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Health (London). 2009 Jan;13(1):25-46. doi: 10.1177/1363459308097359.

Intimate relationships and women involved in the sex trade: perceptions and experiences of inclusion and exclusion.

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Dalhousie University, Canada.


This article reports on a qualitative study exploring the intimate (non-work) relationships of women involved in the sex trade. Women working in the sex industry and intimate partners of women in the industry were interviewed in order to understand how intimate relationships are perceived as influencing the women's general health and well-being. The research suggests that intimate relationships can, and do, provide a space for feelings of inclusion and safety that are perceived as positive forces in women's general health and well-being. At the same time, however, feelings and experiences of exclusion (fuelled by the dominant stigmatizing discourse related to prostitution) can enter into intimate relationships, and are perceived as having a negative impact on the women's well-being, particularly their emotional health. Although there are attempts to keep the women's work separate from the intimate relationship, cross-over between the two spheres does occur. The research suggests that health care and service providers need to look beyond the women's working lives, and understand the relationships between work and home, as well as the ways in which intimate relationships can influence women's lives and health through both positive and negative forces.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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