Study: Sex Workers Earn More With a College Degree

Study: Sex Workers Earn More With a College Degree
Rhett Pardon

WACO, Texas — A recent study concludes that there are financial benefits of a college education even for sex workers.

Researchers Scott Cunningham of Baylor University and Todd Kendall of Compass Lexecon, an economic consulting firm, said in their study that college-educated sex workers have better options outside their line of work, attract fewer unpleasant clients and can make more money by combining sexual services with non-sexual services, such as companionship.

The study asked questions about clients, patterns and pay, as well as demographics. About 40 percent of the responding female sex workers who used internet advertising to arrange dates reported having completed college.

Researchers concluded that college-educated sex workers are less likely to work than their less-educated counterparts in any given week. But when they do work, they earn about 12-13 percent more. College-educated sex workers see more clients and book longer sessions.

The college-educated sex workers charge slightly less on an hourly basis, but the volume and nature of their services means they end up earning more. And they tend to have more regular clients, the study said.

Cultivating a roster of “regulars” is key to a sex worker’s businesses. Before seeing a new client, college-educated ones typically conduct extensive, time-intensive background checks, the study said. Having regulars saves screening time and results in more regular, lower-risk income.

College-educated sex workers also appear to offer more girlfriend-experience services, or GFEs, which command a significant premium price over purely sexual services, because it takes more time and mental energy.

“Our study suggests that prostitution markets are more heterogenous than previously thought,” Cunningham and Kendall wrote. “Not only do we find an association between college education and a range of economic outcomes for sex workers, the existence of this association suggests that there exist at least two segregated markets — a high market in which sex work is bundled with various amenities and risks are lower, and a low market in which mere sexual exchanges occur and risks are higher.”

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