Legal and Social Issues Research Lab

APA 2006


Dr. Kennedy will be presenting at APA in New Orleans in August, 2006.

Saturday, August 12

Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence among Men Soliciting Sexual Services

Pucci, N. A., Kennedy, M. A., Klein, C., Gorzalka, B. B., & Yuille, J. C.


Statement of the Problem     

In the past decade considerable research has been conducted on women working in prostitution, especially those working on the streets. Recently there has been a shift of focus to the clients of sexual services, since these men are no longer an anonymous entity but are viewed as criminals.  However, due to the underground nature of the sex trade, finding consumers to survey can be difficult.  Therefore, there is still relatively little empirical data on this population. Recent work has begun to assess the beliefs, attitudes and experiences of male sex trade consumers towards women working in prostitution, consensual and coercive sex, and liberal versus conservative attitudes towards women (Monto & Hotaling, 2001; Sawyer, Hinds, & Brucker, 2001-02; Sawyer, Rosser, & Schroeder, 1998). Attitudes towards rape myths have been previously reported (see Klein, Kennedy, Gorzalka & Yuille, 2003). In this poster we plan to build on that research and look at different negative attitudes towards women by looking at consumers’ adversarial sexual beliefs, sex role stereotypes, and acceptance of interpersonal violence against women. Burt was the first to empirically study rape myths.  She presented a casual mode of rape myth acceptance that included background, personality, experiential, and attitudinal variables (Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1995).  Her findings indicated that acceptance of interpersonal violence was the single strongest predictor of accepting rape myths (Burt, 1984).  An example of an interpersonal violence item assessed would be, “Sometimes the only way a man can get a cold woman turned on is to use force.” Findings on the acceptance of interpersonal violence research may not only help us to understand why men engage in this illegal activity but may also assist in guiding interventions, treatment, and public policy.



All participants were men arrested for attempting to solicit prostitution services and enrolled in the Prostitution Offender Program of British Columbia (POPBC) which is a community based diversion program run by the John Howard Society of the Lower Mainland and the Vancouver Police Department. The POPBC is a day-long voluntary alternative to court aimed at educating sex trade consumers on the realities of prostitution and the ramifications of participating in the trade (Kennedy, Klein, Gorzalka, &Yuille, 2004).  The POPBC is a diversion program for men who do not have any prior sexual offenses or broad criminal histories. 

Of the 750 men involved in the program, 613 men volunteered to complete research questionnaires creating an 81.7% response rate.  Only 547 of those participants provided specific information on their previous experiences with women working in prostitution. Of these men, 40.8% claimed to be first time consumers, 23.2% were categorized as novice (1-4 purchases), and 36% were experienced (5 or more).  When asked about soliciting from women working in indoor prostitution, 18.3% of the men reported soliciting from massage parlors, 14.8% had used escorts, and only 4% reported going to a brothel.

 The men were a heterogeneous sample who ranged from age 18 to 94 years with a mean of 38.1 years.  Education levels varied in that 4.2% had not gone to high school, 23.3 % graduated high school, 17% had a trade school degree, 20.1% had some college, and 17% had college degree.  The average personal income was $45, 000. The majority were Caucasian followed by Southeast-Asians. Over half (51%) of the men were married or in a common law relationship, 5% had a steady partner, 8% were divorced, 31% were single, and 8% and were separated.



Arrestees sent to the POPBC were invited to participate in the research component.  Subjects were told that participation in the research component was completely voluntary, anonymous, and confidential.  Participants filled out a series of questionnaires including six of the ten subscales in the Derogatis Sexual functioning Inventory.  The current study questions came from Burt’s Sex Role Stereotyping, Adversarial Sexual Beliefs, Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence, and Rape Myth Acceptance Scales (Burt, 1980; 1984).  These items were rated on a 5-point scale (where 1 was strongly agree and 5 was strongly disagree). These items were analyzed in combination with experience level, use of indoor prostitution, and sexual conservatism (as measured by the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory).



Level of experience with prostitutes was significantly related to holding adversarial sexual beliefs.  The more experience a participant had, the more he endorsed adversarial sexual beliefs. There was also a significant relationship between experience level and acceptance of interpersonal violence.  Participants with more experience actually expressed less acceptance of interpersonal violence.  However, some items did not vary by experience level such as “a man is never justified in hitting a woman”. Composite scores on subscales were correlated with sexual conservatism as measured by the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory. Results will be discussed as well as possible implications for prevention programs and interventions.  Specific item results will be discussed in more detail.




Sunday, August 13


Sexual Characteristics of Men Arrested for Soliciting Sexual Services

Kennedy, M. A., Ewasiw, J. F., Klein, C., Goralka, B. B., & Yuille, J. C.



Statement of the Problem

Prostitution throughout the world remains a hot political, legal, and social issue. Although the effects of the sex trade on prostitutes and the communities in which they work are increasingly being recognized and understood, how best to deal with the issue remains highly controversial. 

 Police have changed their emphasis from female prostitutes to men who solicit their sexual services (Lowman, 1990). This change is mainly attributable to the realization that while customers are voluntary participants in the sex trade, many street prostitutes are forced into prostitution by economic necessity, drug addiction, or coercion of pimps and traffickers (Farley, 2003).

Although there is a greater emphasis on the customers, much remains unknown about this population of men. Understanding their motivations, attitudes, and characteristics is relevant for the development of appropriate public policies and interventions.

To gain a better understanding of customers of street prostitutes, the current research examined their sexual experiences, drives, attitudes, fantasies, and satisfaction levels. Additionally, their self-reported endorsements of psychological symptoms were investigated to assess the extent to which psychopathology may be a factor in their behavior. Results were compared to male norms. They were also analyzed in terms of number of times customers had solicited sex and whether they had ever used indoor prostitution services prior to engaging in the research. Social desirability was also explored. Although the research was completely voluntary given that the participants were all men who had been arrested for a prostitution-related offence, the possibility that they responded to the research questions in a socially desirable manner out of a fear of further legal repercussions was examined.


Subjects Used

Participants were men who had been arrested under section section 213 of the Criminal Code of Canada for Communicating for the Purposes of Prostitution and who, following their arrest, attended the Prostitution Offender Program of British Columbia (POPBC). The POPBC is a one-day criminal justice diversion program that aims to educate customers on the realities and ramifications of street prostitution (Kennedy, Klein, Gorzalka, & Yuille, 2004). The program is an alternative to being charged through the courts and is generally offered to men who upon arrest do not have extensive past criminal histories or criminal histories involving prior prostitution-related or other sexual offences.

Over 1100 men have participated in the POPBC since its inception in 1999. This presentation is based on data from 228 men who voluntarily completed the most recent version of the research questionnaires. The men were a heterogeneous sample who ranged in age from 18 to 85 years (M = 38). The majority were Caucasian, married, with full-time employment, an average education of 13.19 years and annual personal income of $40,413.00.



Following arrest, potential participants were referred to the POPBC program and invited to participate in the voluntary, confidential research component. For the current research, participants were asked the number of times they had sexual encounters with prostitutes and whether they had ever used indoor prostitution services. They also completed six of the ten subscales of the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory (DSFI; Derogatis, 1978) assessing the variety of their sexual experiences, their level of interest and participation in sexual activities (sexual drive), their attitudes towards sexuality, their psychological symptoms, their number of sexual fantasies, and their sexual satisfaction. The DSFI is a standardized self-report psychological inventory designed to measure quality of sexual functioning. Finally, they completed the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960).



            Participants reported having engaged in sexual encounters with prostitutes from 0-250 times and approximately one-third had purchased sexual services indoors prior to their arrest. As a group, participants were found to be within one standard deviation of the DFSI male norms on the six DSFI subscales. On the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, fifty-six per cent were within one standard deviation of the normative mean, with fourteen per cent having scores more than 2 standard deviations above the mean.

            With respect to the relationship between frequency of purchasing sex and scores on the DSFI subscales, significant differences were found in sexual attitudes between two groups of men: i) those who had never purchased sex and those who had one to two times ii) those who had never purchased sex and those who had more than four times. Additionally, men who had never purchased sex had significantly more conservative attitudes. Men who had sex five or more times were found to have significantly more sexual fantasies than those who did so less than five times.

            Men who had utilized indoor prostitution services scored significantly higher on the DSFI Drive, Attitudes and Fantasy subscales than men who had not.

            Significant negative correlations were found between scores on the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale and the Psychological Symptoms and Fantasies subscales of the DSFI as well as the frequency of solicitation. A significant positive correlation was found between scores on the Marlowe-Crowne Scale and the DSFI Sexual Satisfaction subscale.



The findings that men who solicit sex from prostitutes, as a group, are not significantly different from other men in their sexual experiences, drives, attitudes, fantasies, psychological symptoms, and levels of sexual satisfaction support the research of Armstrong (1978) and Holzman and Pines (1982) that customers of prostitutes, apart from their behaviors of purchasing sex, are similar to men in the general population. However, the findings do indicate more liberal attitudes and more fantasies among men who are more frequent users of prostitutes and stronger sex drives, more liberal attitudes and more fantasies among users of indoor prostitution.

This presentation will discuss the results in terms of their relationship to scores on the Social Desirability Scale. Additionally, it will focus on the implications of these results in terms of how best to deal with these offenders. For example, the current findings suggest these men do not show any abnormal levels of sexual drives, etc. Therefore education, as opposed to treatment, may be most effective in preventing future solicitation. Further, though having committed a sexual offence, these men may be conceptually different from other “sexual offenders.”