With all uproar focused on the morality of buying and selling sex, most people have little idea what much of the sex industry actually looks like. Or rather, the media repeatedly show the same images of women in short skirts and high boots leaning into car windows, giving the impression that street hooking is the dominant situation, which is far from the truth. And, of course, we are constantly shown horrifying images of the worst sites and victims of trafficking and exploitation (you can provide those yourselves, so no link).
At the same time, millions of people the world over work in the sex industry, in jobs other than providing sexual services. And more millions visit, drive or walk past sites without even thinking about it because they look ordinary. I’ve created a theoretical framework for doing research about the sex industry in all its detail, called the Cultural Study of Commercial Sex, and other researchers are doing this ethnographic and evidence-based work. So I think it’s interesting to show some ordinary pictures, and I’ve made an album on Facebook that’s accessible to everyone (even people who would rather die than join social networking sites themselves – you know who you are). You can click on each photo to see it larger, with its caption, and comment on it if you like.
Photos include strippers, a Soho walk-up, brothels in the Czech Republic, Austria, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, the USA and Germany, Soi Cowboy and Pattaya in Thailand, sex shops in Finland and Taiwan, hostess and karaoke clubs in Japan and China, brothel paintings by Toulouse Lautrec and Vincent Van Gogh and historical pictures. See the album here. It’s a work in progress, so if anyone has pictures to contribute, let me know, as long as you have permission to send them.