Backstreets - CL.*

Cecilie Higard, Author Pennsylvania State University Press $36.95 (225p) ISBN 978-0-271-00877-6
In this fascinating and frightening study, combining interviews, police records, research data and their own observations and theories, the sociologist authors look at prostitution in Oslo and try to illuminate the nature of the money-for-sex transaction, as well as its effects on the participants and on society. The prostitute interviews are disturbing as the women outline various defense mechanisms they employ to distance themselves from their physical reality; these range from using fake names to washing frequently to taking drugs. The customer interviews are even more troubling: some men sentimentally believe that prostitutes enjoy their work; further, the men seek not only sex but ``security, closeness and home'' as well. The authors are at their best (and the book at its saddest) in exploring life after prostitution: the emotional damage of seeing one's body as an object doesn't go away; self-esteem and sexual pleasure are ruined, replaced by self-hatred and depression. Hoigard and Finstad assert in their compassionate and intelligent conclusion that the sale of sexual services must somehow be made obsolete and the damage to prostitutes, customers and society ended. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-0-271-00878-3
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