The experience of stigma in the lives of male internet escorts

Juline A. Koken, David S. Bimbi, Jeffrey T. Parsons, Perry N. Halkitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Gay and bisexual male escorts operate at the intersection of two major cultural taboos: engaging in homosexual activity and prostitution. Unfortunately, some past research has served to further the stigma against these men, labeling male sex workers as ‘deviant.’ The purpose of this study was to explore the ways in which male escorts experience and cope with work-related stigma. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 46 gay and bisexual male escorts who advertise on the Internet. Erving Goffman's theory of stigma and identity management was utilized to identify themes in the interviews. Passing and covering, concepts found in Goffman's theory, were found, as well as other newly emerging strategies that the men used to manage or distance themselves from stigma, such as occupational framing, altruism and sex work as normative in the gay community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-32
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Psychology and Human Sexuality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Gay men
  • Goffman
  • Identity management
  • Sex work
  • Stigma


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