Credits: ERROL MCGIHON/QMI AGENCY
Turns out, men who visit prostitutes really just want to cuddle, according to a new study that found regular "johns" often develop feelings of romance and love toward their paid sex providers.
Encounters between prostitutes and clients have come to resemble quasi-dating relationships, American researchers Christine Milrod and Ronald Weitzer say, who analyzed 2,442 postings on a website where more than a million registered members read and post reviews of sex workers.
They found approximately a third of them contained "discussions of emotional intimacy" between prostitutes and clients, many of whom expressed a desire for an emotional connection beyond the sex.
There's even a name for it: The girlfriend experience (GFE). The connection is genuine but limited by time constraints and the small matter of the exchange of money for service.
"Sex remains part of the service, but it is coupled with mutual sharing, support and companionship," the authors said.
For clients looking for the GFE, "cuddling, kissing and being emotionally cared for is often desired," the study found. "The men also pride themselves on their ability to provide pleasure to the sex worker."
A small number of men fall in love with their sex provider and come to believe she reciprocates their feelings. Some even hope to expand the relationship to marriage.
The study was published in a recent edition of the research journal Men and Masculinities.