The Theory of Sex Markets

Stephen Ellingson, Edward O. Laumann, Anthony Paik and Jenna Mahay

in The Sexual Organization of the City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780226470313
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226470337 | DOI:
The Theory of Sex Markets

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This chapter explains why the choice of sex partner and the outcome of the resultant relationship are consistently patterned within and organized by particular communities, social networks, organizations, and meaning systems. These vignettes highlight some of the themes of the chapter: the constructed, highly organized venues in which individuals search for sex partners; the role that group cultures and community norms play in structuring sexual relationships and behavioral repertoires; the limited efforts of institutional actors, such as churches or social-service agencies, to regulate relationships and behaviors as well as the limited effects of those efforts; the importance of urban space as a facilitator of sexual transactions; and the social, family, and health consequences of sexual decision making. The chapter also explains recurrent patterns of partner selection and relationship formation in different urban subpopulations, and the unintended outcomes of different patterns of sexuality.

Keywords: sex partner; communities; social networks; organizations; meaning systems; sexual relationships; behavioral repertoires; urban space; sexual decision making; sexuality

Chapter.  14997 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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