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Cult Health Sex. 2019 Oct 29:1-16. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2019.1679393. [Epub ahead of print]

Money boys in Chengdu, China: migration, entrepreneurial precarity and health service access.

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Center for Global Public Health, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.


This qualitative study highlights the complex interplay between the social and structural conditions in Chengdu, China that shape the possibilities and vulnerabilities of money boys' sexual health. Within the context of China's liberalised market economy, we explore (1) how money boys' enter the sex trade market and navigate their sexual networks; (2) how their lives are enmeshed in fields of sexual desire, stigma and coercion; and (3) how the illicit and stigmatising nature of their work poses barriers to health service access. Findings reveal how the sex trade market and clinic are precarious spaces in which entrepreneurial ethics of the self and stigma-related coercive relations simultaneously enable and constrain money boys' sexual freedom and safer sex practices. By understanding this entrepreneurial precarity through the co-articulation of clinical and organisational work spaces, public health and social service providers can have a stronger sense of how various vulnerabilities configure to affect safer sex practices.


China; HIV risk; Male sex work; migration; money boys

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