Different Types of Prostitution

There are many “types” of prostitution which goes behind our sights.

The general definition of prostitution stands for sexual acts performed under contract; however due to socially stratified array of sexual market consumption, it is difficult to enumerate all the types of ‘market segment’.

The purpose of this article is to find out about the general definition of prostitution and the different ‘types’ based on existing studies and research.

Definition of Prostitution

Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment.

Reference : Wikipedia

The definition of “sexual activity” varies, and is often defined as an activity requiring physical contact (e.g. sexual intercourse, non-penetrative sex, oral sex, etc.) with the customer.

Prostitution is defined as a business of sex trade, also known as sex industry, commercial sex, or sex work.

According to this definition, there is no distinction between a man and a woman, and the relationship can be formed by the presence of two people who engage in sexual activity.

Typology of Prostitution

There are kind of prostitution that can be easily recognize, even if one is not conscious of them. Between these practices, a contract is made which meets the definition of prostitution that we introduced. Here onwards, this article will explain the various types of such prostitution.

Research on types of prostitution

Hilary L. Surratt, PhD, Associate Scientist for the Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware,

et. al., in the July 2005 Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality study titled “The Connections of Mental Health Problems, Violent Life Experiences, and the Social Milieu of the ‘Stroll’ with the HIV Risk Behaviors of Female Street Sex Workers,” wrote:

“In contrast to popular thinking, female sex workers are an extremely heterogeneous population. They are situated in a myriad of social and environmental contexts…

Past and current studies suggest that there are many different types of female sex workers, including ‘call girls’ and escorts working in the upper echelons of the sex industry, ‘in-house’ sex workers working in parlors or brothels, ‘street-walkers’ who sell sex for money through sidewalk solicitations, part-timers who supplement their incomes with sex-for-pay, and drug-involved street-based sex workers, the majority of whom shift between sex-for-money and sex-for-drug exchanges as circumstances require.”

Subject of prostitution also links to research of identifying the causes of sexually transmitted diseases. Christine Harcourt, Ph.D., a researcher at the Clinical Research Center, and Basil Donovan, M.D., professor of sex insurance, also at the Clinical Research Center, conducted research on sexually transmitted diseases published a study in 2005 June, “The Many Faces of Sex Work,” wrote:

“At least 25 types of sex work were identified according to worksite, principal mode of soliciting clients, or sexual practices. These types of work are often grouped under the headings of “direct” and “indirect” prostitution, with the latter group less likely to be perceived or to perceive themselves as sex workers. In general, policing sex work can change its typology and location, but its prevalence is rarely affected. The public health implications of sex work vary widely.”

Direct forms of prostitution/b>

Type of Prostitution Descriptions
Street Clients solicited on the street, park, or other public places. They are often used in areas where there are no publicly operated prostitution facilities, or in areas where people are not economically well-off. Serviced in side streets, vehicles, or short stay premises
Brothel Premises explicitly dedicated to providing sex. Better security than street. Often licensed by authorities.
Escort Client contacts sex worker by phone or via hotel staff. Most covert form of sex work. Relatively expensive because of low client turnover. Service provided at client’s home or hotel room

Private Client contacts sex worker by phone. Similar to escorts except services provided in sex worker’s premises. A variant in London and other big cities is ‘flat’ prostitution—high cost services in rented, serviced, inner city units.
Club, pub, bar, karaoke bar, dance hall Clients solicited in alcohol vending venues and serviced on site or elsewhere.
other all-male venues Clients solicited in all-male venues such as barbershops, bathhouses, saunas, and mining camps. Serviced on site or elsewhere.
Door knock or hotel Unattached males are approached in their hotel rooms or boarding houses.
Transport(Ship, truck, train) Sex workers may board vehicles to service the crew or passengers or pick up clients at stations and terminals.。
Other methods of solicitation Through various media including noticeboard and newspaper advertisements, ‘sex worker catalogues’ with mobile phone numbers, the internet via virtual brothels, etc. Services are delivered mostly in brothels and other indoor venues

Indirect Forms of Prostitution

Types of Prostitution Description
Lap dancing A recent development involving erotic dancing at close quarters without sexual contact.
Massage parlour Premises ostensibly dedicated to providing massage, but a range of sexual services may be provided. In South East Asia similar arrangements may apply in barbershops.
Travelling entertainers Actors, dancers, and others involved in entertainment may also provide sexual services.
Beer girls oung women hired by major companies to promote and sell products in bars and clubs. Sexual services sold to supplement income.
individual arrangements The single mother who may have sex with her landlord in place of rent. Older sex workers who only deal with a small number of regular clients, by appointment. ‘Kept’ women or men. Concubines. The number of possible arrangements is vast


This article introduced the existing types of prostitution which meets the following definition:

  • Sexual services involves a contract.
  • Sexual services are not defined by the gender of client or the provider.

Under these above conditions, sexual services can be divided into direct prostitution or indirect prostitution.
Furthermore, identifying the types prostitution, and its geographic distribution are useful in research to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

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