Journal articles

‘Behind the Screen-Commercial sex, digital spaces and working online’  – Journal of  Technology and Society

The Beyond the Gaze team are pleased that the first academic journal article based on research findings from the project was published in November 2017. ‘Behind the Screen-Commercial sex, digital spaces and working online’ has been published in the Journal Technology and Society.  The rise of the internet and related digital technologies has had a profound impact on many aspects of people’s working and social lives, including the buying and selling of sexual services. In addition to providing new ways to advertise for sex workers who provide services to clients in person, the internet has also seen the development of completely new forms of commercial sex (like webcamming) that take place entirely in an online environment. Using the largest datasets created in the UK, this article explores how sex workers use the internet and digital technologies to facilitate the range of different services that they offer. It looks at the ways in which the internet has improved the ability for sex workers to organize and professionalize their services.  At the same time the article explores some of the challenges and potential (new) harms that arise for sex workers working online. It explores the diversity of ways in which sex workers interact with online and digital technology. This paper advances knowledge by: a) demonstrating how the shift to online working developed for sex workers and their views on the importance of the internet to their working lives; b) exposing the different marketing strategies adopted by sex workers, including the use of social media and personal websites in building an online brand; and c) discussing the impact of online reviews and the wider culture of reviewing commercial sexual services.

The Economic and Social Research Council who funded BtG have also provided funding so that the article is available open access. ESRC logoClick here to access the full article BehindtheScreenTechinSociety