IPT Book Reviews

Title: Male Prostitution  Positive Review Positive Review
Authors: Donald J. West and Buz de Villiers
Publisher: Haworth Press, Inc. 1993

The Haworth Press, Inc.
10 Alice Street
Binghamton, NY 13904
$32.95 (c) $19.95 (p)


This 358-page book is written by Donald West, a physician, and Buz de Villiers, an attorney who heads the social agency, "Streetwise," in London.  It consists of a descriptive study of 50 male prostitutes and contains many case histories, a glossary of slang, a copy of the interview schedule, and a good set of references.  Later, a sample of 25 "street workers" were added.  In 20 chapters the authors cover the topic thoroughly and the book closes with a good author and subject index.  The book is limited to male prostitution and there is no discussion of heterosexual prostitution, female clients, or HIV.


The commercial aspects of the sex industry are well covered and those interested in male prostitution's relationship to child sexual abuse will want to read chapter 4.  One finding is that 34% of the subjects reported a history of sexual abuse, although few connected their present lifestyle to their childhood sexual experiences.  The book's main conclusion is that many of the myths about prostitution fall by the wayside when research is done and the moral-police roles are dropped.  The authors see child neglect and broad social problems as major causal agents rather than just childhood sexual abuse.

This is an excellent study of a neglected, overlooked social problem.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, West Virginia University, Morganstown, West Virginia.

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