 27-year old male escort. The interview demonstrates that the Lithuanian sex worker both confirms and deconstructs the traditional male sexual script of erotic adventures (Gagnon and Simon 1973, 1984). On the one hand, he plays an active role both in sexual and non-sexual encounters and tries to look and act like a real man aspiring to the institutional gender script of hegemonic masculinity. On the other hand, he minimizes the risk in dealing with clients by not engaging in an unsafe sex, declining unwanted sexual practices and rejecting drugs. Besides pleasant memories of his generously paying clients who bolstered his sense of self, the escort is susceptible to societal condemnation, stigma, and self-doubt because he clearly considers his work as a conscious deviation from sexual and gender norms. Othering himself, the respondent expresses a subjective feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness that makes him miserable. Both powerlessness and the lack of imaginable future create a sense of his wounded and injured masculinity.

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